Friday, July 31, 2009

Entech Solar unveils next-generation products

FORT WORTH, USA: Entech Solar announced significant progress with its development programs for both its concentrating solar and skylight products.

Since March 2009 when Entech suspended manufacturing operations for its previous generation of concentrating solar systems, the Company has been fully dedicated to the design and development of its next-generation products.

* Successful completion of the preliminary design review and prototype of the next-generation concentrating solar product, ThermaVolt II.
* Filing of multiple provisional patent applications associated with the ThermaVolt II module.
* Successful completion of the preliminary design review of the patented tubular skylight.

Entech has successfully completed the preliminary design phase of its next-generation product in the ThermaVolt product line, ThermaVolt II, including the construction and operation of a prototype that produces both electricity and thermal energy.

Dr. Frank W. Smith, Entech Solar’s CEO, comments: "ThermaVolt II’s combined output of electricity and thermal energy produces four to five times the amount of energy compared to traditional photovoltaic systems. Through the net metering of electricity and the offset of natural gas, ThermaVolt II has the potential to be highly disruptive in the solar energy marketplace."

In addition to Entech’s previous concentrating solar energy patents, the Company has filed a number of new provisional patent applications associated with the ThermaVolt II design and manufacturing process to ensure appropriate protection of the company’s intellectual property and to allow public disclosure of certain product features and benefits.

ThermaVolt II leverages Entech Solar’s proven optical technology by using its proprietary arched Fresnel lens to provide about 20 times concentration of sunlight onto the solar cells, saving about 95 percent of the relatively expensive silicon cell material.

“For the past 25 years, our arched Fresnel lenses have demonstrated outstanding performance in the real-world environment, and ThermaVolt II will continue to use this proven optical concentrating technology,” said Mark O’Neill, Entech Solar’s CTO.

The product’s unique design is applicable for both ground and roof-mount applications, and focuses on low cost, manufacturability, ease of installation, compactness and high reliability.

The ThermaVolt II module’s size and shape are similar to those of a standard flat-plate PV module. The standard dimensions will ease adoption in the marketplace and expands Entech’s addressable market to include rooftop applications. The standard size also allows for a more conventional installation approach, greatly increasing the potential dealer and installer channels to market.

In addition, the fully-assembled, compact shape enables palletized shipping, resulting in reduced transportation costs.

In addition to its improved design, ThermaVolt II leverages well-known, existing semiconductor manufacturing processes using proven, off-the-shelf equipment and can be readily outsourced to low-cost, sub-contract manufacturers.

Entech’s ability to outsource the manufacturing of the ThermaVolt II module will allow for more competitive pricing and for readily increasing production volumes.

Global PV power market to resume growth in 2011

OYSTER BAY, USA: Photovoltaic technology has a very straightforward value proposition: it converts sunlight to electricity. Its advantages are simple to understand: sunshine is free, and the conversion process yields clean energy, with no harmful emissions or byproducts.

Solar cells are long-lasting and non-polluting, typically operating for 25 years before being recycled. Photovoltaic systems have no moving parts, which means maintenance is minimal as parts do not wear out and require replacement, so lifecycle operational costs are low.

According to the NextGen Research study “The Global Photovoltaic Market: Sunny Prospects for Energy Independence Through Solar Power” photovoltaic demand will increase at a CAGR of nearly 24 percent from 2008 to 2013, with markedly stronger growth starting in 2011 after the global economy rebounds from the ongoing global recession.

Driving the installation and use of photovoltaics are concerns over climate change and the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions, as well as the drive for energy independence, which has become a matter of national security for many countries.

Additionally, the development of a domestic photovoltaic industry is seen as a promising means of economic stimulation during a difficult fiscal period, as well as a way to transition to a green economy.

Larry Fisher, Research Director of NextGen Research, said: "Federal, state and local governments provide economic support to help alternative energy sources like photovoltaic achieve parity, the point at which the cost of generating electricity from renewable sources equals that of electricity generated through the use of conventional sources, like coal or natural gas.

"That support is crucial, at least until the photovoltaic industry can achieve the necessary economies of scale to compete with standard, greenhouse gas-emitting energy sources.

"Feed-in tariffs have been effective in promoting photovoltaic power generation in Germany, Italy, and elsewhere; these tariffs mandate a baseline price at which the local utility must purchase excess electricity from a residential photovoltaic system.

"The US offers a 30 percent tax credit for consumers installing a photovoltaic system, while many US states also offer tax incentives, as well as rebates, grants and loans, to help support the growth and use of photovoltaics."

US, Chinese, and Taiwanese solar-cell makers gain ground

USA: Japan's suppliers of solar photovoltaic cells and panels, which dominated the industry for many years, slipped in the supplier rankings in 2008, according to a new 2009 report from IC Insights, Solar Energy: Growth Opportunities for the Semiconductor Industry.

The 2008 top 10 solar ranking contains two suppliers based in Japan, three in China, two in Taiwan, two in Germany, and one in the US (Fig. 1).Source: IC Insights

Sharp Corp. was the No. 1 PV device supplier in 2006 and for several years before that. In 2007, Germany's Q-Cells AG and China's Suntech Power Holdings Co. Ltd. overtook Sharp, according to IC Insights' figures.

In 2008, First Solar Inc., a US-based supplier of thin-film PV panels made with cadmium telluride, blew past both Sharp and Suntech, pushing Sharp down to No. 4 in the 2008 rankings, which are based on the peak-megawatt value of the PV devices produced and sold by each supplier.

The totals include PV cells, and in the thin-film case, PV panels. Cell-based panels are not included to avoid counting cells twice. First Solar's MW TF panel sales increased a stunning 144 percent in 2008, boosting it to the No. 2 position.

For its part, Sharp has stated extremely ambitious plans for expansion of its capacity to manufacture and sell silicon-based TF panels over the near term. If successful, Sharp could quickly make up for lost ground.

Sharp was not the only Japanese supplier whose position declined in the 2008 ranking. Kyocera Corp. slipped from the No. 5 spot in 2007 to No. 6 in 2008. Sanyo, which was No. 7 in the 2007 ranking, did not make IC Insights' top 10 ranking in 2008. Mitsubishi also dropped in the ranking.

Future PV device rankings are expected to show significant changes due to the small increments that separate many of the top players. The top four suppliers all achieved market shares (based on MW sales) between 8 percent and 9.5 percent.

A second tier of suppliers was formed by those ranked No. 5 through No. 10, all having between 4 percent and 5 percent market share, and with several additional suppliers close on their heels.

Changing rank within these tiers is statistically inevitable, and it is entirely possible for a supplier to move quickly from the second tier to the first, as First Solar demonstrated in 2008.

Other than First Solar, the risers in the top 10 list were exclusively suppliers based in China or Taiwan. Although China's Suntech slipped from No. 2 to No. 3 on MW growth below that of the total global industry, JA Solar Holdings Co. Ltd. rose from No. 10 to No. 7 in the ranking based on 109 percent growth in MW sales in 2008.

Yingli Green Energy Holding Co. Ltd. advanced from ninth place to eighth on the strength of 93 percent growth.

In Taiwan, Motech Industries Inc. swapped seats with Kyocera, moving from No. 6 to No. 5 thanks to a 67 percent increase in MW sales. But perhaps more impressive was the performance of Gintech Energy Corp., which equaled First Solar's growth of 144 percent in MW sales in 2008, pulling itself up from No. 12 to No. 8 in the ranking.

Gintech, like JA Solar, makes solar cells only; these two companies follow the business model of top-ranked Q-Cells, which has only recently started to diversify beyond pure-play PV cell manufacturing.

Other suppliers in the top 10 are involved in panel manufacturing, system installations, and other aspects of the solar value chain.

At the bottom of the list is No. 10 Solar World AG, a German company that holds the distinction of being the biggest manufacturer of PV cells in the US, thanks to the recent expansion of its plant in Hillsboro, Oregon.

A US-headquartered cell manufacturer, SunPower Corp., almost made it into the top 10 in 2008, but SunPower manufactures its cells in plants in the Philippines.

Nanomarkets' report on batteries and supercapacitors for smart grid

GLEN ALLEN, USA: The market for battery and supercapacitor storage systems for Smart Grid applications will grow from $1.5 billion in 2012 to $8.3 billion in 2016, according to a new report from NanoMarkets.

Key insights:

* NanoMarkets believes that new battery technologies will be needed to meet the demanding storage requirements of the Smart Grid and that lead carbon, Sodium Sulfur (NaS) and flow battery technology will take a growing share of Smart Grid storage applications.

Flow batteries show especial promise and NanoMarkets believes that revenues from these type of batteries will reach $510 million by 2016. Another technology that should be fully commercialized in a five-to-eight-year timeframe is the ultrabattery which is an advanced lead acid battery that integrates supercapacitor technology.

* NanoMarkets' report says that initially current UPS strategies for retail electrical supply will be extended for use in peak shaving applications. The second major growth area for Smart Grid storage will emerge to provide grid stability for intermittent generating sources -- primarily on-grid wind and solar.

Battery-based grid storage will also be a key requirement for microgrids for regions that currently lack reliable grid infrastructure as well as for military support applications.

* Current national and international goals for alternative energy deployment will not be met without extensive new storage capability installed in national grids. Without such installation the required grid stability and peaking shifting capability needed to meet these goals cannot be attained.

* NanoMarkets believes that supercapacitor demand from the Smart Grid will reach $1.1 billion by 2016. Because of their fast discharge rate and low maintenance, the demand for supercapacitors will find their most extensive in frequency regulation applications.

The other area where significant growth for supercapacitors is expected is in regenerative braking for grid-connected light rail systems.

