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How does solar on capped landfills work?

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Modern landfills, whether they are privately owned for-profit entities or operated by local, federal or state governments, are government-regulated, highly controlled environments. Measures are taken to prevent precipitation from seeping through the waste and contaminating the water supply, odors must be controlled, waste containing certain toxins needs to be kept out and gas buildup can become an issue. In 2013, the EPA estimated there were approximately 1,908 municipal solid waste landfills (MSWLFs) in the continental United States that are managed by the states where they are located.

In order to prevent landfill waste from migrating into the environment and potentially causing harm, an engineered landfill “cap” is installed to create a protective barrier between the waste in the landfill and the surrounding area. A capped landfill can no longer receive waste, and it must be maintained and monitored for a number of years.

Capped landfills are increasingly attractive locations for new solar power installations. This is an unsurprising trend, since the number of active landfills is decreasing, leaving state and local governments with significant unusable parcels of land. The EPA estimates there are as many as 7,400 closed landfills in the country.

Installing solar projects on landfills can be a complex endeavor, and there are various important elements of permitting, construction, and maintenance that are unique to landfill solar projects that are not required for typical ground-mounted solar installation. CS Energy has completed over 150 MW of landfill solar projects, and our parent company, the Conti Group, has closed over 50 landfills via its environmental remediation business, so we have institutional knowledge unique to the solar community. When government entities and other stakeholders evaluate a landfill’s suitability or potential as a site for solar arrays, there are some specific features and characteristics they should note, since solar development is not optimal for every capped landfill.

Existing power generation

Converting capped landfills into power-generation sources is in and of itself nothing new, which means that many landfills have built-in connections to the power grid. Landfill gas (LFG) systems have been in operation for decades. They capture methane gas that is emitted from the decomposing waste and convert into electricity for both onsite usage and sale to the power grid. While LFG is endorsed by the EPA as a renewable energy source, there are multiple factors that are driving private landfill owners and municipalities to consider adding solar as an alternative (or additional) source of revenue. The landfill’s unique waste composition, height and density may render it unsuitable for LFG as a power-generation source. LFG systems also have a finite life and will cease operation when the methane generated from the landfill dries up. In addition, the methods for capturing LFG are not without concern. According to the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection (DEP), LFG may contribute to ground-level ozone formation, add hazardous air pollutants into ambient air and emit large volumes of carbon dioxide and methane into the atmosphere, which itself contributes to problems associated with climate change. This can lead to a situation where necessary pollution controls become so onerous that their costs outweigh the benefits of an LFG project.

Pitfalls and risks

Although taking unusable land and transforming it into a source for passive revenue, like a solar project, might seem like an obvious win — both economically and politically — there are situations where local officials may oppose developing solar on a government-owned landfill. One concern often voiced is related to the possibility that the solar development may cause damage to the landfill cap by causing hazardous materials to leach out of the landfill and into the groundwater. These worries can be mitigated by partnering with developers, engineers and contractors with experience in the space to ensure that the work will not impact the integrity of the cap and the safety of the workers.

Because of the careful measures that must be taken to ensure the landfill cap isn’t compromised, landfill solar is roughly 10 to 20% more expensive to build than normal ground-mounted solar systems. In addition, landfill closure permits for landfills need to be re-written in order to allow solar panels to go on top, which adds time and cost to the project.

This means that in order to facilitate significant landfill solar development, state and local governments must offer specific incentives to compensate solar developers for the increased cost of installation and development on landfills. In fact, without such incentives, landfills are typically not an attractive development proposition; developers will instead continue pursuing traditional ground-mounted solar installations that are cheaper and easier to develop and build.

If local and state officials decide to establish programs to encourage solar development on capped landfills, they can reap significant benefits. We all want more renewable energy to help contribute toward the fight against climate change, but there is always debate about the best place to install new renewable energy projects. The community will prefer solar on landfills compared to solar on existing open space, farmland or forest land — development on these areas can cause significant public backlash, compared to landfills that generally garner significant public support.

Additionally, landfill solar projects can mean lots of local jobs. In 2018, when CS Energy built the Cuyahoga County Landfill Solar Project in Ohio, it found many qualified electricians in the region but a dearth of workers trained in solar in the area. Despite this, CS Energy still built a workforce that was 80% local Ohio residents, and in the process, was able to train those who were new to solar.

While people often focus on the national debates over energy policy, it’s local and state regulations and programs that drive most of the growth within the solar industry, particularly for landfill solar. At the end of the day, solar developers, contractors, engineers and local politicians and regulators need to work together to establish sustainable and practical solutions to drive growth of valuable landfill solar projects in their communities.

