Solar News


Virginia Polytechnic Institute & State University wins Solar Decathlon Europe 2010 Competition

The "Lumenhaus" wins the
Solar Decathlon Europe 2010.

On June 27th, 2010 the Villa Solar in Barcelona has closed its doors, after 10 days of competition, with the last award ceremony announcing the winner of the Solar Decathlon Europe. The house "LUMENHAUS" from the team from Virginia Polytechnic Institute & State University, has been pronounced the most efficient of the competition. Following it in second and third place respectively were the University of Applied Sciences Rosenheim and the Stuttgart University of Applied Sciences. 

Open distribution connects the inhabitants of the house and them with the environment

Founded in 1872 as a land-grant college named Virginia Agricultural and Mechanical College, Virginia Tech is now a comprehensive, innovative research university with the largest full-time student population in Virginia. Through a combination of its three missions of learning, discovery, and engagement, Virginia Tech continually strives to accomplish the charge of its motto: Ut Prosim (That I May Serve). Inspired in the Farnsworth house by Miles Van Der Rohe, Lumenhaus house presents an open distribution that connects the inhabitants of the house and them with the external environment.

University of Applied Sciences Rosenheim wins Electrical Energy Balance Contest

University of Applied Sciences Rosenheim with their solar house "Ikaros" was the winner of the Electrical Energy Balance Contest. In this contest, the electricity self-sufficiency and the solar energy consumption efficiency of the houses have been evaluated. The University of Florida and the Ecole National Supérieure d’Architecture de Grenoble came in at second and third place.

University of Applied Sciences Rosenheim was also given the Award for Appliances and Functioning. Throughout this contest, the houses’ functioning was been evaluated along with the efficiency of all equipment and appliances, simulating the daily function of a contemporary home. Stuttgart University of Applied Sciences and Virginia Polytechnic Institute & State University took the second and third places in this competition.

The prize for Solar energy Systems has been awarded to University Applied Sciences, Berlin, with the house "Living Equia", The jury, formed by Willi Ernst, Marcos Calvo Fernández, and Christian Bongartz, has evaluated the functionability, efficiency, robustness, and economic value of the solar systems and the domestic hot water. Second and third place have been awarded to Stuttgart University of Applied Sciences and Arts et Métiers Paris Tech, respectively.

Internet Award for the University of Florida; Public’s Choice Award for Instituto Avanzado de Arquitectura de Cataluña and the Universidad CEU Cardenal

From the beginning of the competition last June 18th, the public was able to vote online at for their favorite project. As a result, the Internet Award went to the University of Florida.

Lastly, the Public’s Choice Award was given to the Instituto Avanzado de Arquitectura de Cataluña and the Universidad CEU Cardenal Herrera after the Villa’s visitors casted their votes, during the competition’s 10 open days, for the house that they believed was the best solar home. Both awards, despite their inability to influence classification scorings, symbolize an extra recognition for the teams in areas that were not included in the official competition.

The Solar Decathlon Europe, organized by the Ministry of Housing with the collaboration of the Universidad Politécnica de Madrid and the support of the US Department of Energy, says "adios" until 2012. 190,000 people visited the Villa Solar. Seventeen university teams from seven countries and three continents participate in this competition constructing real, sustainable, self-sufficient and comfortable houses exclusively sustained by solar energy.

2010-06-28   Courtesy: Solar Decathlon Europe   © Heindl Server GmbH
Picture Courtesy: Virginia Polytechnic Institute & State University


Hyundai Heavy Industries to double solar power production capacity

Hyundai Heavy Industries produces polysilicon, ingots, solar cells and modules.
Hyundai Heavy Industries produces polysilicon,
ingots, solar cells and modules.

Hyundai Heavy Industries, Korea’s biggest solar cell and module producer, said it doubles its annual solar module and solar cell production capacity from current 320MW and 370MW to 600MW respectively by early 2011.To double the capacity, Hyundai Heavy plans to complete the expansion of its solar power factory in Eumseong, north Choong-cheong province by early next year and start full-scale production from the second quarter of 2011.   The company said the decision to expand the Eumseong facility was based on increasing demand for solar cells and solar modules from European countries including Germany, Italy, and the Czech Republic where suppliers cannot meet the demand.

Annual production capacity target of 1GW by 2012

According to a report from European Photovoltaic Industry Association (EPIA) issued in April, the global solar power market will continue to grow from 7GW in 2009 to 19 GW in 2012 and 30GW in 2014 with the help of the improved profitability of solar power industry and government support for renewable energy. Mr. Kim Kweon-tae, chief operating officer of Hyundai Heavy’s Electro Electric Systems Division said: "We already had enough orders for this year and we are now receiving orders for next year. Our target is to be global top 10 with annual sales of 2 trillion won and annual production capacity of 1GW by 2012."

Polysilicon production at Korea Advanced Materials Co.

Stabilizing polysilicon prices and rising solar cell and solar module prices also help to improve profitability of the solar power industry, Hyundai Heavy Industries emphasizes. While polysilicon price per kilogram remains around USD50-USD55, solar cell prices jumped 10%, from USD1.2 to USD1.35 and solar module rose 15% from USD1.6 to USD2 this year. From June this year, Hyundai Heavy has been producing 3,000 tons of polysilicon prototypes at KAM (Korea Advanced Materials Co.), a company jointly established with KCC.

This year, Hyundai Heavy targets to be the first Korean solar power company with an integrated solar power production system by having an annual production capacity of 100MW ingot/wafer as well. With the integrated solar power production system, Hyundai Heavy can manufacture a full range of solar power products such as polysilicon, ingot/wafer, solar cell, solar module and solar power system.

2010-06-28   Courtesy: Hyundai Heavy Industries   © Heindl Server GmbH
Picture Courtesy: Hyundai Heavy Industries


SOLON and the Saint-Gobain Group have agreed on a sales network for Germany

SOLON SE (Berlin, GermanyI and Saint-Gobain Building Distribution Deutschland GmbH (SGBDD) have concluded a framework contract spanning several years to deliver solar modules with a capacity of over 70 MW. The building materials retailer is currently making a foray with its sales activities into the growth segment of photovoltaics. Using its own "Solarkauf" brand SGBDD has developed a shop-in-shop concept that includes all PV products necessary to install a solar power system.   It offers solar modules from SOLON in the segment for premium products. By the end of the year "Solarkauf" shops will have been integrated into a total of 45 branches. The defined assortment of photovoltaic products can also be ordered nationwide at nearly 250 sites where the building materials retailer is represented.

Two strong brands establishing a sales network

SGBDD places great value on trained professional staff in order to provide customers with qualified advice. For this reason SOLON provides employees working in this new business area with comprehensive specialist training on issues related to photovoltaics ultimately allowing staff to provide expert advice to professionals such as craftsmen and even to end consumers. "This is a meeting of two strong brands. Establishing a sales network with Saint-Gobain Building Distribution puts us even closer to our customers in Germany", comments Stefan Säuberlich, CEO of SOLON SE. "We have set ambitious goals for ourselves in this relatively new market and we look forward to having SOLON, one of the most experienced partners, on our side", states Christian Rotthaus, Head of Marketing and Purchasing at SGBDD.

Saint-Gobain Building Distribution Deutschland GmbH is a company of Saint-Gobain S.A., Paris. The Saint-Gobain Group generated nearly €37.7 billion in 2009 in sales and, as one of the largest industrial companies in the world, employs more than 190,000 people in more than 64 countries. Its four main sectors are Innovative Materials, Construction Products, Building Distribution, and Packaging. Saint-Gobain is leader in all of its specialist fields. Shares of the Saint-Gobain Group are traded on twelve different European stock exchanges.

2010-06-28   Courtesy: SOLON SE   © Heindl Server GmbH


German PV producer Sulfurcell offers CIS thin-film solar modules in US Market for the first time

Building integrated PV application by SULFURCELL
Building integrated PV application by

Sulfurcell (Berlin, Germany), one of the leading manufacturers of CIS/CIGSe-based thin-film solar modules in the world, on June 23rd, 2010 announced the initiation of US operations. Sulfurcell’s full line of highly aesthetic German-made CIS thin-film modules is now available in the United States for a variety of rooftop and building integrated applications (BIPV). The Berlin based company, which is partly financed by Intel Capital, plans to develop a robust network of system integrators and installers throughout North America in the coming months. "We’re confident Sulfurcell’s industry-leading thin-film modules will enjoy broad adoption in the American market", said Nikolaus Meyer, CEO of Sulfurcell.   "Sulfurcell’s thin-film modules combine black-tile aesthetics and high performance within a wide range of temperatures making them ideal for building integrated, residential and commercial rooftop applications." Sulfurcell’s North American operations will be run out of new offices in Los Angeles, CA.

IEC-certified modules exceed standards; high yields at hot locations

Sulfurcell’s copper-indium-sulfide (CIS) thin-film solar power modules have a smooth black appearance and a compact format. The combination of color, size and quality make them a very attractive building integrated photovoltaics choice for leading architects and discerning property owners. An excellent temperature co-efficient ensures high yields at hot locations, making them an ideal choice for desert utility-scale projects. The company’s product offering includes framed, frameless, and roof-integrated modules.

Sulfurcell thin-film modules were first made available to the European market in 2005. The modules are IEC-certified and exceed standards. For example, they maintain their performance not only when aged for the standard 1,000 hours at 85°C and 85% humidity but also after 2,000 hours. Sulfurcell’s CIS-based production process enables substantially thinner PV modules and requires only half the energy used for manufacturing conventional solar modules.

2010-06-28   Courtesy: SULFURCELL Solartechnik GmbH   © Heindl Server GmbH
Picture Courtesy: SULFURCELL Solartechnik GmbH


Morris County, Tioga Energy and SunDurance Energy kickoff first solar installation in innovative renewable energy pilot program

On June 23rd, 2010 the Morris County Improvement Authority (MCIA, Morristown, NJ) of New Jersey along with solar energy provider Tioga Energy and installation contractor SunDurance Energy celebrated the start of construction on a 1.57 megawatt (MW) solar project at the William G. Mennen Sports Arena. The kickoff event heralded the initiation of the County’s 3.2 MW renewable energy pilot program, which encompasses 19 local facilities and is being financed through a landmark public-private solar development model, referred to as the "Morris Model". Construction is starting just six months after the County announced their plans in January 2010. 

Collaboration and innovation between the public and private sector

"The sun is shining on Morris County, New Jersey, and we have an ingenious model of solar financing to thank for capturing that energy", said Morris County Freeholder William Chegwidden, liaison to the Improvement Authority. "This ambitious project demonstrates a true feat of collaboration and innovation between the public and private sector. Tioga and SunDurance brought to the table unparalleled expertise in piecing together the finance and operations of solar development. County officials and stakeholders secured responsible financing and demonstrated unwavering commitment."

"New Jersey can be a leader in energy as an industry if we continue to harness our innovation, resources and workforce", said New Jersey Governor Chris Christie. "Powered by smart businesses and communities, as exemplified today in Morris County, and strategic financial incentives, this new marketplace is opening up jobs and revenue for the state at a rapid pace."

14,000 solar panels to be installed at 19 schools and county government buildings

The event unveiled the first of the 14,000 solar panels to be installed at 19 schools and county government buildings throughout the County. When completed, the total project will result in an energy savings of more than .8 million. The Mennen Sports Arena solar system -which comprises installations on all three ice rink rooftops plus elevated solar structures covering more than 500 parking spaces - will produce 30 percent of the facility’s electricity. "The entire Morris County community should take pride in today’s kick-off event", said Paul Detering, CEO Tioga Energy. "The Morris Model has grabbed the attention of county officials from across the state and the nation; they’re taking note of how to replicate this blueprint of affordable solar electricity."

The "Morris Model" refers to the hybrid solar financing deployed, whereby the MCIA issued state-approved government bonds to finance renewable energy projects, and the project developer, Tioga Energy, qualifies for the Federal tax incentives that would normally not be available to public entities. Tioga passes along the savings to the County with clean electricity at a lower rate: under the terms of the 15-year power purchase agreement (PPA) with Tioga, Morris County will purchase the electricity generated by the systems at a price that is approximately 35 percent less than that charged by the utility. During that 15-year period, the combined solar energy systems will generate 51,500 megawatt-hours (MWh) of clean energy, which creates carbon offsets equivalent to taking more than 200 passenger vehicles off the road each year.

2010-06-28   Courtesy: Tioga Energy   © Heindl Server GmbH


United Kingdom: University of Sheffield sets up solar farm for photovoltaic research

Professor Ryan (left) and Julian Adlington on the roof of the Hicks building
Professor Ryan (left) and
Julian Adlington on the roof
of the Hicks building

The University of Sheffield (United Kingdom) on June 21st, 2010 announced that work to install one of the city's first major solar farms on the roof of its "Hicks" building had begun. The project, dubbed "Sheffield Solar Farm", is reportedly being funded by the Higher Education Funding Council for England (HEFCE) and is part of a £120,000 (180,000 US-dollar) investment into boosting photovoltaic (PV) research.   The project is to be based around the installation of 70 m² state-of-the-art PV panels on the roof of the University building. The panels are to benefit both the University and PV researchers and developers around the UK, who are to be able to use it to field-test their new and experimental PV cell designs. The main installation of the solar farm is scheduled for completion by the beginning of July 2010.

PV system to be equipped with monitoring system, data to be accessible online

According to the press release, the Sheffield Solar Farm will in part be used to provide electricity to the Hicks building and the national electricity grid and thereby reduce the University's carbon footprint. To monitor the effectiveness of the PV technology being tried and tested on the roof, equipment will log data and display it on a specially designed website for the Solar Farm. It is to include a live web-cam and web-feed demonstrating the actual power being generated by each panel, the total power the sun is radiating on the roof and how the weather is affecting the amount of energy produced, as well as offer a comparison of the different PV technologies.

University conducts PV research with plastic substrates

The University of Sheffield reports that its Department of Physics and Astronomy is already working on the development of new generations of solar cells that use plastic instead of silicon. This could reportedly reduce processing costs and enable PV technologies to be used on a wider scale. These new solar cells are to be put to the test on the Solar Farm. In additon to the colleagues of the Department of Physics and Astronomy, the cross cutting research project reportedly includes staff from Departments such as Chemistry, Geography, Mathematics and Statistics. They are to work jointly with each other while at the same time engaging in knowledge transfer opportunities with developers, users and policy makers.

New PV technology to be compared to established solar products

Dr. Alastair Buckley from the University's Department of Physics is leading the Sheffield Solar Farm project. "The Sheffield Solar Farm is an important venture as it is bridging the gap between the research lab and how solar cells are used in the real world", Dr. Buckley said. "We want to find out how new solar technologies perform here in Sheffield and compare them to the existing state-of-the-art technologies. This will help to align our research into next generation cell designs with real world requirement, as well as informing customers, policy makers and other researchers which technologies are best for the UK." The University of Sheffield reportedly also launched a venture entitled "Project Sunshine", which aims to unite scientists in finding ways to harness the power of the sun and tackle issues concerning the increasing food and energy needs of the world's population in the context of an uncertain climate and global environment change.

2010-06-28   Courtesy: University of Sheffield   © Heindl Server GmbH
Picture Courtesy: University of Sheffield


Casino Group signs additional 20 MW solar panel supply agreement with SunPower

SunPower E19 Series panels
SunPower E19 Series panels

The French retailer Casino Group and SunPower Corp. announced that SunPower will supply an additional 20 megawatts (MW) of high-efficiency solar photovoltaic (PV) panels for solar power installations on Casino Group properties in mainland France. The agreement, which builds on a similar 15-megawatt agreement between the two companies last year, will enable Casino Group to turn under-utilized roof space and parking area into power plants to produce renewable electricity and reduce carbon dioxide emissions.   "As an indication of the fast development of GreenYellow, the renewable energy subsidiary of the Casino Group, and to improve our continued commitment to sustainability, Casino Group is very pleased to extend our agreement with SunPower and install solar power systems on a significant number of additional properties", said Philippe Houins, chief operations officer of Green Yellow.

The combined 35 megawatt agreement to result in solar power systems at 18 Casino properties

SunPower will supply Casino with its SunPower E19 Series solar panels, which offer a world record efficiency of 19 percent or greater. The modules feature larger, more powerful all-back contact solar cells that deliver three percent more surface area per cell, boosting panel efficiency by reducing unutilized space. The panels also have an anti-reflective coating that allow for more diffuse off-angle light to be captured, generating more energy per rated watt than a conventional solar panel. The combined 35 megawatt agreement will result in solar power systems at 18 of the company's properties, on rooftops and parking lots. In-store monitoring displays at Casino's facilities with solar power systems will provide customers and employees with information on how much solar power is being generated on site.

Casino Group includes 11,000 stores in 9 countries making it one of the largest French retail networks, and consists of more than 20 different brands of stores.

2010-06-27   Courtesy: SunPower Corp.   © Heindl Server GmbH
Picture Courtesy: SunPower Corp.


NRG Solar to acquire nine solar development projects totaling 450 MW from US Solar

NRG Energy, Inc. (Princeton, New Jersey), through its wholly owned subsidiary, NRG Solar, on June 21st, 2010 announced that it had entered into a definitive agreement with US Solar, an affiliate of Arclight Capital Partners LLC (Boston, Massachusetts), to acquire a portfolio of solar development projects on nine sites in California and Arizona.   The purchase price is subject to a confidentiality agreement between the parties. According to the press release, the development projects that were acquired range in size from 20 megawatts (MW) to 99 MW and could be operational between 2011 and 2013. The acquisition reportedly nearly doubles NRG Solar's projects under development to 1,150 MW.

Acquisition of solar project pipeline substantially increases company's clean energy portfolio

NRG Solar will be responsible for developing, constructing, financing and operating a multi-technology portfolio of solar power assets in North America. For instance, NRG now operates the largest photovoltaic (PV) plant in California, a 21 MW facility in Blythe. "Acquiring the nine development projects will be instrumental in expanding our clean energy portfolio and further establishing NRG's leadership as a solar generation company", said Tom Doyle, President, NRG Solar. "This agreement adds meaningful depth to NRG Solar's development pipeline of strong solar projects that can compete well against other solar projects on efficiency, cost of power and return on investment."

American public expected to increasingly demand clean energy

David Crane, NRG President and Chief Executive Officer (CEO), commented: "US Solar has developed a project pipeline that gives us strategic depth in promising solar markets in which there is a public policy commitment to use this zero-emission, domestic peak period energy source. We expect the American public will increasingly demand that their energy come from these type of sources as they are confronted with the ever increasing human, environmental and strategic cost of our national dependence on fossil fuels." According to the press release, NRG is developing solar capacity at sites with strong solar resources, potential for long-term power offtake agreements with load-serving entities and established, easily accessible connections to power grids.

2010-06-27   Courtesy: NRG Energy, Inc.   © Heindl Server GmbH


Global EcoPower to build its first solar greenhouse in Provence

Global EcoPower (Aix-en-Provence, France) received its first final authorization for the construction of two agricultural greenhouses with photovoltaic roofs for a total installed capacity of 1.89 megawatts (MWp), located in Salon-de-Provence in France. This project involves the renovation of existing greenhouses representing an area of 15,000 m2 on a site with excellent solar radiation for an annual production of 2,450 MWh, integrating all losses and resulting in a performance ratio of approximately 80% (excluding orientation losses).   The greenhouses roofs will be partially covered with more than 6,000 modules of dual-glass crystalline silicon type. The technical choice is not to cover the entire roof and to allow a pass light for a sustainable use of soil by the farmer. Global EcoPower expects a construction start up in the fourth quarter of 2010 and commissioning early 2011. A 112 m² pilot unit, previously manufactured in Holland, is getting installed on the site. This unit will be used as a showcase for the other achievements of the group.

Feed-in tariff of 42 c€ / kWh

The different stages of project development covering all environmental, legal and technical aspects were entirely conducted by Global EcoPower. This first project, which will benefit from a feed-in tariff of 42 c€ / kWh, will be sold and Global EcoPower will keep the operation and maintenance of the plant during the 20 years electricity purchase agreement with EDF. This plant will provide electricity for 1077 people and will save 245 CO2 tones per year.

Philippe Perret, EVP of Global EcoPower, declares: "We have reached the most exciting phase of our business which is to switch from development to concrete realization of the project. We are pleased to launch this first solar greenhouse project that perfectly combines maintaining the agricultural use of the site with producing green electricity".

