Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Solar Power applauds signing of Senate Bill 205

ROSEVILLE, USA: Solar Power Inc. announced that the March 25, 2010 signing of Senate Bill 205 by Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger helps clear the way for school districts across the state to leverage Qualified School Construction Bonds (QSCBS) to finance infrastructure projects, including the installation of solar systems to reduce energy costs.

The bill provides municipalities the authority to move forward with selling these bonds to fund qualified projects. QSCBs are part of the $787 billion American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) of 2009.

The ARRA authorizes these special low-interest bonds for schools seeking to improve infrastructure. QSCBs provide federal tax credits for bondholders in lieu of interest in order to significantly reduce an issuer's cost of borrowing, providing a win-win solution for all parties.

“We were happy to see the anticipated signing of SB 205 take place. As a financial instrument Qualified School Construction Bonds are a very effective way to help school districts make much needed improvements. They provide an opportunity to finance solar systems that will deliver energy cost savings for decades.”

Recently, Solar Power announced that it will begin construction this summer of 2.24 megawatts of multiple systems across Baldwin Park Unified School District (BPUSD). The eight systems will be installed at seven schools and at the BPUSD district offices. BPUSD selected QSCBs as the optimal means of financing the solar systems for the district.

In addition to BPUSD, Solar Power, Inc. has other school districts it is working with in its immediate pipeline, including Washington Unified School District (WUSD). The WUSD Board recently approved allocation of QSCB’ to fund a 1.25 megawatt solar energy which Solar Power, Inc. co-developed with DRI Energy.

“We were happy to see the anticipated signing of SB 205 take place. As a financial instrument Qualified School Construction Bonds are a very effective way to help school districts make much needed improvements. They provide an opportunity to finance solar systems that will deliver energy cost savings for decades,” said Jeff Winzeler, CFO of Solar Power.

Imec and partners start work on EU project PRIMA to improve solar cell efficiency through nanostructures

LEUVEN, BELGIUM: Imec announced that it has started work, together with its project partners, on PRIMA, a project under the EU’s 7th framework program for ICT (FP7).

The project’s goal is to improve the efficiency and cost of solar cells though the use of metallic nanostructures. Next to imec, the project coordinator, the partners involved in PRIMA are Imperial College (London, UK), Chalmers University of Technology (Sweden), Photovoltech (Belgium), Quantasol (UK) and Australian National University (Australia).

Certain nanostructured metallic surfaces show unique characteristics: they can absorb and intensify light at specific wavelengths. This is because the incoming light results in a collective oscillation of the electrons at the metal’s surface. This phenomenon, studied under the name plasmonics, has many promising applications. It can be exploited to transmit optical signals through nanosized interconnects on chips, in nanoparticles that recognize and interact with biomolecules, or in solar cells.

With solar cells, metallic nanostructures can boost the absorption of light into the cell’s photoactive material. And with an enhanced light absorption, it is possible to produce cells with less base material, thus thinner and cheaper cells. Metal nanostructures can improve the absorption in various types of cells, for example crystalline Si cells, cells based on high-performance III-V semiconductors, or organic and dye-sensitized solar cells.

The aim of the FP7 project PRIMA is twofold. First, the project wants to gain insight into the physical mechanisms of metallic nanostructures, and in how they can improve the light absorption of the solar cell’s material.

Second, the project’s partners want to study how these structures can best be integrated into the production of solar cells. For this, they will test a number of structures, benchmarking them against state-of-the-art solar cells. The performance and applicability of these cells will then be assessed by solar cell companies that are participating in the project.

European science traditionally is a leader in both the fields of photovoltaics and plasmonics and this project helps to maintain Europe's strong position. Moreover it provides the participating industrial partners with a competitive advantage, which should create employment and sustainable economic growth in Europe, while simultaneously contributing to a reduction of the emission of greenhouse gases.

EVSO, TSU make advances on solar demo site project

THE WOODLANDS, USA: The management of Evolution Solar announced that the company and Texas Southern University have selected a potential site on the University’s Houston Campus, pending final approvals by TSU Provost, for the solar demonstration project they are jointly developing.

The solar demonstration site is an opportunity for Evolution Solar to exhibit a functional product. The University will utilize students and faculty to assist in the design and engineering of the project. The project location is slated to be an integral part of a new TSU “Green Technology Center.”

Dr. David Olowokere, Chair/Professor of the TSU Department of Engineering Technologies, stated, "We look forward to our partnership with Evolution Solar as this is one of the first steps in the development of our Green Technology Center."

Dr. Olowokere is the University’s assigned point person on the project. The University also plans to use the site for additional research and development to benefit TSU, its students and ultimately the consumer.

"A Green Technology Center on campus is just the start for what's to come out of Texas Southern University," stated Robert Hines, President of Evolution Solar.

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Recurrent Energy to develop 15 MW of solar projects at Kaiser Permanente facilities

SAN FRANCISCO, USA: Recurrent Energy, an independent power producer and a leading developer of solar power projects, today announced it has signed agreements with Kaiser Permanente to develop 15 MW of solar power systems at multiple locations across California.

Recurrent Energy will build, own, and operate 16 solar power systems located across 15 Kaiser Permanente hospitals and office facilities.

“These 16 solar power systems reaffirm the demand for distributed-scale projects, which can be aggregated to generate a significant amount of power,” said Arno Harris, CEO of Recurrent Energy. “We have over 1 GW of distributed-scale projects in development across North America and Europe, and this project reinforces the role that commercial and industrial rooftops can play in distributed-scale solar power deployment.”

The 16 solar power systems will be implemented across the 15 sites through rooftop solar, ground mount solar, and elevated solar above existing ground-level parking spaces and garages. Several projects are underway and all sites are expected to be completed by the summer of 2011.

“Kaiser Permanente sees renewable and clean energy as a key part of our environmental and sustainability strategy,” said John Kouletsis, director of strategy, planning and design at Kaiser Permanente. “As a health care organization, we are concerned with the health of our patients and our communities.”

Citigroup, an equity investor on a portion of the projects, was a key partner in structuring the agreements between Recurrent Energy and Kaiser Permanente.

Kaiser Permanente to energize 15 California facilities with solar power

OAKLAND, USA: Committed to improving the health of the communities it serves, Kaiser Permanente has agreed to deploy 15 megawatts of solar power in a deal that will put solar power systems at 15 facilities across the state by the summer of 2011.

The agreement with Recurrent Energy, an independent power producer and a developer of solar power projects, launches one of the largest sustainable energy programs in US health care.

Installing solar panels on Kaiser Permanente hospitals, medical offices, and other buildings is the first part of a larger plan to use onsite renewable energy sources to power Kaiser Permanente’s buildings nationwide. A focus on renewable energy sources is just one aspect of the organization’s industry-leading work to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, reduce the use of harmful chemicals, and promote sustainable food choices.

“What’s good for the environment is good for our health,” said Raymond J. Baxter, Ph.D., senior vice president, Community Benefit, Research and Health Policy at Kaiser Permanente. “By expanding the use of solar power, Kaiser Permanente is demonstrating its commitment to greening its energy portfolio and reducing its carbon footprint. Harnessing renewable energy to power the care we provide reflects our dedication to improving the health of our members and the communities we serve.”

Kaiser Permanente’s investment in solar power will both reduce the organization’s reliance on the public power grid and help it diversify its power sources. The 15 MW of solar power will provide part of the electricity needed to run the buildings at the sites, which include Vallejo and Santa Clara medical centers in Northern California, and Fontana and San Diego medical centers in Southern California.

The solar power systems will produce an average of 10 percent of the power Kaiser Permanente uses at these sites upon completion, equivalent to electricity used by about 1,900 homes a year.

Kaiser Permanente agreed to purchase the solar power through power purchase agreements with San Francisco-based Recurrent Energy, which will own and operate all of the solar power systems. Citigroup, an equity investor on a portion of the projects, was a key partner in structuring the agreements between Kaiser Permanente and Recurrent Energy.

These agreements allow the not-for-profit health plan and hospital system to partner with a private entity that is eligible for a 30 percent tax credit available to private companies such as Recurrent Energy. Kaiser Permanente also will retain all the Renewable Energy Credits awarded for these solar projects.

“With a massive need for clean energy generation located close to where power is actually used, customers like Kaiser Permanente are playing a key role to make the vision of distributed-scale solar a reality,” said Arno Harris, CEO of Recurrent Energy. “These solar power systems reaffirm the demand for distributed-scale projects, which can be aggregated together to generate a significant amount of power.”

This move is the latest in Kaiser Permanente’s long history of energy conservation and environmental stewardship. Sustainable design and construction practices, including the use of energy-saving infrastructure and non-toxic materials, are allowing Kaiser Permanente to build green and stay on budget.

“These solar agreements are a major step toward the goal of including a wide array of renewable sources in our energy portfolio,” said John Kouletsis, director of Strategy, Planning and Design for Kaiser Permanente’s National Facilities Services group. In the future, energy sources could include thermal energy, wind, and fuel cells in addition to solar.

As the result of green building efforts, Kaiser Permanente:
* Saves more than $10 million per year through energy conservation strategies. A leader in environmental health care and construction, Kaiser Permanente has committed to drastically reducing its use of fossil fuels and slowing energy growth over the next 10 years.
* Will use sustainable design and construction practices to complete roughly 6.7 million square feet of new construction in the next seven years.
* Eliminated the purchase and disposal of 40 tons of harmful chemicals.

Before these agreements, Kaiser Permanente started using solar power when it opened one of the country’s “greenest” hospitals in Modesto, Calif. in 2008. That hospital’s solar panel array generates enough electricity to power 25 homes.

Largest first solar PV power plant in Spain

GRANADA, SPAIN: The Spanish system integrator, Assyce Fotovoltaica, is constructing the largest First Solar free-field solar power plant in Extremadura, with a capacity of more than 26 MWp. The power plant with a land area of 69 hectares should be completed by the end of the year and will generate more than 42 million kilowatt-hours of electricity per year.