Checklist: Is a landfill a good prospect for a solar development?

While not an exhaustive list of feasibility considerations, the below factors are a good tactical starting point:

Age of landfill/ landfill maintenance requirements

Pre-1960s era landfills were, in many cases, conveniently situated open pits in the ground where all types of waste were dropped, with minimal consideration for engineering design and siting criteria. The EPA requires the owner or operator (both public and private sector) of each MSWLF unit to conduct post-closure monitoring and maintenance for at least 30 years. The older a landfill is, the more likely it is going to be considered a liability, and the more likely the owner is to be looking for solutions to turn the liability into an asset.

Slope

Landfills with minimal grades are attractive candidates for solar. The flatter the area, the simpler the solar design requirements and site preparation activities, and therefore, the costs.

Useable acreage

In order to be viable for solar development, the available acreage must be large enough to fit a decent-sized project. For example, at CS Energy, we will only look at landfill solar projects that have at least 20 acres of flat acreage on the top of the landfill. (Source: solarpowerworldonline.com)

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Transmission & Energy Storage Equipment

LONGi publishes annual report for 2022 and 2023 Q1

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Xi’an, China | Frankfurt, Germany: May 24, 2023 – LONGi Green Energy Technology, a global leading renewable energy company, released its annual report for 2022 and 2023 Q1. According to the financial report, the company achieved a revenue of 128.998 billion yuan in 2022, a year-on-year increase of 60.03%. This is the first time that LONGi’s yearly revenue stands above the 100 bn yuan level.

For the first quarter of 2023, LONGi’s revenue reached 28.319 billion yuan (USD 4.24 bn), up 52.35% from last year. In the report, LONGi announced that its 2023 revenue is expected to surpass 160 bln yuan.

LONGi’s 2022 net profit attributable to shareholders of the listed company was 14.812 billion yuan (USD 2.21 bn), a y-o-y increase of 63.02%. Its net profit attributable to shareholders of the listed company after deducting non-recurring gains and losses was 14.414 billion yuan (USD 2.15 bn), a y-o-y increase of 63.31%.

The report shows that in 2022 LONGi has produced a total of 85.06GW of monocrystalline silicon wafers, including 42.52GW for external sales and 42.54GW for internal use, steadily ranking 1st in global shipments of monocrystalline silicon wafers for 9 consecutive years. In 2022, LONGi produced 46.76GW of monocrystalline silicon modules, including 46.08GW for external sales and 0.68GW for internal use, steadily ranking 1st in global shipments of modules and market share for 3 consecutive years.

During the reporting period, LONGi’s net cash flow from operating activities was 24.37 billion yuan (USD 3.64 bn), an increase of 97.77% y-o-y. The company’s monetary funds was 54.372 billion yuan (USD 8.12 bn), accounting for 38.96% of total assets, with a y-o-y increase of 86.38%.

From 2020 to 2022, LONGi’s asset-liability ratio was 59.38%, 51.31% and 55.39% respectively. The company adheres to a prudent business philosophy and maintains a reasonable asset liability ratio. And the company’s weighted average net return on assets is 27.23%, 21.45% and 26.95% respectively.

Since its IPO in 2012 to September 2022, LONGi has invested over 18 billion yuan (USD 2.69 bn) in R&D. By the end of 2022, the company has obtained 2,132 patents. LONGi now has a team of 4,036 employees for R&D and technological innovation, accounting for 6.66% of its entire global staff.

During the reporting period, LONGi has set a new world record of p-type HJT silicon solar cell efficiency at 26.81%, certified by the German Institut für Solarenergieforschung (ISFH; Institute for Solar Energy Research) in Hameln. The maximum mass production efficiency of its module product Hi-MO 6 exceeds 23.2%. LONGi has made continuous breakthroughs in the industrialization of new high-efficiency solar cells, the R&D of original module technologies, and the transformation of industrial achievements.

By the end of 2022, LONGi’s production capacity for monocrystalline silicon wafers, cells, and modules have respectively reached 133GW, 50GW, and 85GW.

The report also shows that LONGi has accelerated digital transformation and smart manufacturing development. With the transformation and upgrade of its manufacturing units and production lines, the company has reduced costs and improved efficiency.

The company has also announced its goals for 2023, with the company’s production capacity for monocrystalline silicon wafers expected to expand to 190GW, monocrystalline silicon cells expected to expand to 110GW, and monocrystalline silicon modules expected to expand to 130GW.