Spire delivers turnkey solar module manufacturing line to India's Sova

BEDFORD, USA: Spire Corp. a global solar company providing turnkey solar factories and capital equipment to manufacture photovoltaic (PV) cells, modules, and solar systems worldwide, announced that it has delivered a PV module assembly line to Sova Power Ltd in Durgapur, West Bengal, India.

Stepping up into the green and renewable energy sector, Sova, along with Spire’s industry expertise and superior equipment line, will provide a state-of-the-art PV module assembly line in India.

Spire has provided Sova with a semi-automated crystalline silicon module manufacturing line capable of producing up to 12 megawatts of solar modules per year. It will integrate Spire's key interconnect, lamination, and testing machines, along with intermediate tooling stations.

Spire will supply the process technology and training to operate the factory, as well as assistance in qualifying the factory’s modules to international standards and certification. The line is designed to be easily expandable at a later date.

“We are excited Sova has chosen Spire to provide our turnkey line solution. This order demonstrates how India is becoming a major player in the solar industry and continuously strives to be the leader,” said Roger G. Little, Chairman and CEO of Spire.

“Spire’s ability to deliver a complete solar factory, as well as the training needed to succeed in the solar market, enables companies with limited exposure to the industry to efficiently add solar module manufacturing to their business portfolio,” concluded Little.

“We are excited to work with Spire, the industry leader, on this important new venture,” said Sajal Das, CEO of Sova Power. “The solar market is expanding rapidly in India and Spire offers the quickest, most efficient path to joining the industry. We are confident that Spire’s industry expertise and superior manufacturing equipment position us for success as we integrate solar manufacturing into our existing business.”

NanoMarkets' report on batteries and supercapacitors for smart grid

GLEN ALLEN, USA: The market for battery and supercapacitor storage systems for Smart Grid applications will grow from $1.5 billion in 2012 to $8.3 billion in 2016, according to a new report from NanoMarkets, an industry analyst firm based here. Additional details about the report, Batteries and Ultra-Capacitors for the Smart Power Grid: Market Opportunities 2009-2016 can be found on the firm's website.

Key insights:
* NanoMarkets believes that new battery technologies will be needed to meet the demanding storage requirements of the Smart Grid and that lead carbon, Sodium Sulfur (NaS) and flow battery technology will take a growing share of Smart Grid storage applications.

Flow batteries show especial promise and NanoMarkets believes that revenues from these type of batteries will reach $510 million by 2016. Another technology that should be fully commercialized in a five-to-eight-year timeframe is the ultrabattery which is an advanced lead acid battery that integrates supercapacitor technology.

* NanoMarkets' report says that initially current UPS strategies for retail electrical supply will be extended for use in peak shaving applications. The second major growth area for Smart Grid storage will emerge to provide grid stability for intermittent generating sources -- primarily on-grid wind and solar.

Battery-based grid storage will also be a key requirement for microgrids for regions that currently lack reliable grid infrastructure as well as for military support applications.

* Current national and international goals for alternative energy deployment will not be met without extensive new storage capability installed in national grids. Without such installation the required grid stability and peaking shifting capability needed to meet these goals cannot be attained.

NanoMarkets believes that supercapacitor demand from the Smart Grid will reach $1.1 billion by 2016.

Because of their fast discharge rate and low maintenance, the demand for supercapacitors will find their most extensive in frequency regulation applications. The other area where significant growth for supercapacitors is expected is in regenerative braking for grid-connected light rail systems.

SunWize completes largest PV installation in Texas

KINGSTON, USA: SunWize Commercial Power Systems, the commercial installation division of SunWize Technologies Inc., recently completed a 337 kW DC solar electric system for the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) at its Dallas Medical Center.

The installation is the largest photovoltaic (PV) installation in Texas and the second major project completed by SunWize for the VA in its effort to utilize renewable energy and improve energy efficiency.

The Dallas VA Medical Center system is expected to save the hospital over $62,000 in annual electricity costs. It consists of 1,728 SANYO HITTM PV modules and is one of the highest efficiency PV systems available.

“I appreciate the diligent project and construction management of SunWize. Nobody has worked as hard as SunWize to address my requirements,” states Rick Hart, Energy Manager at the Medical Center. “Moreover, I am glad for the careful, conservative approach to structural engineering that SunWize has taken. In the May 2nd ‘microburst’ storm that destroyed the Dallas Cowboy training facility and uprooted trees and light poles here at the hospital, our rooftop PV system stayed put.”

Federal agencies are under executive order to increase energy efficiency and reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 3 percent per year or 30 percent by the end of 2015. In response, the VA developed a comprehensive department-wide energy management plan and surveyed its major facilities for their renewable energy potential.

Its evaluation identified the Dallas and Loma Linda, Calif. facilities as the top candidates for PV systems. SunWize Commercial Power Systems was awarded and successfully completed both contracts.

“We are pleased and honored to once again work with the VA in its renewable energy push. The Medical Center in Dallas is the second of what we anticipate will be many projects for the Department of Veterans Affairs. Completing the largest PV system in Texas again demonstrates SunWize has the unique ability and resources to successfully complete solar electric systems across the country,” comments David Kaltsas, SunWize Executive Vice President.

Korea's evolving solar PV policies and their impact

DUBLIN, IRELAND: Research and Markets has announced the addition of the "Korea's Evolving Solar Photovoltaic Policies and Their Impact on the Country's Market and Industry" report to its offering.

Korea restructured its industry following the 1998 Asian financial crisis and its ICT industry has developed strongly since that time. The Korean government regards the current economic downturn as an opportunity to adjust its economy from an export- and technology-driven economy to green-driven economy.

The government envisages the solar photovoltaic industry as its next strategic industry, following the semiconductor and display industries. Despite of its efforts in 2008 to expand its support for the solar photovoltaic industry, the Korean government has begun running out of funds in 2009.

This report analyzes Korean government policies for the solar photovoltaic market and examines future trends in solar photovoltaic market demand.

List of topics
* Energy and green plans of Korea's solar photovoltaic industry, including the role of the Korean government in building the industry.
* The Korean government's solar photovoltaic programs for the industry, including the one million green home program, the feed-in tariff program, and the financial subsidy program.
* The Korean 100,000 green home program roadmap, 2001-2012.
* Companies and organizations mentioned in the report include: Hyundai, LG, Samsung.

Global PV market forecast to 2013

DUBLIN, IRELAND: Research and Markets has announced the addition of the "Global Photovoltaic Market Forecast to 2013" report to its offering.

The high volatility of oil prices, coupled with increasing concerns over the CO2 emissions worldwide, has led to the evolution of renewable energy concept over the past few years.

Use of solar photovoltaic (PV) among others, has emerged as the most appropriate solutions and has continuously been gaining considerable attention among industry players all across the globe. With the growing demand for clean energy sources, the manufacturing and deployment of solar PV cells and photovoltaic arrays have expanded dramatically in the recent years.

According to our latest research report, "Global Photovoltaic Market Forecast to 2013," the global PV industry has been propelled by the consistent efforts and investment from European countries, followed by Japan and the US. As a result, the cumulative PV installed capacity in Europe surpassed 9 GW in 2008, with Germany and Spain collectively accounting for more than 90 percent of the total capacity as of the end of 2008.

The increasing demand for PV system installations has also led to the rapid development of solar cell manufacturing worldwide. In this regard, countries in the Asia-Pacific region, such as China and Taiwan, have gained significant traction in recent years.

China, for instance, produced over 2 GW of solar cells during 2008, and is forecasted to see a CAGR of more than 50 percent in the next few years. We have also found that traditionally, high cost of deploying PV cells had been the major roadblock for the development of the global PV industry.

However, with the constantly declining cost of PV production, the industry is set to pave the way for the deployment of this technology, mainly in the developing economies.

FedEx Ground plans largest rooftop solar power system in US

PITTSBURGH, USA: FedEx Ground, the small-package shipping unit of FedEx Corp., announced plans to install the nation’s largest rooftop solar-electric system at its distribution hub in Woodbridge, N.J.

The solar power project is the third between a FedEx operating company and BP Solar and the fifth solar power project for FedEx. The 2.42 megawatt solar power system will cover approximately 3.3 acres of rooftop space with approximately 12,400 solar panels.

When completed, the system will be capable of producing approximately 2.6 million kilowatt hours of electricity a year and could provide up to 30 percent of the hub’s annual energy needs.

“Our commitment to our customers and the communities in which we operate extends far beyond delivering packages on time and intact,” said David F. Rebholz, president and CEO of FedEx Ground. “While continuing to provide the stellar service expected from FedEx, we also want to identify and implement ways that we can reduce energy use and shrink our carbon footprint. This project is a giant step forward in those efforts.”

As part of the agreement, BP will install and operate the solar power system and FedEx will purchase the power generated.

“FedEx Ground is a valued customer of BP,” said Reyad Fezzani, president and CEO of BP Solar. “We are proud to have been selected for this project and look forward to providing the company with the highest lifetime value and the lowest lifetime cost of electricity for its solar-equipped operations.”

Installation is scheduled to begin in August and expected to be completed by November. When the system is fully operating, the combined environmental benefits based on a projected annual reduction of approximately 1,867 metric tons of CO2 emissions, are equivalent to one of the following:

* More than 340 passenger cars not driven for one year.
* 211,900 gallons of gasoline not burned.
* 4,300 barrels of oil not consumed.
* 259 households’ electricity use for one year.
* 47,872 tree seedlings grown for 10 years.
* 13 acres of forest preserved from deforestation.

Data is derived from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s greenhouse gas equivalencies calculator.

FedEx and BP also work together strategically to identify, develop and implement a range of solutions to increase FedEx’s security of energy supply while improving its environmental performance. This includes fuels supply agreements for its ground and air operations, for lubricants, and for solar power systems.

“We bring the scope and scale of BP’s refining, marketing and alternative energy infrastructure to FedEx, creating value for our customer while allowing them to focus on delivering outstanding service to their customers on a daily basis,” said Richard Bartlett, vice president of strategic cooperation for BP.

