Wednesday, December 29, 2010

KYOCERA to supply 204 MW of solar modules for one of SE Asia's largest solar power projects

KYOTO, JAPAN: Kyocera Corp. announced that it has agreed to supply roughly one million solar modules equivalent to 204-megawatts (MW) for Thailand's largest solar power project, which is being implemented by Solar Power Co., Ltd. Under the project, 6MW "Solar Farms" are to be constructed at 34 sites concentrated in northeastern Thailand.

In total, the Solar Farm project will provide electricity for the local area with an annual power output sufficient for roughly 170,000 average Thai households*.

"We chose Kyocera modules for this project due to their high quality and reliability, and the company's 35 years of experience in the industry. With these we plan to deliver the benefits of the sun's energy to the people of Thailand," stated the president of Solar Power Co., Ltd., Ms. Wandee Khunchornyakong.

The Solar Farm Project is being planned, constructed and managed by Solar Power Co., Ltd., and the power generated from the project will be routed to the Provincial Electricity Authority of Thailand (PEA) and then supplied to homes and businesses. The project plans to build 34 individual 6MW Solar Farms for a total output of 204MW.

In order to reduce its energy dependency, Thailand has been aggressively pursuing the adoption of energy-saving products and alternative energies. Moreover, blessed with good weather and a high amount of annual solar radiation, the use of solar power is expected to grow in the future. Since the introduction of a feed-in-tariff in 2007 the implementation of solar power has begun in earnest. Furthermore, the Thai Government has announced a plan to install 500MW of solar power by 2022.

"Kyocera is honored to be able to contribute to meeting the renewable energy targets of Thailand," stated Tatsumi Maeda, Kyocera VP and GM of the Corporate Solar Energy Group. "We have a proven track record of supplying modules for large-scale solar power plants across the globe, including projects in Spain, Germany and the US, and we will deliver a stable supply of high-quality products for the completion of this project."

KYOCERA to supply 204MW of solar modules for one of SE Asia's largest solar power projects

KYOTO, JAPAN: Kyocera Corp. announced that it has agreed to supply roughly one million solar modules equivalent to 204-megawatts (MW) for Thailand's largest solar power project, which is being implemented by Solar Power Co. Ltd.

Under the project, 6MW "Solar Farms" are to be constructed at 34 sites concentrated in northeastern Thailand.

In total, the Solar Farm project will provide electricity for the local area with an annual power output sufficient for roughly 170,000 average Thai households*.

Ms. Wandee Khunchornyakong, president of Solar Power Co. Ltd, said: "We chose Kyocera modules for this project due to their high quality and reliability, and the company's 35 years of experience in the industry. With these we plan to deliver the benefits of the sun's energy to the people of Thailand."

The Solar Farm Project is being planned, constructed and managed by Solar Power Co. Ltd, and the power generated from the project will be routed to the Provincial Electricity Authority of Thailand (PEA) and then supplied to homes and businesses. The project plans to build 34 individual 6MW Solar Farms for a total output of 204MW.

In order to reduce its energy dependency, Thailand has been aggressively pursuing the adoption of energy-saving products and alternative energies. Moreover, blessed with good weather and a high amount of annual solar radiation, the use of solar power is expected to grow in the future. Since the introduction of a feed-in-tariff in 2007 the implementation of solar power has begun in earnest.

Furthermore, the Thai Government has announced a plan to install 500MW of solar power by 2022.

"Kyocera is honored to be able to contribute to meeting the renewable energy targets of Thailand," stated Kyocera's VP and GM of the Corporate Solar Energy Group, Tatsumi Maeda. "We have a proven track record of supplying modules for large-scale solar power plants across the globe, including projects in Spain, Germany and the U.S., and we will deliver a stable supply of high-quality products for the completion of this project."

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

ET Solar signs 370MW solar cell procurement agreement with Neo Solar

NANJING, CHINA: ET Solar Group Corp., a leading China-based photovoltaic system turnkey solution provider and integrated manufacturer of PV products, announced a long term procurement agreement with Neo Solar Power Corp. ("Neo Solar") for a total volume of 370MW solar cells between 2011 and 2013.

During the agreement signing ceremony, ET Solar awarded "Top Partner of 2011" to Neo Solar for the strong business collaboration that the two firms achieved in the past three years.

