Apple Is Developing Rooftop Solar in Taiwan for Soy Sauce Facility

Apple Inc. is developing rooftop solar arrays with Taiwan’s Wan Ja Shan Brewery Co., best known for its popular soy sauce, as the Cupertino company boosts its use of renewable energy.

The 50,000-square-meter soy sauce facility that will carry solar panels on its roof is located in the southern Taiwanese county of Pingtung, Wan Ja Shan Brewery manager Tony Chung told Bloomberg News. The solar project is set to start before the end of this year, he said.

Chung added that it took 18 months of talks before Apple signed a deal with his company, but declined to provide further details. He noted that the company set up its solar business five years ago.

An Apple spokeswoman pointed Bloomberg News to the company’s environment initiatives page without commenting specifically on the Taiwan project.

The partnership was first revealed by the U.S.-based Center for Resource Solutions, which says it is working with Apple to verify and certify its renewable energy projects in Singapore and Taiwan.

In April 2018, Apple said all of its global facilities, including stores, offices and data centers across 43 countries, were powered with 100% clean energy. It said this year that 44 suppliers have committed to making Apple products on 100% clean energy, including Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co., Apple’s main chip-making partner and the island’s biggest company by market capitalization.

Food crops do better in the shade of solar panels

Researchers from the University of Arizona have claimed growing crops in the shade of solar panels can lead to two or three times more vegetable and fruit production than conventional agriculture.

In a study published in Nature, the group presented the results of a multi-year research project investigating how chiltepin pepper, jalapeno and cherry tomato plants grew in the shade of PV panels in a dryland location.

During the three-month summer growing season, the research team monitored microclimatic conditions such as light levels, air temperature and relative humidity, as well as PV panel temperature, soil moisture and irrigation water use, plant ecophysiological function and plant biomass production. The monitoring was carried out by sensors above the soil surface and at a depth of 5cm.

Shading is good

The scientists said their measurements showed how shading from the panels had a positive impact on air temperature, direct sunlight and atmospheric demand for water. “The shade provided by the PV panels resulted in cooler daytime temperatures and warmer nighttime temperatures than the traditional, open-sky planting system,” they wrote. “There was also a lower vapor pressure deficit in the agrivoltaics system, meaning there was more moisture in the air.”

The researchers claim the protection from sunlight and hot temperatures offered by solar panels enabled a better harvest for all three crops. “In fact, total chiltepin fruit production was three times greater under the PV panels in an agrivoltaic system, and tomato production was twice as great,” wrote the paper’s lead author, Greg Barron-Gafford. As for jalapenos, the researchers said yield was similar to that seen from conventional techniques but was achieved with 65% less transpirational water loss. “We found that each irrigation event can support crop growth for days, not just hours as in current agriculture practices,” Barron-Gafford added.

It’s not all about crops

Previous studies have spelled out the benefits of ‘agrivoltaics’ for solar panel performance and the University of Arizona researchers observed the cultivation of crops under PV created temperature conditions ideal for avoiding overheating, as the crops underneath emitted water through transpiration.

“All told, that is a win-win-win in terms of bettering how we grow our food, utilize our precious water resources and produce renewable energy,” Barron-Gafford said.

The scientists, who say research is needed on other crops, are cooperating with the U.S. Department of Energy’s National Renewable Energy Laboratory to understand how the results of their study can be applied in other regions and how regional policies can help such projects.

Land scarcity solution

In Europe, Swedish energy company Vattenfall has announced it intends to test agrivoltaics in the Netherlands, where there has been opposition to large scale solar over fears about the loss of agricultural land.

“We regularly hear from farmers, politicians and environmental organizations that it is a shame to use agricultural land for solar parks,” said Margit Deimel, director for large scale solar at Vattenfall’s solar and batteries business. “By investigating whether we can also combine solar parks with agriculture we want to increase the acceptance of our solar parks in the area.”

Deimel added, Vattenfall wants to work at different locations to discover an optimal design and operating model for agrivoltaic parks. The energy company said it would not consider crops that grow too tall, such as corn, asparagus or bamboo. “Think, for example, of cabbages, onions, potatoes, carrots or soft fruit,” Deimel added.