Last year, FedEx Freight installed two solar power systems. One in Whittier, Calif., is a 282-kilowatt system , while another in Fontana, Calif., is a 269-kilowatt system. In 2005, FedEx Express activated a 904-kilowatt system at its Oakland, Calif., hub facility, making it the first of its kind in the FedEx family. That system today meets up to 80 percent of that facility’s peak energy demand.

FedEx is currently constructing its Central and Eastern European gateway at the Cologne/Bonn, Germany, airport, which will include a 1.4-megawatt solar power system. The hub is slated for completion in 2010.

Opened in 2000, the Woodbridge hub sits on more than 80 acres of former brownfield once used to stockpile soils dredged from the nearby Raritan River. Soils and groundwater were contaminated with various polluting substances, primarily arsenic.

To build the facility, FedEx Ground worked with the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection on a remedial action for the site. Today, the hub houses a workforce of more than 1,000 employees and independent contractors.

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Intel Capital announces five cleantech investments

SAN FRANCISCO, USA: At the Technology Innovation Summit, Intel Capital, Intel Corp.’s global investment organization, reaffirmed its dedication to foster clean technology innovation with the announcement of five cleantech investments.

The deals, which total approximately $10 million and span two continents, include first-time investment in US-based CPower (demand response and energy efficiency), as well as follow-on investments in Ireland-based Powervation (digital power control) and US-based companies Convey Computer (energy efficient high performance computing), Grid Net (smart meter infrastructure) and iControl (home automation and monitoring).

“Intel Capital has made a significant commitment to invest in the cleantech sector in recognition of the increasing need for alternative energy production and advanced energy management and utilization solutions,” said Arvind Sodhani, president of Intel Capital and Intel executive vice president.

“The global nature of these five investments demonstrates our focus on accelerating cleantech innovation, emphasizing Intel Capital’s unique strength as a global, stage agnostic investor.”

“These investments share synergies focused on accelerating adoption of Smart Grid technologies, fostering energy efficiency and performance in ways that benefit consumers of electricity and power utilities as well as complement Intel’s strategic objectives,” said Steve Eichenlaub, managing director of platform technologies, cleantech and digital health, Intel Capital. “Each investment underlies Intel Capital’s commitment to invest in cutting edge technologies and support our expanding portfolio of cleantech-related companies.”

Details on the five new investments include:
CPower (New York) delivers targeted energy management services and solutions that enable companies to optimize their facilities and operations through energy reduction initiatives and earn market payments for those reductions.

As an industry pioneer that has grown into one of the largest energy management and demand response firms in North America, CPower combines an understanding of energy management technologies, energy markets and the daily challenges of facility operators to maximize the value of energy sustainability. This is Intel Capital’s initial funding of CPower.

Grid Net (San Francisco) is a pioneer in providing the network operating system and management control plane for the Smart Grid.

PolicyNet, Grid Net’s standards-based management platform for all networked transmission, distribution and generation smart grid devices, provides cost-effective rapid deployment and management that leverages 4G broadband networks. Grid Net’s Series C funding round includes Intel Capital’s third investment.

Powervation (Limerick, Ireland) provides digital power controllers for server, desktop computing and communications platforms that deliver capabilities in automatic configuration and self stabilization.

These devices speed design time and enable system stability as other power supply components age, leading to higher energy efficiency at the system level, faster time-to-market and lower overall system costs. Intel Capital co-led Powervation’s Series A funding round and this is its second investment in the company.

Convey Computer (Richardson, Texas) offers high-performance computing (HPC) solutions which aim to dramatically reduce energy consumption and boost performance.

Convey’s HC-1 solution tightly integrates advanced existing off-the-shelf hardware -– namely an Intel Xeon processor and Field Programmable Gate Arrays –- with compiler technology that minimizes the programming challenges that have long withheld the potential of reconfigurable hardware. Convey’s Series B funding round includes the second investment by Intel Capital.

iControl (Palo Alto, Calif.) provides an IP-based platform that delivers monitored home security, remote home monitoring and home and energy management capabilities to security and broadband providers, enabling them to deliver enhanced, value-added services to their new and existing customers. iControl’s Series C funding round includes a follow-on investment by Intel Capital.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Parsons, TSK sign strategic alliance agreement

PASADENA, USA: Parsons has signed a strategic alliance agreement with TSK, a leading enterprise in the engineering and electrical equipment sector.

Parsons and TSK have created a strategic partnership to provide Concentrated Solar Power (CSP) technology applications in North America and the Middle East. CSP has proven an effective and efficient technology for generating merchant class solar power at levels from 20 to 500 megawatts.

Parsons, an engineering, construction, and technical and management services firm headquartered in Pasadena, California, brings to the partnership the ability to deliver large solar projects from planning and environmental permitting through startup.

TSK is completing two CSP projects in Spain that incorporate thermal storage—storing heat in molten salts, providing for generation of solar-powered energy 24/7. Spain has long been a leader in solar power, driven by long-term support from the Spanish government.

“CSP with thermal storage should find a very large market in the Sunbelt of North America and throughout the Middle East,” said Mike Walsh, Parsons Group President. “The combination of Parsons’ resources and reputation in the market and TSK’s experience and expertise with CSP with thermal storage will provide utilities, power districts, and independent power producers with an elegant option for base load renewable power to meet large-scale renewable power requirements.”

Until recently, the plants have been limited to “peaker” service, since solar could only produce power when the sun is shining. That has now changed; CSP can produce power around the clock and be a base load generator.

Having the ability to produce solar power around the clock is a “game changer” in the rapidly moving solar and renewable power field. Thus, Parsons and TSK look forward to working together on this important undertaking.

Essential report on analyzing organic photovoltaics

DUBLIN, IRELAND: Research and Markets has announced the addition of the "Analyzing Organic Photovoltaics" report to its offering.

The sun, believed by mankind to be just a mere centrepiece of the solar system in which we live, is in reality not just a unit but an entire symphonic system which was in place much before the first humans ever walked on planet earth.

This system which has been the primary energy source for the origin of life on earth is in fact very well adequately positioned by nature to fulfil the needs of energy for humans for many more centuries to come.

An effort by humans to harness this abundant source of energy available around us has manifested itself in the form solar energy being converted to many applications as diverse as heat channelling, electricity conversion, electro mechanical applications and much more.

The dream of solar energy for human applications was realized in the early part of this century by the invention of solar cells which when arranged in photovoltaic arrays deliver power for bigger applications.

The next leap of invention in this direction is "Organic Photovoltaics". This report "Analyzing Organic Photovoltaics" earmarks the immense potential that this technology holds for the future of mankind and the crucial impact it will have on the process of introduction of solar energy into large scale arenas of industrialized economies.

This report on Analyzing Organic Photovoltaics initiates a strong theoretical understanding of the Solar Cell system and their subsequent propagation into photovoltaic systems, including their applications derived from generational leaps as first to third generation cells.

The report presents the entire gamut of PV cells in a structured family tree for easy interpretation and also delves into the applications of PV technology in isolated environment.

One of the critical factors affecting PV systems is nature and this report also examines the effects of various factors as sunlight, weather, temperature as well as cloudy weather. In this context the report provides a picture of the global markets for PV solar cells and the commercial aspect is explored in the profiling of the markets as well as the statistics as growth patterns on the production side. The report also explores the commercialization potential and future for the market for PV conditions.

The environmental impact of any technology system has also been examined even though Solar PV systems are as close to addressing environmental concerns as possible through instances as a typical SWH system will, over its lifetime, displace 10.5 tons of CO2 if replacing a natural gas system, or 71.5 tons if replacing an electric system.

The report further analyzes the processing techniques of Organic PV cells and various types of concentrators as well as antenna photovoltaic cells. In order to address the efficiency factors which impact the Organic PV systems the report examines the application on nanostructures to this with a complete overview on the two major techniques in use today. There have been efforts to increase the longevity of OPV cells with the application of Exciton Blocking layers being added in order to ensure maximum mileage from any system implemented.

This report also provides a comprehensive look into the US National Solar Technology Roadmap on Organic PV which communicates the intent and the thoroughness of effort being put by the US behind OPV technologies. The report further adds depth to practical understanding of OPV systems by providing two case studies on OPV cells. Leading industry contributors which have globally made an impact on this industry are also elaborated in this report.

EarthSure’s invention to revolutionize two industries

ELIZABETH, USA: Ray Saluccio has developed an affordable system to deliver solar energy to the masses and assist in cleaning the environment.

The combination of his two ideas has put his patent on the fast track for approval, since the US Patent Office gives special consideration to inventions that enhance the quality of the environment and to those that contribute to the development of energy resources. Saluccio calls his concept Solar Energy Enclosed Dumpster System, or SEEDS.

Saluccio owns a sanitation company and designed a dumpster enclosure system that is a solution to many problems that his customers were having with their conventional set-ups which are susceptible to damage and had security issues. Unauthorized access to the dumpsters caused health and safety concerns. Saluccio’s enclosures were made to be secure and durable. Made from prefabricated recycled plastic, they were also easy to transport and assemble.

Improvements to the trash removal business pale to the benefits that SEEDS brings to the renewable energy industry. Saluccio and his company, EarthSure Renewable Energy Corp. are at the forefront of practical solar energy production. SEEDS allows businesses and property owners the ability to produce their own electricity without the prohibitive costs of installation or damage to their buildings.

Renewable solar power delivers a return on the investment through lower utility bills. Electricity can be stored in a battery, or if hard wired to the building, the energy generated by the solar panels can power equipment. When attached to the building’s electric meter, SEEDS can feed power back to the utility grid causing the meter to actually spin backwards.

