Thursday, September 30, 2010

SOLON to develop and build breakthrough 18MW solar power plant for Arizona Public Service

TUCSON, USA: Tucson-based SOLON Corp., one of the largest crystalline silicon solar module manufacturers and provider of turnkey solar power plants in the US, announced a contract with Arizona Public Service (APS) to develop, design and construct an 18-megawatt (MW) solar power plant featuring SOLON’s turnkey system design, high-efficiency modules and single-axis trackers. APS, Arizona's largest and longest-serving electric utility, serves more than 1.1 million customers in the state.

Once installed this system will be one of the largest photovoltaic (PV) systems in the country, creating more than 550 local jobs during construction, and ultimately capable of generating enough solar energy to power more than 4,500 homes. Located on 145 acres of land, the system is scheduled to start construction in the first quarter of 2011 and be completed in 2011. APS will own and operate the solar production facility.

As a complete PV system provider, SOLON is handling the Gila Bend, Ariz.-based project for APS every step of the way—from site development and system design, to engineering, procurement and construction.

The project features SOLON’s Velocity MW Solar System, which will provide 18 preconfigured, one-megawatt modular solar fields specifically designed to help utilities quickly scale to capacity. In total, SOLON will provide the APS system with 108 robust SOLON-engineered single axis trackers, utilizing over 75,000 high-efficiency, industrial solar modules.

“We are pleased to be teaming with SOLON to bring our customers more solar power. This new solar plant is part of APS’ company-wide mission of creating a sustainable energy future for Arizona,” said Brad Albert, General Manager Resources Acquisition and Renewable Energy for APS.

The SOLON Velocity MW Solar System consists of standardized clusters, which reduce the number of components with a proportional reduction in field installation labor. The preconfigured design also accelerates plant permitting and site development.

When operated in conjunction with SOLON SCADA, a web-based system for remotely monitoring, controlling and reporting on a plant’s performance, Velocity MW offers the most comprehensive solution for achieving efficient solar plant development and ongoing management.

“Through our Velocity MW system, SOLON is delivering a breakthrough design for fast, reliable solar energy that will allow us to quickly scale the APS project to capacity,” said Dan Alcombright, Regional Vice President and General Manager of North America for SOLON.

“We are proud to collaborate with APS on this milestone project - an effort that is reflective of SOLON’s dedication to producing the technology, superior solar solutions and jobs that advance the local Ariz. economy and the US utility-scale solar energy market.”

First North American demo of ground-breaking solar PV micro-inverters from Enecsys

CAMBRIDGE, UK: Enecsys Ltd will showcase its high reliability solar PV micro-inverter and monitoring system on Booth 1043 at Solar Power International 2010, October 12-14, held at the Los Angeles Convention Center.

The SMI series 200/240/280 Watt micro-inverters, first announced in May 2010, use patented technology developed at Cambridge University, UK, that is based on a rugged topology which eliminates the most unreliable and life-limited components found in other micro-inverters, such as aluminum electrolytic capacitors and opto-isolators.

By replacing the electrolytic capacitors with long-life film capacitors, and removing
opto-isolators, Enecsys micro-inverters are the first commercially available inverters of this type with greater than 25 years' life expectancy. Their reliability has been verified in accelerated life tests to IEC61215, the same methodology used to test solar modules (panels).

Furthermore, Enecsys micro-inverters maintain full performance from -40 degrees C to +85 degrees C. This is an important consideration in real-world operating conditions on commercial and residential rooftops.

The Solar Power International show also sees the announcement of a new product line from Enecsys with the world's highest power density for a single micro-inverter. The first product in this family, the SMI-360Watt-D ('DUO'), will be available for sale in the first quarter of 2011.

The DUO products control power from two solar modules, by using Enecsys' patented topology enabling full MPPT from both solar panels maximizing energy harvest. The new products deliver an improved efficiency of greater than 95 percent CEC with the same high reliability and lifetime, compact footprint and ease of installation as the existing products. Further, the Duo will deliver system price/performance comparable with string inverters.

Enecsys is working towards the industry's first open interface standard between solar PV panels and its micro-inverter enabling integration onto solar panels from multiple manufacturers. This product is scheduled to be available the second half of 2011.

The Enecsys micro-inverter is designed to operate in both North American (60Hz) and European (50Hz) electricity grid systems. The micro-inverters are safety and EMC evaluated to EN 62109, UL1741, TUV and CE. Country-specific requirements, including VDE V 0126-1: 2006 compliance, are achieved through the use of specific Enecsys installation products. Enecsys micro-inverters come with a 20-year warranty.

The Enecsys monitoring system consists of a proven and robust ZigBee wireless system integrated into the micro-inverters which connects to the Internet via the Enecsys Gateway in order to provide detailed performance information of each solar module from anywhere.

Such comprehensive monitoring, which is not available with conventional inverter systems, gives users and installers detailed, real-time information to ensure that the solar system is operating with optimized performance over the life of the installation.

The advantages of micro-inverters over string inverters are now widely acknowledged. These include 10 to 20% greater energy harvest through the use of an electronic technique known as Maximum Power Point Tracking (MPPT) from each solar module, simplified solar system design and installation, enhanced performance monitoring, and improved safety. A further advantage of the Enecsys micro-inverter - due to its unique and patented technology - is its significant increase in lifetime and reliability.

Aries Waaree Solar bags 40MW power plant order From Adani Group in Gujarat

MUMBAI, INDIA: Aries Waaree Solar Pvt Ltd (AWSPL), operating in the field of engineering, construction and supervision of Renewable Energy Power Plants in India has bagged order for engineering services to set up 40 MW Solar PV Power Plant for Adani Group Gujarat India

V.K. Jain, joint president & head of Renewable Power, Adani Group, said: "We are very happy to award this order to AWSPL. Its good to see that people are now moving towards Solar Power generation and this Industry is picking up in India and I am sure that India will be a noted player in the future at global level."

This is the first step of Adani Group toward solar power generation.

"We are delighted to develop this important project for Adani Group. It is the first large scale solar MW project to be built not only in India but in Asia and it represents an important milestone in the development of solar energy in India," said Alberto Sanchez, Business Development Manager for Asia, Aries Ingenieria y Sistemas.

"It's a proud moment for the Aries Waaree Solar Private Limited to get order from Adani Group, making us the major player in Solar Power engineering company in India. Apart from engineering services we assure our customers of very high quality PV modules and other products for Solar PV power plants," said Hitesh Doshi, chairman of Waaree Group.

AWSPL a joint venture company between, Mumbai based Waaree Group and Aries Ingeneria Sistemas S.A, Spain, provides engineering services including feasibility studies, basic and details engineering, construction, commissioning and operation of projects in the automotive, industrial, defense and security, and energy industries.

In the energy sector, ARIES promotes clean energy resources through the design, build and operation of CSP, PV and Wind farm setups. With presence over 20 countries and offices located in Madrid, San Francisco, and Shanghai.

Waaree Group, India has business interest in solar energy (produces solar modules) automation and process control instrumentation (India's largest producers for gauges) petrol station equipment, valves and lubricants. With an all India presence Waaree products are exported to more than 65 countries.

NRL's wide-field imager selected for Solar Probe Plus mission

WASHINGTON, USA: NASA has chosen the Naval Research Laboratory’s (NRL’s) Wide-field Imager to be part of the Solar Probe Plus mission slated for launch no later than 2018.

The Solar Probe Plus, a small car-sized spacecraft will plunge directly into the sun's atmosphere approximately four million miles from our star's surface. It will explore a region no other spacecraft ever has encountered in an effort to unlock the sun's biggest mysteries.

For decades, scientists have known that the corona, or the outer atmosphere, is several hundreds of times hotter than the visible solar surface and that the solar wind accelerates up to supersonic speeds as it travels through the corona.

In the Solar Probe Plus mission, scientists hope to find answers to the questions: why is the solar corona so much hotter than the photosphere? And how is the solar wind accelerated? The answers to these questions can be obtained only through in-situ measurements of the solar wind down in the corona.

NRL’s Wide-field Imager for Solar Probe (WISPR) is one of five science investigations selected by NASA for this mission. It is the only optical investigation because the solar environment is so hot the instruments need to be tucked behind a heat shield.

NRL’s Dr. Russell Howard, the principal investigator, says, “This is an extremely exciting mission - no other spacecraft has ever gone this close - it is like the early voyagers of the earth, we don't really know what to expect, but we know, whatever it is, it is going to be spectacular.”

The imager is a telescope, which looks off to the side of the heat shield, and will make 2-D images of the sun's corona as the spacecraft flies through. But like a medical CAT scan, the orbit of the spacecraft through the corona will enable 3-D images and a determination of the 3-D structure of the corona.

The experiment actually will see the solar wind and provide 3-D images of clouds and shocks as they approach and pass the spacecraft. “We'll be flying through the structures that we've only seen from 100 million miles away. We'll be able to see all the phenomena (mass ejections, streamers, shocks, comets, and dust) up close. Other instruments will be able to measure the magnetic and electric fields and the plasma itself,” explains Howard.

This investigation complements instruments on the spacecraft by providing direct measurements of the plasma far away as well as near the spacecraft – the same plasma the other instruments sample.

Satcon expands partnership with GCL Solar to include strategic manufacturing agreement

BOSTON, USA: Satcon Technology Corp., a leading provider of utility scale power solutions for the renewable energy market, has announced a strategic manufacturing agreement with GCL Solar Systems Limited, one of China’s largest utility solar power plant developers, to enhance production of their industry leading 500 kilowatt (kW) PowerGate Plus line of solar PV inverters for the Asia Pacific market.

Under the terms of the agreement, GCL Solar is commissioning a manufacturing facility in Nanjing, China, which is expected to be capable of producing over 500 megawatts (MW) of production of the 500kW PowerGate Plus inverters in 2011.