Yeo: Malaysia aiming for 20pc renewable energy use by 2025

KUALA LUMPUR, Sept 3 — The government is seeking to increase the country’s target of renewable energy generation to 20 per cent in the next six years, said Energy, Science, Technology, Environment and Climate Change Minister Yeo Bee Yin.

She said this will be accomplished via the Malaysia Energy Supply Industry 2.0 (MESI 2.0) plan which will be launched sometime this month.

“The idea is for a more competitive and diversified mix of electricity generation, one that is also more transparent for the industry and consumers,” Yeo said during the 5-in-1 Power Energy Series exhibition at the Malaysia International Trade and Exhibition Centre.

She said the plan will enable green energy trading through a grid, and that it is not compulsory for renewable energy companies to sell electricity to the national electric utility company Tenaga Nasional Berhad.

“There is great potential, as we have just completed the third round of large-scale solar bidding (LSS)

“Technical evaluation is currently underway, and the Energy Commission has ranked the price of the projects from lowest to highest,” Yeo said.

The minister explained the bidding is for 500 megawatt generation, where each bidder has a maximum of 100 megawatts.

“The first four projects amount to 365 megawatts out of 500 megawatts. The bidding price is lower than the cost of gas generation, standing at 23.22 cents.

“In terms of the future, we will see this trend leading to downward costs for renewable energy,” she said.

Yeo compared the price of solar energy for today to several years back, saying at the time when the second round of LSS was being conducted, the reference price stood at 32 cents.

“Today we can reach as low as 17.77 cents, a 45 per cent reduction in just a few years.

“This meant a few years prior it would not have been competitive to go into solar energy on a large scale as it would have disrupted the electric tariffs,” she said.

With the reduction, Yeo said it is timely to look into solar electricity generation.

When asked if this could possibly lower electricity tariffs and consumer bills in the future, the minister said it still depends on many factors, including the global prices of coal and natural gas.

“As much as two-thirds of an electricity bill is affected by these global prices. So this over-dependency on said prices is not a good thing in the long run, especially if it were to go up beyond anyone’s control.

“So when you look at solar energy it is intermittent, working during the day but not in the evening and night. Hence why the government is looking at generation mixture, where solar is used in the morning and gas electricity later in the day,” Yeo said.

MESI 2.0’s bidding and tender process will also be defined by its transparency.

“This is what the industry and consumers want, so it will be a priority of the government in the future,” she said.

In order to meet the target of 20 per cent renewable energy generation, Yeo said approximately RM33 billion of investment is required.

“Some of it will come from the government, some from private-public partnership, others will come from private financing.

“For this, the Securities Commission has already conducted a six-month study on green financing by forming a taskforce to provide a report on 21-action items for the facilitation of the RM33 billion investment into renewable energy,” she said.

Yeo added once presented to the government, the report and its action items will be scrutinised and implemented accordingly.

“In the meantime, we will continue our current incentive for the Green Technology Financing Scheme, Green Investment Tax Allowance, and Green Income Tax Exemption, among others,” she said.

Sun and wind displace Germany’s coal during summer months

Solar power systems and wind turbines in Germany fed 39.3 terawatt hours (TWh) of electricity into the public grid from June to August, a 10 percent increase compared to the same period last year, news agency dpa writes in an article carried by Focus Online, citing a report by the Fraunhofer Institute for Solar Energy Systems ISE. By contrast, lignite and hard coal power plant produced significantly less electricity than in the summer of 2018, Fraunhofer ISE said.

Solar power generation totalled 19.3 TWh from June to August, 4 percent more than in 2018. Wind power generation increased nearly 20 percent year to year, with turbines supplying just under 20 TWh of electricity over the same period. Wind in July was much stronger than in the same month last year, resulting in the strong upsurge. The increase in solar power generation has resulted from the addition of new solar systems with a combined 2 gigawatt (GW) capacity in the first half of 2019, according to think tank Agora Energiewende*.








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