"The area offers very good conditions for photovoltaics," explains Luis Garrido, managing director of Assyce Fotovoltaica. "Due to the high level of solar radiation in the south of Spain, we can expect a very good yield of electricity."

The electricity yield will also benefit from the implementation of a new transformer technology. "In contrast to traditional power plants, electricity loss is considerably reduced," says Luis Garrido.

Assyce is also implementing in this project the worldwide established inverter system technology from market-leader SMA Technology AG, based in Kassel, Germany. Thirty six transformer stations will be built up on the 69-hectare site. With more than 337,000 modules capturing solar radiation, Assyce Fotovoltaica, currently the only First Solar system integrator in Spain, is putting its trust in First Solar's thin film technology which has already proven its worth in many other solar power plants.

"The modules are very effective and durable and they are perfect for use in hot climate regions," explains Luis Garrido. The First Solar modules offer a high level of operating reliability for the project. Assyce Fotovoltaica has been working together with First Solar with excellent success for years. Basically this partnership makes the realisation of this remarkable large-scale project possible.

The construction of the free-field solar power plant began at the end of January. The whole power plant should be completed by the end of the year at the latest. With the eco-friendly solar electricity over 30 tonnes of carbon dioxide could be saved every year and the electricity yield is enough to energize more than 14,000 four-person households for a whole year.

"We are making an important contribution to the climate protection and to the expansion of renewable energy resources," explains Luis Garrido. "Power from the sun always has a future and will remain an important pillar of renewable energy."

Due to the limitation of 200 Megawatts per year for new free-field solar power plants (since the end of 2008), Assyce is particularly excited about being able to construct a power plant with a dimension of 10 percent of the total annual volume together with First Solar.

Assyce Fotovoltaica is one of the pioneers in the Spanish free-field solar power plant market. The company, based in Padul (Granada), has already constructed more than 12 solar power plants all over Spain over the last few years.

Constellation Energy completes solar and wind installation for University of Toledo

BALTIMORE, USA: Constellation Energy (NYSE:CEG) today announced that its subsidiary, Constellation Energy’s Projects & Services Group, has completed installation of a 1.2 megawatt solar and wind power system at the University of Toledo’s Scott Park Campus of Energy and Innovation in Toledo, Ohio.

The campus will utilize solar and wind power to generate electricity and the university’s commitment to sustainability also provides students with firsthand educational experiences with renewable technologies.

“Renewables have a twofold importance for colleges and universities that are looking to improve their sustainability and expose students to careers in alternative energy,” said Mark Huston, managing director of retail energy, Constellation Energy. “We are proud to have developed this project with the University of Toledo and look forward to years of clean energy production as well as years of inspiration for a generation of students that will embark on green careers.”

“The creation and production of clean, renewable energy sources is vital to the way we power our world. That’s why The University of Toledo created the Scott Park Campus of Energy and Innovation,” UT President Dr. Lloyd Jacobs said. “Our relationship with Constellation Energy for the solar and wind electric generation systems on that campus will help students and researchers advance the technology that will power our future.”

The project utilizes thin-film-on-glass photovoltaic solar technology that was originally developed based on research at the University of Toledo. Constellation Energy’s Projects & Services Group also installed a 132-foot wind turbine at the site.

Together, the solar and wind systems are expected annually to generate power equivalent to the amount of electricity used by 140 homes in a year. Generating that same amount of electricity using non-renewable sources would result in the release of more than 1,000 metric tons of carbon dioxide, a greenhouse gas, and the equivalent of the emissions from 200 passenger vehicles annually.

Constellation Energy finances, designs, constructs and owns these solar installations and supplies power generated on-site to the customer over a period of 15 to 20 years. This creates an attractive and affordable model that requires no upfront capital from customers, such as The University of Toledo, and reduces customers’ use of power from the electrical grid and associated carbon emissions.

Constellation Energy’s Projects & Services Group has developed a number of renewable energy projects for universities throughout the U.S., including a 17.1 megawatt system under development on the grounds of Mount St. Mary’s University in Emmitsburg, Md., that will be one of the largest solar installations in the US, when completed.

Monday, March 29, 2010

SunPower finalizes acquisition of SunRay

SAN JOSE, USA: SunPower Corp. has completed its acquisition of SunRay Renewable Energy, a leading European solar power plant developer with offices in Europe and the Middle East.

As a result, SunPower has expanded its project pipeline to include more than 1,200 megawatts (MW) of solar photovoltaic (PV) projects in various stages of development in Italy, France, Israel, Spain, the United Kingdom and Greece. SunRay's power plant development and project finance team consists of approximately 70 employees.

"With this acquisition complete, SunPower is accelerating growth in the Italian market, and pursuing new opportunities in other parts of Europe and Middle East," said Howard Wenger, president of SunPower's utilities and power plants business group. "The acquisition of SunRay provides us with strong visibility in the second half of 2010 and in 2011, and is consistent with our long-term company strategy to develop a strong brand and complementary channels to market."

"We are pleased to join the global solar technology, performance and quality leader for solar power plants," said Yoram Amiga, CEO of SunRay. "The global experience of SunPower and SunRay combined benefits our customers with the delivery of reliable energy at competitive prices."

The total consideration for the acquisition is approximately $277 million, including approximately $263 million in cash and $14 million in promissory notes.

Anwell begins mass production of solar panels

SINGAPORE: Anwell Technologies Ltd, a global supplier of advanced manufacturing equipment and process technologies for optical disc, OLED and solar industries is pleased to announce its official entry into the solar industry as it begins mass production of amorphous silicon (a-Si) thin film solar panels using its in-house
developed Sunlite turnkey production line.Anwell’s a-Si thin film solar panel production line.

A unique aspect of Anwell’s equipment is that it allows for the upgrading of its existing capabilities without purchasing a separate new line, representing substantial cost savings as it plans to increase its capacity to 120MW by the end of 2010. The added flexibility will also prove invaluable as the Group markets its turnkey solar equipment, offering companies that are keen to enter the solar industry the added benefit of tailoring their investment according to their available funds and customer demand.

Positioned for growth
The global photovoltaic industry remains robust with solar installation increasing another 6 percent to reach a record high of 6.43GW in 2009, according to figures released by Solarbuzz, an international solar energy market research company. Demand for new installations was led by European countries, which accounted for 74 percent or 4.75GW of world demand.

Franky Fan, chairman and CEO, Anwell, said: “Given the strong governmental push for solar installations and heavy reliance on imports of European countries, we believe it is an ideal market for us to sell our solar panels. The German distribution centre we set up in late 2009, has already paved the way for this growth. The marketing contacts and channels established over the last few months will allow us to immediately partake in this huge demand for solar panels in Europe market.”

According to Displaybank, a global market research and consulting company, thin film solar panels are also gaining in popularity against the more established crystalline silicon panels.

Thin film solar panels made up 19.8 percent of globally produced solar panels in 2009, up from a 12.8 percent market share in 2008. This growth trend is expected to continue into 2010, where thin film solar panels are forecast to make up to 23.4 percent of the 12.1GW worth of total production.

Enfinity, Videocon Group sign solar co-operation agreement

MUMBAI, INDIA: Enfinity, a global renewable energy developer, has signed a strategic collaboration agreement with the Indian conglomerate Videocon Group, active in Telecom GSM Service, Oil and Gas, Power, Retail, DTH and Consumer Electronics to develop large scale Indian projects in solar energy.

The agreement was signed in presence of HRH Prince Filip of Belgium, during his royal mission to India. Enfinity also announced to open a new Pan-Indian office in Mumbai to further support the company's growth strategy.

Via the 50/50 joint-venture between Belgium-based Enfinity and Indian-based Videocon Group, both companies will develop large scale projects in solar energy. The agreement combines Enfinity's expertise in developing and financing renewable energy projects with Videocon's strong presence in India.

Enfinity already has important activities in India. End of 2009, the company announced an agreement with Titan Energy Systems, a manufacturer of PV modules, to develop, finance and construct 1 GWp of PV installations on 3000 acres of land in Andhra Pradesh in the coming five years.

To support its further expansion, Enfinity will set up multiple offices in India. These will all be co-ordinated from a new head office Enfinity is setting up in Mumbai. This location was selected because of its position as commercial centre of India, also accommodating many local and international banks. The new office will employ 25 to 30 people. By the end of 2010, Enfinity expects to employ up to 100 people in several Indian offices.

Saurabh P. Dhoot, Director Videocon Group, said: "Today marks a small step by us for a Giant Leap by India towards an environmentally responsible and sustainable answer to its ever growing energy requirements. Videocon after creating significant value in Energy business in India and Globally around the world from Brazil to Australia, is proud to promote renewable energy on a large platform for India on the backdrop of a government with a strong mission and vision of clean Energy self sufficiency. We are proud to further this by a JV combining the best of capabilities to take the Government's mission to the Next level."

Gino Van Neer, CEO, Enfinity Asia Pacific, added: "India is a very important region in our international expansion. It has an ideal climate to harvest solar energy and has enormous energy needs, being one of the most important emerging markets. End of 2009, India started to implement its "National Solar Mission": the ambition to generate 20.000 MWp by 2020. We support India's plans to react to climate change and to lower its overdependence on fossil fuels. We can offer them our extensive expertise to effectively deploy renewable energy sources."

Source: Solarbuzz

IFC invests in Azure Power, India’s first private megawatt-scale solar developer

NEW DELHI, INDIA: IFC, a member of the World Bank Group, will provide a $10 million equity investment to an independent solar power company, Azure Power Private Ltd, to help implement new megawatt scale grid-connected solar plants to bolster clean energy output. This is the first solar project under IFC’s new clean technology investment program.

Once fully operational, the project will expand capacity to produce over 20,000 megawatt hours of clean energy annually to reach a hundred villages in several Indian states, and more than 10,000 tons of carbon dioxide emissions will be avoided annually.