2010-06-27   Courtesy: Global EcoPower   © Heindl Server GmbH


1.1MW utility scale PV array for Dayton Power & Light using Sharp solar thin film technology

DP&L 1.1 Megawatt solar array in Ohio
DP&L 1.1 Megawatt solar
array in Ohio

Inovateus Solar and Schneider Electric, working under general contractor Ameridian Specialty Services, helped to develop The Dayton Power and Light Company’s (DP&L) new 1.1MW solar photovoltaic array, which was commemorated on June 22nd, 2010 at a ceremony at the facility. The array is comprised of 9,120 Sharp thin film solar modules set near its Yankee Substation in Washington Township, Montgomery County, Ohio, and is one of the largest solar arrays in Ohio.   The Yankee Solar Array will help DP&L meet the goals of Ohio's energy legislation, which includes targets for generating electricity from renewable sources, with specific guidelines on solar. The array will generate enough electricity to power the equivalent of 150 homes.

"One of the finest utility-scale solar installations in the nation"

"Ameridian is very pleased to have developed and deployed this milestone solar project for DP&L", said Matt Owens, director of operations for Ameridian’s Solar & Renewable Energy Division. "By collaborating with technology, engineering and construction leaders - such as Schneider Electric, Miller Valentine, and module manufacturer Sharp - Inovateus Solar was able to help Ameridian and DP&L develop one of the finest utility-scale solar installations in the nation", said Peter Rienks, engineer and project manager for Inovateus Solar.

"It is tremendous that Dayton Power & Light, Ameridian, Inovateus, Schneider Electric and their partners have deployed this landmark solar power system", said Ron Kenedi, vice president, Sharp Solar Energy Solutions Group. "Sharp is pleased to be meeting the growing demand for thin film utility-scale solar power plants with our high efficiency amorphous silicon thin film PV modules."

Construction commenced in December 2009, system began operating in late March 2010

The PV array uses Schletter racking and two Xantrex GT500E inverters. The installation also includes an educational kiosk, to help students and other visitors learn about solar power and its benefits for the environment.

2010-06-26   Courtesy: Ameridian Specialty Services, Inc., DPL; Inovateus Solar; Schneider Electric   © Heindl Server GmbH
Picture Courtesy: DPL


DARPA awards Ascent Solar team contract for high-efficiency low-cost portable photovoltaics program

Thin-film solar module by Ascent Solar
Thin-film solar module by Ascent Solar

Ascent Solar Technologies, Inc. (Thornton, Colorado), a developer of state of the art flexible thin-film solar modules, on June 22nd, 2010 announced that the US Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA; Arlington, Virginia) had selected their team for an award under the 'Low-Cost Lightweight Portable Photovoltaics' (PoP) solicitation. The Ascent-led program, entitled "Flexible High-performance Tandem-junction PV Array", reportedly consists of three gated phases, the first of which is 18 months and has an approximate contract value of 3.8 million US-dollars.   The entire program is anticipated to continue over the next 54 months. The goal of PoP is to demonstrate low-cost, lightweight photovoltaics (PV) that can stand up to battle conditions and environmental extremes while delivering a power conversion efficiency of 20 % or greater by the end of the program.

Partners to develop light-weight flexible PV solution for military field applications

Ascent reports that the company is leading a highly-talented team of small businesses such as ITN Energy Systems (ITN), Cambrios Technologies Company and Brewer Science, as well as large business like QinetiQ North America-TSG. According to the press release, the company also partners with academia like the Institute of Energy Conversion (IEC; Newark, Delaware) in order to leverage their collective expertise with the dedicated funding from DARPA to meet the goals of the PoP program. Farhad Moghadam, President and Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Ascent, explained: "In order to meet the aggressive goals of performance, capacity, and military toughness, our team has put together a definitive plan that combines our flexible CIGS production experience and existing MILSTD 810G military product, advanced high-temperature substrates from QinetiQ, the combined expertise in multijunction thin film technology from Ascent Solar and IEC, films for optical and electrical enhancement from Brewer and Cambrios, and enhanced packaging technologies being developed by ITN and Ascent Solar."

2010-06-26   Courtesy: Ascent Solar Technologies, Inc.   © Heindl Server GmbH
Picture Courtesy: Ascent Solar Technologies, Inc.


Solar technology leader SMA America to expand and move Headquarters to Rocklin Corporate Center

Don Little Group (DLG), a Northern California real estate investment and development advisory firm, has signed SMA America, LLC, the U.S.-based subsidiary of SMA Solar Technology AG, the world’s largest solar inverter manufacturer, to occupy 40,000 sq. ft. of space at Rocklin Corporate Center. Effective August 2010 for a seven-year term, SMA America is relocating its headquarters, more than quadrupling its office space.   "We are pleased to welcome SMA America to Rocklin Corporate Center, marking one of the most significant lease deals in the Rocklin region in the last year", said Don Little, president and CEO of DLG. "With renewable energy emerging as the wave of the future, SMA America and its cutting-edge solar technology products will be well poised to thrive and grow at its new headquarters."

Inverters for all power classes, from small residential photovoltaic (PV) systems through utility-scale systems

As part of a leading international renewable energy company, SMA America produces and provides North America with solar inverter products for all power classes, from small residential photovoltaic (PV) systems through utility-scale systems. Solar inverters are the key component in PV systems that convert direct-current electricity into alternating-current electricity, which is required for use on the public power grid. SMA America’s move to Rocklin Corporate Center is predicated on its massive growth coupled with its desire for Class A office space in a premier and central location in the Rocklin-Roseville area. Currently, SMA America occupies a 25,000 sq. ft. mixed-use building in the Del Mar business park in Rocklin, 8,000 sq. ft. of which is office space with the rest utilized for its warehouse. SMA America will maintain this location as its service and distribution center, moving all office operations to Rocklin Corporate Center, including sales, marketing, finance and all administrative personnel.

"The Rocklin Corporate Center is one of the best developed and well positioned office parks in the greater Sacramento region", said Jurgen Krehnke, president and general manager of SMA America. "With the aid of our partners, we were able to secure a highly visible and accessible building with state-of-the-art features and amenities that will meet our needs today and in the future as we continue the sustained growth of our North American operations."

2010-06-26   Courtesy: SMA America, LLC   © Heindl Server GmbH


CPUC President Peevey, Governor's Office join PG&E in dedicating new solar generation station

Vaca-Dixon Solar Station
Vaca-Dixon Solar Station

Pacific Gas and Electric Company (PG&E) on June 23rd, 2010 officially celebrated completion of its Vaca-Dixon Solar Station, the flagship project of a major new solar energy program launched by the utility. California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) President Michael R. Peevey, the office of Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger, local officials and residents, labor groups and project suppliers joined PG&E at the event, which took place at the new generation facility located near the City of Vacaville.   "I applaud PG&E for its commitment to making a direct investment in clean, renewable solar energy generation that will help reduce our dependence on oil", said Governor Schwarzenegger. "This project will help us meet our long-term energy goals while creating jobs and keeping California on the leading edge of this booming industry."

Pilot project under a five-year plan for up to 250 MW of new solar PV power

The two-megawatt (MW) Vaca-Dixon Solar Station, named after the electrical substation it neighbors, is the pilot project under a five-year plan for the utility to develop up to 250 MW of new solar photovoltaic (PV) power in the state. PG&E's program also calls for independent developers to build up to 250 MW of additional solar PV facilities. All projects in the combined 500-MW program will be 20 MW or less in size, which should require less time to plan and build than large solar plants that often face lengthy delays. Once complete, the program is projected to produce enough energy to meet the needs of about 150,000 average homes.

2010-06-25   Courtesy: PG&E   © Heindl Server GmbH
Picture Courtesy: PG&E


Ground breaking ceremony: German PV producer AVANCIS commences building work at a second solar plant in Torgau

PV panel by AVANCIS
PV panel by AVANCIS

Solar module manufacturer AVANCIS (Torgau, Saxony, Germany) has kick-started construction of its second plant with a symbolic ground-breaking ceremony. Construction work is proceeding at record speed, with diggers rolling onto the construction site a mere two weeks after the decision to build the plant was taken. "We have thoroughly prepared for this project and have set an ambitious schedule", confirmed Hartmut Fischer, CEO of AVANCIS, at the ground-breaking ceremony. The new-build project on the 25,000 m² site is due to be completed within the next 18 months.   The company intends to start manufacturing the third generation of innovative solar modules here as early as the first quarter of 2012. With an overall manufacturing capacity of 100 MW p.a., the new site will be five times the size of the existing plant.

Number of employees AVANCIS to increase in three figures

Andrea Staude, Torgau’s mayor, congratulated the builders on their successful start and expressed her delight at the expansion: "With the second solar plant, AVANCIS is underlining its commitment to the region and playing its part in securing the future of Torgau as a glass centre. We are very happy with the way the company is growing and the proposed jobs", she explained on the construction site. The number of employees AVANCIS is looking to take on at its second site will be in three figures. Details of current vacancies can be found online under the "Careers" section. AVANCIS commissioned its first plant in Torgau in October 2008 and currently employs 150 people at this site alone. A further 50-strong team in the fields of research and development and plant planning is also based in Munich. The new building will be constructed along the same lines as the existing plant.

2010-06-25   Courtesy: AVANCIS GmbH & Co. KG   © Heindl Server GmbH
Picture Courtesy: AVANCIS GmbH & Co. KG


SunPower announces new world record solar cell efficiency: Full-scale prototype produced at 24.2 percent

High-efficiency solar panel by SunPower
High-efficiency solar
panel by SunPower

SunPower Corp. (San Jose, California), a Silicon Valley-based manufacturer of high-efficiency solar cells, solar panels and solar systems, on June 23rd, 2010 announced that it has produced a full-scale solar photovoltaic (PV) cell with a sunlight to electricity conversion efficiency of 24.2 percent at its manufacturing plant in the Philippines. This a new world record is confirmed by the U.S. Department of Energy's National Renewable Energy Lab (NREL) for large area silicon wafers, SunPower reports in a press release.  "This new world record demonstrates SunPower's ability to extend our lead in manufacturing the world's highest efficiency solar cells", said Bill Mulligan, vice president of technology and development for SunPower. "Our patented and proprietary, high-efficiency solar cell technology drives down the cost of solar energy by increasing the energy production from each solar panel."

Reduced LCOE, lower cost per watt

Improved cell efficiency reduces the levelized cost of energy (LCOE) by increasing the energy production from each wafer manufactured into a SunPower solar cell. For the same reason, increased efficiency reduces the cost per watt and cost per kilowatt-hour for feedstock and materials, depreciation and other manufacturing expenses, installation time, land and system operations, and related maintenance. "As we celebrate SunPower's 25th anniversary this year, I am thrilled to see the company achieve technology milestones that were inconceivable only a few years ago", said Dr. Richard Swanson, SunPower founder and chief technology officer. "SunPower's research and development and engineering teams have increased cell efficiency by a full four percentage points over the last five years while radically driving down manufacturing costs. We are extremely proud of their continued success."

2010-06-25   Courtesy: SunPower Corp.   © Heindl Server GmbH
Picture Courtesy: SunPower Corp.


Clean Energy and Power: Ground breaking set for first solar power project in Czech Republic

Clean Energy and Power, Inc. (Warwick, Rhode Island) announced it has acquired its first solar photovoltaic (PV) project in Europe. As disclosed in May, PV projects in the Czech Republic carry rate guarantees by both the Czech government and the European Union for 20 years. Clean Energy and Power Inc. signed an acquisition agreement and released funding to immediately acquire the equipment necessary to complete the project located in a Southern part of the Czech Republic. The project should break ground this week and is scheduled to be completed by the beginning of July.  E-On to purchase solar power

"This first project is important to our continued development of business in the Czech Republic and ultimately, Europe as a whole", said Erwin Vahlsing, Jr., CEO of the company. Dennis Shen, President of the company and Chief Operating Officer of CEP's subsidiary that was created for the European projects, Clean Energy and Power s.r.o., is travelling to Czech Republic to oversee all aspects of the deployment. "I want to be with the project through its completion", said Shen. "It is an important first step in our entry into the European solar market. I am excited to see our progress in such a short time frame. Our solar power off-taker (power purchaser) is the largest utility in Europe, a B energy company called E-On. With E-On as our partner we plan to complete the project on time and turn the first power to the Czech grid by the end of this month."

While the revenue from this initial project will be nominal, it sets the stage for the much larger deployments that the Company is finalizing and expects to deploy shortly. During his visit, Shen is expected to appoint the administrative personal including the CEO required to oversee future deployments through our subsidiary. In addition, he will personally oversee all the administrative measures required for the current projects commissioning.

2010-06-25   Courtesy: Clean Energy and Power   © Heindl Server GmbH


Schneider Electric sponsors 2010 Solar Decathlon Europe to showcase green energy management solutions

Schneider Electric (Rueil-Malmaison, France), a global specialist in energy management, announced its strategic sponsorship of the "Solar Decathlon Europe" for 3 years as part of its commitment to help people make the most of their energy. The Solar Decathlon Europe challenges students of top universities from Europe, America and Asia to design, build and operate energy efficient, solar-powered houses.   The first Europe based competition is to be held from June 17th to 27th, 2010 in Madrid (Spain) with 17 participating universities. The next event is scheduled to take place in 2012. The United States is to host the competition in 2011 and 2013. Enrique Valer, Schneider Electric's Country President for Spain, Portugal and South America, reportedly signed the sponsorship agreement with the Spanish Ministry of Housing, the organizer of the event.

Strategic sponsor of Solar Decathlon Europe provides innovative microgrid solution

"Schneider Electric is proud to sponsor Solar Decathlon Europe and encourages students to think about active energy solutions that can be implemented today", said Julio Rodriguez, Executive Vice President Power Global and EMEAS, Schneider Electric. "Promoting Schneider Electric's microgrid solution at Solar Decathlon Europe is a great opportunity to showcase the benefits of the ongoing smart grid technological revolution to our community." The Solar Decathlon competition is to take place in a solar village open to the public where houses featuring energy efficiency and renewable energy exhibits are to be assembled. They will include strategies to reduce the consumption of fossil fuels and lower utility bills. The initiative demonstrates innovative clean energy technology research and development, reveals consumers the benefits of solar-powered living and develops a well-trained workforce who is uniquely prepared for green jobs.

Company involved in half of the projects exposed in the contest

Solar Decathlon contestants are reportedly required to connect their houses' electric systems to the local utility service provider through a microgrid system. For the project of the Instituto de Arquitectura Avanzada de Cataluña, Schneider Electric has imagined a low tension grid that interconnects the house and its solar panels, linking them instantly to local and global grids, through two MV/LV substations supplied by the Group. According to the press release, Schneider Electric has therefore invented a radical new way of managing energy that connects all the different energy sources (renewables, batteries, grids…), balances the energy flows and adapts, in real-time, the energy offer to the demand. For this European competition, Schneider Electric also sponsors and supports 8 university solar house projects by providing its solutions and engineering services to the contestants. The company is to provide assistance on different levels, from consultation to products donation or solution integration. The company has reportedly also helped the US projects by providing solutions that allow connection between the American grid (110W, 60Hz) and the European grid (220W, 50Hz).

2010-06-25   Courtesy: Schneider Electric   © Heindl Server GmbH


Virtual Industries to display vacuum handling solutions at SEMICON West 2010

Virtual Industries Inc. (Colorado Springs, Colorado), a supplier of manual vacuum handling solutions, in June 2010 announced that it will display several advanced systems for handling wafers and solar cells at the upcoming SEMICON West exhibition, scheduled to take place July 13-15, 2010 at the Moscone Center in San Francisco. According to the press release, the "PUSH-BUTTON Wand Kit" is the ideal solution for handling wafers and solar cells.   The kit includes a wafer wand for a 1/16" ID vacuum hose, six feet of coiled 1/16" ID vacuum hose, a VBM-2 holder for the wafer wand and a VMWT-C wafer tip. The lightweight push-button wafer wand is designed for connection to continuous vacuum systems. This tool can be used with an in-house vacuum system or with one of Virtual Industries' high performance continuous vacuum systems. The kit can be used with all of the company's press-fit tips, adapters and vacuum hoses.

Powerful vacuum tweezer solutions offer better than Class 1 cleanroom performance

Virtual Industries reports that its "STEALTH-WAND Kit" operates directly on 30 to 70 psi compressed air or nitrogen. The compressed-air-powered tools are reportedly the most powerful vacuum tweezer tools the company offers. The vacuum level can be controlled by adjusting the input pressure, which is an important feature for handling thin and fragile wafers. The company also plans to demonstrate its "PORTA-WAND ELITE Kit" at SEMICON West. It comes with a detachable 9.6 V NiMH rechargeable battery pack, an in-stand charger and one wafer tip. The detachable battery pack contains the rear exhaust filter for the entire tool to ensure better than Class 1 performance. This product is a good choice for handling wafers, disk media, flat panels, or any item that has a flat hard surface. For more information about any of Virtual Industries advanced equipment, interested parties are invited to the company booth number 5771 at the SEMICON West.

2010-06-25   Courtesy: Virtual Industries Inc.   © Heindl Server GmbH
Picture Courtesy: Virtual Industries Inc.


Solarbuzz reports 9 countries set to exceed 250 MW PV market size in 2010

According to this year's regional photovoltaic (PV) market reports by Solarbuzz (San Francisco, California) that were announced on June 22nd, 2010, nine countries are bound to reach market sizes of over 250 megawatt (MW) in 2010, up from six in 2009. In Europe, rapid growth in Italy, the Czech Republic and France is expected to generate some 3 gigawatts (GW) of demand in 2010. Analysts believe that Germany will once again be the outstanding market performer of 2010, but its vulnerability to two successive incentive tariff reductions scheduled to take place in the next seven months could place growing emphasis on seeking out growth opportunities in other country markets over the coming year. 

Italy, Czech Republic, United States and Japan potential members of the elite gigawatt club

As other country PV markets in Europe such as Italy, the Czech Republic, Belgium and France, are seen to grow strongly this year, they do so against a backdrop of fiscal crises and economic woes around Europe. Meanwhile, Spain is still reverberating from its catastrophic PV policy adjustments over the last two years that continue to deteriorate the market. According to the analysis, Italy, the Czech Republic, the United States and even Japan have the potential to become the third country member of the elite club to install 1 GW of PV in a single year. "Set against the weak European economic environment, the risk of future moderation of PV incentive policy around Europe will necessitate flexibility in corporate sales and marketing initiatives to handle changes in market mix," said Craig Stevens, President of Solarbuzz.

US solar PV market could double in 2010

Recent key policy enhancements in Japan and the United States have reportedly set the groundwork for significant growth in these already substantial markets. In the United States, the complex policy environment with a myriad of different rebates and incentives are believed to have the combined potential to double the size of that market in 2010. Utility driven projects in California and other states with Renewable Portfolio Standards (RPS) are creating the largest market segment, Solarbuzz reports. The ability to access sources of project financing remains key to success in most of the major markets. On the supply side, Japanese module manufacturers are increasingly focused on their domestic market, able to access the utility net feed-in tariff (FIT) and new residential incentives. Distribution channels in that country are becoming more diversified, with new entrants like Yamada Denki and Toshiba starting to make their presence felt.

India and China well positioned for substantial PV market growth

Solarbuzz reports that the PV project order books in China and India show that those two countries are well positioned to make a material contribution to global market growth over the next 2 years. Nearly 100 planned installations in China sum to an unrisked order book of 18.6 GW, while the Indian pipeline contributes a further 4.8 GW. The three new 'Downstream Regional Reports' issued by Solarbuzz are meant to bring clarity to the complex sales and market environments in the respective regions. The studies, titled "Asia and Pacific Major PV Markets 2010", "Europe PV Market 2010" and "United States PV Market 2010" provide intense data and commercial insight to help resolve the market challenges and identify future sales opportunities.

2010-06-24   Courtesy:   © Heindl Server GmbH


EPIA: PV Roofs could technically cover up to 40% of the electricity demand in the EU by 2020

BIPV system
BIPV system

With a total ground floor area of more than 22,000 km2, 40% of all building roofs and 15% of all facades in EU 27 are suited for photovoltaic (PV) applications, the European Photovoltaic Industry Association (EPIA) reports in a press release. This means that over 1,500 gigawatts (GWp) of PV capacity could technically be installed in Europe which would generate annually about 1,400 terawatt hours (TWh) of solar electricity, representing 40% of the total electricity demand by 2020. 

