Monday, May 31, 2010

DelSolar, GCL-Poly in long-term strategic alliance

TAIWAN: DelSolar Co. Ltd recently announced that it has signed a long-term silicon wafer supply contract with GCL (Nanjing) Solar Energy Technology Co. Ltd, a wholly-owned subsidiary of GCL-Poly Energy Holdings Ltd to establish a long-term strategic alliance. GCL-Poly is one of the world’s leading silicon materials suppliers.

According to the contract, GCL-Poly will provide local supplies of wafers to meet the needs of DelSolar’s Wujiang plant’s expansion from May 2010 to December 2013. The agreement includes a mechanism by which the parties may adjust prices to better reflect prevailing market conditions. DelSolar expects the agreement to greatly enhance overall operational needs and profitability.

R.C. Liang, chairman and CEO of DelSolar, said: "One of DelSolar’s goals is to enhance our economies of scale. Our production capacity is currently expected to reach 1GW by 2012. DelSolar is pleased to have entered into the supply agreement with GCL-Poly, a leading manufacturer and supplier of solar raw materials, and to form a long-standing strategic partnership. DelSolar is striving to become a leading manufacturer of solar products and to fulfill our mission of caring for the environment, energy-saving, and our green Earth."

Zhu Gong Shan, executive director, chairman and CEO of GCL-Poly, added: “We are delighted to enter into a silicon wafer supply agreement and establish a long-standing strategic partnership with DelSolar, a leading solar company in Taiwan. This contract signifies GCL-Poly’s expansion into the overseas wafer industry and also demonstrates the endorsement and recognition of GCL-Poly’s silicon wafer products by industry players. I believe this agreement will bring more business opportunities and closer co-operation for both companies going forward."

Omax Autos intros 200 kWp of solar PV power designed and installed by MBPV at Manesar and Dharuhera, Haryana

NEW DELHI & GURGAON, INDIA: Omax Auto Ltd, a major in manufacturing automotive parts, recently announced successful installation of 200 kWp rooftop solar photo voltaic(SPV) power generation projects, designed and developed by Moser Baer Photo Voltaic Ltd (MBPV) at their Manesar and Dharuhera facilities.

These highly efficient and cost effective SPV systems feed power directly to the building level grid of their facilities and importantly, they obviate the need for any battery back-up systems and the maintenance associated with them. Each of these roof top projects will result into an annual saving of more than 40,000 ltrs of diesel, leading to savings of approx 2 million Kgs of CO2 over a period of 20 years.

MBPV has provided a complete turn-key solution including Design, Engineering, Procurement, Construction, Commissioning, Grid and DG Set synchronization. Furthermore, the company will also provide Operations & Maintenance services for the project.

The unique hybrid system has been specifically customized wherein solar, DG and grid power will work synergistically. Interestingly, the system has been designed in such a manner that whenever solar power is being produced, it will automatically get first priority, thereby, maximizing the use of clean Solar Power.

Deepak Gupta, Secretary, Ministry of New & Renewable Energy, Govt. of India said: “The commissioning of these 200 kWp rooftop SPV projects is indeed a commendable beginning to the industrial usage of rooftop solar PV solutions. I laud the Omax and Moser Baer teams on their vision and wish them success in expanding roof top SPV solutions to other locations as well. Indian solar story is gathering speed and significant projects like these will help us in achieving the targets set in the National Solar Mission.”

Jatender Mehta, Managing Director, Omax Auto Ltd, added: “Omax Auto Ltd has always believed in promoting clean manufacturing technology and the installation of roof top photo voltaic solar solution is a major step in utilization of clean renewable energy as a primary source of power. Moser Baer has commissioned this project in a short period of time and thanks to their experience and technical know-how, we have been able to put up a state-of-art solar photo voltaic (SPV) power generation project.”

Dr. Rajiv Arya, CEO of MBPV, noted: “This state-of-the-art system showcases our unique EPC capabilities and designing strength. The highpoint of the system is that it has been designed in such a manner that solar energy produced will get first priority of consumption over power generated through DG. The SPV systems in these facilities are performing well, demonstrating an outstanding combination of high-quality manufacturing and system design engineering.”

Wolfgang Lange joins Solar Frontier as MD for Europe

MUNICH, GERMANY: Solar Frontier, a 100 percent subsidiary of Showa Shell Sekiyu K.K. headquartered in Tokyo, announced that Wolfgang W. Lange has joined Solar Frontier Europe GmbH as its new Managing Director (Der Hauptgeschäftsführer) effective immediately.

Lange, an energy industry veteran, is currently setting up German operations, which will be based in Munich, Germany, and will then take responsibility for expanding into other European markets. He is also responsible for building the German team as well as the sales and marketing structure. Solar Frontier’s Germany subsidiary, Solar Frontier Europe GmbH, will serve as a hub office for all of Europe.

“We are excited that such an experienced and capable industry expert is heading up our European operations. Wolfgang has more than 20 years of experience in the oil and solar industries and we believe he is the right person to push Solar Frontier’s expansion forward in Europe,” said Brooks Herring, Director of International Business at Solar Frontier.

"Europe is an extremely competitive market in the renewable energy industry, guided by strong ecological values while demanding superior economic performance in the critical long term. Solar Frontier meets these requirements as a green company in a green industry - we do not use cadmium or lead, we use fewer materials in production, we have a shorter energy payback time, and our recycling process is easy and non-toxic.

"Moreover, CIS is best positioned today in the critical frame of cost versus efficiency, with the greatest potential for the future among the leading technologies. We are certain that Wolfgang and his team will bring our compelling products closer to customers in this vibrant market and make Solar Frontier’s expansion to Europe a success.”

"Joining Solar Frontier at this exciting time in its development was a great decision,” said Lange.

"The German solar marketplace is taking leadership in Europe and the investment Solar Frontier has made to bring on line a gigawatt of capacity is based on technology fundamentals that will be increasingly recognized as standard-setting in this level of sophisticated market. I am very much looking forward to making Solar Frontier a success here, and look forward to meeting members of the industry and media at the Solar Frontier pavilion at InterSolar 2010 from June 9-11 in Munich."

Wolfgang Lange is an energy industry veteran, having worked in the oil and solar industries for the past 20 years. He started his career in 1988 at the Shell Group, working in different management and marketing positions, including as Global Marketing Manager of Shell Retail London, where he was responsible for the unit’s worldwide marketing strategy.

STX Energy to establish cell manufacturing plant

JOHOR BAHARU, MALAYSIA: Malaysian Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak, recently witnessed the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding concerning the Senai High Technology Park (SHTP).

The first MoU was between STX Energy from South Korea and SHTP for the setting up of a RM1.5 billion solar cell module facilities and solar farms generating 100 megawatts of electricity in the park. According to the statement issued after the signing here, the MoU with SHTP represented the initial step towards achieving this goal.

"The facilities set up at Senai High Tech Park shall also serve its solar power business expansion in the region beyond Malaysia," it said.

The ceremony to exchange letters of MoU between STX and SHTP was held at the Senai International Airport's Aeromall and also witnessed by Senai Airport Terminal Services' chief executive officer Datuk Sidik Shaik Othman.

STX said it sees great potential in developing its solar power business in Malaysia due to its geographical advantages and the strong support from Malaysian government in promoting renewable energy such as solar power.

STX Corp. is one of the leading industrial groups in South Korea with a total revenue of $21 billion in 2009. It operates a global business network in over 70 locations worldwide and is the 12th largest private business group listed on the Korean Stock Exchange with total assets of over $26 billion.

Source: Solarbuzz

SunPower installing solar systems on six San Ramon Valley schools

SAN JOSE, USA: In a unanimous vote earlier this week, the San Ramon Valley Unified School District (SRVUSD) board of education approved a contract with SunPower Corp. to install high efficiency solar power systems totaling more than 3 megawatts at six schools in the district.

The purchase of the systems will be financed using low interest Qualified School Construction Bonds (QSCBs) available as a result of the federal American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (ARRA). The solar power generated by the systems is expected to offset an average of 80 percent of the electricity costs at each school, achieving an estimated savings of more than $2 million for the district in the first year.

"Our Board studied this carefully and was very thoughtful in its decision to bring a solar initiative into our district and to select SunPower as the provider," said District Superintendent Steve Enoch.

"We are confident that we are getting the most value over the minimum expected 25-year lifetime of these systems. We truly believe that we can maximize savings through these systems, while at the same time modeling thoughtful stewardship of our environment for our students and the community by producing clean, renewable solar power at our schools."

"The San Ramon Valley Unified School District is wisely leveraging funding provided by the federal government to deliver clean energy to their schools, while dramatically lowering long-term operational costs," said Bill Kelly, managing director at SunPower. "We are very pleased to work with the district, and congratulate them on their significant commitment to renewable, emission-free solar power."

At the six schools (including California High School, Dougherty Valley High School, Monte Vista High School, San Ramon Valley High School, Diablo Vista Middle School and Gale Ranch Middle School), SunPower will be installing solar carport tracking systems that provide shade as well as generate solar electric power.

SunPower E-Series solar panels, the most efficient solar panels commercially available, will be mounted on the trackers, which will follow the sun throughout the day, increasing sunlight capture over conventional fixed-tilt systems, while significantly reducing land use requirements.

The solar panels will be manufactured at SunPower's new panel manufacturing facility in Milpitas, Calif., less than one hour's drive from the district's schools. Construction will be complete by the end of next year.

SunPower will also be partnering with the district to provide lesson plans on energy, and use the systems as educational tools to help students understand solar power.
SunPower has more than 550 solar power systems in operation or under contract globally. In the last year in California, educational customers have included the Los Angeles Unified School District, University of California, Merced, and Mendocino College.

Saturday, May 29, 2010

Apollo Solar Energy signs agreement with China's CESC to build solar power stations

CHENGDU, CHINA: Apollo Solar Energy Inc., a refiner and producer of high purity tellurium (Te), tellurium-based compounds and other metals for the solar photovoltaic (PV) industry and specific segments of the electronic materials market worldwide, announced that it has entered into a non-binding collaboration agreement with China Energy Conservation Solar Energy Technologies Inc. (CECS) to build scaled thin-film solar energy power stations.

