Regional News

Africa & Middle East

Kenya Taps Geothermal Energy in Rift Valley

With African Development Bank (AfDB) support, Kenya has received approval from the Climate Investment Funds’ Clean Technology Fund (CIF-CTF) for a US $29.65-million concessional loan to co-finance up to two geothermal projects to increase the country’s power capacity, particularly drawing on untapped geothermal resources in the Rift Valley. The Concessional Finance Program for Geothermal Generation will build on the energy advancements already underway in the successful development of the country’s showcase Menengai Geothermal Field.

The CTF funds will create a concessional lending program designed to ensure the projects’ financial viability and commercial bankability by shoring up conventional financing and breaking down barriers to private investment. The program will support up to two geothermal generation projects structured as Independent Power Producers (IPPs), and will be implemented with AfDB support.

“Kenya is already demonstrating its ability to reshape its energy future by developing its vast geothermal resources through Menengai,” said Joao Duarte Cunha, AfDB’s Coordinator for CTF. “But it still faces market barriers to full deployment of its renewables. This infusion of capital will thus serve to build investor confidence and improve bankability of these vital resources. Furthermore, the success of the IPPs developed in this program can serve as a beacon for other countries looking to achieve similar green energy goals.”

Construction Underway on Jordan PV Power Plant

Enerray and Desert Technologies have started construction on a 23.1-MW sovereign-backed PV project within the Ma’an Development Area in Southern Jordan. DT and Enerray are acting both as investors, co-developers and turn-key Engineering, Procurement and Construction (EPC) contractors for the project.

This project is one of 12 approved by the Ministry of Energy and Mineral Resources in Round 1 of the direct proposal process for photovoltaic projects, and is backed by a twenty-year power purchase agreement (PPA) with the National Electrical Power Transmission Company. Jordan’s Ministry of Finance has issued a sovereign guarantee in support of the PPA, which will receive a tariff of 0.12 JOD per kWh [US $0.169 kWh].

The project finance was arranged by the International Finance Corporation (World Bank Group), with a total project cost of $50.2 million. Equipment consists of Jinko modules and inverters and MV equipment provided by SMA. The project is expected to generate approximately 147 million kilowatt-hours annually.

During a recent site visit by members of DT’s Board and representatives of the press, Nour Mousa, CEO of Desert Technologies and Chairman of Falcon Ma’an, commented: “The success of this first photovoltaic energy procurement round in Jordan has been felt throughout the Middle East: as well as follow up rounds in Jordan, we are seeing major renewable energy initiatives in the UAE, Egypt, Morocco and soon Saudi as well. As a Saudi renewable energy company, we are excited by the opportunities we see in our home market of MENA [Middle East North Africa].”

North America

US Celebrates One Million Solar Installations

While the exact date that the U.S. installed its 1,000,000th solar installation is hard to pinpoint, according to the Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA), the country is there. The organization plans to celebrate the milestone in May with a three-pronged approach that includes political outreach, a large social media push and an event to take place in the near future.

“One thing we learned from the ITC battle was that we needed the support from all groups [across the political spectrum],” said Dan Whitten, VP of communications at SEIA. “In some ways this is a big thank you to all of the groups who helped us along the way,” he added.

According to SEIA it took 40 years to get to one million installations but it will take just two years to get to two million. That phenomenal growth deserves to be acknowledged in a big way. “We would like to have one tweet for every solar installation,” said Witten. The hashtag will be #MillionSolarStrong, he said.

The celebration will mark the incredible growth that the solar industry has experienced as well as to show its importance to the energy sector. “We are a major part of the energy picture and that is a very good thing for the United States,” said Witten.

Ontario Seeks 600 MW Wind

Ontario is launching a second phase of the competitive Large Renewable Procurement (LRP) process. The LRP, which replaced the large Feed-In Tariff program, covers renewable energy projects generally larger than 500 kilowatts (kW) and was designed to strike a balance between community engagement and achieving value for ratepayers.

On August 1, 2016, Ontario plans to issue an RFQ (request for qualifications) for 930 MW of renewable energy. Ontario has set targets of up to 600 MW of wind, up to 250 MW of solar photovoltaic, up to 50 MW of hydroelectricity and up to 30 MW of bioenergy.

The province will continue to ensure renewable energy procurement encourages the selection of projects with local support and competitive prices, as well as projects with First Nation and Métis participation. It is expected that the plan will save the typical residential electricity consumer an average of $1.67 per month on their electricity bill.

The IESO engagement process will include surveys, webinars and meetings with industry associations, municipal associations and Indigenous communities. Further engagement opportunities will take place during the LRP II RFQ and RFP phases.

Ecolibrium Receives TÜV Certification

The Ecolibrium Boulder R&D Laboratory is now a Certified Partner Lab by TÜV Rheinland PTL. Under the Partner Lab Program, racking manufacturer Ecolibrium Solar is qualified to conduct testing, within their scope of accreditation, to ANSI/UL2703, while TÜV Rheinland PTL will provide any additional testing required and UL2703 certifications for solar racking products. “Expanding our R&D capabilities to include in-house UL2703 testing is a priority for us,” said Jan van der Werff, Ecolibrium CEO.