EarthSure is ahead of the development of “The Smart Grid” which will allow two-way power flow and replace the current utility grid similar to the technology that enables the internet. Operators may also be eligible to receive Renewable Energy Certificates earned as a production subsidy to electricity generated from renewable sources. Like other commodities, these certificates can be sold and traded for profit.

In addition to SEEDS, EarthSure will be introducing other groundbreaking developments in solar based technology. By bringing SEEDS to fruition, EarthSure has moved us closer to the new emerging “Solar System.”

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

US solar demand improving but financing remains roadblock

BOULDER, USA: The appetite for solar projects in the United States has lagged market leaders like Germany and Spain, however increased federal and state subsidies have begun to take effect and demand for solar in certain markets like New Jersey and California is heating up.

According to a new report from Pike Research, the US solar market will surpass Spain in 2009 and will top Germany by 2013. However, the firm points out that financing for solar projects remains elusive.

"The weak supply of tax equity combined with heightened credit requirements has led to numerous project cancellations and delays nationwide, with over 75 MW, totaling $450 million, of idle projects in New Jersey alone," says industry analyst George Kotzias. But the tide is beginning to turn as evidenced by Wells Fargo and U.S. Bancorp -- both of which have established tax equity funds for solar projects."

In Pike Research’s analysis, solar companies that stand to benefit most from a US boom include First Solar, SunPower, Suntech, Yingli, Akeena, and Real Goods Solar.

"As soon as financing picks up, the demand is there," says Kotzias. "In addition to the increase in subsidies, module prices have dropped by as much as 50 percent and installed costs have dropped over 30 percent over the past year," he adds. This combination of drivers has attracted the market entry of established developers from Europe as well as many domestic start-ups.

Suniva raises $75mn in series C funding round

NORCROSS, USA: Suniva Inc., a manufacturer of high value monocrystalline silicon solar cells, announced the completion of a $75 million Series C financing round, led by Warburg Pincus, a leading global private equity firm.

Also participating in the round were APEX Venture Partners and returning investors New Enterprise Associates (NEA), HIG Ventures and Advanced Equities.

"Most solar is undifferentiated," said Chansoo Joung, a managing director at Warburg Pincus, "That's not the case with Suniva. Their cell design and roadmap for commercialization is extremely compelling and represents a unique value proposition for customers."

Suniva’s high-quality monocrystalline solar cells incorporate multiple proprietary design elements that allow them to achieve best-in-class efficiencies. Additionally, Suniva reduces the time and cost associated with commercializing new solar technology by developing its innovative designs in incremental stages. Suniva currently manufactures ARTisun series solar cells with conversion efficiencies above 18 percent, while being manufactured with low-cost, high-throughput techniques.

Joung added: "Warburg Pincus seeks out businesses that have an important role to play both in the near and long term. As the solar industry grows, Suniva is well positioned, delivering the leading combination of high efficiency and low-cost manufacturing."

In October 2008, Suniva completed the installation of its first manufacturing line and began production of its first-generation solar cells, marking one of the fastest production ramp-ups to date in solar manufacturing. Keeping pace, Suniva will complete the installation of its second, 64 MW manufacturing line in its Norcross facility this summer.

"In a year when most companies lowered their expectations, the investment community recognized Suniva's ability to execute," said John Baumstark, CEO of Suniva. "Our technology delivers the performance, cost and quality needed for solar’s next phase of growth. With this funding round, we will continue to execute on our business plan as we move into promising solar markets here in the US and worldwide."

Warburg Pincus managing directors Chansoo Joung and Dr. Henry Kressel will join Suniva’s board of directors alongside current board members PM Pai, former COO of SunPower; Dr. Kedar Gupta, GT Solar founder and former CEO, and NEA partners Harry Weller, Ravi Viswanathan and Jon Sakoda. Also on the board are Suniva founder and CTO Dr. Ajeet Rohatgi, recent recipient of the 2009 EPA Climate Protection Award, and Suniva CEO, John Baumstark.

Monday, July 27, 2009

Solar market suffers inventory glut

EL SEGUNDO, USA: A massive oversupply of solar modules combined with disappointing demand caused average inventories throughout the solar supply chain to soar by 64.3 percent, spurring major oversupply and price erosion, according to iSuppli Corp.

Average days of inventory among solar module and cell makers, polysilicon and wafer suppliers and vertically integrated companies that provide all these items surged to more than 121 in the first quarter of 2009, up from 74.2 during the same period in 2008.

“The worldwide solar industry for the first quarter added the equivalent of one-and-a-half months of excess inventory in just one year,” said Dr. Henning Wicht, principal analyst, Photovoltaics (PV) research, for iSuppli. “With new polysilicon capacity coming online this year, the PV industry will suffer further price erosion, at all nodes of the value chain.”

iSuppli estimates the spot price per kilogram for polysilicon, the key raw material for making solar cells, will drop to $50 by the end of the year, down by 72 percent from $180 per kilogram at the beginning of 2009.

The figure presents average days of inventory for the major segments of the solar supply chain.Source: iSuppli, July 2009

The perils of poly
On the demand side, the solar market is coping with a demand sinkhole that was left after Spain’s PV demand collapsed. Despite this, solar-cell makers are still compelled to take deliveries from their polysilicon suppliers due to their long-term contractual obligations.

On the supply side, polysilicon providers recently invested billions in new facilities, forcing them to produce in order to cover these new fixed costs.

Integrated firms holding the bag
Some of the hardest-hit entities in the PV industry have been the fully integrated players. These companies, including REC, Yingli, and SolarWorld, have operations in all three nodes of the value chain: polysilicon, wafer and cells.

Inventory levels for this segment jumped to more than 161 days in the first quarter, up from 86 days during the first three months of 2008.

One major reason these companies have borne the brunt of the inventory surge is their integrated structure. These firms possess integrated wafer and polysilicon production that help secure raw materials during periods of a supply bottleneck in the industry.

However, the integrated firms found their hands tied to their own capacity at various nodes when demand dropped off a cliff at the end of 2008.

This, in turn, created a lag time relative to other sectors in the industry that is now just reacting to the business environment, causing the severe inventory build-ups that led to margin compression.

Cell and module manufacturers
Cell and module manufacturers are currently experiencing significant increases in inventory, with levels rising to 105 days from the third-quarter level in 2008 of 47 days. This is due, in part, to pressure from wafer and polysilicon suppliers desiring that their customers adhere to shipment schedules negotiated in 2007 and 2008.

Polysilicon and wafer manufacturing have done the best job of maintaining inventories in this dynamic environment. With only a modest increase to 98 days from 74 days a year ago, it would seem that things are not looking so bad at this node compared to that of cell and module manufacturers.

However, as the year rolls on, this node in the chain will be hit with additional capacity coming online from major existing and relatively new polysilicon players. Such a development will lead to severe turmoil at this section of the value chain as the spot market will be flooded with excess capacity, with many looking to only cover variable costs.

iSuppli expects to see inventories at this node in the value chain to rise throughout this year and persist into 2010.

2008 was record year for solar PV sales

DUBLIN, IRELAND: Research and Markets has announced the addition of the "Solar PV Report Ed 6 2009" report to its offering.

2008 was a record year for solar PV sales, with 5.7 GW of new capacity added. Spain shot into top place, with 2.7 GW added, the largest volume of annual sales achieved by any country ever, followed by Germany with 1.5 GW. Between them they accounted for three quarters of world sales.

However, Spain's pre-eminence was short-lived and in the wake of the financial crisis the Spanish government announced a cap on the feed-in subsidy for solar PV installations at 500 MW in 2009.

This will not only put a brake on Spanish sales but will reduce the global solar PV total in 2009, we believe by at least 50 percent. The Spanish renewable associations are looking ahead at least two years before recovery starts in Spain.

The slowdown in solar PV sales has had some good outcomes however. The shortage of silicon, which has been restraining development, is no longer a major issue and by the time recovery starts new supply should be in place.

Secondly, prices of solar modules are coming down. Thirdly, small companies in the supply chain are merging and being taken over, consolidating the industry.

The report, monitors the progress of two new players in the international market, China and Korea. Chinese solar PV companies have developed very fast and a number conducted IPOs in China and other countries in 2007 and 2008.

A mushrooming production capacity for solar cells and modules has been accompanied by growing production and re-cycling of silicon. This is affected by the global slow-down but the Chinese industry is already well placed for the future. Domestic demand in China has not kept pace and it is an export oriented industry to date.

With the cut-back in Spain, Germany, followed by Japan and the USA still remains the global leader, but new countries are entering the market and the industry is spreading beyond its historical areas.

EDF Energies Nouvelles, First Solar to build France's largest solar plant

PARIS, FRANCE: EDF Energies Nouvelles (EDF EN) and First Solar Inc. announced a venture to build France’s largest solar panel manufacturing plant. With an initial annual capacity of more than 100MWp, the plant will produce solar panels made with First Solar’s advanced, thin-film photovoltaic technology.
This new venture will support the recently announced goal of the French government to become a leader in sustainable energy technologies including solar electricity. At full production, projected for the second half of 2011, the plant will employ more than 300 people.

Under the terms of the arrangement, First Solar will build and operate the plant in France. The plant represents an expected investment of more than €90 million. The initial annualized capacity of the plant is expected to exceed 100MWp, making it the largest manufacturing facility for solar panels in France. EDF Energies Nouvelles has agreed to finance half of the capital expense and plant start-up costs and will benefit from the plant’s entire output for the first 10 years. First Solar and EDF EN intend to announce their decision on the site location within the next few months.

The investment decision was announced in the presence of French Sustainable Development Minister Jean-Louis Borloo. “I salute the decision of EDF Energies Nouvelles and First Solar to invest and create jobs in France’s solar sector, which has begun to take off since the Grenelle de l’Environnement,” he said. “This investment represents a veritable turning point for the photovoltaic industry and confirms that France is more than ever in a position to play a leading role globally.”

