GEC Works to Advance Decarbonization of Solar Panel Production

Bob Mitchell

The Global Electronics Council (GEC), a non-profit organization founded to promote sustainable electronics, has added criteria within its EPEAT ecolabel system focused on decarbonizing the supply chain for solar panel production. 

These criteria are the first by a global ecolabel to set thresholds on the embodied carbon in photovoltaics and will be a requirement for achieving the EPEAT ecolabel designation for PV modules.

“While renewable energy is essential in the transition to the green economy, we must also consider the underlying infrastructure’s contribution to climate change,” says Bob Mitchell, CEO of GEC. “The market needs a trusted methodology to evaluate the carbon emissions of solar panels during production in order to make informed purchasing decisions.”

Solar installations are designed to have a net zero impact in their generation of electricity; however, the embodied carbon in solar panels may vary greatly depending on the supply chain used to manufacture them. 

“Reducing the embodied carbon in solar farm equipment can bring the emissions payback period for solar assets from one to three years, depending on local energy mix, to under one year in many locations, accelerating the positive impact that solar energy development has on climate change,” says Nastassja Hagan, Lightsource bp’s vice president, sustainability.

The EPEAT criteria focus on measuring and reducing what is known as Scope 3 carbon emissions or the carbon generated in the design, material sourcing and manufacture of these products. 

GEC expects to launch its public registry of solar panels that meet the new criteria in late September. Solar panel manufacturers interested in registering their products against the new criteria, which includes an independent, third-party product review, should begin the process as soon as possible.

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Enel Green Power Starts Building Italian Agrivoltaic Plant 

Salvatore Bernabei

Enel Green Power has begun construction of an Italian photovoltaic power plant with a capacity of around 170 MW that is fully integrated with the agricultural sector in the area, namely Tarquinia, in the province of Viterbo, Latium. 

Once fully operational, the plant is expected to generate around 280 GWh per year on average – the start of construction also marks the beginning of a project which, once complete, will allow the company to avoid the annual emission of around 130,000 tons of CO2 into the atmosphere as well as saving approximately 26 million cubic meters of gas per year.

This means that fossil fuel will be fully replaced by locally produced renewable energy that can meet the energy needs of roughly 111,000 households in a sustainable way. 

The plant will leverage on bifacial photovoltaic modules – with technology enabling solar energy to be absorbed on both the front and rear surfaces – which will be mounted on sun-tracking structures in order to maximize the production of renewable energy.

This agrivoltaic solar farm will be built in an area owned by a local company that will be working with Enel Green Power on integrating agricultural activities at the plant. Specifically, fodder and borage will be grown in vacant areas between the rows of solar panels and in the buffer zones of overhead power lines, while olive trees will be planted around the perimeter.

“The solar plant we are building in Tarquinia shows that an increase in the use of renewable energy can be harmoniously combined with agricultural activities,” says Salvatore Bernabei, CEO of Enel Green Power. “In fact, this plant will seamlessly integrate with the local area and will host crops, resulting in a positive impact on the environment, the economy and the local area, as well as helping to reduce Italy’s energy dependency.”  

The companies involved in the construction are from Latium, with most based in the province of Viterbo. Upwards of 330 people will be employed over an estimated construction period of 13 months. 

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TotalEnergies’ solar-plus-storage project to offset 40% of power demand at Colorado cement plant

TotalEnergies’ BESS project at its Dunkirk refinery is currently France’s largest battery storage project, delivered by subsidiary Saft. Image: TotalEnergies.

French energy major TotalEnergies has partnered with building solutions company Holcim to deploy a solar PV and battery storage project at the latter’s cement plant in Colorado.

A power purchase agreement (PPA) and energy storage agreement have been signed with minimum 15-year terms, for the power plant, pairing a 33MWdc solar PV array and 38.5MWh battery energy storage system (BESS).

TotalEnergies will be responsible for installation and operations and maintenance (O&M), with the system expected to be commissioned in 2025, Holcim said earlier this week.

It is expected to cover around 40% of energy demand at Holcim’s Portland Cement plant in the Colorado city of Florence. The plant produces 1.8 million tonnes per year of various grades of cement, opened in 1996.