According to the non-binding collaboration agreement, both parties anticipate working jointly in three ways: first, Apollo Solar intends to provide CECS with thin film solar panels, upon request, on a long-term basis, which panels the parties intend to use in the construction of thin scaled film solar power stations and photovoltaic grid-connected systems; second, the parties intend to work jointly to construct thin scaled film solar energy power stations; and third, CECS intends to acquire the thin film solar energy power stations that may be built independently by Apollo Solar through its separate financing and technology.

"We are very pleased to sign a non-binding collaboration agreement with CECS," Mr. Renyi Hou, CEO of the company commented, "CECS is the only solar energy oriented company currently funded by the China Energy Conservation Investment Corp., a state-owned company responsible for leading the new renewable energy industry by directing development throughout China."

"CECS, a wholly-owned subsidiary of China Energy Conservation Investment Corp., is the largest operator of wind and solar power stations in China. CECS is in charge of the construction and operation of scaled solar power stations, and is the largest investor and systematic operator of solar photovoltaic technology in China," Zhao Youmin, senior vice president of CECS commented.

"It is our duty to lead the direction of new renewable energy industry in China as a state owned investment corporation. We select Apollo as strategic partner for developing thin film solar power station since Apollo is a pioneer in thin film solar PV section with resource, technologies and network. We expect long term cooperation with Apollo under mutual benefit."

Hou further added: "The Chairman of China's State Electricity Corp., in a recent interview on CCTV News, announced that according to the Chinese government's recent promise to limit emissions, the State Electricity Corporation intends to accelerate the pace of construction of renewable energy sources, including solar power stations and photovoltaic grid-connected systems. The Chairman also estimated that, in his opinion, renewal energy sources, including wind and solar energy, will capture about a 20 percent share of nationwide energy demand in China by the year 2020."

"Today, renewable energy only accounts for less than 1 percent of the energy market share in China," Hou stated, "As a high-purity Te supplier, Apollo Solar expects to provide high-quality solar panel products with competitive pricing through OEM agreements with manufactures. We believe that working with CECS will improve our competitive advantage in our future construction of scaled solar energy power stations. Our management team believes the cooperation with CECS will lay a stable and sustainable base for the Company's future development."

Suntech enters promising UK market armed with MCS certification

LONDON, UK & WUXI, CHINA: Suntech Power Holdings Co. Ltd, the world's largest producer of crystalline silicon photovoltaic modules, recently received official certification under the UK Microgeneration Certification Scheme (MCS) for its most popular models, a pre-requisite for selling solar panels in the UK market.

The certification will enable customers and value-added resellers in the UK to utilize Suntech's solar panels for reliable electricity generation.

Issued by the leading UK test authority, the British Board of Agrement (BBA), the certification certifies that Suntech's modules meet or exceed relevant standards for sales in the UK. The MCS approval process includes a factory inspection, to ensure that all production processes conform or exceed safety and reliability standards, as well as thorough product performance evaluation.

Solar installers, such as The Green Electrician Ltd., are delighted to offer Suntech modules to their customers in the UK. Rupert Higgin, Director of The Green Electrician Ltd., has been impressed by the quality, excellent performance and reliability of Suntech modules installed in Germany.

Higgin commented: "I would not hesitate in recommending Suntech's high-performance solar products to our customers in the UK. Suntech has a strong presence throughout Europe and they provide great support and quick responses to all my questions." Since installing their first system in April, The Green Electrician has developed about a dozen new systems using Suntech modules within the last month.

The forecast for the UK solar market is bright, judging by the activities of UK installers, such as The Green Electrician, who report robust consumer demand. The superior performance of Suntech's industry-leading solar panels, under all light and weather conditions, makes solar a viable energy solution almost everywhere under the sun.

Coupled with strong government incentives to catalyze market growth, solar will provide an attractive return on investment to both commercial and private customers in the UK.

Jerry Stokes, Suntech's Vice President of Strategy and Business Development in Europe, added: "We see the UK as a strategically important market and had no hesitation in engaging BBA to assess our modules for the MCS certification. With a high degree of home ownership and a positive feed-in-tariff legislation, which offers secure returns, we are confident that the UK market offers great potential."

All of Suntech's products meet or exceed the most stringent international quality and safety standards. Launched in 2009, Suntech's advanced solar product testing facility is widely recognized as the best-in-class, as it has been awarded the Underwriters Laboratories Witness Testing Data Program Certificate as well as the VDE Test Data Acceptance Program Certificate in accordance with all requirements of IEC 61215 and IEC 61730.

Nine new members join PRIME Alliance to develop multi-vendor solution for smart grids

SAN RAMON, USA: Nine new members have joined the PRIME Alliance (PoweRline Intelligent Metering Evolution) as utility provider Iberdrola is poised to deploy the first 100,000 multi-vendor, PRIME-compliant meters. The Alliance has announced new members: ADD Grup, ČEZ Měření, s.r.o., Circutor, EDP, Fujitsu Microelectronics, SAC, ORBIS, Iskraemeco/Metrega and SAGEMCOM.

“Having important semiconductor solutions suppliers, metering companies, utilities and system integrators joining the Alliance underlines the importance and recognition of PRIME as the future standard for power line communication-based smart meters enabling the smart grid vision,” said Tom Willie, PRIME Alliance vice chairman from member company Current Group.

The PRIME Alliance is focused on the development of a new open, public and non-proprietary Power Line Communications (PLC) solution that will support real-time smart metering functionalities and enable the building of the electricity networks of the future, or Smart Grids.

The goal of the Alliance is to provide a framework in which vendors of meters, data concentrators, in-home devices and chipsets, could access fully open physical layer (PHY) and Medium Access Control (MAC) specifications in order to design fully interoperable solutions, which would allow multiple vendors to be operational within the same distribution network in one common system platform.

Iberdrola selected seven meter vendors and four manufacturers of PLC data concentrators for the first PRIME deployment through a competitive tender processes. Each employs one of the four possible interoperable PRIME chip solutions. PRIME smart meter deployments by other PRIME Alliance utility members are expected to follow shortly.

Friday, May 28, 2010

AUO and SunPower to jointly invest in solar cell manufacturing facility in Malaysia

HSINCHU, TAWIAN: AU Optronics Corp. held a meeting of the Board of Directors on May 27, 2010, at which the Board approved the resolution of a joint venture to construct and operate a solar cell manufacturing facility in Malaysia with SunPower Corp., the largest manufacturer of residential and commercial solar systems in the United States.

The resolution was passed in view of the need to accelerate the setup of a complete solar value chain to meet the rapidly growing market demands. The strategic alliance with SunPower, the manufacturer of the world's highest efficiency solar cells commercially available, is AUO's latest endeavor in the solar business since the acquisition of over 50 percent the shareholding of M.Setek, the leading Japanese supplier of upstream polysilicon and wafers.

The collaboration will establish a new solar business model featuring cost efficiency and leading technology in the development of high efficiency solar cells. Meanwhile, by means of cooperation with SunPower in continuous process improvement, production and management, AUO will be able to produce more innovative products with higher conversion rates to better serve its customers.

The resolution adopted by the Board of Directors of the two parties for the joint investment was in view of SunPower's leading brand position on solar technology in the US market, its twenty-five years of experience in R&D, intellectual property related to high efficiency solar cells, and AUO's core competence in global manufacturing, management and securing of the material source.

The joint investment in Malaysia will be $700 million. AUO and SunPower will each contribute US$350 million over several installments, owning 50% of the shareholding respectively.

SunPower is a global leader in the manufacturing and development of solar cells with a minimum rated efficiency of 22 percent, the highest efficiency commercially available now. The company possesses the highest market share in the US for residential, commercial & public sector and large-scale utility projects. It is as well a market leader in Germany, Italy and Spain.

"It is our great pleasure to work with SunPower," said K.Y. Lee, Chairman of AUO. "This joint venture sets a remarkable milestone for AUO's solar business. SunPower leads the solar industry with the world's highest efficiency technology for solar cells. With the joint venture, we will join our strength to maximize competiveness and long-term benefits. Customers worldwide will profit from the synergy of vertical integration and scale for their solar investments."

"AUO's proven ability to rapidly scale advanced manufacturing technology while driving consistent, aggressive cost effectiveness makes them the ideal partner to ramp up the future fab in Malaysia," said Tom Werner, SunPower's CEO.

"AUO's professional strength in global operations, management and smart logistics will indeed add significant value for us. We believe that this world-class manufacturing alliance will establish SunPower as one of the leading solar cell technology platforms."

Thursday, May 27, 2010

CSA Group, VDE Institute, Fraunhofer CSE and ISE in joint agreement for PV module testing services

TORONTO, CANADA: CSA Group has announced a reciprocal testing services agreement for photovoltaic modules with German VDE Testing and Certification Institute.

In addition, CSA Group and VDE will work with the Fraunhofer USA Center for Sustainable Energy Systems (CSE) and the Fraunhofer Institute for Solar Energy Systems (ISE) to jointly open a new solar technology testing facility in the US Southwest.

The reciprocal testing services agreement is effective immediately. It will enable both organizations to test products to current applicable standards and accept testing reports. With one test, CSA International and VDE solar photovoltaic clients will now be able to access global markets, while decreasing development costs, time to market and redundant testing and certification.

Under the joint agreement, all parties will invest in and share ownership of a new testing facility specifically designed to meet the future needs of the solar photovoltaic industry. The new facility will be built in the U.S. Southwest in late 2010 and will test products to ULC/ORD-C1703, UL 1703 and IEC 61730 safety standards, as well as IEC 61215 and IEC 61646 performance standards.

"By working with research and certification leaders, such as VDE, Fraunhofer ISE and CSE, we will provide clients with one-test certification, improved and timely access to global markets along with access to cutting-edge solar photovoltaic testing technologies and research and development capabilities," says Ash Sahi, president and CEO, CSA Group.

"The VDE Institute has been successfully involved with CSA Group and the innovation experts from Fraunhofer for many years," says Wilfried Jäger, Managing Director, VDE Testing and Certification Institute.

"With this joint venture we are creating a global center of excellence for photovoltaics. Our customers, who work to develop solar technologies in accordance with the global climate change programs, will benefit and will pass the benefits to their customers. While utilizing the latest technology during extensive testing in Europe, Asia, and North America, we now can offer access to the global market."