Pâris Mouratoglou, Chairman of the Board of EDF Energies Nouvelles, said: “This agreement represents a key milestone in the strategy of our group, which has the ambition to be a global leader in solar energy.” The company successfully raised €500 million last year to finance its expansion in the photovoltaic sector. It has set itself a target of installing 500MWp in photovoltaic capacity for its own account by 2012. “Securing a competitive supply is essential for us to participate in the development of a large French solar market,” he said.

“We have successfully built a number of projects with First Solar panels. This strategic agreement is the result of a relationship built on trust and offers our two groups solid and promising potential,” he said.

Mike Ahearn, Chairman and CEO of First Solar, said: “The decision to invest in France reflects our firm belief in the French market and its great potential. It represents a vote of confidence in the policies being developed by the French government since the Grenelle de l’Environnement to promote renewable energies and allow solar electricity to compete economically with other forms of energy.”

“This decision by First Solar and EDF EN is a sign of our shared commitment to the future of solar electricity,” Mr. Ahearn said. “We commend President Nicolas Sarkozy’s leadership in promoting long-term policies to build a more sustainable energy future not just for France but the world. Countries that create market frameworks that enable solar and other renewable energies to achieve commercial scale will reap the greatest benefits in private sector investment, technological innovation and job creation.” The long-term commitments of the French Government to provide the policy and regulatory frameworks that enable robust solar markets and of EDF EN to invest in developing and expanding the French market were key factors in our decision to invest in France, he said.

First Solar’s manufacturing site will also include a facility for recycling solar panels, France’s first such facility and Europe’s only solar panel recycling plant outside of Germany.

Solar Power Partners appoints G. Robert Powell as president and CEO

MILL VALLEY, USA: Solar Power Partners Inc. announced that G. Robert Powell, formerly the company’s Vice President and Chief Financial Officer, has been appointed President and Chief Executive Officer. Alexander von Welczeck, former President and CEO, will continue with the company as Chief Strategy Officer.

Powell joined SPP earlier this year after his role as CFO at Pacific Gas and Electric Company, PG&E Corporation’s regulated California utility. Since his arrival, Powell’s vision, energy and utility background, and financial management experience have contributed significantly to the company’s growth as America’s premier independent solar power producer, said John Eastwood, SPP’s Chairman of the Board of Directors.

“We are delighted to have a recognized industry leader like Bob Powell at the helm at Solar Power Partners,” said Eastwood. “His extraordinary track record in the industry is a tremendous asset to SPP at this time of rapidly expanding business.

Combined with Alexander von Welczeck, who continues to make valuable contributions as Chief Strategy Officer, our management team is unrivaled in the industry.”

As Vice President and CFO, Powell oversaw SPP’s financial activities, which included working with financial partners, guiding the company’s overall finance strategy, and leading other corporate development functions. During his tenure as CFO of PG&E, the company completed both long and short-term financings in addition to executing power purchase contracts in the solar, wind, and biomass sectors.

Prior to PG&E, Powell was a Partner in PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP’s national energy practice. Previously, Powell was a Partner at Arthur Andersen LLP’s worldwide energy and communications practice where he managed numerous project financing transactions. He is a CPA and holds a BS in Electrical Engineering and an MS in Management, both from the Georgia Institute of Technology.

“Solar Power Partners is transforming the way schools and public agencies embrace solar energy with its ‘no capital down’ power purchase agreement business model,” said Powell.

“With 37 systems and nearly 13 megawatts operational and more nearing completion, SPP has generated significant growth, profitability, and customer satisfaction in fewer than three years, and is clearly in the industry vanguard. I am very pleased to work with the best team in the business to move solar energy forward -- one school, university, airport, water district, and utility at a time -- throughout California and across the country.”

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

BioSolar's successful pilot run of BioBacksheet-A for thin-film solar cells

SANTA CLARITA, USA: BioSolar Inc., a developer of a breakthrough technology to produce bio-based materials from renewable plant sources that reduce the cost of photovoltaic solar cells, announced the successful prototype run of the new BioBacksheet-A product featuring absolute moisture barrier for the thin-film solar cell market.

The announcement follows BioSolar’s recent news that the BioBacksheet-C, designed for the traditional C-Si PV modules, will be the company’s first product commercially available during the later half of 2009.

BioSolar’s chairman and CEO Dr. David Lee recognizes that the fastest growing segment of the photovoltaic (PV) market is thin film, particularly copper-indium-gallium-selenide (CIGS) and cadmium telluride (CdTe) thin-film photovoltaic panels, requiring backsheets with a challenging water vapor transmission rate of nearly zero.

“BioSolar has accepted this challenge, and has developed our BioBacksheet-A with absolute moisture barrier with green components,” said Lee. “The three layer laminate film consisting of 100 percent recyclable aluminum foil is the center core sandwiched between outer layers of bio-based polymer films, making our product unique in the industry.”

“The initial pilot line run, a scaled down prototyping run, of the BioBacksheet-A was highly successful, and samples of this product will be subjected to extensive list of testing once initial evaluation of the backsheet on modules is complete,” said Lee.

BioSolar’s line of proprietary BioBacksheet protective coverings are designed to replace expensive and hazardous petroleum-based film with a bio-based one, creating a more environmentally-friendly and cost-effective solar panel component.

BioSolar’s bio-based materials -– both individually and in combination -– meet or exceed the characteristics of various testing and performance standards for the photovoltaic industry.”

Lotus Systems optimizes PV production processes

GUTMADINGEN, GERMANY: Lotus Systems GmbH, a leading manufacturer of wet process, cleaning, and chemical management systems for photovoltaic, semiconductor, and MEMS production, has developed new cleaners.

"Chemistry as an integral part of production helps to increase efficiency and lower costs," says CEO Joachim Mink with conviction. The new vertical spray cleaners allow manufacturers to clean the carriers themselves -– quickly, efficiently, and at their own facilities.

Spraying ensures that there is always a reactive medium on the surface and makes cleaning two to three times faster. Only about a tenth of the chemicals are needed, since the engineers have developed a special way to position and control the nozzles.

At about €20 per carrier, the cost of cleaning and drying is about a quarter of what it has traditionally been. Plus, the carriers are ready for use again after 12 hours. The vertical spray cleaners, with their extremely small base area of 1.8 square meters, can easily be integrated into the established production process.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Indian energy project in World Challenge 09 final

MUMBAI, INDIA: An Indian energy venture benefiting African communities, The Barefoot Women Solar Engineers of Africa, has been selected as a finalist in World Challenge 09, the worldwide competition seeking to identify and reward projects and businesses which bring economic, social and environmental benefits to local communities through grassroots solutions.

The Barefoot Women Solar Engineers of Africa aims to improve the lives of people living away from any electricity supply in rural parts of Africa - giving them clean, renewable and low cost sources of energy.

Since 2005, 81 women, often illiterate, have trained as solar engineers at the Barefoot College in India -- learning how to fabricate, install and maintain solar lighting systems in their villages in Africa.

Transforming the lives of over 2,000 families, they are helping to reduce the impact of forest depletion in local communities and their dependence on kerosene and diesel.

BBC World News will broadcast six 30-minute programmes profiling each of the World Challenge 09 finalists, showing how their projects and businesses are changing lives and local communities.

In addition, Newsweek will detail the projects in six advertorials. The audience and readers are then invited to vote online -- for their favourite project or business from 28 September.

The winner of World Challenge 2009 will be announced at an awards ceremony in The Hague in December. The winner will receive a US$20,000 grant from Shell to invest in their project, plus the two runners-up will each receive US$10,000.

World Challenge 09 will broadcast on BBC World News from 3 October 2009. For full schedule details please visit

The World Challenge 09 finalists are (alphabetically by country):

• Afghanistan: ‘Patterns of Change’ – Afghan Hands – assisting and educating women who have been widowed or are unable to provide for themselves as a result of conflict, economic desolation and erosion of serviceable infrastructure.

• Kenya: ‘Fuel Cell’ – Kenya Biogas – promoting an environmentally friendly way of tapping biogas as a clean source of energy.

• Haiti: ‘Love n’ Haiti’ – South-South Co-operation – a multi-dimensional effort to reduce violence and gang clashes in the Carrefour Feuilles district in Haiti, stimulating local economic activity and improving living conditions in the neighbourhood.

• India: ‘Solar Sisters’ – Barefoot Women Solar Engineers of Africa – improving the lives of people living in rural parts of Africa by training them to make clean, renewable and low cost sources of energy.

• Indonesia: ‘Nothing Wasted’ – Danamon Go Green, Danamon Peduli Foundation – converting traditional market waste into organic compost to be distributed amongst local farmers.

• Israel: ‘Off Grid Aid’ – Comet ME – providing basic energy services to off-grid communities in occupied Palestinian territories, in a way that is environmentally and socially sustainable.

• Namibia: ‘No Beating About The Bush’ – The Cheetah Conservation Fund Bush Project – harvesting thornbushes to restore farmlands, using environmentally and socially appropriate means and providing much-needed jobs to locals.

• Sri Lanka: ‘A Bright Idea’ – Safe Bottle Lamps – producing a simple, safe lamp that can be easily mass produced at low cost, using recycled glass. It is an effective, inexpensive and quick solution to serious burn problems encountered in many developing countries.

• Thailand: ‘Old School Thai’ – Andaman Discoveries – began as a tsunami relief effort and is now a leader in sustainable travel and development. It allows visitors and volunteers to directly support community education, village-led conservation, and cultural empowerment.

• UK: ‘Emission Control’ – Mootal – reducing methane emissions by up to 94% with the use of a simple garlic extract, while also improving the efficiency of livestock production.

• UK: ‘Jiko Rescue’ – Stoves for Survival – reducing reliance on local natural resources through the production and distribution of fuel-efficient ‚ ‘Jiko’ stoves, which reduce the consumption of firewood and charcoal by at least 55%.

