Thursday, October 23, 2014

US DoE announces $53 million to drive innovation, cut cost of solar power

WASHINGTON, USA: Building on President Obama’s Climate Action Plan to cut carbon pollution and continue US leadership in clean energy innovation, Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz announced more than $53 million for 40 innovative research and development (R&D) projects that aim to drive down the cost of solar energy, tackling key aspects of technology development in order to bring innovative ideas to the market more quickly.

Supporting the development of next generation photovoltaic (PV) solar technologies and advanced manufacturing processes, and addressing both hardware and non-hardware “soft” costs of solar installation, these awards support advancements that will help reduce the cost of solar energy and make solar electricity more affordable and accessible for all Americans.

“As US solar installation increases and the cost of solar electricity continues to decline, solar energy is becoming an increasingly affordable clean energy option for more American families and businesses,” said Secretary Moniz. “Today, the US has 15.9 gigawatts of installed solar power – enough to power more than 3.2 million average American homes. The projects announced today will help the US solar energy industry continue to grow, ensuring America can capitalize on its vast renewable energy sources, cut carbon pollution, and continue to lead in the world in clean energy innovation.”

Due in part to the Energy Department’s long-term investments and partnerships with private industry, academia, and DOE National Laboratories, solar PV panels now cost 50 percent of what they did three years ago. To accelerate the development of next generation PV technologies that will further drive down costs, the Energy Department is awarding more than $14 million to 10 research institutions to improve the performance, efficiency, and durability of solar PV devices.

The R&D projects will explore a variety of leading-edge solutions, from new high-performance materials to novel techniques for creating more efficient solar cells that cost less to manufacture.

By nearly all measures, the solar energy industry has been one of the fastest growing sectors in the United States over the last five years, with cumulative installed solar power increasing more than tenfold since 2008. Significant decreases in both the hardware costs and non-hardware “soft” costs of a solar energy system, such as permitting, interconnection, and financing, supported this increase in deployment, and further cost reductions will create an environment for even more solar deployment.

Through its SunShot Incubator program, the Energy Department is investing more than $14 million in 20 small businesses that will develop innovative technologies and services to further drive down hardware and non-hardware costs for solar electric systems. The projects take a number of approaches to decreasing costs, creating a software-based solution to quantify risk for solar investors, developing advanced materials and components that maximize efficiency for concentrating solar power (CSP) and identifying ways to eliminate the need for expensive silver in solar cell manufacturing.

Trannergy launches 4-9KW three-phase solar inverters

BIRMINGHAM, ENGLAND: Trannergy, a Chinese leading on-grid solar inverter manufacturer, has launched a new line of three-phase inverters (TRB Series) from 4KW to 9KW, of which a stunning showcase was made at Solar Energy UK (SEUK) at NEC in Birmingham on October 14-16, Booth #D35.

Worthy of mention is that, the highly anticipated Trannergy TRB8000TL and TRB9000TL inverters are compactly designed at only about 0.05 cubic meters and 24 kg, which is quite competitive in the industry.

"The 4KW to 9KW three phase TRB Series were designed for higher efficiency, wider range of input DC & MPPT voltage, smaller size, lower noise and longer lifecycle," says William Xu, Trannergy VP.

"Its maximum efficiency can reach up to 98.1 percent. Film capacitor design is made to assure longer lifecycle. Besides, the TRB series are also a fanless cooling design that are extremely silent. You can hardly hear any noise even if you are very close to it. With the release of these kind of three phase inverters, we believe that our residential and commercial customers now have a significantly better solution and option for rooftop systems."

Windiga Energy gets green light for construction of 20-MW solar power plant in Burkina Faso

MONTREAL, CANADA: Windiga Energy, a Canadian-based independent renewable energy power producer, announced the signature of a power purchase agreement ("PPA") with the National Electricity Company of Burkina Faso (SONABEL) for the construction and operation of a 20-megawatt photovoltaic plant located in Zina, in the province of Mouhoun.

Conclusion of the PPA was the final step in the authorization process, which now gives Windiga Energy the green light to begin construction of the largest solar power plant in sub-Saharan Africa. The plant is expected to produce approximately 34 gigawatt hours of clean energy annually and will be connected to SONABEL's main power grid.

Upon completing the final phase of the approval process with SONABEL,  Elie Ouedraogo, chairman of the Board, Windiga Energy Burkina Faso, said: "It is with enthusiasm that we celebrate this historic agreement, one that will see a Canadian company assist Burkina Faso in meeting its energy needs with renewable sources that will be connected directly to the country's power grid." Ouedraogo also highlighted the fact that Windiga will be the first independent power producer in the country.

"Windiga Energy is committed to providing innovative accessible energy solutions to Africa, key to the continent's economic development," said Benoit La Salle, president and CEO, Windiga Energy. "We are confident that by working in concert with governments, our experience and expertise will provide vital support to African countries in their quest for energy independence."

Windiga's focus now is to finalize funding agreements with the private sector divisions of the development banks involved in the project, as well as to commence construction of the plant.

In Mauritania, Windiga signed an agreement pertaining to the terms and conditions of a 30-year PPA with the Mauritanian Electricity Company (SOMELEC) for the construction and operation of a waste-to-energy plant. A similar agreement pertaining to the terms and conditions of a waste supply contract was also signed with the Urban Community of Nouakchott. These agreements define the terms of the purchase of electricity and the supply of waste, as well as further the development of the project to build a 15-megawatt waste-to-energy power plant in the city of Nouakchott.