The VDE Institute has many different accreditations from around the world. Among others, it is accredited by the Central Body of the Laender for Safety (ZLS) for the VDE-GS mark for photovoltaic components and systems.

Under the terms of the agreement, VDE will offer clients access to CSA certification marks for North America. Similarly, CSA International will offer clients access to the VDE-, VDE-GS-, VDE-EMC-Marks, CB certificates and EC Declarations of Conformity as a basis for the CE marking in Europe on photovoltaic products.

Fraunhofer ISE and CSE will ensure that the new test facility will be set up and operated with the latest PV technologies in mind. Roland Schindler, Executive Director of Fraunhofer CSE and Senior Researcher at ISE remarked that "The new certification test facility will be another way for Fraunhofer to contribute to the market introduction of innovative, cost-saving PV technologies."

As a long standing leader in solar energy technology, Fraunhofer ISE's world-class research and development test center in Freiburg, Germany and the PV module testing and certification service in Singapore, jointly operated by VDE and Fraunhofer are a welcome addition to CSA Group's photovoltaic testing and certification capabilities in their Vancouver, B.C. laboratories.

CoreFlow's wafer singulation system for crystalline PV industry ready for shipping

YOQNEAM, ISRAEL: CoreFlow Ltd., a leading provider of flotation solutions for precision manufacturing environments, announced today that its Wafer Singulation system SingFlow has successfully passed a number of tests at customer manufacturing sites and internal demonstrations and is ready to be shipped to customers.

SingFlow is the first automatic system that successfully deals with the delicate separation of wafers that eliminates manual labor and thus solves one of the critical steps in the crystalline PV manufacturing process.

SingFlow singulation system is based on a unique, stress-free, pure-shear singulation concept. This patent-pending technology delivers the first field-proven fully automated production system, and improves production efficiency, throughput and yield of the manufacturing process.

The modular system design supports the output to different configurations of lane-based cleaning systems, supporting 5-6 lanes, or cassette loading for batch cleaning. System throughput with a 2-head singulation configuration is 3,000 WPH.

SingFlow features stress-free wafer singulation with a unique control that ensures minimal contact force on the wafer. Minimal wafer manipulations, the integration of customer-specific carrier (used in the glue-dissolving process) into the SingFlow system, as well as direct loading to clean lane or cassette enables a fully automated singulation process.

The singulation process is fully controlled with automatic compensation for wafer thickness variation, automatic detection and sorting of broken wafers and submerged operation in filtered water.

Ron Eyal, Business Unit manager at CoreFlow, states: "We are proud to offer the first production-worthy wafer separation system to the Crystalline PV industry. SingFlow has successfully passed tests by several customers, and we expect first orders during the coming months. The system solves one of the more critical problems the industry is facing. For CoreFlow it means a real breakthrough."

EPRI joins SolarTAC - one of the world's largest solar test and demo centers

AURORA, USA: The Solar Technology Acceleration Center (SolarTAC) announced the addition of the Electric Power Research Institute Inc. (EPRI) as a sponsoring member.

EPRI conducts research and development for the electric power industry and its membership represents more than 90 percent of the electricity generated and delivered in the United States, along with an international participation extending to 40 countries.

Located in Aurora, Colorado, SolarTAC is a private, member-based, outdoor facility where the solar industry tests, validates, and demonstrates advanced solar technologies.

As a member of SolarTAC, EPRI will have access to the 74-acre SolarTAC site, allowing EPRI's membership to participate in solar research and development, utilizing SolarTAC's available infrastructure. SolarTAC members can work alone or in collaboration with other members on research and demonstration activities that support their business and membership needs.

"We are very excited to become a member of SolarTAC," said Stan Rosinski, Program Manager for EPRI's Renewable Generation R&D. "Our sponsorship affords EPRI the ability to conduct solar thermal research as well as test the performance of a variety of solar thermal and photovoltaic technologies, and through collaboration with our members, validate these technologies. SolarTAC provides a unique opportunity to transition technologies from the lab to the field through testing in a real-world environment."

According to SolarTAC's Executive Director, Dustin Smith, "Having EPRI's utility industry involved in SolarTAC is a significant step towards our memberships' goal of accelerating utility-scale solar technologies into the marketplace." Since announcing the initial launch of SolarTAC in late 2008, the site infrastructure development has progressed to the point where members can now deploy solar technology.

SolarTAC originated when six public and private sector entities -- Abengoa Solar, the City of Aurora, the Colorado Renewable Energy Collaboratory, Midwest Research Institute (MRI), SunEdison, and Xcel Energy -- joined forces to establish a site where member companies can bring their early commercial or near-commercial stage solar technologies for testing and demonstration under actual field conditions.

Standard Solar launches Standard Energy Solutions

GAITHERSBURG, USA: Standard Solar Inc., a full-service developer, integrator and installer of solar electric systems for academic, commercial, government and residential customers throughout the Mid-Atlantic, announced Standard Energy Solutions (SES), a new division of the company focusing on energy auditing and performance retrofitting.

SES offers comprehensive building testing, monitoring and modeling services for both residential and commercial energy improvement projects. SES is a BPI Gold Star Accredited contractor and also participates in the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and US Department of Energy's Home Performance with Energy Star program.

Energy audits allow customers to know how and where to conserve energy before making larger investments in renewable energy solutions. Energy savings can often be found in proper air sealing, improving insulation, sealing ducts, upgrading heating and cooling systems and installing certified windows and doors.

Making smaller investments such as replacing old appliances and water fixtures, installing new light bulbs and solving moisture condensation problem can also result in energy and cost savings.

"Energy auditing, performance retrofitting and solar energy systems all have the same end goal -- to use less power and to save money. Our goal is to show customers how to use energy responsibly," says SES Division Manager Scott Carr. "It makes common sense to use alternative energy efficiently and an audit service pinpoints how to gain those efficiencies in homes or businesses."

In addition to providing comprehensive audit and retrofitting services, SES also provides the necessary paperwork services, including permits, licenses and inspections. SES also completes the forms to apply for county, state, and federal government-issued grants, rebates, credits, and incentives that help make energy auditing, performance retrofitting and solar energy even more affordable for our customers.

"SES is an exciting addition to Standard Solar. We are focused on helping our customers become more energy independent and performance retrofitting is a great way to achieve that," said Scott Wiater, president, Standard Solar.

SunPower completes solar power plant for Duke Energy

SAN JOSE, USA: SunPower Corp. announced the completion of the Shelby Solar Project, a 1-megawatt solar power plant in Shelby, N.C. that is owned and operated by Duke Energy Generation Services (DEGS), a Duke Energy commercial business unit.

Construction on the 10-acre plant began in March, and it is now producing clean, renewable solar power for North Carolina Municipal Power Agency Number 1 (NCMPA1), which serves Shelby. DEGS estimates that the plant will generate enough electricity to power approximately 140 homes annually.

NCMPA1 and its 19 member organizations will buy all of the output from the Shelby Solar Project for the next 20 years under the terms of its power purchase agreement with DEGS. NCMPA1 will also receive all associated renewable energy credits (RECs) from the project.

"This agreement is a great start to the development of our solar resource portfolio," said Graham Edwards, CEO of ElectriCities, the management services organization for NCMPA1. "Solar power complements our existing power supply portfolio by providing peak power during the daylight hours, while also helping to maintain our very small carbon footprint."

SunPower designed and built the solar system using SunPower Tracker technology. The Tracker follows the sun's movement during the day, increasing sunlight capture by up to 25 percent over conventional fixed-tilt systems, while significantly reducing land use requirements.

"SunPower sun-tracking technology is fast to install and reliably delivers clean power during peak demand periods, making solar a competitively-priced choice for power plant applications," said Tom Leyden, managing director at SunPower.

"Forward-thinking organizations such as Duke Energy and their local partners are maximizing the production of emission-free, renewable solar power and the long-term benefits it delivers."

ONTILITY, Miami Dade College bring solar electric training to Miami

HOUSTON & MIAMI, USA: ONTILITY and Miami Dade College will offer an Entry Level Solar Design and Installation course on June 21 - 25, at Miami Dade College north campus.

The 40 hour Entry Level Solar Design and Installation course provides students with basic knowledge of solar photovoltaic (PV) cells, modules, and system components; electrical circuits; PV system design, estimation, and code requirements; solar electric products and applications; an understanding of energy conversion from sunlight to electricity, and how to work with solar conversion equipment. The course is designed for all learners.

The course follows the Institute for Sustainable Power Quality (ISPQ) standards and the NABCEP photovoltaic learning objectives and task analysis. The course focuses on real-world, site-specific knowledge. Hands-on training covers site surveys; mechanical and electrical design, safety and construction issues; tool and test equipment use; best-practice construction skills; national code and local inspection issues.

The 40 hour course consists of five days of training, 8 a.m. – 5 p.m. each day, and qualifies those who complete the course to sit for the NABCEP PV Entry Level Exam, given on Friday evening at the conclusion of the class. Tuition for the training is $1,395.

Upon completion of this class, students are eligible to take the NABCEP Entry Level PV Exam. The exam is administered after the conclusion of class at the end of the week. Additionally, students that complete the class are able to become ONTILITY Certified Partners and utilize the Powered by ONTILITY platform.

The combination of federal, state and utility incentive programs makes conditions in Florida very favorable for rapid renewable energy growth. Concern is already being expressed that there may not be enough trained installers to meet the demand. It is crucial to the success of the renewable energy industry that installers be well trained and that there are enough of them to meet market demand.

Demand for well trained, highly skilled workers will naturally accompany market growth. Solar industry jobs will range from high school graduates to those with master’s degrees and will carry average annual salaries from $23,000 to $87,000.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

KYOCERA supplies 9,000 solar modules for 1.2 MW power plant in Czech Republic

KYOTO, JAPAN: Kyocera Corp. has supplied roughly 9,000 solar modules for a large-scale solar power plant in the Czech Republic. Covering an area of more than 28,000 m², the plant delivers an output of 1.2 megawatts (MW).

