Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Albertsons and SunEdison activate solar power plants at three San Diego area stores

FULLERTON, USA: Albertsons a SUPERVALU Inc. company, and SunEdison, North America's largest solar energy services provider and a subsidiary of MEMC Electronic Materials, announced the activation of rooftop solar power systems at three Albertsons grocery stores in Carlsbad, Oceanside and Alpine, California. The solar installations were constructed by channel partner REC Solar.

SunEdison financed the solar power plants and will monitor and maintain the systems that will produce more than 12 million kilowatt hours (kWh) of energy over the next 20 years. That is enough energy to power more than 1,100 average US homes for one year. The environmental attributes associated with the systems will offset more than 13 million pounds of carbon dioxide over the initial 20 years of operation – the equivalent of taking 1,300 cars off the road for the same period.

"We are delighted to align with SunEdison for the activation of these solar sites that required no upfront capital costs for Albertsons," said Rick Crandall, Director of Environmental Stewardship for Albertsons Southern California Division "The sites will allow us to continue making progress on our cost-saving measures and to support the use of clean energy as an alternative to the grid."

"Our activation with SuperValu is the latest example of SunEdison's continued commitment to provide solar solutions that require no upfront costs, provide immediate energy savings and offer fully managed solar power services for commercial customers," said Jaime A. Smith, vice president of North American sales for SunEdison.

Under the Solar Power Purchase Agreement (SPPA) with SunEdison, SuperValu will purchase the energy produced to offset their demand from the grid for 20 years. The solar power plants are the first activated between SuperValu and SunEdison. SunEdison worked closely with channel partner REC Solar, which has completed more than 35 commercial solar systems for national and local retailers, totaling 16MW in the past 24 months. SuperValu and SunEdison are investigating future deployment opportunities in other regions of the US.

QuantaSol restructures in gear-up to volume manufacture

KINGSTON-UPON-THAMES, ENGLAND: QuantaSol Ltd, the independent designer and manufacturer of strain-balanced quantum-well solar cells, has undergone significant restructuring as it readies for volume manufacture.

In late 2009 Chris Shannon was appointed CEO, in a strategic move to drive the business forward. Chris brings with him more than 20 years of experience and an impressive track record in product marketing, product development to manufacturing, and international sales growth.

Throughout his career, Chris has proven an ability to lead the successful growth and commercialisation of start-up companies including roles at Ezurio and Queensgate Instruments.

Since his appointment, Shannon has overseen two new appointments to the QuantaSol management team. Ivor Thomas joins as Chief Financial Officer and brings extensive experience from within several UK listed technology companies. His role at QuantaSol will involve the introduction of financial and operational systems in preparation for rapid growth.

Also joining as VP of Engineering is Dr Gianluca Bacchin, whose previous positions include Product Development Director at Intense Ltd and Senior Researcher/Engineer at Corning OTI.

Dr Tom Tibbits has become Director of Product Marketing in a move from his previous role at QuantaSol as Product Engineering Director. Tom has been with QuantaSol since its outset, having been a protégé of Keith Barnham, QuantaSol’s Chief Scientific Officer, whilst studying at Imperial College. Keith is Emeritus Professor of Physics and Senior Research Investigator in the Physics Department at Imperial, and his research is at the core of QuantaSol’s technology. Dr Tibbits was also privileged to have spent a year at the Fraunhofer Institute of Solar Energy Systems, furthering developments in this exciting area.

In June last year, QuantaSol announced it had a single-junction device, which achieved a record breaking 28.3 percent efficiency at greater than 500 suns when independently tested by Fraunhofer ISE. Following continual development to achieve multi-junction cells at even higher efficiency, the newly restructured company is now driving toward volume production and a product launch is expected later this year.

Constellation Energy, GE, Qualcomm and Verizon Ventures make cleantech investment in smart grid company Consert Inc.

RALEIGH, USA: Raleigh-based Consert Inc., a smart grid technology provider, announced that Constellation Energy, GE Energy Financial Services, a unit of GE, Qualcomm Inc. , Verizon Ventures and private investors have invested $17.7 million to fund strategic marketing, North American sales and ongoing enhancements of Consert’s advanced smart grid software.

“Consert has united the interests of utilities with those of consumers and small businesses,” said Consert CEO and President Jack Roberts. “This group of investors advances our vision of creating an integrated green energy solution with smart infrastructure, real-time communications, and intelligent in-home devices.”

Consert is currently providing municipal and cooperative electric utilities in North Carolina and Texas with a reliable, flexible and economical form of green operating reserves and energy management. Consert empowers consumers to manage their energy usage without compromising control, comfort or convenience through secure online energy profiles and home devices.

Wake Electric Membership Corporation in North Carolina just completed a pilot with Consert and now plans to extend the service to its member base. Its CEO, Jim Mangum, reported, “Our pilot participants realized energy savings ranging from 7 to 54 percent with an average of 17 percent and responded favorably about the ease-of-use of the Consert system.”

Consert gives energy conservation the attributes of generation and addresses utilities’ issues such as capacity, transmission, renewable portfolio standards and power variability from intermittent generation. Consert has the ability to solve energy issues quickly and cost-effectively and also offers advanced ancillary services such as wind and solar regulation.

“Demand side resources must be as reliable as generation assets to meet capacity obligations in today’s marketplace,” said Kathi Hyle, COO, Constellation Energy Resources and senior vice president, Constellation Energy. “The Consert solution meets this test and could benefit utilities, municipals and cooperatives nationwide.”

By providing measurable and verifiable capacity in the form of operating reserves for generating and distributing utilities, Consert creates a Virtual Peak PlantSM that can defer or supplant the need for additional conventional power plants at a cost that is 70 to 80 percent less than the current capital cost of a new gas-fired peak plant with an equivalent operating cost that is 60 percent less.

“Consert’s technology connects homes and small businesses through existing communications networks, enabling utilities to balance electricity demand, increase energy efficiency and drive consumer savings,” said Kevin Skillern, managing director of venture capital at GE Energy Financial Services. “It complements GE’s suite of economagination and smart grid investments and products, and provides opportunities for future collaboration.”

Machine-to-machine communications are enabled and managed through the Verizon Wireless’ network -- the nation’s most reliable and largest 3G network. Consert is able to report real-time, empirical data to achieve an integrated consumer-to-grid solution with additional smart grid features including demand management, advanced metering infrastructure and a Home Area Network.

“By utilizing the 3G wireless network to manage its software messaging and real-time data collection, Consert has developed a very compelling solution for smart grid applications,” said Quinn Li, director of Qualcomm Ventures. “Consert’s innovative technology positions them well to succeed in this growing market.”

Tom Darden, a renowned green investor and Consert director who focuses on financial, environmental and social returns, reflected that the Consert Solution is future-proofed for development in a world of carbon measurement.

“Consert enables distributing utilities to conserve, capture and monetize carbon savings,” Darden explained. “Its application meets most states’ Renewable Energy Portfolio Standards and it does not require any subsidy to make it economically viable. It also has the added operational benefits of providing regulation for wind power and real-time reporting of micro solar grids or other distributed generation resources to the utility.”

Designed without private protocols, Consert’s technology is built on IBM enterprise software and works with standards-based hardware, communications suppliers and solution integrators promoting free-market competition. Consert has filed hundreds of claims of intellectual property with the US Patent Office as well as in numerous countries around the world.

Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed.

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Solar energy costs to achieve grid parity by 2013

BOULDER, USA: The solar energy market has undergone a dramatic transformation over the past two years, driven by a new abundance of polysilicon, the effects of the worldwide financial crisis, and the plunging price of solar modules.

As a result of these factors, the solar industry has shifted from supply-constrained to demand-driven, and a few strong companies have been able to improve their revenues and market share based on a low cost per watt combined with high module efficiency.

According to a new report from Pike Research, this market realignment will set the stage for a new era of solar growth over the next several years, and the cleantech market intelligence firm anticipates that by 2013, in many markets, solar costs will reach the long-elusive goal of grid parity, the cost of electricity from traditional power sources. Between 2010 and 2013, Pike Research forecasts that solar demand will increase at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 24 percent.

“Solar prices are plunging quickly, and lower pricing will fuel a surge in demand in 2010 and beyond,” says senior analyst Dave Cavanaugh. “However, pricing trends and oversupply of solar modules will also place huge pressure on solar suppliers, especially Tier 2 and Tier 3 companies that are not well-equipped to weather the storm. We expect a significant shakeout among solar suppliers in the next two years.”

Cavanaugh adds that 10 key factors will determine success and survival for solar suppliers during this period of industry consolidation:

* Low-cost polysilicon and wafers.
* Low-cost process materials.
* Low-cost processing.
* Module efficiency.
* Economies of scale.
* Market presence in key growth countries.
* Supply chain integration.
* Strong balance sheets and internal financing of growth.
* Module manufacturing in North America and low-cost European Union countries.
* Strong position in niche markets.

RoseStreet Lab scientists announce breakthrough multiband solar cell technology

PHOENIX, USA: RoseStreet Labs Energy Inc. (RSLE) announced a breakthrough laboratory demonstration of the first known multiband photovoltaic device featuring three distinct light absorption regions integrated into a single layer thin film device.

This breakthrough is based on RSLE's IBand technology and is the first known intermediate band solar cell reduced to practice in a laboratory demonstration. This technology illustrates great promise for high efficiency thin film solar efficiencies above 35 percent by potentially capturing the full spectrum of the sun's spectrum.
Efficient solar cells require optimized utilization of the whole solar spectrum.

Currently, this is achieved in a complex and expensive technology in which several solar cells with different band gaps are connected in series. A much simpler approach in which a single semiconductor has several different gaps sensitive to different parts of the solar spectrum has been proposed but never realized.

The intermediate band solar cell developed by RSLE, is a thin film technology based on the discovery of highly mismatched alloys. The simple and elegant three bandgaps, one junction device has the potential of significantly improved solar light absorption and higher power output than the III-V triple junction compound semiconductor devices that presently hold the world record for solar efficiency.

RSLE's demonstration device was fabricated on high volume CVD technology thereby validating the potential for high volume commercialization.