BIPV provides an enormous development potential for the PV industry as well as for the construction sector

EPIA, the world’s largest photovoltaic industry association together with Design-Build Solar, had organized an event on Building Integrated Photovoltaic (BIPV) systems on June 23rd, 2010 at the premises of the Ministry of housing in Madrid, in the framework of the "Solar Decathlon". The event counted more than 170 participants representing mainly architects, installers, representatives from the renewable and construction industries. The speakers, coming from all around Europe, addressed the latest technological and market trends within this sector as well as the economic and regulatory frameworks in Spain and within the main European PV markets. The integration of photovoltaic energy in buildings provides an enormous development potential for the PV industry as well as for the construction sector. PV applications, apart from contributing to the generation of electricity and improving the passive energy behaviour of buildings, can replace conventional building components and also provide different functions such as, water tightening, weather protection, heat insulation, light modifications, etc.

BIPV market driven by specific support schemes

"Spain has a unique opportunity to develop the BIPV market, which in addition to leveraging the decentralized nature of PV generation - energy generated by the citizen for the citizen -, would enable the stimulation of tens of thousands of jobs firmly anchored in the local economy, many of which in the construction industry", said Virgilio Navarro, EPIA’s Vice-president and CEO of ATERSA.

Currently in some European countries the BIPV market is driven by specific support schemes, designed in such a way that BIPV systems are rewarded with a higher tariff per kWh generated than for Building Adapted PV (BAPV), where the PV modules are installed on top of the existing building structure and do not provide any additional function. This acknowledges the added effort and extra cost of integrating PV as part of the building envelope. It is in particular the case in France and Italy where BIPV already represents over one third of the annual market. In other countries such as Germany and Spain, where support schemes are not differentiated between both types of systems, BIPV only represents a very marginal share of the market (<1%) representing mainly niche applications where cost is not an issue.

Energy Performance of Building directive (EPBD) claims all new buildings to be Nearly Zero Energy Buildings

"It is essential to put in place favourable conditions across Europe that will support a wide deployment of BIPV applications, which will have a major impact in the future development of buildings in Europe. From 2012 onwards all Member States will need to adopt the recently approved Energy Performance of Building directive (EPBD) establishing that by 2020, all new buildings will need to be Nearly Zero Energy Buildings. Solar Photovoltaics, will be a key technology enabling to reach such an ambitious and crucial objective", added Adel El Gammal, Secretary General of EPIA. EPIA released last year its "SET For 2020 study", showing that, provided specific boundary conditions are met, PV installed capacity could reach up to 390 GWp in Europe by 2020, representing 12% of the electricity demand by then. Wide adoption of BIPV will allow seamless integration of high penetration of PV in urban environments and will be key to achieving such ambitious target.

2010-06-24   Courtesy: EPIA   © Heindl Server GmbH
Picture Courtesy: Bosch Solar Energy AG


SunEdison to develop solar PV program for LaSalle in Ontario

SunEdison, a division of MEMC Electronic Materials, Inc., on June 22nd, 2010 announced that it will develop and build industrial and retail roof-top solar photovoltaic (PV) projects for LaSalle Investment Management, a leading global real estate investment manager based in Ontario. Under the agreement, SunEdison will finance, build, own, operate, monitor and maintain photovoltaic solar energy systems with capacity totaling 2.1 megawatts. They will be hosted at LaSalle Investment Management facilities, and the Ontario Power Authority (OPA) will purchase the energy produced under the terms of Ontario’s Feed-in Tariff Program (FIT).   LaSalle Investment Management will receive lease revenue for roof-top space allocated to the projects, without any upfront capital equipment costs, SunEdison reports in a press release.

Majority of projects to be located in the Greater Toronto Area

The eight roof-top PV systems will be launched starting in the late summer of 2010, with the majority of installations completed by the end of 2010. Over 20 years, the systems will generate sufficient energy to avoid emitting 9.9 million kilograms of CO2 in the atmosphere. The majority of projects will be located in the Greater Toronto Area (GTA) including Burlington, Toronto and Woodbridge, with additional systems located in both Lindsay and Kanata.

LaSalle Investment Management said it is committed to sustainability and recognizes that buildings can have a significant impact on the environment. "The solar PV projects in Ontario represent an important step in meeting our goals", said Sam Barbieri, Vice President, Asset Management at LaSalle. "We are dedicated to helping establish responsible energy policy around the world, and doing all we can in our own operations to use resources wisely. We envision that this model for solar deployment can be successfully replicated in many other markets as well."

Optimizing solar energy output, maximizing lease revenue

Barbieri added: "The significance of the Ontario roof-top solar projects goes beyond the environmental benefit they’ll bring. SunEdison has crafted a custom-solution that both optimizes solar energy output and maximizes lease revenue. After a careful due diligence process, SunEdison was the clear choice to manage our initiative given their track record of successful installations, and attention to detail before, during and after deployment. We have complete confidence that SunEdison will be careful stewards of our real estate assets."

Jason Gray, Canada Country Manager for SunEdison, said: "As a leader in installing and managing solar energy systems, we recognize that a sharp focus on best practices in the design, execution and continuous improvement of energy solutions is essential to maximizing revenue for our customers. With our proven ability to implement multiple-site systems, we look forward to completing this project on time and to delivering immediate value to our customer."

2010-06-24   Courtesy: SunEdison   © Heindl Server GmbH


Queensland to be home to largest solar project in the southern hemisphere

Solar thermal power plant (CSP)
Solar thermal power plant (CSP)

Queensland's Premier and Minister for the Arts, the Honourable Anna Bligh, in June 2010 announced that the Australian state is set to be home to the largest solar thermal project in the southern hemisphere.   As part of a 115 million Australian dollars (AUD; 99 million US-dollars) solar package in the 2010-11 budget, the Bligh Government is reportedly contributing 35 million AUD (30 million USD) to a new project at Kogan Creek near Dalby. This funding comes on top of the Rudd Government's 31 million AUD (27 million USD) for the project at Kogan Creek. "This funding means Queensland will be home to the largest solar project in the southern hemisphere", Premier Bligh said.

Conventional coal power plant to be boosted by 44 MWp solar thermal system

According to the press release, the Kogan Creek project will use solar power to generate steam to help drive the turbine at the Kogan Creek coal fired powered station. It is expected to boost electricity by 44 megawatts peak (MWp) and at the same time reduce carbon emissions using energy from the sun. CS Energy, a Queensland Government-owned electricity generator, and AREVA (Paris, France), a public multinational industrial conglomerate, are to realize the solar power project. "The Bligh Government is committed to doing the bright thing, which is why we are investing heavily in solar technology", Premier Bligh said. "This budget provides 115 million AUD over five years to help build our solar industry and double our use of solar energy, turning Queensland into the solar state." The Premier added that the solar package will deliver both large scale and grass-roots initiatives to ensure all Queenslanders can play a role in doubling the state's use of solar energy over the next five years.

Queensland budget to help fund several solar initiatives

According to the press release, the 2010 Queensland budget reserves 29.5 million AUD (25 million USD) in funding for the 60 million AUD (52 million USD) "Solar Rebate Scheme", which is to provide residents with rebates of 600 and 1,000 AUD (517-861 USD) for the installation of solar heat pump or solar hot water systems. The budget also includes 5.8 million AUD (5 million USD) for the "Solar Kindergartens Program", which is to fund the installation of solar PV panels on the roofs of new and existing kindergarten buildings. The Minister for Natural Resources, Mines and Energy, Stephen Robertson, said that the wide range of programs funded Queensland's budget will help support a new and important growth industry while also reducing the state's carbon footprint.

2010-06-24   Courtesy: Queensland Government   © Heindl Server GmbH
Picture Courtesy: CS Energy


Praxair China signs agreement with PV producer Evergreen Solar

Praxair China supplies bulk industrial gases for the PV industry
Praxair China supplies bulk industrial
gases for the PV industry

Praxair China (Shanghai) has signed a multi-year agreement with Evergreen Solar Energy China Co., Ltd. to supply bulk industrial gases for its solar wafer manufacturing facility in Wuhan, China. Evergreen Solar develops, manufactures and markets solar-power products based on its proprietary, low-cost "STRING RIBBON" wafer methodology which uses significantly less polysilicon than conventional ingot processes.   "Praxair has been a critical supplier of Evergreen Solar in the U.S. for several years, and has proven to be a highly reliable supplier of bulk gas to our manufacturing operations. We look forward to their strong presence in China to assist us with our growth plans", said Henry Ng, Evergreen Solar Energy's manager of Asia operations.

Praxair offers systems and technologies throughout the photovoltaic supply chain

"Evergreen Solar is a valued customer of Praxair in the U.S., and we look forward to enabling their expansion into China", said David Chow, president of Praxair China. "Praxair is well positioned to serve the rapidly growing photovoltaic market within China, with its comprehensive offering of gas and sputtering target products and its reliable global supply network." Praxair's products, delivery systems and technologies are provided worldwide throughout the photovoltaic supply chain, enabling the production of crystalline and thin-film photovoltaic devices. Praxair on own account is the largest industrial gas supplier to the polysilicon market, and is currently serving more than 50 photovoltaic manufacturing facilities worldwide with a combined capacity of over 6 gigawatts. Praxair gas offerings used in photovoltaic manufacturing include bulk, onsite and specialty gases such as silane, ammonia, high purity argon, nitrogen, hydrogen, phosphorous and boron dopants, and associated gas delivery systems.

Praxair also offers a full suite of planar and tubular sputtering targets for the deposition of metal and transparent conducting oxide thin-film layers which are critical to the performance of photovoltaic devices. Praxair is a leader in the development of aluminum-zinc-oxide, copper, nickel vanadium and aluminum next-generation tubular targets, which enable more cost-effective fabrication of thin-film photovoltaic cells.

2010-06-24   Courtesy: Praxair China   © Heindl Server GmbH
Picture Courtesy: Praxair China


Korean OCI to add 5,000 metric tons of polysilicon production capacity

Following the construction of its "P3" polysilicon plant with a production capacity of 10,000 metric tons that will be completed at the end of this year, the global chemical company OCI Company Ltd. (Seoul, Korea) in June 2010 announced that it will further expand its polysilicon production capacity. According to the press release, the company plans to invest in the construction of a polysilicon plant expansion at its existing facility in Gunsan (Jeollabukdo) and it aims to achieve enhanced production efficiency by debottlenecking the plant.   OCI reports that it will expand its polysilicon manufacturing capacity by 5,000 metric tons. The construction is scheduled to begin in June 2010, and it is to be completed by October 2011 at a total cost of 220 billion KRW (185 million US-dollars).

With expanded manufacturing capacity, company aims to become major global polysilicon producer

OCI expects the construction to be completed with the minimum investment cost both thanks to its technical expertise and to improved productivity know-how acquired from operating experiences at existing polysilicon plants. OCI expects to gain an advantage in cost competitiveness over global competitors with the capacity expansion. With the 6,500 metric tons at its "P1 Plant", the 10,500 metric tons of the "P2 Plant" and 10,000 metric tons at the "P3 Plant", which is scheduled for completion in December 2010, OCI will have a total production capacity of 27,000 metric tons. This would position the company as the second biggest polysilicon manufacturer after Hemlock. Moreover, with a further polysilicon plant expansion of 5,000 metric tons in October 2011, OCI will boast a total manufacturing capacity of 32,000 metric tons to become one of the major polysilicon producers in the world.

Company expands polysilicon production capacity despite current oversupply

"Although the oversupply of polysilicon is expected to continue for the time being, considering the high demand for high purity polysilicon due to increased demand for high efficiency solar cells, the short supply of high purity polysilicon is expected to continue for some time", said an OCI representative. "OCI is already planning to respond to the increased demand for high purity polysilicon with expansion of production capacity so as to sell the increased production volume under a long term contract." OCI is reportedly producing and supplying 10-nine grade polysilicon, which is one grade higher than 9-nine purity polysilicon, and the company is reportedly equipped with the right equipment to produce 11-nine grade purity polysilicon. Market experts are predicting a minimum 20 % of compounded annual growth rate (CAGR) in the photovoltaic (PV) market for the next 10 years. They are also estimating that the price of polysilicon will fall to approximately 40 US-dollars per kg and later starters are forecasted to find it difficult to enter into the market under such conditions.

2010-06-24   Courtesy: OCI Company Ltd.   © Heindl Server GmbH


Dow Jones partners with SunPower to build 4.1 MW solar photovoltaic system

SunPower's T5 Solar Roof Tile
SunPower's T5 Solar Roof Tile

Dow Jones & Company (South Brunswick, New Jersey) and SunPower Corporation (San Jose, California) on June 21st, 2010 announced plans to build a solar electric system at Dow Jones' corporate offices in central New Jersey. According to the press release, SunPower is to install a high-efficiency photovoltaic (PV) system with a total capacity of 4.1 megawatts (MW).   The system is to include 3.6 MW of elevated solar panels above parking areas and a 522 kilowatt (kW) rooftop installation. When completed early next year, the system will be one of the largest solar power installations operating at a corporate site in the United States, SunPower reports. It is expected to generate the equivalent of 15 % of current electricity needs for Dow Jones' South Brunswick campus.

Solar PV roof tiles and parking shade structures to provide electricity for 200-acre company campus

SunPower reports that it will utilize its "T5 Solar Roof Tile" for this installation. It is believed to be the solar industry's first non-penetrating rooftop product that combines a high-efficiency SunPower solar panel, frame and mounting system into a single pre-engineered unit. Tilted at a five-degree angle, the T5 Roof Tile system is said to approximately double the energy generated per square meter compared with other systems that are mounted flat onto commercial rooftops. The solar system is partially financed through the local utility PSE&G's "Solar Loan Program", SunPower reports. "Renewable energy is part of a sustainable business plan for Dow Jones", said Dean DelVecchio, the company's Chief Information Officer and Chief Administrative Officer. "With solar energy, Dow Jones is helping the environment and its business at the same time." A publisher of news and business information around the globe, Dow Jones maintains a 200-acre campus for nearly 2,000 employees in South Brunswick.

2010-06-23   Courtesy: SunPower Corporation   © Heindl Server GmbH
Picture Courtesy: SunPower Corporation


Saft Li-ion battery technology to provide renewable energy storage for SMUD, company participates in distributed energy storage development

Saft lithium-ion battery
Saft lithium-ion battery

Saft (Paris, France), a world specialist in the design and manufacture of high-tech batteries for industrial applications, on June 17th, 2010 announced that the company's lithium-ion (Li-ion) battery technology will supply renewable energy storage for the U.S. utility Sacramento Municipal Utility District's (SMUD) photovoltaic (PV) storage pilot program at Anatolia (Illinois), a high penetration PV community within SMUD's service territory.   According to the press release, the two-year pilot project is to examine the value of distributed PV coupled with energy storage in 15 homes and three sites on SMUD's distribution system within the community. The project is expected to allow an assessment of the PV system and the energy storage capability, and scientists are to determine how well the storage systems perform during periods of peak demand.

Li-ion battery system allows solar PV power to be "time-shifted" to support peak demand periods

Saft reports that the role of the battery system is to provide efficient energy storage so solar power can be 'time shifted' to support SMUD's "super-peak" from 4 to 7 p.m., particularly when PV output drops off after 5 p.m. Li-ion is believed to be the only technology that meets the project's need for 20-year battery life in a range of demanding environmental conditions. According to the press release, Saft's high energy Li-ion battery technology will be integrated into a 5 kilowatt (kW) renewable energy storage device, made by Silent Power, to store the excess energy generated by a homeowner's solar power installation. Composed of compact maintenance-free modules, the battery provides 9 kilowatt hours (kWh) in a robust industrial design.

Battery technology features long calendar life, high energy density and precise SOC information

Saft reports that the company's modular battery design offers a number of features important to SMUD's pilot program, including excellent cycling capability, a long calendar life and an intelligent self-diagnostic platform. It offers high energy density, millisecond-level response time and high power capability – both in charge and discharge. Additionally, the company's Li-ion technology reportedly provides precise information on the battery's state-of-charge (SOC), which is a vital function in a dynamically operating energy storage system. Blake Frye, Vice President of sales, Energy Storage for Saft North America, said: "Saft is committed to supporting SMUD's renewable energy programs to conserve energy, protect the environment and provide reliable and affordable service to its customers."

PV energy conversion and storage project resulted in the development of a prototype integrated energy kit for PV systems

Saft had earlier announced that the company and its industrial partners voltwerk electronics GmbH (Voltwerk; Hamburg, Germany) and Tenesol (La Tour-de-Salvagny, France), have successfully completed the development phase of the EU-backed "Sol-ion" project by creating an integrated energy conversion and storage kit, capable of production on an industrial scale, for decentralized on-grid, residential solar PV systems. The project, which commenced in August 2008, is now ready to move into its test and evaluation phase. This involves the deployment of 75 Sol-ion energy kits for field trials across France and Germany.

EU-backed project is moving into field trial phase in France and Germany

According to the press release, the Sol-ion trials will see Li-ion batteries used in PV systems on the largest scale ever tested in Europe. The trials will be used to assess the performance of the technology, its economic viability, the added value of energy storage in an on-grid system and the benefits to stakeholders. "The key to the success of the Sol-ion project is the way that all the individual partners, both from industry and from the research institutes, have come together in close collaboration to function as a seamless team", said Michael Lippert, Marketing Manager of Saft's Energy Storage activities. "So rather than each partner providing a separate element - batteries, energy conversion and system management - and then bringing them together, we have focused right from the very start on the delivery of a comprehensive, fully-integrated, optimized solution."

Battery technology allows for PV power fed into the grid at peak hours

The advantage of the Sol-ion energy conversion and storage concept is that solar energy can be "time-shifted" to periods of peak demand or when there is no sun, instead of feeding it into the grid in real time like conventional PV systems. The field trials are expected to demonstrate the benefits to the environment and to stakeholders of storing PV energy. Saft reports that the Sol-ion kit had been developed to accommodate PV energy production of 5 kilowatt peak (kWp) with a battery rated from 5 to 15 kWh and a nominal voltage of 170 V to 350 V. The Sol-ion battery is reportedly based on Saft's high energy Li-ion modules, with a nominal voltage of 48 V and 2.2 kWh capacity.

2010-06-23   Courtesy: Saft   © Heindl Server GmbH
Picture Courtesy: Saft


Enecsys appoints VP of Engineering Paul Garrity to head solar PV micro-inverter development

Solar PV micro-inverter by Enecsys
Solar PV micro-inverter by Enecsys

Enecsys Limited (Cambridge, UK) announces the appointment of Paul Garrity to head the continued development of its advanced solar PV micro-inverter. Enecsys states their solar photovoltaic (PV) micro-inverter will cut costs up to 20% over the lifetime of the system, is intrinsically safer than string inverters, and has a life expectancy of 25 years. Garrity joins Enecsys after three years as VP of Engineering and Advanced Product Development at FlexPower (a subsidiary of Flextronics International) in Dallas, Texas and over 20 years international experience in the power electronics industry, having successfully transferred over 90 projects into production whilst working for major OEM and electronic manufacturing services companies.   Garrity has filed 12 patents related to power conversion technology. He holds BSc and BEng (Hons) degrees in Electrical and Electronic Engineering from Bell College of Technology in Hamilton, Scotland and Napier University, Edinburgh, Scotland.

Paul Garrity: A remarkable breakthrough in energy harvest, reliability, and safety

Commenting on his appointment, Garrity said: "Solar PV is one of the most exciting industries in the world to be involved with at this time. The Enecsys micro-inverter represents a remarkable breakthrough in energy harvest, reliability, and safety that will have a positive impact on system economics. The Enecsys micro-inverter will provide an excellent value proposition for its customers. I look forward to working with the talented team at Enecsys that has brought the product to market by contributing to its further development and ramp-up."

Enecsys CEO, Paul Engle, added: "Paul Garrity has an outstanding track record in cost-effective power conversion design, development and manufacturing. He will be of great value as we ramp-up production and develop new product offerings. A growing recognition of the economic and technical benefits of micro-inverter architecture has resulted in demand outstripping supply today. Garrity's skills will help us accelerate manufacturing and product development to meet this demand."

2010-06-23   Courtesy: Enecsys Limited   © Heindl Server GmbH
Picture Courtesy: Enecsys Limited


NREL launches partnership with Solarmer Energy to extend lifetime of plastic solar cells

Diagram of a plastic solar cell
Diagram of a plastic solar cell

The U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) and Solarmer Energy, Inc., have signed a Cooperative Research and Development Agreement (CRADA) to collaborate on improving the lifetime of plastic solar cells, a promising new solar conversion technology. The joint research covered by the CRADA will explore the lifetime and stability of the organic photovoltaic (OPV) devices that make up the energy-harvesting layers of plastic solar cells.   Under the terms of the CRADA, NREL researchers will evaluate the lifetime of Solarmer’s high performance active layer systems. They will conduct the tests on NREL’s combinatorial degradation system, which compares the performance of up to 360 OPV devices in parallel under simulated solar conditions that accelerate the test results. Optimizing the durability of OPV cells will enhance the technology's commercial future.