Helion Venture Partners and Foundation Capital, leading venture capital investors in clean technology companies that supported Azure with funding in September 2008, also participated in this second round.

“The support from IFC, Helion, and Foundation Capital is recognition of the potential of megawatt scale solar power generation in India,” said Inderpreet S. Wadhwa, Azure Power’s CEO. “As a pioneer, Azure has developed a strong pipeline of projects across India and is actively planning to add distributed generation capacity.”

A third of India’s population lacks access to electricity. Serious power shortages, with peak gaps at 11 percent, and poor supply reliability hamper industrial growth and competitiveness. With this project, IFC will help create new renewable energy-based generation capacity to meet rising demand. IFC’s long-term support to Azure Power will help attract the finance needed to sustain the flow of resources into this nascent sector.

“Azure Power will be the first direct investment for IFC in a megawatt grid-connected solar power project developer,” said Anita George, IFC Infrastructure Director for Asia. “The project, IFC’s first cleantech investment in South Asia, will go a long way in contributing to the development of the solar power generation sector.”

IFC’s clean technology investment program combines its early stage equity investment expertise and global infrastructure industry knowledge to support innovative clean technology companies. The Azure Power investment comes as India embarks on its ambitious 20,000 megawatt Jawaharlal Nehru National Solar Mission, which IBRD and IFC are jointly supporting.

IFC is the only international financial institution focused exclusively on the private sector, the engine of sustainable development in emerging markets. Along with IBRD, it is currently seeking a capital increase to strengthen its ability to create opportunity for the poor in developing countries—including by helping firms like Azure Power expand solar energy generation capacities.

Solarbuzz projects record quarterly global PV demand of 4 GW in Q2 2010

SAN FRANCISCO, USA: After low growth in global photovoltaic (PV) demand in 2009, the new edition of Solarbuzz QUARTERLY issued today projects a return to rapid market expansion this year. Reviewing the results of the past five quarters, the industry data displays large variations between end-market demand and also manufacturer shipments.

Projections for first and second quarter 2010, the outlook period in the report, suggest that major demand and shipment swings are set to continue in 2010.Fourth quarter 2009 end-market revenues increased by 63 percent from 12 months ago and 44 percent over the prior quarter, as demand increased fast enough to offset price declines for installed systems.

The fourth quarter 2009 PV market reached a record high, at 2.9 GW - 453 percent times larger than first quarter 2009 following a massive rise in European demand through the year. The end market ramp up was driven principally by Germany, Italy and the Czech Republic. Germany alone accounted for 52 percent of the global demand in the quarter.

Among industry leaders, Sharp, SunPower, First Solar and Suntech Power all generated solar revenues in excess of $500 million (equivalent) in the fourth quarter.

However, preliminary estimates show average solar cell manufacturer gross margins of 8 percent in fourth quarter 2009, down from 15 percent one year earlier.

Meanwhile, wafer, cell and module capacity utilization grew in fourth quarter 2009, while polysilicon held steady and thin film dropped.

The world market is now projected to maintain this upward trend, reaching a new quarterly peak of 4.0 GW in Q2 2010. This early-year strength will create a period of relative pricing stability. Crystalline silicon module factory-gate prices - having fallen 22 percent between first and fourth quarter 2009 after the decline of the Spanish market at the end of 2008 - are projected to remain flat in Europe through most of second quarter 2010.

Over the outlook period, module production is projected to rise 7 percent in first quarter and a further 19 percent in second quarter 2010. Thin film production will account for 17 percent of global shipments in first half of 2010.

By mid-2010, module manufacturers' inventories will hold close to steady from the start of the year, while downstream (distribution and installation) inventories are projected to decline by 26 days over the same period. However, once the German policy adjustments are implemented in the second half of 2010, corporate outcomes will become dependent both on the discipline of the downstream to manage inventories and the manufacturers to manage production levels.

"The data demonstrates clearly that managing quarterly corporate performance in 2010 will be even more challenging than it has been over the past two years - a period that proved to be a roller coaster ride for sales revenues and profitability," said Craig Stevens, President of Solarbuzz, a division of The NPD Group.

"In the event that production is not moderated in the second half of the year, the outcome will be a return to more price disruption. However, unlike 2009, there will be significant consequences for high cost producers."

The full PV industry picture is revealed in the new Solarbuzz QUARTERLY report. It provides a concise quarterly analysis of the key PV industry data including regional market demand, module production and shipments, upstream and downstream module inventories, factory gate pricing and gross margins through 2009. It also summarizes the market and policy developments over the last quarter, and provides insight into supply/demand projections through to Q2 2010.

Source: Solarbuzz

Korean technology companies to have major impact on global smart grid market

BOULDER, USA: South Korea has become well-recognized in recent years as a global technology hub, and its leading technology companies have successfully developed and exported a wide range of innovative products.

Now, the Korean government, in partnership with private industry, is spearheading a new Smart Grid strategy to transform the ways in which electricity is generated, distributed, and consumed in the country, driven by a desire for greater energy security, sustained economic growth, and reduced environmental impact.

According to a new report from Pike Research, these efforts will result in Smart Grid infrastructure investments totaling $15.8 billion within Korea itself during the period from 2009 to 2016, and will serve as the foundation for a significant global export market as well.

“Korean technology companies have been at the forefront of innovation in information and communications technology,” says industry analyst Andy Bae. “They are now poised to take a significant leadership role in the Smart Grid market, both within Korea and on a global level.”

Bae adds that Korean companies will aim to leverage their technology assets in other sectors to create an advanced Smart Grid infrastructure that improves power generation and distribution efficiencies, incorporates renewable and distributed generation resources, and supports the evolution of transportation infrastructure toward electric vehicles.

Pike Research forecasts that electricity distribution automation and transmission upgrades will be the largest opportunities in Korea’s Smart Grid market over the next several years, followed by substation automation and renewable energy management systems. The firm anticipates that smart metering and electric vehicle management system will also be substantial application areas, though not as large.

Sungevity and US Bank create $24 million fund for 10-year solar lease

OAKLAND, USA: Sungevity, the leading online residential solar provider, announced a new partnership with US Bancorp to finance solar systems for Californian homes. US Bancorp is the parent of US Bank, the fifth largest commercial bank in the United States.

"We're excited to partner with Sungevity on their solar lease program," said Darren Van't Hof, Vice President of Renewable Energy Investments for U.S. Bank. "We like the residential solar space and are convinced its growth will outpace commercial solar development in the coming years."

Together the two companies have created a new tax equity fund to finance solar leases for Sungevity's future customers. Sungevity has become a leader in the solar industry because of its ability to offer easy and affordable residential solutions with its unique online design and sales process.

"Sungevity has always put its customers first, and we are thrilled to be able to offer the best solar lease on the market with the first ever 10-year term using this fund while maintaining a service unparalleled by our competitors," said Danny Kennedy, President and co-founder of Sungevity. "Having a great partner like US Bank that believes in the power of solar helps ensure that more home owners than ever can reap the savings coming from solar power in their own homes."

Sungevity started providing solar leases this month and has already sold one-quarter of a megawatt under the offer. Leveraging the easy online "iQuote" process, which enables Sungevity to use satellite images and aerial photography to assess customers' roofs remotely and accurately determine the homes' solar potential, the company has been able to furnish thousands of customers with a firm proposal to use solar power with no capital cost. Demand has been huge with over 1000 iQuotes requested through in the last week alone.

The offer gives most customers savings from the start of their Sungevity Solar Lease. The graphic compares a typical customer's monthly electric bill over a 10-year period – savings from the solar lease starts immediately and increases significantly over time.

"This is the killer app for driving the mass adoption of solar," said Kennedy. "We've made it more than affordable to access electricity free from the sun, and we've made it easy by selling it over the internet."

"The Sungevity Solar Lease is a game changer: In one day this month we sold more solar power than our previous biggest month – people are voting with their mouses to get a lower electricity bill and do something for the planet."

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Spire ships 100th SLP solar simulator

BEDFORD, USA: Spire Corp., a global solar company providing turnkey manufacturing lines to manufacture photovoltaic (PV) modules and solar systems, has shipped its 100th Spi-Sun Simulator™ 4600 SLP to Saflex Solar Encapsulants (Saflex), a unit of Solutia Inc., located in Springfield, MA.

The Spi-Sun Simulator PV module testing systems, which have received a “Beyond AAA Classification,” feature light sources that closely match the solar spectrum while avoiding the excessive solar cell heating caused by continuous sources. The Spi-Sun Simulator SLP is uniquely designed to create a very stable uniform single long-pulse (SLP) of light during which the entire I-V measurement is performed. Manufacturers of both crystalline silicon and thin film modules use the simulator.

“Although we have been manufacturing solar simulators for many years, the SLP Series is new to the market,” said Roger G. Little, Chairman and CEO of Spire.

“We just introduced it in the first quarter of 2008, so I am happy the 100th simulator is already being shipped. It is also pleasing that it is now being used by many UL and CE module qualification laboratories throughout the world. Saflex is developing critical material for PV module encapsulation, so they need to have a state-of-the-art tool for their material evaluations.”

“Saflex recently added a PV research center to help foster innovation of solar encapsulants,” comments Francois Koran, Saflex Photovoltaic Development Manager. “Sourcing state-of-the-art equipment, like the Spire Spi-Sun Simulator, is critical to develop break-through product and process solutions.”

Friday, March 26, 2010

Chevron tests emerging solar technologies in Central California

BAKERSFIELD, USA: Chevron Corp. announced the start of Project Brightfield, a demonstration of next-generation solar energy technologies in Bakersfield, California. The project, created on the site of a former Chevron refinery, will evaluate seven emerging photovoltaic technologies to help determine the potential application of renewable power at other company-owned facilities.

The former refinery site has been repurposed to test the performance of six emerging thin-film technologies and one emerging crystalline-silicon photovoltaic technology, which were provided by independent solar companies.