Portland Cement already has various environmental technologies installed, such as a desulfurization scrubber that removes over 90% of sulfur dioxide emissions and dust collection systems that reduce its nitrogen oxide (NOx) emissions, according to a Holcim factsheet.

Cement production, like steel or various chemicals, is considered a difficult industry sector to decarbonise fully, partly due to the requirement for quality high-temperature heat in addition to power.

As a company, Holcim is targeting the powering of all its US operations with renewable energy by 2050.

The battery storage system will reduce Portland Cement’s draw of power from the grid, which should help Holcim manage its own costs of electricity through peak shaving – commercial and industrial (C&I) electricity customers in most of the US are charged a higher cost of electricity drawn from the grid during coincident peaks.

This can account for a significant portion of costs, while the reduction of the site’s demand will help the local grid. has asked TotalEnergies for a few more details on the BESS, such as whether Saft, the France-headquartered battery manufacturer and BESS manufacturer/integrator that TotalEnergies owns will be the technology provider. This story will be updated in due course on receipt of answers for that and a couple of other enquiries.

The solar PV array meanwhile will feature bifacial modules on a single-axis tracking system. Through the PPA and energy storage agreement, Holcim will receive roughly 71,000MWh of power per year.

TotalEnergies is one of the very few legacy energy companies with its business based around fossil fuels that has implemented a net zero target, for 2050, in line with many national economies’ policy targets.

The company wants to reach 100GW of renewable generation by 2030, with an interim 2025 target of 35GW, around double the 17GW installed renewable energy capacity it had in its portfolio as of the end of 2022.’ publisher Solar Media will host the 5th Energy Storage Summit USA, 28-29 March 2023 in Austin, Texas. Featuring a packed programme of panels, presentations and fireside chats from industry leaders focusing on accelerating the market for energy storage across the country. For more information, go to the website.

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GameChange Solar Secures 272 MW Project With WHC Energy Services

Max Johnson

GameChange Solar (GCS) says it will supply its Genius Tracker for Arava Power Company and Paz Oil’s Sunray, a 272 MW DC project located on an 1,800-acre site in Uvalde County, Texas.

Once complete, GCS’ Genius Tracker paired with over 500,000 545 W bifacial panels will produce energy for ERCOT’S South Zone, powering approximately 47,000 homes in the greater San Antonio area with zero-carbon electricity. 

WHC Energy Services, a company in the energy construction industry, is leading the engineering, procurement and construction for the solar power plant.

“We’re on a mission to repower the planet and modernize infrastructures with our Genius Tracker,” says Max Johnson, director of business development at GCS. “GCS is a respected leader in the energy transition and committed to bringing reliable power to demanding areas such as San Antonio.”

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Canadian Solar doubles storage shipments in 2022 but expects just c.5% growth in 2023 ‘transition year’

Crimson Energy Storage in California, at 1,400MWh, was the largest single site BESS project to come online in the US during 2022. It was developed by Canadian Solar’s developer division Recurrent Energy. Image: Recurrent Energy.

Canadian Solar doubled its energy storage shipments to 1.79GWh in 2022 although expects significantly lower growth in 2023.

The PV module manufacturer’s energy storage system integrator subsidiary CSI Energy Storage contributed around 6% of total sales, with the rest from solar module shipments. That ratio is likely to grow, however, with significant growth in its battery storage business and a much larger pipeline than for solar.

It grew its contracted battery storage order book to US$1 billion as of the start of 2023, while its overall battery storage development pipeline is 47GWh, compared to 25GW for solar. Based on the ratio of revenue to GWh shipments, that storage pipeline could equate to over US$11 billion in long-term revenues.

However, the company is providing FY2023 guidance of 1.8-2GWh of battery storage shipments in 2023, meaning growth somewhere between 0.5% and 11.7%, of 5% as a mid-point. The wider battery storage market on the other hand is expected to roughly double deployments in 2023.

A lot of this is down to moving from a white labelled utility-scale energy storage product to its own manufactured Solbank product, announced in September, and the long lead times in the sector.

Commenting on this, CSI Solar president Yan Zhuang said: “2023 is going to be a transition year for our battery storage shipments, especially considering the longer order fulfillment lead times for battery storage compared to solar. This is why we expect flat deliveries year-over-year in 2023. However, we have very strong visibilities over our long-term growth.”