• USA: ‘Fungi Town’ – BTTR Ventures – turning one of the largest waste streams in America and the vast quantities of coffee ground waste generated daily, into a high-demand, nutritious, and valuable food product for local consumers.

XsunX gets positive response to cross-industry CIGS technology

ALISO VIEJO, USA: XsunX Inc., an established solar company, announced that company representatives who attended Intersolar North America and Semicon West 2009 (July 14-16) received positive response to the company's cross-industry CIGS technology plan.

The company recently announced that it is developing a breakthrough thin-film photovoltaic (TFPV) cross-industry technology that may soon utilize the excess manufacturing capacity of the mature hard disc drive (HDD) industry to mass produce high efficiency, low cost solar cells.

Intersolar North America is an international, business-to-business trade show held in the United States for the global solar industry and focuses on photovoltaics (PV), solar thermal technology, and solar architecture.

Semicon West is part of the business-to-business event for the PV manufacturing supply chain and covers the spectrum of PV technologies and issues including thin film and polysilicon devices, as well as increasing solar cell efficiencies and decreasing the cost of solar energy.

According to event organizers, the preliminary visitor attendance for both Semicon West and Intersolar North America was 16,700 with over 500 exhibitors attending.

Joseph Grimes, XsunX's President & COO, stated: "We are extremely pleased with the positive comments received from industry experts at the two shows. Their responses validated that the XsunX approach presents a viable method for producing high efficiency CIGS cells.

"Silicon wafer based module manufacturers expressed growing concern to XsunX that silicon costs would rise again, and that as a non-silicon based wafer replacement company, XsunX offered a potential solution to rising costs of production.

"The breakthrough thin-film opportunity, which is described at our new web site, also relieves some of their concerns about the issues faced in scaling CIGS which we believe will overcome current solar technology manufacturing limitations."

XsunX's manufacturing method combines the higher cell efficiencies that can be achieved through small area solar cell production with the high rate processing techniques developed within the hard disc drive industry (HDD).

Tom Djokovich, XsunX's CEO, commented: "High efficiency flexible CIGS solar cells provide an immense opportunity for use in multiple market segments. They are like solar building blocks for a wide variety of applications including use as a virtual drop in replacement for costly silicon wafers. This is a vast market opportunity to replace aging technology.

"Working with a proven manufacturer of HDD systems and the National Renewable Energy Laboratories will not only accelerate our progress, but will also increase the value of the technology to the industry."

Cannae Group seeks investments, strategic partnerships with solar panel recyclers

NEW YORK, USA: Cannae Group, a specialist advisory firm headquartered in New York City, announced that it will be seeking strategic investments and partnerships with solar panel recyclers over the next 12 months due to unprecedented increases in the photovoltaic (PV) manufacturing sector.

The PV sector is working to create truly sustainable energy solutions that take into consideration the environmental impacts of all stages of the product life cycle, from raw material sourcing through end-of-life collection and recycling.

By addressing future recycling needs now, through strategic investments, truly sustainable energy solutions can be offered today to help prevent environmental problems in the future.

"It's an excellent time to do this considering that solar is an emerging industry," said David McGovern, executive director of Cannae Group. "It will be an environmental advantage if you have panels that not only contribute to sustainability and reduce carbon emissions, but also use renewable and sustainable materials."

"We want to be part of the solution," said Nikita Sutton, Cannae Group analyst. "We have a great opportunity through our investments to continue to improve the environmental processes of the industry."

McGovern summed up by saying, "People have become far more conscious about recycling, so the new corporate mandate is to think beyond just getting a product into a customer's hands. It is now about how do we do our part so that years down the road our products are not part of the problem."

Governor Rendell announces federal recovery funds for State Energy Plan

HARRISBURG, USA: Governor Edward G. Rendell today announced Pennsylvania has received $38.8 million of American Recovery and Reinvestment Act funding for innovative, job-creating energy projects in every corner of the state.

"We want to increase opportunities to generate more renewable and alternative energy, reduce energy use through conservation and efficiency, and create thousands of jobs and competitive advantages for businesses," Governor Rendell said. "This federal money will enable us to fund more projects consistent with the goals of our diverse state energy plan."

Overall, Pennsylvania anticipates receiving $455 million in Recovery Act funding for energy related initiatives. The funding announced today is part of the $99.6 million Pennsylvania will receive under the Recovery Act's State Energy Program.

The funding will be part of the state's 2009-2010 budget, and will not be available for distribution until the budget passed by the General Assembly and signed by the Governor.

The funding will be distributed among seven program areas: sustainable business recovery -- through the Pennsylvania Energy Development Authority, wind energy, sustainable heat and power, solar energy, biogas, green development loans, and geothermal buildings.

The Department of Environmental Protection expects to issue grant opportunity guidelines shortly.

Energy-focused Recovery Act money was first awarded in March when $3.7 million was provided to five shovel-ready projects through the Pennsylvania Energy Development Authority.

These projects will generate green energy, help conserve and use energy more efficiently, put people to work and create business opportunities for others. They are prime examples of how Recovery Act funding can be used to supplement energy-relate efforts already underway.

Last July, Governor Rendell signed into law the $650 million Alternative Energy Investment Fund to provide loans, grants and tax credits for energy efficiency and conservation projects for homes and small businesses.

"Diversity is the key," said Governor Rendell. "The money will be used to fund various projects such as heating and cooling, wind, solar, biogas and green building development. The more diverse we become in attempting to meet our future energy needs, the less reliant we will be upon foreign sources, and less likely to suffer the effects of energy-related price volatility.

"It usually takes a combination of funding sources to make these projects happen. The federal Recovery Act money cannot foot the bill by itself. But it certainly can help. Opportunities now exist for forward-thinking individuals to leverage private investments with the available federal funding and produce projects that generate clean, renewable energy, use less of it, create new, sustainable jobs and save money."

ICP Solar launches European sunsei e-commerce site

MONTREAL, USA: ICP Solar Technologies Inc., a developer and marketer of innovative, proprietary solar panels and products, announced the launch of its European e-commerce website for innovative solar lifestyle products.

The European platform follows the successful introduction of an upgraded sunsei website for North America in June, 2008.

Both sunsei sites serve as online retail stores for sunsei-branded solar products and accessories. The sunsei product line consists of superior portable solar chargers, battery maintainers, lights, vents, and GreenMeters. sunsei applications are designed for recreational and residential use, including marine, RV, camping, and many other outdoor activities.

“The launch of our European sunsei® website is an important development in our efforts to enable consumers to embrace the solar revolution,” said Sass Peress, CEO.

“Our expanded platform provides a greater means to educate our audience while offering easy access to the entire sunsei® product line. With a direct link to European consumers, we will be able to ensure complete customer satisfaction and assess how to best broaden our pipeline of solar powered applications going forward.”

The new European website is modeled after the site serving North America. The website includes an innovative energy portal with monitoring services dedicated to industrial and home applications.

When combined with ICP Solar’s sunsei Greenmeter, it allows users to manage their Greenmeter data storage and keep track of carbon credits remotely and in real-time.

The site facilitates a customer’s integration of solar power into their lives, highlighting the savings that can accrue while helping the environment.

Monday, July 20, 2009

Kyocera solar modules exceed performance expectations

SCOTTSDALE, USA: If you’re considering a solar electric generating system but need assurance about the reliability of solar power, take note.

Kyocera Solar Inc. announced that its 500-kilowatt (kW) solar array at the PPL Renewable Energy Park in Camden County, N.J., has exceeded performance expectations consistently since it began operating in September 2006. The system is part of a major initiative to adopt renewable energy at the county’s Pennsauken Landfill.

“The 2,500 Kyocera KC200 modules are performing at 105 percent of expected output after nearly three years of operation,” said Steve Gabrielle, PPL Renewable Energy’s director. “Each year, this system is producing about 30,000 kilowatt hours (kWh) more than planned.”

In total, this installation produces 630,000 kWh annually, enough to power 72 typical area homes while offsetting 198 metric tons of carbon dioxide emissions — the equivalent of taking 36 cars off the road and saving 900 barrels of oil each year.

“We’re very pleased that our collaboration with Kyocera resulted in an installation that is over-performing,” Gabrielle continued. “That’s great news for PPL, its energy customers, and the state of New Jersey. This partnership is an example of PPL’s commitment to renewable energy options in cultivating the next generation of power.”

PPL Renewable Energy is one of the largest owner-operators of renewable energy projects on the US East Coast. The 5.4 megawatt PPL Renewable Energy Park is composed of three solar power installations and one landfill gas generating plant built by PPL Renewable Energy, a subsidiary of PPL Corp. Two of the four plants feature solar energy systems comprised of Kyocera solar modules.

“Kyocera is committed to environmental preservation and providing quality solar energy solutions to the world,” said Chris Brown, sales manager for Kyocera Solar, Inc. “For this reason, we are pleased to have Kyocera’s solar modules utilized as one of the key technologies demonstrated in the PPL Renewable Energy Park.”

SOLON SE concludes framework agreement with Statkraft for 40 MWp PV plant

BERLIN, GERMANY: SOLON SE recently concluded a framework agreement on the construction of photovoltaic power plants with Statkraft AS, Norway's biggest energy generator, for a total output of 40 MWp.

The agreement signals the acquisition of a key strategic customer for SOLON. The solar power plants will be constructed in Spain. The agreement also gives SOLON exclusive rights to Statkraft's photovoltaic power plant activities in Spain. Statkraft is Europe's largest generator of renewable energy.

The framework agreement runs from 2009 until the end of the project in 2011. Statkraft will assume responsibility for on-site project development, with SOLON handling engineering and the construction and maintenance of turnkey power plants.