Satcon is expected to provide GCL Solar with the core manufacturing processes and technologies for the PowerGate Plus solutions for final assembly at the GCL Solar plant. GCL Solar has agreed to purchase from Satcon the capacity to produce a minimum of 300MW per year out of the GCL Nanjing operation.

The PowerGate Plus 500kW inverters manufactured at the Nanjing facility under this Agreement are expected to be sold by GCL Solar into the Chinese solar PV market, and used on GCL Solar funded utility solar developments around the world.

“Over the past two years, the Chinese government has made significant strides in the development and support of large scale renewable energy resources. In that time period, GCL Solar has become the leading developer of utility scale solar PV plants in all of Asia,” said Dr. Gu, CEO of GCL Solar.

“Our partnership with Satcon has helped our dominant position in this market, and today we announce an even closer agreement with the world’s leading provider of utility scale solar power conversion technologies. This enhanced level of cooperation will help enable us to develop and deliver the world’s most advanced and successful large scale solar plants in both China as well as with our other projects worldwide with the highest levels of reliability and total system quality.”

Production out of the Nanjing manufacturing facility is expected to begin in March of 2011, and when combined with the expanded Burlington, Ontario operations is expected to increase worldwide manufacturing capacity to over 2 annual gigawatts.

“Satcon and GCL have partnered to deliver many of China’s largest and most advanced solar installations to date, with each showcasing the total system value that our partnership brings to the utility scale solar market,” said Steve Rhoades, CEO of Satcon Technology.

“The combination of GCL’s system design and construction expertise and our leading technologies allow us to deliver the next generation of total system value to our customers. As we continue to build upon the strong foundation we have developed in China over the past year with GCL, the expanded partnership will enable us to more effectively address the increasing demand for our large scale solutions together.”

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

SolFocus CPV solar systems help build clean energy future for the US-Mexico border region

MOUNTAIN VIEW, USA: The Border Environment Cooperation Commission (BECC) and SolFocus announced the 16.8 kilowatt (Kw) installation of high-concentrator photovoltaic (CPV) systems at the BECC offices in the United States-Mexico border city of Juarez, Mexico.

The SolFocus installation that includes two solar arrays will produce 43.13 megawatt hours (MWh) per year, and is powering roughly one-third of the office building’s needs. This is the first CPV installation in the Northern Mexico border region. Private sector partners SolFocus and Sonnergía worked with public sector partner BECC to bring this project to fruition.

“At BECC, we focus on the technical, environmental and social aspects of project development, and work with communities and project sponsors in the US-Mexico border region to develop, finance and build affordable and self-sustaining projects that address a human health or environmental need,” said Daniel Chacón, general manager, BECC.

“Bringing together SolFocus and local developer Sonnergía demonstrates the importance of bilateral cooperation between the United States and Mexico on environmental and economic policies and potential business developments in clean energy technologies for this region’s sustainable economic growth.”

“As a local developer, we knew that SolFocus CPV technology, with its high energy yield, was the best-suited technology for the border region,” said Jose Medina, president of Sonnergía. “Sonnergía’s work with BECC and SolFocus demonstrates that a stable energy infrastructure is important to U.S.-Mexico relations, border security and the regional economy of both the United States and Mexico.”

The US-Mexico border region has significant solar resources that make it an ideal environment for CPV technology. A constant source of intense sunrays provides an annual average of seven to eight kilowatt hours per square meter daily, providing enough energy to power municipalities, airports, colleges and industrial complexes.

BECC aims to achieve a wider-spread deployment of advanced photovoltaics in the border region over time, thus improving the local environmental conditions, increasing employment opportunities and helping the country meet national policy goals for renewable energy deployment and greenhouse gas reductions.

“With renewable development, the border region could easily become a showcase for sustainable economic development and trade projects,” said Mark Crowley, president and CEO of SolFocus. “BECC is building a bright, clean and prosperous future by deploying solar technology, and in choosing the highly efficient SolFocus CPV systems, it will reap the most energy possible from the region’s immense solar resources.”

SolFocus CPV technology employs a system of patented reflective optics to concentrate sunlight 650 times onto small, highly efficient solar cells. The SolFocus SF-1100S system deployed at the BECC office uses approximately 1/1,000th of the active, expensive solar cell material compared to traditional photovoltaic panels.

In addition, the cells utilized in SolFocus CPV systems have more than twice the efficiency of traditional silicon photovoltaic cells. SolFocus also offers environmental benefits including next-to-no water usage, a small land footprint, no permanent shadowing or wildlife corridor disruption and dual use of land.

SolFocus CPV also provides the shortest energy payback and lowest greenhouse gas (GHG) intensity of any solar technology. In solar-rich regions like Northern Mexico, the SolFocus CPV technology yields significantly more energy than other technologies with an extremely light environmental footprint.

PSEG and JEA dedicate Jacksonville Solar

JACKSONVILLE, USA: Public Service Enterprise Group (PSEG) and JEA hosted business, community and government leaders at the dedication of PSEG Jacksonville Solar, northern Florida's largest solar facility.

PSEG Jacksonville Solar is a 15-megawatt facility consisting of 200,000 ground mounted solar panels situated on 100 acres in Jacksonville, Florida. On a sunny day the panels will produce enough emissions-free electricity to keep the lights on and air conditioning humming for more than 12,000 homes in Jacksonville.

PSEG Jacksonville Solar is the largest solar installation owned by PSEG Solar Source, PSEG's unregulated solar developer. The local municipal utility, JEA initiated the solar effort and has a long-term agreement with PSEG Solar Source to purchase the electricity generated by the solar panels. Florida based Miller Electric Company was the primary construction contractor. Nearly all of the construction jobs created by the project were filled by Florida residents.

"The solar market in the US is growing fast and we are growing with it. PSEG believes there are strong benefits to promoting a green economy: reductions in CO2 and other pollutants, less reliance on foreign oil (as we electrify transportation) and the creation of jobs," said Ralph Izzo, chairman, president and CEO of PSEG. "This project shows how solar can deliver clean energy to customers, jobs for the local economy and fair returns to investors."

"JEA made a commitment to pursue renewable, clean energy in 1999, at a time when going green wasn't a trend," said Jim Dickenson, JEA MD and CEO. "This partnership with PSEG allows JEA to further its commitment and to gain first-hand knowledge about solar energy from a utility-scale facility."

"PSEG Solar Source can locate solar facilities anywhere in the US but chose Jacksonville for three reasons: strong Florida sun, a partner in JEA with a vision for delivering clean energy to its customers and a political climate that is supportive of solar development," said Diana Drysdale, who heads PSEG Solar Source. "While this is our largest product to date, it is not our last. We are actively developing additional solar projects here in the US."

juwi solar USA Inc. (JSI), based in Colorado was the engineering, procurement and construction contractor and developed the facility. The panels were manufactured by First Solar.

Air Products to supply Malaysia's PV market with turnkey contract

LEHIGH VALLEY, USA: Air Products has signed a contract with a leading global photovoltaic (PV) manufacturer in Malaysia for the company's SunSource Solutions gases, equipment and services.

The turnkey gas supply contract includes bulk and specialty gases, specialty chemicals, and related gas distribution equipment to support the customer's new crystalline PV facility in Melaka, Malaysia. This contract further strengthens Air Products' worldwide PV industry supply position with one of the leading producers.

The contract includes the long-term supply of on-site nitrogen, hydrogen, argon and oxygen, specialty gases such as silane, ammonia and nitrogen trifluoride.

The Melaka solar cell manufacturing plant aims to reach a capacity of more than 1 Gigawatt of cells per year by 2012. Listed on the US Nasdaq, the customer designs, manufactures and installs high-efficiency crystalline solar module technology worldwide. The company owns and operates two other PV plants in the Philippines and is headquartered, along with its research and development facility, in San Jose.

"Air Products is very excited to be the gas supplier of a leader in crystalline photovoltaics which represents the highest efficiency, high volume photovoltaic technology. The Malaysia PV plant will be a core element of the customer's technology and manufacturing roadmap to achieve lower cost and reach the goal of grid parity," said Corning Painter, vice president and general manager, Global Electronics, Air Products.

"Air Products is committed to developing alternative energy markets. Our expertise and complete turnkey offerings help our customers around the world reduce cost per watt and achieve a fast ramp-up."

As a leading electronics materials supplier, Air Products is strategically positioned to meet the demands of the rapidly expanding worldwide photovoltaics market. The company's SunSource Solutions are used in all of the different PV technologies by established and start-up producers alike.

Air Products' long-standing history serving the semiconductor and thin-film transistor liquid crystal display (TFT-LCD) industries since their inception makes it ideally suited to support its customers' drive to grid parity―the point where electricity generated by PV is equivalent in cost to traditional power company-supplied electricity.

With the demand for renewable energy and improved efficiency on the rise, Air Products is well positioned to support these developing markets with its expertise and project experience in areas including large-scale hydrogen supply for cleaner transportation fuels, developmental work on the hydrogen economy, hydrogen vehicle fuelling and infrastructure, leading natural gas liquefaction technology, and now the growing supply of gases and services for the photovoltaic industry.

Solarfun releases new greenhouse line of PV modules

SHANGHAI, CHINA: Solarfun Power Holdings Co. Ltd, a vertically integrated manufacturer of silicon ingots, wafers and photovoltaic cells and modules in China, has released its new "Greenhouse" line of PV modules.

The sleek and seamless Greenhouse models have been custom-designed and manufactured for greenhouse applications to provide an innovative solar power solution for modern agricultural buildings.

Developed in collaboration with a leading architecture firm specializing in greenhouse design, Solarfun's Greenhouse modules are designed and manufactured to deliver high performance and reliability, with cell efficiencies reaching up to 17.6 percent under test conditions.

In addition, the modules are based on a frame configuration that simplifies overall system design. The Greenhouse modules are easy to install, and have no special requirements for drainage or mounting. As with all of its products, Solarfun provides convenient local technical and installation support.