Canadian Solar CEO Shawn Qu added that the lower growth reflects “….this year’s transition from white label to our own manufactured products.”

Zhuang later expanded: “So we need to work on certification, bankability stuff. So that’s the pipeline we have today is more towards second half of this year, not first half of this year. So in terms of recognition and shipments, it’s kind of very much skewed to the end of this year. And however, if you look at our signed contract, the signed contract carries about US$1 billion already. And that number is increasing every quarter rapidly. So we’re expanding our total storage SolBank capacity towards 10GWh by [100%]. Reason behind this, we know next year, we’re not going to have enough capacity. So next year will be the real growth. This year is a transition.”

Long-term pipeline

Some 12GWh of the 47GWh pipeline is more advanced with grid interconnections secured, with the remainder described as ‘early-stage’. A third of the advanced pipeline is in North America and South America, each, with 22% in EMEA and the remainder in China and Asia Pacific (excluding Japan).

The 47GWh pipeline overall breaks down geographically as follows: 41% in North America, 10% in South America, 27% in EMEA, 16% in China, with the bulk of the remaining 4.5% in the rest of Asia Pacific and a small amount in Japan.

Just 320MW of the pipeline, all in Asia Pacific, is under construction as of 31 March, 2023, with the remainder of the 12GWh more advanced pipelined described as ‘backlog’ and ‘advanced pipeline’.

CSI Energy Storage recently secured major orders from UBS and Blackstone’s Aypa Power. The developer arm of Canadian Solar, Recurrent Energy, also deployed the largest lithium-ion battery storage project commissioned in 2022, Crimson, in California, at 1,400MWh.

CSI Energy Storage also recently launched its residential battery storage product the EP Cube.

Conference call transcript from Seeking Alpha.’ publisher Solar Media will host the 5th Energy Storage Summit USA next week, on the 28-29 March 2023 in Austin, Texas. Featuring a packed programme of panels, presentations and fireside chats from industry leaders focusing on accelerating the market for energy storage across the country. For more information, go to the website.

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Qcells’ Supplier Expands Supply Chain Investment in Georgia

Justin Lee

Qcells says its solar supplier, Hanwha Advanced Materials Georgia (HAGA), will build a new advanced materials manufacturing facility in Bartow County, Ga. 

HAGA will supply Qcells with encapsulant film, which are materials used to encapsulate solar cells and ensure long-term panel durability. This $147 million investment is expected to create more than 160 new jobs and is critical to supporting Qcells’ plans to develop a fully-integrated solar supply chain in America.

“Qcells is doubling down on building a complete, domestic solar supply chain and this recent investment is critical to making that happen,” says Justin Lee, CEO of Qcells. “Working with Hanwha Advanced Materials, our customers will soon be able to confidently know that the solar they buy from us was made right here in America.”

This announcement comes two months after Qcells revealed its plans to invest $2.5 billion into building ingots, wafers and cells, and expanding solar panel manufacturing in Georgia. Qcells also recently announced plans to buy polysilicon from REC Silicon, which is using clean energy to power its facility in Moses Lake, Wash. Soon, Qcells products, from polysilicon to panel, will be sustainably made in America.

This investment comes after years of partnership with leaders in Georgia and following the passage of the Solar Energy Manufacturing for America Act within the Inflation Reduction Act. The demand for American-made solar panels is increasing rapidly driven by the efforts to ensure energy independence, lower energy costs and create new careers in energy. 

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Kore Power deploying 41MWh BESS for Arkansas solar-plus-storage microgrid

Producers Rice Mill’s facility in Stuttgart, Arkansas, which the new microgrid facility will power. Image: Producers Rice Mill.

Vertically integrated energy storage company Kore Power is deploying a 41.2MWh BESS for a microgrid in Arkansas, US, with more downstream projects coming soon, president Jay Bellow told

Kore will install a 41.2MWh lithium-ion battery energy storage system (BESS) for the solar-plus-storage microgrid project being developed for a facility run by Producers Rice Mill, a co-operative of 2,000 rice farmers.

The microgrid will ensure uninterrupted power to the facility which processes, stores, and ships the harvest to customers in the US and globally, milling some 40 million bushels of rice annually. CS Energy will install the 20MWac solar PV component of the project, which is being developed by Scenic Hill Solar.

