Sunday, January 31, 2010

Concentrix Solar wins IEC certification for CPV module CX-75

BERNIN, FRANCE: Concentrix Solar, a leading supplier of Concentrator Photovoltaic (CPV) systems and a new division of the Soitec Group (Euronext Paris), the world's supplier of engineered substrates, has received IEC certification 62108 for its CX-75 FLATCON(R) module generation.

The International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC) is the world's leading electrical and electronic standards organization. IEC 62108 is the CPV industry's standard, ensuring that modules and assemblies are suitable for long-term operation in a wide range of outdoor climates.

By producing the CX-75 module in the company's industry-leading, fully-automated production line in Freiburg, Germany, Concentrix Solar is uniquely able to ensure consistent, highest-precision manufacturing in high volumes - a critical factor in ensuring high nominal AC system efficiency and long-term reliability.

"The IEC 62108 certificate is an important milestone, confirming that our new CX-75 module is ready for full, commercial deployment in utility-scale electricity production," said Concentrix Solar CEO, Hansjorg Lerchenmuller. "It attests that our systems are capable of withstanding prolonged exposure in harsh climates and are designed to withstand severe environmental conditions such as rain, hail and high winds."

The assessment was performed by the Spanish accredited testing institute CENER (Centro Nacional de Energias Renovables) and certified by the Spanish Association for Standardization and Certification (AENOR).

The certificate confirms that the Concentrix Solar CX-75 module successfully passed all the necessary IEC performance and accelerated aging tests and therefore received design qualification and type approval. Concentrix Solar's previous module generation successfully had already passed the IEC tests in 2007.

The IEC 62108 standard specifies the requirements for the design qualification and type approval of CPV modules and assemblies suitable for long-term operation in demanding outdoor conditions. Since 2009, it has been the standard for the certification of CPV modules.

According to the testing standards for conventional PV modules, the IEC 62108 norm simulates environmental conditions and influences for CPV modules to verify the performance reliability and aging resistance. This includes, among other things, testing of hail impact, mechanical load, insulation and wet insulation as well as outdoor exposure.

Concentrix Solar takes a unique approach in manufacturing its modules in a fully automated industrial production line. The high degree of automation ensures that all modules are of the same high quality and deliver the greatest efficiencies and reliable system operation over long time periods.

With the CX-75, Concentrix Solar has increased the system efficiency (AC) of its concentrator systems, as confirmed at installations in San Diego, USA, and Puertollano, Spain. Precision and quality in module manufacturing lead to consistent high quality and an extremely high average module efficiency of 27.2 percent.

Quantum's high efficiency solar panels achieve UL certification for US and Canada

IRVINE, USA: Quantum Fuel Systems Technologies Worldwide Inc. has achieved the industry standard UL (US) and C-UL (Canada) certifications for its 230 Watt series of crystalline silicon solar photovoltaic modules.

Quantum's solar modules have also been successfully tested under the California Energy Commission (CEC) guidelines and subsequently listed as "eligible photovoltaic modules" under the California Solar Initiative program for state rebates.

Quantum's German affiliate Asola currently manufactures solar modules that incorporate advanced crystalline silicon technologies per European standards. The Asola solar modules are labeled with the CE mark, certifying that the products meet the requirements of European IEC 61215 and IEC 61730 standards.

Together with Quantum's certifications to UL 1703 (US) and ULC ORD C1703 (Canada), the Quantum-Asola product-line certifications provide safety as well as performance conformity around the globe.

Quantum's solar modules are designed for reliable energy generation over a period exceeding 25 years:

Maximum Power Output: High efficiency crystalline silicon solar cells and low-iron, tempered and lightly textured glass that allows high transmission and ensures high power output.

Maximum Reliability: Precision cell placement and edge distances guarantee reliable, high energy yields; robust junction box with three by-pass diodes adds to reliability and performance.

Durability: Solar cells are encapsulated within a high-quality UV-stable ethylene vinyl acetate foil for durability; corrosion-proof and torsion-resistant aluminum alloy frame is constructed to be rigid, and without screws or corner connections.

High Quality: Each module tested for quality and performance, and verified for dielectric voltage resistance, ground continuity and power output.

"Quantum has a strong background in testing, validation and implementing process control systems to ensure highest quality products," said Alan P. Niedzwiecki, the President and CEO of Quantum. "The UL certification is an important milestone that opens the North American market for us. We are excited to be qualified by the California Energy Commission for rebates, just as demand has accelerated for high quality solar modules."

Quantum's solar modules are slated for mass production in a state of the art facility planned for Irvine, California, with an expected annual capacity of 45 MW.

Quantum announced on January 19, 2010 that it has entered into a professional services agreement with the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power (LADWP) as a qualified supplier eligible to bid for competitive procurement of up to 200 MW of solar power projects, as part of the mandated Renewable Portfolio Standard (RPS) program, with a budget of $455 million over three years.

Saturday, January 30, 2010

AU Optronics increases cash investment to M.Setek for enhancing solar value chain

HSINCHU, TAIWAN: AU Optronics Corp. has announced its decision, approved by its Board of Directors on January 29th, to subscribe new shares to be issued by M.Setek for seizing the highly-growing Solar market opportunities and accelerating establishment of key material capacity. AUO will invest 15 billion yen to strengthen its strategic position in solar value chain.

Being a major supplier to renowned solar cell companies around the world, M.Setek's leading technology realizes high conversion rate of monocrystal silicon wafers for solar cells. M.Setek is one of the few global suppliers which could provide high quality and high-efficient solar wafer.

For strengthening its strategic position in Solar value chain, AUO decided to subscribe new shares to be issued by M.Setek for further expanding the capacity and enhancing financial healthiness. Meanwhile, AUO will provide the experiences of flexible reactions to the fast changing industry and its management resources.

The investment will help M.Setek to perform better in operation, sales, and finance, and will be able to develop Japan and overseas market. After the cash investment to its operation, M.Setek's construction of the second fab in Soma will be completed. The capacity of monocrystal silicon will be significantly increased from 3,000 tons to 7,000 tons. This will be the best support for AUO to expand its solar business aggressively.

AUO has actively invested in solar business and planned for both solar upstream and downstream value chains. AUO has shipped its solar modules to Europe since June 2009. The first solar park project in Hungen city, Germany was also on-grid by end of 2009.

The 3MWp solar-power plant using AUO's PV modules can supply electricity for 800 households. In addition to establishing a Reliability Lab for PV module's quality assurance, AUO is building a module production line in Taichung and the line will be ramped up in Q1 2010.

AUO is also recruiting a large number of R&D talents for the energy business and plans to build up the first solar business operation base in China. With the strategy of providing the total solution, AUO will cooperate with the partners in the industrial value chain to develop the solar market globally.

Solarfun becomes member of PV Cycle

SHANGHAI, CHINA: Solarfun Power Holdings Co. Ltd, a vertically integrated manufacturer of silicon ingots and photovoltaic cells and modules in China, has joined PV Cycle, an organization dedicated to making the solar industry "double green" by introducing programs to take back and recycle end-of-life PV modules.

Peter Xie, President of Solarfun, commented: "We remain dedicated to finding new ways to make our products even more environmentally friendly, from increasing both cell and production efficiencies, to proactively adopting recycling programs for our end-of-life PV modules.

"By recycling, we hope to further help the environment by reducing waste and the amount of energy required to produce raw materials for producing PV modules. Therefore, we are enthusiastic about joining PV Cycle and look forward to contributing to the development of new standards of sustainability."

Friday, January 29, 2010

Umwelt-Sonne-Energie completes 1.9 MWp Solyndra panel project in Belgium

FREMONT, USA: Solyndra Inc., a manufacturer of innovative cylindrical photovoltaic (PV) systems for commercial rooftops, announced that Umwelt-Sonne-Energie GmbH (USE Projects), an authorized reseller, has completed the largest collective Solyndra project to date.

The project consists of 1.9 MWp of generation capability installed on 10 rooftop sites in Belgium owned by a large international food retailer. The power generated by the systems will be sold to local utilities under an agreement with the building owners.

"This is a great example of how Solyndra's PV systems can take advantage of underutilized commercial rooftop space to generate significant power. The project also offers a good model for how distributed power generation can work in an urban setting," said Chris Gronet, Solyndra CEO and founder. "USE Projects designed and delivered a PV system that we believe can enable the highest energy production per roof over the system lifetime while taking advantage of Solyndra's low overall installation costs."

Solyndra's cylindrical, thin film PV systems are designed to generate more electricity from typical low-slope commercial rooftops while providing significantly lower installation costs than conventional flat plate PV technologies. The Belgium project involved the installation of 1,928 kWp on 10 sites in 10 cities, and was completed in just two months.

"Solyndra was the best solution for this challenging project given the number of sites, different roof orientations and desire for highest possible energy yield per roof," said Arnold Berens, USE Projects CEO. "Our trained technical staff found the systems easy to install and we are pleased to be able to have completed this project which helps our rooftop host meet their corporate citizenship goals while also generating significant clean power."

Suntech unveils plans for first US factory in Goodyear, Arizona

PHOENIX, USA: From the AZ4Solar Symposium, Suntech Power Holdings Co. Ltd, the world's largest crystalline silicon photovoltaic (PV) module manufacturer, and Arizona Governor Jan Brewer announced that the company's first US manufacturing plant will be located in the City of Goodyear, Arizona.

The Suntech Goodyear factory will initially employ more than 70 local residents and is designed as a showcase for the company's latest-generation solar electricity manufacturing technologies and equipment. It will begin with a production capacity of 30 MW and has the potential to expand to over 120 MW, giving Suntech the ability to respond to the rapidly growing demand for solar throughout the United States.