Bob Forcier, CEO, of RSLE, stated: "Although we are three to four years away from high volume production with the IBand product, this development opens up a new class of semiconductor devices for photovoltaic conversion and other advanced semiconductor applications. It fits seamlessly with our Hybrid PV commercialization."

Wladek Walukiewicz, CTO, of RSLE, announced: "This demonstration is a major breakthrough in our photovoltaic semiconductor roadmap which will allow us to go to the next step in our PV research at an accelerated pace. The IBand technology is synergistic with our thin film Nitride Hybrid product development and will allow upside potential for higher solar conversion efficiencies compared to conventional technologies."

RoseStreet Labs Energy Inc. (RSLE) is a privately held firm headquartered in Phoenix, Arizona. RSLE is commercializing full spectrum photovoltaic devices for high performance applications. RoseStreet Labs LLC, the parent company of RSLE, is a privately held supplier of products and services for the renewable energy, semiconductor and life science markets.

New partners in LayTec's distribution network for PV!

SAN FRANCISCO, USA: LayTec is happy to announce the expansion of the distribution network. To meet the increasing interest in LayTec's in-line metrology systems for photovoltaic applications, we will now cooperate with two new and very qualified distribution partners in Asia.

In Korea, we will work with DKSH Korea Ltd, located in Seoul. The company is part of the privately held Swiss DKSH Group. As provider of market expansion services DKSH is offering a broad portfolio of technical and service solutions. With DKSH's well established business contacts and market expertise we are sure to develop further business for LayTec's PV section.

In Taiwan LayTec will be represented by MOS Technology Inc. The company was founded in 1997 and is located in Zhubei City, Hsinchu County. MOS Technology Inc. offers solutions and comprehensive after-sales service, upon the business philosophy of "Innovation, Integration and Solutions".

We are confident that our new partners will suit all demands and are looking forward to a successful cooperation!

LayTec develops, manufactures and markets optical in-situ and in-line metrology systems for thin-film processes with particular focus on compound semiconductor and photovoltaic applications. LayTec's metrology provides access to all key thin-film parameters in real-time – either during the deposition process or in-line. In 2009 LayTec launched its first in-line monitoring system for photovoltaic thin-film applications – SolR.

IEEE improves power grid performance with IEEE P1547.8 standard

PISCATAWAY, USA: IEEE, the world's leading professional association for the advancement of technology announced IEEE P1547.8, a draft standard establishing a common technical platform for distributed resources interconnection applications.

The proposed standard expands upon IEEE 1547, while incorporating industry and National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) recommendations for improved interconnection performance functionality. It also addresses energy storage challenges coming into play across the distributed resources and Smart Grid industries. Ratification of IEEE P1547.8, which is sponsored by the IEEE Standards Coordinating Committee 21 (SCC21), is targeted for calendar year 2012.

“With IEEE 1547, the energy and utility industries gained a stable, robust foundation for the further construction and expansion of distributed resource networks. With more renewable energy sources coming online, storage capabilities are becoming increasingly important and need to be addressed sooner rather than later,” said Dick DeBlasio, program manager at the National Renewable Energy Lab facility of the US Department of Energy, and IEEE Smart Grid liaison to the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST).

“By incorporating support for emerging storage technologies, as well as other industry-driven recommendations, IEEE P1547.8 future-proofs the original framework by both extending current functionality and laying the groundwork for future advancements.”

As a complement to the IEEE 1547 standard, IEEE P1547.8 establishes a common technical platform to address functionality for the interconnection of distributed resources across the power grid. The standard provides greater support for intermittent renewable energy sources, and more flexible use of inverters such as found in home solar power systems, enabling easier and more robust connections to the grid.

It also addresses energy storage devices, hybrid generation-storage systems (ES-DER), and ES-DER aspects of plug-in electric vehicles (PEV), as well as taking into account a variety of industry-driven recommendations. IEEE P1547.8 is targeted to distributed resource owners, interconnection contractors, equipment manufacturers, system integrators, area electric power system owners, planners and operators, and regulatory agencies.

In August 2009, NIST established an initial set of priority actions plans (PAPs) for developing standards necessary to build an interoperable Smart Grid. IEEE P1547.8 will support NIST PAP07 Energy Storage Interconnection Guidelines.

“Energy storage is essential in the evolution of the power grid particularly for renewable energy resources and to improve electrical power system performance,” said George Arnold, NIST’s National Coordinator for Smart Grid Interoperability. “With P1547.8, IEEE is playing a vital role by moving the industry forward in the area of Smart Grid energy storage.”

“As the leading intellectual powerhouse globally for Smart Grid information and expertise, IEEE is dedicated to driving technology advancements needed for Smart Grid infrastructure development,” said Judith Gorman, Managing Director, IEEE Standards Association.

“IEEE P1547.8’s forward-looking scope and expanded implementation strategies provide utility operators with a broader array of options for meeting changing power demands, as well as facilitating greater access to distributed resources and renewable energy, which will play a key role as the Smart Grid continues to evolve and mature.”

IEEE has more than 100 standards and standards in development relevant to smart grid, including the over 20 IEEE standards named in the NIST Framework and Roadmap for Smart Grid Interoperability Standards.

Spire receives DOE grant to develop LED based solar simulator

BEDFORD, USA: Spire Corp. has been selected by the Department of Energy (DOE) as the recipient of a Small Business Innovation Research grant to develop a light emitting diode (LED) based solar simulator.

Spire is a major producer of solar simulators using pulsed light lamp light sources; this project will develop a next generation solar simulator, based on LED technology. An LED based system could provide advantages of accuracy, reliability, versatility and cost. Spectral, intensity and spatial uniformity variations could be achieved easily with system software and control electronics.

“We’re pleased that DOE selected Spire for this grant,” said Roger G. Little, chairman and CEO of Spire. “Our simulators are used by most major module manufacturers throughout the world and numerous international testing facilities, so we continuously strive to improve and advance the technology.”

Solar PV program huge success for Oncor

DALLAS, USA: Over the past two years Oncor’s Solar Photovoltaic (PV) Program has been an overwhelming success. To date 479 residential, 85 commercial and 46 government projects have qualified for incentives attributing to over $16 million in program incentives. The average incentive paid out for residential projects is approximately $14,000 and for non-residential is approximately $49,000.

A wide array of installers and service providers helped Oncor successfully develop the Solar PV market in Oncor’s service area faster than expected. To date 72 different installers have completed or reserved a project in the program. Of these installers, 34 are certified with the North American Board of Certified Energy Practitioners (NABCEP).

Texas, with 78 NABCEP Certified installers, is now only second to California. The number of NABCEP Certified installers grew from 20 to 78 since the launch of the Oncor Solar PV Program.

“Oncor’s Solar PV Program has created a huge demand for renewable energy in Texas,” said Michael Stockard, Oncor Director of Energy Efficiency Programs. “Oncor continues to encourage new technologies that will help save energy, protect the environment and reduce emissions.”

Oncor reallocated program budget funds from 2011 and 2012 to meet the demand of consumers in more than 400 Texas cities and towns who want to start installing Solar PV panels this year. On June 21 Oncor re-opened the program with additional budget funds, and within two days all program funds were requested. This program is funded out of Oncor’s $100 million commitment to Take A Load Off, Texas.

Oncor has six other energy efficiency programs that offer Solar PV incentives. These include the Commercial Standard Offer Program, School Matching Grant, City Matching Grant, Home Energy Efficiency, Worship Facility Matching Grant and Nonprofit Facility Matching Grant programs. Each of these programs has different program guidelines.

Oncor offers 30 energy efficiency programs for consumers throughout Oncor’s service area.

Veeco awarded $800K in matching funds from Minnesota for solar technology

ST. PAUL, USA: Veeco Instruments Inc. announced that its St. Paul operations was awarded $800,000 in matching funds by the Minnesota Department of Commerce’s Office of Energy Security provided by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act to support emerging renewable energy technology.

The matching funds were awarded for a 1.5 year project that will expedite Veeco’s CIGS (copper, indium, gallium, selenium) deposition equipment technology to market. This technology helps solar panel manufacturers to reduce their production costs and increase the feasibility of solar panels as an alternative energy.

According to David Bruns, Senior Vice President of Veeco’s Solar Operations: “Veeco will facilitate the development of this critical technology, creating green energy jobs. We would like to acknowledge the integral support of MN District 53B House Representative Carol McFarlane, in addition to MN District 53 Senator Sandy Rummel, MN 4th District Congresswoman Betty McCollum, and other various high-ranking elected government officials. Through visits to Veeco and encouragement of our efforts, they clearly demonstrated their strong support of green energy technology and its advancement in the state of Minnesota.”

In total, the state of Minnesota awarded just over $4 million dollars in funding for the Emerging Renewable Energy Industries Grant Program. Veeco’s proposal was one of approximately nine selected by the Minnesota Department of Commerce Office of Energy Security (OES) OES-101920009.

The purpose of this grant program is to provide funding for a portion of the cost of multiple activities to promote improved economic performance of both the direct recipient and its Minnesota suppliers and customers.

Monday, June 28, 2010

Regional PV markets display high growth in 2010

SAN FRANCISCO, USA: According to the latest photovoltaic (PV) market analysis from Solarbuzz, an international solar energy market research and consulting company, nine countries are forecast to exceed 250 MW in 2010, up from six countries in 2009.

The high growth in these regions can be attributed to strong supportive government policy and consumer demand. These conclusions were based on the firm’s latest reports released this week: Asia Pacific Major PV Markets, European PV Markets and United States Grid Connect PV Market.

“PV demand growth in each major market region is being shaped by economic uncertainty, complex and frequently changing government policies,” noted Craig Stevens, President of Solarbuzz. “Despite political and economic woes, PV supply is barely able to keep up with demand.”

"Set against the weak European economic environment, the risk of future moderation of PV incentive policy around Europe will necessitate flexibility in corporate sales and marketing initiatives to handle changes in market mix," Stevens added.

Germany drives global solar market, while growth in Italy, Czech Republic and France is promising
Germany continues to lead the global market in 2010. Despite this, impending policy changes, including to two successive incentive tariff reductions in the next seven months, will place growing emphasis on seeking out growth opportunities in other country markets over the next year. German policy makers are wrestling with how to bring the market under some level of effective control.