No estimated completion date has been provided for the project, which the companies claimed is the largest commercial and industrial (C&I) solar project in Arkansas history and one of the largest microgrid projects in the United States.

Kore is deploying the BESS through its integrated energy storage solutions arm Kore Solutions, formed when it bought system integrator Northern Reliability a year ago.

The microgrid for Producers Rice Mill will allow the facility to continue operating during periods of electric curtailment by the local utility, as well as mitigate power quality issues and intermittent stoppages through its rapid response. It means renewables will provide 67% of the facility’s energy needs.

Kore is also building a KOREPlex lithium-ion gigafactory in Arizona, opening in 2024 with a 6GWh capacity eventually rising to 12GWh, and ramping up its existing China facility from 2GWh to 6GWh.

Jay Bellows, President, KORE Power, provided more details on the company’s microgrid work, other projects and broader developments in these responses to questions from What sort of potential does KORE Power see in the microgrid space, versus the other areas the company is targeting?

Jay Bellows: As with many pieces of the energy storage sector, we anticipate significant growth in microgrid deployment. The C&I market, in particular, and the ability to island facilities is a particular market we see growing. The combination of renewable generation and storage combined to be able to harness the energy for when it’s needed, and, of course it will also be driven by the Inflation Reduction Act incentives. KORE Solutions is well-positioned to support this development building on the decades of experience that Northern Reliability brings to these projects. While we are also focused on utility scale energy deployments and opportunities in EV charging, microgrids will remain a key part of our business.

From a technical, design or installation (or other) perspective, what are the main differences between working in the microgrid space and in other types of stationary BESS projects?

Microgrids offer nuances that add layers of technical and operational benefits and complications. Adding generation to the equation, and the ability to “island” a facility or location, means that the developer has to have the skillset on the control’s side to make all of that happen.

Microgrids make locations self-sufficient and allow them the ability to be completely independent of the grid. Depending on electrical loads, internal equipment and needs, microgrids can be incredibly technical in both design and deliverable. Thus, there can be unique engineering challenges when compared to developing a standalone storage project or bringing BESS to an existing solar or wind project. These challenges can range from site design to ensuring the different parties are on the same page throughout the project. With this project we’re lucky to have a team that works very well together.

Does this work tie in with the acquisition of Northern Reliability in terms of developing the KORE Power system integration capabilities and offering?

Absolutely, in the time since the acquisition, our teams have been working together to develop new products that build on the KORE Power cells. This is one of a number of projects or offtake agreements that we will be announcing in coming weeks and months.

A quick update on KORE Power’s vertically-integrated strategy, from producing cells domestically to supplying complete solutions and further downstream work, as in this project, would be welcome.

Civil works at the site of the KOREPLex began late last year and is continuing. Our timeline has us producing cells at that facility in the first half of 2025. Meanwhile, as mentioned above, we are working on a number of exciting products at the KORE Solution’s facility in Vermont. Beyond just deliverable solutions, we also have our state-of-the-art Network Operating Center (NOC), based on over 50 years of industry knowledge, we are able to monitor, maintain, support, manage and operate systems from afar. We can assure that the systems are always working as they should, when they should and ensuring safety at all times. 

How does this differ from the type of work that the NOMAD joint venture will be doing – I expect I know the answer there, but I think readers will want to hear it explained from the company’s perspective.

Obviously, we are very excited about the NOMAD and all of the potential applications for transportable power. But for a project like this, Producers Rice Mill is a single location that operates all year round, with predictable energy usage, so a stationary solution was ideal for this application.

Gigafactory in Arizona moving ahead

The timeline of H1 2025 for the first output of battery cells from the KOREPlex facility in Arizona is slightly later than the previous communicated aim of late 2024. The firm recently closed the first half of a US$150 million fundraising round for the facility.

More recently it contracted Siemens Smart Infrastructure to provide the facility’s critical electrical infrastructure and energy management solutions to automate and digitalise the facility’s operations. Siemens Financial Services led the first part of the aforementioned fundraise round.