As the first China-based cleantech company to bring manufacturing jobs to the United States, Suntech carefully reviewed communities across the country to find the best possible location for its first domestic plant.

Suntech selected Goodyear based on several factors, including the State of Arizona's progressive renewable energy standards and solar policies for both utility-scale and rooftop installations, the Greater Phoenix Area's supportive business climate, and the availability of local manufacturing-ready facilities.

"I am pleased to welcome Suntech to Arizona, and commend the company for choosing Goodyear as the site for its solar manufacturing operation," said Arizona Governor Jan Brewer. "I am very serious about establishing Arizona as a leader in the renewable energy sector -- we offer a strategic location with a highly skilled workforce, low payroll taxes, and, now, the right incentive program to make business sense."

Suntech's Goodyear plant will serve as a showcase for the company's latest solar electricity manufacturing technologies, facilitating collaboration with similar efforts ongoing at nearby Arizona State University. In addition the company will deploy state-of-the-art manufacturing and testing equipment that will ensure the highest levels of efficiency and output of Suntech's module manufacturing process.

Plans also include constructing solar parking structures on the site that will generate electricity for use in the plant as well as provide shaded parking for employees.

"I'm thrilled that Suntech, one of the world's leaders of innovative energy solutions, has chosen to establish its first North American plant here in Goodyear," said James M. Cavanaugh, Mayor of Goodyear. "Suntech will bring new employment opportunities in this emerging industry to Goodyear and all of Arizona."

"Taking the step to bring manufacturing to the US is a strategic move for our North American business, and we're focused on making the most of our investment," said Steven Chan, Chief Strategy Officer, Suntech.

"With our Goodyear facility, we have the opportunity to design a truly innovative module manufacturing center that can accelerate innovation, allowing us to deploy new products designed to meet the burgeoning US solar market. Having a facility here in the US will also reduce the time, costs and greenhouse gas emissions associated with shipping panels from overseas."

Manufacturing in Suntech's Goodyear plant will begin in September 2010.

Intel plans eight new solar installations in four states

SANTA CLARA, USA: Building on its existing portfolio of renewable energy site installations, Intel Corp. reported that new contracts are in place to incorporate approximately 2.5 megawatts worth of new solar power projects at eight US locations in Arizona, California, New Mexico and Oregon.Solar Plans at Intel Santa Clara RNB.

In addition, Intel announced it has renewed and increased by 10 percent its purchase commitments for renewable energy credits (REC) to more than 1.43 billion kilowatt hours -- more than 51 percent of its estimated 2010 US electricity use.

These commitments reflect Intel's continued focus on energy efficiency and conservation programs that will help achieve its 2012 goals related to water use, global-warming emissions, energy consumption, waste reduction and product energy efficiency. They also represent Intel's long-standing goal of inspiring more demand for and cost-effective supply of solar and other renewable energies.

"Intel is committed to renewable energy to reduce our own carbon footprint as well as to spur the market and make renewables more economically feasible for individuals and businesses to deploy," said Brian Krzanich, vice president and general manager of Manufacturing and Supply Chain for Intel. "These announcements represent our broader commitment which includes diversifying our energy portfolio through solar and other clean energy investments, and this will continue to be a priority for us around the globe."

Intel's new solar installations are planned to be completed over the next seven months. Each project would currently rank as one of the 10 largest solar installations in its respective region if activated today.

For example, the panels planned for Intel's Chandler and Ocotillo campuses in Arizona would each currently be the fifth largest in SRP service territory or the second largest when combined, according to the utility company. All of the solar panels will be installed on the roofs of Intel's facilities, with the major exception of the largest installation, an approximately 1-megawatt solar field in Folsom, Calif.

The Folsom installation will span nearly six acres of land on campus, which would make it one of the largest non-utility ground-mounts in California at the time of this release. All of the installations will use the power generated at their respective site, making them an efficient source of electricity with savings on grid delivery losses.

RECs are the "currency" of renewable energy markets, and Intel's latest REC purchases equate to approximately 51 percent of Intel's estimated purchased electricity needs in the United States for 2010. This corresponds to the carbon dioxide emissions from the electricity use of nearly 134,000 average American homes or nearly 200,000 passenger cars removed from the streets for one year.

As a result of Intel's continued commitment to purchase RECs, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) again placed Intel at the top of its latest Green Power Partner List for 2010 as the largest voluntary, single purchaser of green power. Intel was previously honored with the EPA's Green Power Partner of the Year Award.

Intel's new solar installations and its reaffirmed commitment to purchasing RECs reflect just the latest in Intel's energy portfolio, which includes wind, solar, geo-thermal, small hydro-electric and biomass sources. Since 2001, Intel has invested more than $30 million and saved more than 650 million kilowatt hours from energy conservation and efficiency initiatives.

Other highlights include:

Investments: Intel reaffirms its dedication to clean technology innovation and development.

* In July 2009, Intel Capital, Intel's global investment organization, announced five cleantech investments totaling more than $10 million.

* In total, Intel Capital has invested more than $125 million in more than a dozen cleantech companies that span four continents; four in solar photovoltaics, further demonstrating Intel's commitment to accelerating innovation in this space.

Installations: Intel continues to look for opportunities across its dispersed locations.

* Intel's Bangalore, India site hosted the company's first solar thermal installation: solar water heaters, which now supply nearly 100 percent of the total hot water requirements for two campuses, saving 70,000 kilowatts per year.

* Intel Oregon energized the company's first solar electric system on the roof of its Jones Farm site in early 2009.

Later this year, Intel's Haifa, Israel (IDC 9) site will open Intel's first Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED)-registered building.

Employee Engagement: Employee engagement in sustainability is paramount at Intel with a portion of each employee's variable compensation tied to company performance against environmental metrics, which include reducing Intel's absolute carbon footprint growth.

As a key element of Intel's new solar installations, awareness kiosks will be set up in each site lobby to educate and engage employees in the company's energy efforts.
Intel's REC purchase will be handled by Sterling Planet, a national supplier of renewable energy, energy efficiency and low-carbon solutions. All purchases will be certified by the non-profit Center for Resource Solutions' Green-e program, which certifies and verifies green power products.

Avancis achieves 15.1 percent efficiency

TORGAU, GERMANY: The solar module manufacturer AVANCIS has recorded a new international efficiency record with a 30 x 30 cm², fully encapsulated CIS solar module.

Based on the aperture area of 668 cm², an efficiency level of 15.1 % has been confirmed by the independent National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL, Col. USA). With this result, AVANCIS heads the list of independently certified world records in the field of thin-film solar modules published in the “Progress in Photovoltaics” journal.

“This world record is testimony to the fact that CIS boasts the best performance of all thin-film technologies and, with our patented, two-stage manufacturing method, we have an unrivalled production process at our disposal,” explained Dr. Franz Karg, CTO of AVANCIS. “Since start of production in October 2008, we have been able to increase the efficiency of standard production modules from an initial 9 percent to 11 percent,” continued Dr. Karg.

In order to turn the records achieved by the research department into an industry standard as quickly as possible, the department only uses processes and materials that are also used in series production.

AVANCIS develops and produces thin-film photovoltaic modules on the basis of CIS (copper indium selenide). The innovative production process is based on the second generation of CIS technology, developed in the AVANCIS research & development department in Munich. The production capacity of the first factory at the company headquarters in Torgau is 20 megawatt peak per annum (MWp/a).

Siemens, Shell and Saint-Gobain are well-known names that have supported current AVANCIS technology at a very early stage and they are closely associated with successes in the field of photovoltaics. AVANCIS as a subsidiary of Saint-Gobain benefits from many years of experience in coating and heat-treating glass, two core areas of expertise of the world’s leading provider of glass for the construction and automotive industries.

Carmanah partners with Hong Kong-based JEC to distribute solar LED lighting products

VICTORIA, British Columbia: Canadian solar LED technology innovator Carmanah Technologies Corp. has entered into a distribution agreement with the Jardine Engineering Corp. (JEC), a member of Hong Kong-based Jardine Matheson Group.

Under the terms of the agreement, JEC will distribute Carmanah’s solar LED lighting products throughout Hong Kong, Macau, the Philippines and Thailand.

JEC is a leading provider of world-class building products and services catering to large scale projects in Asia. JEC has a strong track record in introducing innovative products and services to the markets.

The agreement will see JEC adding Carmanah’s full line of solar LED aviation/obstruction, marine, roadway and EverGEN outdoor lighting solutions to the range of world-class, innovative and industry-leading architectural and industrial products available to JEC customers in Hong Kong and Macau.

Carmanah will also work with JEC affiliates in the Philippines and Thailand to distribute Carmanah’s solar LED roadway beacons and EverGEN outdoor lighting solutions in those countries.

“With today’s emphasis on green and sustainable solutions, solar LED lighting for industrial and architectural applications is a welcome addition to the range of solutions offered by JEC,” said Penn Yeung, Chief Development Officer of JEC. “The quality and innovation built into Carmanah’s solar LED products made Carmanah a natural choice to add to our portfolio.”

"JEC is uniquely positioned to bring Carmanah’s solar LED lighting products to the industrial and architectural lighting markets in Hong Kong, Macau, the Philippines and Thailand," said Ted Lattimore, CEO of Carmanah. "We are pleased and proud that JEC has selected our Canadian company as their supplier of choice for solar LED technology. JEC's choice of Carmanah is truly a reflection of the excellent reputation that Carmanah's solar LED products have earned worldwide."

ONTILITY launches solar business software as a Service (SaaS) solar project technology platform

HOUSTON, USA: ONTILITY has released its industry leading and first EcoTech Solar and Green Business Technology platform.

The ONTILITY EcoTech Platform is built on a software as a service (SaaS), web 2.0, cloud architecture, with NetSuite, SuiteApps and SuiteCloud at its core. The EcoTech platform features five EcoTech modules and portals that combined, provide leading edge technology and tools for all residential and commercial scale solar projects.