Improving plastic solar cells to reduce electricity costs

"Through this collaboration we hope to improve plastic solar cell performance and extend the cells' lifetime through the development of stable device architectures and packaging systems," said NREL senior scientist Dana C. Olson, who is the principal investigator on the CRADA. The project will cover true lifetime results of materials and devices, a comparison of the materials, and an examination of degradation mechanisms. Both parties are confident that they also will find better encapsulation and packaging approaches, which will contribute to improving the lifetime of the plastic solar cells.

Organic photovoltaic technologies (OPV), which include plastic solar cells, may one day cost a fraction of conventional silicon solar cells because they use less expensive materials. They also can be manufactured in high volumes through innovative processing methods, potentially bringing solar electricity in line with conventional electricity costs over time.

"I have no doubt that this venture will end in success with an established team like NREL’s working with us", Solarmer Vice President of Engineering, Dr. Gang Li said.

2010-06-23   Courtesy: NREL; Solarmer Energy, Inc.   © Heindl Server GmbH
Picture Courtesy: Solarmer Energy, Inc.


Chevron Energy Solutions and San Dieguito Union High School District inaugurate 2 MW solar power plant

Chevron designs, builds and operates PV systems
Chevron designs,
builds and operates
PV systems

Chevron Energy Solutions, a unit of Chevron Corporation (San Ramon, California), and San Dieguito Union High School District (SDUHSD, Encinitas, California), on June 16th, 2010 announced that the construction for a 2 megawatt (MW) solar photovoltaic (PV) project has begun. It is estimated to save the district more than 10 million US-dollars in energy costs over the life of the project.   The solar installation is expected to produce more than 70 % of the electricity needed at Canyon Crest Academy and La Costa Canyon High School. By reducing its purchase of utility power, it is anticipated that the district will reduce carbon (CO2) emissions by more than 2,200 metric tons.

Solar project partly funded by ARRA, eligible for additional incentives

Chevron Energy Solutions reportedly designed the solar PV system and will build, operate, maintain, measure and guarantee the system's performance for the school district. The company reports that it is the largest installer of solar power in the U.S. education market, having developed hundreds of projects that improve energy efficiency and provide renewable power for education, government and business facilities. The SDUHSD solar project is reportedly funded by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) and also qualifies for more than 4 million US-dollars in incentive payments. "We are proud that this project will provide savings to the district, which is critical in the current economic environment", said Ken Noah, Superintendent of the school district at the groundbreaking event at Canyon Crest Academy in San Diego. Students, district representatives, government and business officials reportedly attended the ceremony. The project is scheduled to be completed in 2010.

2010-06-23   Courtesy: Chevron Energy Solutions   © Heindl Server GmbH
Picture Courtesy: Chevron Energy Solutions


Satcon and Horizon Technology Finance enter into million subordinated debt facility agreement

Satcon PV inverter Power Gate Plus 500
Satcon PV inverter Power Gate Plus 500

Satcon Technology Corporation (Boston), provider of utility scale power solutions and solar PV inverters for the renewable energy market, announced that it has entered into a million subordinated debt facility with Horizon Technology Finance. The Company will utilize the proceeds of this transaction to further strengthen its working capital as it plans for continued worldwide growth, Satcon reports in a press release. "We are pleased to close this subordinated debt financing with Horizon", said Donald R. Peck, Satcon's Chief Financial Officer.   "Over the past twelve months, the large scale solar market has passed an inflection point with extensive growth in the volume and scope of utility grade solar installations worldwide. This resulting increase in demand for our best in class utility ready solutions has positioned Satcon as the leader in large scale solar power conditioning solutions, as evidenced by our recently announced project wins in China, North America and Europe and our announcement of over million in backlog as of early May."

Peck continued, "By bolstering our ongoing cash position with the proceeds of this debt offering, we are strengthening our balance sheet and can assure our customers and our investors that we have the financial resources available to satisfy the increasing demand for our solutions, to continue to develop and deliver the world's most advanced and efficient power conditioning solutions, and to successfully execute on our growth plans." Details of the terms of this subordinated debt transaction have been filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission on Form 8-K, Satcon reports.

2010-06-23   Courtesy: Satcon Technology Corporation   © Heindl Server GmbH
Picture Courtesy: Satcon Technology Corporation


SEIA: U.S. solar industry on track to install 10 GW of solar annually by 2015

Solar energy to support 440,000 domestic jobs in the U.S.
Solar energy to support 440,000 domestic jobs
in the U.S.

Rhone Resch, President and CEO of the Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA), on June 21st, 2010 announced an industry-wide goal of installing 10 gigawatts (GW) of solar capacity annually by 2015. Resch made the announcement during a presentation at the 35th IEEE Photovoltaics Specialist Conference in Honolulu, Hawaii. "Over the last few months, we have seen disaster after disaster caused by the fossil fuel industries and Americans are calling for a new direction for our energy future. And in communities across America, people are asking for an energy source that is clean, reliable, safe and creates economic opportunity. That energy source is solar", Resch said. 

Industry goal to power 2 million homes and spur enormous job growth in the U.S.

"Even during the recession, the solar industry grew by 37 percent in 2009 and created 17,000 new American jobs. We are confident that we can reach 10 gigawatts of new installations annually by 2015, which will power two million households with clean, safe solar energy and support 440,000 domestic jobs. As the U.S. rapidly becomes the largest solar market in the world, the solar industry will help usher in a new era of clean, reliable power that will be the backbone of America’s economy. The leaders of the solar industry have set this target to show Americans that solar can and will become the nation’s largest source of new electricity generation by 2013. We are already cost competitive with fossil fuels, and by 2015 we expect solar energy to be the lowest cost source of retail electricity in all fifty states. But to reach our goal, we need to ensure that effective policy mechanisms are in place to give consumers the choice to go solar - a choice more than 90 percent of Americans support", Resch emphasized. "The solar energy industry - invented and commercialized in the U.S. - is the solution for our country’s addiction to fossil fuels. It’s time we get this country moving in the right direction."

2010-06-22   Courtesy: SEIA   © Heindl Server GmbH
Picture Courtesy: United Solar Ovonics (Uni-Solar)


centrotherm photovoltaics concludes successful ramp-up at LG Electronics

Reporting a further success in Asia, centrotherm photovoltaics AG (Blaubeuren, Germany) is underlining its position as an internationally leading provider of turnkey photovoltaic (PV) production lines: the company concluded the ramp-up of two lines for the manufacturing of crystalline solar cells at its customer LG Electronics. With one line for mono-crystalline and one line for multi-crystalline solar cells, the Korean electronics group is entering the photovoltaic business.   "With the first two lines, we have succeeded in entering mass solar cell production within the shortest possible time span", commented Mr. Cho, Vice President at LG Electronics. "The aim is to rapidly expand capacity further in order to participate in the sector's growth, and to develop into one of the leading solar cells suppliers."

LG Electronics is particularly benefiting from the fact that, within the scope of its standardized turnkey lines, centrotherm photovoltaics is also able to adapt process technology to the respective material quality of the wafers utilized by individual customers (silicon substrate for the manufacturing of crystalline solar cells). In this way, the photovoltaic specialists from Blaubeuren are able to optimize production processes, and achieve higher efficiencies and throughput rates. "Together with LG Electronics, we have successfully implemented a demanding project plan, and, thanks to our customer's organizational strength, we have even achieved our targets ahead of schedule", emphasized Robert M. Hartung, CEO of centrotherm photovoltaics. "We are delighted that, with LG Electronics, we have been able to help an additional major company to enter the photovoltaics market."

In the future, centrotherm photovoltaics will manage its customer relationship with LG Electronics from its Korean branch that was established in the autumn of 2009.

2010-06-22   Courtesy: centrotherm photovoltaics AG   © Heindl Server GmbH


First Solar supports Solar Decathlon Europe 2010, company's PV modules to be integrated in venue's pergola

Production of First Solar PV modules
Production of First Solar PV modules

First Solar Inc. (Tempe, Arizona), one of the world's leading photovoltaic (PV) module manufacturers, on June 17th, 2010 announced that the company is sponsoring the "Solar Decathlon Europe" (Madrid; Spain) and that it will supply its PV modules to the venue. The Solar Decathlon Europe was created through an agreement between Spain's Ministry of Housing and the United States Government, which committed to organize an international solar architecture competition for energy-autonomous houses in Madrid. Nineteen top universities from around the world were selected to participate in the 2010 competition. 

Pergola to feature thin-film solar PV panels

First Solar reports that the company is one of the sponsors of the event and that it will lead an industry forum. According to the press release, the company will also supply its thin-film PV modules for the architecturally impressive Solar Decathlon pergola. These PV modules are expected to produce clean, green solar energy equivalent to the needs of three average Spanish families. First Solar reports that its modules are able to generate electricity with practically no water, no emissions, and no waste production during operation. These modules are said to perform exceptionally well under diffuse light and high temperature conditions, which results in a higher energy yield at dawn and dusk and on roofs with a less than optimal orientation towards the sun. It also results in a higher yield when modules are mounted flush with the roof, where wind is less able to cool them.

Company aims to reduce environmental impact of its technology

First Solar reports that the company is continuously looking for ways to reduce the environmental impact of its technology across the entire solar value chain. The company has developed and implemented what is believed to be the industry's first pre-funded collection and recycling program for solar modules. At no additional cost to the end customer, First Solar collects and recycles decommissioned modules and recovers approximately 90 % of their raw materials by weight.

2010-06-22   Courtesy: First Solar Inc.   © Heindl Server GmbH
Picture Courtesy: First Solar Inc.


SunPower high efficiency solar PV panels selected by six teams competing in the 2010 solar decathlon Europe

SunPower E19 Series panels
SunPower E19 Series panels

SunPower Corp. (San Jose; California) on June 18th, 2010 announced that six of the 17 university teams participating in Solar Decathlon Europe, held this month in Madrid (Spain), will use SunPower's high performance solar photovoltaic (PV) panels to power homes the students have designed, and are building for the competition.   SunPower panels are the most efficient solar panels available on the market today, and were used by first place teams in the last three Solar Decathlon competitions held in the U.S. SunPower, a leading multinational solar technology company operating in Spain since 2007, is supporting teams from three of the five participating Spanish universities (University of Sevilla, CEU University Cardenal Herrera and Institute of Advance Architecture of Cataluna), as well as the University of Florida (USA), the University of Rosenheim (Germany) and the University of Paris Arts et Métiers (France).

Competition at a Solar Village, located near the River Manzanares

"SunPower is honored to support the talent and enthusiasm of these students, as their projects may help advance the residential use of renewable energy throughout Europe", said Luis Torres, general director of market development, EMEA at SunPower. "Up to 50 percent more efficient than conventional panels, SunPower solar panels are the most reliable choice for constrained areas such as residential rooftops because they will generate more power than other solar products." The Solar Decathlon Europe, organized by the Spanish Ministry of Housing, is modeled after the Solar Decathlon that is held by the U.S. Department of Energy in Washington, D.C. every two years. In this first European competition, decathletes will compete at the Solar Village, located near the River Manzanares, close to the Principe Pio station. "This Solar Decathlon, the world's most prestigious solar home-building competition, will be the first in which all teams are connected to the grid following the design of European markets and emphasizing self-consumption in homes", added Torres.

Cost-effective, energy-efficient and attractive solar-powered houses

The Decathlon, hosting 17 teams from three continents, challenges students to design, build and operate solar-powered houses that are cost-effective, energy-efficient and attractive. From June 18 through June 27 the public can view and tour the homes as they are built.

Renowned architects and engineers make up the international panel that is judging the competition. Judges include the 2002 Pritzker Prize winner Glenn Murcutt; the president of Toyota Housing Inc., Senta Morioka; Fiona Cousins, director of Arup New York; and Francisco Mangado and Manuel Toharia of Spain.

2010-06-22   Courtesy: SunPower Corp.   © Heindl Server GmbH
Picture Courtesy: SunPower Corp.


Canadian PV producer Day4 Energy announces agreement with German Gebäude-Solarsysteme on custom photovoltaic product development

BIPV installation by Day4 Energy
BIPV installation by Day4 Energy

Day4 Energy Inc. (Burnaby, British Columbia, Canada), a leading supplier of high performance, cost-effective solar electric solutions, on June 17th, 2010 announced that Gebäude-Solarsysteme GmbH (GSS; Korbußen, Germany) was the second photovoltaic (PV) company to join Day4's proprietary manufacturing platform.   GSS is focused on the development and sales of roof-integrated PV solutions and other building integrated photovoltaic (BIPV) products. Day4 reports that its new partner company has a particularly strong market presence in France and Belgium, where roof integrated PV systems are strongly supported by the local subsidy programs.

Integration of PV-products into construction materials becoming increasingly important

The announcement was made in conjunction with Day4 Energy's participation in the French market solar conference, "Salon des Energies Renouvelables" that was held on June 18th, 2010 in Paris. France, and particularly the country's roof-integrated market, is believed to become more important within central Europe. "This deal is an excellent opportunity to introduce and extend the reach of our Day4 branded products into a new vertical market", said George Rubin, President of Day4. "As we are approaching grid parity in many markets, integration of PV technologies with construction materials will become increasingly important and the overall BIPV market place is likely to grow rapidly. Embedding Day4 technology into new product development for GSS clients such as roofing materials for construction companies and automotive applications allows us to leverage the presence that GSS has cultivated in these market segments over the years."

PV technology to advance product development process of German BIPV company

"During our many years of experience in the PV sector we have spent a considerable amount of time looking at possible new module / cell technologies that can take our product development process to the next level", said Joachim Höhne, Director of GSS. "Now we are very excited to combine our product expertise as well as to extend our previous technology and product portfolio, with the unique and established Day4 technology, into the Day4 platform." According to the press release, this is the second license agreement signed by Day4 since the introduction of this business segment in May 2010. At current market prices and full capacity utilization the 15 megawatt (MW) line is expected to provide over 700,000 Euros per year in royalty revenue to Day4.

Company offers turn-key manufacturing solution for high-quality PV products

Day4 had previously announced that it had entered an agreement in principle to acquire ACI ecotec GmbH &Co. KG (ACI; Zimmern o. R., Germany), a privately owned specialized photovoltaic (PV) equipment design and manufacturing company. The combination of the Day4 proprietary and patented technology and ACI's specialized know-how and equipment allowed Day4 to launch its turn-key manufacturing technology solution for production of PV cells and PV modules. Based on the patented Day4 Electrode and Guardian technologies, Day4's manufacturing solution reportedly offers PV cell and module producers an opportunity to reduce their investment and production costs while achieving sustainable differentiation in solar markets by producing high performance products.

2010-06-22   Courtesy: Day4 Energy Inc.   © Heindl Server GmbH
Picture Courtesy: Day4 Energy Inc.


German Sinosol AG acquires 200MW Italian solar PV project pipeline

On June 8, 2010, Sinosol AG (Frankfurt Am Main, Germany) announced that it has launched a project holding company in Italy, with partners Metalco SpA (Veneto, Italy) and Mazzanti Group Srl (Bagno a Ripoli, Italy), with access to a project pipeline of more than 200MW of rooftop and brownfield solar photovoltaic (PV) projects. Sinosol says that it anticipates these projects to be completed by the end of 2012.   "The co-operation with Mazzanti and Metalco is an important milestone for our plans in the Italian market", said Sinosol AG Executive Board Member Raphael Krause. “It has been arranged by Dr. Carlo Capponi, who is heading the business development of Sinosol Group in Italy since the beginning of 2010. The joint venture enables us, together with our experienced and established local partners, to offer all services from project development to construction and the operation of PV-power plants from one provider."

Metalco and Mazzanti

Sinosol describes Metalco and Mazzanti as “strong partners” with which to enter the booming Italian solar market. Mazzanti is a construction company with a large number of solar PV rooftop projects, and Metalco brings expertise in metal construction to Sinosol's experience developing large PV projects.

Italian Solar

In 2009 the Italian solar industry emerged as the second-largest in the world, with 730MW of new installed PV. Italy has both strong natural solar potential, particularly in the Southern part of the nation, and a promising feed-in tariff under the nation's "Conto Energia" policy. The nation has higher tariffs for building-integrated PV, and the European Photovoltaic Industry Association is predicting stable continued growth for the Italian solar industry over the next few years.

2010-06-22   Courtesy: Sinosol AG   © Heindl Server GmbH


PV producer Solyndra announces private placement of secured convertible promissory notes, status of Fab 2 construction

Solyndra Headquarters in Fremont, California
Solyndra Headquarters in Fremont,

Solyndra, Inc. (Fremont, California) on June 17th, 2010 announced that it has entered into an agreement for the sale of secured convertible promissory notes to certain of its existing investors in an aggregate principal amount of 5 million in a private placement. Proceeds from the sales of such notes will be used to fund the company's existing operations and support its growth plans, Solyndra reports in a press release. "Given the ongoing uncertainties in the public capital markets, we elected to pursue alternative funding from our existing investor base. This funding allows us to address strong customer demand by maintaining our aggressive growth plans," commented Dr. Chris Gronet, CEO of Solyndra.   Solyndra designs and manufactures photovoltaic systems, comprised of panels and mounts, for the commercial rooftop market. Using proprietary cylindrical modules and thin film technology, Solyndra’s light weight, non-penetrating systems are designed to provide simple and easy installations and the lowest cost of electricity for typical low slope commercial rooftops.

Fab 2 manufacturing complex to start production in the fourth quarter of 2010; Annualized production to exceed 300MW

The company expects first production from its Fab 2 manufacturing complex to occur in the fourth quarter of 2010, approximately two months ahead of schedule. "Fab 2 can't come on line a minute too soon," according to Dr. Gronet. "We've now sold over 300,000 panels for deployment on commercial rooftop sites in a dozen countries. By the fourth quarter of 2011, we expect our annualized production to exceed 300MW, enabling economies of scale that will substantially reduce our manufacturing costs."

Solyndra also announced that it has submitted a request with the Securities and Exchange Commission to withdraw its Registration Statement on Form S-1, which was originally filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission on December 18, 2009. The company elected not to proceed with an initial public offering of shares of its common stock at this time due to adverse market conditions and the availability of alternative funding from existing investors. No shares of Solyndra's common stock were sold pursuant to the Registration Statement.

2010-06-21   Courtesy: Solyndra Inc.   © Heindl Server GmbH
Picture Courtesy: Solyndra Inc.


PV companies Q-Cells and Innotech Solar enter strategic partnership

Multicristalline solar cell by Q-Cells
Multicristalline solar cell by Q-Cells

Q-Cells SE (Bitterfeld-Wolfen, Germany) and Innotech Solar AS (ITS; Narvik, Norway) on June 16th, 2010 announced that they had entered into a long-term strategic partnership. Under the scope of this agreement, Q-Cells will sell all of its non-prime solar photovoltaic (PV) cells to ITS for conversion into PV solutions worldwide under the ITS brand name.   Q-Cells reports that it will supply ITS with all of its visually and/or electrically non-prime solar cells under the multi-year agreement. According to the press release, both parties intend to further extend this strategic partnership.

Norwegian company to utilize non-prime solar PV cells in its line of products

"The strategic partnership with ITS is a very promising way to make best use of our non-prime solar cells", said Timothy P. Ryan, Sales Director Europe of Q-Cells. "ITS has the know-how and capacity to process these cells into very attractive modules and systems. Q-Cells' focus remains on providing the very highest quality branded solar cells and modules, with precisely defined product characteristics, which we offer to our customers or process into our own modules." Q-Cells is a leading PV company providing solar cells, modules and PV systems. The company is one of the largest cell manufacturers worldwide, providing high-quality, efficient and cost-effective crystalline solar PV cells.

Agreement based on long history of good business relationship

"Q-Cells has an excellent reputation for delivering premium quality, high power output solar cells and developing leading cell efficiencies", commented Thor-Christian Tuv, Chief Executive Officer (CEO) at ITS. "ITS is very pleased to have developed an already long business relationship into a strategic partnership. This is a continuation of our good relationship with Q-Cells to use their solar cells in order to offer best performance to our customers." According to the press release, the companies also agreed to transfer certain reworking assets and staff from Q-Cells in Thalheim, which is believed to be a good opportunity for ITS to take over some of the good resources and to quickly expand its capabilities.