"We are pleased to release our latest application-specific solution to meet the unique requirements of greenhouse customers," said Dr. Mohan Narayanan, Vice President of Technology at Solarfun. "Solarfun's research efforts involve applying our high efficiency and reliability standards to new and innovative forms that provide unique solar power solutions for different markets."

Solarfun has obtained international ISO 9001 quality and ISO 14001 environmental standard certifications. Solarfun's Greenhouse modules conform to CE, IEC61215, IEC61730 and UL1703 requirements, and are backed by Solarfun's 25-year limited warranty.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Conergy increases cell efficiency

FRANKFURT (ODER), GERMANY: With its new production installations for solar cells, Conergy will be able to increase the efficiency of its PowerPlus modules in the Frankfurt (Oder) factory and further expand its manufacturing capacities at the same time.

Specialists are in the process of integrating the machines into the existing production facilities. Once installed, the so-called "OneStep Selective Emitter" technology will enable increases in efficiency of up to 0.5 percentage points. The modern equipment is provided by Manz Automation AG, Reutlingen.

Conergy is one of the first users worldwide – and it will be one of the first companies in the world to use the pioneering technology in its mass production. The company is investing some five million euros for this purpose.

Looking ahead to the technology of tomorrow
Mathias Kamolz, factory manager and technical director of the solar factory, said: "Our factory in Frankfurt (Oder) is one of the most modern solar factories of the world. But we don't want to rest on our laurels. That's why we are already looking ahead to the technologies of tomorrow – and using them in our production facilities. That way, we increase our cell efficiency, minimise scrap and increase output. A genuine technological leap for us."

Production carries on despite construction works
Cranes are currently lifting the individual machines onto the second floor of the solar factory. Technicians will then install the machines on a 40-metre section between two existing cell production lines. To make sure that it can take the new, 50-ton equipment, Conergy is reinforcing the raised floor with concrete foundations in the cell area.

Over the next few weeks, engineers will connect the heavy machines up on the production floor and then put the installations into operation step by step.

Kamolz said: "Despite the construction works, the existing four cell lines are running at full speed. By the end of the year, we shall be able to manufacture even more efficient cells with the new technology, producing solar modules of considerably higher performance classes."

LDK Solar announces strategic financing Aagreement with China Development Bank for up to RMB 60bn

XINYU CITY, CHINA & SUNNYVALE, USA: LDK Solar Co. Ltd, a leading manufacturer of multicrystalline solar wafers and PV products, has entered into a strategic financing agreement with China Development Bank Corp. (CDB), a joint stock banking corporation wholly owned by the state of China.

Under the terms of the agreement, CDB will provide up to RMB 60 billion (or approximately $8.9 villion) of credit facilities to LDK Solar over a five-year period. The financings will support LDK Solar's long-term growth initiatives and corporate development plans. Terms of the individual credit facilities and lending agreements will be subject to CDB's internal risk management requirements and operational regulations.

"We are very pleased to enter into this strategic financing agreement with CDB which demonstrates their confidence in and support of LDK Solar," stated Xiaofeng Peng, chairman and CEO of LDK Solar. "Through our strong partnership with CDB, we will have an enhanced ability to pursue our long-term growth strategy and further strengthen our position within the PV industry market."

Solarbuzz defines UK PV market opportunity as demand accelerates

SAN FRANCISCO, USA: The solar photovoltaic (PV) feed-in tariff (FIT) program introduced by the United Kingdom in April 2010 has catapulted the UK into the mainstream of global PV market activity.

According to the results of the Solarbuzz UK PV Market 2010 report, the UK's emergence could not be better timed, when taking into account the uncertain prospects for the dominant German market next year.Source: Solarbuzz, USA.

With FITs as high as 41.3 pence per kWh paid over 25 years, the foundations are in place for rampant PV market growth in 2011. Government incentives yield immediate installed PV system Internal Rates of Return between 8 percent and 11 percent over the next 12 months. Despite this, the UK market is already exposed to significant potential policy risks-more so than most other European markets-even though the FIT is only six months old.

Six market segments are emerging; five are on-grid, and one off-grid. 2010 demand has already seen rapid growth in residential installations, with the South East and South West regions accounting for 45 percent of the English part of the market in MW terms.

In addition, an emerging pipeline of large scale commercial, agricultural and industrial projects are currently going through the application and permitting processes, ready to impact 2011 demand.

With several big name national utility and retail brands entering the UK market, they join a fast growing downstream installer network that exceeds 500 companies. The leading wholesalers and installers, constituting a group of eighteen companies, are well-positioned to serve the burgeoning market. Back in 2009, the top three of these accounted for 60 percent of shipped wholesale volumes.

"The early entrance of big name brands are helping to lend public confidence to what is generally a poorly understood renewable energy source in the UK," noted Alan Turner, VP of Solarbuzz Europe. "These companies join a multitude of European and international companies scrambling to establish early positions in this fast-growing embryonic market."

The wide range of end-market segments has led to four main downstream channels to market. These are not completely exclusive and examples of overlap can be found. In addition, novel business models are being advanced, still to be tested for practical viability, but with some gaining traction.

The fragmented end-market, together with the diversity of the installers and wholesalers, is further complicated by the 60 module suppliers that have already gained the accreditation necessary to enter the market. This downstream picture sets extreme challenges for solar companies to operate profitably in the UK.

"Notwithstanding the potential uncertainty over government policy, no major company can afford to ignore this market opportunity," concluded Turner. "The challenge for companies is to construct business models that can deliver profitable growth while volumes are still low, while at the same time phasing their level of downstream investment consistent with the policy risk."

Source: Solarbuzz, USA.

Conergy inaugurates largest solar park in northern Germany

HAMBURG, GERMANY: Together with representatives from politics and industry, Conergy inaugurated the 6 megawatt solar power plant in northern Germany today in Tarp near Flensburg.

Member of the state parliament and chairman of the SPD energy committee Olaf Schulze, local investors and Conergy Germany boss Norbert Apfel officially launched operation of the solar park with the symbolic pressing of the red button.

With this, Tarp supersedes the plant in Hörup, which previously held the record for the largest continuous solar park in northern Germany. Conergy had already worked together successfully with the same local investors.

On a site four times the size of the entire Hamburg football stadium, the park generates 5.5 million kilowatt hours of solar power each year, thus supplying around half of all Tarp residents.

What’s more, the solar power plant avoids the emissions of 4,000 tons of the greenhouse gas CO2 each year. Member of the state parliament Olaf Schulze stated in his inaugural speech: “With the two largest solar parks in northern Germany, Schleswig-Flensburg is a real solar pioneer and with it one of the greenest districts in the state. This is primarily also thanks to far-sighted investors who made green energy from the region for the region possible.”

The investor include the Abild family, Sven Haupthoff and the Johannsen family. Conergy has already enjoyed a success story dating back many years with the latter investor – both in free-field installations as well as on rooftops. In addition to the two parks, the Johannsens have installed seven power plants on roofs with Conergy, generating a total output of 1.5 MW.

Stephan Johannsen said: “We have fully counted on Conergy for years now. Following the first solar plant on our stable, we realized with the Hamburg-based company Hörup, which was previously northern Germany’s largest solar park. We wanted to continue this success.”

In Tarp, the Johannsen family relied on the proven Conergy system technology even more than in Hörup. “A perfectly set-up system has been achieved through the well-matched interaction of our in-house components,” explains Conergy Germany boss Norbert Apfel.

“Whether in major projects like here in Tarp, or in small to medium-sized rooftop installations – everyone benefits from Conergy’s system technology: the investors through enhanced profits, the residents as consumers receiving more clean solar power, and, of course, the environment.”

Interest in clean solar energy has also spread to Johannsen’s partner investors. Farmer and landowner Carsten Abild as well as his son Andreas were impressed by the huge success of the previous record-breaking park in the neighbouring town of Hörup.

“With Conergy, we knew we had a partner at our side who delivers the best ‛Made in Germany’ quality reliably and from one single source. Justifiably, we are all extremely proud of the excellent results,” said Carsten Abild. A fitting celebration rewarded all those who had achieved such a great success: the farmer provided a suckling pig for the inauguration party from his own stock - naturally 100 percent ‛Made in Germany’.

Aircuity helps Masdar Institute of Science and Technology realize significant energy and capital cost savings

ABU DHABI, UAE & NEWTON, USA: Aircuity, the smart airside efficiency company, recently completed the installation of its OptiNet system into the first phase of the Masdar Institute of Science and Technology campus buildings to help the university achieve significant first cost reductions and sustained energy savings in these facilities.

Masdar Institute, which is located in Masdar City, a cleantech cluster that aims to be one of the most sustainable cities in the world, is the Middle East’s first graduate research institution dedicated to alternative energy, environmental technologies, and sustainability.

Aircuity’s OptiNet system comprises both intelligent ventilation measurement and optimization technologies to cost effectively implement energy efficiency solutions. For example, Aircuity is helping to implement Demand Control Ventilation (DCV) in the university’s classrooms, conference rooms and library areas to vary outside air ventilation based on sensing occupancy and indoor environmental quality (IEQ).

Additionally, Masdar Institute is using Aircuity technology to implement Demand Based Control for laboratory ventilation. This varies the building’s use of outside air based on real-time analysis of the lab room environment. The ventilation flow is dynamically adjusted as needed to provide a safe lab environment while reducing the use of outside air on average by almost two thirds, to as low as 2 air changes per hour.

In the first phase of the Masdar Institute project, these two approaches will generate energy savings of slightly over 3,000 MWh or about 32.5 KWh per square foot, representing a 55 percent average reduction in the total HVAC energy consumption of the affected lab and non-lab areas. Additionally, this energy savings reduces the university’s solar PV capacity requirements by almost 1.5 megawatts.

“Leveraging state-of-the art energy efficiency technology like Aircuity is helping us to move toward our goal of making Masdar City one of the world’s most sustainable cities. Most significantly, it is helping us do so in a commercially viable manner,” said Alan Frost, director of Masdar City.