"By bringing together seven emerging solar technologies, Project Brightfield represents one of the most comprehensive solar energy tests of its kind and is an innovative approach to evaluating new technologies," said Des King, president of Chevron Technology Ventures, the division of Chevron USA Inc. that identifies, evaluates and demonstrates emerging technologies. "Testing competing technologies side by side means that we can better understand their potential application at other Chevron facilities."

The 7,700 solar panels on the 8-acre site will generate approximately 740 kW of electricity. The produced power will be directed to the local utility grid as well as to Chevron's oil production operations at the Kern River Field.

"Chevron has operated in the San Joaquin Valley for more than a century. Throughout this time, our engineers have developed breakthrough technologies that have helped make us the leading oil and gas producer in the state," said Bruce Johnson, vice president of Chevron's San Joaquin Valley Business Unit. "The Brightfield solar demonstration facility is a clear example of Chevron's efforts to find ways to integrate innovative technologies into our business."

The companies demonstrating thin-film technologies are Abound Solar, MiaSolé, Schüco, Solar Frontier, Sharp, and Solibro, while the crystalline-silicon photovoltaic technology is provided by Innovalight. Each solar company can access data about its technology, find out how well it performs in various conditions and compare it against a benchmark solar technology — a brand of commercially available solar photovoltaic technology — that has also been installed on the site.

Project Brightfield is Chevron's second completed project that repurposes an existing asset to integrate renewable power. The first was a wind farm on a former Texaco refinery site near Casper, Wyoming, where 11 wind turbines generate 16.5 megawatts of power. A third project — a concentrating solar photovoltaic installation at a Chevron Mining Inc. facility near Questa, New Mexico — is scheduled to be completed by the end of 2010.

SEMI PV Group forms European Crystalline Cell Technology and Manufacturing Group (CTM)

BERLIN, GERMANY: At the 4th Photovoltaic Fab Managers Forum, held on March 8 in Berlin, SEMI PV Group Europe announced the formation of a new European group for crystalline solar cells.

This founding group of eight crystalline solar cell manufacturers (Q-Cells, Deutsche Cell, Bosch Solar Energy, Schott Solar, Sovello, Sunways, SolarWatt/Systaic Cells and Solland) is working together in a pre-competitive environment to address the technology challenges facing the photovoltaic industry.

The CTM Group has established a crystalline solar cell technology roadmap up to the year 2020, which was announced at the PV Fab Managers Forum on March 8, 2010. The roadmap describes the development of crystalline solar cell technology with focus on materials, manufacturing processes, and product development.

The priority of the CTM Group will be the definition of the development processes for raw materials, cell technology and cell manufacturing. The goal is to strengthen European competitiveness in the global marketplace by improving efficiency and quality while also reducing cost. The group also aims to optimize the interfaces within the entire manufacturing supply chain to help achieve this goal.

“The foundation of the CTM Group is an important step forward to strengthen the competitiveness of the solar cell manufacturers, develop advanced technologies, and implement improved manufacturing processes and standards for crystalline solar cells,” said Gerhard Rauter, member of the Executive Board of Q-Cells SE and the representative of Q-Cells within the CTM Group.

“I am convinced that this collaboration will help to strengthen the global competitiveness of Q-Cells and the other crystalline solar cell manufacturers with regard to high-quality and cost-effective solar cells,” he added.

“Tackling the challenges of the very dynamic PV market can best be managed by a close collaboration among the CTM Group members and by bundling the activities of the CTM Group within SEMI,” said Dr. Gerrit Sames, COO and Member of the Board of Management of Schott Solar.

“The combined efforts of the CTM Group solar cell manufacturers will underscore the leadership in innovation and quality and is the basis for further leapfrogging technological solutions to the benefit of the entire sector and especially the customers,” said Klaus Kubitz, the general manager of Deutsche Cell GmbH.

Source: SEMI, USA

Evolution Solar contracted by Polyven for wafer sourcing

THE WOODLANDS, USA: Evolution Solar Corp.'s director of Asian Operations, Michael Franklin, has successfully sourced special solar wafer needs for Polyven International.

Polyven International is a US based company which supplies a complete line of solar materials with a vertically integrated strategy worldwide. Their first end user is a leading Italian PV solar panel manufacturer who supplies state of the art products globally.

John Denzer, CEO of Polyven International, has contracted EVSO for his Asian sourcing needs of which China is an integral part its global strategy. The first shipment of EVSO wafers was successfully delivered to Italy for trial, evaluation and commercial approval. Polyven International is also working with EVSO to source similar materials for the solar industry needs in South America.

Evolution Solar is currently building a solar demonstration site in partnership with Texas Southern University, to be placed at the university’s Houston campus. This project should help Evolution Solar acquire new projects in an industry that is growing to compete in the energy industry

Thursday, March 25, 2010

eSolar intros semiconductor veteran as SVP of operations

PASADENA, USA: eSolar, a leading producer of modular, scalable concentrating solar thermal power plants, announced today it has named Gary J. Breton as senior vice president of operations. Mr. Breton brings to the eSolar team more than 20 years' experience in executing global expansion and improving the operational profitability of leading semiconductor companies.

Prior to joining eSolar, Breton oversaw financial operations for Aurora Semiconductor and led sourcing efficiency initiatives at Cypress Semiconductor. Previously, as a senior vice president at Amkor Technologies, Mr. Breton supervised the operations of seven factories in six countries, where he successfully drove growth in Asian markets.

“To realize our vision of making solar power competitive with fossil fuels, eSolar is drawing on the legacy of seasoned industries,” said John Van Scoter, eSolar's CEO. “eSolar will benefit from Gary’s expertise in reducing operational and equipment costs, while driving international growth.”

“I look forward to applying my skill set to the dynamic concentrated solar power industry,” said Breton. “My ability to reduce costs and improve processes in the semiconductor industry is well-suited for helping to drive eSolar’s technology model and business strategy.”

Over the course of his career, Gary Breton has led teams in creating and implementing effective solutions involved with overall financial growth, government interaction, operations, and customer relationships in foreign markets. He holds an MBA and BS in Management from the University of La Salle.

Mitsubishi Electric PV system powers Toyo Suisan's first solar installation

TOKYO, JAPAN: Mitsubishi Electric Corp. has completed installation of a 62 kilowatt (kW) photovoltaic (PV) system at Toyo Suisan Kaisha Ltd's Kanto Factory in Tatebayashi City, Gunma Prefecture, Japan. The installation, which is Toyo Suisan's first, has also become the largest PV system at a business operation in Tatebayashi City.

The electricity generated by a total of 330 PV modules installed on a surface area of 460 square meters will cover part of the electricity consumption used for air conditioning and lighting at the Toyo Suisan Group's largest instant noodle processing factory in Japan. Annually, the system is expected to generate approximately 60 megawatt-hours (MWh) of electricity and reduce 18.9 tons of carbon dioxide emissions.

Toyo Suisan, the food processing and sales company well known for its Maruchan brand and also the leading company in the North American and Mexican noodle market, has to date put in efforts to tackle global warming by saving energy through changing boiler fuels to natural gas and replacing manufacturing facilities to inverter-driven equipment, as well as by planting trees on factory roofs.

To further reduce carbon dioxide emissions, Toyo Suisan decided to install a 62kW system at its Kanto Factory, partly funded by subsidies from the New Energy Promotion Council in Japan.

Meanwhile, Mitsubishi Electric is the only Japanese manufacturer that makes all key equipment that composes a PV system, such as PV modules and inverters in addition to power devices, which is the main component in inverters. Mitsubishi Electric was chosen to supply the entire system for this project as a result of high recognition for the company's product quality, reliability and the best system proposal.

Of the 62kW system, a 51kW system composed of 270 PV modules has been installed on the warehouse roof of the Kanto Factory, equipped with Mitsubishi Electric's three-phase 50kW PV inverter that will convert generated electricity into AC current. There is also a 11kW system of 60 modules on the main gate arch, whose electricity will be converted using a 10kW inverter, also supplied by Mitsubishi Electric.

Q-Cells selects Flextronics to manufacture 200 MW of solar modules

SINGAPORE: Flextronics has entered into an agreement to produce solar modules for Q-Cells SE, one of the world's largest solar cell producers. The deal, which is one of the largest solar manufacturing contracts awarded in the industry to date, positions Flextronics as the leading EMS player in the Clean Tech market.

Flextronics will dedicate 200 Megawatts of the capacity at its Clean Tech Super Site in Port of Tanjung Pelepas (PTP), Malaysia, to the production of Q-Cells' solar modules.

This highly strategic location provides Q-Cells with a world-class solution and capitalizes on the solar supply chain that is rapidly evolving in Malaysia. Q-Cells is expected to benefit from an optimized supply chain in terms of product costs and logistics to its end markets, and ultimately a strengthened market position by leveraging Flextronics' scale and manufacturing expertise.

Nedim Cen, CEO of Q-Cells SE, stated: "We are very pleased to have found an experienced, flexible partner in Flextronics who will support us in expanding our product range by crystalline modules. This partnership represents a major milestone in the strategic positioning of our company."

"The manufacture of solar modules for Q-Cells aligns fully with one of the major strategic initiatives of Flextronics, which is to establish Flextronics as the OEM partner of choice in Clean Tech, where we are actively driving the delivery of sustainable, environmentally-conscious technology solutions for Clean Tech customers," stated EC Sykes, president of Flextronics Industrial.

"We are very happy to have been chosen by Q-Cells and continue to develop our working partnership with the Q-Cells team."

Production is underway, with the first Q-Cells modules produced in mid-March.

Advanced Energy acquires solar inverter provider, PV Powered

FORT COLLINS, USA: Advanced Energy Industries Inc. has signed a definitive agreement to acquire PV Powered Inc., a leading manufacturer of grid-tied PV inverters in the residential, commercial, and utility-scale markets. The acquisition is expected to add an estimated $40-50 million to Advanced Energy's 2010 revenues and be neutral to marginally dilutive to GAAP net income in 2010.