Despite the economic downturn, PV markets in Europe, such as Italy, the Czech Republic, Belgium and France, are forecast to grow strongly this year. Key to this, Italy, Czech Republic and France are forecast to generate some 3 Gigawatt (GW) of demand in 2010. Meanwhile, Spain is still reverberating from catastrophic PV policy adjustments over the last two years that continue to deteriorate.

Race to install 1 GW of PV
Italy, Czech Republic, United States, and potentially even Japan are all capable of becoming just the third country to ever install 1 GW of PV in a single year. Recent key policy enhancements in Japan and the US have set the ground work for significant growth in these already substantial markets.

The complex policy environment in the United States is driven by federal and state rebates, feed-in tariffs, tax incentives, net metering, grants and other short-term funding through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act. These are combining to deliver a potential doubling in that market in 2010. In addition, utility-driven projects in California and other states with Renewable Portfolio Standards are creating the largest market segment.

Emerging regions: China and India
PV project order books in China and India indicate that those two regions are well positioned to make a material contribution to global market growth over the next two years. Nearly 100 planned installations in China add up to an unrisked order book of 18.6 GW, while the Indian pipeline contributes a further 4.8 GW.

Solar companies are operating more vertical integration models in the strategic markets, either through equity interest or via partnering. The ability to access sources of project financing remains key to success in most of the major markets.

On the supply side, Japanese module manufacturers are increasingly focused on their domestic market, able to access the utility net feed-in tariff and new residential incentives. Distribution channels in that country are becoming more diversified, with new entrants like Yamada Denki and Toshiba starting to make their presence felt.

Saturday, June 26, 2010

Trina Solar to power Australia's largest roof-mounted solar array for The University of Queensland

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, announced that it is expected to supply PV modules to the University of Queensland St Lucia campus in Brisbane, Australia, to be used for a 1.2 MW solar system which will be installed on the rooftops of four university buildings.

The solar system will be developed by Ingenero, Australia's leading renewable energy company specializing in solar power. The large-scale installation will provide UQ with a significant source of clean green energy and is expected to be a resource for students and staff, who will study the array's performance and collaborate with Trina Solar as part of the University's drive to help develop next-generation solar technologies. Trina Solar also expects to work together with UQ on several cutting edge solar technology research projects going forward.

The Queensland Government is contributing a grant of AUD1.5 million towards the AUD7.75 million project, which will feature the 1.2 MW solar PV installation, and will be capable of producing 1,750 MWh of electricity a year.

"The Australian solar market has enormous potential and Trina Solar is pleased to be selected by The University of Queensland to be a partner in this significant project installation," said Ku Jun Heong, Director of Sales and Marketing Asia Pacific. "We are proud to be supplying modules to the largest and most powerful rooftop solar arrays in Australia and we believe this marks the beginning of a promising future for large-scale solar energy in Australia."

"The UQ solar power installation represents the leading edge of commercial and industrial scale solar energy in Australia. The University will substantially reduce its carbon footprint and provide an excellent learning facility for the future leaders in the renewable energy industry," said Ingenero CEO Steve McRae.

Prof. Paul Meredith, who leads the research project at the University of Queensland said: "Not only is this array a significant piece of energy infrastructure for UQ, but it also represents a globally leading research and teaching facility. Our objective is to integrate the array into everyday business across UQ and also provide the community, industry and government with vital information on how to deploy and optimize solar energy systems at this scale. We are looking forward to building productive and expansive research partnerships with Ingenero and Trina Solar."

Friday, June 25, 2010

SunPower announces new world record solar cell efficiency

SAN JOSE, USA: SunPower Corp., a Silicon Valley-based manufacturer of high-efficiency solar cells, solar panels and solar systems, has produced a full-scale solar cell with a sunlight to electricity conversion efficiency of 24.2 percent at its manufacturing plant in the Philippines. This is a new world record, confirmed by the US Department of Energy's National Renewable Energy Lab (NREL), for large area silicon wafers.

"This new world record demonstrates SunPower's ability to extend our lead in manufacturing the world's highest efficiency solar cells," said Bill Mulligan, vice president of technology and development for SunPower. "Our patented and proprietary, high-efficiency solar cell technology drives down the cost of solar energy by increasing the energy production from each solar panel."

Improved cell efficiency reduces the levelized cost of energy by increasing the energy production from each wafer manufactured into a SunPower solar cell. For the same reason, increased efficiency reduces the cost per watt and cost per kilowatt-hour for feedstock and materials, depreciation and other manufacturing expenses, installation time, land and system operations, and related maintenance.

"As we celebrate SunPower's 25th anniversary this year, I am thrilled to see the company achieve technology milestones that were inconceivable only a few years ago," said Dr. Richard Swanson, SunPower founder and CTO. "SunPower's research and development and engineering teams have increased cell efficiency by a full four percentage points over the last five years while radically driving down manufacturing costs. We are extremely proud of their continued success."

Bettina Weiss of SEMI PV Group receives 2010 Women in Solar Energy (WISE) award

SAN JOSE, USA: At the recent American Solar Energy Society (ASES) National Conference in Phoenix, Arizona, Bettina Weiss of the SEMI PV Group was awarded the 2010 Women in Solar Energy Award. Weiss is senior director of photovoltaics at the SEMI PV Group.

The annual Solar Energy award is presented to a woman who has contributed significantly to the acceptance and advancement of women in solar through their work in advocacy, politics, education, technical, or social change.

“I am proud to be the 2010 recipient of the WISE Award and I will continue to advocate on behalf of this industry to the best of my abilities. Solar manufacturing supply chain issues are getting more and more complex, and we need opportunities for stakeholders to come together and identify challenges and bottlenecks that are best addressed collectively. As a global trade association, that’s what we provide – opportunities to connect,” said Weiss.

“It makes a difference when representatives from the entire supply chain make their voices heard, because only then can we collectively advance solar growth and promote sustainable business practices.”

Weiss joined the SEMI Europe office in Belgium in 1996. She transferred to SEMI Global Headquarters in San Jose where she was involved in International Standards for ten years, eventually serving as director of the SEMI International Standards Program.

Since 2008, she has managed the global photovoltaic initiatives and activities of the SEMI PV Group, which serves the photovoltaic manufacturing supply chain. She works tirelessly on behalf of PV Group members and the industry at large.

Xiris intros flexible thin film inspection

BURLINGTON, USA: Xiris Automation Inc., a 20 year veteran in the machine vision industry, has developed TFI-FLEX, an inspection system used for detecting defects in Flexible Thin Film Photovoltaic Cells.

Designed for in-line quality control use by manufacturers of Flexible Thin Film Cells, TFI-FLEX is capable of detecting defects in surface quality and chemical deposition of cells at multiple points along a production line.

The TFI-FLEX Inspection System performs visual checks on the activated side of a flexible thin film cell, looking for defects that are specific to quality issues arising from the handling and manufacture of thin film cells, including topological defects such as scratches, bumps and dents; and print/deposition defects such as chemical deposition flaws, stains, spots, watermarks, fingerprints, and color variations.

The system uses a proprietary method of acquiring images with very low optical distortion in color and/or monochrome mode, detecting defects that are much smaller than 1 mm in size. TFI-FLEX is an important new tool for inspecting cells after deposition, after laser etching, after printing, and after final environmental coating of the cells.

The system can easily be retrofitted into existing lines and can be configured to include multiple inspection modules (each with a solution-optimized design).

Xiris Automation Inc. specializes in developing high-end machine vision systems used for Quality Control inspection applications in the Optical Media, Tube and Pipe and Photovoltaic industries.

Universal Solar announces $32.6 million contract with CEZ Group of Czech Republic

NEW YORK, USA: Universal Solar Technology Inc., a developer of solar grade ingot, wafers and high efficiency solar photovoltaic modules, announced the signing of a sales contract for $32,600,000 with CEZ Group, part of the largest electricity producer in the Czech Republic.

The contract calls for the delivery of 20MW of monocrystaline solar modules to be delivered by the end of 2010.

Wensheng Chen, chairman and CEO stated: “This large contract confirms that Universal Solar’s products are of international standards and reinforces our business expectations. We have focused our marketing efforts on sales in China, India and the EU. With its expertise, new factory and production equipment, we expect UNSS will grow quickly becoming a highly efficient supplier to a very rapidly growing market for solar PV products.”

New breakthrough increases solar cell conversion efficiency to 66 percent

THE WOODLANDS, USA: Researchers from the University of Texas in Austin and the University of Minnesota in Minneapolis have discovered a process that can be used to increase the conversion efficiency of solar cells up to 66 percent.

The process transfers hot electrons from quantum dots to an electron acceptor. In typical semiconductor solar cells, photons with energies above the semiconductor’s bandgap generate hot electrons, and much of the energy from the hot electrons is lost through heat before it can be captured and used for electricity.

This new process uses quantum dots to slow down the cooling process of hot electrons and then captures and transfers them. This allows the addition of energy that is currently lost as heat in conventional solar cells.

“This is a dramatic leap forward in making solar power more cost efficient,” stated Robert Hines, President of Evolution Solar. “This has the potential to double solar power output and cut solar payback times in half.”

Thursday, June 24, 2010

SEMI India announces ‘SOLARCON India 2010’ to be held in July

HYDERABAD, INDIA: SEMI India, the Indian arm of SEMI (Semiconductor Equipment Materials International) and PV Group, a leading industry association serving the photovoltaic supply chain, will be conducting SOLARCON India 2010 at the Hyderabad International Convention Centre (HICC), Hyderabad between July 28-30, 2010.

The forthcoming event is the second edition of the country’s largest and most successful solar-focused event, backed by the solar industry.

SOLARCON India 2010 will focus on the recently launched Jawaharlal Nehru National Solar Mission (JN-NSM) which has set an ambitious target of 20,000 Megawatts (MW) of solar generated power by 2022 and aims at establishing India as a global leader in solar energy.

The event includes a best-in-class exhibition bringing together leading global and India Solar/PV players from the entire ecosystem to help build a robust PV supply chain to meet the demands of the JN-NSM. The associated three-day international conference will bring together eminent solar energy experts from industry, academia and the government who will present new technologies, solutions and trends and will discuss the opportunities and challenges in expanding solar energy in India.