Dennis She, president of ET Solar, commented: "The "Top Partner" award carries our appreciation for the high product quality and outstanding customer service that Neo Solar delivered to us. The three-year long term procurement agreement will further strengthen our supply chain management and ultimately benefit our customers. In addition, we have also commenced joint efforts for new product development with Neo Solar. This multi-facet relationship clearly warrants a stronger partnership between the two firms going forward."

Dr. Quincy Lin, chairman of Neo Solar Power stated: "We are thrilled to cooperate with ET Solar, one of the leading solar system companies in China. This agreement further enhances the long-term strategic partnership and competitiveness on both sides. It's our honor that NSP has been chosen as Top Partner by ET Solar since 2009 for two consecutive years.

"Recently, we have been securing material supplies with upstream manufacturers by consolidating agreements to actively strengthen our support for the clients' growth. We will continue to supply high performance PV cells to ET Solar to expand sales for both parties and advance in global market share."

Monday, December 27, 2010

SunEdison receives final milestone payment for Rovigo solar power plant

BELTSVILLE, USA: SunEdison has received received the final milestone payment of 230 million Euros from First Reserve for the sale of a 70 megawatt (MW) photovoltaic (PV) power plant located in Northeast Italy, near the town of Rovigo.

As previously announced, the Rovigo solar power plant was acquired by First Reserve for approximately 276 million Euros, through a joint venture established between First Reserve and SunEdison. In October 2010, First Reserve made an initial milestone payment of 46 million Euros to SunEdison and on December 23, 2010 funded the final 230 million Euro milestone payment.

"The development and sale of the Rovigo power plant was a major achievement and defining moment for SunEdison in 2010," stated Carlos Domenech, President of SunEdison. "In less than ten months, we designed and developed one of the largest single operating solar power plants in Europe. In addition, we worked with project investors to develop the finance structures needed, reached out to local government agencies to understand their renewable energy goals and job creation needs, and brought the right people and technologies together to make this project a reality. The Rovigo project is a testament to the strength, experience and the talent that SunEdison offers."

The Rovigo solar plant is expected to create significant environmental benefits in addition to the construction and maintenance jobs that benefit the local community. In its first year of operation, the system is expected to generate enough energy to power approximately 16,500 homes and prevent the emission of 40,000 tons of CO2, which would equate to the removal of 8,000 cars from the road. SunEdison will manage the ongoing operations and maintenance of the 70MW power plant.

GCL-Poly signs long-term contract with Solarfun to supply 2,500 MW of wafer and polysilicon products

SHANGHAI, CHINA: Solarfun Power Holdings Co. Ltd, a vertically integrated manufacturer of silicon ingots, wafers and photovoltaic (PV) cells and modules in China, has signed a long-term supplementary wafer and polysilicon product supply contract with GCL-Poly Energy Holdings Ltd.

GCL-Poly will provide Solarfun with a total of 2,500 MW wafer and polysilicon products over the next five years.

Under the supplementary wafer and polysilicon product supply contract between Solarfun and GCL (Suzhou) Solar Energy Technology Co. Ltd, a subsidiary of GCL-Poly, GCL-Poly will provide a total of 2,500 MW wafer and polysilicon products from January 2011 to December 2015 to Solarfun. A price adjustment mechanism is included in the contract.

"By signing this long-term supplementary wafer and polysilicon contract with GCL-Poly, we are further strengthening the long-term strategic collaboration between both parties," said Peter Xie, president and CEO of Solarfun.

"We expect this to satisfy our requirements for key raw materials on a cost-effective basis, and allow us to continue expanding in scale as we meet our growing customer needs worldwide."

Shu Hua, executive director and executive president of GCL-Poly, added: "We are pleased to maintain our close strategic collaboration with Solarfun, one of the world's leading solar companies. We will provide high quality services to support Solarfun's rapid development. We look forward to achieving a win-win situation with Solarfun in the global solar industry."

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Business case for BIPV

GLEN ALLEN, USA: NanoMarkets has released a preview from its upcoming report titled, "The Business Case for Building Integrated Photovoltaics" that will be released the week of December 27, 2010.

