The world’s largest EV battery maker, CATL, is spearheading a new initiative to develop solar cells, joining Tesla and others in what’s expected to be a record year for the industry.
CATL takes on the booming solar market
After emerging as the most significant player in the electric vehicle battery market for the sixth straight year, CATL is taking on a new market.
According to Bloomberg, CATL is examining perovskite solar cell development. The innovation holds promise, potentially enhancing solar performance and driving down costs.
Perovskite solar cells have advanced greatly over the past decade, going from roughly 3% efficiency in 2009 to over 25% today. However, there are still hurdles to clear, including limited stability compared to the leading photovoltaic (PV) technology.
Although no other details were offered, CATL said, “We are building a pilot test line.” CATL also signed a strategic partnership agreement with JA Solar to collaborate and jointly develop in the photovoltaic industry, according to JA Solar’s LinkedIn.
Tesla, which sources from CATL, saw solar deployments rise 40% YOY in the first quarter to 67 MW. China’s largest EV maker, BYD, says it can produce roughly 5 GW of panels annually.
Transitioning to cleaner energy
The news comes as a record number of solar panels are expected to be deployed this year. In fact, for the first time, clean energy investments led by solar are expected to outpace fossil fuels in 2023, according to a new IEA report.
Of the $2.8 trillion set to be invested in energy across the globe, over $1.7 trillion is expected to go toward clean energy, such as renewable energy, EVs, and battery storage.
Forecasts from BloombergNEF suggest solar installations will grow another 36% this year to 344 GW.
Meanwhile, as Tesla noted in its Q1 earnings, the solar industry has been “impacted by supply chain challenges” that are concentrated in China. Several analysts and other organizations have stated the need for a more diverse solar supply chain.
For CATL, it makes sense as a battery maker to get into solar panel production. Many home and commercial solar systems are now being paired with battery storage (like Tesla’s Powerwall) to provide backup energy in the event of a blackout.
With enough battery capacity, CATL will have the opportunity for an all-in-one home energy system to drive revenue further and take advantage of two huge growing trends in battery storage and solar panels.
The first US-built offshore wind substation is sailing to New York
The first US-built offshore wind substation is complete and headed to South Fork Wind – a major milestone for the US offshore wind industry.
Offshore substations collect and stabilize power that the wind turbines generate, preparing it for transmission to shore. South Fork Wind’s 1,500-ton, 60-foot-tall substation was designed and engineered in Kansas, and built near Corpus Christi by Kiewit Offshore Services, the largest offshore fabricator in the US.
The first US-built offshore wind substation left Kiewit’s factory on a ship late last week. It’s going to cross the Gulf of Mexico and then sail up the East Coast for installation off Long Island in a few weeks.
David Hardy, group EVP and CEO Americas at Ørsted, said:
The completion of South Fork Wind’s offshore wind substation is yet another first for this groundbreaking project and moves us one step closer to the project’s first ‘steel in the water.’
South Fork, which is being jointly developed by Danish wind giant Ørsted and energy provider Eversource, is expected to be operational by 2023, when it will become the first completed utility-scale offshore wind farm in US federal waters.
Cable laying is currently under way, and the installation of monopile foundations will begin in coming weeks.
The 132 megawatt (MW), 12-turbine project will produce enough clean energy to power 70,000 homes in New York.
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Read more: The first US-built offshore wind service ship reaches a milestone
Quick Charge Podcast: May 29, 2023
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ZParq completes $2.7M seed round to bring ultracompact electric marine motors to market
Swedish marine propulsion startup ZParq announced it has successfully completed a seed round led by cleantech investors, totaling 2.5 million euros ($2.68M). With the fresh funding, ZParq looks to bring its compact electric marine motors, powertrains, and other adjacent technologies to market to help decarbonize the segment.
ZParq is a young startup founded in Sweden in 2020, which, according to the company, was founded to challenge the limits of marine propulsion by providing the most compact and scalable systems for propeller-driven watercraft. Furthermore, the startup is striving to deliver products that are designed to be sustainable over the entire value chain. Per the company site:
Our founding team covers the span of electromechanical design, hydrodynamics, electronics and product design. We’ve been developing our technology to fill the gap where compact submersible electric propulsion systems are needed for high performance applications.
As you’ll see below, ZParq has already developed and sleek and compact portfolio of marine technologies, including electric motors, battery packs, inverters, levers, and even a steering joystick. Early on, ZParq joined the portfolio of EIT InnoEnergy – the largest impact cleantech investor in Europe, who was the startup’s first institutional investor.
Now, EIT InnoEnergy, along with a couple of other capital venture funds, have opened up their checkbooks to help get ZParq’s electric marine motors out to market and beyond.
ZParq’s electric marine motors are sustainable end-to-end
The startup recently shared details of its successful seed round coled by Santander (via the Santander InnoEnergy Climate Fund) and Almi Invest GreenTech. EIT InnoEnergy also participated once again.
Each of these funds is focused around investments in early-stage companies developing new technologies to support a circular economy and combat climate change. Clearly, they see potential in ZParq – which is touting all-electric marine motors that are significantly smaller and more efficient compared to everything else on the current market.
ZParq states the motor’s light design reduces raw material and CO2 footprint by more than 50% in the production phase, and the circular design approach of its products helps reduce their environmental impact and climate footprint throughout their entire life cycle. ZParq CEO Jonas Genchel spoke to the successful seed round and the venture capitalists that have shown their support:
We are very happy to get Santander and Almi Invest GreenTech as new investors, they will provide us with the support required to finalize development of our first products and enable shipment to our customers already this year. Our scalable and modular technology has generated an overwhelming interest from boat manufacturers and ship builders globally, and we have customers within the complete range from small leisure boats to commercial vessels waiting for our powertrains. The company is currently in pilot phase with several OEMs and boat builders who are testing its 10kW and 50kW motors. It aims to have several units operating in water by this summer
It appears ZParq already has plenty of exciting electric marine technology in the works, including more powerful motors, so we will be sure to track its progress as these products approach market launch. A fresh 2.5 million euros should certainly help it continue to innovate and hopefully find success. More to come.
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