Europe

UK Building Biogas Pipeline

A 1.3-km pipeline is being constructed by Fulcrum in the UK to connect a £12 million biogas plant to the UK distribution network at a site in Welbeck Colliery. Burrell & Sons is the the main contractor for the project.

Fulcrum traditionally designs and installs new gas and utility infrastructure to domestic properties and business premises to receive gas from the UK Gas network. This new project reverses Fulcrum’s installation process, enabling energy produced by biogas generators to be fed into the UK network via the installation of new gas infrastructure.

The UK Biogas industry is experiencing considerable growth and has expanded seven-fold since 2010 according the Anaerobic Digestion and Biogas Association (ADBA). With around 400 operational plants across the UK, the organization also suggests there is scope for more than a thousand.

“Fulcrum has a wide variety of transferable skills, capabilities and has a wealth of experience working on large scale projects, with tight time constraints, all of which will ensure we prove to be a valuable addition to the industry.”

Asia Pacific

Inner Mongolia PV Plant Overcomes Harsh Weather

Clenergy’s 20-MW photovoltaic power station was successfully connected to the grid in Guyang, Inner Mongolia, after what it said were months of hard work. Clenergy made concerted efforts in partnership with the project’s stakeholders to overcome harsh weather and a tight supply chain schedule in order to finish the project on time. “It could not have been done without our cooperation and teamwork and the support of our partners,” said Daniel Hong, President of Clenergy.

The company said that its team completed the 20-MW photovoltaic power station in the span of 100 days and in the face of blizzards and bitter cold.

The project is a significant step for Clenergy’s PV program, following the 30-MW PV project in Zhongwei, Ningxia, and the 7.6-MW distributive PV program in Chuzhou, Anhui.

Clenery is a global renewable energy company that employs nearly 400 people over four continents.

Chinese Solar Manufacturers Dominate Market in 2015

According to the latest PV Manufacturer Capacity, Shipments, Price and Revenue Report from SPV market research, in 2015 Chinese solar module manufactures added manufacturing capacity in other regions of the world, indicating strong growth for the PV sector overall. “At the end of 2015 a cumulative 215-GWp of PV cells/modules had been shipped into the market and the global PV industry looks to be well on its way to a cumulative 1-TWp in shipments by 2023,” said Paula Mints author of the report. Chinese manufacturers accounted for 48 percent of those shipments, dominating the global market.

The top ten PV manufacturers in 2015 were Trina, JA Solar, Hanwha Q-Cells, Canadian Solar, First Solar, Jinko Solar, Yingli, Motech, NeoSolar, and Shungfeng-Suntech. Shungfeng-Suntech owns a controlling interest in US-based Suniva so Suniva’s shipments are included in the Shungfeng-Suntech total. The report shows that in 2015, PV manufacturer cell/module revenues increased by 23 percent to $32.1-billion from $26.1-billion.

The chart presents manufacturers with a minimum 3 percent share of 2015 shipment volume, a significant feat with current industry gigawatt volume shipments.

[Editors note: For the most in-depth analysis of the global solar market from a supply side perspective, purchase Mints’ full report at this link.]

Latin America

Invenergy Building Wind Farm in Uruguay

Invenergy Wind in April announced that it had closed on the acquisition and financing of Campo Palomas Wind Farm, which currently is under construction in the Salto Department of Uruguay.

The company purchased the wind farm from a Uruguayan subsidiary of Abengoa while Teyma Uruguay, also an Abengoa affiliate, will continue to perform project balance of plant work. Project financing was provided by the Inter-American Investment Corporation, and DNB acted as the Mandated Lead Arranger and B-Loan Participant.

“With power generation at approximately 90 percent renewables, Uruguay is a global leader in renewables, and this is a market that we are excited to enter,” said Matthew Olive, Invenergy’s Vice President of Development and Origination for the Americas.

The facility will have the capacity to generate 70 MW of power from 35 Vestas V110-2.0 MW wind turbines when commercial operation commences in February 2017. The state-owned utility Usinas & Trasmisiones Electricas (UTE) will be the offtaker/lessor for the full capacity of the wind farm under a long-term lease agreement.

Funding Secured for Solar, Storage Microgrid in Maldives

The $45M that the European Investment Bank (EIB) is providing to reduce diesel usage and the cost of electricity generation, enhance the use of renewables, provide affordable power to unserved and under-served businesses and residences, and reduce CO2 emissions in the Maldives is now available.

The EIB signed off on the loan in March. The project will finance individual microgrid systems consisting of solar photovoltaic panels, together with efficient modern diesel generators, and integrated lithium accumulators in the Maldives’ outer islands. It is expected to cost a total of $175M.

The project supports the Government of Maldives’ goal of becoming carbon neutral by 2020 and the EIB said that it is in line with the EU priority objectives of promoting renewable energy, tackling climate change and reducing poverty.

Maldivian capital from above. Credit: Shutterstock.

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