Hans Betz, CEO of Advanced Energy, said: "We are very excited to announce this acquisition and believe the combination of Advanced Energy and PV Powered will continue our strong momentum in the inverter market, propelling us forward as a leading manufacturer of solar inverters in North America. The addition of PV Powered's transformer-based inverters with power levels below 500kw for the small to mid range commercial inverter market allows Advanced Energy to target a portion of the market that we have not yet addressed.

"As a combined company, our comprehensive portfolio of both transformerless and transformer-based inverter products will serve the entire spectrum of commercial project sizes from 30kw to multi-megawatt utility installations, placing us firmly at the heart of the emerging and fast-growing solar inverter market."

PV Powered is an innovation leader for high-reliability transformer-based PV inverters utilized in commercial roof top and ground mount systems in the North American market.

Founded in 2003 and based in Bend, Oregon, PV Powered is a privately held company with approximately 90 employees and $21 million of revenues in 2009. Its inverters range in size from 30kw to 260kw for the commercial market and 1kw to 5kw for the residential market, with market leading efficiency ratings.

PV Powered's experienced inverter engineering team has continuously optimized the performance and reliability of its inverters allowing PV Powered to offer the industry's first standard 10 year product warranty and optional 20 year extended warranty.

"The employees and management of PV Powered are extremely excited at the prospect of joining Advanced Energy," said Gregg Patterson, chief executive officer of PV Powered.

"PV Powered and Advanced Energy have a collective history of industry innovation, driven by a commitment to power conversion efficiency and inverter reliability that leads the market. Both organizations share a common mission to deliver the lowest levelized cost of energy and the highest levels of customer satisfaction. Together, we can offer the broadest technology and product portfolio in the industry."

Under the agreement, Advanced Energy will acquire PV Powered for a purchase price of up to $90 million consisting of $50 million to be paid at closing in the form of $35 million in cash and $15 million in Advanced Energy's common stock, as well as up to $40 million in a potential earn-out based on PV Powered's full year 2010 financial results. The transaction will be subject to a number of other customary closing conditions and regulatory approvals including Hart Scott Rodino. Throughout 2010, PV Powered will operate as a wholly-owned subsidiary, continuing to sell and support its PV Powered branded inverters.

Currently, we anticipate sales of PV Powered's inverter to contribute as much as $40M-$50 million to Advanced Energy's 2010 revenue. Of that, we expect $30-35 million to come from sales to the commercial market and $10-15 million from the residential market. We anticipate gross margins on these products to be in the range of 26-29 percent and have additional operating expenses of $3-4 million.

Needham & Company, LLC acted as the financial advisor and provided a fairness opinion to Advanced Energy related to this transaction.

NREL and 3M sign agreement on renewable energy research

GOLDEN & ST. PAUL, USA: The US Department of Energy’s (DOE) National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) announced a series of Cooperative Research and Development Agreements (CRADAs) with 3M, the St. Paul, Minn.-based technology company.

The collaborative effort demonstrates both 3M’s and NREL’s commitments to meeting the nation's clean energy needs by developing technologies that are vital to producing large-scale sources of new renewable electricity and fuel at competitive costs.

The agreements between NREL and 3M establish joint investigations in three key areas of innovation: thin-film photovoltaics, concentrating solar power and biofuels.

The CRADAs range from jointly identifying and developing critical aspects of renewable energy technology to accelerated testing of 3M designs and scaling-up successful prototype technologies for commercial production. The agreements last for at least one year.

“CRADAs like these with 3M not only help shift the nation to clean energy, but they also establish and expand important partnerships for product development through technology transfer," NREL Senior Vice President of Commercialization and Deployment Casey Porto said. "3M's wide-ranging expertise and commitment in these fields makes this a key partnership for the laboratory."

"3M is excited for the opportunity to tap into NREL’s expertise and understanding of a variety of solar modules and the interplay between the materials and systems,” said Mike Roman, general manager and vice president of 3M Renewable Energy Division. “Also, NREL has pilot plant capabilities, which allow valuable application testing of 3M’s biofuel distillation technologies in a controllable and scalable environment."

Areas of investigation and testing under the agreements include:
* New moisture barrier films and flexible packaging for CIGS (copper indium gallium diselenide) thin film solar cells to increase module performance and reduce manufacturing costs.

* New reflective coatings to protect and enhance the performance of lower-cost mirrors used in concentrating solar power.

* New alternatives to ethanol biofuel distillation that will reduce energy and water use, and increase throughput in existing corn ethanol and future cellulosic ethanol production plants.

Google, Microchip to enable easy development of Google PowerMeter designs for smart energy monitoring

CHANDLER, USA: Microchip Technology Inc., a leading provider of microcontroller and analog semiconductors, announced the result of its strategic partnership with Google PowerMeter—the first Reference Implementation of the Google PowerMeter API for embedded developers.

Designers now have a quick and easy way to enter the global energy-conservation market, by creating products for the measurement and monitoring of energy usage with Microchip’s Google PowerMeter Reference Implementation and its broad portfolio of 16- and 32-bit PIC microcontrollers, energy-measurement ICs, Ethernet controllers, and radios for ZigBee and embedded Wi-Fi wireless networking.

“Google is helping to foster an ecosystem of devices and utilities that will provide consumers with access to their energy information, and we’re excited to be working with Microchip, a strategic partner in enabling consumer devices,” said Ed Lu, Google PowerMeter program manager for advanced projects. “Microchip’s Reference Implementation of the Google PowerMeter API will make it much easier to create products that are compatible with Google PowerMeter.”

Google PowerMeter is a free software tool that allows consumers to view their energy consumption from their iGoogle personalized homepage. Using information from energy-monitoring devices, Google PowerMeter helps consumers to save money and use less electricity. The open-source, standards-based Google PowerMeter API allows device manufacturers to build energy-monitoring products that work with Google PowerMeter.

Microchip makes it even easier to design these energy-monitoring products, by supplying a Reference Implementation of the Google PowerMeter API. This Reference Implementation demonstrates an energy-monitoring device’s activation, data transmission (wired or wireless) and status messages, providing a template for developers’ own designs.

Additionally, Microchip offers one-stop-shopping for all of the semiconductors and development tools needed to build a Google PowerMeter device.

Clean energy lighting up snow-covered plateau

CHINA & TIBET: On the morning of March 19, 2010, the construction of Longyuan Tibet’s Yangbajing 10MW Photovoltaic Power Station and Its New Type of Geothermal Power Project was formally started at Yangbajing Town, Dangxiong County, Lasa City, Tibet Autonomous Region.

Wu Yingjie, a standing member of the CPC Tibet Autonomous Region Committee and the executive Vice-Chairman of Tibet Autonomous Regional People’s Government, and Yang Haibin, a vice president of China Guodian Corporation and a member of China Guodian Corporation’s Party Leadership Group, were invited to attend the commencement ceremony. Xie Changjun, General Manager of China Longyuan Electric Power Group Corp., Fei Zhi, a deputy General Manager of China Longyuan Electric Power Group Corp., and persons in charge of relevant departments were present at the ceremony as well.

Such two projects will generate electric energy with a total amount of approximately 542.50 million kwh within their life cycle. In comparison with thermal electricity power generation, it will equal to accumulatively saving up about 189,875 tons of standard coal and reducing the discharge of carbon dioxide by 500,000 tons, reducing the discharge of sulfur dioxide by 2,331 tons, reducing the discharge of nitrogen oxides by 3,780 tons, reducing the discharge of dust by 150 tons, and reducing the discharge of clinker by 51,156 tons.

With such two projects completed, it will be possible to help to bridge the between the supply of and demands for electricity power in the central part of Tibet. In the meantime, it will also be possible to substantially develop and utilize the abundant solar energy resources and geothermal resources in Tibet while protecting the ecology and environment in Tibet.

Just before the commencement ceremony, China Longyuan Electric Power Group Corp. and the Development and Reform Commission of Tibet Autonomous Region have signed the Agreement on Joint Investment and Development of New Energy Power Generation Projects in Tibet.

As planned by the Corporation, the total installed capacity of various photovoltaic power generation projects to be built up in Tibet shall amount to 60,000 kw by 2015 while the total installed capacity of various geothermal power generation projects shall amount to 50,000 kw and to 100,000 kw by 2020.

The Corporation will also start up the prophase of various wind power projects as soon as possible and choose to conduct wind measurement on sites with good conditions for grid access, traffic and transportation, and construction and potentials for the development of wind energy resources, striving to build up 50,000 kW wind farms in places including Naqu by 2015.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Underwriters Laboratories opens Europe's largest PV testing and certification facility in Germany

NORTHBROOK, USA: Underwriters Laboratories (UL), a leader in safety testing and certification, announced the expansion of its global photovoltaic (PV) footprint near the Frankfurt/Main airport inGermany, where it opens Europe's largest photovoltaic testing and certification facility. The new Photovoltaic Technology Center of Excellence reinforces UL's commitment to drive global progress and innovation of safe and reliable solar energy technologies and equipment.

UL is expanding its presence in Europe and Asia as the PV industry continues to experience significant global progress. The global installed capacity of solar photovoltaic power in GW has grown more than 1,000 percent from 2001 to 2008 and sales of photovoltaic technologies is predicted to reach $32.3 billion by 2012, according to BBC Research. Local service capabilities in San Jose, Calif., Suzhou, China, Frankfurt, Germany and upcoming facilities in Japan and India allow UL to bring an industry-leading portfolio of services to local markets and help manufacturers succeed in a rapidly changing environment.

The new state-of-the-art 22,600 square-foot testing facility in Germany houses 22 world-class testing chambers, including: fourteen climate chambers, four damp heat chambers, two large walk-ins and two temperature and humidity ovens and other cutting edge testing equipment. This added capacity allows UL to offer its European customers faster and more cost efficient testing processes due to the local presence and a highly skilled engineering team that speaks the local language. The comprehensive portfolio of services allows for global conformity assessment according to UL, IEC and EN certification requirements and enables faster global market access for UL's customers.