2010-06-21   Courtesy: Q-Cells SE   © Heindl Server GmbH
Picture Courtesy: Q-Cells SE


OPEL Solar highlights engineering innovations, advancements in CPV technology create U.S. jobs

CPV system by OPEL Solar
CPV system by OPEL Solar

As the appetite for advanced solar technologies and the demand for commercial and utility scale solar projects continue to grow around the world, OPEL Solar, Inc. (Shelton, Connecticut and Toronto, Ontario, Canada), a global supplier of high concentration photovoltaic (HCPV) solar panels and solar tracker systems, in June 2010 announced that it had stepped up its focus on designing and manufacturing the most technologically advanced and cost-effective solar products in North America and abroad.   Dr. Javier Berrios, Vice President of Engineering with OPEL Solar noted that the company has made several enhancements to its high concentrating photovoltaic (HCPV) panels, solar tracker systems and manufacturing processes, at a time when others were curtailing their commitment in the wake of the global financial crisis. "These innovations have put OPEL Solar in a position where it can offer the solar energy market a product line-up that provides industry-leading levels of efficiency, power production and optimal commercial value", Dr. Berrios said.

HCPV panels ready for anticipated growth in CPV markets

According to the press release, one of the enhancements OPEL Solar was able to achieve were improvements in the design of its "Mk-I HCPV" panel that resulted in a market leading power generation efficiency exceeding 28 %. Innovations in the packaging of the solar engine, the heart of the panel, and in advanced panel optics, with partners like LPI and Evonix, are believed to prepare the HCPV panel for mass production quantities, timed for the anticipated growth of the concentrating photovoltaic (CPV) market, especially in North America. "The performance and reliability of OPEL Solar's single and dual axis tracker systems also have been enhanced, making for very cost-effective large-scale solar installations," Dr. Berrios said. "The trackers are now available with wireless network control allowing OPEL Solar customers to lower operation and maintenance (O&M) time and expense, a major factor in solar project viability."

Improved tracker system allows for easy, cost effective installation

Previously, OPEL Solar had announced the introduction of the "FEiNA SF-70" single-axis utility scale tracker that is said to feature ease of installation at field sites and incorporated reverse tracking capability. "We are very pleased to announce this tracker system has been upgraded and is now called the TF-800 tracker," commented Ed Linke, Director of Mechanical Engineering for OPEL Solar. "The TF-800 can be secured in the ground with I-beams versus the need for concrete footings, resulting in significant installation cost savings. In addition, the TF-800 has improved electronic controls and SCADA support that improve the tracker's O&M efficiency and monitoring capabilities."

Technology advancements created jobs, demonstrate link between renewable energy expansion and economic recovery

OPEL Solar reports that the company's technological innovations, its product and process enhancements have also resulted in bringing jobs to the United States. Many OPEL tracker products, for example, are now being manufactured in the U.S. "It's a win-win. This strategy puts local people to work not only manufacturing an OPEL product, but also creating a ripple effect for jobs in States and Provinces where OPEL's solar installations are planned", said Dr. Berrios. "Local source manufacturing demonstrates the link between renewable energy expansion and job creation." Dr. Berrios believes that the willingness of prestigious government test labs to cooperate with OPEL Solar is a testimony to its innovation. "Solar energy is, unquestionably, the right thing to do for the environment and the economy", added Leon M. Pierhal, Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of OPEL Solar, Inc.

2010-06-21   Courtesy: OPEL Solar, Inc.   © Heindl Server GmbH
Picture Courtesy: OPEL Solar, Inc.


IHS study: Feed-in tariff reductions mark transition phase for Europe's photovoltaic markets

The period from 2010 to 2012 is shaping up to be one of the significant transformations for the Europe photovoltaic (PV) industry as it confronts regulatory incentive revisions, expanding market development opportunities and scaling competition from better-financed and more robust power players, according to a study by IHS Emerging Energy Research (Cambridge, Massachusetts).   The company, a provider of analyses on clean and renewable energy markets, on June 14th, 2010 announced the 254 page report titled "Europe Solar PV Markets and Strategies: 2010-2025" in a press release, which was initially published in May. European PV markets are forecasted to add as much as 15.5 gigawatts (GW) from 2010 to 2012 at an average of 5 GW per year. In the longer term, the PV sector in Europe is expected to maintain its growth trajectory from an expected 6.3 GW in 2010 toward 101 GW of installed capacity by 2025.

Revisions of solar FIT policies due to rapid technology and cost advances

"In domino-like fashion, Europe's governments are revising their feed-in tariff (FIT) schemes and permitting procedures in 2010 to keep pace with PV's rapid technology and cost advances", said IHS Research Director Reese Tisdale, one of the study's authors. "Feed-in tariffs have been instrumental in getting the Europe PV sector off the ground to date. These schemes are evolving rapidly in their designs to shape both the size and content of the market going forward." IHS points out that the epicenter of the global PV industry, the German PV market, faces significant changes in the coming months due to the proposed revisions to the FITs, which are to be enacted by the end of 2010. As a result, German PV development is surging ahead of the proposed tariff reductions. While Germany is among the most cost-competitive markets in Europe, reduced FIT rates will force players to further reduce solar PV system costs.

Once centered exclusively around Germany, European solar market has diversified, stabilizing the market and dampening risks

According to IHS, other European markets such as Italy, Spain, and the Czech Republic are poised to follow suit with expansive tariff revisions planned in 2010. Despite the planned tariff revisions, Germany is expected to continue to dominate the global PV build-out, according to Tisdale. The anticipated continued development in Italy, France, and Belgium is believed to also be pivotal in driving the industry forward through scale, technology improvements, and deeper experience for developers. "Europe is no longer a one-market PV industry," Tisdale explained. "With development focused almost entirely on Germany several years ago, the Europe PV market has now diversified to five or six active countries, ultimately to stabilize the market and dampen risk."

Non-German utilities and renewable players have entered the forefront of large-scale PV deployment

Scaling PV activity in European markets outside of Germany has propelled a new group of utilities and power players into the industry forefront, IHS reports. Leading utilities and renewable players Electricité de France (EDF), and Enel are at the forefront of large-scale PV deployment, particularly in France and Italy, leveraging their renewables success and experience to position for broader international competition. As competition increases in the downstream development segment, a growing number of international suppliers are challenging the more entrenched European companies for market share.

Asian manufacturers gain market share, are among top module suppliers to Europe

Leading the charge against established European solar companies has been the rising presence of lower-cost Asian manufacturers. Furthermore, the recent oversupply of the global PV module market, technology and manufacturing improvements, and economies of scale have led to a dramatic reduction in solar PV system costs in 2009 and 2010. Adding to this positive cost trend, the increased positions of larger industrial players such as Siemens, ABB and GE are expected to have an additional impact on the PV sector. "Over the past 24 months, the makeup of the PV market has shifted dramatically with the growing presence of Asian suppliers squeezing traditional European suppliers", said Tisdale. "At the heart of this change are Chinese companies, led by Suntech, Yingli, Trina, SolarFun and Canadian Solar, who are gaining market share through low-cost modules." Through the first quarter of 2010, eight of Europe's top 15 module suppliers in Europe were Asia-based, highlighting a shift toward a more global supply chain from the more entrenched German suppliers that have been so successful in the past, IHS researchers found.

2010-06-21   Courtesy: Emerging Energy Research   © Heindl Server GmbH


EIB, European Commission to explore EU climate finance initiative

Ms Connie Hedegaard, EU’s first Climate Action Commissioner and Simon Brooks, Vice Presi- dent of the EIB
Ms Connie Hedegaard, EU’s first Climate Action
Commissioner and Simon Brooks, Vice Presi-
dent of the EIB

European Climate Action Commissioner Connie Hedegaard and European Investment Bank (EIB; Luxembourg) President Philippe Maystadt agreed on Monday, June 14th, 2010 to explore a joint climate finance initiative for developing countries as part of the European Union commitment made at the United Nations (UN) climate conference in Copenhagen in December of 2009. During talks at EIB headquarters, they also welcomed a political agreement reached in mobilizing finance for carbon capture and storage (CCS) and innovative renewable energy technologies in the EU through the "NER 300" initiative.   Commissioner Hedegaard said: "Adequate finance is crucial to agreeing and implementing an international agreement limiting global warming to 2 °C. The EU has set one of the most ambitious emission reduction targets in the world. Financial institutions such as the EIB, together with the private sector, will play a key role in helping the EU deliver on its emission commitments as well as on mobilizing the financial flows needed for mitigation and adaptation to climate change in developing countries."

Grants from EC and EU member states and financing from EIB and similar institutions to help meet Copenhagen commitments

EIB Vice President Simon Brooks, who is responsible for environmental protection issues, said: "We think a EU climate action finance platform would give visibility to the commitments made by the European Union in Copenhagen last year. The idea is to combine European Commission and Member States' grants with financing from the EIB and other European financial institutions to meet the different challenges posed by adaptation and mitigation in the most efficient way." The European Commission (EC) and EIB Group are already cooperating in the implementation of the Global Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy Fund (GEEREF). Launched in 2008, GEEREF has already provided finance to renewable energy funds in Southern Africa and Asia, EIB reports.

Investment bank proposed to increase ceiling on financing projects outside of EU to fight climate change

According to the press release, the EIB lent nearly 17 billion Euros in support of Europe's climate goals in 2009, including for renewable energy projects in Egypt, Kenya, Turkey and Vanuatu, among other countries. EIB expects its 2010 lending outside the EU to support some 2.5 billion Euros of investments in renewables, and says it may consider further developing its portfolio of carbon funds with other financial institutions. The EC proposed in April to increase the ceiling on EIB financing outside the EU by 2 billion Euros in the period from 2011 to 2013 and to dedicate this extra lending to the fight against climate change. EU finance ministers last week gave provisional support to the proposal, pending a first reading in the European Parliament.

300 million emission allowances to be sold to finance renewable energy and carbon caption demonstration projects

The EC and EIB are reportedly now finalizing an inter-institutional agreement on the implementation of the NER 300 initiative, under which 300 million emission allowances from the 'New Entrants Reserve' (NER) of the EU Emissions Trading System will be sold to raise funding for demonstration projects involving CCS and innovative renewable energy technologies. The agreement is to be published once it is finalized.

2010-06-21   Courtesy: EIB   © Heindl Server GmbH
Picture Courtesy: EIB


Foster Wheeler awarded contract to supply solar steam generator equipment in Spain

Foster Wheeler AG (Geneva, Switzerland), a global engineering and construction contractor and power equipment supplier that delivers technically advanced, reliable facilities and equipment, on June 15th, 2010 announced that a subsidiary of its Global Power Group (Zug, Switzerland) had been awarded a contract to design, supply and provide site advisory services for two sets of solar steam generators, namely preheaters, kettle type evaporators, superheaters and reheaters, as well as low pressure and high pressure feedwater heaters.   The company reports that this equipment will be integrated into the "Valle 1" and "Valle 2" solar thermal power plants, located in San José del Valle (Cadiz, Spain). The contract had been awarded to the company by the project's engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) contractor, a joint venture created by the Spanish companies SENER and COBRA.

Molten salt energy storage technology allows solar thermal plant to operate 7 hours without sunshine

The plants, which are to be owned by Torresol Energy, a joint-venture created by the Spanish SENER (60%) and the Abu Dhabi-based company Masdar (40%), are to have an installed power capacity of 50 megawatt (MW) each. Foster Wheeler reports that it has received a full notice to proceed on this contract. The equipment delivery is reportedly scheduled for the first quarter of 2011. The plants are to use SENER's concentrated parabolic trough technology ("SENERtrough") and will feature energy storage by means of molten salt tanks, which are designed to provide up to seven hours of plant operation without sun radiation.

Solar thermal plants to help offset 95,000 tons of CO2 emissions annually

The plants are expected to operate approximately 3,500 hours per year, with the potential to eliminate 95,000 tons of carbon (CO2) emissions annually. "This award is a decisive step forward for Foster Wheeler's strategy regarding solar thermal technology", said Eric Svendsen, Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Foster Wheeler Energia, S.L. in Madrid. "It reflects our client's confidence in the excellent performance of Foster Wheeler and also confirms the high quality standards and features of our design for the demanding heat exchanger equipment required by solar thermal power plants that utilize molten salts and oil as thermal heat transfer fluids." Foster Wheeler's Global Power Group is a leading supplier of combustion and steam generation technology and it designs, manufactures and erects steam generating and auxiliary equipment for power stations and industrial facilities.

2010-06-21   Courtesy: Foster Wheeler AG   © Heindl Server GmbH


Sunnovations launches new solar hot water technology

Close-up of the Solar Collectors with Sunnovations Pump unit
Close-up of the Solar Collectors
with Sunnovations Pump unit

The cleantech startup company Sunnovations Inc. (McLean, Virginia), on June 14th, 2010 announced the commercial availability of its "breakthrough" solar hot water system for American homes. Solar hot water, a clean and free power source, is believed to be an incredibly underexploited technology in the United States, despite the fact that homeowners could save up to 75 % on their water heating bill and remediate several tons of greenhouse gas emissions every year, while having the same usage experience as a regular water heating system.   Sunnovations reports that it is able to remove many of the real and perceived barriers to go solar for homeowners. The company's passive "geyser-pump" system is said to allow for maintenance-free operation suitable for all climate zones.

Cost effective, easy-to-install solar hot water systems to help reduce both power usage and greenhouse gas emissions

Hot water production is both the second largest user of power and source of greenhouse gas emissions in American homes, according to the US Department of Energy's (DOE) "Buildings Energy Data Book". In a given year, between 7 and 8 million replacement water heaters are sold in the US. Sunnovations believes that switching even a small percentage of these to solar will have a substantial positive environmental impact. "The time has finally arrived for solar hot water in the US", said Sunnovations Founder and President Arnoud van Houten. "Our patent-pending system does away with the electromechanical equipment that is required in other systems, resulting in a far more cost effective, easier to install and reliable solar hot water system."

New, maintenance-free solar water heating technology available for mid-Atlantic US residences

Matt Carlson, Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Sunnovations, said that the cost saving and environmental remediation opportunity that solar hot water represents has been sorely underappreciated in the US. "Sunnovations has set out to change that by bringing clarity to the cost-saving and environmental benefits to the homeowner as well as standardization and simplicity to the technology behind solar hot water systems," Carlson said. "Through our extensive field trials we have been incredibly gratified by the positive response of the solar professional installer community." Sunnovations reports that the company's system is available exclusively through leading residential alternative energy installers in the mid-Atlantic region, including Pennsylvania, Maryland, the District of Columbia, Virginia and North Carolina.

2010-06-20   Courtesy: Sunnovations Inc.   © Heindl Server GmbH
Picture Courtesy: Sunnovations Inc.


Photovoltaics: SunLink releases enhanced commercial PV roof mounting system

PV roof mounting system by SunLink
PV roof mounting system by SunLink

SunLink Corporation (San Rafael, California), a supplier of scalable photovoltaic module mounting solutions, in June 2010 announced the release of an enhanced version of its commercial photovoltaic (PV) roof mount system. According to the press release, the new enhanced mounting system lowers the total installed costs for integrators and system owners by reducing installation times and allowing for greater design flexibility.   The new rooftop mounting systems include innovative wind deflectors, which can be quickly installed on the outside of rear spars. They also include shorter tilt brackets for north and south rows, which create more room between the system and the roof edge, allowing for more rows and enhancing design flexibility. Sunlink reports that its new solution also features a new universal clamp block that is compatible with virtually all module types, allowing for more play between panels and easing installation.

Updated mounting system speeds installation and creates greater design flexibility

"The enhanced SunLink roof mount system underscores our commitment to innovation and confirms our position at the industry leader in engineering quality, design flexibility, and total installed cost", said Christopher Tilley, Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of SunLink. "Our goal has always been to reduce installation time while delivering the most reliable system possible. You can expect to see more industry-leading innovations coming from SunLink in the future as we strive to make our systems even easier to install and more roof-friendly." SunLink's PV mounting solutions are said to offer the lowest total installed cost in the industry. SunLink systems have multiple tilt angles and non-penetrating rooftop mounting options for a wide-variety of solar panels, guaranteeing flexible system design and high performance. SunLink's offsite prepanelization service further reduces installed costs and maximizes labor efficiency on the roof, the company reports.

2010-06-20   Courtesy: SunLink Corporation   © Heindl Server GmbH
Picture Courtesy: SunLink Corporation


PV producer Suntech inaugurates Low Carbon Concept Museum

Al Gore and Suntech Founder Dr. Zhengrong Shi
Al Gore and Suntech Founder Dr.
Zhengrong Shi

On June 11th, 2010, Suntech Power Holding Company, Ltd. (Wuxi, China) launched the Low Carbon Concept Museum at its headquarters in Wuxi, where Suntech officials were joined by former US Vice President and Chairman of the Alliance for Climate Protection Al Gore. The museum will serve to educate both school-age children and the Wuxi community about the world's energy and environmental challenges.   "I am honored to be here with my friend, Dr. Shi, for the launch of the Low Carbon Concept Museum," said Al Gore after the launch ceremony. "The climate crisis can be solved but only with the rapid deployment of technologies in China, the United States and around the world that reduce the pollution that causes global warming."

The Low Carbon Concept Museum

The museum examines the relationship between energy and human civilization, from the discovery of fire to the contemporary development of solar power. It also explores the impact of carbon-based energy production on the planet, including the dangers posed to our civilization from climate change caused by man-made global warming. The museum is in the lobby of Suntech's headquarters, under the world's largest solar facade.

Suntech, education and charity

The Low Carbon Concept Museum is the latest public education endeavor by Suntech, the world's second largest producer by watt of solar photovoltaic (PV) cells and modules. Over the last year, Suntech donated 200 sets of solar testing and engineering equipment to schools across China, and provided a basic education scholarship fund and sets of solar systems for three schools in remote Tibet. The company has also donated PV systems for a school in Tanzania and subsidized a PV system for a high school in Austin, Texas, US. At the event Suntech Founder and CEO Dr. Zhengrong Shi announced that his family's charitable foundation will donate PV modules to power 18 remote schools in Lebanon.

In its international charity and education endeavors, Suntech stresses the global nature of its business. The company is the largest Chinese company in the solar industry, but also has manufacturing, production and/or research and development facilities in Japan, Australia, Germany and the United States. Suntech Founder Dr. Zhengrong Shi is a graduate of the University of New South Wales, in Australia, and the company keeps strong ties with the University, particularly in the field of research.

2010-06-19   Courtesy: Suntech Power Holding Company   © Heindl Server GmbH
Picture Courtesy: Suntech Power Holding Company


glasstec 2010: Varied ranges for Architects, Construction Engineers and Façade Planners

The international glass trade fair "glasstec 2010" will be held in Düsseldorf, Germany, from September 28th to October 1st , 2010. Glass is becoming ever more important as a construction material in architecture both indoor and out, Messe Düsseldorf GmbH reports in a press release. The wide range of exhibitors from the fields of the glass industry, glass machine building and the skilled glazier trade make glasstec extremely attractive for architects, construction engineers, façade planners and related professions. New processes and technologies such as glass forming, printing and evaporation as well as multifunctional glass allow to use glass on and in buildings in ever more creative ways. glasstec 2010 will bring an even higher-quality and more comprehensive supporting programme than ever before, the organizers emphasize.   For instance, the glasstec special show "glass technology live" (gtl) with its motto "Energy Efficiency with Glass" takes a look at the potential glass holds as a construction material. According to Messe Düsseldorf innovations are presented that illustrate the sustainable contribution glass can make in the saving of resources using intelligent insulation, light guiding or energy generation when integrated into solar applications.

Glass technology live symposium for architects and planners

As part of the glass technology live symposium the Thursday of the fair (30/09) focusing on the topic "Innovative Glass Applications in Architecture" will be of particular interest to architects and planners, Messe Düsseldorf reports in its press release. In forty-minute lectures that can be followed in English and German renowned offices like Zaha Hadid Architects (Nordkettenbahn/Innsbruck) or Behnisch Architekten (Energy.Design.Synergy) will be presenting their current projects and creative concepts.

Overview of current developments in façade technology

All new for 2010 is the "Façades Centre" located in direct proximity to gtl. With its thematic range on energy-efficient building envelopes this centre targets primarily façade planners, construction engineers as well as architects. According to the press release renowned companies as well as sectoral associations and scientific institutions are providing an overview of current developments in façade technology. In addition, innovative façade mock-ups will be on show including building-integrated photovoltaics and multifunctional elements.