Sathya Prasad, Chairperson, SOLARCON India 2010 and President, SEMI India said: ‘SOLARCON India, is the only event that reinvests revenues back to support the industry with programs like industry standards, market research, EHS and other public policy programs and we are currently focused on working with the industry in the implementation of JN-NSM.’

The event is run by the Solar/PV industry for the industry in India. It will also facilitate collaboration, market growth and efficient technology advancement. In 2009 in its inaugural year, SOLARCON India, was held at the same venue and attracted over 3,500 professional visitors, 600 conference delegates and participation from 68 companies from around the world.

Sulfurcell offers CIS thin-film solar modules in US market for first time

LOS ANGELES, USA: Sulfurcell, one of the leading manufacturers of CIS/CIGSe-based thin-film solar modules in the world, today announced the initiation of US operations.

Sulfurcell’s full line of highly aesthetic German-made CIS thin-film modules is now available in the United States for a variety of rooftop and building integrated applications. The Berlin based company, which is partly financed by Intel Capital, plans to develop a robust network of system integrators and installers throughout North America in the coming months.

“We’re confident Sulfurcell’s industry-leading thin-film modules will enjoy broad adoption in the American market,” said Nikolaus Meyer, CEO of Sulfurcell. “Sulfurcell’s thin-film modules combine black-tile aesthetics and high performance within a wide range of temperatures making them ideal for building integrated, residential and commercial rooftop applications.”

Sulfurcell’s North American operations will be run out of new offices in Los Angeles, CA.

Sulfurcell’s copper-indium-sulfide (CIS) thin-film solar power modules have a smooth black appearance and a compact format. The combination of color, size and quality make them a very attractive building integrated photovoltaics choice for leading architects and discerning property owners.

An excellent temperature co-efficient ensures high yields at hot locations, making them an ideal choice for desert utility-scale projects. The company’s product offering includes framed, frameless, and roof-integrated modules.

Sulfurcell thin-film modules were first made available to the European market in 2005. The modules are IEC-certified and exceed standards. For example, they maintain their performance not only when aged for the standard 1,000 hours at 85°C and 85 percent humidity but also after 2,000 hours. Sulfurcell’s CIS-based production process enables substantially thinner PV modules and requires only half the energy used for manufacturing conventional solar modules.

Since initiating commercial-scale production in 2005, the company has manufactured and sold over 100,000 modules, making it one of the three largest manufacturers of CIS/CIGSe-based thin-film modules in the world.

In 2008, Sulfurcell was provided 85 million Euros ($110) in growth financing by renowned international investors, including Intel Capital and the BEU fund supported by Vattenfall Europe and Gaz de France. This capital was utilized for constructing new production facilities and for research and development.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

ET Solar launches new black module product line in North American markets

NANJING, CHINA: ET Solar Group Corp., a Nanjing-based photovoltaic system turnkey solution provider and integrated manufacturer of PV products, announced it has received approval and listing from the California Energy Commission (CEC) for its new line of black frame and black back sheet crystalline solar modules for the North American markets, including both US and Canada.

The product line includes both mono-crystalline and multi-crystalline modules. The black mono-crystalline ET-M572B series modules are made with a black anodized aluminum frame and black triple-layer backsheet.

Available in power ratings of 175/180/185 watts with conversion efficiencies of up to 14.5 percent, they are encapsulated with 72 pieces of 5-inch, high efficiency mono-crystalline solar cells.

The black multi-crystalline ET-P654B, ET-P660B, and ET-P672B series modules are made with a black anodized frame and black backsheet or white backsheet. They are encapsulated with 54, 60 and 72 pieces of 6-inch multi-crystalline cells, respectively.

Their power ratings range from 200/205/210 watt, 220/225/230 watt, and 270/275/280 watt with module conversion efficiencies up to 14.4 percent. The ET-M572B and ET-P660B series are compatible with micro inverter technology, which is becoming increasingly accepted in the North American markets.

The new black modules are designed to address concerns on aesthetic appeal, particularly in the residential solar market segment.

Bloo Solar selects CVD Equipment for transparent conductive oxide (TCO) coatings

WEST SACRAMENTO, USA: Bloo Solar, a West Sacramento renewable solar energy company, announced today the selection of CVD Equipment Corporation (CVD) to develop and manufacture the equipment for its unique 3rd generation three dimensional architecture, thin film, solar module.

Bloo Solar, has started its "Solar Brush" wafer development production run which it plans to bring to market with initial commercial modules in 2012.

Bloo Solar's "Solar Brush" is a 3rd generation technology that has many fundamental advantages over existing PV technologies that rely on traditional planar solar cells. The three dimensional single junction architecture provides more surface area, superior light trapping and minimum recombination to provide higher efficiency and a total power output up to 1.5 to 3 times higher than current technologies.

"This is an important partnership for our company," said Larry Bawden, CEO of Bloo
Solar. Bloo Solar has developed a solid technology baseline over the last three years which we are starting to commercialize. The TCO is key to our design for our three dimensional Solar Brush technology."

By selecting CVD as its partner, Bloo Solar will develop a key process for Transparent Conductive Oxide (TCO) coating. CVD Equipment provides offline and online CVDgCoat APCVD for fluorine doped SnO2 (SnO2:F) coating and offline LPCVD for ZnO coating.

"CVD Equipment Corporation is focusing on enabling the commercialization of tomorrow's technologies," says Karlheinz Strobl, VP of Business Development of CVD.

"Through the combination of our Application Laboratory with our experience in designing and manufacturing a wide variety of CVD related research and manufacturing equipment, we believe that we can optimally help Bloo Solar reach its commercialization needs. In particular our focus on a variety of TCO coating processes and production scale-up equipment is being fully utilized in this relationship."

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Nordson ASYMTEK white paper "Conformal Coating Improves the Reliability and Life of Solar Inverters" now available

SEMICON West 2010, CARLSBAD, USA: Nordson ASYMTEK, a leader in dispensing, coating, and jetting technologies, has developed new methods of selective conformal coating and process control that can be applied to protect the electronics in solar inverters from harsh environmental factors.

Selective coating results in improved reliability and longer inverter life for photovoltaic systems. An explanation of new coating technologies and how they can be applied to the solar inverter manufacturing process is detailed in the white paper, Conformal Coating Improves the Reliability and Life of Solar Inverters. The paper can be accessed at the Nordson ASYMTEK website.

"The solar inverter is an essential part of every photovoltaic system," explained Akira Morita, business development manager for Nordson ASYMTEK. "Ensuring high reliability of the inverter is critical to the performance of the solar array installation as well as to the continued global adaptation of this relatively new technology.

"Solar installations must withstand harsh environmental elements such as exposure to moisture, temperature cycle fluctuation, and particle contamination during their expected 25- 30 year life. Using conformal coating, an existing and proven technology, is a cost effective, efficient method to achieve that reliability."

Ascent Solar wins DARPA contract for high-efficiency low-cost portable PV(PoP) program

THORNTON, USA: Ascent Solar Technologies Inc., a developer of state of the art flexible thin-film solar modules, announced that the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) has selected their team for an award under the Low-Cost Lightweight Portable Photovoltaics (PoP) solicitation.

The ASTI-led program, entitled “Flexible High-performance Tandem-junction PV Array”, consists of three gated phases, the first of which is 18 months and has an approximate contract value of $3.8 million.

The entire program is anticipated to continue over the next 54 months. The goal of PoP is to demonstrate low-cost, lightweight photovoltaics (PV) that can stand up to battle conditions and environmental extremes while delivering a power conversion efficiency of 20 percent or greater by the end of the program.

ASTI leads a highly-talented team of small businesses (ITN Energy Systems, Littleton, CO, Cambrios Technologies Company, Sunnyvale, CA, Brewer Science, Rolla, MO), large business (QinetiQ North America-TSG, Boston, MA) and academia (Institute of Energy Conversion (IEC), Newark, DE) partners to leverage their collective expertise with dedicated funding from DARPA to meet the highly aggressive goals of the PoP program.

“We are excited that DARPA selected our team for the PoP project,” stated Farhad Moghadam, president and CEO of Ascent Solar. ”In order to meet the aggressive goals of performance, capacity, and military toughness, our team has put together a definitive plan that combines our flexible CIGS production experience and existing MILSTD 810G military product, advanced high-temperature substrates from QinetiQ, the combined expertise in multijunction thin film technology from ASTI and IEC, films for optical and electrical enhancement from Brewer and Cambrios, and enhanced packaging technologies being developed by ITN and ASTI.

“The outcome of the program dovetails nicely with our existing technology improvement pathway for our flexible thin film monolithically integrated CIGS-based PV modules at 20 percent module efficiency for the Department of Defense (DoD).”

Abengoa, GE to invest $180 million for Mexico’s largest cogeneration power plant

VILLAHERMOSA, MEXICO: Subsidiaries of Spain-based Abengoa and GE Energy Financial Services, a unit of GE, announced that they will invest $180 million to develop the largest cogeneration power plant in Mexico.

The 300-megawatt gas-fired facility with a total project cost of $640 million will be located at the Nuevo Pemex gas processing complex, owned by Pemex Gas y Petroquímica Básica, a subsidiary of Mexican state oil company Pemex.

Located near Villahermosa, Tabasco, the plant will supply Nuevo Pemex with power and steam under a 20-year services agreement. Powered by cleaner burning natural gas, the facility will help the Mexican government meet its commitment to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 50 percent below 2002 levels by the year 2050. To help meet these objectives, the government is promoting combined heat and power, or cogeneration, as an energy efficient option.

The Abengoa subsidiaries—Abener Energía and Abengoa México, companies of Abeinsa, the Engineering and Industrial Construction Business Group of Abengoa—and GE Energy Financial Services will own the project. Abener Energía and Abengoa México will invest US$108 million and the GE unit will invest US$72 million.

A group of lenders including Banobras, Santander, Scotiabank, La Caixa, Banco Espirito Santo, Credit Agricole, Export Development Canada and HSBC is providing $460 million in debt for the project. Construction began in September 2009, with commercial operation expected in 2012. The plant is expected to directly supply 55 percent of Nuevo Pemex’s steam demand and all of its power demand; additional power output will be provided to other Pemex operations throughout Mexico over its national transmission system.