NanoMarkets believes the photovoltaics industry is at a crossroads. A combination of factors now threatens to return the PV industry back to little more than a niche market. At the same time, PV technology is maturing and there is a growing realization that standard PV panels are becoming commoditized.

The combination of reduced subsidies and commoditized products is not an attractive environment for solar panel manufacturers to make money and perhaps by now some of the old timers in the PV industry are chalking up the current situation as just another disappointment in an industry that has seen its fair share since the 1970s.

However, NanoMarkets believes that PV may not only be "saved" by building-integrated PV (BIPV) but may actually flourish as a result of it. What BIPV does is to bring an entirely new value proposition to the PV market both in terms of cost and in terms of aesthetics. And as a result, BIPV promises the PV industry an opportunity to create new higher value products, exactly what an industry with a commoditizing product set required.

The purpose of this report is to explain how the BIPV business case can best be made.
In its report NanoMarkets provides a thorough examination of the key factors that prove out BIPV as a viable offering and gives readers a clear understanding of how manufacturers can assign value to the aesthetics of solutions, the particular selling points of specific markets and how they can best justify their products to the various customer segments.

Friday, December 24, 2010

Ascent Solar appoints new board member

THORNTON, USA: Ascent Solar Technologies Inc., a developer of state-of-the-art flexible thin-film solar modules, announced the appointment of Hans Olav Kvalvaag to its Board of Directors to replace Einar Glomnes, who resigned from the Board effective December 21, 2010.

Kvalvaag was designated for appointment to the Board by Norsk Hydro Produksjon AS, the Company’s largest stockholder, pursuant to a stockholder’s agreement between the Company and Norsk Hydro. Glomnes, the prior Board designee of Norsk Hydro, was recently promoted to Vice President Sales Europe and has assumed an expanded role with additional commitments within Norsk Hydro. As such, he is no longer able to devote adequate attention to his Board position.

Kvalvaag joined Norsk Hydro in 2006 within its New and Alternative Energy group. He is currently part of Norsk Hydro's Corporate Business Development team. He holds a law degree from the University of Oslo in Norway, and finance diplomas from the Norwegian School of Business Administration and the University of Auckland.

He has worked as a management consultant with McKinsey & Company and further as a lawyer with the leading Norwegian law firm, Selmer, primarily focusing on the Energy and Oil & Gas arena.

“On behalf of the entire Board, I would like to thank Einar for his significant contributions to Ascent Solar’s growth and progress. We wish Einar the very best as he expands his responsibilities at Norsk Hydro,” stated Dr. Farhad Moghadam, president and CEO of Ascent Solar. “We also welcome Hans to our Board and look forward to benefitting from his expertise and insights, as well as continued support from Norsk Hydro.”

AUO receives MCS certification, expands into British market

HSINCHU, TAIWAN: AU Optronics Corp. announced that its multi-crystalline solar module EcoDuo PM 220 received UK MCS (Microgeneration Certification Scheme) certification and will expand into the British market recently.

AUO will provide local residents with high quality, safe, and reliable solar modules. This is an important milestone for the Company's development in the European solar market.

MCS has been developed to provide consumers with an assurance that microgeneration products meet a robust set of standards, including module performance, manufacturing processes, materials and so on. AUO has met the quality and safety standards of MCS to sell its popular multi-crystalline solar module EcoDuo PM 220 in the local market.

Besides MCS certification, EcoDuo PM 220 obtained the world's first carbon footprint verification for solar modules, passed IEC61215 and UL1730 standards, and offers clients environmentally friendly and long performance warranty.

The UK has 42 percent of home ownership, which is higher than Germany, Italy, France, and other European countries. In addition, since the solar power buy-back scheme has been implemented in 2010, total installed solar power capacity is growing significantly, making the country a promising solar market.

Home owners purchase AUO solar module for rooftop system and can get feed-in subsidies from the government. Also, they may sell extra electricity to national smart grid and obtain benefits.

AUO works aggressively with European partners and has successfully participated in open-field PV system and rooftop solar system projects in Germany, Italy, Slovakia, and Czech. AUO integrates its solar modules, solar systems and PV projects to provide high quality solar total solutions.

Currently, AUO co-operates closely with local agents in each country to jointly develop a comprehensive sales network of solar modules, so that even better and timelier energy services could be delivered to clients around the world.