In the South Moravian farming village of Moravský Žižkov, 8,960 Kyocera KD135GH-2PU solar modules are currently producing solar energy. When selecting products for solar installations, the Czech company Nelumbo focuses on quality and has therefore put its trust in Kyocera.

Due to the many hours of sunshine in this region, a high annual electricity yield of 1.3 million kilowatt hours is expected from the plant, which was completed in December 2009.

Durable and efficient high-yield solar modules are of great importance, especially for large-scale plants. Kyocera offers more than 35 years of experience in the solar industry and with its fully-integrated manufacturing process — controlling every stage of production — it is able to guarantee the high quality and performance of its modules.

Nelumbo is one of the most experienced companies in photovoltaics and solar thermal power within the Czech Republic and Slovakia. Every year it constructs 200 to 300 solar installation in the Czech Republic and offers its customers complete network support, from installation through to maintenance.

The interplay of powerful modules, expert installation and an optimum location mean that this solar plant is able to supply 280 households per year with electricity from sunlight, thus offsetting 1,150 tons of CO2 emissions.

Applied Materials, China new energy leader CECEP to ally on advancing solar PV

BEIJING, CHINA: Applied Materials Inc. and China Energy Conservation and Environmental Protection Group (CECEP), a leading new energy company in China, have signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) to explore projects for accelerating the development and deployment of solar photovoltaic (PV) technology.

The non-binding MoU forms a framework for Applied Materials and CECEP to work together on a range of activities to further CECEP’s solar PV industry strategy and roadmap.

CECEP plans to build a 5MW utility-scale PV power plant in Inner Mongolia using silicon-based thin film solar modules for the first time. ENN Solar Energy Co., Ltd. has won the bid to supply modules for this project and will use 5.7m2 tandem junction, thin film, solar modules manufactured on ENN’s SunFab™ line which was supplied by Applied Materials.

“The collaboration between CECEP and Applied Materials will further advance the deployment of the latest PV technologies in China,” said Li Junfeng, Deputy Director of the Energy Research Institute of the National Development and Reform Commission. “The 5MW solar farm that CECEP plans to build in Inner Mongolia, using Applied’s SunFab technology, will be the largest thin film, utility-scale solar farm in China when completed.”

The announcements were made during the US-China Renewable Energy Forum held in Beijing, which was attended by Zhang Guobao, Chairman of China’s National Energy Administration (NEA), and David Sandalow, Assistant Secretary of the U.S. Department of Energy.

“We are excited to be working with Applied Materials to explore solar development opportunities, especially in the deployment of large, utility-scale solar farms,” said Mr. Chen Shuguang, Vice President of China Energy Conservation and Environmental Protection Group and Chairman of CECIC Solar Energy Technology.

“We believe Applied Materials’ SunFab thin film solar technology delivers the superior field performance that can help us to rapidly achieve our goal of powering many more cities and millions of people through solar. Working with Applied Materials, we can promote the adoption of solar PV power in China and integrate solar module manufacturing into CECEP’s business.”

“With China's growing energy needs, our relationship with CECEP represents a great opportunity to promote sustainable energy development through the optimal use of renewable energy generation with solar power,” observed Dr. Mark Pinto, Executive Vice President and Corporate Technology Officer at Applied Materials.

“With our PV technology expertise and global capability, Applied can offer leading PV technology and manufacturing solutions to China’s solar industry. We believe our unique 5.7m2 SunFab thin film solar technology is the best solution for utility-scale solar farms, offering easier installation, lower balance of system costs, and superior field performance. Working with our partners and customers, we will continue to help drive down the installed cost per watt of solar PV electricity to make it more affordable and accessible for everyone.”

Top 10 suppliers of PV manufacturing equipment for 2009

SANTA CLARA, USA: VLSI Research has released the annual ranking of PV manufacturing equipment suppliers for 2009. Applied Materials was the largest supplier of PV manufacturing equipment for the second year in a row with revenues from this sector exceeding $1 billion.

Despite the market turmoil over the period, 4 of the Top 10 suppliers retained their positions and 9 of the companies in last year’s list make a repeat appearance, revealing that the top players have mostly managed to retain market share. The market for PV manufacturing equipment which includes polysilicon, ingot, wafering, cell and module manufacturing equipment declined by 12.2 percent in 2009 to a value of $7.7 billion.

VLSI Research’s analysis reveals that Applied Materials consolidated their position in 2009 with organic growth and revenue gain from their existing products. centrotherm photovoltaics AG gained the most positions and climbed from 5th place to claim the second spot, benefitting from their move into the polysilicon and ingot manufacturing equipment markets.

Ulvac Inc. gained a place and had the greatest growth of the top 10 due to their silicon thin film systems. Rounding out the top 10 are two more risers, ALD Vacuum Technologies, an ingot tool manufacturer, and NPC Incorporated which produces module manufacturing equipment.

Gebr. Schmid, GT Solar Inc. and Meyer Berger all outperformed the industry and retained their positions. Nevertheless, all three saw declining revenues over this time reflecting the overall market trend. In a reversal of fortune, Oerlikon Solar fell from second position in 2008 to fifth due to the weakness in the silicon thin film market.
OC Oerlikon chooses to report the sales of PV equipment from its Oerlikon Systems business, which manufactures crystalline cell manufacturing equipment, separately from Oerlikon Solar although the combined revenues of these two businesses would not have influenced their ranking this year.

The other company to lose position was Roth & Rau AG which also had the biggest decline in revenues of the top 10. Roth and Rau had an extremely high level of exposure to the underperforming crystalline cell equipment market for both turnkey and stand-alone systems.

Compared to other industries the fall in revenue during the downturn was not too severe but 2009 was a year of two halves: for the first eight months suppliers survived by working through their backlogs as new orders virtually evaporated, then for the remainder of the year orders surged close to record levels. The stress this caused resulted in some suppliers exiting the market and accelerated the trend for consolidation within the industry. Most notably, Meyer Burger and 3S Swiss Solar Systems merged while Roth and Rau acquired OTB, although both these events occurred too late to impact the 2009 rankings.

The outlook for 2010 is for new equipment orders to remain strong and sales to grow by 17.2 percent to a value of $9 billion. However, not all segments are expected to grow next year. In particular, demand for silicon thin film on glass equipment is likely to remain soft until the technology and competitive cost issues are solved.Source: VLSIresearch inc.; PV SOLAR

Oerlikon is top equipment supplier in '10 BEST' survey

PFÄFFIKON, SWITZERLAND: The results of the highly anticipated “10 BEST” customer survey from VLSI Research have ranked Oerlikon Systems as the best in the category “THE BEST Small Suppliers of Wafer Processing Equipment” for 2010.

“The 2010 VLSI survey results for Oerlikon are even better than last year”
“Congratulations to Oerlikon Systems for a well-deserved award,” lauds G. Dan Hutcheson, chairman and CEO of VLSIresearch.

“Your company’s customers have voted and recognized Oerlikon as the number one ranked company in THE BEST SMALL WAFER PROCESSING EQUIPMENT category in 2010. This is Oerlikon’s tenth consecutive appearance in this category; they have worked very hard to achieve this top ranking.”

The annual survey of the “10 BEST” Customer Satisfaction awards for Wafer Processing Equipment is carried out by VLSI Research, Inc. This year’s survey ranked over 196 equipment suppliers. Widely recognized by the semiconductor industry as a valid measure of product quality and company performance, the “10 BEST” survey is based on customer satisfaction ratings in 13 rating categories covering equipment performance and customer service.

Thanks to the customers
“The 2010 VLSI survey results for Oerlikon are even better than last year,” points out Andreas Dill, Head of Oerlikon Systems. “And our clients deserve a heartfelt ‘thank you’ for this honour – and for the trust they have shown us over the past years.”

The VLSI survey results cap a demanding year for Oerlikon. Building on its reputation for build quality and process durability, the company undertook great efforts to further improve all aspects of its product and service offer – with new products and numerous local support teams.

Consistently high performer
Oerlikon rated in the “10 BEST” of “THE BEST Small Suppliers of Wafer Processing Equipment” for the 11th year in a row – and after many years of continually improving their rankings (such as the strong 3rd place finish in 2009), and now winning the category outright for 2010. Oerlikon, a perennial stand-out in the annual VLSI survey, added to the category-winning results with a #7 overall spot in the highly competitive “Focused Suppliers of Chip Making Equipment” category; which covers all sectors of the semiconductor industry: wafer processing, assembly, packaging, test, etc.

All companies in this category were rated in the following 13 categories: uptime, build quality, usable throughput, quality of results, product performance, process support, field engineering support, support after sales, technical leadership, commitment, spares support, software and cost of ownership. The surveys rates both “Small Suppliers” and “Large Suppliers,” categorized by size according to revenue.

“The new VLSI survey rankings prove that we are focusing on the right aspects of our business,” adds Andreas Dill. “Because if you don’t improve from year to year, you don’t make the “BEST 10”; it’s that simple.”

SunEdison, First Reserve in JV to fund up to $1.5 billion of solar energy projects

BELTSVILLE, USA: SunEdison, the solar energy development division of MEMC Electronic Materials Inc. announced an agreement with First Reserve Corporation to establish a joint venture which could provide for the acquisition of up to $1.5 billion in current and future SunEdison solar photovoltaic energy projects.

SunEdison is one of the world's leading solar project developers, with more than 350 solar electric power plants constructed and under management. First Reserve is one of the world's largest private equity and energy infrastructure investors, with $20 billion under management.

The initial equity commitment for the joint venture of $167 million will be contributed by First Reserve and SunEdison over time. When combined with contemplated additional debt financing, these equity commitments are expected to fund the acquisition of solar assets developed by SunEdison with an enterprise value of $825 million.

The agreement contemplates that depending on market conditions, development opportunities and existing capital of the joint venture, First Reserve may raise an additional $150 million of equity which, when coupled with a corresponding increase in project debt financing, could scale the joint venture up to an aggregate of $1.5 billion of solar projects developed by SunEdison.

SunEdison and First Reserve believe this joint venture will be one of the largest world-wide energy infrastructure enterprises focused on the long-term ownership of solar photovoltaic generation assets.

"We are excited to partner with First Reserve, a proven leader in energy infrastructure financing," said Carlos Domenech, President of SunEdison. "The industry needs efficient and scalable financing models to meet demand. We expect the joint venture to help facilitate the development of our existing backlog of project opportunities and prospective projects that meet our development criteria."