“Optimizing the use of fresh air in our facilities with Aircuity’s technology will significantly reduce our energy consumption, as well as our renewable energy requirements and cooling equipment sizing. This resulted in significant capital cost savings and will also provide a superior indoor environment.”

The first campus buildings comprise an area the size of a city block and are the first structures to be built in Abu Dhabi’s Masdar City. The city has been planned to support a growing population using the desert sun as an energy source. A 10 megawatt solar field has already been completed to help fuel construction, as well as Masdar’s temporary corporate offices, and is reportedly the largest such plant in the Middle East.

In addition to being a technology provider to the project, Aircuity also recommended an improved sequence of operation for the University’s labs based on recent changes in lab standards that Aircuity’s chairman helped implement.

These changes safely reduced the minimum flow rate of the lab fume hoods by over 60 percent, and alone represented annual energy savings of over 1,000 MWh and almost 0.5 megawatt of solar PV capacity requirement reduction.

“What Masdar Institute, Masdar City and the government of Abu Dhabi are striving to accomplish is nothing short of revolutionizing the sustainability of the world’s commercial buildings, and goes far beyond the scale of what anyone else has yet accomplished - even with net zero projects.” added Gordon Sharp, chairman, Aircuity.

“We are proud to be a part of such an important project and look forward to continuing to work together with Masdar on economically reducing their facilities’ carbon footprint and helping them become a platform for innovation and green technologies.”

Monday, September 27, 2010

Microchip intros grid-connected solar micro inverter reference design

CHANDLER, USA: Microchip Technology Inc. has announced a fully digitally controlled, Grid-Connected Solar Micro Inverter Reference Design with an advanced, high-efficiency topology. Complete documentation, including software, schematics and application note, can be downloaded for free today from Microchip’s website.

The solar power industry is evolving to meet the requirements of a changing landscape, as it moves from a cottage industry to mass production. Solar design engineers are being challenged to optimize energy harvesting, reduce installation costs, and improve system reliability and efficiency while standardizing their designs.

This reference design enables them to achieve these goals through digital power conversion techniques, supported by the unique features of Microchip’s dsPIC33 ‘GS’ series of digital-power Digital Signal Controllers (DSCs).

The reference design connects to any standard solar panel and converts the panel’s DC output into AC power, which can then be fed into the public power grid. In a real-world application, multiple units can be connected together to achieve the desired power output.

“This reference design will help the solar power industry to quickly improve its inverter technology, through the use of more flexible and efficient digital power conversion techniques,” said Sumit Mitra, vice president of Microchip’s High Performance Microcontroller Division. “The transition to digital power will enable solar energy conversion to be maximized, while reducing the installation and overall costs of solar systems.”

Additional features of Microchip’s Grid-Connected Solar Micro Inverter Reference Design include:

* Peak efficiency of 95 percent.
* Power factor of >0.95.
* Output Current THD <3 percent.
* Maximum power point tracking of 99.5 percent.
* Nighttime power consumption of <1W.
* System Islanding to detect grid failure.
* Full Digital Control.

This reference design works with any photovoltaic (PV) panel that supplies a maximum 220 watt output, and it comes in two versions supporting either 110V or 220V power grids. Both versions of this reference design are implemented using a single dsPIC33 ‘GS’ digital-power DSC, which provides fully digital control of the power-conversion and system-management functions.

Salk Institute going solar with Stellar Solar

SAN DIEGO, USA: The Salk Institute of Biological Sciences has selected San Diego solar company Stellar Solar to design and install a new 500 kW rooftop solar electric system for its architecturally renowned campus in La Jolla, according to Tim Ball, the Institute's senior director of facilities services.

The project also combines the sustainability of solar energy with the sensibility of architectural preservation, Ball pointed out. The buildings were completed in 1965 and officially designated a National Historic Landmark in 1991. As such, providing a long-term strategy to care for the facility's energy needs was a key part of the decision.

In addition, solar is seen as a way to help save money on the Institute's energy bill, Ball said. "As a non-profit institution, we are always looking for ways to stretch budgets and save money," he explained. "As a research facility, we use a lot of electricity. Although we get a very good rate from SDG&E, we found we could produce our own solar electricity onsite for about 30% lower than what SDG&E charges us."

Stellar Solar was selected to design and build the solar array because it was a local firm with a proven track record of success, Ball said. "Not many firms have been in the solar business as long as Stellar Solar has and we wanted to work with a group that could integrate themselves easily into our existing work on a weekly basis. Stellar has the know-how to do that," he said.

Stellar Solar president Kent Harle said his firm considers it an honor to be selected to work on a high-visibility solar project such as this one. "The San Diego Union-Tribune calls the Salk Institute 'the single most significant architectural site in San Diego,'" he said. "It is also significant that this site will now be solar-powered and we are so very proud to be a part of making that happen," he said.

Alternative Energy Partners (AEGY) responds to California's licensing of world's largest solar thermal plant

MERRITT ISLAND, USA: Gary Reed, CEO of Alternative Energy Partners, a provider of comprehensive alternative energy solutions, has responded positively to the week's news that California has licensed the world's largest solar thermal plant.

Last week, New York Times blogger Todd Woody reported that California regulators had licensed the Blythe Solar Power Project, a 1,000-megawatt complex to be constructed in the Mojave Desert.

The power plant will not only reduce California's environmental impact, but result in significant job creation. The article also noted that, if the Blythe complex is approved by the United States Bureau of Land Management in October, it will be the first big solar project licensed and built on federal land.

Reed says: "There is little doubt as to the strength and increasing appeal of solar thermal energy as an option for both governments and private organizations. The door is opening wider for states and the federal government to embrace the use of solar thermal energy, and an alternative energy provider, we support every step to make its use more commonplace."

The New York Times story reported that the Blythe Solar Power Project is designed to use parabolic troughs for solar energy collection. AEGY announced earlier this week that, through its subsidiary Sunarias, it is developing advanced solar thermal collector trough technology with materials that would allow not only for reduction in cost and manufacturing efficiency, but in shipping speed.

Ultimately, the new design would enhance the ability for those troughs to be easily transported to, and therefore incorporated in, solar thermal energy projects. In the press release earlier this week, Reed stated that preliminary indications were that the trough, which is AEGY's proprietary technology, may exceed 9000 BTUHs per trough.

Reed adds: "Massive projects like Blythe are the reason that it is important to innovate and improve on the design of a parabolic trough. AEGY is focused, not only on how to help incorporate alternative systems into daily life, but how to make it easier to do so.

"A trough [AEGY's proprietary trough technology] that not only improves efficient energy collection but may be manufactured at lower costs and transports well is what the industry has been waiting for."

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Torresol Energy selects IFS Applications

ITASCA, USA: Torresol Energy, a leader in the concentrated solar power (CSP) sector, has selected IFS Applications to manage the entire lifecycle of its engineering projects and to maintain its solar thermal energy plants.

Torresol Energy’s objective is to become a worldwide leader in the solar thermal energy industry. Every new project that the company develops, regardless of its location—Southern Europe, Northern Africa, the Middle East or the United States—will introduce new technologies. The aim is to make CSP a viable, ecological and sustainable alternative to traditional power sources.

At present, Torresol Energy is developing two projects in Cadiz and Seville, Spain, with cylindrical-parabolic trough collectors (CPTC) technology. Torresol Energy will add an overall productive capacity of 67 MW and 460 GWh/year, the equivalent of the average consumption of 65,000 homes.

Gemasolar in Seville is the first project to be developed with a central tower system and heliostat farm technology, and is the first commercial-scale plant in the world to apply this kind of technology.

Given the magnitude of the planned investments, Torresol Energy decided to look for an ERP solution that would support project and asset management, and that could be used at the different Torresol Energy plants worldwide.

“We have chosen IFS Applications because it supports our project-oriented business model. IFS’ customer base and experience in the utility sector is impressive, with successful implementations in several nuclear plants and the largest hydropower project in the world, Three Gorges in China,” said Manuel Fernández, CFO of Torresol Energy.

“Furthermore, the fact that IFS Applications is a component-based solution was the key to why we selected IFS. The unique component technology allows it to adapt and grow with us as we expand and invest in new projects.”

The implementation of IFS Applications across Torresol Energy will be carried out in two major phases and during a period of approximately nine months. The following components will be implemented: IFS Financials, IFS Human Resources, IFS Project Management, IFS Document Management, IFS Business Performance, IFS Business Analytics, IFS Maintenance, and IFS Overall Equipment Effectiveness (OEE).

The project will also integrate IFS solutions with the SCADA systems of Torresol Energy to enable projects to be managed throughout their lifecycle from quotation, planning and building of assets to the operation and maintenance of these assets, regardless of their location.

Utilities and Telecom is one of IFS’ targeted market segments. Since it was founded, IFS has developed and delivered best practice industry-specific solutions with leading functionality for enterprise asset management, product-lifecycle management and project management.

The solution supports all critical business enterprise processes—planning, engineering, procurements, construction/project management, commissioning, O&M, and asset performance assessments with integrated applications in financials, capital project management, supply chain, asset and work management, service and contracts management, human resource management, etc. Customers include Three Gorges (China), National Hydroelectric Power Corporation (India), Hafslund (Norway), Mälarenergi (Sweden), GECOL (Libya), Horizon Utilities (North America), Brookfield Renewable Power (North America) and nuclear projects OKG (Sweden), PBMR (South Africa), and Qinshan Nuclear Power (China).

Eurus Energy and NRG Solar to build California's largest solar PV generating facility

PRINCETON, USA: Eurus Energy America and NRG Solar, a subsidiary of NRG Energy Inc. have joined forces to build what will be, upon completion, the largest solar photovoltaic (PV) generating facility in California.