Practical know-how at the architectural congress

The Architectural Congress - organised by Prof. Ulrich Knaack from the Delft University of Technology and Ostwestfalen-Lippe University as well as the North Rhine-Westphalian Chamber of Architects - is another compelling reason for creative building planners, architects, structural engineers, aircon engineers as well as façade planners to come to Düsseldorf. The congress will already be held for the third time now as part of glasstec, Messe Düsseldorf reports in the press release. Internationally renowned speakers including Massimiliano Fuksas from Rome, Prof. Manfred Hegger from Darmstadt and the UN Studio from Amsterdam will be conveying practical know-how on topics such as "Canyons of Glass", "Transparency and Sustainability" and "Texture of Transparency". The Architectural Congress will be held at CCD Ost at the exhibition centre on 1 October 2010.

2010-06-19   Courtesy: Messe Düsseldorf GmbH   © Heindl Server GmbH


SMA 'Sunny Central 800CP' inverter distinguished with the Intersolar Award 2010

Frank Niebling, SMA Sunny Central Product Manager, and Jürgen Reekers, SMA Vice President, Development Central Inverters receive the 2010 Intersolar Award
Frank Niebling, SMA Sunny Central Product
Manager, and Jürgen Reekers, SMA Vice
President, Development Central Inverters
receive the 2010 Intersolar Award

SMA Solar Technology AG (Niestetal, Germany), on June 16th, 2010 announced that it had received the Intersolar Award in the photovoltaics (PV) category at this year's Intersolar in Munich (Germany). The prize was awarded for the entirely redesigned "Sunny Central 800CP" central inverter. The abbreviation "CP" in the product's name stands for 'compact power', and is meant to describe its superior output and performance that it is able to achieve in a relatively small space.   It is also believed to be the first PV inverter to offer 800 kVA of nominal power in combination with 98.6 % efficiency as a single device. SMA reports that the compact and weatherproof housing makes this inverter easy to transport and it can be set up nearly anywhere. The cost-minimizing potential that the company's central inverter offers for the realization of large-scale solar PV plants is believed to be an additional reason for the distinction.

Maximum efficiency and substantially reduced system costs

"The SC 800CP redefines system technology for large-scale plants and makes them economical in the long run by consistently following SMA's development strategy: integrating top performance and the latest technologies into an exceedingly compact inverter", said Jürgen Reekers, who received the award and heads the Central Inverter Development Division at SMA. "That has allowed SMA to dramatically lower system costs and simultaneously increase inverter efficiency." According to the press release, with the Sunny Central 800CP solution, SMA is now able to increase performance by over 25 % as compared to other devices of this class, while simultaneously reducing system costs by up to 35 %.

Simple installation through compact construction and intelligent technology

SMA reports that the award-winning inverter also features intelligent power management capabilities. Together with the "OptiCool" cooling concept, the device reportedly provides the full 880 kVA in continuous operation at an ambient temperature of up to 25°C, which is about 10 % more than the listed nominal power. The Sunny Central 800CP is believed to be the first outdoor-ready PV inverter with more than 500 kVA output and a compact housing. With its comprehensive grid-management features, it also meets all existing and future standards, SMA reports. Another feature is what the company describes as the 'world's only' "Optiprotect" function, which is capable to monitor up to 1,600 individual strings for potential failure in combination with intelligent fault management. Sunny Central 800CP has been produced in Europe since May 2010, and is expected to be available to the North American market by the fourth quarter of 2010. SMA reports that it has received the Intersolar Award for the second time. In 2008, the company received the award for its "Sunny Boy 5000TL", an inverter solution for the private rooftop plant segment.

2010-06-18   Courtesy: SMA Solar Technology AG   © Heindl Server GmbH
Picture Courtesy: SMA Solar Technology AG


Siemens Energy to build 30MW of PV in France

Siemens Energy Renewable Energy Division CEO René Umlauft
Siemens Energy Renewable Energy
Division CEO René Umlauft

On June 15, 2010, Siemens Energy, a division of Siemens AG (Munich, Germany) reported its first large French solar photovoltaic (PV) order from Eco Delta Développement (La Ciotat, France). Under the terms of the order, Siemens Energy will be responsible for all aspects of construction of six PV plants with a total capacity of 30MW in Les Mées in the province of Alpes-de-Haute-Provence, France. Siemens expects the plants to become operational in stages starting in the summer of 2011.   "With this order we are entering in the French solar market", said Siemens Energy Renewable Energy Division CEO René Umlauft. "The market will increase from today’s 350 MWp installed solar plant capacity to as much as to 5400 MWp in 2020. With its vast experience in the turnkey erection of power plants Siemens is capable of implementing solar projects of this size. In France we see good prospects for our future solar business."

11,000 solar modules on the Puimichel Plateau

The six solar plants, consisting of 11,000 solar modules, will be built on the Puimichel Plateau. Under the contract Siemens Energy will be responsible for civil works, supports, inverters, transformers, grid connection, control systems and structures, as well as operation and maintenance.

France and Solar

France is far behind neighboring Germany, Italy and Spain in both total installed PV and building a regulatory framework that supports large-scale solar development. In 2009 France installed 285MW of PV, but only 185MW were connected due to lengthy administrative procedures. France gets over 75% of its power from nuclear power plants, and has kept retail rates low, creating a more difficult economic climate for solar power.

2010-06-18   Courtesy: Siemens AG   © Heindl Server GmbH
Picture Courtesy: Siemens AG


Sempra Generation completes first block of 48MW Nevada thin-film PV plant

The El Dorado Solar Plant
The El Dorado Solar Plant

On June 15th, 2010, Sempra Generation (San Diego, US) announced that the first 8MW block of solar photovoltaic (PV) panels at its Copper Mountain Solar plant in Boulder City, Nevada, has been installed and is supplying power to the electric grid. First Solar supplied the thin-film PV modules for the plant, which will be the largest PV plant in the United States upon completion. Construction began on the plant in January, 2010 and Sempra expects the Copper Mountain plant to be completed by the end of 2010.   "We are pleased to reach this major milestone so quickly, and we look forward to completing the project later this year", said Sempra Generation CEO Jeffrey Martin. "Copper Mountain Solar is delivering a new supply of clean, renewable power to California residents, while creating hundreds of construction jobs."

Nearly one million PV modules

Sempra is also constructing a 10MW facility, the El Dorado Solar Plant, adjacent to Copper Mountain. Together the two plants use nearly one million thin-film PV modules, with First Solar not only supplying the modules but serving as the engineering, procurement and construction contractor. Electricity from both the Copper Mountain and El Dorado plants will be sold to Pacific Gas and Electric Company (PG&E) under separate 20-year contracts.

Ample sunlight, cheap land and proximity to urban areas with huge electric demands make Southern Nevada a prime location for these sorts of large-scale solar projects. On June 11, 2010 the US Bureau of Land Management released a rental schedule for utility solar developments, which the agency says is a step towards accommodating more solar power plants in the rural Western region of the US.

Sempra Generation has set its sights on even more ambitious projects, and has secured permits for a massive new PV plant in Arizona which could generate up to 600MW of electricity. The company, a subsidiary of power company Sempra Energy (San Diego, US) also has PV projects in California, Hawaii and the Mexican state of Baja California.

2010-06-18   Courtesy: Sempra Generation   © Heindl Server GmbH
Picture Courtesy: First Solar


Sanyo to expand manufacturing capacity for HIT solar cells, modules

Diagram of Sanyo's HIT cells
Diagram of Sanyo's HIT cells

On June 15th, 2010, Sanyo Electric Company, Ltd. (Osaka, Japan) announced that it will expand production of its HIT solar photovoltaic (PV) cells and modules at two of its Japanese manufacturing facilities to meet rising Japanese demand. The company is also expanding module production at facilities in Hungary and Mexico, and by March 2011 expects to have global manufacturing capacities of 565MW of HIT cells and 680MW of HIT modules.   "The Japanese market is expanding rapidly due to installation subsidies from the national and prefectural governments, as well as the national government’s new surplus electricity purchasing program for solar power", stated Sanyo in a press release.

Expansions at Nishikinohama and Shiga plants

Sanyo states that its Nishikinohama factory in Kaizuka City will expand from 35MW to 40MW of modules through process enhancements, and its Shiga plant, which was already undergoing expansion to from 100MW to 200MW, will now be expanded to produce 250MW of modules by March 2011. Sanyo also manufactures HIT cells at the Nishikinohama factory, as well as at another plant, the Shimane Sanyo Electric Company, Ltd. in Unnan City, Japan.

HIT cells

The Sanyo HIT solar cell is composed of a thin mono-crystalline wafer surrounded by layers of ultra-thin amorphous silicon. Sanyo says its HIT cells produce higher output by minimizing power generation losses in the non-regular grid area of the solar cell surface.

Japanese solar demand

While Japan has been surpassed in the position it once held as the world leader in both PV cell and module manufacturing and new annual installed capacity, it remains the world's third largest PV market. The nation installed 484MW of PV in 2009, despite a limited feed-in tariff program.

2010-06-18   Courtesy: Sanyo Electric Company, Ltd.   © Heindl Server GmbH
Picture Courtesy: Sanyo Electric Company, Ltd.


Skyline Solar announces installation of concentrating photovoltaic system to power small California town

Skyline Solar HGS system
Skyline Solar HGS system

Skyline Solar (Mountain View, California, US) announced the first installation of their High Gain Solar (HGS) 1000 system, a form of concentrating photovoltaic technology (CPV), at a municipal power plant in the tiny town of Nipton, California, US. The 80KW system will supply 85% of the power for the town, which boasts 38 residents but attracts a much larger number of tourists seasonally.   "This is a significant milestone in the development of our company as we strive to bring scalable, capital-efficient solar energy to utility, government and commercial customers", said Skyline Solar CEO and co-founder Bob MacDonald. "Our pre-engineered HGS system is ideal for large energy consumers. Nipton, California, a town now 85 percent powered by clean, renewable solar energy, is a shining example to the rest of the country of how even small communities can help drive America’s goal of energy independence."

HGS technology and Skyline Solar

HGS technology uses a single-axis tracking system and large mirrors to concentrate sunlight onto solar photovoltaic (PV) cells. In this way it is similar to other forms of CPV technology. Skyline Solar claims that using their system, the same amount of electricity is produced with 1/10th of the PV material compared to conventional flat PV modules in sunny locations.

Skyline Solar has matured rapidly as a company. In May 2009 the company announced its HGS system, and in the same month installed their first demonstration plant with the Santa Clara Valley Transit Authority in San Jose, California. On May 6th , 2010, the company received a patent for their technology through an expedited process through US Patent and Trademark Office's Green Technology Pilot Program.

2010-06-18   Courtesy: Skyline Solar   © Heindl Server GmbH
Picture Courtesy: Skyline Solar


groSolar offers residential solar PV lease program in Pennsylvania

Residential PV system by groSolar
Residential PV system by groSolar

The U.S. solar power installer and distributor groSolar (White River Junction, Vermont) on June 15th, 2010 announced the launch of a new residential solar leasing program for homeowners in Pennsylvania, offered in partnership with AFC-First's (Allentown, Pennsylvania) Financial and Middle Atlantic Solar Leasing, LP. According to the press release, the solar leasing program is a first of its kind in Pennsylvania, allowing homeowners to lease a rooftop solar photovoltaic (PV) system for little or no money down. Instead, they pay a monthly fee for the solar electricity the panels produce.   Homeowners also have the option to buy the solar system outright at a later date. By replacing more expensive utility power with a new, lower solar lease payment, participating homeowners can expect to see a decrease in their total household electricity costs, groSolar reports. Also, since the lease payment is fixed for the initial 15-year term of the lease, homeowners can protect themselves against unpredictable utility rate increases in the future.

Financing program allows Pennsylvania homeowners to go solar for ${CONTENT} down

"This is great news for Pennsylvania homeowners who are looking to save money on home energy costs with solar power", said groSolar Chief Executive Officer (CEO) and Cofounder Jeff Wolfe. "We talk to homeowners all over the country who want to go solar, some because they want to save money, and others because they support clean energy, but many lack the cash to make the initial investment. With little or no up front cash needed, and fixed low monthly payments for solar electricity, the leasing model makes solar truly affordable for people who prefer not to make the initial investment." groSolar reports that the program leverages state and federal incentives and aggregates solar renewable energy credits (SRECs). The program is said to be available to customers who meet minimum qualifications through a simple application process.

Going solar saves money, protects environment and protects homeowners from rising utility rates

"With a solar lease, homeowners who are considering solar no longer have to postpone that decision until they have the up-front cash, they can get into solar today and enjoy all of the benefits: saving money, protecting the environment, and protecting themselves from rising utility rates", said Adam Stern, Partner, Middle Atlantic Solar Leasing, LP. groSolar recently opened a new office and warehouse in the Philadelphia-metro area in response to increased demand for solar from area homeowners. The company anticipates further growth in its residential solar power business through its new lease program in this state.

2010-06-18   Courtesy: groSolar   © Heindl Server GmbH
Picture Courtesy: groSolar


Market research company Gartner: "Intersolar was hot under the Munich sun"

A snapshot from Intersolar Europe 2010 in Munich
A snapshot from Intersolar Europe 2010 in

Intersolar Europe 2010, the world's largest solar industry trade show, took place June 9th through 11th in Munich (Germany). The show attracted about 72,000 visitors from 150 countries and featured exhibitors from across the entire value chain in photovoltaic (PV) and thermal solar energy. The US information technology research and advisory company Gartner Inc. (Stamford, Connecticut) was there, and released a summary of its observations from the show floor on June 14th, 2010.   According to the press release, the overall mood at Intersolar was very upbeat, which is not surprising, given stronger-than-expected demand for PV systems, particularly in Germany, during the first half of the year. Despite lingering uncertainty over the future of the German feed-in tariff (FIT) and global macroeconomic conditions, Gartner's expectations are for continued strength through 2010 and into the first half of 2011.

5 % increase in average module prices expected for second half of the year

Prices have stabilized, although modest increases are deemed possible in the short term, according to Jim Hines, Research Director with Gartner. Module prices are reportedly in the 1.70 US-dollar per-watt range. The lower Euro has apparently hindered the ability of Chinese manufacturers to cut prices, and relatively tight supply is providing pricing support. Some manufacturers are talking about price increases, and an increase in average module prices on the order of 5 % is deemed likely in the second half of the year. Gartner reports that it anticipates PV demand to remain strong in Europe through 2010. Germany is the big story this year, with 7 gigawatts (GW) likely in 2010, despite uncertainty over the feed-in tariff. Gartner identifies both Italy and the Czech Republic as "hot markets", with 1 GW or more possible in each. Reports from Greece indicate that the financial crisis has had little direct impact on PV demand there because the bulk of project financing is coming from outside the country and, for the time being, incentives remain intact.

Shortage in inverters potentially limiting factor for solar PV industry in 2010

Hines points out that inverters are in critical shortage. Inverter manufacturers are reportedly unable to meet demand for their products because of a shortage of electronic components, including semiconductor devices, capacitors and even resistors. It is not clear when the shortages will be resolved, and inverter availability might prove to be the limiting factor for the PV market in 2010. Finally, capital for project financing has reportedly begun to flow. Lack of project financing was a big problem in 2009, which now appears to be largely resolved in European PV markets. In the United States, the gradual recovery in the credit markets and the removal of some of the uncertainty surrounding renewable energy programs in the stimulus package have brought some investors back to the table, Gartner reports.

2010-06-17   Courtesy: James Hines; Gartner Inc.   © Heindl Server GmbH
Picture Courtesy: Solar Promotion GmbH


President Obama's Address on the BP Oil Spill: "A Faith in the Future that sustains us as a People"

President Obama at the inauguration of the
President Obama at the inauguration of the
"DeSoto Next Generation Solar Energy Center"

Having just returned from his fourth trip to the Gulf Region, President Obama addressed the American people for the first time from the Oval Office. He focused on the government's ongoing all-out response to the immediate crisis, the steps being taken to make sure such a crisis does not happen again, and the longer term crisis of America’s reliance on fossil fuels.   "Already, this oil spill is the worst environmental disaster America has ever faced. And unlike an earthquake or a hurricane, it’s not a single event that does its damage in a matter of minutes or days. The millions of gallons of oil that have spilled into the Gulf of Mexico are more like an epidemic, one that we will be fighting for months and even years", the President said. "Tonight I’d like to lay out for you what our battle plan is going forward: what we’re doing to clean up the oil, what we’re doing to help our neighbors in the Gulf, and what we’re doing to make sure that a catastrophe like this never happens again."

The time to embrace a clean energy future is now

"The tragedy unfolding on our coast is the most painful and powerful reminder yet that the time to embrace a clean energy future is now. Now is the moment for this generation to embark on a national mission to unleash America’s innovation and seize control of our own destiny.

This is not some distant vision for America. The transition away from fossil fuels is going to take some time, but over the last year and a half, we’ve already taken unprecedented action to jumpstart the clean energy industry. As we speak, old factories are reopening to produce wind turbines, people are going back to work installing energy-efficient windows, and small businesses are making solar panels. Consumers are buying more efficient cars and trucks, and families are making their homes more energy-efficient. Scientists and researchers are discovering clean energy technologies that someday will lead to entire new industries.

Each of us has a part to play in a new future that will benefit all of us. As we recover from this recession, the transition to clean energy has the potential to grow our economy and create millions of jobs - but only if we accelerate that transition. Only if we seize the moment. And only if we rally together and act as one nation - workers and entrepreneurs, scientists and citizens, the public and private sectors.

A strong and comprehensive energy and climate bill to make clean energy the profitable kind of energy for America’s businesses

When I was a candidate for this office, I laid out a set of principles that would move our country towards energy independence. Last year, the House of Representatives acted on these principles by passing a strong and comprehensive energy and climate bill - a bill that finally makes clean energy the profitable kind of energy for America’s businesses.
Now, there are costs associated with this transition. And there are some who believe that we can’t afford those costs right now. I say we can’t afford not to change how we produce and use energy - because the long-term costs to our economy, our national security, and our environment are far greater.

It’s a faith in the future that sustains us as a people. It is that same faith that sustains our neighbors in the Gulf right now."

2010-06-17   Courtesy: The White House Blog   © Heindl Server GmbH
Picture Courtesy: Florida Power & Light Company


SEEC leaders commend President Obama's call to action for a clean energy future

In response to President Obama's speech outlining the federal response to the BP oil spill and advocating for legislation to reduce U.S. oil dependence and invest in clean energy, Reps. Steve Israel (D-NY) and Jay Inslee (D-WA) - the co-chairs of the Congressional Sustainable Energy & Environment Coalition (SEEC) - released the following statement: "We commend the President for his recognition of the Gulf oil spill disaster as a symptom of our fatally flawed domestic energy policy, and we are inspired by his commitment to advancing legislation that will reduce our oil dependence and invest in a new American clean energy future."  A swift passage to leadership in the clean energy industries

"When it looked like we'd lost the space race, President Kennedy summoned America to land a man on the moon within a decade. Now, with oil racing toward our coasts, the President has summoned us to end our addiction to oil. We refuse to take no for an answer. We refuse to be the first generation of Americans in history to accept that it's too hard, too expensive and too complicated. We simply must end this addiction. Therefore, we stand with the President in calling for action to take control of our American energy future. We support swift passage of comprehensive energy & climate legislation to end our oil addiction and create millions of jobs and American leadership in the clean energy industries of the twenty-first century."

In late March, the members of SEEC sent a letter to congressional leaders and President Obama calling for final action on comprehensive energy legislation including "reductions in greenhouse gas emissions necessary to spur investment in American clean energy technologies." The letter states that "our country’s ability to innovate is unrivaled in the world, and by putting a price on pollution we can unleash the talents of our innovators and entrepreneurs to chart a course to lead the world in clean energy."

2010-06-17   Courtesy: Sustainable Energy & Environment Coalition (SEEC)   © Heindl Server GmbH


SEIA President Rhone Resch commentates President Obama's Speech on the BP Oil Spill: A wake-up call for solar

"This tragic environmental disaster in the Gulf of Mexico is a wake-up call for our nation to develop clean, safe renewable energy sources like solar now", SEIA President and CEO Rhone Resch" stated. "President Obama is absolutely right to call for national energy reform and for us to unite behind comprehensive energy legislation that takes our nation in a new direction - away from unsafe and unstable fossil fuels and toward a new clean energy economy with safe, reliable sources like solar. We have an opportunity to produce solar energy to power our buildings and charge our vehicles while putting America back to work here at home", the President of the Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA) added.  One of the best policy investments the public can make

"The solar industry is poised to rebuild our nation’s manufacturing base, create hundreds of thousands of jobs in all 50 states, spur economic growth, and strengthen our national security and energy independence. But to do this, we need comprehensive energy legislation that effectively rewards and stimulates production of clean energy. It is one of the best policy investments the public can make.