Tom Pash, CEO of ONTILITY, explained: "As we have seen our business model grow and listened to our clients and partners, we realized there was a need for a complete end-to-end software platform that is dedicated towards helping move solar projects from analysis to design to quote to installation to utility interconnection more efficiently. We also witnessed a need for a complete solar platform that can also function as both a solar industry specific Customer Relationship Management (CRM) and Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) application.

"Our EcoTech platform offers a process driven, unified way to speed up the solar system installation process from beginning to end, while managing both clients and resources effectively. The best part of our new EcoTech platform is that our platform is offered via a cloud, so we can set up new clients, partners and dealers/installers in a few minutes. After a quick set up, users can log into the EcoTech platform directly from our website.

"Lastly, we also offer flexible pricing packages starting at $125 per user, per month. With no initial invest and quick deployment, our platform can help even the smallest solar integrator look and conduct business like SolarCity in a matter of minutes."

EcoTech platform features
Hosted via cloud architecture, EcoTech™ is accessible anytime, anywhere via the internet and supports all devices, including smartphones and tablet computers:

* Anytime information access - Anywhere, anytime access to the customer, product and resource information you need.
* Real-time inventory and pricing – Ability to check stock and pricing anytime.
* Real-time project visibility - From design to quotes to installation.
* Dashboard - Real-time dashboards for tracking orders and installations.
* Seamless integration - Ability to seamlessly integrate to retail electric provider backend and web based systems as well as industry leading solar and energy efficiency site analysis and audit software and tools.
* Co-ordinated processing - Ability to outsource and/or coordinate the entire quote, ordering, paperwork processing and orchestration process (leaving you time to do business not paperwork and logistics).
* Modeling - Includes financial and production modeling for all your business and clients' needs.
* Personalized view – ONTILITY Certified Partners are provided a customized and personalized log in with unique access and features.

EcoTech platform modules
The following are the modules/portals that comprise the EcoTech Platform.

* EcoDesign Module
EcoConnect Module
EcoPortal and EcoAppleSeed Portal.

Semprius, Siemens to advance innovative solar energy technology

DURHAM & ATLANTA, USA: Semprius Inc. and Siemens Industry Inc. have entered into a joint development agreement to co-develop and deploy plug-and-play demonstration systems based on Semprius’ Solar Module Arrays and Siemens’ automation and control components.

The systems are slated to be installed at numerous test sites around the world, including major utilities, commercial sites, international test locations and government facilities.

Semprius Solar Module Arrays offer the benefits of low installed cost and high capacity factor which combined enable very low energy costs in sunny, dry climates. Their high efficiency, scalable design makes them applicable to a wide range of projects from distributed commercial and industrial to large scale utility installations.

The company was selected this month by the US Department of Energy to receive support through a $3 million subcontract from DOE’s PV Technology Incubator, which aims to accelerate commercialization of its solar photovoltaic systems.

Siemens is a global leader in automation systems, power conversion and control systems. As part of its environmental portfolio, which generated revenue of $31 billion (EUR 23 billion) in fiscal 2009, Siemens provides technology to the photovoltaic industry. In an effort to make PV module arrays more efficient, Siemens will integrate its components with Semprius PV module arrays, and together the companies will implement the test systems to validate performance of the combined technologies.

“Our PV module arrays will make the generation of solar power economically viable in clear, sunny climates found in many parts of the world,” said Joe Carr, Semprius President and CEO. “We are excited about teaming with Siemens to demonstrate the value of this technology.”

“Competitive project deployment cost for CPV will be the key for the success of this technology. Combining Siemens’ advanced automation and control equipment with Semprius Module Arrays has the potential to deliver electricity at grid level prices to both industrial and utility scale customers,” said Peter Krause, Business Segment Manager, Siemens Industry, Inc.

Suniva, GS Battery to develop energy-storing solar systems

NORCROSS, USA: Suniva Inc., a US-based high-efficiency solar manufacturer, will collaborate with GS Battery, Inc., the American subsidiary of GS Yuasa International, Ltd. of Japan, a world leader in battery and inverter technologies, to develop solar powered energy storage systems using Suniva’s solar modules.

The collaboration between Suniva and GS Battery will begin with the planning and development of several commercial demonstration sites across the United States. The first system will use 30kW of Suniva’s solar modules and will be built on GS Battery’s headquarters in Roswell, GA. This solar array, which is designed, engineered and constructed by Atlanta-based solar integrator First Century Energy, will also be the first grid-connected energy-storing solar installation in Georgia.

As of January 1, 2010, battery storage systems qualify under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act for the same 30 percent federal investment tax credit as solar systems.

“Solar system owners that are able to store their energy output are also able to take advantage of many new economic opportunities,” said Yasuyuki Nakamura, President of GS Battery. “Our state of the art approach allows customers to achieve better returns on investment with a more flexible and profitable solar energy supply. We are excited about the value of utilizing Suniva’s high-powered modules with our battery technology.”

Under the partnership, GS Battery will use Suniva’s high-efficiency solar modules, Powered by Suniva, which consist of Suniva’s ARTisun series monocrystalline solar cells, in its energy-storing solar systems. Suniva modules can achieve power output up to 300 watts, which is one of the highest performance levels in today’s solar industry.

“GS Battery is an accomplished and innovative company with more than a decade of experience using solar technology. Being selected as their technology partner is a testament to the quality and performance of our solar modules,” said John Baumstark, CEO of Suniva. “Beginning with a series of high-performing prototype systems, Suniva and GS Battery will work to design the most advanced and reliable solar and battery systems in today’s industry.”

Amtech announces $19 million in new solar orders

TEMPE, USA: Amtech Systems Inc., a global supplier of production and automation systems and related supplies for the manufacture of solar cells, semiconductors, and silicon wafers, announced that its solar subsidiary, Tempress Systems Inc., has received approximately $19 million in solar orders for its diffusion processing systems from several new and existing customers in Asia.

The orders are expected to ship in the second half of calendar 2010. Amtech’s total solar orders to date in fiscal 2010, including these most recent orders, have surpassed $70 million. Amtech’s fiscal 2010 began October 1, 2009.

J.S. Whang, President and Chief Executive Officer of Amtech, commented: "These latest orders are from both new and existing customers and demonstrate the growing solar manufacturing market in Asia and the significant presence that Tempress has developed in the region in a very short period of time through superior diffusion technology.

"I am very pleased that an increasing number of top tier solar cell manufacturers are recognizing our diffusion technology and our capability to support their high efficiency solar cell programs, as evidenced by the high level of orders received fiscal year-to-date. We believe the intense effort by our customers and the solar industry to increase cell efficiency will continue to drive demand for our diffusion technology and related products. We continue to see excellent quotation activity and remain focused on continued successful execution of our solar growth strategy."

MySolarBackUp.com's solar generator provides alternative source for affordable portable electricity

THOMSON, USA: When most people think about generators they instantly think of a power outage, the two seem to be automatically linked. While anybody that owns a generator will tell you, the benefit of having one is most noticeable when the electricity is out the truth is there are a number of other benefits if you happen to own a solar powered generator.

The difference between a traditional gas generator and a solar generator is night and day and for those who own a gas generator they may be all too familiar with the darkness associated with night. A gas generator may bring temporary relief to a power outage but for every positive there is a drawback that just can’t be ignored. The opposite is true for the solar generator from MySolarBackUp.com, for every benefit new benefits can spring.

Think about the gas generator; the noise, the fumes, the weight and the constant need to refuel. You may keep your lights on during a power outage but that running generator will be a constant reminder why those lights are on. In comparison, the solar generator makes no noise, emits no fumes, is portable and requires no fuel- it draws its energy from the sun and converts that energy into electricity for your appliances.

There really is no need to try and compare a solar generator and gas generator as the benefits listed above clearly indicate it’s an unfair comparison. So let’s just focus on the benefits of the solar powered generator and how you can not only enjoy more freedom but save money as well.

Back to the first issue addressed in the opening paragraph, the idea that generators are an emergency source of electricity. While that may be true it is also incomplete. The truth is the solar generator is an excellent tool to lowering or eliminating your monthly electricity bill.

Because the solar generator is constantly recharging it produces constant electricity, meaning the appliances you plug into the solar generator have a reliable source of electricity to stay powered. Imagine how much money you would save if you just ran your refrigerator, computer, TV and lamps through your solar generator.

If saving money isn’t your thing and you don’t mind shelling out your dollars each month to the power company the solar powered generator still has benefits for you. Say you only want that generator for an emergency, do you really want to rely on a gas generator?

Think about it, most emergencies result in power outages and when the power goes out the pumps shut down, that means long lines at the filling station getting fuel for your gas generator. Even if you have fuel you have no idea how long that power outage is going to last, meaning you could be forced to lean on that gas generator for days. Not a problem for the solar generator, never needing fuel and providing constant power solves those problems.

The solar generator from MySolarBackUp also offers convenience as a benefit. An important aspect of the solar generator is that it’s portable, making it easy to transport to wherever you’re going. Say you want to tailgate on Sunday and want to power up your TV, while you’re cooking on the grill, do you really want that loud gas generator kicking out fumes that ruin the taste of your food?

What about getting out of the city and enjoying some camping, the ease of bring the solar generator and the simple set up makes it easy to keep the convenience of electricity within reach.

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Wind, solar and ocean power manufacturers will require $17 billion of investor capital through 2012

ARLINGTON, USA: Rapid growth has come to alternative energy. Wind power generation grew more than tenfold in the U.S. in the 2000s, while funding for solar startups soared past many information technology sectors. But in the 2010s, feed-in tariffs will decrease, and many renewable electricity sources will approach cost parity with fossil-fuel sources.