Voltaix receives $10 million in equity financing from MissionPoint Capital

BRANCHBURG, USA: Voltaix, a leading provider of materials that enhance the performance of semiconductor chips and solar cells, has received $10 million in equity financing from MissionPoint Capital Partners, a private investment firm providing growth capital to companies focused on clean energy solutions.

Voltaix also announced that Mark Schwartz, co-founder and Chairman of MissionPoint and formerly Chairman of Goldman Sachs Asia, has joined the Voltaix board of directors.

"Mark Schwartz brings tremendous experience and insight to our board of directors and will help Voltaix become a global leader in advanced materials manufacturing," said Peter B. de Neufville, Chairman of Voltaix. "This equity financing will help Voltaix significantly increase our production and development capabilities, and will enable Voltaix to expand our activity in Asian markets."

"With a quarter century of technology leadership, Voltaix has a strong legacy of innovation that has helped electronics manufacturers support the expanding demand for applications such as thin film photovoltaics," said Schwartz. "Voltaix is positioned to capitalize on extraordinary growth opportunities as a result of the transition to low-carbon technologies. Our investment in Voltaix is consistent with MissionPoint's strategy to partner with companies spearheading this global transformation."

"Solar cell producers are increasingly focused on materials that increase cell efficiency, and Voltaix is on the leading edge of innovation in this area," said Mark K. Fine, Chief Executive Officer of Voltaix. "This partnership with MissionPoint strengthens our ability to maintain our leadership position as a developer of enhanced products for the PV and semiconductor industry."

According to Paula Mints, Principal Analyst at Navigant Consulting, shipments of thin film photovoltaics (using amorphous silicon, CdTe and CIGS technologies) grew at a compound annual rate of more than 100% from 2005 through 2009 and should reach $9 billion by 2015.

Following a 22-year career at Goldman Sachs, Mark Schwartz served as President and CEO of Soros Fund Management from 2002 through 2004.

MSGI Energy announces plans for Solar One

NEW YORK, USA: MSGI Security Solutions Inc. reported that MSGI Energy, a subsidiary, will build and operate “Solar One” in Preston Connecticut.

Solar One is the first of more than ten solar farms that MSGI Energy will establish in partnership with Franklin Energy during 2010. All solar farms will produce revenue in the year that they are installed, and the cost to build out the facilities will be materially offset by stimulus money provided by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009.

The first 10 megawatts of Solar One is projected to generate approximately $4.8 million in revenue through Power Purchase Agreements and by sending power directly into the grid. The Preston Connecticut land consists of 68 acres, which provides capacity to supply over 12,000 homes with Renewable Energy. This parcel of land is owned by Franklin Energy.

Each of the planned solar farms will be EBITDA positive in their first year of operation. Depending on the amortization schedule utilized, the solar farms will generate positive net income within the first 18 months of operation. MSGI Energy and Franklin Energy expect to break ground by June 1, 2010 and will submit the paperwork for stimulus grants to the United States Treasury by May 1, 2010. The first megawatt of power will be online within the next 120 days.

SpectraWatt closes on $41.4 million in new funding

HOPEWELL JUNCTION, USA: SpectraWatt, manufacturer of photovoltaic cells for the solar industry, has received $41.4 million in investor funding in the form of convertible debt.

Investors include Cogentrix Energy, LLC, a wholly-owned subsidiary of The Goldman Sachs Group, Inc., Intel Capital, PCG Clean Energy & Technology Fund and two other unnamed sources. The funds will be used to finalize completion of the company’s factory, advance internal operations and technology development and allow for planned capacity expansion.

“We are pleased to announce this significant incremental funding in SpectraWatt,” said Andrew Wilson, SpectraWatt CEO. “These investors share our vision of an empowered US-based solar industry delivering innovative industry-leading products. The funds will allow us to expand and build toward that national goal.”

SpectraWatt has completed construction of its manufacturing facility in Hopewell Junction, New York and has begun initial cell production. The company is currently preparing for an official launch in the spring with customer shipments beginning in the second quarter of 2010.

“We are excited to see SpectraWatt begin producing products for the growing solar industry,” said Arvind Sodhani, president of Intel Capital and Intel executive vice president. “This investment reiterates Intel Capital’s commitment to the clean technology and renewable energy markets. SpectraWatt’s focus on advancing solar cell technologies, which complements Intel Capital’s strategy, will help accelerate the adoption of photovoltaic technology worldwide through greater energy conversion and manufacturing efficiencies.”

Evolution Solar completes process of forming Bermuda subsidiary

THE WOODLANDS, USA: Management of Evolution Solar Corp. announced that the legal and administrative process of forming its new Bermuda subsidiary was completed.

EVSO announced on February 8th that the Company had decided to form the new subsidiary, a step necessary for meeting contractual eligibility under Bermuda law. The move is a deliberate step forward to aggressively pursue business opportunities that will be created as a result of the Bermuda Government Solar Photovoltaic Rebate Initiative for residential users.

The Bermuda Government overtly desires to move financially and environmentally from current fossil-fuel supplies to non-fossil fuel based energy. Evolution Solar desires to play an integral role in assisting the island-nation to reduce its dependency on these expensive oil imports.

“It is one more step in a positive direction as we pursue our goal of becoming a true player in the Bermuda solar marketplace – whether it is commercial or residential applications, we want offer solutions that make sense,” said Robert Hines, President of Evolution Solar.

Power Tree announces manufacturing facility for grid scale energy storage system

COCONUT CREEK, USA: Power Tree Corp. has announced another important milestone in its growth as an innovator of grid scale energy storage technology with the creation of its manufacturing subsidiary, Power Tree Manufacturing Group Inc.

Power Tree Manufacturing Group (PTMG) is located in Coconut Creek, Florida within a 220,000 sq foot manufacturing facility to complete development and production of Power Tree’s 4th generation commercially viable flywheel based energy storage system.

Greg Stuart, Power Tree’s CEO, stated: “The Power Tree manufacturing plant is exceptionally well suited to our needs and provides all the necessary space, equipment and electrical power requirements to complete our 4th generation system. Further, upon completion of testing, we are capable of immediately ramping into mass production directly at this facility.”

PTMG’s president, Peter Zadok added: “I am eager to be applying my over 30 years of manufacturing experience. I believe Power Tree’s flywheel energy storage system is the largest device of its kind in the world, weighing approximately 100,000 lbs. We have begun manufacturing the core components and assembly parts at our plant and I believe Power Tree is now extremely well positioned with its integrated manufacturing arm to be a vital player in the ongoing efforts to upgrade our grid infrastructure.”

Power Tree’s proprietary technology is designed to enable flywheels to scale in mass and speed, cost effectively storing and discharging megawatt power continuously for hours. The company’s breakthrough technology has widespread applications throughout the electrical grid and represents a key solution to the energy challenges in the United States and abroad.

Stuart stated: “Power Tree is in the unique and enviable position to both conduct research and development and be a manufacturer of its proprietary technology, which adds significant value to our company and its shareholders. As President Obama has made clear, updating our grid infrastructure and finding ways to drive green efficiencies is critically important to our nation. Power Tree’s mission is to be a global leader in the green energy technology arena and we look forward to playing an important role in creating jobs here in Florida and across the country.”

Neo Solar Power upgrades annual capacity to 800MW

HSINCHU, TAIWAN: Neo Solar Power Corp. (NSP), a leading producer of high quality solar cells in Hsingchu, Taiwan, announced the Board-approved capacity expansion plan of 200MW,enlarging the company’s annual production capacity to 800MW.

The extra 200MW is expected to be completed in the end of Q3 or early Q4. Upon completion, NSP’s new capacity is expected to drive its revenue and profit to a new high in the near future.

For the original 360MW expansion plan, NSP had estimated a total capital expenditure of approximately NT$2.7 billion. The extra 200MW will likely require an additional expenditure of NT$1.4 billion. The funding plan for the total capacity expansion is well prepared and backed by the company’s ample internal cash position of NT$4 billion at the end of 2009.

In addition, NSP plans to conduct the capital-raising through one of the three options approved by the Board, including equity offering, GDR issuing, or the private placement. The total capital raising is estimated to be approximately NT$3 billion and will take place concurrently with the syndication loan. However, the actual funding plan will be decided in accordance with the market conditions.

With the bullish outlook for the solar industry in 2010, NSP actively maintains its production capacity expansion in line with the customers’ demand while reducing its manufacturing cost. Driven by its state-of-the-art technology and capable production management, NSP will deliver the best quality products with the most competitive cost, aiming to expand its market share and becoming one of the first-tier solar cell makers in the world.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Pro-Tech Energy, Whitman complete first joint solar project

BRANCHBURG, USA: Pro-Tech Energy Solutions, LLC, a self-funded energy services company, announced a new strategic partnership with East Brunswick, NJ-based Whitman Co., the leading environmental and engineering management services firm, allowing two environmental leaders to deliver turnkey energy efficiency and renewable energy solutions to the Mid-Atlantic region.

"As a complete turnkey company, Pro-Tech has full, direct control over the entire design and construction process, assuring the client of the highest attention to detail and quality of installation," said John Drexinger, COO, Pro-Tech Energy Solutions. "Our partnership with Whitman expands our scope of expertise as well as our reach in the region."

With this collaboration Pro-Tech now offers the experience and dedication of a company that has nearly 25 years of experience providing practical solutions to the many complex engineering challenges that arise before and during the installation of a renewable energy or energy efficiency system.

Whitman's environmental expertise complements Pro-Tech's already robust energy service portfolio that consists of:

* Energy efficiency audits and recommendations.
* Photovoltaic (PV) system design, engineering, and installation.
* Energy monitoring selection, installation and system commissioning.
* Management and coordination of state and federal grant applications.
* Assistance in the long and short-term management and sale of Solar Renewable Energy Certificates (SREC).