No doubt we will recover from this terrible accident; but if we don't set ourselves down a new energy path, we will be ignoring our responsibility to the residents of the Gulf Coast and to the nation as a whole", Resch concluded.

2010-06-17   Courtesy: SEIA   © Heindl Server GmbH


SunSil introduced fully integrated PV module at InterSolar Europe

SunSil Solar photovoltaic module
SunSil Solar photovoltaic module

During June 9th -11th, 2010, SunSil Photovoltaic Products A/S (Toftlund, Denmark) introduced their fully integrated SunSil Solar photovoltaic (PV) module at the InterSolar Europe trade show in Munich. The module contains all of the elements of a solar PV system - cells, embedded electronics, a microinverter and a harvesting system, embedded in one 230V 300W AC module. SunSil says the first modules will be produced in 4Q 2010 with full production in 1Q 2011, and that each module will cost EUR0.   "We have solved the problem with the current solar PV system architecture, which requires the installer spend time putting together a custom solution for every installation from a myriad of panels, inverters, mounting brackets and wiring, by providing a truly integrated 'plug-and-play' system that can be easily installed onto the roof of a home or commercial building at half the cost of time and materials", explains SunSil CEO Erik Hansen. "Sun in and AC out. It's that simple."

150mm microcells

SunSil has not only embedded all of the elements of a solar system in one module, but they have further divided up modules to prevent series losses, cell by cell. The SunSil modules are composed of 150mm "microcells", that are centrally monitored and dynamically controlled, using optimization software.

Similar to the way that micro-inverters and other inverter solutions prevent series losses in modules, in the event of disruption of power production on an individual micro-cell by shading, snow, leaves, or other material on the surface of the cell, the central controller removes those microcells from the circuit to allow the uninterrupted micro-cells to continue to produce power. Through these and other innovations, SunSil claims that their modules allow for up to 30% more electricity production per year.

SunSil Solar PV modules are currently undergoing the certification process through Intertek (London, UK).

2010-06-17   Courtesy: SunSil Photovoltaic Products A/S   © Heindl Server GmbH
Picture Courtesy: SunSil Photovoltaic Products A/S


Suntech launches solar PV powered boat in Shanghai

Dr. Zhengrong Shi and Dr. Robert Dane of Solar Sailor
Dr. Zhengrong Shi and
Dr. Robert Dane of Solar

On June 5th 2010 Suntech Power Holding Company, Ltd. (Wuxi, China) launched the Suntech-Guosheng Solar Sailor on the Huangpu River in Shanghai. The 31.5 meter solar powered passenger vessel uses proprietary 'solarsailor' technology by Solar Sail Holdings, Ltd. (Chatswood, Australia), and will cruise the Huangpu River for the Shanghai World Expo, which is ongoing. "Our long-term research collaborations with Australian organizations are central to driving solar innovation", said Dr. Zhengrong Shi, Suntech's Chairman and CEO.   "As our planet bears the strains of fossil fuel energy generation, we are empowering people around the world to look up and harness nature’s cleanest and most abundant energy resource. The Shanghai Expo and this remarkable Solar Sailor technology offer shining examples of the power of technology to create a better life."

Solarsail technology

Solarsail technology utilizes both wind and solar photovoltaic (PV) technology, and couples electric drives with hydrocarbon fuel use. Solar Sailor specializes in maritime solar applications, where issues such as exposure the corrosive powers of salt and water are major design concerns. The Suntech-Guosheng also uses Applied Material's SolarMagic technology to maximize power output of the cells. Solar Sailor has contracts to supply US and Asian ferry operators, and the company's US subsidiary recently signed a contract with the US Navy for the development of unmanned ocean vessels.

Big announcements at the launch ceremony

The official launch ceremony was attended by high ranking officials of the China's Communist Party, as well as Suntech Founder and CEO Dr. Zhengrong Shi. Dr. Shi used the occasion to announce a 1GW expansion of PV manufacturing at Suntech's Shanghai facility over the next three years. Suntech is already the second largest manufacturer of solar PV cells and modules in the world by gross sales.

2010-06-17   Courtesy: Solar Sailor   © Heindl Server GmbH
Picture Courtesy: Solar Sailor


German PV producer Würth Solar enters Israeli market in cooperation with Israeli solar power experts, Bar Energies

M. Staudacher (Managing Director of Bar Energies, Tel Aviv) and T. Kringe (Export Manager at Würth Solar) after signing the agreement
M. Staudacher (Managing Director of Bar
Energies, Tel Aviv) and T. Kringe (Export
Manager at Würth Solar) after signing the

At the beginning of May 2010, Würth Solar (Schwäbisch Hall, Germany), the worldwide leading CIS photovoltaic (PV) system provider, concluded a cooperation agreement with Bar Energies based in Tel Aviv, and is therefore now active in the Israeli market. The new Israeli representative for Würth Solar can draw on many years of experience in the green energy sector. Although the activities in Israel will initially focus on standard roof-mounted and roof-integrated solar power systems, special solutions such as for generating solar power in the Kibbutz communities will also be offered.   In addition, the solar power experts in Israel also see excellent market opportunities in the facade integration sector. In order to install the photovoltaic systems on site, specially trained installation companies from the region will be drawn upon.

Government funding programs and 2,000 hours of sunshine per year

"With Würth Solar we have found a partner that enables us as of now to provide innovative solutions for the complete range of photovoltaic applications. That gives us a valuable competitive advantage in this highly interesting growth market in Israel", explains Michael Staudacher, Managing Director of Bar Energies. With an average of 2,000 hours of sunshine per year and government funding programs, Israel offers excellent prerequisites for investing in solar power systems. Both private and commercial photovoltaic systems are subsidised up to an output of 50 kW. Solar power generation has been experiencing a boom in Israel for the last two years.

2010-06-16   Courtesy: Würth Solar   © Heindl Server GmbH
Picture Courtesy: Würth Solar


Solar thermal power plant Andasol 3: Installation of parabolic trough collectors completed

Installation of the Andasol 3 parabolic trough collectors
Installation of the Andasol 3 parabolic trough

The works on the solar thermal power plant Andasol 3 are right on target, Ferrostaal AG (Essen, Germany) reports in a press release. As a major progress the installation of the parabolic trough collectors for the solar field of Andasol 3 has now been completed. A total of 7,296 collectors have been installed and anchored in the solar field. A collector unit is 12 metres long and weighs around 2.5 tons. In all the power plant covers an area of some two square kilometers, which is roughly equal to the size of the Principality of Monaco.   Andasol 3 is being implemented by the Stadtwerke München, RWE Innogy, RheinEnergie, Ferrostaal and Solar Millennium.

Preparations underway for supplying the 50 MW turbine

Construction of the power plant block is also proceeding on schedule. Work is currently in progress on completing the turbine deck where the steam turbine will later be installed. The turbine itself is already undergoing final acceptance at MAN Diesel & Turbo, the manufacturer. It consists of a high-pressure and a low-pressure machine and was developed and optimised specially for use in Andasol. "Unlike conventional power plants, a turbine for solar operation must be designed to be stopped and started each day according to the availability of the steam", says Herbert Spelleken, the project manager responsible at Flagsol, the joint venture of Solar Millennium and Ferrostaal, to explain the special nature of the plant. The 160 ton giant is planned to begin its long journey to Spain by ship and special truck in late June where ultimate installation in the power plant block will take place. At the same time pipe laying and cabling work will continue on the solar field. The power plant is then scheduled to feed solar power into the Spanish power grid from mid-2011.

Approximately 450,000 tons of carbon dioxide to be saved per year

Andasol 3 is the third power plant which Solar Millennium has developed at this location, a plateau between Granada and Almeria. The plant will generates an output of 50 megawatts, which together with the sister plants Andasol 1 and 2 located in the immediate vicinity, will supply some half a million people with environmentally-friendly electricity. This will enable approximately 450,000 tons of carbon dioxide to be saved per year compared to a modern coal-fired power station. Thanks to their thermal storages, the power plants can also supply solar power on a plannable basis even after the sun has set.

2010-06-16   Courtesy: Ferrostaal AG   © Heindl Server GmbH
Picture Courtesy: Solar Millennium AG


Satcon selected by Q-Cells for multiple large-scale solar energy installations across Ontario

Solar PV power conversion system by Satcon
Solar PV power conversion system by Satcon

Satcon Technology Corporation (Boston, Massachusetts) on June 9th, 2010 announced that the company had been selected by Q-Cells SE (Bitterfeld-Wolfen, Germany) for multiple large-scale solar photovoltaic (PV) power plants in Ontario (Canada). Once completed, these projects are to rank among the largest solar PV installations in North America, Satcon reports.   Q-Cells is to deploy twenty one-megawatt (MW) "Prism" solutions, Satcon's fully integrated utility platform that comes complete with factory integrated medium voltage transformers, switchgear, and electronics. The Prism solution is delivered complete in an all-climate outdoor enclosure and it is ready to connect to the PV array and utility grid, enabling rapid installation through a modular prepackaged design.

Inverters chosen for high performance, reliability and for meeting OPA's local content requirements

Satcon reports that the solar projects of Q-Cells are contracted under the Renewable Energy Standard Offer Program developed and overseen by the Ontario Power Authority (OPA; Toronto, Ontario, Canada) and that they will connect to the local utility PUC Distribution, Inc. They are scheduled to be operational in the third quarter 2010. "These are among the largest solar projects in Ontario to date", said Boris Schubert, Managing Director, Q-Cells Systems for North America. "As such, it was imperative that we partner with an industry leader that could help us achieve the highest level of performance and reliability and one that can meet the upcoming domestic-content requirements." Satcon reports that its Prism solution is the industry's most advanced 1 MW solar PV power conversion system. It is built on Satcon's "PowerGate" family of large-scale inverter solutions.

2010-06-16   Courtesy: Satcon Technology Corporation   © Heindl Server GmbH
Picture Courtesy: Satcon Technology Corporation


Solar research: Imec announces advances in TPV cell technologies

Ge-based TPV cell
Ge-based TPV cell

On June 8th, 2010, solar research institute Imec (Leuven, Belgium) presented an improved processing technique for germanium (Ge)-based thermo-photovoltaic (TPV) cells, which it says results in significant reductions in cells costs. TPV cells convert radiation from heat sources with temperatures lower than the sun's, such as waste heat in steel and glass manufacturing. Until now the complexity of TPV systems and the high cost of cell manufacture have prevented these cells from being used commercially, and Imec says that this improvement is an important step towards commercial manufacture of Ge-based TPV cells.   "Imec’s research into photovoltaics aims at finding techniques to fabricate cost efficient and more efficient solar cells", said Imec's Director of Photovoltaics Jef Poortmans. "We have built up a strong expertise in silicon solar cells of more than 25 years. We applied Imec’s proprietary surface passivation techniques, novel contacting technologies and material knowledge to improve the quantum efficiency of our TPV cells, resulting in higher cell performance and cost reduction."

Improvements in TPV process

The new TPV cells are fabricated on germanium substrates with an optimized surface. Previous germanium cells were fabricated on germanium substrates that had been prepared for the growth of crystalline layers of other substances, however the new process does not involve any epitaxial deposition steps. In the new process, the emitter is formed by diffusion and passivation obtained using amorphous silicon.

For this research, Imec manufactured and tested germanium substrates. In spectral response measurements, the new substrates showed a better quantum efficiency than traditional TPV cells which use epitaxial deposition layers, meaning a higher heat to electric conversion efficiency.

2010-06-16   Courtesy: Imec   © Heindl Server GmbH
Picture Courtesy: Imec


JA Solar introduces new metal wrap through solar cells, announces cooperation with ECN for high efficiency PV modules

PV production at Ja Solar's facility
PV production at Ja Solar's facility

JA Solar Holdings Co., Ltd. (Shanghai, China), a leading manufacturer of high-performance solar power products, on June 9th, 2010 announced at the Intersolar Europe trade show in Munich (Germany), that it has partnered with the Energy research Centre of the Netherlands (ECN; Petten) to introduce the metal wrap through (MWT) solar cell and module technology into production. JA Solar also introduced a new family of high performance solar cells, dubbed "SECIUM".   According to the press release, JA Solar and ECN will work together to produce cost-effective, high-efficiency solar modules that have the promise to reduce the cost of electricity generated through solar energy. The MWT technology is said to minimize shading loss at the front cell surface, resulting in an increased active front surface area of the solar cell. Modules can be assembled in a fully automated process with Eurotron (Bleskensgraaf, The Netherlands) equipment, JA Solar reports. This technology allows handling of thin solar cells at high throughput and yield.

MWT technology to increase module conversion efficiency, lower cost of solar power

ECN has recently successfully manufactured high-efficiency MWT solar modules, achieving a record efficiency in 2009 of 17.0 % (aperture area) for PV modules with multi-crystalline silicon cells. Yong Liu, Senior Vice President of Manufacturing and Chief Technology Officer (CTO) of JA Solar, explained: "The MWT technology can effectively increase photovoltaic module conversion efficiency with the benefit of higher power output and it allows further reduction of material costs, lowering the cost of solar electricity." Bram Verschoor, Commercial Director of Eurotron, said he was pleased about JA Solar's decision to produce MWT cells: "This opens up an enormous market potential for our MWT module manufacturing equipment. We are very pleased with ECN's support to bring our technology to the market", he added.

18.9 % conversion efficiency solar cells with new processes introduced at Intersolar Europe

JA Solar also introduced its new high efficiency SECIUM solar cells at the Intersolar Europe. They are said to enable substantially better spectral response at short wavelengths in comparison to standard solar cells. Additional highlights include an increased open circuit voltage, increased short circuit current and a reduction in recombination losses. The SECIUM cells are also said to demonstrate a higher fill factor and to have higher power output than those of conventional solar cells. According to the press release, the commercial volume production of these cells is anticipated for the second half of 2010. The Fraunhofer Institute for Solar Energy Systems (ISE; Freiburg) in Germany independently certified a 18.9 % conversion efficiency for the SECIUM cells. Dr. Peng Fang, Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of JA Solar, said: "The launch of our SECIUM solar cells illustrates the company's commitment to develop cutting-edge process technology for next-generation, high efficiency solar cells."

2010-06-16   Courtesy: JA Solar Holdings Co., Ltd.   © Heindl Server GmbH
Picture Courtesy: JA Solar Holdings Co., Ltd.


National Semiconductor partners with QC Solar and Huber+Suhner on 'smart' PV-products

"SolarMagic" Technology by National Semi-

At the Intersolar Europe in Munich (Germany), National Semiconductor Corporation (Santa Clara, California), a leader in the design and manufacture of high-performance analog semiconductors, announced that the company was cooperating with the Huber+Suhner AG (Switzerland) as well as with China's QC Solar. The companies reportedly partnered in the development of products that integrate the "SolarMagic" technology.   Huber+Suhner, a supplier of components and systems for electrical and optical connectivity now offers the next generation of its solar junction boxes, dubbed "RADOX", that feature the SolarMagic technology inside. QC Solar, a manufacturer of photovoltaic (PV) junction boxes, cables, connectors and PV-distribution systems, reportedly integrated the award-winning power optimizer technology in its "SmartTrack"-branded line of products, which also include 'smart' junction boxes.

Panel-integrated electronics help increase PV system power harvest

The award-winning "SolarMagic Power Optimizers" by National Semiconductor distribute smart electronics throughout a solar array to maximize the energy harvest of installations at the panel or string level. According to the press release, the "SM3320" SolarMagic smart panel chipset is the first in the new category of panel-integrated electronics, which are to increase the power output, the reliability and the cost per kilowatt-hour (kWh) of PV power plants. QC Solar reportedly developed an intelligent junction box that applies the proven distributed maximum power point tracking (MPPT) technology of National Semiconductor with its reliable and high performance solar electronics to increase energy harvest. QC Solar is to manufacture and market two types of junction boxes in its "SmartTrack" line. One of these is to feature integrated MPPT IC and diode pass protection and the other will offer independent MPPT IC.

Trend points towards balance-of-system solutions on panel level

"RADOX 'smart' junction boxes enable us to offer panel manufacturers an efficient, optimized and therefore value-enhancing solution for their customers", explained Patrick Riederer, Chief Operating Officer (COO), Huber+Suhner Low Frequency Division. "We believe that bringing the 'smarts' to solar modules is where the industry is going, and we are excited to lead the market in this direction." Mike Polacek, Senior Vice President, National Semiconductor, explained: "As the solar market continues to evolve, balance of systems solutions like SolarMagic power optimizers are essential for maximizing system power production at the lowest cost."

2010-06-16   Courtesy: National Semiconductor Corporation   © Heindl Server GmbH
Picture Courtesy: National Semiconductor Corporation


Boston College researchers achieve record efficiencies in nano-scale thin film photovoltaics

"nanocoax" structure

On June 8th, 2010, Boston College (Chestnut Hill, US) researchers announced a sub-microscopic thin-film solar photovoltaic (PV) cell that is more efficient than any previously created nano-scale thin-film PV cell. The design draws inspiration from the coaxial cable to produce a nano-scale cell with 8% efficiency, under a patent held by Boston College.   "The power conversion efficiency of most thin film solar cells is compromised by competing optical and electronic constraints, wherein a cell must be thick enough to collect light yet thin enough to efficiently extract current", state the researchers in online research journal Physica Status Solidi. "Here, we introduce a nanoscale solar architecture inspired by a well-known radio technology concept, the coaxial cable, that naturally resolves this thick-thin conundrum."

Nano-coax structure

Nano-scale cells exist at scales too small to be seen with most microscopes and larger than most molecules. The team from Boston College used amorphous silicon to construct a "nano-coaxx" structure that meets both these needs, and published their discovery in the June 2010 edition of research journal Physica Status Solidi's "Rapid Research Letters".


The research team included Boston College Professors of Physics Krzysztof Kempa and Zhifeng Ren, Boston College students and collaborators from Solasta Inc. (Newton, Massachusetts, US) and École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne, Institute of Micro-engineering (Lausanne, Switzerland). Part of the funding for this research came from a US Department of Energy Technology Incubator grant.

2010-06-15   Courtesy: Boston College   © Heindl Server GmbH
Picture Courtesy: Boston College


Enecsys announces micro-inverter for European, North American markets

Enecsys micro-inverter
Enecsys micro-inverter

2010 Enecsys Limited (Cambridge, UK) announced their first grid-connected micro-inverter for European and North American markets. Enecsys states their solar photovoltaic (PV) micro-inverter will cut costs up to 20% over the lifetime of the system, is intrinsically safer than string inverters, and has a life expectancy of 25 years. The micro-inverter is currently in field trials with a number of Enecsys' lead customers, and was displayed at InterSolar Europe in Munich June 9-11, 2010.   The Enecsys micro-inverter comes in three versions, that can accommodate voltages up to 200 watts, 240 watts and 280 watts. It is the first micro-inverter to use thin-film capacitors instead of electrolytic capacitors, which the company claims are less reliable. The Enecsys system also eliminates the use of opto-couplers, and has maintain a 94.1% peak efficiency over a temperature range of -40 degrees celsius to 85 degrees celsius. The module also comes with a comprehensive monitoring system, which reports the performance of each solar photovoltaic (PV) module in real time.

Micro-inverters: energy conversion at the PV module

Micro-inverters convert the DC current generated by solar modules at the module, instead of sending all the DC current to a central or "string" inverter. By doing so, they eliminate the possibility of series losses, whereby if one module is shaded, dirty or has some other light interruption, the output of all modules in series are reduced by a similar amount. This also means that micro-inverters can accommodate array designs in less than optimal conditions better than string inverters.

Micro-inverters can also claim greater safety; as they convert electrical current from DC to AC at each module, they reduce the need for high-voltage DC wiring.

Competition among inverter solutions

A number of companies are vying for a potentially lucrative market by proposing solutions to the problem of potential series losses that accompanies central or “string” inverters. Micro-inverter maker Enphase Energy (Petaluma, California, US) has been expanding rapidly, and in March 2010 announced that it secured an additional USD million in private investment.

Related technologies include Sustainable Energy Technologies, Ltd's (Calgary, Canada) Sunergy ELV and LV inverters, which also avoid serial losses, and solar harvesting systems, such as those made by SolarEdge Inc. (Hod Hasharon, Israel). Solar harvesting systems avoid serial losses by using “multi-string” inverters, as well as utilize other techniques for power optimization.

Inverter and micro-inverter technologies represent a rich market and area of potential growth, as inverter demand currently exceeds supply, with existing companies struggling to fill orders.