As a result, manufacturers and investors will increasingly depend on production economics, not global politics, to achieve high returns on invested capital. According to FreeSky Research's latest report, Generating Returns on Renewable Generation, this will force adjustments in business and investment practices, with closer attention to specific issues, including:

* Raising fixed asset utilization for solar manufacturers - those that operate below free cash flow break-even can get crushed by manufacturing overhead, regardless of whether their products use a-Si, CIGS, CdTe, or crystalline silicon materials - companies that emphasize futuristic deposition techniques will struggle against those that focus on old school factory economics.

* Heavy dependence on credit markets and syndicated loans to finance capacity expansion - while IPOs and VCs grab the headlines, they account for less than 25 percent of the capital raised by wind, solar, and ocean power manufacturers.

* Variable costs, not costs of capital, determining who owns generation facilities, just as renewable electricity has vastly different O&M requirements compared to fossil-fuel burning technologies, it is not well-served by cost of energy calculations designed to compare natural gas to coal to nuclear.

“The defining financial trait of this sector will be a much greater diversity of capital sources than we've seen in either traditional manufacturing or information technology,” said David Gross, author of the report. “Additionally, manufacturers and electricity providers will need to develop new financial models and expand beyond traditional LCOE analysis, particularly when most retail customers must still pay by the kilowatt hour even where variable costs are exceptionally low.”

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

New Energy Systems Group signs distribution agreement with European distributor for solar mobile chargers for a series of iPhone and iPod models

SHENZHEN, CHINA & NEW YORK, USA: New Energy Systems Group, a vertically integrated original design manufacturer and distributor of Li-ion batteries and backup power systems, has entered into a distribution agreement with A-Solar, a European developer and distributor of solar powered products for charging mobile electronics.

Under the initial one year agreement, A-Solar will be the exclusive selling agent for New Energy's solar mobile chargers for a series of iPhone and iPod models in the United Kingdom, Germany, Belgium, Netherlands, and Luxembourg. Sales under this agreement are expected exceed $3 million during 2010.

Fushun Li, Chief Executive Officer, commented: "Our debut into the UK, Germany, Scandinavia and key European countries marks an important step in our evolution as a global company and we are excited to have teamed up with A-Solar. A-Solar's multi-channel sales include online as well as retail distribution, and we view this alliance as a significant milestone for our access to markets beyond China. While we still have significant growth opportunities within China, we are also aggressively pursuing business outside of China, which is something we have not historically done.

"We believe A- Solar's decision to partner with us further validates the strength and breadth of our product line. This is the first agreement we have signed with A-Solar and we look forward to expanding our relationship with them in the future."

Energy Harvesting Materials grow in stature as smart energy management solutions in domestic, industrial spaces

MOUNTAIN VIEW, USA: Although energy harvesting materials were relatively unknown in the past, their unique properties have driven them to the spotlight recently. Technical advancements in the field have led to large-scale improvements, giving rise to high-efficiency energy scavenging solutions. Escalating energy prices have necessitated the development of cost-effective energy harvesting materials to decrease dependence on energy sources.

Materials with the ability to support self-powered devices were developed, pushing forward the growth of the piezoelectric (PE) and electromagnetic (EM) energy harvesting materials market. Other materials available nowadays capture light energy from sunlight at almost all wavelengths, thereby increasing energy density.

New analysis from Frost & Sullivan, Energy Harvesting Materials - The Road Ahead, a part of Technical Insights, finds that continuous technical developments will result in fabrication of new and self sustainable solutions in various market sectors.

"The design of a successful energy harvesting module depends not only on the material's efficiency, but also on the module architecture, which could be the critical factor defining effectiveness," notes Technical Insights Industry Analyst Krzysztof Grzybowski. "Developers must place equal emphasis on material development and smart utilization."

Incentives from governments and non-profit organizations have encouraged universities and industry participants to develop newer alternative materials for energy harvesting.

Although the outlook for energy harvesting materials looks upbeat, there are some challenges that have overshadowed the landscape. High material prices have remained a spoke in the wheel for the industry and limited the use of several materials.

Restrictions placed on the use of certain materials intended for the development of energy harvesting devices due to environmental concerns has deterred the use of a good number of potential materials. Within the piezoelectric (PE) materials, the most popular are the lead composites such as lead zirconate titanate (PZT).The use of lead in these energy harvesting materials has raised apprehensions.

Apart from this, the increasing consumption of cadmium telluride for solar cell applications has diminished telluride resources, rendering it an unfeasible alternative. This has reined in the growth of thermal energy based harvesting, considering that bismuth telluride is the predominantly used material. Materials research requires in-depth understanding of material properties and design integration with devices to develop energy efficient and sustainable harvesting devices.

Several manufacturers from across the globe have deployed energy harvesting products for commercial use; however, large-scale production of these devices has not been attained. Though research has identified various energy sources for harvesting energy, only a few techniques have proven useful for high-volume production. It is vital to evaluate the impact of different materials on these technologies in the market based on their success.

"Recent trends in energy harvesting materials point to an exponential increase in the commercialization interest in four harvesting techniques – PE, thermo-electric (TE), EM, and photovoltaic (PV)," says Grzybowski. "These techniques pertain to different layers of applications such as electronics, automotive, medical, and aerospace, where each of these diverse domains are assumed to be equally critical in defining today's and tomorrow's energy harvesting."

Energy Conversion Devices announces 1.87 MW Uni-Solar installation on Flanders Expo Hall in Belgium

ROCHESTER HILLS, USA: Energy Conversion Devices Inc. announced the installation of 1.87MW of UNI-SOLAR brand photovoltaic (PV) laminates on the Flanders Expo in Ghent, Belgium.

The UNI-SOLAR laminates were integrated by Derbigum into a light weight building-integrated (BIPV) DERBISOLAR® product. DERBISOLAR integrates UNI-SOLAR laminates with a highly durable roofing membrane to form a waterproof BIPV solar solution.

Derbigum chose UNI-SOLAR laminates because they are light and flexible; there is no perforation of the roofing membrane, they have excellent performance in diffuse light, and UNI-SOLAR laminates are highly damage resistant since the solar cells are concealed inside a polymer laminate and not glass.

Mark Morelli, ECD's president and CEO, said: "The Flanders Expo installation is an excellent example of how we work with our channel partners to develop BIPV solutions for our customers. We are very pleased with the final project, and the fact that the Flanders Expo installation is expected to produce 1.5 million kWh of clean energy per year, representing the power consumption of approximately 454 families."

Trina Solar to set up state key PV research laboratory

CHANGZHOU, CHINA: Trina Solar Ltd, a leading integrated manufacturer of solar photovoltaic (PV) products from the production of ingots, wafers and cells to the assembly of PV modules, has received its first official documents from China's Ministry of Science and Technology in January 2010 to establish a State Key Laboratory to develop PV technologies within the Changzhou Trina PV Industrial Park.

Commercial terms related to the establishment have yet to be finalized.

The laboratory will be established as a national platform for driving PV technologies in China. Its mandate includes research into PV related materials, cell and module technologies and system level performance. It will also serve as a platform to bring together technical capabilities from the Company's strategic partners including customers and key PV component suppliers as well as universities and research institutions.

"We are excited to announce the establishment this world class national laboratory in the Changzhou Trina PV Industrial Park," said Jifan Gao, Trina Solar's Chairman and CEO. "The laboratory will advance technological innovations to support the burgeoning industry as well as accelerate Trina Solar's R&D, technology transfer and new product development goals to enhance the Company's high quality product offerings."

Mitsubishi Electric designs PV modules for installations near salt water

CYPRESS, USA: Mitsubishi Electric & Electronics USA Inc. has confirmed that its UD5 and UJ6 photovoltaic modules can be installed near salt water. After extensive factory testing, Mitsubishi Electric found that its PV modules maintained a sufficient level of insulation from the corrosive effect of salt air and ocean front environment to maintain the power output specifications included in its warranty.

Mitsubishi Electric conducted substantial testing to verify the effects of salt water exposure on its PV modules. Gathering salt deposit rates for both US and Japanese coastlines, and using these values to conduct accurate simulated testing, allowed Mitsubishi Electric to extend warranty coverage for the power output of their modules in applications near the coast.

The internal testing included combined acceleration testing which simulated several tens of years of corrosive atmosphere to the modules, and then the modules were tested under conditions exposed to salt spray. Mitsubishi Electric found that, although the racking and other metal balance of system components showed weathering, the power output of the modules was not significantly affected by the salty air.

“Extensive testing was conducted in response to requests from customers to install our modules near the ocean. We were pleased with the findings, as this illustrates the durability of our modules and allows us to install our PV modules near sea ports and other salt water areas,” said Gina Heng, general manager for Mitsubishi Electric’s photovoltaic division.

This announcement is significant for the solar industry, as more companies are considering solar for projects near sea ports, in resort areas, on islands, and in other areas within 500 meters of the ocean. Mitsubishi Electric modules properly installed near salt water will be covered with the same limited 25-year power output warranty offered to all of its US customers, giving customers more installation flexibility and increased security of economic performance.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

AEG Power Solutions ready to build new renewable energy solutions in North America

DALLAS, USA: AEG Power Solutions, a global leader in end-to-end power supply systems and solutions, announced its strategy for the North American market under its distinguished global brand. The company is introducing solar turnkey solutions and its power controllers systems as part of its energy efficiency solutions.

For over 60 years, AEG PS has delivered proven solutions in power electronics and power controls. AEG PS has helped businesses operating in the industrial, energy and transport sectors meet their power challenges by providing world-class systems to regulate and control the energy required in demanding applications with unparalleled reliability and consistency.