The Nuevo Pemex complex processes gas from on- and off-shore Mexican gas fields. As agreed in a separate transaction between GE Energy and Abengoa announced Jan. 26, the cogeneration facility will use two GE Energy Frame 7FA gas turbines. GE’s F-Technology gas turbines have accumulated over 30 million combined operating hours around the globe. In addition, GE Energy signed a 20-year agreement to provide plant services, a key GE growth area.

“This transaction draws on our core strengths in structuring investments in long-lived, critical energy assets and expands our relationship with Abengoa,” said Alex Urquhart, president and CEO of GE Energy Financial Services.

“As Pemex’s first cogeneration plant under its development initiative, this facility will benefit from Abengoa’s and GE Energy Financial Services’ energy expertise and could serve as a model for other Pemex facilities,” said Alfonso Gonzalez, chairman of Abeinsa.

Cogeneration, the simultaneous production of electricity and heat using a single fuel source such as natural gas, harnesses heat that would otherwise be wasted. This can result in higher thermal efficiency or higher heat values; also, carbon dioxide emissions can be substantially reduced.

Abengoa and GE have worked together successfully on a range of projects, including an investment in power transmission lines in Chile. GE Energy Financial Services holds investments totaling US$400 million in energy projects in Mexico, ranging from natural gas pipelines to power generation facilities. Globally, GE Energy Financial Services holds equity investments in power projects with a capacity to produce 26 gigawatts, equivalent to the installed generating capacity of Thailand.

NRG Solar agrees to acquire solar development portfolio from US Solar

PRINCETON, USA: NRG Energy Inc., through its wholly owned subsidiary, NRG Solar, has entered into a definitive agreement with US Solar, an affiliate of Arclight Capital Partners LLC, to acquire a portfolio of solar development projects on nine sites in California and Arizona. The purchase price is subject to a confidentiality agreement between the parties.

The development projects acquired range in size from 20 megawatts (MW) to 99 MW with the potential to be operational between 2011 and 2013. The acquisition nearly doubles NRG Solar’s projects under development to 1,150 MW.

“US Solar has developed a project pipeline that gives us strategic depth in promising solar markets in which there is a public policy commitment to use this zero-emission, domestic peak period energy source,” said David Crane, NRG President and CEO.

“We expect the American public will increasingly demand that their energy come from these type of sources as they are confronted with the ever increasing human, environmental and strategic cost of our national dependence on fossil fuels.”

“Acquiring the nine development projects will be instrumental in expanding our clean energy portfolio and further establishing NRG’s leadership as a solar generation company,” said Tom Doyle, President, NRG Solar. “This agreement adds meaningful depth to NRG Solar’s development pipeline of strong solar projects that can compete well against other solar projects on efficiency, cost of power and return on investment.”

NRG is developing solar capacity at sites with strong solar resources, potential for long-term power offtake agreements with load-serving entities and established, easily accessible connections to power grids. These solar projects support NRG’s commitment to increase its portfolio of low and no carbon generation assets with diverse technologies including new nuclear generation, onshore and offshore wind, biomass projects and a commercial-scale carbon capture project for fossil-fueled generation.

NRG Solar is responsible for developing, constructing, financing and operating a multi-technology portfolio of solar power assets in North America. NRG now operates the largest photovoltaic solar project in California, a 21 MW facility in Blythe.

The solar power generated at Blythe alone will displace approximately 12,000 metric tons of carbon dioxide emissions annually – the equivalent of taking over 2,200 cars off the road.

Monday, June 21, 2010

Summer solstice survey shows US consumers want more solar energy

SANTA CLARA, USA: A new survey conducted by Applied Materials, Inc. reveals that two-thirds of Americans believe solar technology should play a greater role in meeting the country’s energy needs. In addition, three-quarters of Americans feel that increasing renewable energy and decreasing US dependence on foreign oil are the country’s top energy priorities.

Today is the summer solstice, the day the sun shines in the northern hemisphere for the longest period of time all year. In recognition of this day and the ongoing debate concerning energy reform legislation, Applied Materials, the world’s leading supplier of solar panel manufacturing equipment, conducted its second annual survey to gauge the public’s current knowledge and opinion of solar energy usage in the US.

According to the survey, 67 percent of Americans would be willing to pay more for their monthly utility bill if their utility company increased its use of renewable energy and 49 percent of consumers polled would be willing to pay $5 or more each month for an increased amount of renewable energy—a 14 percent increase from the results of Applied Materials’ 2009 survey.

“Americans are becoming more aware of the need for responsible energy solutions, like solar power, and increasingly want their government to drive policy and investment aimed at finding alternative ways to power our homes and economy,” said Dr. Charles Gay, president of Applied Solar, a division of Applied Materials. “With the right energy legislation in place, the US could reap the benefits of one of the biggest economic job engines of this century – the clean energy revolution.”

Universal Solar expects to announce multi-million dollar order

NEW YORK, USA: Universal Solar Technology Inc., a developer of solar grade ingot, wafers and high efficiency solar photovoltaic modules, announced that it has been in discussions with a European company for a multi-million dollar order for up to 20MW of monocrystaline solar modules to be delivered by the end of 2010 and expects to announce a contract during this week.

Wensheng Chen, the Board Chairman and CEO of the company stated: “The company is pleased with the progress at the new production facilities. These negotiations reinforce our previously announced expectations for our business plan. With a new factory and new equipment we expect to quickly become a highly efficient supplier of 50MW silicon ingots, 20MW solar wafers and 30 MW solar PV modules.”

Since January, Universal Solar has hired over 90 manufacturing employees at its new facilities in Nanyang City, Henan Province. It has signed contracts for delivery of raw materials including silicon and early this year began to build products in preparation for initial sales.

PG&E Corp. and SunRun create $100 million home solar financing fund

SAN FRANCISCO, USA: Pacific Energy Capital II, LLC, a non-utility subsidiary of PG&E Corp., and SunRun Inc., the nation's leading provider of home solar financing, hace announced a $100 million tax equity project financing agreement to fund SunRun's installation of more than 3,500 new home solar installations across the nation.

The investment, principally funded by PG&E Corporation shareholders through Pacific Energy Capital, creates the largest residential solar financing vehicle established to date. Under the agreement, Pacific Energy Capital will provide financing for the rooftop energy systems and both parties will receive payments from SunRun customers. SunRun will manage the projects.

SunRun offers home solar power without high upfront costs through power purchase agreements (PPAs) and solar leases. Through SunRun's popular solar plans, homeowners pay as little as $0 upfront to get solar panels installed, followed by a low, monthly payment to have solar energy at home. SunRun provides complete solar maintenance, monitoring, repairs, insurance and money-back performance guarantee for all its customers, making it simple and affordable for homeowners to switch their home to clean solar electricity.

"As a company in a region where distributed solar is becoming increasingly important, we are focused on continuing to take advantage of smart, strategic opportunities that enable us to acquire an in-depth understanding of this market and these technologies," said Brian Steel, Senior Director of Corporate Strategy and Development at PG&E.

"Our investment with SunRun reflects this ongoing effort. Additionally, it allows us to continue supporting the advance of renewable energy, which is a priority for our company, utility customers and policymakers."

The solar systems funded under the agreement are expected to be installed in 2010 and 2011 in at least five states, including Arizona, California, Colorado, Massachusetts, and New Jersey.

SunRun currently serves more than 4,000 customers in these five states, and is growing 500 percent year-over-year. It now partners with 15 leading solar integrators that are located across the country and that collectively employ more than 2,500 solar workers.

"PG&E Corp. is a proven leader developing and embracing renewable energy," said Edward Fenster, SunRun's CEO. "We are very excited to partner with PG&E on this agreement which will make solar affordable to more homeowners across the nation."

This agreement follows the recent announcement that T.J. Glauthier, the former Deputy Secretary of the Department of Energy, joined SunRun as an Advisor in May. It also follows on the heels of the December 2009 announcement that SunRun had raised another project finance fund with US Bancorp.

Saturday, June 19, 2010

XcelPlus Global Holdings acquiring solar hot water systems

DOTHAN, USA: XcelPlus Global Holdings Inc. will receive its first shipment of solar hot water systems in July and has already entered negotiations for additional units, following through on its plan announced earlier this month to diversify the company's customer base and product lines.

"XcelPlus Global is a green energy company at its core, so expansion into the solar segment is a natural evolution," said COO David Poston. "Our near-term goal is to install several units and verify the performance. Longer term, we are in negotiation for purchase of additional units or possibly acquiring the supplier, though nothing is final."

The solar systems are designed for home and light commercial/industrial applications. The Federal government currently provides a 30 percent tax credit for the purchase of a home solar unit. States may offer additional incentives.

With the delay in renewal of the biofuel subsidy, XcelPlus Global's management moved purposefully to expand the company's technology base, Poston explained: "The income from the subsidy helped build this company in its early stages. However, the increasing delays in the subsidy's renewal, and the need for it to be renewed annually, caused management to explore additional revenue streams."

Canadian Solar class action expands to include more shareholders

SEATTLE, USA: Hagens Berman announced class-action lawsuit filed against Canadian Solar Inc. on behalf of investors who purchased the common stock of CSIQ expands its “Class Period” from May 26, 2009 to June 1, 2010. The longer Class Period allows more CSIQ purchasers to benefit from the ongoing and in-depth investigation by Hagens Berman.

CSIQ purchasers are encouraged to provide information at Hagens Berman intends to file a separate suit shortly that will include new and more detailed findings.

The original lawsuits were filed after a June 1, 2010 press release in which the company revealed that the SEC issued subpoenas relating to 2009 sales transactions.

The complaints allege that Canadian Solar, Arthur Chien and Shawn Qu made false and/or misleading statements and/or failed to disclose information that made the company's financial statements materially false and misleading at all relevant times.

Kalahari Greentech announces new wind and solar energy technologies

FORT WALTON BEACH, USA: Kalahari Greentech Inc. has released a statement introducing its cutting-edge wind and solar technologies.

Nearly $2 billion in money from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act has been spent on wind power, funding the creation of enough new wind farms to power 2.4 million homes over the past year.