2010-06-15   Courtesy: Enecsys   © Heindl Server GmbH
Picture Courtesy: Enecsys Limited


SANYO to expand solar and energy solutions business in Europe

Smart Energy System combines photovoltaic systems, energy storage and energy efficiency
Smart Energy System combines photovoltaic
systems, energy storage and energy efficiency

SANYO Electric Co., Ltd. has announced that it will begin full-scale development and expansion of its solar and energy solutions business in the European market in 2010. SANYO is aiming to achieve a business scale of 800 million Euros in its solar and energy solutions business in Europe by March 2016, providing photovoltaic modules, lithium-ion battery systems, energy management systems that include controllers, as well as a comprehensive maintenance service, the company reports in a press release.   Today there is growing demand for clean energy, given the continued advancement of measures to reduce effects on the environment, including the setting of numerical targets for CO2 emission reductions in countries around the world. So far, SANYO has expanded its "HIT" solar cell business mainly through residential applications in the European market, thanks to the product’s world highest-class energy conversion efficiency and superior temperature co-efficiency characteristics.

Clean energy generated by photovoltaic modules stored into rechargeable batteries

Starting this fiscal year, SANYO will now develop its energy solutions business in Europe by offering a substantial reduction in running costs and CO2 emissions for facilities such as factories, schools and stores, through its Smart Energy System (SES) which combine SANYO technologies for energy generation (photovoltaic systems), energy storage (rechargeable batteries), and energy efficiency (commercial equipment, etc.). The system will optimally control clean energy generated by photovoltaic modules and stored into rechargeable batteries to supply equipment such as air conditioning and lighting with the energy. It can be installed in small-scale applications such as homes, medium-scale applications such as convenience stores, and large-scale applications such as factories to realize a more effective use of clean energy.

By engaging in full-scale development and expansion of its solar and energy solutions business in Europe, SANYO will play a key role in reducing the negative effects of global warming on the world’s environment.

2010-06-15   Courtesy: SANYO Electric Co. Ltd.   © Heindl Server GmbH
Picture Courtesy: SANYO Sales & Marketing Europe GmbH


Greenpeace releases plan to move to 95% renewables by 2050

Energy (R)evolution report by Greenpeace
Energy (R)evolution report by Greenpeace

On June 7th , 2010 Greenpeace International (Amsterdam, the Netherlands) released the Energy (R)evolution Scenario, a report that outlines a path to move towards 95% renewable electricity generation by 2050. The report states that such goals can be achieved using only existing technologies, and that accomplishing such a shift would reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 80% and create an additional 4.5 million jobs than a business-as-usual approach. This is the third edition of the Energy (R)evolution; the first was issued in January 2007.   "The report demonstrates how the world can get from where we are now, to where we need to be in terms of phasing out fossil fuels, cutting CO2 while ensuring energy security", states the report's summary. "This includes illustrating how the world’s carbon emissions from the energy and transport sectors alone can peak by 2015 and be cut by over 80% by 2050."

Policy changes and emphasis on distributed generation

The report outlines points of policy changes, the first of which is to phase out all subsidies to the fossil fuel and nuclear industries. Point six of the seven is to provide “defined and stable returns for investors”, and the report promotes feed-in tariff policies. The plan also has a heavy emphasis on both energy efficiency and decentralized generation. And while the report includes multiple renewable energy technologies, both solar photovoltaics (PV) and solar thermal are listed as important components of the future energy mix.

Emphasis on changes in developed nations

Another emphasis of the report is greater equity in the use of resources. The Energy (R)evolution stresses the responsibility of greater changes in the developed world, which consumes more per-capita electricity, suggest that while greenhouse gas emissions should spike in developed nations by 2015, that China and India should have until after 2025 to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.


To create the report, Greenpeace partnered with specialists from the Institute of Technical Thermodynamics from the German Aerospace Center (Stuttgart, Germany), as well as more than 30 scientists and engineers from universities, institutes and the renewable energy industry.

2010-06-15   Courtesy: Greenpeace   © Heindl Server GmbH
Picture Courtesy: Greenpeace


Evergreen Solar presented new, high-efficiency PV modules at Intersolar Europe

A closeup of an ES-D panel by Evergreen Solar
A closeup of an ES-D panel by Evergreen Solar

Evergreen Solar displayed its upcoming line of new ES-D and ES-E solar photovoltaic (PV) modules at Intersolar Europe in Munich from June 9th -11th, 2010. The new modules feature the company's "BOOST" cell technology, which uses micro-wires instead of conventional busbars. The company emphasizes that this reduces cell shading, improves current collection, and increases overall panel efficiency. The new modules will be commercially available beginning in the fourth quarter of 2010.   "These panels are the highest efficiency product we have ever made which enables us to deliver our customers even more electricity while continuing to have less impact on the environment", said Evergreen Solar VP of Sales and Marketing Scott Gish. "And the ability to offer product options tailored specifically for either the residential or commercial end-user - whether their priority is aesthetics or performance - allows us to meet our customers’ specific needs much better."

ES-D and ES-E series

The ES-D series is a smaller, lighter-weight panel designed for rooftop installations. The ES-D comes in "aesthetic" and "performance" series, with the "aesthetic" series featuring all-black modules. The ESD comes in configurations of 195, 200, 205 and 210 watts. Evergreen Solar says the ES-E is their largest panel yet, and is designed for large-scale installations. The panel comes in 220, 225 and 230 watt configurations. All panels feature -0 / +5W power tolerance and anti-reflective treated glass.

The cells for Evergreen Solar modules are manufactured using the company's proprietary "String Ribbon" process, whereby polysilicon is stretched into long, thin sheets, resulting in cells that use less silicon than traditional solar cells.

2010-06-15   Courtesy: Evergreen Solar Inc.   © Heindl Server GmbH
Picture Courtesy: Evergreen Solar Inc.


Q-Cells sets a new 13.0 % efficiency record for mass-produced CIGS thin-film modules

Building façade with Q.SMART panels
Building façade with Q.SMART panels

The Q-Cells group (Bitterfeld-Wolfen), one of the leading photovoltaic companies worldwide with a product portfolio that ranges from solar cells and modules to complete photovoltaic (PV) systems, on June 9th, 2010 announced that it again set a world efficiency record for mass-produced copper indium gallium (di)-selenide (CIGS) thin-film modules.   The Fraunhofer Institute for Solar Energy Systems (Fraunhofer ISE; Freiburg, Germany) on June 1st, 2010 reportedly confirmed a total area efficiency of 13.0 % for a Q-Cells "Q.SMART UF" solar module manufactured by Solibro GmbH.

Solar module offers power output of 97.4 Watt peak

With a power output of 97.4 Watt peak (Wp) under standard test conditions for a Q.SMART UF (former "CIGS SL1") module with 0.750 m² area, a total area efficiency of 13.0 % was confirmed. Moreover, Q-Cells reports that with an aperture area of 0.684 m², the module's aperture area efficiency is 14.2 %, which brings it to the world lead based on the record efficiency table compiled by Progress in Photovoltaics. According to the journal, the previous record of 13.5 % was held by a module just half the size which, unlike the Q-Cells Q.SMART, was not mass-produced. The company had set the previous record (13.5 % aperture are efficiency, 12.3 % total area efficiency), was already achieved with a SL1 module out of series production in September 2009.

Efficiency record due to continuous and persistent optimization

The achievement of the 13.0 % total area efficiency benchmark and the 14.2 % aperture area efficiency record is the result of continuous and persistent optimization of the CIGS production processes, and confirms the position of the Q-Cells CIGS modules as a premium product for residential, commercial and industrial roof-tops and façades. Furthermore, the increase of average efficiency associated with the new record result further provides the basis for a future introduction of a new "95 Wp power class" (with positive sorting +5/-0 Wp) for the Q.SMART (SL1-Framed) and Q.SMART UF (SL1) modules within the following next months, the company announced.

2010-06-15   Courtesy: Q-Cells SE   © Heindl Server GmbH
Picture Courtesy: Q-Cells SE


Intersolar Europe presented Intersolar AWARD to nine companies

Winners of the Intersolar Europe 2010
Winners of the Intersolar Europe 2010

On June 9th, 2010, Intersolar Europe presented the Intersolar AWARD International Technology Prize to nine companies judged to provide the top technological innovations in the solar industry. Three entries were selected by juries in each of three categories: Photovoltaics (PV), solar thermal, and, for the first time this year, PV production technology. This is the third year that Intersolar has presented these awards, and for the first time the competition was open to exhibitors at Intersolar North America as well.   "Intersolar Europe is the world's largest exhibition for the solar industry and the most influential forum for innovative technologies and services in the fields of photovoltaics and solar thermal technology", read a statement by Intersolar Europe. "It therefore serves as a gauge of innovative power within the solar industry. In awarding the prize, organizers Solar Promotion GmbH and Freiburg Wirtschaft Touristik und Messe GmbH & Co. KG (FWTM), in cooperation with the German Solar Industry Association (BSW-Solar), wish to create an incentive for companies to play an active role in shaping the future of sustainable energy supply."

Intersolar says the competition had 2,300 entries this year. The competition was juried by three independent juries, whose members were made up of experts from research, science, industry and trade media. The winning companies and the product that represented the winning entry are listed below.

Prize winners: PV

ABB Schweiz AG (Zürich, Switzerland) - "S800" high performance process system. Gehrlicher Solar AG (Neustadt and Dornbach, Germany) - transportation and mounting system for large scale PV modules. SMA Solar Technology AG (Niestetal, Germany) – "Sunny Central 800CP” central inverter.

Prize winners: solar thermal

FSAVE Solartechnik GmbH (Kassel, Germany) – "FLEXsave" heat buffer storage tank. InvenSor GmbH (Berlin, Germany) – "Invensor Adsorption Refrigerator (LTC)". Joint submission - Institute for Building Construction and Design of the University of Stuttgart (Stuttgart, Germany), Ritter Energie-und Umwelttechnik GmbH & Co. KG (Dettenhausen, Germany), Hydro Building Systems GmbH (Ulm, Germany) and Frener & Reifer Metallbau GmbH (Brixen/Bressanone, Italy) – "CPC Office/System WICONA" facade collector

Prize winners: PV production technology

Festo AG & Co. KG (Esslingen, Germany) - !"High Speed H-Portal". GEMO-TEC Ltd. (Switzerland) – "NICE process". Gebr. Schmid GmbH + Co. (Freudenstadt, Germany) – "LTP 1500/Laser Transfer Printing" metalization process.

2010-06-14   Courtesy: Intersolar Europe   © Heindl Server GmbH
Picture Courtesy: Solar Promotion GmbH


BLM establishes rental schedule for solar on public lands

Computer simulation of the proposed Ivanpah Solar Electric Generating System
Computer simulation of the proposed Ivanpah
Solar Electric Generating System

On June 11th, 2010, the US Bureau of Land Management (BLM) released a rental schedule for solar energy right-of-way authorizations on public lands. The BLM is a federal agency that manages more than one million square kilometers of public lands, mostly in the Western US. The agency says that it will charge a base rent for the acreage of land and MW capacity fee, based on average rural land values and economic models that gauge the impact of various rental rates on solar energy development.   "Publishing this rental schedule moves our nation closer to creating a new energy frontier – one that relies more on renewable, clean energy sources", BLM Director Bob Abbey said. "Today, we are providing the solar energy industry the level of certainty it needs about the costs associated with projects on the public lands and ensuring a fair return to American taxpayers for the use of their public lands."

Waiting for CSP

Twelve concentrated solar power (CSP) and hybrid CSP plants on BLM land are currently under review by the BLM and the California Energy Commission, for a total of 4.8GW of power. One of these projects, the 400MW Ivanpah solar tower, has been under review since August 2007. But while the BLM and other federal delay, Spain has approved a large number of CSP plants, and will easily surpass the United States in total installed CSP by watt when plants currently under construction are completed.

Rural land values

The BLM notes that it is required by US law to collect annual rental payments for right-of-ways on public lands that reflect fair market values. Based on a schedule contained in a BLM memo, the base rents for various counties in a six-state area for the 2010 would be between USD (Pima County, Arizona; Mineral County, Nevada; Luna and Hidalgo Counties, New Mexico) and USD4 (Riverside County, California) per year, depending upon location.

Move applauded by solar industry

The move to establish a rental schedule has been applauded by solar energy advocacy groups including the US Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA, Washington D.C., US), which note that the BLM has long accommodated the needs of fossil fuel development on public land.

"Recent independent polling shows that three out of four Americans support putting solar power plants on public lands", stated SEIA President Rhone Resch. "Yet while oil and gas companies have received more than 74,000 permits to operate on federal lands in the past two decades, utility-scale solar developers have received zero. We applaud Interior Secretary Salazar and BLM Director Abbey for achieving this milestone and taking another step toward the clean energy future that the American public wants."

2010-06-14   Courtesy: BLM, SEIA   © Heindl Server GmbH
Picture Courtesy: California Energy Commission


Concentrating solar power: Abengoa and Total selected to develop 100MW CSP plant in Abu Dhabi

Artist's rendering of the Shams-1 CSP plant
Artist's rendering of the Shams-1 CSP plant

On June 9th, 2010, Abengoa Solar S.A. (Sevilla, Spain) announced that a consortium between Abengoa and Total S.A. (Courbevoie, France) has been selected to work with the state-owned Abu Dhabi Future Energy Company (Masdar, Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates) to construct, own and operate a 100MW concentrated solar power (CSP) plant in the Emirate of Abu Dhabi. The Shams-1 plant will cover 741 acres and will be the first solar power plant of any kind at this scale in the Middle East. Abengoa subsidiaries Abener Energia S.A. (Sevilla, Spain) and Teyma will begin construction of the plant in mid-2010, and the companies involved expect the facility to be operational in 2012.   "The immense regional market potential for CSP plants, combined with our leading edge parabolic trough and central receiver technologies, enables us to offer the most competitive solar power generation to contribute to the coverage of the region’s accelerated growth in electrical power demand", stated Abengoa Solar Director of International Development Michael Geyer.

Details of the agreement

According to the terms of the agreement between the three companies, Masdar will own 60% of the plant and Abengoa and Total will together own 40%, with Abengoa and Total responsible for operations and maintenance. The electricity produced will be sold to the Abu Dhabi Water and Electricity Company under a long-term sales contract, and the government of Abu Dhabi is providing incentives in the form of a premium on purchased electricity.

The plant will use Abengoa parabolic trough collectors. Parabolic trough systems use long rows of curved mirrors to concentrate sunlight and heat a fluid in a central receiver, which is then used to power turbines. These systems are currently the most widely used type of concentrated solar power technology in the world.

CSP in the Middle East and North Africa

CSP has taken off as a technology in recent years, with a large number of CSP plants currently planned or under construction. CSP's popularity is largely due to its relatively low operating costs and ability to more efficiently store and release power, giving these plants the capability to provide base-load power and power on demand. However, CSP has greater geographical limitations than solar photovoltaics (PV), requiring more direct, unfiltered sunlight to operate efficiently.

The Middle East and North Africa have many areas with excellent light conditions for CSP technologies. However, successful construction of CSP plants in the region has been elusive, and the vast majority of these plants remain in Spain and the US state of California. Egypt is currently closest to completion of a CSP plant, and in April, 2010 workers completed the final array of collectors for a 150MW combined CSP and natural gas plant in Kuraymat. Abener and Teyma are also currently working on two parabolic trough CSP plants in Hassi 'R Mel, Algeria.

Regardless, many European solar companies believe that CSP has a bright future in the region, and a coalition of companies has put together the Desertec Initiative, which aims to develop large scale CSP plants in North Africa and the Middle East and transmit much of the power generated to Europe via high-voltage DC power lines.

2010-06-14   Courtesy: Abengoa Solar   © Heindl Server GmbH
Picture Courtesy: Abengoa Solar


Chinese PV producer Suntech ships ten-millionth solar panel

Suntech shipped 10 Million PV modules
Suntech shipped 10 Million PV modules

On June 9th, 2010, Suntech Power Holding Company, Ltd. (Wuxi, China) announced the sale of its ten-millionth solar panel. Suntech is the world's largest producer of crystalline solar photovoltaic (PV) cells and modules and the world's second-largest producer of PV overall, with 672MW of cells and modules sold in 2009. The company has shipped more than 2.2GW of solar panels to more than 1,400 customers in eighty countries over the last decade.  "We have made great progress since founding Suntech in 2001", said Suntech Founder, Chairman and CEO Dr. Zhengrong Shi. "Our exceptional global track-record of solar installations is a key differentiator as we expand in both emerging and well-established solar markets. This is a major milestone on our mission to provide everyone with reliable access to nature's cleanest and most abundant energy source."

Suntech shows steady growth

Over the past four years, while many large solar companies have experienced great fluctuations, Suntech's star has been continually rising. Suntech moved from 4th place overall in PV sales in 2006 with 152MW of cells and modules to second place in 2008 with 497MW, surpassing Kyocera Corporation (Kyoto, Japan), Q-Cells AG (Bitterfeld-Wolfen, Germany) and Sharp Electronics Corporation (Osaka, Japan). The company has ambitious plans for increasing module production, stating on June 5, 2010 that it will expand its manufacturing capacity in Shanghai by 1GW within the next three years.

As Suntech has grown, so has Chinese solar manufacturing. The nation moved from 246MW of PV cells and modules produced in 2006 to 3.67GW in 2009. Industry experts state that such expansion, and the subsequent capture of market share is due not only to low cost, including low labor costs, generous state assistance and vertical integration of manufacturing, but also to aggressive pricing where modules are sold close to cost. As a result, there is some question as to whether continued expansion is sustainable over the long run.

2010-06-14   Courtesy: Suntech Power Holding Company, Ltd.   © Heindl Server GmbH
Picture Courtesy: Suntech Power Holding Company, Ltd.


Day4 Energy starts construction of 1.8 MW solar power plant in Fischbach, Germany

PV plant by Day4 Energy
PV plant by Day4 Energy

Day4 Energy Inc. (Burnaby, British Columbia, Canada), a supplier of high performance, cost-effective solar electric solutions, on June 8th, 2010 announced that it has commenced the construction of a ground-mounted photovoltaic (PV) power plant in Niedereschach-Fischbach, Germany. The turnkey PV project is to have a generating capacity of 1.8 megawatts (MW) and it is being built for a private investor group that is reportedly a repeat customer of Day4 Energy.  The company reports that it has completed the design and engineering phase and has now begun construction of the PV power plant with the assistance of some of its leading Germany based channel partners.

PV power plant to generate revenue through German solar feed-in tariffs

Once completed at the end of June, the plant is expected to include approximately 9,800 "48MC" Day4 Energy solar PV modules. The "Energy Park Fischbach" is to be built in the south west of Germany within 8 km of the Day4 Energy offices. The electricity produced at this solar plant will be sold to the local grid provider under the German feed-in tariff (FIT) law (EEG). "It is always exciting to earn the trust of a new customer", said George Rubin, President of Day4 Energy, and added: "Repeat business is the highest form of recognition for our products and service and further validation of our ability to deliver a quality product." Day4 Energy says the company is focused on significantly increasing its presence in the solar project market vertical over the next several months. The company also intends to scale its project development business model to other markets including Italy and Canada.

2010-06-14   Courtesy: Day4 Energy Inc.   © Heindl Server GmbH
Picture Courtesy: Day4 Energy Inc.


Sputnik Engineering launches three-phase mains string PV inverters

The Swiss inverter manufacturer Sputnik Engineering AG (Biel) unveils three devices from the multi-tracking (MT) solar PV inverter series at the Intersolar Europe trade fair in Munich, Germany. The MT series adds three devices to the company's product portfolio in the power output range of 10 to 15 kilowatts (kW). Unlike the smaller string inverters of its "SolarMax S" series, the MT series reportedly feeds the grid with three-phase power. The maximum feed voltage of the MT inverters is 900 volts. This permits longer modular strings than before, which means a reduced need for wiring and less line loss as well as greater flexibility.  The new multi-string concept also permits building plants with only one inverter on roofs whose surfaces, orientations and inclinations vary, the company reports. The European efficiency of the inverters is 97,5 %.

Full power at temperatures as high as 50 degrees C

According to the press release, Sputnik's developers were able to optimize their cooling concept. At ambient temperatures up to 50 degrees Celsius the inverters still deliver full power. The protection type IP54 permits indoor as well as outdoor installation. The product reportedly features an integrated DC circuit breaker, a graphics display with integrated data storage, a status signaling contact and the usual communications interfaces RS485 and ethernet. The new inverters are certified by the VDE Institute and bear the GS mark of conformity. Sputnik Engineering unveiled its new developments at its booth at the Intersolar trade show.

2010-06-14   Courtesy: Sputnik Engineering AG   © Heindl Server GmbH

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