"SunEdison is a best-in-class partner due to its proven track record of developing, building, financing and operating solar photovoltaic electric power plants around the world," said Mark Florian, Managing Director of First Reserve Energy Infrastructure.

"This investment enables us to build a portfolio of high quality solar photovoltaic assets, utilizing mature technologies, in one of the fastest growing segments of energy infrastructure. We believe the portfolio will generate a predictable long-term cash flow suitable to our focus on long-term infrastructure markets. "

SunEdison and First Reserve will make capital contributions to the joint venture as qualifying projects are constructed in the targeted markets of the United States, Italy, Spain and Canada. SunEdison will lead the project identification and development process and First Reserve will lead the project financing efforts.

Once constructed, the projects will be purchased by the joint venture and then operated and managed by SunEdison. Power generated by the projects will be sold pursuant to long-term power purchase agreements or feed-in tariff arrangements.

Spire to supply India’s UL with standard-setting solar simulator

BEDFORD, USA: Spire Corp., an American global solar company providing capital equipment and turnkey manufacturing lines to manufacture photovoltaic (PV) modules, announced that Underwriters Laboratories (UL) has once again selected Spire’s world class SPI-Sun Simulator 4600SLP as a standard to test and certify PV modules.

Already in use at UL facilities in the United States, China, and Germany, the Spire Simulator will now serve as the primary test equipment gauge at the new UL facility in Bangalore, India.

Spire’s simulators have become the benchmark for PV module testing with a majority of the world’s manufactured modules tested with Spire simulators, both crystalline silicon and thin films. With a Class AAA rating, Spire’s simulators can provide high-volume production with a low cost of ownership.

Spire’s proprietary method of controlling the simulator’s pulse or flash length, large irradiance range, and superior spectral control, allow test labs the ability to measure modules beyond their own test standards and understand critical aspects of their performance.

“We have set the bar very high with our SPI-Sun Simulators,” said Roger G. Little, chairman and CEO of Spire. “I am pleased to know that test agencies such as UL, NREL, TÜV, FSEC, CSA, KIER, Intervac, and Bodycote -- all use our simulators as their standard.”

SolFocus, Victor Valley College complete largest solar power plant of its kind in North America

College & University Pressroom, VICTORVILLE, USA: Victor Valley College and SolFocus held a grand opening ceremony for the largest solar power plant in North America using concentrator photovoltaic (CPV) systems. After two months of construction, the one megawatt solar power plant is now providing clean power to Victor Valley College in Victorville, California.

Solar power plant
* The Victor Valley College solar micro-generating facility is now connected to the regional electrical grid operated by Southern California Edison and will produce approximately 2.6 million kilowatt-hours annually, which is roughly 30 percent of the College’s electricity demand.
* Construction of the six acre plant was completed in two months.
* The plant is located on the college’s main campus and consists of 122 SolFocus SF-1100S CPV arrays.

Green jobs training
* The college will be developing curriculum within its existing academic and technical programs around this innovative solar technology, including installation, operations, and maintenance.
* SolFocus will be supporting the college in its curriculum development around advanced solar energy technology including materials, training, and instruction.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

T-Solar adopts BrightView's in-line metrology solution

TEL AVIV, ISRAEL: BrightView Systems, a leading provider of in-line metrology-based process control and optimization tools for thin-film solar cell manufacturing received technical acceptance and announces deployment of its InSight-M at T-Solar's thin film solar factory at Ourence, Spain.

The tool will be utilized for capturing and analyzing process maps for 100 percent of the produced panels, a method that will dramatically enhance productivity, drive product improvements enable novel process optimization solutions that improve long term reliability and project bankability.

T-Solar's unique position as a vertically integrated solar power provider that manufactures the modules as well as builds the solar farms, will be the basis for a joint project between BrightView and T-Solar that will examine and analyze the relationship between process variations and long-term field performance.

The global distribution of T-Solar's PV farms, spanning Peru, Italy, France and Spain, presents unique challenges in respect to radiation levels, temperatures and other local variations. This study will provide T-Solar with unique insight that will enable customization of process parameters to specific field requirements, and will provide tools for project planners and integrators to optimize selection of photovoltaic panels.

"T-Solar is making great strides in process optimization by using the BrightView InSight-M system," said Benny Shoham, CEO of BrightView. "As T-Solar operates its own solar farms, partnering with them provides us with an opportunity to contribute our process knowledge and optimization tools for enhancing field performance qualities of the panels that are directly related to project planning and bankability."

"BrightView has enabled us to gain the insight we needed into our manufacturing process," said Juan Lasso, CEO, T-Solar. "The unique value of BrightView's solution lies in the combination of innovative process optimization tools with in-depth knowledge of process and manufacturing. This will help us improve the performance of thin-film silicon photovoltaic modules, reduce the production cost per module, and streamline project planning."

PAE subsidiary, Shurjo Energy, earns IEC Certification for new module line with CIGS technology

TUCSON, USA: Global Solar Energy, a leading manufacturer of high-efficiency Copper Indium Gallium diSelenide (CIGS) solar material, announced that Shurjo Energy Pvt. Ltd, a subsidiary of PAE Ltd, was awarded the International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC) certification for its complete line of solar modules that use Global Solar CIGS technology. Of the two, a 158 watt module is one of the most powerful CIGS panels on the market.

Issued by EuroTest Laboratori S.r.l (TUV Intercert), IEC certifications are an industry standard when it comes to validating PV products and technology. Shurjo Energy earned the IEC 61646 and IEC 61730 certification, which confirm that all of its modules built with Global Solar technology adhere to the commission's stringent requirements for functional, mechanical and safety capabilities for long-term operation and open air environments. This certification is also a requirement for solar modules used in solar power plants in most markets worldwide.

“Shurjo Energy has been solely focused on developing and producing a range of CIGS modules for the past three years, and this focus has allowed us to develop an expertise on the technology,” said Spencer Jansen, CTO of Shurjo Energy.

“We have carried out numerous in-house and external tests, so that we fully understood the interaction between the materials that make up our modules, before subjecting them to the certification process. The knowledge we gained from our testing proved to us that Global Solar was the clear technology leader in CIGS and allowed us to pass the IEC test requirements on the first attempt.”

Shurjo’s CIGS-based solar modules have been subjected to the full range of IEC testing, including extra testing for the modules without a frame. This means that the Shurjo CIGS modules can be integrated into existing roofing systems and structures, and maintain the same level of performance and efficiency. Shurjo and Global Solar Energy are dedicated to developing and providing products and services for the emerging building integrated photovoltaic (BIPV) market.

“This recent IEC certification is a huge win not only for Shurjo Energy but also for the CIGS industry, as Global Solar continues to advance the technology’s contributions to the solar market,” said Dr. Jeff Britt, CEO of Global Solar Energy.

“We consider this certification a testament to the high caliber of our CIGS material—which we are producing with an average efficiency of 11 percent on our production lines in Tucson and Berlin, Germany. As with all our partners, we look forward to working with Shurjo, providing our technology on a continuous basis and adding to their success.”

The IEC sets international standards for all electrical, electronic and related technologies. IEC 61646 "Thin-film terrestrial photovoltaic (PV) modules - Design qualification and type approval" and “IEC 61730 – safety test” are testing standards used worldwide by the solar industry in order to verify that new solar modules, encapsulation materials and manufacturers of solar modules to meet a minimum set of functional and mechanical requirements to prove confidence for long-term (25+ years) module performance and integrity.

In order to meet local government supported programs, Shurjo Energy modules have also been certified by the Electronics Regional Test Laboratory (East), India and the KS 1674 (East African standard) from Intertek.

Abound Solar forges partnership with balance-of-system vendors

LOVELAND, USA: Abound Solar, a leading manufacturer of cadmium telluride thin-film photovoltaic (PV) solar modules today announced the Abound Alliance, a unique ecosystem of balance-of-system partners that are collaborating with Abound Solar to drive down the levelized cost of PV electricity.

The marketing partnership will allow each company to better coordinate their product development, marketing and sales efforts, while optimizing their products to improve performance, reduce costs, and/or increase system reliability. The Abound Alliance membership includes:

KACO: A powerful partner for PV system solutions, KACO new energy has built a tradition of excellence in the photovoltaic inverter and power electronics industries. KACO engineers have developed, designed and manufactured current inverters and power electronics for more than 60 years. With over 2 GW of PV inverters in operation worldwide KACO is a strong and reliable photovoltaic inverter partner.

Northern States Metals (maker of Solar Flex Rack): Solar FlexRack is substantially reducing installation costs of commercial solar array projects all over the U.S. and Canada with its patent-pending ground-mount and roof-mount systems.

PV Powered: PV Powered is the innovation leader for grid-tied PV inverters in the residential, commercial and utility markets, setting the industry standard for innovation in reliability and efficiency. Founded in Bend, Oregon in 2003 and recently acquired by Advanced Energy Industries (AEIS), the company’s vision is to tackle three significant issues affecting the growth of solar world-wide: (1) dramatically improving the reliability of inverters, (2) lowering the cost of levelized cost of ownership for PV power generation and (3) making distributed PV a scalable and controllable resource on the utility grid.

REFU Solar Electronics: Since 1965 the German-based REFU Elektronik has been a specialist in custom power engineering applications and inverters. REFU Solar Electronics offers solar inverters from 4 kW to 1.3 MW with industry-leading conversion efficiency of up to 98.2 percent and proven reliability. REFU’s North American office is in San Jose, Calif.

Schletter: With over 40-years manufacturing experience, Schletter Inc., has risen to be the technology driver of the solar mounting systems industry. Schletter offers the solar industry’s most extensive, highly engineered and custom designed solar module mounting solutions for roof and ground mounted systems, supporting modules from nearly every photovoltaic manufacturer. Ground mounted systems are up to 70% pre-assembled in the factory, which reduces cost and decreases the installation time in the field.

Sunlink: SunLink Corp. provides scalable solar module mounting solutions that reduce costs and installation times and improve system performance. Leading integrators have chosen SunLink’s commercial rooftop and ground-mounted systems on more than 90 MW of projects at 500 sites across North America. Most recently, SunLink was chosen for a 50 MW supply agreement with Southern California Edison. SunLink's experienced engineering team provides comprehensive support for each installation.