Magnolia Solar awarded second product development contract from NYSERDA

WOBURN, USA: Magnolia Solar Corp. announced that its wholly owned subsidiary has recently received a new, second product development contract from the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA).

This innovative product development contract is to improve the performance of thin film solar cells by incorporating advanced light trapping techniques and nanostructured optical coatings. This innovative product development program is scheduled to run for one year. The baseline program award is for $250K, with Magnolia Solar contributing matching funds.

As part of the technical effort, Magnolia Solar will collaborate with Prof. Fred Schubert (Member of Magnolia Solar Technical Advisory Board) and his team at the Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (RPI) to incorporate advanced nanostructured-based coatings developed for light emitting diodes into high efficiency solar cell applications. This new program builds upon previously announced and on-going NYSERDA program efforts at Magnolia Solar.

Dr. Roger E. Welser, Magnolia's chief technical officer and principal investigator on this new NYSERDA program, will be leading the effort to develop nanostructured coatings that can scatter light horizontally into the active layers of thin film solar cells.

Dr. Welser noted: "With this approach, Magnolia is aiming to revolutionize the power-generating capability of terrestrial photovoltaic systems by developing a low cost, thin film technology that delivers unprecedented levels of electrical energy per unit area.

"Advanced light trapping structures are needed to improve the current output and efficiency of a variety of different thin film technologies. Magnolia's nanostructured optical coatings, developed in collaboration with Prof. Fred Schubert, can both minimize reflection losses on the front surfaces of thin film solar cells, and recycle photons that pass through the device back into the absorbing semiconductor thin film layers."

Dr. Ashok K. Sood, president and CEO of Magnolia Solar, commented: "We are delighted to receive this innovative product development contract from NYSERDA. Commercially viable renewable energy has tremendous potential benefits for New York State in terms of security, economic growth, and the environment.

In particular, photovoltaic (PV) technologies that convert sunlight directly into electricity hold great promise as a sustainable, environmentally friendly energy source for the 21st century. We are committed to growing in the Albany region, supported by the world-class intellectual and technological infrastructure at RPI and CNSE's Albany NanoTech Complex."

Dr. Sood continued, "Magnolia Solar's mission is to provide environmentally responsible and low-cost solutions for the solar power industry, and to be an integral part of New York's green energy future."

Thursday, December 23, 2010

GT Solar receives $23.8 million order for DSS450HP multicrystalline ingot growth systems from Trina Solar

MERRIMACK, USA: GT Solar International Inc., a provider of polysilicon production technology, and sapphire and silicon crystalline growth systems and materials for the solar, LED and other specialty markets, has received two orders totaling $23.8 million order from Trina Solar for its DSS450HP crystalline ingot growth systems.

The orders will be included in GT Solar’s backlog for its current Q3 FY11, which ends on January 1, 2011.

“Trina Solar is one of the top ten PV cell and module manufacturers and we are pleased that they have selected our DSS450HP systems to meet their ingot growth production needs,” said Tom Gutierrez, GT Solar’s president and CEO. “Our crystalline ingot growth systems provide value to customers because of their proven performance and reliability and help PV manufacturers lower their cost of manufacturing.”

The additional DSS450HP systems will help Trina Solar achieve its goal of significantly expanding its manufacturing capacity. Since the introduction its first DSS240 in 2003, the company has shipped over 2,000 systems primarily to manufacturers located in Asia.

The company has made significant investments in customer service resources to support its growing installed base of customers throughout the Asia Pacific region. GT Solar’s installation teams can get customers up and running through a field-proven, fast commissioning process that reduces the time to volume production.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Advanced Energy announces creation of strategic business units

FORT COLLINS, USA: Advanced Energy Industries Inc. has announced the creation of two focused business units within the company effective January 1, 2011.

The two business units, Thin Films and Renewables, will enable improved execution and a strategic focus on two distinct markets. Both business units will leverage the deep competencies in power conversion and energy management that Advanced Energy has developed in the last 25+ years.

“The re-alignment of AE’s businesses reflects the success of our strategy to maintain our leadership in thin film markets, while also expanding into high-growth renewable markets with our inverter product portfolio,” said Hans Betz, CEO of Advanced Energy.