Formerly Saft Power Systems, the company’s North American heritage dates back to 1944 with many of its products still serving as integral parts of power infrastructures in the energy and transportation industries. AEG Power Solutions has long provided the European and Asian-Pacific markets with one of the world’s most comprehensive portfolios of AC & DC power systems and solutions.

AEG Power Solutions is adapting its offering to enable the transformation the world is experiencing in the generation and usage of electricity. In North America, the group is investing in its strategy to focus on renewable energy solutions by establishing a design team, increasing its application engineering team and enhancing its service function. The company will implement and maintain complete turn-key solar systems for commercial properties and industrial buildings.

As a Solar Electric Power Association (SEPA) and Green Grid member, AEG Power Solutions is dedicated to providing its customers with renewable energy alternatives, such as solar and wind, to reduce environmental impact as well as minimize energy consumption. AEG Power Solutions’ solar systems will feature solar panels, solar inverters and control, monitoring, diagnostics and communications equipment, all of which can be supported by smart-grid-enabled standards and will be monitored and maintained by AEG PS.

With energy conservation and other green practices emerging as a critical part of day-to-day operations, AEG Power Solutions helps educate companies on the promise of renewable energy systems, lead them toward a greener tomorrow and help ensure compatibility with tomorrow’s Smart Grid.

“At AEG Power Solutions, we are pleased to offer a complete power electronic system solution for the North American market that provides customers with the same ingenuity and reliability that we’ve been providing to European and Asia-Pacific markets for decades,” said Kaivon Mortazavi, vice president of North America for AEG Power Solutions.

“For more than 60 years, the AEG brand has stood for expertise, reliability and innovation in power solutions. Our heritage combines the engineering advancements made by Saft Power Systems and AEG that led to us offering a product quality that’s hard to match in the power systems industry. Taking into account the commitment to invest in the Smart Grid that is occurring in North America, the timing is right for AEG PS to provide the enabling power electronic technology required for this energy transformation.”

“As we look toward our future in renewable energy, we strongly believe that the demand for renewable energy solutions will grow strongly in North America, and will be comparable to what we’ve experienced in Europe over the last three years,” said Robert J. Huljak, chief strategic officer for AEG Power Solutions.

“In today’s business environment, companies are beginning to hold themselves accountable for their own carbon footprint and the ‘greening of their business’ while striving to reduce long-term costs. Similar to our world class Thyro–Family series of power controllers, we are using our experience for providing efficient power solutions combined with our engineering expertise of interfacing with the utility electrical grid to help our customers achieve their energy improvement goals.

“Besides using our power electronics inverter experience, we have incorporated our system application engineering capability with our service knowledge for installation and commissioning to create a complete turn-key solar solution. AEG PS is proud and confident about bringing our capability and system solution strategy to the North American market. AEG Power Solutions also looks forward to enabling Smart Grid applications with our intelligent and rugged power electronic solutions.”

In addition to expanding its offerings, AEG Power Solutions will expand its corporate operations in North America. The company is currently hiring for positions in its regional offices in Dallas, Texas and Markham, Ontario.

AEG Power Solutions has been a staple in the end-to-end power supply market. The AEG Power Solutions range of industrial products and services includes standard and customized UPS, and DC systems for industrial applications, UPS’s for Data and IT, industrial chargers, and premium Thyro-Family series power controllers Change the order of wording to read “and premium Thyro-Family series of power controllers” for high-tech industry applications, railway solutions and solar inverters.

These solutions are designed specifically to interface with the utility electrical grid, providing high efficiency, customized energy solutions to industries requiring complex and intelligent control. Currently AEG Power Solutions, through its UL-certified, Saft-branded equipment, provides back-up power systems in nuclear facilities in several Canadian provinces as well as all of Quebec’s hydro-generation plants.

AEG Power Solutions’ products can be found in refineries, power plants, industrial manufacturing facilities, mass transit infrastructures, data centers and office buildings.

Geoscape Solar unveils New Jersey’s first residential solar leasing program

SHORT HILLS, USA: Geoscape Solar, an innovative solar design and installation company, today announced the statewide availability of New Jersey’s first residential solar energy leasing program.

Geoscape Solar’s new leasing program requires no upfront payment - consumers only pay a monthly fee that is lower than the utility cost of the electricity produced by the solar system. The leasing program was created to avoid upfront costs associated with buying a system and offers homeowners an affordable way to go solar, save money and make a positive impact on the environment.

Solar energy systems are an investment in one’s home or business – one that provides immediate and ongoing benefits in energy savings and cash income, creating a better environment for families and communities. The company estimates that an average system will save homeowners more than $10,000 over the 15-year lease period.

The company’s solar lease provides the needed financing and its solar consultants provide explanations in a clear, consultative way. Geoscape Solar takes care of all the necessary paperwork, making the process simple and hassle-free for the consumer.

“The benefits of solar energy sell themselves,” said Jeffrey Chavkin, president and co-founder, Geoscape Solar “What customers need are clear and concise explanations of these benefits, financing to take advantage of them and help getting through the maze of government paperwork.”

Solar energy is the cleanest, most abundant source of renewable energy on the planet. Research indicates that one hour of sunlight is enough to power the electricity needs of the entire world for one year. By switching to solar energy, individuals help to combat global warming and reduce America’s dependence on foreign oil. An average residential system reduces carbon emissions that are equivalent to planting more than 400 trees or not driving 20,000 miles per year.

“Right now, amid our troubled economy, New Jersey and the federal government have created the most attractive solar investment opportunity ever,” said Michael Boches, CEO and co-founder, Geoscape Solar.

“The state has the fastest growing market for solar in the United States and offers the best financial incentives in the country for switching to solar energy. Our research finds that homeowners want to make the switch to solar, but the high upfront costs have created a barrier. By offering the first residential lease and commercial financing options, we are making it simple and affordable for more families and businesses to achieve the benefits of solar power.”

Geoscape Solar’s management team is reshaping New Jersey’s environmental landscape by taking solar energy mainstream. With a proven history of building successful companies, they are delivering professionalism and high-standards to a fragmented solar market. Building on more than 60 years of banking, investment and solar experience to create the region’s first residential lease program and a range of creative commercial financing options, the team offers a unique investment approach to the solar market.

Keithley Instruments’ solar cell testing survey shows priorities and best practices in test methods

CLEVELAND, USA: A recent survey of solar cell/photovoltaic device researchers and manufacturers working in government, university-based, and corporate labs and manufacturing facilities indicates distinct differences in testing methods and priorities among respondents from Asia, North America, and Europe.

Keithley Instruments Inc. conducted the study during Summer 2009 using a by-invitation-only online survey generating 564 responses. A white paper summarizing the results is available for downloading at no charge from Keithley's website.

Across all geographies, the survey indicated the industry is focused on improving device efficiencies as the dominant development priority. “Reducing manufacturing cost” was the second most important among the respondents, as might be expected, although substantially less significant than the need to boost device and panel performance.

Clear priority emerges for top four solar cell test methods
For those engaged in solar cell R&D, a large majority of respondents identified their “key parameters” for measurement as short-circuit current (ISC), open-circuit voltage (VOC), maximum output power (PMAX) and, to a lesser extent, conversion efficiency.

Respondents in North America and Europe showed consistent agreement on what constitutes their most important tests, with a well-defined gap between these top four and ten other tests. Respondents from Asia, while agreeing with the same top four tests, showed much less preference for them as other tests were cited as key parameters nearly as often as the top four.

“The top three tests indicated by respondents are consistent with what customers tell us are important methodologies for them in the research phase,” noted Keithley Marketing Director Mark Cejer.

“We were a bit surprised not to see more priority given to shunt resistance and series resistance tests, as we hear quite a bit about how important those measurements are to characterizing device performance. Overall, other than a clear preference for the top three tests, there remains a significant amount of variation in the industry about what tests are most meaningful.

“There may be several reasons for this variation. For example, the tests used may vary depending on the cell technology or on the market for which they are intended. Also, many of the solar cell technologies are relatively new and therefore there are no industry-standard testing methodologies.”

The priority of test parameters characterized as solar cell/photovoltaics move into production remained much the same, but there was far less agreement about the most important tests than was found in the research lab. And, Asian respondents were far more definitive about the most valuable solar cell tests for production than for research applications.

Engineers in general seem to be relatively unfazed by the solar cell industry’s rather complicated battery of tests. When asked which tests presented technical challenges, none of the 15 tests appeared to pose a problem for a large portion of the respondents, either in the research or production test phase.

This held true for even the most demanding tests included on the list, such as quantum efficiency and conversion efficiency. Maximum power output was identified as the most difficult test to perform, with 28% noting it as the “most challenging,” perhaps reflecting the difficulty of integrating 50W power supplies into a test system for this type of research.

PV device technologies
Survey respondents report engagement in a broad range of solar cell/PV device technologies, including established, relatively well-characterized technologies for making PV devices out of monocrystalline, multicrystalline, or amorphous silicon, as well as newer thin-film technologies such as copper indium gallium selenide (CIGS), cadmium telluride (CdTe), and gallium arsenide (GaAs).

In general, respondents seemed more active in thin-film materials than in silicon, perhaps due to the improved response rates and capacitive properties of thin-film materials.

Given the staggering array of device technologies now being explored or developed, the industry seems poised to become larger and increasingly competitive, with manufacturers making significant investments in finding new ways to extract the maximum energy at the lowest possible cost from every photon that reaches their products. Asian manufacturers appear firmly committed to playing a major role in the worldwide solar cell industry.

Monday, January 25, 2010

MEMC, Conergy settle litigation; amend supply agreement

ST. PETERS, USA: MEMC Electronic Materials Inc. and German solar developer Conergy AG have reached an out of court settlement of a lawsuit related to a solar wafer supply contract between Conergy and MEMC Singapore Pte. Ltd.