Kore’s facility is set to benefit from the tax credit incentives under the Inflation Reduction Act.’ publisher Solar Media will host the 5th Energy Storage Summit USA, 28-29 March 2023 in Austin, Texas. Featuring a packed programme of panels, presentations and fireside chats from industry leaders focusing on accelerating the market for energy storage across the country. For more information, go to the website.

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Anesco Breaks Ground on 110 MW Solar Projects with Gresham House 

An Anesco solar farm

UK solar and storage company Anesco has broken ground on four solar farms totaling 110 MW as part of a ground mount development and construction partnership with Gresham House. 

The sites are the first to reach the construction stage in the partnership.  

The four sites in the UK are the 50 MW Low Farm in Skegness, 20 MW Beavor Grange in Devon and two 20 MW solar farms located in Derbyshire and Gloucestershire.  

All four sites are planned to be constructed by the end of 2023 and will have a lifespan of 40 years, after which they will be returned to their natural state.  

Each site will benefit from an advanced biodiversity plan and significant ecological enhancements designed to support some of the UK’s most at-risk birds and wildlife, as well as native plant life. This will include the creation of wildflower meadows, planting of additional hedgerows and trees, and the installation of bird and bat boxes. For Low Farm, these enhancements are expected to result in a biodiversity net gain of more than 130%.  

Engineering, procurement and construction of the four solar farms is being handled by Anesco. Each site will be monitored by Anesco’s operations and maintenance team, who will work alongside Anesco’s optimization team to ensure the plants operate at optimal technical efficiency. 

“We’re delighted to see our partnership with Anesco taking this important step forward with construction now officially underway on the first four projects,” says Wayne Cranstone, Gresham House investment director. “All four of the solar farms have been sensitively developed with strong attention to biodiversity, as well as a focus on quality construction to aid their performance and efficiency.”  

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European Commission approves Romania’s €100 million in grants for battery storage projects

A solar project from developer Econergy in Romania. The country’s solar sector is set to grow substantially, which will help the battery storage market kick on. Image: Econergy.

The European Commission has approved a €103 million (US$125 million) package of direct grants from the government in Romania for battery storage projects.

The financial support in the form of direct grants was announced by the government in November 2022, reported by at time, and will go towards at least 616MWh of battery storage projects.

That is based on a maximum grant/MWh of €167,000. Other thresholds under the scheme are a maximum of €15 million per beneficiary and a maximum of 100% of the project’s funding gap.

Projects will be selected by 31 December, 2023, and need to be completed by 31 December, 2025.

The programme will receive €79 million from Romania’s portion of the Recovery and Resilience Plan, the EU-wide scheme to mitigate the negative economic effects of the Covid pandemic, while the government will fund the rest. Finland and Greece are also using the funding pot to support energy storage projects.

Romania is currently targetting 30.7% renewable generation in its electricity mix by 2030. The country hasn’t had many utility-scale energy storage projects in recent years but a booming solar market is set to help the battery storage follow on. As covered in the most recent edition of PV Tech Power, our sister site PV Tech’s quarterly journal, solar developers are moving into Romania ahead of a new contracts for difference (CfD) scheme.

The first large-scale battery storage system was inaugurated back in 2018 by Portuguese utility EDP’s renewables arm EDP Renováveis while local reports said a 7MW unit started construction in Spring 2022 from Austrian firms Core Value Capital, Gerdan Real Estate and Green Source.’ publisher Solar Media will host the inaugural Energy Storage Summit Central Eastern Europe in September this year. This event will bring together the region’s leading investors, policymakers, developers, utilities, energy buyers and service providers all in one place, as the region readies itself for storage to take off. Visit the official site for more info.

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Nevados Chooses SYSPRO ERP

Scott Troy

SYSPRO, a global provider of ERP software, says Nevados, a solar power equipment manufacturer, has chosen SYSPRO ERP to automate its supply chain processes and provide a financial management system of record.  

The Nevados technology platform pairs all-terrain solar trackers with a comprehensive software suite to optimize solar performance and improve PV plant reliability while respecting the natural landscape. The company’s solar trackers are ideal for sloped and rolling terrain. 

“As a young company, we were seeking an ERP vendor that would help us scale our business,” says Scott Troy, VP of supply chain at Nevados. “We needed to move away from tribal knowledge and manual processes to a system that everyone can follow. It was essential to implement an ERP that had the capacity to grow.” 

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