Wind and solar are fast becoming the leading sources of renewable energy. Kalahari Greentech designs, produces and provides wind turbines, solar collectors and other sustainable energy technologies. Kalahari's Solar Collector is a three-part "tri-brid" system that increases the efficiency of solar collection in one cost-effective unit.

Kalahari's Wind Generator concentrates wind energy in a manner such that it can generate electric power at speeds usually too slow for conventional wind generators to produce any meaningful energy, or to even operate. It can also be modified to operate in water, and is safe for birds and wildlife.

According to the US Department of Energy's news release dated March 25, 2009, entitled, "Solar Energy Grew at a Record Pace in 2008," solar energy deployment increased at a record pace in the United States and throughout the world in 2008.

On March 19, 2009 the Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA) released its "2008 US Solar Industry Year in Review," which found that US solar energy capacity increased by 17 percent the past year, reaching the equivalent of 8,775 megawatts (MW). The SEIA report also notes that the United States installed 342 MW of solar photovoltaic (PV) electric power, 139 thermal megawatts (MWTh) of solar water heating, 762 MWTh of pool heating, and 21 MWTh of solar space heating and cooling in 2008.

According to the American Wind Energy Association, the US Department of Energy announced a goal of obtaining 6 percent of US electricity from wind by 2020. From 1990-2002, wind has been the fastest-growing power source worldwide on a percentage basis, with an annual average growth rate exceeding 30 percent. An average US household uses about 10,655 kilowatt-hours of electricity each year. One megawatt of wind energy can generate 2.4 to more than 3 million kilowatt-hours per year.

At the end of 2009, the installed capacity of wind power in the United States was just over 35,000 megawatts. Texas, with 9,410 MW of capacity, has the most installed wind power capacity of any US state, followed by Iowa with 3,053 MW.

Friday, June 18, 2010

Dr. Farooq Abdullah unveils guidelines of schemes under JN-NSM

NEW DELHI, INDIA: Dr. Farooq Abdullah, Union Minister for New & Renewable Energy unveiled the guidelines of two schemes under the Jawaharlal Nehru National Solar Mission at a function in New Delhi. These are guidelines for: (i) off-grid (photovoltaic and thermal) and decentralized solar applications and; (ii) Rooftop and other small solar power plants.

Terming the event as a result of many months of consultation, toil and effort, the Minister said his Ministry, in its facilitative role, has created an enabling ecosystem for promoting newer business models, technical as well as market innovations as well as for promoting basic and applied research and it is for the entrepreneurs and stakeholders to rise to the challenge.

Dr. Abdullah recalled the words of Prime Minister Dr Manmohan Singh on the launch of the Jawaharlal Nehru National Solar Mission in January this year when he termed it as one of the major priorities of the second term of his government and expressed his sincere hope that the Mission would establish India as a global leader in solar energy, not just in terms of solar power generation but also in solar manufacturing and generation of this technology.

He said: “Today we are taking the first step towards the operationalisation of the Mission. Even as we speak we are on way to redeeming the many of the pledges and promises we made in January this year.

“The guidelines that we have released today are meant to tap into the diverse and enormous potential of solar energy in all applications-rural, industrial as well as urban. The guidelines are flexible, simple and market friendly. Taken together, these guidelines seek to address four critical areas – access to rural households for lighting and daily power requirements; reduction in consumption of kerosene and diesel; energy demand management through solar thermal systems and improvement of efficient transmission by feeding power at consumption points.”

The Minister said: “We have attempted to make the process demand-driven, market-based and user-benefit oriented. We have tried to establish additional channels to facilitate direct contact between users and the supplier of solar energy products. Thus there is a broadening of the market and reach. These guidelines provide enough opportunities to manufacturers, system integrators, energy supply companies and also the financial institutions to create a sustained interest within the investor community through viable business models. Flexibility is an integral feature of this scheme. I hope these guidelines will help us to reach a larger number of potential users.”

Dr. Montek Singh Ahluwalia, Deputy Chairman Planning Commission, Bharatsinh Solanki , Minister of State for Power, Sachin Pilot, Minister of State for Communications and Information Technology, Deepak Gupta, Secretary MNRE, Dr. R.K Pachauri, Director General, TERI, Shyam Saran, former Special Envoy to the Prime Minister on Climate Change, as well as R.S. Sharma, CMD NTPC were also present on the occasion.

Dr. Abdullah said that the Ministry had unveiled a migration policy under the National Solar Mission to give a head start to setting up grid-connected solar power plants. NTPC Vidyut Vyapar Nigam (NVVN) had invited applications from project developers who were at an advanced stage of preparedness.

The Minister said that NVVN, after a scrutiny of the applications, is now ready to announce the eligible developers and shall be formally issuing awards to them shortly. He said that his Ministry is working closely with stakeholders to facilitate the creation of an ecosystem that will encourage the growth of this nascent sector, reliably, quickly and at reasonable profit to developers.

Off-grid solar energy applications have a tremendous potential in reaching out to people in such rural and remote areas by providing basic energy services to them, Dr. Abdullah said.

The Minister pointed out that merely by distributing solar lanterns in remote areas and to nomadic populations, we can light up over a million homes. Similarly 1 million streetlights can illuminate streets in over one lakh villages. These efforts, he said, will also save the environment as 10 million lanterns can save 50 crore litres of kerosene in a year, which in turn can mitigate a potential subsidy bill of Rs. 1,000 to 1,500 crores in a year. Further, the huge entrepreneurial potentialities thrown up by the rapid adoption of these systems will create thousands of jobs as well as self-employment opportunities.

Dr. Abdullah shared with the audience the other initiatives of the Ministry. The Ministry of New & Renewable Energy has recently sanctioned a project to Rajasthan to provide solar power to every single panchayat in the State by installing 1.12 kW capacity solar systems at each of 9,168 Bharat Nirman Rajeev Gandhi Sewa Kendras. Yet another area of application could be telcom towers, which are currently using diesel to provide un-interrupted power services. The use of solar energy to power these systems can considerably mitigate the use of diesel especially during the daytime.

Feeding power to LT or 11 KV grid is yet another important application, which can help villages and industry by providing additional power for rural applications such as irrigation pump sets or even meet the unmet power requirement in the daytime. There are substantial losses as electricity flows from points of generation to distribution. Feeding of power at consumption points would not only help reduce these losses but also help strengthen grid and its performance and supply electricity to the consumers. Therefore, under the Solar Mission, we have decided to encourage setting up of 100 MW capacity of rooftop and other small grid connected solar power plants in the first phase itself, the Minister said.

While the Ministry has now finalized the guidelines to effectively implement the schemes on 11 KV grid connected solar power plants, the States too need to come out with their own downstream policies to promote tail-end plants, Dr. Abdullah added.

Dr. Abdullah said: “Flexibility on part of the Ministry entails and obligates greater responsibility on part of the other stakeholders including the state governments. Therefore, it is equally important that projects are prepared to meet the specific needs of the users, there is emphasis on innovation and cost-reduction and that quality and reliability of the products is maintained at all costs. Manufacturers must create additional channels to quickly reach out the people and provide them not only good quality reliable products but efficient after sales services also. This will require a large number of technicians to be trained in installation and servicing of solar energy systems.

“State agencies must start a process of capacity building and ensure that trained technicians are available so that solar energy systems can be easily maintained. My Ministry will help them wherever they run into any technical or financial constraints. The states too must play their part- for example in devising a facilitative regulatory regime.“

“We have made a modest beginning today. But we must not get carried away by the adulation of our own sounds,” the Minister said. “There are plenty of challenges still to be tackled. The present cost of solar energy systems is relatively high. Although capital subsidies and soft loans will make them affordable in the short run, yet only long term solution can be a declining cost curve. For that we need accelerated research, advanced manufacturing and economies of scale. These alone can build the virtuous spiral that will help us attain grid parity before the end of the mission,” he added.

In his address, Dr. Ahluwalia expressed the need for the PSUs to invest more on R&D so that new technologies can emerge to make electricity affordable and easily accessible.

Speaking on the occasion, Bharatsinh Solanki said that to ramp up capacity of grid-connected solar power generation to 1000 MW within three years – by 2013; an additional 3000 MW by 2017 through the mandatory use of the renewable purchase obligation by utilities backed with a preferential tariff are the programmes on the agenda.

He said this capacity can be more than doubled – reaching 10,000 MW installed power by 2017 or more, depending upon the enhanced and enabled international finance and technology transfer. The ambitious target of the Mission for 2022 of 20,000 MW or more, will be dependent on the ‘learning’ of the first two phases, which if successful, could lead to conditions of grid-competitive solar power.

The transition could be appropriately upscaled, based on availability of international finance and technology, the Minister added.

Dr. Pachauri, Shyam Saran and R.S. Sharma also spoken on the occasion.

Odersun opens first factory for designing solar modules

BERLIN, GERMANY: Innovation goes into production as Odersun inaugurates its second solar factory 'SunTwo'.

At the opening ceremony, Economics Minister of the State of Brandenburg Ralf Christoffers received a new type of solar module as an example for the possibilities of individual solar design. The company had already started ramping-up the production at its SunTwo facility in Fürstenwalde (Spree), Germany, when it achieved the IEC 61646 certification in January this year. Based on Odersun’s proprietary CISCuT-technology both standard as well as customized thin-film solar modules are produced in volume at the facility.

“The new factory in Fürstenwalde is another highlight in Brandenburg’s solar landscape. The Odersun factory is well positioned in the German Capital region. Forty percent of all solar modules produced in Germany today come from Berlin-Brandenburg. The region is well recognised in the solar industry and so it should stay,” states Minister President of Brandenburg Matthias Platzeck.

By now, 111 employees of Odersun AG work in four shifts in the fully integrated manufacturing of thin-film solar cells and modules in Fürstenwalde (Spree). At the end of this year the workforce will have increased up to 150 people. Initially the factory has a capacity of about 20 MW, which can be expanded to 30 MW by installing two additional production lines in the factory.