The terms of the amended contract include a significant reduction in the minimum quantity of wafers that Conergy must purchase over the remaining 8+ years of the contract, as well as a minimum market share commitment should Conergy's demand exceed the reduced quantities. The amendment also modifies the pricing terms to be based on market rates similar to other MEMC long-term solar wafer supply agreements. The settlement includes a payment to MEMC of an undisclosed amount.

"This agreement provides the foundation for a strong strategic relationship with Conergy," said Ken Hannah, President of MEMC Solar Materials. "In addition to resolving the litigation and resuming shipments, we have also agreed to work together to facilitate large projects in the future. This cooperation should help generate growth for both companies and leverage the capabilities MEMC obtained with our recent acquisition of SunEdison."

"This is a very positive development for Conergy," added Conergy's CEO Dieter Ammer. "It frees us from a significant burden that was damaging our competitive position, gives us greater business flexibility, and makes Conergy a much more attractive company. MEMC has truly transformed itself into a customer focused company, and we are pleased to move forward with them as a strategic ally."

Masdar, Sener JV Torresol Energy secures $760mn loan for Valle 1 and Valle 2 thermal solar plants

ABU DHABI, UAE: Torresol Energy, a joint venture between Masdar, a wholly-owned subsidiary of the Mubadala Development Co., and SENER, a leading international multidiscipline engineering company, with offices in Abu Dhabi, has secured $760 million project finance loans for the construction of its twin Concentrated Solar Power (CSP) plants -- Valle 1 and Valle 2 -- in AndalucĂ­a, Spain. The total investment value for the two plants is $1bn.

Work on the two 50 MW Concentrated Solar Power (CSP) plants began in March 2009 and is the first time that twin thermo solar plants have been built simultaneously. Both plants incorporate energy solutions developed by SENER, including molten salt thermal storage capacity of up to 7.5 hours.

This means that the state-of-the-art plants will be capable of generating electricity at night and through periods of poor sunlight, enabling a continuous supply of electricity and overcoming intermittency, one of the drawbacks of some renewable technologies.

Valle 1 and 2, together with the Gemasolar Central Tower Plant (17MW / 110GWh per year), which was project financed in November 2008 and continues to progress construction as expected, represents a total investment by Torresol Energy of $1.4bn across three CSP projects over the past 12 months.

Talking on the announcement Enrique Sendagorta, Chairman of Torresol Energy, said: “We are very proud that Valle 1 and Valle 2 solar plants secured this important financial support, which allows us to continue on schedule with our strategic plans”.

“With a combined production of 340 GWh per annum, which equates to the clean and safe energy for over 80,000 homes and a saving of 90,000 tons of CO2 emissions every year, Valle 1 and 2 will be leaders in the delivery of concentrated solar power and a major contribution to the region’s power supply. A significant feature of these plants will be their ability to produce electricity at night and at times of poor sunlight, which is obviously an important consideration for consumers who require and demand uninterrupted electricity supplies,” he added.

Dr. Sultan Ahmed Al Jaber, CEO, Masdar, said: “The CSP projects currently under construction in Spain will introduce and test new technologies, which will help promote CSP as an economically competitive and viable alternative to traditional power sources. Through Torresol Energy, we are actively promoting the development and operation of large-scale CSP plants throughout the world and hope to implement additional projects across Southern Europe, North Africa, the Middle East and the Southwest United States”.

The construction of the new plants will have additional benefits for Spain, such as an estimated 3,200 new direct employment opportunities during the two year construction period – with a further 150 specialised professionals required to manage operations after completion.

Friday, January 22, 2010

East Tennessee lands $200 million solar manufacturer

CLINTON, USA: Tennessee's Solar Initiative took another leap forward with the announcement that Missouri-based Confluence Solar will invest $200 million in a manufacturing, warehousing and distribution facility in Clinton, Tenn., near Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL).

Confluence Solar manufactures high quality, mono-crystal silicon ingots that increase the efficiency and lower the cost of solar photovoltaic solar power generation.
The announcement by Tennessee Governor Phil Bredesen comes on the heels of a rapid rise in capital investment in the state's solar industry as well as statewide growth in research and development, including:

* Construction of polysilicon manufacturing facilities near Cleveland, Tn., by German chemical giant Wacker Chemie, and in Clarksville, Tn. by Hemlock Semiconductor, represents a total investment of more than $2 billion.

* The State is investing $62.5 million in research and energy production, including the creation of the Tennessee Solar Institute, a partnership of ORNL and the University of Tennessee.

* In mid-March, the Department of Energy (DOE) unveiled Tennessee Valley Energy Enterprise, a concept to reuse federal sites at Oak Ridge and elsewhere in the Southeast for energy-related research in solar/photovoltaic, electrical grid enhancements, cleaner coal and work on hybrid vehicles.

These developments, along with advances in energy storage coming out of Oak Ridge National Laboratory, represent "a new economic engine" in Tennessee, according to Bredesen. "We have truly created a statewide solar footprint."

Confluence Solar will develop its facility on a 25-acre site in the Clinton I-75 Industrial Park. Official job numbers from the project are not yet available, but early estimates speak of 200 to 400 employees.

Advanced Energy signs PV solar service agreement for Colorado State University's 2 MW solar plant

FORT COLLINS, USA: Advanced Energy Industries Inc. announced that AMEC, the international engineering and project management company, has engaged Advanced Energy for a multi-year agreement to provide SiteGuard services for Colorado State University's new, two megawatt photovoltaic solar power plant located in Fort Collins, Colorado.

The new solar facility started producing power in early December and is expected to be fully commissioned in early 2010.

The company's innovative SiteGuard program is designed to significantly increase uptime and reduce levelized cost of energy (LCOE) for entire PV solar array sites.

The comprehensive support program extends to all industry brands of inverters, modules and tracking equipment, and to the entire balance-of-system performance. The program includes SiteGuard O&M to reduce both operation and maintenance costs, as well as SiteGuard PM to manage preventative maintenance across the complete array.

Dr. Hans Betz, CEO of Advanced Energy, noted: "Customers can rely on one source, Advanced Energy, to provide the most comprehensive service offering and optimize the return on their investment. This agreement demonstrates our commitment to delivering solutions that reduce LCOE at customer sites as well as providing world-class services that span the complete lifecycle of those sites."

He added: "SiteGuard is gaining strong momentum with several successful site implementations over the past year. We will continue to leverage our global service expertise and infrastructure to help our customers achieve their goals."

Tim Gelbar, President of AMEC's Power and Process Americas business, commented, "We are delighted to enter into this agreement with Advanced Energy and look forward to delivering enhanced cost and performance efficiencies to our customer."

Cuts in German solar subsidy to spur Q2 price plunge

EL SEGUNDO, USA: Germany’s decision to slash subsidies on certain types of solar installations will result in a dramatic demand reduction and price plunge in the country for Photovoltaic (PV) panels and systems in the second quarter, according to iSuppli Corp.

The German government last week preannounced plans to reduce its subsidies (FITs) for new roofs and open-field sites installed after April 2010 by 16 percent and 17 percent, respectively. The final decision is planned within the next 10 days.

This reduction is on top of a just-implemented, pre-planned, Feed-in Tariff (FIT) reduction of 9 percent for smaller rooftops and of 11 percent for large rooftops and ground installations. This announcement is dramatic compared to the 5 percent to 10 percent decrease that had been expected.

“Germany’s decision to cut its solar subsidies in the second quarter will make installations less attractive for the country’s consumers,” said Dr. Henning Wicht, senior director and principal analyst for iSuppli. “Because of this, German consumers will rush to make solar installations in the first quarter and then stop in the second quarter. As a result, iSuppli anticipates the German market will overheat during the first three months of the year and then collapse during the next three months.”

German solar installations will surge during the first quarter, starting at 200 Megawatts (MW) in January and then rising to 300MW in February and 500MW in March. However, installations will plunge to 50MW in April and remain at the 100MW level in May and June.

“As a result of the decline in installations, solar system prices in Germany could decline by 7.5 percent from April through the end of 2010, compared to less than the 5 percent normal rate of decline,” Wicht said.

Worldwide impact
The German government was prompted to reduce its FIT because solar system prices declined more than expected in 2009 due to the country’s aggressive subsidies during the year.

With Germany being the world’s largest market for solar installations—Germany accounted for 51 percent of global solar system installations in 2009—its FIT reductions could have a worldwide impact. To put the size of Germany’s domination into perspective, the second-largest solar nation, Italy, accounted for only 9 percent of global installations.

“The massive oversupply and downturn seen in the global solar cell industry in 2009 was largely due to Spain’s decision to change its FIT policies, which led to a collapse in demand,” Wicht said.

“Germany’s move could have similar impact on the global solar market during the second quarter of 2010. However there is a major difference: the German FIT does not limit the size of solar installations, whereas the Spanish FIT restricts installations to 400MW to 500MW per year. Assuming that solar system prices will drop more, installations in Germany will have an opportunity to recover, unlike in Spain.”

Q3 rebound
Conditions in the German market will recover in the third quarter as lower prices lure consumers and as consumers decide to buy before a further FIT reduction in 2010. After holding steady at 100MW in July (which is only one-fourth of the installations forecasted in March), installations will rise steadily until November when they could reach 400MW.

Understanding the fit
A FIT is a government policy designed to encourage the adoption of renewable energy sources. FITs require electrical utilities to buy electricity generated from renewable sources, such as solar.Source: iSuppli, Jan. 2010

Solar EnerTech receives UL certification, appoints new CTO, CSO

MOUNTAIN VIEW, USA: Solar EnerTech Corp. has received its Underwriters Laboratories Inc. (UL) certification for a wide range of its crystalline power modules.