For product shipments, LONGi is expected to achieve 130GW of monocrystalline silicon wafers (internal use included) and 85GW of monocrystalline silicon modules (internal use included).

LONGi said the company had achieved sustained and stable growth by ensuring product delivery, and the company had proactively undertaken the pressure of higher costs of raw materials. With the expansion of production capacity and the increased output of silicon materials, silicon materials prices of the industrial chain have returned to normal levels. The company is expected to achieve good performance in 2023.

In Europe, LONGi generated a turnover of 21.34 bn yuan (USD 3.19 bn) in 2022, an increase by 87.68 percent compared to the previous year. Nick Wang, Vice President of LONGi Europe Distributed Generation (DG) said: “Europe is our top priority market globally. The continent is facing unprecedented growth in the solar industry and seeing an increase in demand for high-efficiency and high-quality solar modules as a result. We are preparing for this next stage of solar growth in a sustainable, healthy way, while further enhancing our customers’ focus and services and putting them at the center of our work. As part of this, LONGi will establish a new service and operation center in the EU in 2023 to provide the speed and support our partners need.”

For international markets, LONGi said the company has increased investment and accelerated the construction and upgrade of high-efficiency production lines in China to satisfy the increasingly diversified needs of the clients. The company has also optimized its investment internationally, including increasing investment in its production base in Kuching in Malaysia and completing the upgrade of its production base in Vietnam. The company is working to improve its production and operation capabilities internationally to satisfy the growing market demand outside of China.

About LONGi and LONGi Solar

LONGi Solar is one of the world’s largest solar technology companies, ranking first in global module shipments since 2020. It is a subsidiary of LONGi Green Energy Technology (LONGi), which was founded in 2000. LONGi has more than 60,000 employees, 30+ locations and 30 manufacturing sites globally. LONGi Europe is headquartered in Frankfurt am Main, Germany. The company has established five business sectors, covering mono silicon, wafers, cells and modulescommercial and industrial distributed solar solutionsgreen energy solutions and hydrogen equipment to support the development of zero-carbon energy globally. Since 2021, LONGi has broken the photovoltaic (PV) cell conversion efficiency record 14 times in a row. In 2022, LONGi set a new world record of 26.81% for the efficiency of a p-type HJT silicon solar cell. The results were confirmed by the German Institut für Solarenergieforschung (Institute for Solar Energy Research or ISFH) in Hamelin, Germany. LONGi is the first Chinese solar manufacturer to join the three distinguished climate initiatives RE100, EP100 and EV100. Under the Science Based Targets Initiative (SBTi), LONGi has set a 2030 emission reduction target aiming to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 60 percent across its operations and productions compared to 2020 levels.

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Hitachi ABB Power Grids tracks Dublin’s data center surge via grid connections

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One gigawatt substation will support the city’s growing number of data centers to enable the new norm of remote working through efficient connections to electrical infrastructure

Hitachi ABB Power Grids has delivered a fully integrated, high-voltage substation close to Dublin’s digital business hub at Castlebagot, fast-tracking the standard two and a half year execution time to just 18 months, to keep the city’s growing number of large, increasingly important data centers running smoothly 24/7.

The project was commissioned by Ireland’s state-owned Electricity Supply Board (ESB) to meet Dublin’s recent, unprecedented upsurge in demand for electricity, due to the proliferation of new data centers. The project is the largest privately contracted substation development in Ireland to date. To ensure reliable supply to this booming industry, Hitachi ABB Power Grids has delivered a 220 kilovolt (kV)/110 kV substation with gas-insulated switchgear, including the protection and control SCADA system enabling an advanced power system management and monitoring of equipment status while in service. The gas insulated switchgear is a compact technology designed to minimize the substation’s foot-print, enabling space saving of up to 70 percent compared to air-insulated switchgear.

Dublin hosts some of the most important high-tech firms in Europe, in addition to a wide range of thriving tech start-up and colocation services. Planners are currently processing applications for additional, major data centers that will more than double the city’s electricity consumption in the years ahead. With its state-of-the art efficient grid solutions, Hitachi ABB Power Grids is helping to optimize power consumption while maintaining quality of supply.

“We specialize in the prompt delivery of reliable, high-voltage grid connections that respond to the ever growing use of advanced solutions continuing to support people through the challenging times of the current global pandemic.Efficient connections to electrical infrastructure are more critical than ever,” says Niklas Persson, Managing Director of Grid Integration business unit at Hitachi ABB Power Grids. “We are proud to enable the transition to the new norm of connecting people, when disruption to working patterns has increased the demand for remote and digital services, by meeting the need for a stable power supply.”