Windiga also signed an agreement pertaining to the terms and conditions of 20-year PPA with the Electricity Company of Ghana for the construction and operation of a 20-megawatt solar power plant in the northern community of Tilli.

SunEdison awarded 17.7 MW of distributed solar projects in California

BELMONT, USA: SunEdison Inc. has been awarded 17.7 MW DC of distributed solar photovoltaic (PV) power projects through the Regional Renewable Energy Procurement Project (R-REP) led by the County of Alameda.

SunEdison will be working with 9 different public agencies in the Counties of Alameda, Contra Costa and San Mateo to develop projects on more than 30 individual sites as part of one of the largest ever public solar power procurements in the United States.

SunEdison will install solar systems at 30 individual locations. To accommodate different site requirements while optimizing solar production, SunEdison will deploy rooftop, canopy, and ground mount system technologies.

All of the planned projects are being closely coordinated with each of the nine agencies involved to ensure that each solar deployment is tailored to each site and agency's specific needs. Upon completion, the portfolio will produce more than 27,700,000 kWh of clean solar power every year and will result in the reduction of more than 13,500 tons of greenhouse gas emissions.

"SunEdison has a strong commitment to expand solar throughout all of California," said SunEdison North America president, Bob Powell. "We are particularly proud of this opportunity to work with public agencies in the Counties of Alameda, Contra Costa, and San Mateo – with operating headquarters in Belmont, many SunEdison employees live in these counties and this gives them the opportunity to serve their local communities."

sPower breaks ground on 7MWdc solar facility in Palmdale

SALT LAKE CITY, USA: sPower (Sustainable Power Group), a leading renewable energy provider, announced breaking ground on the 7MWdc (megawatts of direct current) Little Rock Solar Facility in Palmdale, CA. The project is expected to begin commercial operation mid-December 2014.

sPower will use First Solar, Inc Modules Plus equipment, which includes the company's photovoltaic (PV) thin film solar modules, mounting structures and wiring integration.

"We are excited about commercializing First Solar's award-winning thin-film technology with its exceptional efficiency levels," said Ryan Creamer, sPower CEO. "sPower has built a pipeline that rivals any in the industry. We take an entrepreneurial approach that seeks out projects that are not only environmentally and economically feasible, but that also move our industry and company forward. Employing new technologies is one very important way we're working towards achieving our objectives."

The Little Rock Solar Facility is the latest in the large portfolio of sPower projects that provide construction and operations jobs, as well as revenues for local governments – all the while helping to reduce carbon emissions and delivering affordable and reliable clean energy to rate payers. The solar energy generated from the project will be sold at a set price to Southern California Edison for 20 years.

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Yingli Solar surpasses 2,000 MW of solar panel deliveries in Americas

BAODING, CHINA & SAN FRANCISCO, USA: Yingli Green Energy Holding Co. Ltd has surpassed two gigawatts (GW) of cumulative solar panel deliveries in the Americas. The more than six million Yingli Solar panels delivered are now generating electricity for more than 85,000 solar projects across the region.

"We're honored to reach this historic milestone, and thank our customers and stakeholders for making this possible," commented Robert Petrina, MD of Yingli Green Energy Americas. "The investments that we've made in building highly capable local teams allow Yingli to provide differentiated services to our sophisticated and fast-growing customer base."

Yingli estimates that more than 80,000 homes and 5,000 business and institutions in the Americas are energized by its high-quality solar panels. Its most popular product line, the YGE 60 Cell Series, is a versatile multicyrstalline solar panel suited for most solar applications, from off-grid systems to large-scale utility projects.

LG's AC solar module delivers max performance, installation flexibility

LAS VEGAS, USA: Led by new integrated, max-performing AC-powered solar modules, LG Electronics USA is exhibiting a host of solutions from the LG Mono X monocrystalline module series here this week.

At the Solar Power International (SPI) Expo 2014, LG is displaying new solar module upgrades, combining a new level of performance and flexibility for both home and business owners seeking lower utility bills and energy independence.

LG Solar headliners at SPI at the Las Vegas Convention Center include:
* Mono X ACe module, designed to maximize AC-power output and provide a new level of installation flexibility;
* Mono X NeON, which is among the lightest DC modules on the market at only 37 pounds; and
* Mono X Black, LG's iconic module incorporating higher efficiency and durability for convenient installation and an aesthetic interior.

"We recognize that solar panels give homeowners a path toward energy independence, while providing convenience and exceptional functionality," said Ellen Kim, senior VP, Energy Solutions, LG Electronics USA "Our carefully-designed solar panels aren't just about saving money, but allowing consumers to become a more sustainable member of society."

For the first time at SPI, LG is highlighting its solar charging and energy storage system (ESS) for electric vehicles. The first-ever Cadillac ELR electrified luxury coupe featured in LG's booth showcases how LG solar solutions provide cost-effective charging for homes and offices.

LG's ESS is a sleek, smart battery designed for solar panels and buildings, which pairs with inverters to convert the direct current from the solar panel into alternating current that can be used around the house both day and night to help make consumers' lives easier.

The alliance with Cadillac at SPI builds on LG's relationship with General Motors; LG Chem produces batteries for GM, while LG Electronics manufactures On-Star electronics for all GM vehicles.

As solar energy is predicted to grow globally at a gross rate of at least 20 percent, according to the 2013 US Solar Market Insights Report, LG continues to develop its solar products with consumers and businesses in mind, helping them lower their electricity costs, Kim said.