Underwriters Laboratories is a global leader in energy product testing and certification. The focus of the UL standards is in providing requirements for materials, construction and the evaluation of the potential electrical shock and fire safety hazards.

The market access requirements for photovoltaic (PV) equipment are segmented in two main areas -- safety and performance -- that are integral to each other in the overall construction. UL's ability to combine technical and regulatory expertise enables manufacturers like Solar EnerTech to complete the certification process in a predictable and effective manner.

Solar cells and solar cell assembly, polymeric materials, junction boxes, connectors and connecting cables are regarded as critical components of photovoltaic (PV) modules. Their compliance with established UL standards is crucial for entry into the North America market. A UL certification ensures that Solar EnerTech's PV products (trademarked as SolarE) fully complies with all safety, environmental and other performance requirements established by UL.

"Achieving our UL certification is a notable accomplishment for our company and will provide us with the ability to more easily penetrate the market in North America," commented Leo Young, Chief Executive Officer of Solar EnerTech.

"Having already completed certification for IEC, VDE and TUV in the European markets, we are also setting our sights on the rapidly growing US and Canadian markets focusing on grid-tied utility-scale installations and roof top projects. The UL certification gives assurance to our customers in North America that Solar EnerTech fully complies and meets government subsidized PV project requirements in the region."

"We believe our internal quality control requirements are actually more strict than many of the UL standards in order to ensure the durability and dependability of our modules in different environmental conditions. For example, among the 23 tests established by UL, one test is the damp-heat test which requires a solar panel be subject to 85 degrees C temperatures (185 degrees F) and a humidity environment of 85% for 1,000 hours (85 plus or minus 2 degrees C /85 plus or minus 5%/1000h). Solar EnerTech sets its testing facilities at the same environment, but doubles the testing duration to 2,000 hours, which further enhances our reputation and product quality among our growing customer base."

Solar EnerTech's UL certificate can be identified by accessing UL's official website at: http://www.UL.com , under "Certifications." Solar EnerTech's certification file number is: E315077.

The Company also announced the appointment of Ms. Y.H. Zhang as its Chief Technology Officer. Ms. Zhang, prior to joining Solar EnerTech in 2006 as its Associate CTO, worked for China's national space program on space solar applications.

Ms. Zhang has extensive knowledge and experience in high-efficiency cells and applications. Her main responsibility is to oversee the Company's solar cell production with technical guidance and focusing on increasing solar cells' overall efficiency at real-time manufacturing, as well as working with the Company's joint lab partnership with Shanghai University for the Company's ongoing R&D projects.

The Company also announced the appointment of Dr. Z.Q. Ma as its Chief Science Officer. A specialist in semiconductor material physics, Dr. Ma was previously the Company's CTO and in charge of the Company's R&D Lab with Shanghai University. Dr. Ma is a professor of microelectronics and condensed matter physics at Shanghai University and is also a researcher at the University of Illinois at Urbana Champaign (UIUC) and at the Japan Atomic Energy Research Institute (JAERI).

Recently, Dr. Ma introduced his semiconductor-insulator-n/p junction (SINP) technology at the 19th International Photovoltaic Science and Engineering Conference held in Jeju, Korea from November 9-13, 2009. SINP employs a method to apply a SiOx buffer layer that plays a key role for the transfer of carriers in sole orientation through tunneling effect of the solar cell, hence producing high-efficiency cells at a lowered manufacturing cost.

"We have high confidence in Ms. Zhang's new position and look forward to Dr. Ma's continuous contributions as the new Chief Science Officer. As we continue to expand our business and operations, it is important that we have the right team in place to better serve the needs of our growing base of customers," concluded Young.

United Solar Ovonic receives $13mn manufacturing investment tax credit from Stimulus Program

ROCHESTER HILLS, USA: Energy Conversion Devices Inc., the leading global manufacturer of thin-film flexible solar laminate products for the building integrated and commercial rooftop markets, announced that its affiliate United Solar Ovonic LLC has received stimulus support from the Department of Energy and the Department of Treasury.

The company was notified late last week that its application for a Manufacturing Investment Tax Credit was approved. The $13.275 million credit will support United Solar Ovonic's plan to invest $42 million in its Auburn Hills 1 facility to upgrade equipment used in its commercial solar deposition process.

Upon successful completion of the upgrades, the deposition machines will have significantly greater output. These improvements will lower the company's cost of manufacturing while increasing the efficiency of the solar laminates and is expected to create approximately 600 jobs in Michigan.

"We are very appreciative of the Obama Administration's efforts to support American clean technology through the stimulus programs," said Mark Morelli, ECD President and CEO. "We are also grateful for the support from Senators Stabenow and Levin, Congressman Peters and other members of the Michigan congressional delegation.

"Governor Granholm and her staff were also critical in supporting our application. These elected officials do an important job in Washington and here in Michigan of delivering a consistent message of support for American manufacturing jobs and business in Michigan."

UL forms landmark alliance with State Grid Electric Power Research Institute of China

NANJING, CHINA: Underwriters Laboratories (UL), a global leader in product safety testing and certification services, has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with State Grid Electric Power Research Institute of China (SGEPRI) to advance research and development in China's renewable energy and power distribution industries.

According to the agreement, UL will work with SGEPRI to conduct necessary research and help support the advancement of photovoltaic technologies and power distribution, including inverters and converters. The premier organizations will also partner to help pursue and advance standards development practices throughout China while providing training to industry on safety certification, components testing, and equipment calibration and measurement.

"Underwriters Laboratories understands that safety and reliability issues play a critical role in the way renewable energy systems perform and ultimately influence the continued development of renewable energy," said Weifang Zhou, vice president and general manager, UL Greater China.

"UL is honored to share our experience in standards development and product safety testing with SGEPRI, and to help advance renewable energy technology in China. Collaborating with a leading Chinese institute within the power industry, allows UL to participate in the effort of developing China's renewable energy and provide technical support to local PV inverter manufacturers."

China is developing its renewable energy infrastructure rapidly and ranks number one on installed capacity of hydropower, solar water heater collector area and photovoltaic power generation capacity. In 2007, the Chinese government mandated that at least 10 percent of its energy capacity be generated from wind, solar and other renewable energy sources, and this number will reach 15 percent by 2010, proving the potential of the China renewable energy industry. The Renewable Energy Law of PRC (Amendment), adopted in December 2009, further stresses this ration.

"The application of renewable energy in China is coming to a critical point, so determining how to safely connect photovoltaic (PV) systems to the grid is critical for China," said Yi Hu, vice president, SGEPRI.

"By leveraging UL's expertise in product testing and standards development, SGEPRI can further solidify our role as China's primary scientific research and development organization for power grid connections. The alliance gives us the tools we need to develop and achieve a set of world-class standards, testing capabilities and technical evaluation for power grid connections of renewable energy, and paves the way for the application of new and clean energy in China."

Authorized by National Energy Administration, SGEPRI will establish a National Solar Energy R&D Center, and undertake responsibilities including standards development, testing capabilities, technical evaluation & certification, and training.

Trina Solar commences module supply to Australia's largest distributor, RFI

CHANGZHOU, CHINA: Trina Solar Ltd (TSL), a leading integrated manufacturer of solar photovoltaic (PV) products from the production of ingots, wafers and cells to the assembly of PV modules, has made initial shipments to RF Industries Pty Ltd (RFI), Australia's leading renewable energy distributor in January 2010.

This is in conjunction with the Company's intention to finalize with RFI a national distribution agreement to supply up to 10 MW of PV modules in 2010.

"We are excited to partner with RFI, Australia's largest distributor of solar modules to supply the market with best-in-class products from Trina Solar," said Jifan Gao, Trina Solar's Chairman and CEO. "This partnership will bring Trina's high performing modules to the promising new Australian market while enhancing Trina Solar's brand and presence in the region."

"Partnering with Trina Solar provides our customers with access to one of the industry's emerging success stories," said Scott Magee, Managing Director of RFI's solar division.

"Trina's focus on high quality manufacturing processes delivers a truly world class, competitive offering to our market. This new partnership is a natural fit with RFI's business model, providing exceptional value to our customers. We are looking forward to developing the Trina Solar brand in Australia over the coming years."

Semprius selected for $3mn US DoE subcontract to scale up innovative solar energy technology

DURHAM, USA: Semprius Inc. has been selected by the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) to negotiate a $3 million subcontract funded by the US Department of Energy (DOE) to commercialize its promising solar energy technology. Semprius is one of only four awardees for NREL’s PV Technology Incubator Program, which aims to accelerate commercialization of solar photovoltaic systems.

The award recognizes Semprius’ proprietary solar technology as one of the most promising and innovative approaches to making solar energy economically viable. Based near Research Triangle Park, the North Carolina company is commercializing novel Solar Module Arrays based on its patented micro-transfer printing technology.

Semprius Solar Module Arrays offer the benefits of low installed cost and high capacity factor which, combined, enable very low energy costs in sunny, dry climates. Their high efficiency, scalable design makes them applicable to a wide range of projects from distributed commercial and industrial to large scale utility installations.

“Semprius will use the subcontract to develop and then demonstrate our solar technology at the pilot plant scale. This is a critical next step on our path to full-scale manufacturing,” said Joe Carr, Semprius President and CEO. “We are honored to be selected from among the many submissions.”

SunWize launches second city-wide solar challenge

KINGSTON, USA: SunWize Residential Power Systems, the premier solar installation division of SunWize Technologies Inc., has initiated its second city-wide Solar Challenge in Salem, the capital of Oregon.

SunWize Solar Challenges catalyze an entire city or town toward achieving a significant renewable energy goal. The Salem Solar Challenge is aimed at adding 75,000 watts of clean solar energy to the city’s power production in 75 days. The challenge began on January 15 and will conclude on March 31, 2010.