When operating at full capacity, the three Avenal zero-emission solar projects—Avenal Park, Sun City and Sand Drag—will generate a total of 45 megawatts (MW), enough power to meet the needs of 36,000 homes cleanly and efficiently. The Avenal projects, located in Kings County, CA, were developed by Eurus and are owned jointly by Eurus and NRG.

Eurus and NRG have completed construction financing on all three projects, and given full notice to proceed on Sun City (20 MW) and Sand Drag (19 MW) to the Ryan Company, Inc., the engineering, procurement and contracting firm that will construct the Avenal projects.

Ryan Company, a wholly owned subsidiary of Quanta Services (NYSE: PWR), will begin mobilizing immediately to start construction, with the projects expected to achieve commercial operation in mid-2011. The California Public Utilities Commission has approved the 20-year Avenal power purchase agreements with Pacific Gas & Electric.

NRG Solar and Eurus’ expertise developing solar power, utility construction and operation, backed by their corporate resources, will ensure the Avenal projects are brought online and on schedule to help the state achieve its short-term goals for greater renewable power—and advance California’s progress significantly toward achieving its stated target of 33% renewable power generation by 2020.

“We believe Avenal represents not only a bold new chapter in developing clean, zero-emission solar power in California, but also is a key piece in helping the state meet its ambitious renewable portfolio standard by the end of the decade,” said Tom Doyle, president of NRG Solar.

“California continues to lead our nation in mandating the increasing use of renewable power, and, as the owners of the largest PV site there today, we look forward to continuing our partnership with California and our leadership as a developer of this bountiful, sustainable power source.”

Mark E. Anderson, president and CEO of Eurus Energy America, said: “The Avenal projects are just the first of many utility-scale PV solar projects that we expect to be developing, building and owning in the State of California. We are very pleased to be adding these solar power projects to our portfolio of wind projects helping California reach its nation-leading goals to increase the utilization of emission-free power generation.”

Along with the clean power it will bring to California, the projects also will bring much-needed jobs to an economically distressed area.

Avenal will be built with thin film solar panels provided by Sharp Electronics, solidifying Sharp’s presence in the California utility scale market and bolstering diversity of supply for California’s growing solar infrastructure.

Friday, September 24, 2010

ONTILITY adds key manufacturer partnerships

HOUSTON, USA: ONTILITY, the solar industries’ fastest growing distribution, training and support services firm, has added new strategic partnerships with leaders in the renewable energy community.

ONTILITY has added Solyndra, Zep Solar, SoloPower, Lumeta, Canadian Solar, Solectria, Scheuten and Schneider to its complete list, consisting of the best names in solar.

In keeping with other current manufacturer partnerships, ONTILITY will offer sales, end-to-end project support and training with each new manufacturer relationship.

“We work closely with our Certified Partners and Dealer Installers to identify key solar manufacturers that we should offer and support,” says Thomas Pash, ONTILITY’s president and CEO.

“One of the competitive advantages of having over 500 Certified Partners and Dealer Installers is that we have hundreds of integrators continuously providing us feedback, which enables us to strategically select only the leading manufacturers for distribution partnerships. We understand that offering reliable and efficient solar products is imperative to the success of our Certified Partners and Dealer Installers.”

ONTILITY supports residential, commercial and utility scale solar integrators throughout North America.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Enphase Energy to unveil next-generation microinverter platform

PETALUMA, USA: Enphase Energy Inc., a leader in solar microinverter systems, will unveil its next-generation microinverter platform at booth #3809 at the Solar Power International 2010 Conference and Exposition on October 12-14, 2010.

The next-generation Enphase Microinverter achieves a CEC efficiency of 96 percent, a record for microinverter technology. In addition, the design of the new platform allows for direct integration into solar modules, enabling a new breed of "AC Module" products. The first products using the new platform will be available in the first half of 2011.

"Through deep know-how in system design, semiconductor integration and digital processing, we have succeeded in setting new standards for microinverter performance and design," said Martin Fornage, co-founder and chief technology officer, Enphase Energy. "These advancements are instrumental in accelerating the transition away from traditional centralized inverter technology."

Enphase defined the microinverter technology category in 2008 with the introduction of the world's first solar microinverter system. Since then, Enphase has shipped more than 400,000 microinverters, for more than 10,000 residential and commercial solar systems. A recent report by IMS Research predicted the microinverter market will grow more than 100 percent per year over the next five years, generating more than $1.5 billion in sales.

"AC Module" platform
In addition to its efficiency gains, the next-generation Enphase Microinverter delivers a platform for "AC Modules," or solar modules with integrated microinverters. The platform offers a simple connector that replaces the junction box and allows the solar module manufacturers to easily incorporate Enphase's field-proven microinverter technology into new "AC Module" product lines.

For solar installers, "AC Modules" save significant time and cost during the design and construction phases of a solar project. Specifically, an "AC Module" eliminates any need to install inverters, and it reduces the cost of wiring, grounding, fastening and other balance-of-system equipment.

"Solar installers and module manufacturers have always seen the value in the 'AC Module' concept, but they have been waiting for a trusted technology partner before investing in it," said Paul Nahi, CEO, Enphase Energy.

"Through partnerships with world-class module manufacturers, Enphase is enabling a new breed of 'AC Modules' that have been shaped by years of high-volume module and microinverter manufacturing experience and that embody field-proven product quality."

Enphase's "AC Module" partners will be announced in early October, before the Solar Power International conference. "AC Modules" will be on display in the Enphase booth during the conference. The first "AC Module" products using Enphase Microinverter technology will be available in the first half of 2011.

World energy leaders share conflicting opinions about role of regulation in shaping energy future

CHICAGO, USA: As global officials re-engage in energy and climate discussions in New York City and prepare for the November UNFCCC1 Conference in Cancun (COP 16), a new survey from Navigant Consulting Inc. and the World Energy Congress provides insight into the current mindset of public- and private-sector energy leaders on issues ranging from regulation and infrastructure to technology investment and future energy-mix priorities.

The findings, announced today, are the result of a four-day “pulse poll” of delegates at the World Energy Congress (WEC) in Montreal, on September 12-15, conducted by Navigant Consulting.

WEC Montreal 2010 delegates – comprised of energy producers, government officials, consultants and academics from five continents and more than 120 countries – were polled daily during the Congress. Each day’s survey was aligned to one of the four daily themes of the conference – accessibility, availability, acceptability and accountability.

Among the findings, an overwhelming number of day-four respondents (89 percent) believe that the energy sector needs a new regulatory framework to adapt to new environmental and social requirements.

“The complexities and struggles facing the global energy industry are evident in the results of the survey,” said Bill Dickenson, executive MD at Navigant and leader of the firm’s Energy Practice. “Interestingly, the international delegates at the World Energy Congress echoed the view held by many in the domestic industry that we need a regulatory overhaul to meet the industry’s emerging issues.”

Congress delegates also shared concerns about the lack of investment in infrastructure in the energy sector. Forty percent of day-one respondents identified lack of investment in infrastructure as the greatest challenge to overcoming growing energy demand, while two-thirds of day-four respondents did not believe that there is sufficient financing for energy projects and infrastructure.

When asked about expected progress at the upcoming COP16 session in Cancun, almost 60 percent of day-four respondents expressed uncertainty about meaningful outcomes.

Not surprisingly, investment in new energy technologies was most cited as the area where the energy sector needs to make improvements, edging out environmental protection, managing CO2 emissions, and adoption of sustainable development practices.

Congress delegates were split on whether or not the industry is on the right path forward with regards to developing new energy sources and addressing issues related to energy consumption. When asked if the world will achieve sustainability (a balance between fuel supply and consumption) in the energy sector by 2030, respondents were once again split – 47 percent believing it is achievable and 53 percent showing skepticism.

Sharp to acquire Recurrent Energy, a US developer of distributed solar projects

JAPAN: Sharp Corp. and Recurrent Energy LLC, a US developer of distributed solar projects, signed an agreement on September 21 for Sharp to acquire Recurrent, making Recurrent a wholly-owned subsidiary of Sharp. The acquisition is scheduled to be completed by the end of 2010, after approval by the authorities has been obtained.

Demand in the North American photovoltaic market is expected to expand greatly, due to an increase in the number of projects for power companies. In this field, the role of a solar power developer is significant.

Recurrent, an independent power producer and a leading developer of distributed solar projects in the US, develops and markets solar power generation plants by collaborating with power companies. Recurrent holds an approximately 2 GW project pipeline of solar power generation plants located in the US and Canada, and is also developing business in other areas, including Europe.

It is essential for Sharp to function as a developer in the photovoltaic field, in order to further expand its business in this area. With Recurrent’s know-how as a developer, Sharp aims to become a total solution company in the photovoltaic field, extending from developing and producing solar cells and modules to developing and marketing power generation plants.

PV growth powered by market-driven innovation

WILMINGTON, USA: DuPont Electronics & Communications president David B. Miller said that the company expects to achieve $1 billion in revenue from sales into the photovoltaic market in 2010 -- one year ahead of schedule.

The growth is supported by new market-driven innovations that improve solar module efficiency and performance, bringing costs down in line with other forms of energy and reducing the world's dependence on fossil fuels.

"We are delivering growth through our market-leading position in materials such as DuPont Solamet metallization paste, DuPont Tedlar backsheet films and a family of encapsulant resins and films that improve the efficiency and reliability of solar modules," Miller told analysts participating in the DuPont Business Series webcast.

"Our broad portfolio of offerings spans crystalline silicon cells and modules as well as thin film modules, putting us in an ideal position to capitalize on market growth in both segments of the photovoltaics industry. Several notable new product launches this year have helped us to accelerate growth above market. We also are investing in greater production capability and partnering with our customers to help keep pace with the fast rising global demand," said Miller.