"Energy efficiency and renewable energy are an area of tremendous growth," said Barry Skoultchi, P.E., CEO and President of Whitman. "This collaboration allows us to expand our focus from the engineering aspects of renewable energy into the development of financial modeling, design systems and building, maintaining and monitoring these systems for both public and private facilities."

In February, Pro-Tech and Whitman's first joint project - the design, engineering and installation of a 1.3 megawatt (MWh) solar photovoltaic (PV) installation on a 7-acre warehouse in Cherry Hill, N.J. - was completed in only 120 days despite significant challenges.

The hurdles encountered not only included the two largest snow storms since 1998, but a warehouse whose weight capacity couldn't support the solar panel installation and any significant snow fall. To surmount these engineering challenges, the companies collaborated to build an exo-skeleton structure that could support the weight of both and alleviate weight off the roof in key areas.

"On this project Whitman's experience was essential in designing an elevated exo-skeleton structure in which the solar panels were placed to remove the weight off the roof," said Drexinger. "We are pleased with the results and look forward to working alongside Whitman to leverage their expertise on upcoming projects."

MiaSole participates in Chevron's project Brightfield solar installation

SANTA CLARA, USA: MiaSole, a leading manufacturer of Copper Indium Gallium Selenide (CIGS) thin-film photovoltaic solar panels, announced the installation of thin-film modules providing 200 kW of power at Project Brightfield, a 740KW solar energy demonstration facility owned by Chevron Corp. at its former refinery site near Bakersfield, California.

Project Brightfield brings together seven emerging solar photovoltaic companies for the testing and evaluation of 7,700 solar panels, making it one of the most comprehensive sites in the United States. The site will measure the amount of energy produced by each solar technology and monitor how weather elements – such as temperature, rain, wind and humidity – affect the panels' performance.

"Solar energy is one of the most cost effective, efficient sources of energy on earth and we are pleased to be a part of a project that shows not only the power of solar energy, but also how efficient and reliable MiaSole's CIGS thin film solar technology is," said Joe Laia, CEO of MiaSole.

The project is a milestone for MiaSole, marking the company's first commercial project in California.

MiaSole's CIGS thin-film photovoltaic solar panels convert 10.5 percent of sunlight into electricity and have some of the highest efficiency rates for thin film solar technology in the world. The products are designed specifically for large-scale rooftop and ground mount installations for utilities, independent power providers and industrial scale deployments.

EnBW to build solar park with 5.5 MW of Solarfun PV modules in Ulm-Eggingen, Germany

SHANGHAI, CHINA: EnBW Energie Baden-Wurttemberg AG, the third largest energy company in Germany, announced that it plans to build a solar park in Baden-Wuerttemberg using 5.5 MW of photovoltaic modules produced by Solarfun Power Holdings Co. Ltd, a vertically integrated manufacturer of silicon ingots, wafers and PV cells and modules in China.

The solar park, one of the largest in the region, will be constructed on a former dumpsite and is expected to be connected to the grid in June 2010. The new project is expected to supply electricity to approximately 1,970 households and save approximately 3,990 tons of carbon dioxide per year.

Stefan Thiele, spokesman of the management board of EnBW Erneuerbare Energien GmbH, commented: "EnBW is expanding its development goals in the renewable energy sector. In addition to a central focus on hydropower and wind energy, EnBW is also increasingly concentrating on solar energy. We are looking forward to building this project in the town of Eggingen near Ulm, Germany. It will be our fifth PV project in the past few months and will be one of the biggest solar parks in the region. The eight hectares will be covered by polycrystalline PV modules produced by Solarfun. Siemens will deliver the central inverters. The construction work will be provided by Bayer & Raach, a solar company in Zwiefalten, Germany."

EnBW plans to increase the share of renewables in its energy mix to 20 percent by 2020. In doing so, EnBW intends to focus on the expansion of wind energy and hydropower and on further developing technologies such as solar energy, biomass and biogas. In the PV field, EnBW will increase its installed power to 10 MW with the Ulm-Eggingen solar park.

EnBW connected its first large solar project with a 2.1 MW park in Leibertingen. In addition, EnBW installed approximately 1 MW of PV modules on the roofs of its logistics and administration centers in Wendlingen and Stuttgart.

Peter Xie, President of Solarfun, added: "We are pleased that EnBW decided to choose our high-quality modules for this new project in Germany. EnBW is an important new customer and we look forward to building a long-term relationship with EnBW. Renewable energy continues to play an important role in Germany and we are happy that our advanced technology will be serving the people of Baden-Wuerttemberg for many years to come."

1366 Technologies teams with RENA to unveil high-efficiency cell process

LEXINGTON, USA: 1366 Technologies, a silicon photovoltaics (PV) equipment company, has partnered with RENA, the PV market leader in wet processing, to incorporate 1366's Self-Aligned Cell technology into a complete cell production process.

The new high-efficiency silicon cell process will integrate 1366's proprietary structured patterning technology with RENA's wet processing technology.

"Integrating 1366 Technologies into our existing process clusters will provide customers with higher-performing cells," said Hartmut Nussbaumer, managing director of RENA. RENA's current product line includes the market-leading InTex wet processing system for texturing wafers.

The addition of 1366's proprietary honeycomb-structured texture to the cell production process will yield a significant improvement in absolute cell efficiency. The texture can be used on both mono-crystalline and multi-crystalline wafers, giving cell manufacturers previously unattainable flexibility.

"RENA is one of the leading PV technology companies in the world. This partnership validates the effectiveness of our Self-Aligned Cell technology, opens up new sales channels for us and dramatically compresses our time to market," said Frank van Mierlo, president of 1366 Technologies.

Semiconductor veteran Geoff Tate named CEO of Nanosolar

SAN JOSE, USA: Nanosolar, a thin film solar panel manufacturer, has named Geoff Tate as chief executive officer. Tate is the former CEO of Rambus Inc. and former senior vice president and corporate officer of Advanced Micro Devices (AMD).

Geoff Tate served as CEO of Rambus, which specializes in the invention and design of high-speed chip interfaces, from 1990 through 2005. Prior to Rambus, Tate served in multiple general management roles at AMD over the course of ten years. He has a bachelor's degree in computer science from University of Alberta and an MBA from Harvard University.

"Geoff is a dedicated, hard-working executive with a successful track record developing great technologies into winning businesses," said Erik Straser, Nanosolar board member and general partner, Mohr Davidow Ventures. "For example, under Geoff's leadership, Rambus developed and commercialized a 500MHz interface, which at the time was 5-10 times faster than competitive alternatives. We are confident that Geoff will be a terrific addition to Nanosolar as we bring our thin film CIGS (copper indium gallium selenium) solar panels to market."

Brian Sager, founder, board member and vice president corporate development, added: "We have market-leading customers, strategic investors, a strong balance sheet, and groundbreaking technology that has the potential to enable the lowest cost solar panels in the industry. Our highest priority under Geoff's leadership will be to meet our customer commitments and help make our customers successful."

Ascent Solar signs strategic alliance agreement with Kirloskar Integrated Technologies

THORNTON, USA: Ascent Solar Technologies Inc., a developer of flexible thin-film solar modules, has signed a Strategic Alliance Agreement with Kirloskar Integrated Technologies Ltd, India (Kirloskar).

Under the terms of the multi-phase agreement the two companies will commence integration, marketing and distribution of Ascent Solar’s flexible CIGS photovoltaic modules into products designed to address multiple market opportunities in India.

Target markets include defense, consumer portable power, off grid rural power solutions and hybrid solar and diesel generation back up power systems. Phase two of the agreement provides for the establishment of a complete backend module assembly plant in India and the third and final phase of the contact is designed to expand production in India to include complete end to end module manufacturing. This agreement results from the collaboration achieved thus far under a memorandum of understanding signed in September of 2009 between the two companies.

L.A. Joshi, CEO of Kirloskar, said: “Kirloskars’s vision is to provide decentralized sustainable solutions based on renewable resources. Having successfully established energy solutions using technologies like anaerobic digestion of organic waste and non-edible vegetable oil and biodiesel, we were in search of appropriate partner for solar photovoltaics which can compliment Kirloskar’s strength as a leader in distributed power generation.

“We are pleased to have Ascent as our partner in the endeavor to harness the very large solar energy potential related to off-grid and on-grid applications, by taking advantage of the favorable policies of the Indian government. We truly believe that the leading-edge technology of Ascent and the synergy in our strategies will help us establish a leadership position in PV markets in India.”

Ascent Solar president and CEO Farhad Moghadam added: “Our relationship with Kirloskar provides Ascent Solar with a partner for development of multiple market opportunities in a rapidly advancing country like India. We believe that Kirloskar has significant relationships and well established sales and marketing channels in key target markets for defense, space, consumer electronics and hybrid diesel generators. We are proud to continue our work with Kirloskar to address a wide array of growing off-grid and on-grid PV opportunities in the growing Indian market.”

Chevron tests emerging solar technologies in Central California

BAKERSFIELD, USA: Chevron Corp. announced the start of Project Brightfield, a demonstration of next-generation solar energy technologies in Bakersfield, California. The project, created on the site of a former Chevron refinery, will evaluate seven emerging photovoltaic technologies to help determine the potential application of renewable power at other company-owned facilities.

The former refinery site has been repurposed to test the performance of six emerging thin-film technologies and one emerging crystalline-silicon photovoltaic technology, which were provided by independent solar companies.

“By bringing together seven emerging solar technologies, Project Brightfield represents one of the most comprehensive solar energy tests of its kind and is an innovative approach to evaluating new technologies,” said Des King, president of Chevron Technology Ventures, the division of Chevron USA Inc. that identifies, evaluates and demonstrates emerging technologies. “Testing competing technologies side by side means that we can better understand their potential application at other Chevron facilities.”

The 7,700 solar panels on the 8-acre site will generate approximately 740 kW of electricity. The produced power will be directed to the local utility grid as well as to Chevron’s oil production operations at the Kern River Field.