The energization of the Castlebagot substation in such a short time is even more remarkable given the current demanding situation. Hitachi ABB Power Grids and ESB were able to overcome this challenge due to their digital capabilities which made it possible to energize the substation safely and sustainably, while ensuring business continuity.
Substations are the building blocks for any power grid and facilitate the effective integration of power from conventional and renewable generation sources, to efficiently transmit and distribute it to consumption centers.

Hitachi ABB Power Grids is fast becoming the leading supplier of grid and power quality solutions for data center grid connections for both utilities and data center owners worldwide and is helping cities around the world to meet the extensive power demands of large data center projects. For this project, early collaboration with ESB ensured a design that fulfilled the utility’s availability and reliability requirements. It enabled fast project execution, leveraging our vast knowledge of utility grid codes and connection practices in different countries.

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Transmission & Energy Storage Equipment

GoodWe, the only Inverter Manufacturer to win the TÜV Rheinland “All Quality Matters” Award 5 years in a row!

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We are pleased to inform our friends and partners that GoodWe has been honored this week with the TÜV Rheinland’s 2020 “All Quality Matters” award in recognition for the outstanding quality of its EH Series storage inverter and its MT Series C&I inverter. This is the fifth consecutive year that GoodWe has won this prestigious award, which shows just how consistent the company has been in delivering high-quality products. The award ceremony took place on 30 June in the city of Suzhou and was attended by the company’s founder, Mr. Huang Min.

The evaluation process that preceded the decision for this award was very comprehensive and for this edition, Rheinland started testing one year in advance, only concluding its final report in June 2020. Renowned for its objectiveness and impartiality, the TÜV Rheinland’s “All Quality Matters” award has become an important reference point on a global scale and being a recipient of this influential award is always an honor.

EH Series – Storage Inverter

In 2019 GoodWe was ranked “World’s Number 1 Storage Inverter Supplier” by Wood Mackenzie and there was indeed much speculation about which storage product would receive the glamorous TÜV award this year. It was later confirmed that the EH Series had received the highest score due its versatility, safety and efficiency and overall ease of installation. GoodWe’s EH Series is a high-quality storage inverter with battery-ready function and, as part of this evaluation, it was tested against competitors’ products on the categories of efficiency, output and input capability, power quality and thermal stability. GoodWe is coming first on the below parameters thus becoming this year’s undisputed champion:

1. Efficiency: This inverter can achieve a Max MPPT efficiency of 99.9% and comes with two MPPTs, which makes it a leader among single-phase storage inverters.

2. Max. Input Power: EH Series is the first single-phase storage inverter in the market compatible with bifacial double-glass modules, which allows 12.5A input current per string. It also allows 35% DC oversizing to fully maximize capacity.

3. Max. Output Power: The EH Series proved to be able to improve AC output capability, generating more power thanks to its ability to support 1.1 times rated power output for extended periods.

Apart from its strong performance, EH Series offers customers the possibility to upgrade to a full energy storage solution by simply purchasing an activation code. Moreover, the fact that it takes less than 10 seconds to switch from grid to PV helps users avoid expensive intakes from the grid. It comes with an automatic UPS function and one of its most remarkable features is that even when it is on back-up mode it can still supply power to large loads. Last but not least, the communication cables come pre-wired, reducing installation time significantly. The Plug & Play AC connector also makes operation and maintenance a lot more convenient.

The three key features of the EH Series that stood out were its 30% oversizing ratio on the DC side, its outstanding and unique UPS function and its compatibility with several brands of high-voltage battery brands, including BYD.

MT Series – C&I Inverter

GoodWe has come a long way in the C&I segment, expanding its portfolio to include products up to 136kW and up to 12 MPPTs. In this year’s TÜV Rheinland award the MT Series (50-80kW) topped the list with its high efficiency, 50% DC input oversizing capability and 15% AC output overloading. The MT Series inverter comes with four MPPTs and is also capable of operating at 50 degrees Celsius. In addition, it offers optional PLC communication.

At the ceremony award, Mr. Huang Min mentioned that year after year, despite the challenges, GoodWe has consistently delivered high-quality inverters ranging from residential, storage, C&I and utility. Consistency and versatility have been GoodWe’s most important assets and its main contributions to the ongoing energy transformation. GoodWe would like to express its appreciation to its customers and partners for their continuous support and for sharing all that valuable feedback that helps us improve our products.

GoodWe is a leading, strategically thinking enterprise which focuses on research and manufacturing of PV inverters and energy storage solutions.

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