The photovoltaics industry has been experiencing explosive growth in 2010 as demand for high-performance and lower-cost products continue to increase. With a global population expected to exceed 9 billion in 2050 and global energy consumption projected to increase 60 percent, and more than double in emerging markets in the next 20 years, Miller emphasized the need to face head-on the challenge of developing renewable energy sources, and how innovation will be a driving force toward delivering solutions.

"Addressing energy needs is a global concern. The generation of renewable energy will be the fastest growing sector in the energy market for the next 20 years, and materials for photovoltaic applications are a critical success factor for sustainable growth," said Miller. "We can apply the power of our market-driven science to offer products and technologies that can transform the sun's potential into clean energy, contributing to decreasing dependence on fossil fuels."

DuPont is applying the power of its integrated science to help reduce the world's dependence on fossil fuels. DuPont has a range of market-leading innovations that address the renewable energy challenge, including enabling materials for photovoltaics, biofuels, renewably sourced materials and technologies engineered to improve energy efficiency.

LDK Solar reaches agreement with Q-Cells

XINYU CITY, CHINA & SUNNYVALE, USA: LDK Solar Co. Ltd has reached an agreement with Q-Cells SE (Q-Cells) regarding an existing solar wafer supply contract that the two companies entered into in December of 2007.

LDK Solar has agreed to an early repayment of the prepayment of $244.5 million Q-Cells made pursuant to the supply agreement. Under the new agreement, LDK Solar will repay the prepayment in its entirety, which currently stands at $224.9 million, by the end of 2011. Payments totalling $135 million will be made in 2010. The current repayment will
be funded by restricted cash, which was previously earmarked for such transactions.

At the same time, both parties reached an agreement on pricing terms for the existing solar wafer supply contract which extends to 2018.

Solargiga constructs 500MW multicrystalline silicon solar wafers project

HONG KONG: China's leading monocrystalline silicon solar ingots and wafers manufacturer, Solargiga Energy Holdings Ltd announced that it has entered into a cooperation agreement with Liaoning Oxiranche Inc. on 21 September 2010 for the proposed establishment of the Joint Venture to engage in the business of manufacturing multicrystalline silicon solar ingots and wafers with a production capacity of 500MW.

The amount of total investments and registered capital of the Joint Venture are proposed to be RMB 675 Million and RMB 200 Million. Solargiga will own 37 percent interest in the Joint Venture company with the capital injection of RMB 74.0 million. The production plant will be located in Longqiwan New Zone, Jinzhou, Liaoning Province in the PRC. 50 casting furnaces, 75 wiresaws and other equipment are expected to be installed.

The construction of the new production plant will be divided into 2 phases in 5 years. The capacity of the first phase will be 200MW and is expected to take 2 years to complete. 20 casting furnaces, 30 wiresaws and other equipment are expected to be installed. The capacity of the second phase will be 300MW and is expected to take 3 years to complete. 30 casting furnaces, 45 wiresaws and other equipment are expected to be installed.

In addition, Solargiga and Liaoning has agreed that the sales of all the output from the production plant will be coordinated by Solargiga.

Hsu You Yuan, CEO and executive director of Solargiga, said: "The cooperation between the company and the Liaoning Aoke allows the Group to strengthen the development of its multicrystalline silicon solar business. It will also accelerate the horizontal production expansion plan of Solargiga so as to satisfy the demand from customers. Looking ahead, the group would continue to seek new business opportunities for development, grasp the huge market opportunities to increase market share and reward our shareholders with satisfactory business performance."

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Staples and SunEdison unveil Maryland's largest solar power installation

HAGERSTOWN, USA: Staples, the world's largest office products company, and SunEdison, a leading worldwide solar energy services provider and subsidiary of MEMC Electronic Materials, unveiled a 1.5 megawatt (MW) solar power installation at the Staples distribution center in Hagerstown, Md.

Combined with the recent solar installation at the Staples fulfillment center in Hanover, Md., Staples is now hosting more than 2.5MW of solar capacity in the state of Maryland alone.

The 1.5 MW ground installation in Hagerstown consists of more than 11,000 solar panels and will generate an estimated 2 million kilowatt hours (kWh) of energy annually and more than 37 million kWh for the next 20 years.

The environmental attributes associated with the solar power plant will offset more than 74 million pounds of carbon dioxide (CO2) for the next 20 years -- that's equivalent to removing more than 4,200 automobiles driving 12,000 miles per year. Combined, the Staples deployments in Maryland will generate close to 60 million kWh of energy over 20 years -- enough energy to power more than 5,500 average US homes for one year.

"This latest solar power system installment at our Hagerstown fulfillment center demonstrates Staples' ongoing dedication to sustainable business," said Mark Buckley, vice president of environmental affairs for Staples. "Working with SunEdison for solar power requires no capital investment and no operating or maintenance expense for Staples, provides power at or below the price for grid power, and helps us meet our environmental goals."

The SunEdison/Staples solar program is made possible through power purchase agreements between SunEdison and Staples which require no upfront capital outlays from Staples. SunEdison designs, develops, finances, operates, monitors and maintains the solar installations and Staples buys the energy produced to offset their demand from the grid at long-term predictable energy pricing.

"SunEdison has worked closely with Staples since 2005 and we are very proud of the achievements we continue to reach together," said Jason Stevens, vice president of EPC for SunEdison. "Through our timely build-outs, advanced technologies and our strength in financing, we are able to make solar a reality for commercial clients like Staples worldwide."

The Hagerstown facility also exemplifies Staples' partnership with the EPA ENERGY STAR program. It is the 100th Staples facility to receive the prestigious ENERGY STAR Award for building energy efficiency and was honored today with a plaque to commemorate the achievement. The company is also participating in the ENERGY STAR Challenge to improve energy efficiency across the company by an additional 10 percent.

Smart grid market to grow to $9.6 billion by 2015

CAMBRIDGE, USA: Over the next five years, the smart grid market in the US will grow more than 70 percent, from $5.6 billion in 2010 to $9.6 billion by 2015, according to the findings of a new report from GTM Research, US Smart Grid Market Forecast: 2010–2015.

This near-term market expansion will be driven by federal ARRA grants for utility modernization, increased market competition and consolidation, and enhanced technology synergies, as large-capped IT players turn their investment dollars toward smart grid companies.

GTM Research’s report examines the industry’s growth by analyzing key trends in four core technology sectors -- Advanced Metering Infrastructure (AMI), Distribution Automation (DA), Home Area Networks (HAN) and Smart Utility Enterprise -- and compiling outlooks for each sector that fold into the report’s overall market forecast.

“Over the next 10 to 15 years, GTM Research expects the distinction between ‘smart grid’ and traditional distribution grids to dissolve,” said David J. Leeds, the report’s author and lead smart grid analyst at GTM Research. “The day is quickly approaching when the bulk of new hardware, software and systems added to grids will be intelligent.”

While smart grid development is scaling in the near term, the emerging industry faces a number of long-term obstacles. Large-scale integration has an estimated price tag of $165 billion and a deployment timeline of 20 years, both of which will require stable government incentives, clear policy at the state and national levels, and more effective utility demonstrations pertaining to how the new technology benefits customers.

“The promises and pitfalls of smart meters continue to monopolize the headlines, and the industry remains in the ‘honeymoon’ phase of technology transition,” said Leeds. “Utilities are only beginning to deploy next-gen devices and to re-conceptualize how their grids will operate at the distribution level.”

SolarCity, Tesla, and UC Berkeley to ally on solar storage technologies

FOSTER CITY, USA: SolarCity, a national leader in solar financing, design, installation, monitoring and related services, will receive $800,000 as part of a grant in the second round of funding by from the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) for the California Solar Initiative (CSI) Research Development, Deployment and Demonstration (CSI RD&D) Program.

SolarCity is teaming with Tesla Motors and the University of California, Berkeley, which will receive an additional $900,000, to research advanced grid-interactive distributed photovoltaic (PV) and storage.

Investment in this project will help advance battery storage technology for the PV market. PV storage can manage the flow of solar electricity for use by a home or business, and extend production into the evening, even after the sun goes down.

SolarCity is developing a system that will combine Tesla Motors’ vehicle battery system with SolarCity’s SolarGuard dispatch and monitoring platform, to create a combined photovoltaic (PV) and stationary storage product which can be installed in homes and businesses.

The battery storage will collect excess PV power production so that during peak periods, the utility can pull from battery storage rather than power plants which have greater emissions.

“Battery storage will be an important component in the mass adoption of PV, it will make solar electricity a more predictable energy source,” said SolarCity COO Peter Rive.

The goal of the CSI RD&D program is to fund research, development, demonstration, and deployment of solar technologies that will measurably reduce the cost and accelerate the installation of technologies that employ solar energy to generate or store of electricity or to reduce the use of natural gas.

enXco signs agreements with Portland General Electric for solar PV installation

SAN DIEGO, USA: enXco, an EDF Energies Nouvelles Company (PARIS: EEN) and Portland General Electric have entered into two power purchase agreements for solar photovoltaic installations to be located in the Willamette Valley near Salem, Oregon.

The two installations will combine for a total of 2.84 MW (dc) of generating capacity providing power for approximately 2,300 homes at peak production.

“These agreements with enXco are part of our strategy to help meet Oregon’s renewable energy goals,” said Jim Lobdell, vice president for power operations and resource strategy at PGE. “Together with PGE’s other ground-based and rooftop arrays as well as strong support for residential and commercial customer-owned projects, these installations will help us grow solar in our state.”

enXco will develop, build, and own the solar projects consisting of thin film technology, while PGE will purchase the power generated under a 25-year power purchase agreement. The projects are expected to commence construction in early 2011 and reach commercial operation in July 2011. enXco Service Corporation will operate and maintain the projects.

“These projects represent the largest ground-mounted solar PV installations in the Pacific Northwest as well as the first solar development for enXco in the region. We are pleased to be working with PGE and Energy Trust of Oregon to bring them to fruition,” Troy Gagliano, project developer with enXco said.