With the Abound Alliance, engineering, procurement and construction companies, utilities and project developers have a straightforward path for vendor selection as they design their large-scale systems. Customers can choose the appropriate best-in-class solution for their specific needs.

"Abound Solar understands the complexities facing solar project developers and engineering firms,” said Julian Hawkins, Abound Solar Senior Vice President of Sales and Marketing. "We have assembled the Abound Alliance to assist our mutual customers in simplifying the design, qualification, and procurement process."

AQT announces strategic partnerships to speed up market entry

SANTA CLARA, USA: AQT, a leading developer of low-cost CIGS (copper-indium-gallium-diselenide) thin-film solar cells, today announced key partnerships with two leading solar companies to drive the delivery and deployment of AQT’s breakthrough solar cells into commercial projects beginning in 2010.

The partnerships with Solar Enertech and HelioPower validate AQT’s unique business model and will accelerate fulfillment of the growing number of orders for its low cost alternative to traditional solar cells.

Solar Enertech, a large-scale producer of photovoltaic cells and modules, is working closely with AQT as a module manufacturing partner for AQT’s CIGS cells and will assist with product certification and qualification beginning in the second half of this year. Solar Enertech’s research and development team will join efforts with AQT to complete the final process of turning CIGS cells into modules.

“We are very excited to be partnering with AQT on CIGS technology to broaden the range of low cost offerings to the market,” said Leo Young, CEO of Solar Enertech. “It is in line with our value added strategy to the non-silicon segment and leverages our creative technology team.”

HelioPower, a leading solar power design and installation firm, has engineered solar power solutions for residential, commercial, community and utility-scale partners since 2001. HelioPower has designed and installed over 1,000 solar power systems and serves clients worldwide. AQT and HelioPower will jointly address AQT’s initial customer installations and provide a smooth market entry for AQT’s products.

“Reliability, flexibility and economic viability are the cornerstones of our business model,” said Ty Jagerson, executive vice president, Commercial Sales, HelioPower. “We see AQT’s products as a natural addition to our solar portfolio.”

In addition, AQT announced last month a partnership with Intevac, a leader in high-productivity manufacturing equipment, in which Intevac will provide AQT with its production-proven manufacturing equipment for its current and future production needs.

“AQT’s CIGS 2.0 business model relies as much on world class partners like Solar Enertech and HelioPower as it does on our breakthrough solar cells, and we will leverage the existing PV ecosystem to rapidly deliver solar solutions to market,” said Michael Bartholomeusz, CEO, AQT. “Leverage is perhaps the most effective force multiplier in this space and will go a long way towards helping us to collectively attain grid parity.”

Monday, May 24, 2010

Applied Materials' new turnkey MES solution intros advanced automation for solar, LED and chip packaging factories

SANTA CLARA, USA: Applied Materials Inc. has launched its Applied SmartFactory MES software – an affordable, out-of-the-box, factory automation solution to track and streamline the flow of materials throughout a manufacturing facility.

Designed to help accelerate the production ramp of emerging technologies in the solar, LED and chip packaging industries, SmartFactory can be deployed in less than 60 days to improve product quality, boost productivity and cut operational costs. SmartFactory is also the first MES available with integrated advanced process control (APC) capability, enabling customers to achieve higher and more consistent factory output.

“With the SmartFactory system, customers can realize the benefits of Applied’s proven manufacturing automation technology with a ready-to-use solution that can be expanded as their businesses and industries grow without disrupting ongoing production.”

“The SmartFactory system is designed to help factory operations in rapidly-growing industries achieve the high yields and economies of scale that can lower manufacturing cost – key to the widespread adoption of these important new technologies,” said Charlie Pappis, vice president and general manager of Applied Global Services.

“With the SmartFactory system, customers can realize the benefits of Applied’s proven manufacturing automation technology with a ready-to-use solution that can be expanded as their businesses and industries grow without disrupting ongoing production.”

Based on Applied’s leading FAB300® MES technology, the SmartFactory system features pre-built, technology-specific scenarios to monitor every machine and all work-in-progress material movements, manage production sequencing, create an audit trail, and deliver instructions to shop floor workers via a consistent, task-focused graphical user interface.

The SmartFactory system’s optional APC module uses Applied E3 technology to interface directly with production equipment, enabling real-time, run-to-run (R2R) process tuning and fault detection and classification (FDC) to increase process capability and reduce unplanned down time.

Applied’s common framework approach allows the SmartFactory system to be expanded with plug-in components from Applied’s leading portfolio of factory automation software, proven in over 500 manufacturing facilities worldwide. Statistical process control, equipment performance tracking, advanced dispatching and RFID wireless management capabilities can be rapidly added to further raise manufacturing efficiency.

AEG Power Solutions Thyrobox M sets new industry benchmark for polysilicon power supplies

UK: AEG Power Solutions has launched the Thyrobox M, its newest generation of products, at the Photon Photovoltaic Technology Show in Stuttgart, Germany in April 2010.

With advanced process monitoring capabilities, a 0.95 power factor and more than 99 percent energy efficiency, the Thyrobox M delivers unprecedented performance, reliability and stability to polysilicon manufacturers worldwide.

“Our customers have told us that they want to increase production and enhance purity while reducing their operating costs, especially for energy consumption per kilogram of polysilicon,” said Gladwyn De Vidts, AEG Power Solutions’ Vice President Power Control Solutions Division. “Our Thyrobox M solution improves process stability, reduces down time and provides exceptional energy efficiency. It responds to customer needs and reinforces AEG Power Solutions’ position as the technology leader in
polysilicon power.”

AEG Power Solutions commissioned the first Thyrobox, the power supply family specially developed for the polycrystalline silicon deposition process, over 25 years ago.

Engineered with a modular design, the Thyrobox M is the world’s most compact polysilicon power supply. Depending on the type of reactor, its footprint is about 25 percent smaller than older Thyrobox solutions and up to 70 percent smaller than competing products. The compact design reduces installation, commissioning and maintenance costs for the entire energy supply as well as building costs.

Additional Thyrobox M features include, warning system and troubleshooting minimize the risk of process interruptions in case of silicon rod cracks or melts, integrated medium-voltage ignition enhances process stability, ongoing data collection and analysis through monitoring of energy consumption and silicon rods weight increase energy efficiency.

Dublin, Georgia, to be new home to German-rooted Mage Solar

RAVENSBURG, GERMANY: MAGE SOLAR GMBH, part of the globally operating MAGE GROUP, and the Governor of Georgia, Sonny Perdue, recently announced the setup of the solar company’s North American headquarters and production facility for photovoltaic modules in the state of Georgia. In the city of Dublin in Laurens County MAGE SOLAR will invest $30 million to create 350 jobs within the next five years.

The new North American corporate campus of MAGE SOLAR will be home to the company’s headquarters, a large manufacturing facility as well as a solar academy. All administrative and operational processes necessary to serve the growing US solar market will be managed by the new headquarters. The manufacturing facility for MAGE SOLAR’s crystalline photovoltaic modules will satisfy the market demand respectively.

In the first phase, the production capacity will be 40MW with a total capacity of 800MW after the last stage of expansion. Due to the great potential of the American continent and the steadily increasing demand, the production of MAGE POWERTEC PLUS modules is scheduled to begin around the end of this year. MAGE SOLAR also plans to build an academy for solar education to promote solid solar knowledge and training in the industry.

“We are certain that we have found the perfect home for our company based on the excellent infrastructure, impressive workforce known for its productivity, integrity and skill, as well as a keenly business oriented leadership, who during the whole process also never lost focus of what is best for the future of Georgia, Laurens County and the City of Dublin,” said Norbert Philipp, CEO of MAGE SOLAR GMBH.

Dublin’s strategic location, about half ways between one of the most well-connected airports in the world and the ever expanding Port of Savannah provides the solar company a logistic advantage. The primary focus of the North American subsidiary will be on the domestic market, long term however, MAGE SOLAR is also considering serving the international market outside the US.

“We are pleased to welcome MAGE SOLAR to Georgia as we celebrate another headquarters coming to our state. MAGE gives us the opportunity to expand our leadership position and industry competitiveness in the renewable energy sector,” said Governor Perdue. “The growth of renewable energy is important to our state and nation, so I believe MAGE SOLAR will be successful for years to come in Dublin.”

Its unique workforce training program Quick Start as well as its overall business-oriented climate make Georgia an attractive state for locating corporate headquarters and manufacturing facilities. In addition, Georgia is also home to the Center of Excellence for Photovoltaics Research and Education at Georgia Tech in Atlanta. Known for its groundbreaking research in clean, renewable energy sources, it is only one out of two centers of its kind nationwide.

Chairman of the Dublin/Laurens Development Authority, Guy Cochran, praised the decision of MAGE SOLAR to locate in Dublin, Georgia.

He said: “We are confident that MAGE SOLAR will be extremely pleased with their decision to locate in our wonderful community. Our excellent workforce and community leadership eagerly anticipate the opportunity to assist MAGE SOLAR in achieving all their corporate goals. We are committed to the immediate success of MAGE SOLAR and pledge any and all support necessary to expedite that success.”

The expansion of MAGE SOLAR’s manufacturing capacities into the North American market is a crucial step to further strengthen the company’s international position in the industry. The new North American corporate campus is designed to swiftly become a highly innovative enter for photovoltaics that will exert its influence worldwide.

SkyPower and Conergy form international JV

TORONTO, CANADA: SkyPower Ltd (Toronto) and Conergy Inc. (Canada) have formed a landmark international joint venture, which brings forth a powerful portfolio of global expertise to the Canadian marketplace to deploy solar energy solutions on commercial rooftops in Canada.

The two companies plan to lease space from or partner with real estate companies, big box retailers, property owners and Governments to design, finance, build, own and operate rooftop solar systems

"The intention of this partnership is to bring the best technical solutions possible to building owners so they can enjoy the benefits of clean, renewable energy with confidence," said Conergy Canada's Managing Director Jared Donald. "We are bringing a track record of experience and quality engineering to Canada's burgeoning marketplace to optimize Ontario's investment in this important energy realm -- and to help the government meet its target of 100,000 solar rooftops across the province," said Donald.