“Chevron has operated in the San Joaquin Valley for more than a century. Throughout this time, our engineers have developed breakthrough technologies that have helped make us the leading oil and gas producer in the state,” said Bruce Johnson, vice president of Chevron’s San Joaquin Valley Business Unit. “The Brightfield solar demonstration facility is a clear example of Chevron’s efforts to find ways to integrate innovative technologies into our business.”

The companies demonstrating thin-film technologies are Abound Solar, MiaSolé, Schüco, Solar Frontier, Sharp, and Solibro, while the crystalline-silicon photovoltaic technology is provided by Innovalight. Each solar company can access data about its technology, find out how well it performs in various conditions and compare it against a benchmark solar technology – a brand of commercially available solar photovoltaic technology – that has also been installed on the site.

Project Brightfield is Chevron’s second completed project that repurposes an existing asset to integrate renewable power. The first was a wind farm on a former Texaco refinery site near Casper, Wyoming, where 11 wind turbines generate 16.5 megawatts of power. A third project – a concentrating solar photovoltaic installation at a Chevron Mining Inc. facility near Questa, New Mexico – is scheduled to be completed by the end of 2010.

Monday, March 22, 2010

CNPV signs long-term strategic partnership with CTS Solar

LUXEMBOURG & DONGYING, CHINA: CNPV Solar Power SA, a leading integrated manufacturer of solar photovoltaic products from the production of ingots, wafers and cells to the assembly of PV modules that designs, manufactures and supplies highly efficient and cost effective crystalline solar photovoltaic modules, has entered into a long-term strategic partnership sales agreement with CTS Solar GmbH, a south-German leading photovoltaic company in roof top and ground-based power plants project development, installation and distribution company.Under the terms of this strategic agreement, CNPV will supply CTS Solar with a total of 21MWp of PV modules from 2010 to 2012, which includes 5MWp of scheduled delivery during 2010. The remaining 6MWp and 10MWp are scheduled for delivery in 2011 and 2012 respectively.

Zhang Shunfu, CNPV's CEO and B. Veerraju Chaudary, CNPV's COO, CTO and member of the Board stated jointly: "We are very pleased to announce this new strategic partnership with CTS Solar, to further strengthen the existing well established partnership. Our strategic partnership with CTS Solar is a significant success for us in aligning ourselves with a proven multiregional energy developer with growing opportunities in established and emerging photovoltaic markets.

"This new contract will significantly help to grow new projects in markets such as the German and Austrian solar markets. We look forward to continuing to expanding our relationship with one of our loyal strategic partners CTS Solar by providing high quality modules, premium service and a low cost industry leading platform."

Clause Romankiewicz, CEO and Eric Lechelt, sales director of CTS Solar commented jointly: "CTS Solar GmbH from South Germany is proud of this new strategic sales agreement with CNPV. We consider this as a continuation of our good relationship with CNPV to use their high quality modules in our projects and to offer their premium service to our customers in Germany and Austria."

GE sees bright future for thin film solar technology

NISKAYUNA, USA: With the race on in earnest to have the most efficient, low-cost solar module on the market, GE announced it is focusing its research and development efforts on thin film photovoltaic (PV) technology in conjunction with PrimeStar Solar Inc., the startup firm in which GE is a majority investor.

Working closely with PrimeStar technology experts, the company is bringing to bear the full scale of its four Global Research operations to address each of the challenges required to bring a new product to market.

“After having completed an exhaustive survey of the PV landscape, we determined that thin films were the optimum path for GE,” said Danielle Merfeld, GE’s solar R&D leader.

“Specifically, the CdTe technology from PrimeStar has great potential. Bringing together world-class materials expertise, unique materials and systems modeling and design capabilities and state-of-the-art indoor and outdoor solar testing facilities, GE researchers are innovating across our four global research centers—literally around the clock—to deliver a breakthrough product to market.”

The GE/PrimeStar product is being developed at PrimeStar’s headquarters in Arvada, Colo. A team of PrimeStar technologists with more than 100 years of combined thin film deposition expertise is working closely with GE researchers, who are focused on several key areas in order to achieve best-in-class technology.

These include device efficiency, reliability, production and installation costs and manufacturability. Hundreds of technologists in Germany, China, India and the United States are working on GE solar technologies today—addressing these challenges in the following ways:

The team in Munich, at the heart of the global solar industry, is utilizing world-class indoor and outdoor solar system test facilities where they study finished module performance to identify and address degradation mechanisms and packaging issues. In addition to the focus on the module itself, this team also brings deep expertise at the system level. This allows them to define system-level optimized features and metrics for the module.

In China, where most of the world’s CdTe raw materials are found, researchers at GE’s China Technology Center in Shanghai are focused on CdTe materials and the impact they have on device performance. Improving material quality and developing advanced materials characterization techniques are key topics being addressed by the Shanghai team.

In India, GE is leveraging extensive modeling capabilities at its John F. Welch Technology Centre in Bangalore. Unlike the exclusively experimental approach favored by many in this field, GE believes that dramatic improvements in the device performance and reliability will be realized through a deeper understanding of the materials and basic physics of the device. The team in Bangalore is tasked with building comprehensive models to help guide advanced device design.

Finally, GE’s research team in Niskayuna, N.Y., is working on all facets of CdTe module development, including material growth, device development and robust process development. Their technical expertise cuts across diverse fields such as surface chemistry, laser processing and plasma physics. Equally diverse is their product development experience, which they have derived from GE’s other technology-focused businesses such as Healthcare, Lighting and Batteries.

GE currently provides a range of utility-scale solar solutions, including smart grid power electronics and pre-packaged systems. GE’s Brilliance solar inverter offers reliable power conversion technology derived from its industry-leading 1.5 megawatt wind turbine.

Flextronics dedicates 1 million sqft to clean tech at its Malaysia facility

SINGAPORE, USA: Flextronics has dedicated 1 million square feet to create a Clean Tech Super Site at its established facility in Port of Tanjung Pelepas (PTP) Malaysia.

This strengthens Flextronics' position as a global leader in the manufacturing of solar modules and complements the Company's Clean Tech strategy that includes providing services to global OEMs of inverters, wind power, smart grid, smart metering, and energy-efficient lightning solutions.

Flextronics expects its Clean Tech Super Site to result in significant improvements to the industry, including technical advancements for solar products, increased outsourcing among OEMs due to cost and logistics advantages, and overall supply chain optimization.

With a range of solar module production services already operational at PTP, Flextronics' development plans include increasing its site capacity to support one Gigawatt of solar module production over the next two years. Flextronics has established customer relationships with many of the world's leading Clean Tech OEMs, including Cree Lighting, Carmanah, Oerlikon, SolarEdge, and Enphase.

Malaysia is a burgeoning center for the production of solar products, with major competitive advantages for Flextronics, such as proximity to solar OEM operations, localized resources, and excellent logistics solutions.

E.C. Sykes, president of Flextronics Industrial, said: "Flextronics' ability to offer the most robust line of solutions to OEMs across the quickly expanding Clean Tech sector is a powerful competitive advantage. Our focused strategic push into this space, a sector we have held a leadership position in for many years, is unique among global EMS providers, given our size, scale, and world-class logistics services. We are completely focused on being the partner of choice for OEMs in the Clean Tech sector."

"Malaysia is the ideal location for our Clean Tech Super Site because of customer proximity and established wafer and cell operations in the area. This is an exciting time for our organization, and we are very pleased by the progress with our Clean Tech operations and are aggressively working toward its complete build-out," continued Sykes.

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Premier Power announces record contract backlog in Spain

EL DORADO HILLS, USA: Premier Power Renewable Energy Inc., a leader in development, design, engineering and construction of solar power systems for commercial, government and utility markets in the US, Spain and Italy, announced that its Spanish operation has reached record contract backlog in its first quarter of 2010 with more than 3MW of solar rooftop contracts secured.

“The change in the timing of the permitting process by the Spanish government at the beginning of 2009 delayed our ability to recognize Spanish rooftop revenue during the year, despite record order intake,” said Dean R. Marks, CEO of Premier Power. “We have continued our momentum with record contract backlog in the first quarter of 2010, representing more than a 100 percent increase over this time last year.

“With a majority of Spain’s rooftop solar energy targets unmet, and increased government support of rooftop solar systems through a revised feed-in-tariff, the commercial rooftop market has become the leading solar market segment in Spain. We continue to see a substantial growth opportunity in Spain for rooftop and building integrated solar energy systems, and with our global experience and engineering and design expertise, we feel we are strongly positioned to continue our leadership role in this growing market.”

Global solar PV industry - PEST framework analysis

DUBLIN, IRELAND: Research and Markets has announced the addition of the "Global Solar Photovoltaics Industry - PEST Framework Analysis" report to its offering.

The solar PV market has been booming over the last years and is forecasted to confirm this trend in the coming years. By the end of 2007 the global cumulative capacity exceeded 9 GWp.

The harnessing of solar energy is not new in fact, development of solar energy dates back more than 100 years, to the middle of the industrial revolution. Solar energy is pollution-free, an important benefit when the cost of removing pollutants from the environment is considered. For example, 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 solar thermal industry is capable of becoming a dynamic, innovative annual business within 20 years, unlocking a new global era of economic, technological and environmental progress. The benefits of solar power are compelling: environmental protection, economic growth, job creation, diversity of fuel supply and rapid deployment, as well as the global potential for technology transfer and innovation.

The underlying advantage of solar energy is that the fuel is free, abundant and inexhaustible. The total amount of energy irradiated from the sun to the earth's surface is enough to provide for annual global energy consumption 10,000 times over.

Aruvian's R'search analyzes the Global Solar Photovoltaics Industry in a PEST Framework Analysis. A PEST analysis is concerned with the environmental influences on a business.

The acronym stands for the Political, Economic, Social and Technological issues that could affect the strategic development of a business. Identifying PEST influences is a useful way of summarizing the external environment in which a business operates.