Spain is a target area for solar power within Statkraft, which focuses on developing its own projects as well as acquiring licensed projects and operational solar parks.

"Supporting Statkraft in its comprehensive renewable energy operations and helping to develop the photovoltaic segment in the Statkraft portfolio will be an exciting project for us," says Thomas Krupke.

Olav Hetland, Statkraft's Senior Vice President of Solar Energy adds: "We are looking forward to cooperating with Solon on solar parks in Spain. With this framework agreement in place, we will be able to act quickly when projects are ready for construction."

Statkraft is Europe's largest renewable energy company. The Group develops and generates hydropower, wind power, gas power and district heating, and is a major player on the European power exchanges. Statkraft also develops marine energy, osmotic power, solar power, and other innovative energy solutions.

In 2008 Statkraft posted gross operating revenues of EUR 3.1 billion. The group employs 3,000 staff in more than 20 countries.

NDPL, Tata BP Solar to set up solar plants for green Delhi

NEW DELHI, INDIA: In a landmark move, North Delhi Power Ltd (NDPL) and Tata BP Solar have recently joined hands to set up solar power plants in Delhi including rooftop solar plants which will be connected to the electricity grid.

This will consist of array of PV (photovoltaic) modules which will absorb sun light and convert it into electricity. The electricity, generated on rooftops, can be either consumed directly by the owner of the rooftop or exported into the grid and also sold to NDPL.

Once operational, these plants will not only augment power supply for NDPL consumers but will also be a source of income for them.

NDPL has already set up two such solar plants of 4 KW and 15 KW at its corporate office in Hudson Lines and at its training centre in Rohini. Now, NDPL proposes to set up a 25KW solar plant at the premises of DERC.

At a presentation by the alliance of NDPL and Tata BP Solar, the DERC was enthused with the idea of roof top installation of this green power, which will turn the electricity consumers as producers of electricity.

Sunil Wadhwa, CEO & Executive Director, NDPL, said: "In NDPL’s climate change and sustainability strategy, Sun occupies centre stage being the original source of all energy. Solar power is one of the most suitable and feasible source of power from the perspective of cost, scalability, environment and security of source.

"The challenge is to make this source of power economically viable and I am sure that with Government’s support and encouragement in the initial years and, with volumes picking up, solar technology will become more competitive with grid power."

If only 20,000 consumers were to come forward producing 5 KW each, NDPL would manage to generate 100 MW of Solar Power by the end of this financial year. This success of this initiative would however depend on some initial capital support from the government to make solar power generation affordable for the consumers, Wadhwa added.

Apart from the consumers’ roof top initiative, NDPL is also going ahead with the setting up of a 1 Mega Watt Solar Plant using the roof top of its central stores at Keshav Puram in North Delhi.

The proposal to set up solar power plants in Delhi is also in line with the Delhi Government’s Climate Change Agenda 2009-2012 for Delhi.

"We are excited with the prospects of working with NDPL and the opportunity it opens up for partnering in Delhi’s drive towards sustainable energy," said K. Subramanya, CEO, Tata BP Solar.

The Union Ministry of New and Renewable Energy (MNRE) had also recently launched schemes to promote and encourage rooftop grid-connect policy for solar power. The National Solar Mission set up as part of the National Action Plan on Climate Change (NAPCC) last year, is also reported to be targeting 20000 Megawatts from solar power by 2020.

ReneSola signs Loi to develop 500 MW of solar power generation

JIASHAN, CHINA: ReneSola has entered into a letter of intent with the Yancheng city government, Jiangsu province, to develop a 500 megawatt on-grid solar power generation project.

In addition, the Company has been granted the exclusive right in a letter of intent with the Panzhihua east district government, Sichuan province, to develop a 5 MW rooftop project. Both projects are subject to feasibility studies and approvals by various government authorities.

"We are delighted to announce the addition of these new projects to our downstream solar project portfolio," said Xianshou Li, ReneSola's chief executive officer.

"The 500 MW solar project in neighboring Jiangsu province is set to become one of the largest of its kind so far in China. A project of this magnitude will showcase ReneSola's expertise in utility-scale solar applications and help raise our profile in the downstream space as we position ourselves to benefit from the government's enhanced focus on renewable energy."

According to the letter of intent entered into with the Yancheng city government, ReneSola will develop a 500 MW on-grid power generation project in Jiangsu province, China. The project will consist of mainly ground-mounted system applications and 10 MW of rooftop installations to be built over a six-year period.

According to the letter of intent entered into with the Panzhihua east district government, ReneSola will develop a rooftop project of no less than 600,000 square meters for new or existing government buildings, with installed capacity planned to reach 5 MW.

Source: SolarBuzz

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Techtium's TEC103 -- world’s first dedicated Li-Ion solar charging IC with record breaking efficiency

TEL-AVIV, ISRAEL: Techtium Ltd., a fabless mixed-signal semiconductor company specialized in battery and power management ICs, unveiled the TEC103 solar application.

This is said to be a breakthrough power conversion solution for portable solar applications such as mobile phones, handheld solar chargers, Bluetooth headsets and Bluetooth car-kits.

The TEC103 IC for solar applications boosts a single PV cell voltage (from 0.4-0.5 VDC) to Li-Ion voltage and controls the device’s single cell Li-Ion battery charging.

This IC utilizes a synchronous DC-DC boost converter and optimal Li-Ion charge controller to reach conversion efficiencies of up to 85 percent of the solar PV power transferred to the Li-Ion battery.

Techtium’s TEC103 solar solution works at the single PV cell maximum power point and provides up to 2x more power compared to alternatives like multi-cell solar modules and up-to 10x more power can be supplied in partly shaded conditions, dramatically raising the performance while offering cost effective solutions.

Current charging solutions typically require multiple solar cells in series, which drives up cost, reduces efficiency, and increases sensitivity to shading losses and PV array element mismatches.

“We see no single IC currently available combining a ultra-low voltage input with up to 85 percent power conversion efficiency and Li-Ion charge control in a single chip like the TEC103,” said Daniel Breiting, Technical Marketing Director of Techtium.

“Techtium is already shipping its ICs in products that incorporate solar charging. The TEC103 solar solution improves efficiency and reduces costs of innovative solar powered mobile applications.”

The exceptional performance and efficiency of Techtium’s TEC103 solar solution is achieved through a combination of system engineering excellence and innovative mixed-signal IC design that meets the highest design objectives of cost and performance.

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Martifer Solar completes 50MW automated module line

BEDFORD, USA & OLIVEIRA DE FRADES, PORTUGAL: Martifer Solar, located in Portugal, and Spire Corporation (Nasdaq: SPIR), located in Bedford, Massachusetts, jointly announced that Martifer Solar accepted last month Spire’s 50 megawatt (MW) per year automated module production.

Both Spire and Martifer are fully satisfied with the performance of the Portuguese company’s photovoltaic (PV) factory. The fully automated turnkey module manufacturing line uses robotic systems for material handling and processing.

Leandro Bento, Factory Manager of Martifer Solar, said: “It is complex to establish a high-tech automated factory. We are pleased with the support that we received from Spire to reach our designated goals and to achieve unequivocal acceptance. This line makes Martifer Solar one of the most efficient manufacturers in the solar industry and we are proud to have completed our first two megawatts of PV module production.”

Roger G. Little, Chairman and CEO of Spire, stated: “This line is completely automated, making it one of the most advanced module factories in the world. We combined Spire’s process knowledge with our state-of-the-art manufacturing equipment and the latest in robotics and automation. The result is a high speed, high yield cost effective production line producing top quality PV modules.”

Spire has successfully automated the steps that are typically done manually. These included automation of string bussing, encapsulate trimming, module framing, junction box attachment, hi-pot testing and module simulation characterization.

For this project, Spire subcontracted with KUKA Systems GmbH in Germany. The quality robots and engineering expertise provided by KUKA were critical in the success of the program.

NASA’s Stennis Space Center equips green facility with Carmanah solar-LED lighting

VICTORIA, USA: NASA’s Stennis Space Center Mississippi is lighting a new onsite parking facility with solar-LED technology.

As part of the Stennis Space Center’s new Cryogenics Control Center facility, the car park will be equipped with bright and efficient EverGEN 1520 solar-LED parking lot lights from Carmanah Technologies.

Recently showcased at the LIGHTFAIR International tradeshow and conference in New York City, Carmanah’s EverGEN 1500-series lights represent the company’s most powerful solar-LED area lights to date.

Designed as a practical alternative to traditional HID (high intensity discharge) lights, the powerful new design combines the performance of a hard-wired streetlight with the convenience and versatility of a stand-alone solution. AMA Lighting, Carmanah’s authorized lighting representative for the region, will work closely with NASA throughout the installation process.

As part of a LEED green-building project, NASA needed a lighting system that was both powerful and energy efficient. Traditional hard-wired lighting options would have exceeded the Center’s total allowable energy consumption and affected the facility’s LEED rating, so to meet the facility’s stringent lighting requirements without increasing overall electricity usage, NASA engineers identified Carmanah’s solar-powered LED lights as the perfect solution.

An installation of EverGEN 1520 lights would provide a reliable source of bright, uniform light while consuming no additional electricity.

As a standalone alternative to traditional hard-wired streetlights, Carmanah solar-powered lights deliver effective outdoor illumination without trenching, cabling or grid access.

Featuring custom fixtures by leading LED-lighting designer Beta Lighting, Carmanah solar-powered lights offer superior output and performance in accordance with IESNA (Illuminating Engineering Society of North America) guidelines.

A full-cutoff “Dark Sky”-friendly design directs light only where needed (preventing glare or spillover of light onto neighboring properties or into the night sky), while integrated energy management capabilities ensure optimal lighting performance year round.

Carmanah solar LED lights are available now from Carmanah Technologies.