The joint venture also aims to save building owners time, effort and money by procuring solar (PV) panels compliant with the new domestic content requirements set out by Ontario's Feed-in Tariff (FIT). The Conergy-SkyPower team is currently in active negotiations with many of the world's leading manufacturers of solar panels to make this happen.

Conergy and SkyPower combine successful industry track records, innovative talents, deep and broad industry experience with entrepreneurial strengths to assure building owners that you can have a solar installation while respecting the integrity of rooftop properties while optimizing the investment opportunities of leased rooftop space.

SkyPower brings expertise in project development, planning, contracting, procurement, finance and strong relationships with federal and provincial governments, municipalities, universities and commercial rooftop owners and property management companies.

Conergy's global manufacturing, engineering and project execution experience ensures that the partnership provides a technical solution perfectly tailored to the Ontario markets the joint venture will serve. Conergy's extensive dealer network allows the partnership to install projects in all areas of Ontario using only experienced, qualified businesses.

"It is reassuring to see companies such as SkyPower and Conergy working with the Green Energy Act and the FIT program to continue developing renewable energy projects across the province," said Dave Levac, Parliamentary Assistant to the Minister of Energy. "Working together, we will achieve our objectives to build a cleaner and brighter future for Ontario."

"Since first hearing Premier McGuinty's vision for 100,000 solar rooftops installed on Ontario structures, we have spent a tremendous amount of time studying the market, looking at how to effectively meet requirements and optimize lease revenue for property owners," said Kerry Adler, President and CEO of SkyPower.

"Our new partnership is the most formidable solar joint venture in Canada in that it has the best business formula to help commercial real estate owners, big box retailers and the Ontario Government realize this exciting vision. We look forward to the opportunity to provide clean, renewable commercial rooftop energy projects and to solarizing Ontario Rooftops while becoming a significant participant in the marketplace."

SkyPower has a successful track record in joint venture projects in Canada such as First Light, Canada's first-ever and award winning solar energy park, located in Stone Mills, Ontario. First Light has deployed 126,000 solar panels spread across 90 acres of land to produce clean, renewable energy for local distribution to meet Canadian interests.

SkyPower recently announced the start of construction for two more utility-scale solar projects. The two projects currently under construction when complete in Fall 2010, will produce enough electricity to power 33,000 homes in Norfolk County, Ontario.

Construction is scheduled to begin on SkyPower's fourth third utility-scale project in Chatham-Kent, Ontario in early June 2010 and once complete will cut over 250 thousand metric tons of CO2 emissions from the environment. Combined, by end of 2010 SkyPower anticipates it will have over 50MW of installed solar projects in the Province of Ontario.

Conergy works closely with reputable distributors like RESCo Energy to produce efficient, leading edge projects like LoyaltyOne's 163 kW rooftop solution in Mississauga, Ontario. Featuring 796 solar modules producing clean, renewable energy for its owners, it's the largest utility-connected rooftop solar installation in Canada.

Conergy brings the expertise associated with 1.25 Gigawatts of successful renewable energy projects worldwide to assist the Canadian marketplace in optimizing the return on its solar energy investments.

Spire produces world’s most efficient large area concentrator solar cell

BEDFORD, USA: Spire Corp. announced its wholly owned subsidiary, Spire Semiconductor, LLC, has matched the current efficiency record for a concentrator solar cell. The record efficiency is available on a production ready cell with a photo area of 1.0 cm2.

The US Department of Energy’s National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) measured the efficiency of 41 percent at 500x suns concentrated sunlight. Spire Semiconductor began working with NREL under an 18-month, $3.7 million cost share subcontract in early-2009. The goal is to develop a triple junction, gallium arsenide (GaAs), 42.5 percent conversion efficient “Triathlon” concentrator cell for concentrator photovoltaic systems.

“This is truly an achievement,” said Roger G. Little, chairman and CEO of Spire. “We have experienced continuous improvement in our proprietary cell processing design technology throughout the NREL contract. We are excited to have matched the current world record efficiency, and we have nearly four months remaining under the subcontract to surpass this level and achieve the target 42.5 percent efficiency. A more efficient concentrator solar cell will provide a lower cost and more reliable source of solar generated electricity.”

Concern about China’s sunlight plan, focus on Shenzhen solar PV exhibition

SHENZHEN, CHINA: The 6th China International Solar Photovoltaic Exhibition, which is the largest scale and the most specialized solar photovoltaic exhibition in Southern China (i.e. Sino-EU International Solar Photovoltaic Development Forum) will be held in Shenzhen convention & exhibition center on the 25-27 September, 2010.

This exhibition is an unprecedentedly grand occasion, and the exhibition area covers 30,000sqm, gathering more than 360 domestic and overseas solar PV enterprises, who come from USA, Germany, Japan, South Korea, HK, Macao and Taiwan, such as Suntech, Yingli Solar, CEEG, Best Solar, Solarfun, Canadian solar, TÜV Rheinland Group, kingyoup Enterprises Co., Ltd, Power solar, CSUN, Kyocera, JinkoSolar.

The Chinese government has already drawn a draft of 10-year planning for clean energy. By 2020, clean energy will weigh 15 percent among the total structure of energy consumption. Zhang Guobao, the head of the China National Energy Bureau, said that Chinese government will invest billions of RMB Yuan to research and develop the solar and renewable energy technology.

The state council of the P.R. China has already established China National Energy Committee in January 2010. Premier Wen Jiabao is appointed as the Minister of China National energy Committee. To achieve the target that Premier Wen Jiabao had made in the Copenhagen Conference, there will be a great upsurge in constructing Solar Photovoltaic in the coming five years.

Basically, we can achieve the target within five years although it is a 10-year project. Otherwise, these facilities will be unable to be used before 2020. The highest legislature in China has already approved a revision of renewable energy law, requiring China Power Grid to purchase all the power produced by renewable energy power station. This reflects the important strategic position for renewable energy industry. China’s policy will provide global cooperators with more opportunities in the renewable energy industry.

Saturday, May 22, 2010

German PV installations soar by 71 percent in 2010

EL SEGUNDO, USA: Attractive investment conditions in the first half of 2010 indicate that Germany likely will enjoy a banner year for solar PV installations, according to iSuppli Corp.

iSuppli forecasts that Germany will install 6.6 Gigawatts (GW) worth of PV systems in 2010, up 71 percent from 3.9GW in 2009. Germany will see an even better year in 2011 as installations reach 9.5GW.

“An FIT reduction that will become effective in July will drive a huge surge of installations in the second quarter as consumers strive to capitalize on government benefits before the rebates and incentives decrease,” said Dr. Henning Wicht, director and principal analyst for photovoltaics at iSuppli Corp. “However, iSuppli still forecasts strong demand for rooftop installations of solar systems in the second half of 2010 even after the FIT cut, although sales still won’t match the second-quarter total.”

The figure presents iSuppli’s forecast for German PV installations by type for the period of 2009 through 2011.Source: iSuppli, USA.

“While the second quarter of 2010 will be a banner period, the third quarter is projected to be relatively quiet, Wicht added. “A surge then will happen once again in the fourth quarter as consumers race to take advantage of prime rebates and incentives, before Germany conducts another adjustment of the FIT at the beginning of 2011.”

Installations will surge by another 43.9 percent in 2011 due to continued attractive investment conditions assuming a moderate system price decrease.

Germany to continue leading solar charge
Germany will continue to play a key role in the PV market in Europe as well as the entire world. Not only will the country be the largest market for PV installations, its politics and FIT regulations will serve as an example to other countries on how to promote solar energy.

PV installations in Europe will account for about 80 percent of the worldwide market, mostly coming from Germany, France, Italy and the Czech Republic. Italy and France, in particular, quickly are becoming solar regions, with 1.0GW of solar installations in Italy and 500MW in France expected in 2010. However, with both countries facing uncertainties about FIT cuts in 2011, these bloated numbers may be spurred by a consumer race seeking to take advantage of government programs.

Other European countries such as Greece, Bulgaria, Spain and the United Kingdom appear to be prime investment opportunities, but administrative hurdles or installation limits are slowing the growth of PV in these areas.

For the foreseeable future, Germany will continue to lead Europe and many other parts of the world despite the FIT cuts that reduce the level of incentives to purchase solar systems.

Source: iSuppli, USA.

Friday, May 21, 2010

Concern about China’s Sunlight Plan focus on Shenzhen solar PV exhibition

SHENZHEN, CHINA: The 6th China International Solar Photovoltaic Exhibition, which is the largest scale and the most specialized solar photovoltaic exhibition in Southern China (i.e. Sino-EU International Solar Photovoltaic Development Forum) will be solemnly held in Shenzhen convention & exhibition center on the 25th – 27th September 2010.

This exhibition is an unprecedentedly grand occasion, and the exhibition area covers 30,000 square meters, gathering more than 360 domestic and overseas solar photovoltaic enterprises, who come from U.S.A., Germany, Japan, South Korea, HK, Macao and Taiwan, such as Suntech, Yingli Solar, CEEG, Best Solar, Solarfun, Canadian solar, TÜV Rheinland Group, kingyoup Enterprises Co., Ltd, Power solar, CSUN, Kyocera, JinkoSolar.

The Chinese government has already drawn a draft of 10-year planning for clean energy. By 2020, clean energy will weigh 15% among the total structure of energy consumption. Zhang Guobao, the head of the China National Energy Bureau, said that Chinese government will invest billions of RMB Yuan to research and develop the Solar and renewable energy technology.

The state council of the P.R. China has already established China National Energy Committee in January 2010. Premier Wen Jiabao is appointed as the Minister of China National energy Committee. To achieve the target that Premier Wen Jiabao had made in the Copenhagen Conference, there will be a great upsurge in constructing Solar Photovoltaic in the coming years years. Basically we can achieve the target within five years although it is a 10-year project. Otherwise, these facilities will be unable to be used before 2020.

The highest legislature in China has already approved a revision of renewable energy law, requiring China Power Grid to purchase all the power produced by renewable energy power station. This reflects the important strategic position for renewable energy industry. China’s policy will provide global cooperators with more opportunities in the renewable energy industry.

