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Solar news: July 23rd, 2021

In this week’s solar news round-up, we bring you an exciting technical update in solar cell technology as well as an important update on solar incentives in Hawaii.

Longi unveils new 25.19% efficiency panel in p-type TOPCon cell panel

PV manufacturer Longi has recently announced that it has created a solar cell with a power conversion efficiency rating of 25.19%. This rating was verified by the Institute for Solar Energy Research in Hamelin (ISFH). Longi did not reveal how they achieved such a high efficiency rating, however this is reportedly a world record in TOPCon module efficiency. TopCon type solar cells are a developing technology that generally have higher efficiency and more favorable temperature coefficients than commonly used monocrystalline and polycrystalline solar cells. However, the technology has not been widely commercialized due to concerns over the production cost.

Major stakeholders propose different visions for Hawaii’s net metering future

The Hawaii public utility commission is currently reviewing proposals to incentivize the growth of renewable energy and to help the state achieve its goal of net-zero carbon emissions by 2045. Hawaii utilities, consumer groups, and renewable energy groups have each provided a proposal to the Hawaii Public Utilities Commission for consideration. All proposals are aimed at increasing rooftop solar capacity in Hawaii due to the limited space available for other renewable projects and good conditions for solar on the islands.

Hawaii’s largest public utility, Hawaiian Electric Co (HECO), submitted two proposals earlier this year. The first was a variable compensation plan that changed the credit paid to the solar owner based on the time of day, and the other focused on a PPA-style agreement where HECO would install rooftop solar on their customers’ roofs and charge them for the energy produced. Solar advocacy groups within the state focused their proposals on incentivizing solar owners to backfeed their power into the grid. As net metering caps fill up and other states strive to achieve their emissions reductions goals, similar debates over incentives to follow net metering may arise in the next few years.


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