Friday, July 17, 2009

SEMI PV2 Standard presents framework to standardize PV manufacturing equipment communication interfaces

SAN JOSE, USA: SEMI announced the publication of three new technical standards applicable to the semiconductor, MEMS and photovoltaic (PV) manufacturing industry.

One of the new standards, PV2-0709, or “PV2,” marks a significant industry milestone, as it defines a unified equipment communication interface for PV production system, and is expected to provide multiple benefits to the PV industry including shorter ramp-up times, increased functionality, simplified requirement specifications, and increased potential cost savings for manufacturers.

“Up until now, the PV industry has lacked a unified communication standard between production equipment and the shop floor,” said James Amano, director of SEMI International Standards. “Through the creation and implementation of the PV2 standard, major production line processes can now be fully automated by shop floor IT systems that rely on communications with production equipment.”

The other new standards include:

SEMI D54–Specification for Substrate Management of FPD Production: standardizes communication between host and equipment at glass substrate transfer points in FPD fab automated material handling systems (AMHS).

SEMI E152–Mechanical Specification of EUV Pod for 150 mm EUVL Reticles: specifies the mechanical interface requirements of a new reticle handling and protection method, i.e., EUV-pod reticle carrier, in Extreme Ultraviolet Lithography of the next generation semiconductor manufacturing.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

SVTC, Roth & Rau in solar technology collaboration

SEMICON West 2009, SAN FRANCISCO, USA: Responding to emerging opportunities in the US solar market as well as economic stimulus funding, SVTC Technologies and Roth & Rau have renewed and expanded their partnership and are establishing a 30 megawatt (MW) world-class photovoltaic (PV) development and manufacturing center located in California’s Silicon Valley in the City of San Jose.

SVTC Technologies is a provider of technology development and commercialization services to global semiconductor-based clients, and Roth & Rau is a world-leading solar equipment manufacturer based in Germany.

Through the new 30 MW Silicon Valley Photovoltaic Development Center, SVTC and Roth & Rau will offer a full range of manufacturing equipment and services to companies engaged in the development and production of solar cells.

Changing conditions favor solar success
Worldwide, the solar PV market is expected to reach $34 billion by 2013. The economic stimulus bill, signed into law in February 2009, is making billions of dollars available through the US Department of Energy (DoE) for renewable energy investment in US companies, including those engaged in solar energy development and manufacturing.

During 2008, almost $4 billion was invested in solar technologies. However, with the recent market down-turn, most solar development companies in the US, including both start-ups and established firms, do not have access to either the capital equipment or cost-effective, complete development solutions they need to succeed.

Without such access, it is unlikely that most US solar start-ups can survive more than two years, or that established companies will thrive and reach their potential.

“Our relationship with Roth & Rau, developed over a year ago, has enabled SVTC to respond rapidly to new opportunities resulting from changing market conditions and stimulus funding for solar energy development by the US government,” said Joe Bronson, CEO of SVTC Technologies.

“SVTC has proven the value of its business model of providing equipment and development capabilities for the commercialization of products in the semiconductor portion of its business.

"We will adapt the same concept to the emerging US solar business to accelerate its ability to grow the market for solar cells. We are delighted to move forward with a strong partner of Roth & Rau's standing and expertise and we both expect to accelerate the commercialization process in solar cell development while providing significant cost abatement to the industry resulting from their ability to access a world-class manufacturing line instead of investing considerable sums in their own pilot production facilities.”

“The timing is right for a big push into the US market for solar technologies, especially in California and Silicon Valley,” said Dietmar Roth, CEO of Roth & Rau AG.

“By partnering with SVTC, Roth & Rau will gain access to the nation’s highest concentration of solar product development companies as well as establish a high-profile presence in Silicon Valley. We are very enthusiastic about the market for PV development and manufacturing in the US, which we believe is poised for rapid growth.”

SVTC and Roth & Rau have significantly expanded the scope of their original plans for the Silicon Valley Photovoltaic Development Center, increasing the capacity of the manufacturing line from 5 MW to 30 MW, to meet the greater demand from solar development companies.

The Silicon Valley Photovoltaic Development Center, which is scheduled to be operational by Q1 2010, will offer a full range of low-cost development solutions along with the 30 MW solar cell production line. The manufacturing line will consist of state-of-the-art Roth & Rau equipment and will also include tools from other world-class solar equipment suppliers.

Geothermal energy most efficient renewable energy alternative

NEW YORK, USA: As the Obama Administration pushed the energy bill through the House, government organizations and corporations are assessing renewable energy alternatives. Which are the most efficient and improving the fastest?

According to a new study from NYU Stern, geothermal and wind energy are more efficient, and are yielding greater returns on the R&D invested in them, than most other renewable energy alternatives.

NYU Stern Professor Melissa Schilling, an expert in strategic management and technology and innovation management, finds that the cost of generating electricity with geothermal or wind energy is a fraction of the cost of solar energy.

More important, the performance of both is improving much more per dollar of R&D invested in them than solar technologies. This is the first study to explore the trajectory of performance improvement of renewable energy alternatives.

She examined data on government R&D investment and technological improvement and found:

* Geothermal energy is the most efficient renewable energy alternative and is improving the fastest. Wind energy is second.
* Fossil fuel technologies are no longer improving (in terms of efficiency) much –- if at all. These technologies have likely reached their performance limits, though the government still spends far more on them.
* Geothermal energy could become cheaper than fossil fuels with R&D spending of as little as $3.3 billion.
* Both geothermal and wind energy technologies have been underfunded by national governments relative to funding for solar technologies, and government funding of fossil fuel technologies might be excessive given their diminishing performance.

The full paper was recently published in Energy Policy and is available at:

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Beginning of the end for fossil fuels and nuclear?

EL SEGUNDO, USA: In what iSuppli Corp. believes could mark the beginning of the end of the use of fossil fuel and nuclear technologies for electrical generation, the world’s largest re-insurance company has announced an unprecedented effort to invest billions of euros in solar power plants in North Africa.

The Desertec project, sponsored by Germany’s Munich Re, plans to invest 400 billion euros to build solar power plants in the North African Sunbelt, located in the Sahara Desert region.

The effort will utilize Concentrating Solar Thermal Power (CSP) plants to generate electricity and will establish an upgraded electrical grid in the Mediterranean countries. The project will be built during the next 10 years.

Munich Re, Siemens, Deutsche Bank and RWE are partnering in the project, and more than 15 other companies are being invited to join the consortium.

“Beyond the major impact of Desertec itself, the project is set to spur a new wave of other solar power plants and projects, iSuppli predicts, marking a historic shift from traditional electrical-generation techniques to solar power,” said Henning Wicht, senior director and principal analyst for photovoltaics at iSuppli.

“Desertec represents a number of milestones in the history of the solar business. For one, it marks the first time that private companies will invest in a long-term renewable-energy endeavor of such vast size.

Furthermore, leading companies have never undertaken such major risks to invest in a relatively new technology amid an uncertain political environment and missing infrastructure.

“Finally, insurance companies traditionally have been risk-averse investors. The participation of Munich Re provides priceless value and credibility for future renewable-energy projects,” Wicht said.

“Because of these factors, Desertec is likely to be followed by other initiatives. iSuppli expects China will move quickly on similar projects because of its eagerness not to miss out on the future of the renewable energy business.”

The private companies funding Desertec expect an attractive margin by producing and selling electricity from the desert. The Wuppertal Institut of Energy concluded in a study sponsored by Greenpeace that by 2050, the CSP industry will generate about 2,000 billion euros in revenue and will create 600,000 new jobs worldwide.

This means that the CSP industry will be able to offer as many jobs as the German automotive industry does today.

A large portion of the equipment for the North African power plants will be delivered by the German solar industry.

Leading suppliers for the Desertec project will include:
· Flabeg and Schott Solar, which supply CSP systems.
· Siemens, which offers steam generation turbines.
· MAN Ferrostaal and Solar Millennium, which are experienced project developers for concentrated solar power systems.

Aside from this milestone for CSP plants, iSuppli believes that Photovoltaic (PV) and concentrated PV systems will complement the technology mix of Desertec. PV is well suited for situations in which no water can be found to generate steam to run the solar thermal power plants.

The next date to watch for the Desertec project is mid-July—when the industrial partners meet again to formerly announce the consortium. iSuppli will be reporting this development from Munich.

Solar inverter market more than doubles to reach $2.4 billion in 2008

WELLINGBOROUGH, UK: A new report from IMS Research has revealed that the global solar inverter market more than doubled to reach $2.4 billion in 2008.

Analysis has also revealed that a number of companies traditionally associated with industries such as UPS, power supplies and motor drives have found particular success in transferring their expertise to the photovoltaic (PV) inverter market.

The global supplier base for PV inverters is likely to change significantly over the next few years according to IMS Research with many new companies expected to enter this quickly growing market.

Existing suppliers of UPS, power supplies and drives, such as Delta Electronics, Siemens, Riello UPS, and Electtronica Santerno have been attracted by the high growth and gross margins of the PV inverter industry and have been able to quickly serve the growing demand to gain significant share of their booming local markets as well as establish themselves as significant global suppliers.

Research analyst and co-author of IMS Research’s ‘World Market for PV Inverters’ study, Sam Wilkinson commented, “The similarities between these technologies and solar inverters has allowed suppliers to transfer their power design expertise, along with their established sales channels and relatively large production capabilities to quickly enter the PV inverter market with good success.”

Wilkinson added “growth opportunities exist in almost every segment of the PV inverter market, however many suppliers have been targeting the 100kW+ three-phase market which is anticipated to grow by 25% over the next five years.”

Although the global PV inverter market is set to fall in 2009, this is mainly due to very specific factors such as legislative changes in Spain and it has been much more resilient to the economic downturn which has affected almost every other markets. PV inverter revenues are projected to grow at a double-digit rate over the next five years however, exceeding $4 billion by 2013.