“The local farmers have always harvested the sun to grow crops, and now they are able to benefit from the sun in another way. Solar energy diversifies their operations helping these farmers to not only survive, but thrive.”

Both sites are located in the south eastern portion of Yamhill County. The Bellevue Solar Project site will comprise 1.69 MW of capacity and the Yamhill Solar Project site will produce 1.15 MW. The projects will connect to the existing PGE utility system, which provides power for 822,000 customers in 52 Oregon cities within a 4,000 square mile service territory.

“Our investment in these solar projects is an investment in a cleaner energy future for Oregon,” said Betsy Kauffman, senior program manager for Energy Trust of Oregon. “These projects are visible proof that Oregon is a great place for solar.”

With these new projects, PGE will have more than 17 megawatts of solar capacity in its resource mix, helping the utility meet the state’s renewable energy standard of providing 25 percent renewable energy by the year 2025.

This will also help achieve the state’s solar photovoltaic generating capacity standard, which calls for investor-owned utilities in Oregon to have a combined total of at least 20 megawatts of large-scale solar projects online by 2020. PGE expects approximately 9 percent of its resource mix will come from renewable energy sources in 2010.

“Our customers are best served with a diverse mix of resources,” Lobdell said. “That’s why we’re bringing new renewable generating facilities online, while at the same time promoting energy efficiency and making improvements to our existing hydropower and thermal plants. Our goal is always to deliver safe, reliable, responsibly-generated electric power to our customers at a reasonable price.”

The two projects received approval from the Yamhill County Planning Commission in September 2010.

BP Solar energised by utility scale Verve project

AUSTRALIA: BP Solar is partnering with Verve Energy as the lead contractor to build Australia’s largest ever grid-connected solar power plant: a 10 megawatt (MW) utility scale solar photovoltaic (PV) plant in Geraldton, Western Australia. Solar PV panels create emission free electricity direct from the sun.

“BP Solar is delighted to be partnering with Verve Energy in developing and delivering Australia’s first utility scale solar PV plant and for having our skills and experience in building projects of this scale recognised in Australia.” said Tony Stocken, Director of BP Solar Australia.

“With funding support from the WA Government, Royalties for Regions Scheme and the Office of Energy, this project will deliver a long term supply of clean energy to the communities in and around Geraldton and contribute to the WA Government’s 20 percent renewable energy target by 2020.” said Stocken.

The project is valued at over $A50 million with BP Solar carrying out the engineering and construction (EPC) activity and the operation and maintenance of the plant once constructed. Work will begin in early 2011 supporting around 50 jobs during the construction period. Commissioning is planned for late 2011 and the plant will support three full-time jobs when operational.

Significantly, this will be the largest solar array ever to be connected to the grid in Australia, providing clean and secure energy supply and reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 25,000 tonnes per year.

BP Solar will be deploying its international experience and unrivalled expertise and strong record in the local market to ensure the project is completed successfully.

BP Solar is also actively pursuing growth opportunities and in May 2010 was successfully shortlisted for the Federal Governments Solar Flagships programme. The BP Solar Flagships bid is being finalised with submissions due in Dec. 2010. The Verve project is a natural complement to the Federal Programme and is a significant step towards delivering a low carbon future.

SAIP, North Delhi Power Ltd to build clean waste-to-bio-power facility in New Delhi

NEW DELHI, INDIA: Solena-ABSi India Pvt Ltd (SAIP) has executed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with North Delhi Power Ltd (NDPL), to produce up to 40 MW of clean renewable energy, using SAIP’s patented plasma gasification bio-energy solution, into NDPL’s distribution network of North and Northwest Delhi.

The new, organic waste to energy, bio-power plant that SAIP is developing will utilize SAIP’s next generation plasma gasification technology and process to convert biomass from municipal, agricultural and other organic wastes into a clean renewable bio-synthetic gas—without incineration or combustion.

This bio-syngas, a replacement for natural gas, will be piped or partially transported to NDPL’s upcoming 108 MW electric generation plant at Rithala enabling NDPL to deliver clean, baseload power and propel New Delhi as a model in the drive towards a greener India.

SAIP estimates the thermal power output of its organic waste to energy plant will be approximately 40 MW gross. The resulting green energy from this bio-syngas will be produced with zero net carbon emissions, no SVOCs or SOx, tar, fly ash, flue gas and virtually no pollutants as compared to the legacy sources of fuel that have historically driven traditional power plants.

“We are excited with this development and our partnership with NDPL. This represents a milestone not only for Delhi but also for India as it pursues greater energy production from clean, renewable sources to sustain its rapid economic growth,” said SAIP CEO Rajeev Sharma. “This agreement validates our steadfast efforts to bring clean and efficient power to Indian cities and villages with our leading edge plasma gasification based solutions.”

Sunil Wadhwa, MD, NDPL, added:“Renewable power is one of the most suitable and feasible sources of power from the perspective of environment and security of source. We are happy to have joined hands with SAIP to bring green energy to our upcoming power plant, which will help reduce carbon emissions. The use of bio-fuel, in addition to our extensive focus on solar power, reiterates our commitment to introduce environment friendly and green technology in our distribution area for conservation of environment and combating climate change.”

CPV Consortium to hold two CPV boot camp workshops

SUNNYVALE, USA: The CPV Consortium, a global non-profit industry organization, will hold two “CPV Boot Camp” Workshops designed specifically to provide the necessary tools for solar project developers, utilities and financiers to evaluate Concentrator Photovoltaic (CPV) systems as a compelling technology for medium and large scale projects deployed in the solar rich regions of the world.

These one-day seminars provide a unique opportunity for attendees because they are focused, concise, and cover only those issues which matter to individuals and companies deploying projects.

“CPV technology is being deployed globally today, but as a comparatively new technology there has been a lack of information and analytical tools available to help project developers and utilities make informed decisions on CPV technology in new projects,” said Nancy Hartsoch, chair of the CPV Consortium.

“The goal of our ‘Boot Camp’ workshop is simple - to enable a more thorough evaluation of CPV technology as a broadly applicable option for solar plants…in a factual approach without commercial messages.”

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Global solar PV demand up 54 percent Q2 and expected to double in 2010

SAN FRANCISCO, USA: After a weak start to 2010, Q2'10 global photovoltaic (PV) demand soared to 3.82 GW, up 54 percent Q/Q, according to a report issued by Solarbuzz, an international solar energy market research and consulting company. The PV industry remains on target to deliver over 15 GW installations this year."The rush to install in Germany ahead of tariff declines in mid-2010, combined with strong incentive programs across Europe (especially in Italy, France and the Czech Republic) and an improved financing environment, drove the global PV market over three times the level in Q2'09," noted Craig Stevens, president of Solarbuzz.

According to the latest edition of the Solarbuzz QUARTERLY Report, Q2'10 global market demand was only 2 percent less than the global market's previous quarterly peak (3.92 GW in Q4'09). As a result of 2010 performance to date, Solarbuzz also raised its five year demand scenario forecasts in the report. Total industry revenues were approximately $17.2 billion in Q2'10, compared to $12 billion in Q1'10 and $6.2 billion in Q2'09.

Germany, at 2.30 GW, accounted for 60 percent of global demand in Q2'10. The next largest country market, Italy which grew 127 percent quarter on quarter, was still just 11 percent of the size of the German market. France and the US also put in strong performances.

On the supply side, polysilicon, wafer, and cell manufacturers reached capacity utilization rates of between 75 percent and 87 percent. Despite an increase of 495 MW in wafer supply over the past quarter, wafer capacity represented the most constrained part of the industry chain.

Among cell manufacturer shipments, the Top 5 were represented by First Solar, Suntech Power, JA Solar, Yingli Green Energy and finally Trina Solar. Among the Top 12 cell manufacturers in Q2'10, six Chinese manufacturers accounted for 55 percent of shipments, up from 43 percent a year ago.

Both upstream and downstream module inventories in MW terms held almost perfectly steady at the end of Q2compared to the prior quarter end.

After six quarters of declines in factory gate prices, there were modest rises in short term contract prices in Europe. However, weighted average factory gate modules prices are still down 24 percent in US dollar terms from one year ago.

First-tier Chinese cell and module manufacturers that had priced competitively in the first six months of the year moved in to a forward sold position, which, in turn, allowed European factory gate prices to rise 2-4 percent by the beginning of Q3'10. A strong yen is helping to ensure that Japan remains one of the best markets to place product.

Looking ahead into 2011, the most challenging quarter will undoubtedly be Q1'11. Leading European markets, including Germany will face large reductions in tariffs at the beginning of the year.

Even with careful phasing of projects and price reductions, market demand is projected to be less than 50 percent of module production. As a result, the analysis forecasts end Q1'11 upstream and downstream module inventory days to increase significantly by the end of that quarter.

"Historically, the PV industry has often exuded over-optimism in the face of uncertain end-markets. However, the recent industry conference in Valencia confirmed two prevailing industry positions, one that emphasizes oversubscribed order books, the other that focuses on the German tariff declines and a demand reduction next year," Stevens concluded.

Source: Solarbuzz.

Q-Cells and LDK Solar: Early loan repayment and adjustment of solar wafer supply contract

BITTERFELD-WOLFEN, GERMANY: Q-Cells SE has reached an agreement with the Chinese company LDK Solar to repay the loan extended to LDK Solar by Q-Cells in 2008 early (originally an advance payment for raw material supplies) and to adjust the existing solar wafer supply contract.

The early repayment of the loan will strengthen Q-Cells’ liquidity position and is a major step forward in the long term financing of the company. Q-Cells has two outstanding convertible bonds. Repayment of €492.5 million for the first of these is due in February 2012.

LDK Solar will repay the loan granted by Q-Cells, which currently stands at $224.9 million (ca. €170 million), in its entirety by the end of 2011. Payments of $195 million (ca. €150 million) from LDK Solar have been agreed until the end of 2010.