Microsemi announces breakthrough solar bypass solution

IRVINE, USA: Microsemi Corp., a leading manufacturer of high performance analog/mixed signal integrated circuits and high reliability semiconductors, has introduced the world's first solar bypass solution capable of increasing power generation efficiency in photovoltaic (PV) solar module applications.

The breakthrough solution will be demonstrated at the American Solar Energy Society's National Solar Conference, May 20 through May 22, 2010, in Phoenix, Arizona.

A leader in PV solar solutions with its discrete and power modules for solar inverter offerings, Microsemi has expanded its solar portfolio to include the LX2400 IDEALSolar(TM) bypass solution.

The LX2400 is an integrated circuit solution based on technology developed by Microsemi in conjunction with Spelsberg ELS, an expert in connection systems for photovoltaic modules, and Fraunhofer Institute for Solar Energy (ISE), the largest solar energy research institute in Europe.

Microsemi's LX2400 implements the company's patented CoolRUN technology, which increases power-generation efficiency and significantly reduces operating temperatures while slashing the operational expense, reliability problems and associated warranty costs of traditional Schottky diodes.

"Microsemi is excited to bring this new, ground-breaking technology to the solar PV industry," said Tom Kapucija, director of marketing with Microsemi's Analog Mixed Signal Group.

"With the lowest forward voltage drop in a bypass solution, the LX2400 will be the first of its kind to address thermal reliability, operational cost, and power-generation efficiency challenges that are common in solar installations. By adapting and refining our expertise in satellite PV module applications, where high reliability is a must, we have developed a solution that can provide system operators with improved profitability, a faster break-even time, and improved energy efficiency."

According to market research firm Gartner in a December 2009 press release, "the US solar power purchase agreement (PPA) market will grow to reach an estimated $8 billion in new photovoltaic (PV) solar power generation installations by 2013, up from an estimated $700 million in 2009."

"Solar PPAs are expected to reach 3 Gigawatts of installed systems in 2013 in the US alone, representing $8 billion," said Al Velosa, a research director at Gartner. "Semiconductor technologies can help cut operational expenses for these PPAs, particularly for insurance, warranty and in-field recall and replacement costs. This will have a clear impact on PPA profitability, and the potential to significantly accelerate market development."

Microsemi's LX2400 device will be used in junction boxes supporting both existing and next-generation high-power solar modules serving industrial, commercial, and solar PPA applications. With its extremely low typical forward voltage drop of 50mV under 10A load currents, the LX2400 operates with negligible heat generation, resulting in a temperature rise of only 10 degrees C (typical).

It is designed with Microsemi's high-reliability, 40-year design rule methodology to enable support for industry warranty requirements and extreme environment survivability. The LX2400 is fully functional from -65 degrees C to +165 degrees C, passes 1.4Joule lightning tests and is compliant with IEC61215, Section 10.18.

The LX2400 is sampling to Microsemi's lead customer and general samples will be available starting in July 2010 with production volumes available later in third quarter of 2010.

NREL study shows power grid can accommodate large increase in wind and solar generation

PHOENIX, USA: The National Renewable Energy Laboratory today released an initial study assessing the operational impacts and economics of increased contributions from wind and solar energy producers on the power grid.

The Western Wind and Solar Integration Study examines the benefits and challenges of integrating enough wind and solar energy capacity into the grid to produce 35 percent of its electricity by 2017.

The study finds that this target is technically feasible and does not necessitate extensive additional infrastructure, but does require key changes to current operational practice.

The results offer a first look at the issue of adding significant amount of variable renewable energy in the West and will help utilities across the region plan how to ramp up their production of renewable energy as they incorporate more wind and solar energy plants into the power grid.

“If key changes can be made to standard operating procedures, our research shows that large amounts of wind and solar can be incorporated onto the grid without a lot of backup generation,” said Dr. Debra Lew, NREL project manager for the study. “When you coordinate the operations between utilities across a large geographic area, you decrease the effect of the variability of wind and solar energy sources, mitigating the unpredictability of Mother Nature.”

The study focuses on the operational impacts of wind, photovoltaics, and concentrating solar power on the power system operated by the WestConnect group of utilities in the mountain and southwest states. WestConnect is a group of transmission providers, which includes Arizona Public Service, El Paso Electric Co., NV Energy, Public Service of New Mexico, Salt River Project, Tri-State Generation and Transmission Cooperative, Tucson Electric Power, Western Area Power Administration, and Xcel Energy.

Though wind and solar output vary over time, the technical analysis performed in this study shows that it is operationally possible to accommodate 30 percent wind and 5 percent solar energy penetration. To accomplish such an increase, utilities will have to substantially increase their coordination of operations over wider geographic areas and schedule their generation deliveries, or sales, on a more frequent basis.

Currently, generators provide a schedule for a specific amount of power they will provide in the next hour. More frequent scheduling would allow generators to adjust that amount of power based on changes in system conditions such as increases or decreases in wind or solar generation.

The study also finds that if utilities generate 27 percent of their electricity from wind and solar energy across the Western Interconnection grid, it would lower carbon emissions by 25 to 45 percent. It would also decrease fuel and emissions costs by 40 percent, depending on the future price of natural gas.

Other key findings from the study include:
* Existing transmission capacity can be more fully utilized to reduce the amount of new transmission that needs to be built.
* To facilitate the integration of wind and solar energy, coordinating the operations of utilities can provide substantial savings by reducing the need for additional back-up generation, such as natural gas-burning plants.
* Use of wind and solar forecasts in utility operations to predict when and where it will be windy and sunny is essential for cost-effectively integrating these renewable energy sources.

The study was undertaken by a team of wind, solar and power systems experts across both the private and public sectors. The study complements the recently released Eastern Wind Integration and Transmission Study, which examines the feasibility of integrating up to 30 percent wind in the eastern states.

SolarEdge intros latest generation of PV module embedded power optimizers

Intersolar Europe, HOD HASHARON, ISRAEL: SolarEdge Technologies introduces its latest generation of innovative solutions for Distributed Solar Power Harvesting at Intersolar Europe, the world’s largest exhibition for the solar industry.

SolarEdge will present the first commercially available modules with embedded power optimization, add-on Power Optimizers for 350W modules and highly efficient 8kW, 12kW and 15kW three-phase-inverters, that expand the current range of PowerBoxes and inverters.

Additionally, an automatic solution for electrocution prevention and fire safety, as well as a full package of monitoring & design software tools will be introduced at Intersolar Europe. To see all innovations visit our booth #322 in hall B4.

PowerBox power optimizers for a wider range of applications
SolarEdge PowerBoxes are power optimizers performing Maximum Power Point Tracking (MPPT) and monitoring on a module-level to enable constraint-free design, improved maintenance and safety, and up to 25 percent more energy from residential and commercial PV systems.

SolarEdge PowerBoxes are now embedded directly into solar modules, manufactured by SolarEdge partners. Module-embedded PowerBoxes further simplify the installation process of the SolarEdge system: these modules are installed just like standard ones, but include all the SolarEdge benefits.

In addition, SolarEdge expanded the range of its Add-on PowerBoxes to support modules of up to 350Wp. AOB350 PowerBoxes are available from leading distributors worldwide, to be connected by installers and integrators to almost any c-Si module up to 350W.

A new L-shaped mounting bracket is now available to support PowerBox mounting that is co-planar with the roof, in sloped roofs and BIPV façade applications.

New inverters for small- and large-scale installations
SolarEdge multi-string PV inverters are responsible for DC/AC conversion, while the PowerBoxes perform the MPPT. The inverter, specifically designed to work with power optimizers, is highly reliable and efficient, with European and CEC weighted efficiencies of over 97 percent.

The range of inverters so far included 3.3-6kW single-phase inverters and a 10kW three-phase inverter. SolarEdge now announces its new three-phase solar inverters, including 8kW, 12kW and in the US also 15kW inverters. This wide range of inverters ensures that residential, medium-scale and commercial installations can all benefit from SolarEdge advantages.

Complete PV safety solution to prevent fire and electrocution hazards
Traditional PV systems pose a risk of electrocution to installers and firefighters, mainly because string DC voltage stays hazardous as long as the panels are exposed to sunlight. The SolarEdge innovative system provides the industry’s first fully automated solution for electrocution prevention and fire safety.

This exceptional PV safety solution is built-in to the PowerBoxes and requires no added hardware, cost, or manual operation. To eliminate risk of electrocution at times of installation, maintenance and firefighting, PowerBoxes shut down each PV module’s DC voltage as long as the inverter is deactivated or AC power is disconnected. The PowerBoxes will also shut down the modules immediately when electric arcs or high temperatures are detected to prevent fire.

Extended module-Level monitoring capabilities
The SolarEdge solution includes module-level PV monitoring. Performance of individual modules is continuously measured by their respective PowerBox and transmitted over existing power lines, so no added wiring is required.

The web-based solar monitoring software automatically analyzes and alerts on underperforming modules, underperforming strings, faults and safety events, and visually pinpoints affected modules on a site layout map.

SolarEdge introduces a new iPhone monitoring application for monitoring the PV system on the go. Installers and maintenance personnel can easily view site status and module-performance in the field, and quickly locate faulty modules on-site, even in large PV arrays.

A wide range of communication accessories is also introduced to make the SolarEdge monitoring solution available for all customers. These accessories include a communication interface for non-SolarEdge inverters, allowing installation of the SolarEdge PowerBoxes and monitoring solution with many commercially available inverters.

GSM modems are also offered, to enable monitoring installations where Ethernet cable connection to the inverter is unavailable. An internal wireless ZigBee transceiver can be added to the inverter, allowing wireless communication between multiple inverters on the site.

Installer tools for even simpler design and installation
To complement the end-to-end solar power harvesting solution, SolarEdge is now offering a set of software tools for installers and end customers. The tools include a Site Design Tool which enables quick and easy string sizing and layout designing, taking into consideration module type, peak power, geographic location, etc.

The SolarEdge Configuration Tool assists installers in customization of the SolarEdge PV inverter and provides complete installation verification feedback on-site, at the module-level. The Site Commissioning Tool is a barcode scanner application that makes the creating of automatic site layout maps for the monitoring portal easier than ever.