Snapshots: Renewable energy

Qinghai achieves zero emissions for 186 non-stop


The State Grid Corporation of China achieved 100% clean energy supply to the Qinghai province for a record-breaking 168 hours non-stop. During this period it relied on the coordinated use of various power sources including wind, hydro and solar and control and rolling closed-loop dispatching to achieve zero emissions moving them closer to achieving towns run on 100% renewable energies.

The Qinghai Yellow River Hydropower Company developed a new model of water and solar complementarity using photovoltaic power generation of plants such as the Gonghe Photovoltaic Industrial Park, and upstream hydroelectric power stations, such as Longyangxia.

Wave power inspired by the heart


CorPower Ocean AB has developed a compact high-efficiency Wave Energy Converter, with a design inspired by the pumping principles of the human heart. The design enables the converter to oscillate in resonance with the incoming waves, strongly amplifying their motion and power capture. This enables a significant reduction in the required buoy size compared to conventional wave energy converters, and improves survivability due to the ability to detune the device in storms. Public sector support has been provided at several stages including through the EU Horizon 2020 funded project WaveBoost. A half-scale unit is currently being tested on the coast of Scotland.


Atacama Modules, Systems and Technology Center (ATAMOSTEC)

Chile, France, Germany

The Atacama Desert, in the north of Chile has the highest levels of solar irradiation in the world. However, this region faces a number of specific challenges which effects the scale-up of the use of photovoltaics. This include high levels of ultra violet radiation, temperature over the solar panels of up to 70°c degrees, dust, water scarcity and a high seismic activity. In 2016 the Chilean Government funded a consortium involving several Chilean Universities, Fraunhofer (Germany), the National Solar Energy Institute (France) and 19 companies to carry out applied research and development. The consortium aims to adapt and develop appropriate photovoltaic technologies for desert zone conditions and high solar irradiation, in terms of durability and expected yields, with the target to reduce the energy cost level by the year 2025.

Breakthroughs in solar conversion efficiencies


Japan aims to reduce the cost of solar power generation to ‎$0.06 per kWh by 2030 through its innovation programme.  As part of the programme, several breakthroughs have been achieved in this technology area.

Sharp Corporation has achieved one of the world’s highest conversion efficiency for a solar module (31.17% for 968 cm2).  A triple-junction compound was used to capture a wider range of the spectrum of sunlight.

Kaneka Corporation has also achieved the world’s highest conversion efficiency in a crystalline silicon solar cell of practical size (26.33% for 180 cm²). By combining heterojunction technology, low resistance electrode technology, and a back-contact structure achieved capture of more solar energy.