To help generate interest, SunWize is offering cash back to Salem solar customers and a donation to the Marion-Polk Food Share, which provides emergency food assistance to over 6,000 families a month. SunWize will give $7,500 to the food bank when the goal is reached.

SunWize will be offering premium solar modules manufactured by its strategic business partner SANYO. In October 2009, SANYO opened its silicon ingot and wafer production plant in Salem. The finished silicon wafers made in Salem are used in manufacturing the solar cells used in SANYO modules.

For the duration of the Salem Solar Challenge, SunWize is offering cash back to each participant. The cash back amount starts at $100 and will increase in increments of $10 with each additional participant.1 For example, if 30 households sign-up for solar systems, each will receive a check for $400. Coupled with existing Energy Trust of Oregon incentives, the state tax credit, and the Federal tax credit, this program can reduce the total cost of a typical 4.2 kW SunWize solar electric system by over 70 percent.

“We chose Salem for our second Solar Challenge because of its proximity to our Oregon office and the local presence of our longtime partner SANYO,” said David Kaltsas, executive vice president at SunWize. “We look forward to replicating the success of our inaugural Solar Challenge in Corvallis to bring solar electric solutions to the residents of Salem.”

“We are pleased to support SunWize’s efforts in helping Salem go solar,” said Charles Hanasaki, president of SANYO’s Energy USA Solar Division. “Having recently established ourselves in Salem, we are excited to see more and more installations.”

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Solar advocates applaud New Jersey's renewable energy bill passage

TRENTON, USA: On Monday, New Jersey Governor Corzine signed the Solar Advancement and Fair Competition Act. The law solidifies New Jersey's already significant solar market and secures New Jersey's solar leadership role well into the future. New Jersey is currently home to over 4,600 solar installations and numerous solar companies.

In passing A3520/S2441, the Legislature makes statutory the state's Energy Master Plan goal of generating 2,164 GWh of solar power by 2020 and significantly increases the annual solar goals, envisioning more than 5 GW of solar capacity through 2026.

The bill's sponsors, Assemblyman Upendra Chivukula and Senator Bob Smith worked hand in hand with the local solar community to secure its passage and solidify the future of New Jersey's solar industry –an energy sector that will continue to create investments and new jobs across the state.

"Solar continues to demonstrate its benefits to the New Jersey economy, environment and energy mix," says Carrie Cullen Hitt, President of the Solar Alliance. "We are excited that the New Jersey Legislature has recognized solar's value and wants to capitalize on it."

"Although New Jersey is the second largest solar market in the US, it is unmatched in its vision and commitment to expanding solar markets through effective, forward-looking policies," said Rhone Resch, President and CEO of the Solar Energy Industries Association.

"Thanks to the leadership of the Executive branch, the Board of Public Utilities and the New Jersey state legislature, the Garden State is poised to install more than five GW of solar by 2026. This is an excellent example of what state leaders in the mid-Atlantic region and across the country can do to foster vibrant solar markets that create thousands of jobs and billions of dollars in economic activity."

"By tapping into the sun, New Jersey supports local green jobs and delivers a secure, sustainable energy mix to ratepayers." says Shaun Chapman, Director of East Coast Campaigns for Vote Solar.

"This legislation will ensure that New Jersey continues to lead the country with a robust solar market through the next decade. This is a model other states can look towards for inspiration. I applaud New Jersey policymakers for their vision and look forward to seeing much continued success for solar energy in the Garden State."

Day4 Energy completes phase II of 1 MW solar farm Hufingen project

BURNABY, USA: Day4 Energy Inc., a leading supplier of high performance, cost-effective solar electric solutions, has now completed the second phase of the 1 MW Solar Farm Hufingen GmBH Project in Germany.

The project, completed in two separate phases consists of an initial 500 kilowatts (KW) completed in early 2009, followed by an additional 450KW completed in December 2009. It was financed by by Umweltbank AG, Nurnberg, Germany.

Day4 Systems GmbH, a 100 percent German subsidiary of Day4 Energy Inc., Burnaby, Canada was responsible for design, electrical planning and project management, supported by BES GmbH, who was responsible for the actual installation of the system.

The project is built on an area that was previously a landfill site. The system has a dual purpose; in addition to providing a source of revenue from the German Government's photovoltaic feed-in-tariff, the roof mounted system also redirects rain water away from the landfill area minimizing the amount of potentially contaminated water that leaves the site.

"This project is yet another example of Day4 Energy's efforts to address the unique needs of our customers by providing turn-key photovoltaic solutions," said George Rubin, president of Day4 Energy.

Solland Solar, AT&S to build prototype production line for PV modules with Sunweb back-contacted solar cells

HEERLEN, THE NETHERLANDS: As part of their ongoing technology partnership, Solland Solar and AT&S will build a prototype line for photovoltaic modules with Sunweb back-contacted solar cells. The construction of the prototype line marks a significant milestone on the road to commercial availability later in 2010.

Module with Sunweb technology
The overall goal of the technology partnership between Solland Solar and AT&S is to jointly develop and put into industrial production the innovative back-contact module technology for Sunweb cells.

The technology uses processes and materials that are standard in the printed circuit board industry but are not yet applied in photovoltaics. Solland Solar's Sunweb concept enables best in class module efficiency for multi-crystalline silicon solar cells with beautiful visual appearance and low production cost.

In the first year of the partnership, Solland Solar's basic idea of the Sunweb back-contacted solar cell was combined with new interconnection and switching technology from AT&S. All components and production processes have been developed accordingly for use in volume production. Extensive tests have been successfully completed, establishing that the project satisfies all the necessary reliability, safety and performance requirements.

The next phase in the project, the construction of a joint prototype production line at AT&S's Leoben-Hinterberg plant in Austria, is scheduled for completion by the summer of 2010, and will incorporate the results achieved during the last year into the industrial production process.

Additional objectives include further optimisation of the production process and certification under IEC 61215 and IEC 61730. Selected reference projects are being implemented in parallel, to highlight the cost effectiveness of the new technology and its advantages in practical operation.

The groundbreaking innovative module concept offers ample scope for further developments to increase efficiency and lower cost of solar energy. Solland Solar and AT&S are working intensively together to exploit this potential.

SunEdison and Developers Diversified Realty celebrate activation of National Rooftop Solar program

PRINCETON, USA: SunEdison, North America’s largest solar energy services provider, a subsidiary of MEMC Electronic Materials and Developers Diversified Realty, the owner, manager and developer of a dynamic international portfolio of highly valued shopping centers, announced the activation of five solar power projects in Princeton, Hamilton and Union, New Jersey. This activation is the first phase of Developers Diversified’s national rooftop solar program.

SunEdison and Developers Diversified entered into a partnership last year that gives SunEdison the rights to deploy solar energy systems at more than 130 shopping centers throughout the United States. The five projects in Princeton, Hamilton and Union mark the first of many in Developers Diversified’s portfolio that are being considered for solar power generation.

Through SunEdison’s REIT Solar Program, Developers Diversified will purchase the energy produced for common area usage while earning revenue on the leased roof space for solar power production. In addition, the shopping center tenants can benefit by opting to purchase the power generated through the program.

“There are significant environmental benefits realized by producing renewable energy without generating noise, pollution, or greenhouse gases,” said Marc Feldman, senior vice president of new business development for Developers Diversified. “Our tenants also benefit because we are able to reduce energy expenditures for the common areas of the shopping center and provide them with the opportunity to purchase the power generated. Plus we increase our operating income by leasing our roof space for solar power hosting.”

There are eight projects in New Jersey that are currently active or under construction. Once these regional sites are all active they will generate approximately 1.4 million kWh of solar energy in the first year. Over 20 years, the sites will generate approximately 26 million kilowatt-hours, enough energy to power over 2,400 homes for one year.

”PSE&G developed the solar loan program to help finance the construction of new solar capacity in New Jersey. Not only does this have a positive environmental impact, it also helps New Jersey businesses stay competitive in these tough economic times. We are pleased to have played a role in helping to bring solar to Developers Diversified, together with SunEdison,” said Susanna Chiu, Director of Business Development for PSE&G.

“SunEdison continues to lead the way in delivering solar solutions to our clients that add value on day one,” said Jaime A. Smith, Vice President of Sales for SunEdison. “By utilizing the best technologies, and working with outstanding partners such as DDR, we can provide innovative solutions that make solar energy work.”

B&W’s solar receiver performs well in early operations

BARBERTON, USA: An innovative solar receiver designed and manufactured by Babcock & Wilcox Power Generation Group Inc. (B&W PGG) has performed well during initial operations at eSolar’s Sierra SunTower commercial plant in southern California. B&W PGG is an operating unit of The Babcock & Wilcox Co.

Since startup, eSolar has been evaluating the performance of the tower-mounted receiver, which is capable of producing enough steam to generate 2.5 megawatts of zero carbon emissions electricity at the Sierra SunTower facility. B&W PGG’s design has already attained design temperature and pressure, while also starting up and achieving maximum steam flow quickly.

“We’re very pleased with our solar receiver’s performance,” said B&W PGG President and Chief Operating Officer Richard L. Killion. “We believe B&W PGG’s receiver design has advantages that make it the optimal technology for solar thermal steam generation. For example, our design features external evaporator panels that make efficient use of the sun’s energy, and our unique vertical steam separator reduces temperature-related issues during start-up.”

B&W PGG’s solar receiver is designed for eSolar's model for utility-scale concentrated solar thermal power plants. At the Sierra SunTower plant, a field of sun-tracking mirrors reflects solar energy onto the tube surface of the receiver, which is mounted on a 153-foot tower, heating water to produce steam. That steam is sent to a turbine to generate clean electricity for homes and businesses, while producing zero carbon emissions.