An initial payment of $56.2 million (approximately €44 million) has already been made. Previously, the repayment schedule envisaged staged repayment up to the end of 2015. In return, the existing bank guarantee, with which the Q-Cells loan is secured will be reduced in stages and replaced by other collateral.

At the same time, both parties reached agreement on adjusting the prices for the existing supply contract for solar wafers. In addition until 2018, flexible prices will continue to apply for the entire term of the contract. These will be in line with the market price, and be determined on a quarterly basis.

TSMC begins building solar R&D center and fab in Central Taiwan

TAICHUNG, TAIWAN: Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co. Ltd broke ground in Taichung’s Central Taiwan Science Park on the company's first thin film solar R&D center and fab, laying the foundation for the company’s entry into the thin-film solar photovoltaic (PV) market.

Dr. Morris Chang, TSMC's chairman and CEO, said: "TSMC's New Businesses team has reached many important milestones since it was formed last year, first with our LED facility in Hsinchu, and now with construction in Taichung on our first solar facility. Our solar and LED businesses will not only bolster TSMC's revenue and profit growth in the coming decades, they also play a key role in TSMC's corporate social responsibility by making products that support a greener earth.

"In addition, construction of this solar R&D center and fab, along with our Fab 15 Gigafab next to it, means Taichung’s Central Taiwan Science Park will become home to much of TSMC's most advanced and innovative production."

"TSMC has always been committed to technology leadership, and our solar business will be no different," said Dr. Rick Tsai, TSMC president of New Businesses. "The research performed at this R&D center will help us achieve our goal of offering a leading thin-film solution and the production at this fab, drawing on TSMC's wealth of manufacturing know-how, will pave the way for us to become a top provider of solar PV modules."

TSMC plans to invest US$258 million for the first phase of the thin film solar R&D center and fab, which is scheduled for equipment move-in in the second quarter of 2011 and achieve initial volume production of 200MW (megawatts) per year in thin-film photovoltaic modules in 2012.

TSMC also plans to add a second phase to the facility and expand production to more than 700MW, employing about 2,000 total staff in the facility. In addition, the R&D center in the facility will continue to develop the CIGS technology licensed from Stion in June of this year. TSMC will offer its solar products around the world under its own brand.

Basic information regarding thin film solar R&D center and fab:
- Total area of site: 5.2 hectares.
- Building area: 110,000 square meters.
- Production area: 78,000 square meters.

Q-Cells and ATS to accelerate solar growth in Ontario

BITTERFELD-WOLFEN, GERMANY, SAN FRANCISCO, USA & CAMBRIDGE, CANADA: Q-Cells SE, one of the largest photovoltaic (PV) companies in the world providing solar power plants, modules and cells, and ATS Automation Tooling Systems Inc., a leading global provider of innovative, custom designed, turnkey manufacturing solutions, and through Photowatt, an integrated manufacturer and developer of solar systems, have established a joint venture for the development of large scale renewable energy projects in Ontario.

ATS and Q-Cells each hold a 50 percent interest in the project development company Ontario Solar PV Fields Inc., which received conditional Feed-In-Tariff (FIT) contracts from the Ontario Power Authority (OPA) in April for seven Ontario ground mounted projects totaling 64 megawatts (MW). The projects represent approximately 10 percent of the 650 MW of ground mounted solar projects awarded throughout the province and are expected to begin construction in 2011 and beyond.

ATS and Q-Cells will both contribute project development, engineering-procurement-construction (EPC) and related services to the venture. The partnership will utilize domestic content modules supplied by Photowatt Ontario with Q-Cells solar cells.

“We are very pleased to have combined the capabilities of two proven global solar companies to quickly serve the rapidly developing solar opportunities in the Ontario market,” said Martin Cecchetto, ATS vice president, Corporate Development.

“Together, we offer a compelling, fully integrated solution and track record to potential developers and financial partners that will make widespread solar adoption in Ontario a reality and significantly expand the solar expertise and presence in the Province.”

The partnership will draw on ATS’s significant local solar expertise as an Ontario headquartered company that provides automation services globally to many top-tier solar companies and parent of Photowatt, a fully integrated solar supplier with a 30 year track record. The Q-Cells Group is one of the world’s leading photovoltaic companies and global solar integrator with project experience in Ontario.

“The Ontario market is projected to be one of the dominant solar markets in North America in 2011,” said Marc van Gerven, Q-Cells North American CEO. “This partnership is an excellent fit with our internationalization strategy by bringing together the global solar expertise of Q-Cells with leading local partners in the industry such as ATS”.

Aries Waaree Solar wins engineering contract for 40 MW solar system

MUMBAI, INDIA: Aries Waaree Solar Pvt Ltd (AWSPL), which operates in the field of engineering, construction and supervision of renewable energy power plants in India has received an order for engineering services to set up 40 MW Solar PV Power Plant for the Adani Group Gujarat, India.

Aries Waaree Solar Pvt. Ltd is a joint venture company between, Mumbai based Waaree Group and Aries Spain.

V.K. Jain, joint president and Head of Renewable Power, Adani Group said: "We are very happy to award this order to AWSPL. A greener world is the new dictum and thus utilization of renewable energy needs to be encouraged. Its good to see that people are now moving towards Solar Power generation and this Industry is picking up in India and I am sure that India will be a noted player in the future at global level."

This is the first step of the Adani Group toward solar power generation.

"We are delighted to develop this important project for Adani Group. It is the first large scale solar MW project to be built not only in India but in Asia and it represents an important milestone in the development of solar energy in India," said Mr. Alberto Sanchez, Business Development Manager for Asia, Aries Ingenieria y Sistemas.

"It's a proud moment for the Aries Waaree Solar Pvt Ltd to get order from Adani Group and that makes us the major player in Solar Power engineering company in India. Apart from engineering services we assure our customers of very high quality PV modules and other products for Solar PV power plants," said Hitesh Doshi, chairman of the Waaree Group.

US and China cleantech investments showing strong momentum

NEW YORK, USA: The US and China are emerging as global leaders in the cleantech sector, according to a new report released today from PwC LLP.

The new study entitled, "The U.S.-China Cleantech Connection: Shaping a new commercial diplomacy" discusses how these two countries are initiating ambitious cleantech build-outs and are working together to leverage significant growth opportunities within and beyond the US and China markets.

"The Cleantech revolution has gained momentum at a staggering pace during the past year. The potential scale and political urgency of emerging cleantech industries is beginning to bear a semblance to the Space Race of the 1960's," said Tim Carey, US cleantech leader at PwC. "The US and China have stepped to the forefront, as both countries recognize that aggressive backing of the cleantech sector can help achieve long-term goals of environmental protection, resource conservation and economic growth."

In Q2 2010, US venture capital investments in cleantech totaled more than $1.2 billion, according to the MoneyTree Report, a quarterly survey that tracks cash-for-equity investments by the professional venture capital community in private emerging companies in the United States.

The emergence of the US coupled with China's growing presence in this sector has positioned the two countries as the frontrunners for the cleantech revolution.
PwC's new report on cleantech discusses how the U.S. and China have rapidly ascended as leaders in a global race toward cleantech dominance, while taking a deeper dive into key cleantech sector "sweet spots" that present strong opportunities for growth, including mega-renewables, clean water and air, transportation and smart grid.

Key findings from the report include:
Mega-Renewables: China's extensive plan for mega-renewable energy generation build-outs presents opportunities for US collaboration.
* Generous incentives for clean technology investment on national, regional and local levels drove China to become one of the world's biggest markets for new wind turbines in 2009.
* China is a major producer of solar energy generation products, producing one-third of the world's photovoltaic panels in 2009, yet installations in China account for less than 3 percent of global installations.
* China's percentage of global installations is set to increase and US companies are well positioned to help support China's ambitious mega-renewable build-outs.

Clean water, Clean air: Leveraging cleantech to address water and air pollution in China is a matter of national urgency.
* China's problems with polluted air and water have placed water management technology high on its priority list.
* Only 50 percent of China's coal plants have emissions control equipment. Sixty percent of China's new coal plants use new clean technology, with emissions regulations that are often not heavily enforced, according to the report.

Electric vehicles: China's alternative fuel vehicle penetration rate is on the verge of leapfrogging the US and European Union.
* Production of alternative fuel vehicles (AFVs) will reach an estimated 400,000 units annually in China by 2016.
* China automakers are forecasted to expand global share of electric vehicles from less than 3 percent in 2010 to 35 percent in 2020.
* US and other foreign firms are poised to contribute needed technology and expertise if and when clean vehicles in China gain the level of traction automakers and legislators are hoping for.

"With the sudden increase of US and China cleantech investments, the opportunity exists for US companies to begin nurturing partnerships with both large and small fast-growing companies within China," added Carey. "Partnerships built on mutual cooperation, trust and a clear understanding of each country's business conditions and needs will pave the way for long-term relationships and significant economic growth."

LDK Solar signs MoU with National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL)

XINYU CITY, CHINA & SUNNYVALE, USA: LDK Solar Co. Ltd, a leading manufacturer of multicrystalline solar wafers and PV products, announced the signing of a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with the US Department of Energy's (DOE) National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) for collaborative research and development activities related to silicon materials and photovoltaic devices.

The objectives for the collaborative activities are the investigation of silicon feedstock related issues, development of standards for solar grade silicon and evaluation methods, and research on crystallization technologies and commercial implementation. The NREL is DOE's primary laboratory for renewable energy and energy efficiency research and development.

"NREL is one of the world's leading PV research organizations and we are honored to partner with them," stated Xiaofeng Peng, chairman and CEO of LDK Solar. "With common R&D goals and having previously collaborated informally with the NREL, we are pleased formalize our cooperation. We are proud of the continued work by our Technology Center which is dedicated to product and technology development while sustaining competitive advantages for LDK Solar."

"We look forward to working closely with LDK to accelerate research to bring more alternative energy solutions to the market," stated John Benner, manager of PV industry partnership at NCPV of NREL.