"The Energy Strategy 2020 of the State of Brandenburg defines the increase of the overall share of renewable energies in primary energy consumption to 20 percent until the year 2020. In view of the climate change and energy policy perspectives this target is mandatory,” says Economics Minister of Brandenburg Ralf Christoffers. “With a share of currently 16 percent, this target is already in sight. Odersun contributes to the State of Brandenburg which is amongst the top with respect to the use and production of renewable energies.”

Odersun has invested close to 50 million Euros for concept, planning, construction and equipment of the solar factory “SunTwo”. The facilities are situated on former army grounds, which now found a new use. On occasion of the ceremony Odersun donated modules for a solar installation on a sport gym in Fürstenwalde.

“Odersun is well positioned to serve the growing demand for customer specific solar products in the market,” said Odersun CEO Dr. Hein van der Zeeuw. “Today’s opening is another significant milestone for our company.”

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Stion kicks off 100 MW expansion and partnership with TSMC

SAN JOSE, USA: Stion, a manufacturer of high-efficiency thin-film solar panels, announced today a production partnership with TSMC of Taiwan. Stion will commence a 100 MW expansion of its San Jose, Calif. facility following the close of its $70 million Series D financing. Stion had previously raised $44.6 million in equity financing.

“TSMC has evaluated a number of thin-film technologies and believes by working with Stion we will gain a robust thin film technology with inherent low cost structure,” said YC Chao, TSMC’s Senior Director of New Businesses.

Chet Farris, Stion’s President and CEO, added, “Beyond our 100 MW production facility, the strategic partnerships result in a very capital efficient production model as we will gain access to a certain amount of capacity without additional capital commitment from Stion.”

“In the crowded field of thin film solar with mostly undifferentiated technology, Stion has distinguished itself with the highest efficiency production ready technology on one square meter, 120 W to 130 W monolithic panels. Stion will show how a PV startup gets to positive cash flow with a $100m dollar equity investment,” said Vinod Khosla, Partner at Khosla Ventures.

Stion’s panels are specifically designed for use in all major applications, including commercial / government, residential, utility and off-grid. The panels are produced using monolithically integrated circuits and offer a number of advantages over competing products, including high efficiency, a convenient form factor (2 ft. x 5 ft), improved performance in partial shading, and superb aesthetics.

As part of the expansion, Stion expects to bring more than 500 direct and indirect jobs to the region in 2010 and 2011.

Axial Vector Energy announces first smart electric grid product

DUBAI, UAE: Axial Vector Energy Corp. announced the successful development of the world's first network appliance capable of intelligently controlling start up and shutdown of individual Bluetooth networked home appliances (e.g., pool equipment, air conditioners, electric dryers, and electric water heaters) during peak rate hours.

The Good Green Energy Genius Box also coordinates the selective start up and shutdown of local solar, wind and generator components, to optimize power generation credits, load balance and reduce peak rate demand on the public power grid.

The Genius Box can be used as a central controller for stand alone, local micro power grids or as a smart controller to intelligently choose, on the fly, whether to use utility power, local power or less of each through selective appliance shutdown when every component is receiving utility generated power.

Each networked appliance can be configured inexpensively to report status and power consumption. Each local power generation sources, be it solar, wind or generator, can do the same. The Genius Box then weighs the cost of utility power, local power or the combination of the two with the need for running certain appliances. The Genius Box, which is expandable, extensible and easily upgraded, can be scaled to control a single home up to well over 5,000 network homes on a single micro grid.

The Genius Box can be used in a variety of venues, from residential to industrial to stand-alone, mobile, ad hoc emergency use after a natural disaster. It connects to your local area computer network while communicating with power grid components wirelessly. All of its functions are automated but can be manually overridden via a web application or iPhone application. Users can go to the website or use their iPhone to set their own criteria.

AVEC chairman, Sam Higgins, said: "We're excited about this higher margin, higher inventory turnover, lower unit cost, commercial off the shelf network control box. It will allow end users the ability to take control of their power consumption, power bills and power generation. As the President of the United States said in his recent oval office speech, the time to embrace a clean energy future is now. Now is the moment for this generation to embark on a national mission to unleash American innovation and seize control of our own destiny.

"We will have more to say shortly about manufacturing sources, margins and production capacity. This will be a highly differentiated, competitive, high volume, higher margin product and we look forward to unveiling yet another, exciting companion product in the next few days."

Enecsys appoints VP of engineering Paul Garrity to head solar PV micro-inverter development

CAMBRIDGE, UK: Enecsys Ltd announced the appointment of Paul Garrity to head the continued development of its advanced solar PV micro-inverter. Garrity joins Enecsys after three years as VP of Engineering and Advanced Product Development at FlexPower (a subsidiary of Flextronics International) in Dallas, Texas and over 20 years international experience in the power electronics industry, having successfully transferred over 90 projects into production whilst working for major OEM and electronic manufacturing services companies.

Garrity has filed 12 patents related to power conversion technology. He holds BSc and BEng (Hons) degrees in Electrical and Electronic Engineering from Bell College of Technology in Hamilton, Scotland and Napier University, Edinburgh, Scotland.

Commenting on his appointment, Garrity said: "Solar PV is one of the most exciting industries in the world to be involved with at this time. The Enecsys micro-inverter represents a remarkable breakthrough in energy harvest, reliability, and safety that will have a positive impact on system economics. The Enecsys micro-inverter will provide an excellent value proposition for its customers. I look forward to working with the talented team at Enecsys that has brought the product to market by contributing to its further development and ramp-up."

Enecsys CEO, Paul Engle, added: "Paul Garrity has an outstanding track record in cost-effective power conversion design, development and manufacturing. He will be of great value as we ramp-up production and develop new product offerings. A growing recognition of the economic and technical benefits of micro-inverter architecture has resulted in demand outstripping supply today. Garrity's skills will help us accelerate manufacturing and product development to meet this demand."

Telvent to implement smart grid project for Maharashtra

ROCKVILLE, USA & MAHARASHTRA, INDIA: Telvent, the IT company for a sustainable and secure world, announced its agreement with Larsen and Toubro Ltd. to partner on a turnkey contract for Maharashtra State Electricity Distribution Co. Ltd. to implement baseline data and information technology (IT) applications for energy accounting, auditing and IT-based consumer service centers for 95 towns in India.

With Telvent Smart Grid Solution, Maharashtra is able to effectively measure the aggregate technical and commercial losses and increase reliability and quality of electric supply to its customers, as well as enhance the operation of the distribution network.

For Telvent and Larsen and Toubro, this project is a new opportunity to deploy state-of-the-art technology using the Telvent Smart Grid Solution which provides the necessary toolset for utilities to take an active role in the rapidly emerging smart grid systems.

The Maharashtra Project includes GIS-based indexing and asset mapping (ArcFM), GIS network analysis based on Distribution Management System (DMS) on a Web based platform. The project is part of the Restructured Accelerated Power Development and Reforms Program (R-APDRP), an initiative of Ministry of Power of the Government of India. The objective of R-APDRP is to reduce the technical and commercial losses in project areas. The cost of the program is 500 billion Indian rupees (approximately 8.3 billion Euros).

According to Telvent's CEO, Ignacio Gonzalez: "Today, more and more utilities worldwide are interested in Telvent's Smart Grid technologies. Our key partners, like Larsen and Toubro, are able to deliver the right suite to monitor, manage, and translate data into actionable business information."

Telvent has proven experience in deploying similar projects throughout the world such as Advanced Metering Infrastructure (AMI) projects for Vattenfall (Sweden), Fortum (Finland) and SCADA, DMS, GIS and OMS projects for Consumers Energy (United States), Progress Energy (United States), Distribution Grids of Elektra (Panama), Emcali (Colombia), Saesa (Chile) and CNFL (Costa Rica).

The Maharashtra Project enables Telvent to improve and expand its position in India. Since 2005, there have been many joint projects completed in India, powered by Telvent's Smart RTU and OASyS technology including Jamnagar Export Refinery Project (JERP), the world's largest petroleum refinery and property of Reliance Industries Ltd; Oil and Natural Gas Corp. Ltd (ONGC); and Hindustan Petroleum Corp. Ltd (HPCL), among others.

Evergreen Solar intros new panels with BOOST cell technology for French market

Salon des Energies Renouvelables, MARLBORO, USA & PARIS, FRANCE: Evergreen Solar Inc., a manufacturer of String Ribbon solar panels with its proprietary silicon wafer technology, will unveil its upcoming line of higher efficiency solar panels featuring its newly developed BOOST Cell Technology, at Salon des Energies Renouvelables in Paris, France, June 16-18, 2010.

The new ES-D and ES-E series of panels for residential and commercial markets feature Evergreen’s new Boost Cell Technology that uses micro wires instead of conventional bus-bars to reduce cell shading, improve current collection and ultimately increase the overall panel efficiency.

This innovative new cell technology gives our new panels a superior aesthetic, positioning them well in the French building integrated market where aesthetics are of primary concern. The new panels will begin to be available commercially from Q4 2010 onwards and are on display for viewing throughout the Salon des Energies Renouvelables at the company’s booth located in Hall 1, Stand H68.

The ES-D series panels, designed primarily for residential roofs, are lighter weight for ease of installation and smaller in size to ensure a better fit of the panels to any shape or size of roof. The ES-D series will be produced with two sets of specifications:

ES-D Aesthetic series: This product features an all-black panel with an attractive uniform appearance for when aesthetics and the look on the roof is a priority. They will be available in 195, 200 and 205W power grades.

ES-D Performance series: This product is designed for optimizing performance. They will be available in 200, 205 and 210W power grades.

The ES-E series panels will be the most powerful Evergreen Solar panels ever made, with a larger panel design to meet the needs of commercial applications where the larger size helps to minimize installation costs. The ES-E series panels will be available in 220, 225 and 230W power grades.

Both the ES-D and ES-E series panels with BOOST Cell Technology will continue to deliver the exceptional performance and industry-leading environmental credentials that Evergreen panels have become known for. All the new panels will feature an industry leading -0 / +5W power tolerance and anti-reflective treated glass as standard.

“The new ES-D and ES-E series solar panels with our innovative BOOST Cell Technology are a major advance for Evergreen Solar,” said Scott Gish, Evergreen Solar’s Vice President, Sales and Marketing. “These panels are the highest efficiency product we have ever made which enables us to deliver our customers even more electricity while continuing to have less impact on the environment. And the ability to offer product options tailored specifically for either the residential or commercial end-user - whether their priority is aesthetics or performance – allows us to meet our customers specific needs much better.”

The new ES-D and ES-E series panels will continue to be manufactured using Evergreen Solar’s proprietary wafer manufacturing technology which is the most environmentally-friendly process in the industry with virtually no wasted silicon. The carbon footprint of these panels is up to 30% smaller than that of its competitors and they also have the quickest energy payback in the industry, now less than 12 months.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

SPECTRAL EVOLUTION to display SR-1900 series spectroradiometers for solar simulator validation

Intersolar North America, NORTH ANDOVER, USA: Capitalizing on its 6 year reputation as a worldwide OEM provider of superior InGaAs spectroradiometer instruments, SPECTRAL EVOLUTION has announced a new line of laboratory spectroradiometers designed specifically for the solar simulator industry.

These lightweight, dual detector instruments feature both a 512-element Si photodiode array as well as a 256-element extended range InGaAs array to cover simultaneous detection of 300-1900nm with one easy, fast measurement.

The recently released SR-1900 is configured for rapid analysis of continuous solar simulators and includes SPECTRAL EVOLUTION's exclusive DARWin SP Data Analysis software package which comes with routines to measure the Class A performance of solar simulators as per ASTM Specification (E892) and for monitoring spectral match as per ASTM E927-05 and IEC 60904-9.

Each SR-1900 comes complete with a permanently mounted 0.5 meter fiber optic cable and right angle diffuser for easy setup. All units feature auto-exposure settings and integral dark current shutter for rapid one-touch operation.

For pulsed solar simulators, SPECTRAL EVOLUTION announces its latest addition, the SR-1900P which features multiple triggering modes to synchronize data collection with the pulse of the simulator. Both units feature diffraction grating-based optics with no moving parts for increased reliability and measurement flexibility. Each unit may be ordered with a lightweight padded travel case for easy portability.

SPECTRAL EVOLUTION will be exhibiting at Intersolar North America 2010 in San Francisco's Moscone Center West Hall from July 13-15, booth number 8017. SPECTRAL EVOLUTION will also be displaying its newly upgraded line of near infrared spectrometers for measuring diffuse reflectance samples. These units feature diffraction-based optics and TE-cooled extended InGaAs arrays for superior performance.

BioSolar unveils strategic manufacturing plan for production and distribution of commercial grade BioBacksheet

SANTA CLARITA, USA: BioSolar Inc., developer of a breakthrough technology to produce bio-based materials from renewable plant sources that reduce the cost of photovoltaic (PV) solar modules, unveiled its strategic manufacturing plan for the production and distribution of its unique BioBacksheetTM protective backing designed to replace current expensive and environmentally hazardous petroleum-based backsheets.

“Biosolar’s manufacturing model will employ a ‘manufacturing-lite’ production and distribution model. In this model, Biosolar will perform research and development internally while outsourcing plastics compounding and film extrusion.

“At a time when explosive demand for PV modules globally is fueling demand for module components, building our own manufacturing facilities does not allow us to be flexible, and may actually limit our growth,” said Dr. David Lee, CEO of BioSolar.

“Recognizing that building our own manufacturing capacity is both extremely capital and management intensive, BioSolar will instead enter into manufacturing supply agreements with experienced plastics compounders and film extruders, allowing us to reduce production costs while simultaneously providing flexible manufacturing capacity to meet increasing demand from PV module manufacturers.”

This strategy leverages Biosolar’s unique product development capabilities and ties to the plastics manufacturing industry, allowing both our balance sheet and product inventories to remain ‘lean and mean’ – a key element in our future success. This strategy will allow us to ramp up production quickly by adding suppliers as needed, as well as leverage the expertise and experience of established industrial suppliers to provide consistent high quality from the start.”

“By utilizing partners such as Rowland Technology in Wallingford, CT, we can bolster our resistance to changes in the economy. Biosolar can respond to swings in demand without having a fixed overhead, providing a consistent profit margin and better returns to our investors,” said Lee.

Lee recently reported to Recharge News, “Over the past month, we have been demonstrating the BioBacksheet to solar panel manufacturers. Many have requested large quantities for full scale integration trials into their solar panel production lines.”

“Biosolar will provide technical support to our potential customers as they complete their internal testing and qualification processes over the next few quarters,” added Dr. Lee. “Our flexible manufacturing model will also allow us to respond quickly to requests for larger volumes needed for manufacturing.”

The primary material for the commercial grade BioBacksheet is a durable polyamide resin made from castor beans, which is then compounded with a secondary non-petroleum material during the extrusion process to form a unique and highly durable PV backsheet film which, in addition to being “green,” has several additional advantages over other commercial backsheet films.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Atheros awarded US DoE grant to develop low-power, smart grid solutions with AMP powerline technology

SANTA CLARA, USA: Atheros Communications, Inc. (NASDAQ: ATHR), a global leader in innovative technologies for wireless and wired communications, has executed an agreement with the US Department of Energy (DoE) under which it will receive up to $4.5 million in grant funding to develop powerline chips designed to provide two-way data communications over existing AC wiring, a vital element for Smart Grid applications.

The chips – based on the Green PHY specification now approved and published by the HomePlug Powerline Alliance – will meet the low-power, high-reliability requirements of the utilities industry and comply with the IEEE 1901 global networking standard.

Two-way data communications among smart meters and in-home systems and appliances (such as air conditioning, water heaters, pool pumps, and washers and dryers) over powerline-based Home Area Networks allows home owners to monitor and control their electricity consumption and take advantage of “time-of-day” pricing incentives to lower energy costs.

Atheros’ Green PHY-based powerline technology also enables utilities to better manage the overall electric grid for increased reliability and efficiency through new capabilities such as load shaping, demand response, distributed generation and fault location and isolation.

* The grant is made under the US Smart Grid Investment Grant (SGIG) program, a national program established to accelerate the manufacture, purchase and installation of existing and emergent Smart Grid technologies; especially those that can be applied in innovative ways within the existing electricity delivery system to provide integrated and economically-feasible solutions. Atheros, the industry leader in powerline technology, is the only semiconductor company chosen to receive SGIG funding.

* Atheros will match the initial $4.5 million investment to develop the industry’s first HomePlug Green PHY-based chip. The solution will feature dramatically lower power consumption (75% power reduction over current HomePlug AV solutions), robust coverage, and the extended temperature range needed for outdoor meters. With scalable data rates from 250 Kbps to 10 Mbps, the Atheros chip will enable communications across existing electrical wiring including 120/240 VAC or 24 VAC low-voltage wiring to thermostats.

* Atheros was the first to introduce HomePlug powerline solutions with the extended temperature range necessary for outdoor temperature extremes faced by smart meters. Atheros’ powerline technology is now used in several brands of deployed smart meters and is in design in a variety of new meters. Atheros has developed UART serial communications interfaces for its current HomePlug devices and a PL10 UART Smart Grid Enablement Kit to allow Green PHY prototype testing by companies designing smart meters, smart appliances, programmable communicating thermostats, electric vehicle and charging stations, ZigBee bridges, remote metering devices, solar panels and other energy-related applications.

* Atheros is a key contributor to HomePlug’s Green PHY specification, which becomes an integral part of an ecosystem of interoperable powerline technologies built upon the widely deployed HomePlug AV and IEEE 1901 global standards. This ecosystem will enable communications between the home’s Smart Grid-enabled systems and appliances and the home’s digital network, enabling a host of new applications for the consumer as well as utility companies.

Intersolar and SEMI PV Group to co-organize solar event in China

FREIBURG/PFORZHEIM, GERMANY & SAN JOSE, USA: The organizers of Intersolar, Solar Promotion International GmbH and Freiburg Management and Marketing International GmbH, and SEMI PV Group, organizers of SOLARCON, have finalized arrangements for their latest collaboration, Intersolar China/SOLARCON China 2011.

The event takes place from March 15-17, 2011 in Shanghai, China and expects over 200 exhibitors and more than 25,000 trade visitors. This collaboration closely follows their joint success working together on Intersolar North America and Intersolar Europe.

The annual event, co-located with SEMICON China, takes place at the Shanghai New International Expo Centre. Intersolar China/SOLARCON China 2011 will become an industry flagship event, presenting cutting-edge technology and market opportunities in the photovoltaic industry. The co-location of events also provides a robust cross-industry platform to semiconductors, an integral part of photovoltaic production and overall cost reduction of panels.

Intersolar China/SOLARCON China 2011 will feature both domestic and international companies who will contribute to the rapid growth and profitability of the Chinese market. Further, the event will represent a diverse audience of international trade visitors including, purchasers and investors included among the many thousands of solar professionals.

“Our joint success with SEMI is based on our overlying goal to organize first-class exhibitions and conferences for the solar industry in the most influential solar-regions around the world,” said Markus Elsaesser, CEO of Solar Promotion International.

“The Chinese government, on both a national and provincial level, has begun an ambitious program of incentives to develop the solar energy industry. We are delighted to support and help accelerate the rapid growth of this dynamic market in China.”

Intersolar China/SOLARCON China 2011 brings together all solar energy technologies and the entire supply chain, including: equipment and materials suppliers; cell and module manufacturers; balance of systems (BOS) suppliers (inverters, tracking and mounting systems, integrators); distributors and project developers.

“As China aspires to become a world-player in solar technology and production, Intersolar China/SOLARCON China 2011 will help guide both domestic and international solar companies to further stimulate the progress already being made in China,” said Dan Martin, Executive Vice President of SEMI PV Group. “SEMI is pleased to work closely with Intersolar in organizing what we expect to become the region’s premier exhibition and conference.”

SEMI has a long-standing presence in the Chinese market and has collaborated with major solar-energy companies in the region. The PV Group’s commitment to serving the manufacturing supply chain will cater to the manufacturing-focused Chinese solar market and continue to help reduce costs.

”Building on our partnership with SEMI PV Group in North America and Europe to now include China, reinforces our commitment to providing a world-class solar event for the Chinese and Asian solar industries.“ said Klaus W. Seilnacht, CEO of Freiburg Management and Marketing International.

Source: SEMI, USA