“The Thin Films business unit will serve principally our OEM and end customers in the semiconductor, flat panel display, solar module and other capital equipment markets, while the Renewables business unit will focus on string, commercial and utility-scale solar projects and installations, selling primarily to distributors, EPCs (Engineering, Procurement, and Construction contractors), developers, and utility companies. The creation of these two units will enable greater focus on each business’ unique needs and requirements, allowing each to expand and accelerate our growth by better serving each of these very different industries.”

The Thin Films business unit will be managed by Yuval Wasserman in addition to his role as the company’s President and Chief Operating Officer, and will be headquartered in Fort Collins, Colorado.

Since joining Advanced Energy in 2007, Mr. Wasserman has leveraged his over 25 years of experience in the semiconductor industry and has been instrumental in AE’s growth strategy. The Thin Films business unit will consist of the company’s power conversion and thermal instrumentation products serving capital equipment markets including semiconductor, solar panel, and flat panel display.

The Renewables business unit headquartered in Bend, Oregon will be managed by Gregg Patterson in the role of Executive Vice President and General Manager effective January 1st. Patterson successfully grew PV Powered from a small residential business into a leader in the North American Solar Industry over the past four years.

Patterson brings over 26 years of experience in the high tech industry having spent 22 years with Hewlett Packard leading various worldwide businesses prior to joining PV Powered. The Renewables business unit will include the PV Powered and Solaron solar inverter products that have set the standard for reliability, efficiency and LCOE performance in the worldwide markets they serve. Wasserman and Patterson will report directly to Hans Betz.

“We are excited to have these two industry veterans lead our business units in 2011,” said Dr. Betz. “Yuval’s extensive experience in successfully managing through cyclical thin film markets combined with Gregg’s knowledge of the renewables market and ability to build and manage a high growth business such as PV Powered will create new opportunities and enable us to execute on our growth strategy for 2011 and beyond.”

Solar cell production equipment growth of 34 percent for 2010

NEW TRIPOLI, USA: Equipment used to manufacture photovoltaic (solar) cells will grow 34 percent in 2010, according to the report: Opportunities in the Solar Market for Crystalline and Thin Film Solar Cells.

A massive increase in solar production with sales increasing more than 100 percent in 2010 depleted inventory at a rapid rate. Combined with a surge of new solar companies entering the market with thin-film-based cells in previous years, supply clearly exceeded demand, and inventory grew from an average of 71 days in 2008 to 90 days in 2009 (see chart below).Source: The Information Network, USA.

The low utilization rate of 37.4 percent in 2009 was responsible for only the 34 percent gain in equipment sales in 2010, even though new additional capacity increased utilization to 50.5 percent and reduced inventory to 67 days on average for all of 2010.

Applied Materials held on to its number 1 ranking in 2010, followed by GT Solar, which rose from the number 4 spot in 2009. The company, which makes DSS crystallization furnaces, took advantage of the ramp in polycrystalline capacity in 2010, which increased to 206,000 metric tons.

Oerlikon dropped from number 5 in 2009 to number 10 in 2010. The company reached 10 percent efficiency on its technology for amorphous silicon cells, which has the earmarks of raising market share for 2011.Source: The Information Network, USA.

S&P Equity issues solar predictions for 2011

NEW YORK, USA: S&P Equity Research solar energy analysts Clyde Montevirgen and Angelo Zino have issued their 2011 predictions for the industry.

"The year 2010 was strong for the solar industry, as profits increased substantially. While we see some hurdles early next year as subsidy reductions take effect, we expect demand to strengthen in the second half, as smaller markets look to further establish a solar footprint," said Montevirgen. "Overall, for 2011, we see a mixed picture, with healthy sales growth but declining profitability for some, added Zino.

Their predictions for the solar energy industry for 2011 are listed below.

1. We forecast that global solar system installations will increase at least 20 percent in 2011, well below our 2010 projected growth rate for a two-fold increase. We see demand slowing in the first half of 2011, as customers refrain from purchases following modest government subsidy reductions within important solar markets, such as Germany.

However, we expect solar manufacturers to respond by lowering selling prices to enhance project returns, which should stimulate further demand for solar products.

2. We project global solar cell capacity to increase 39% to 23.8 gigawatts (GW) in 2011 from our 17.1 GW forecast for 2010. We think the industry will continue to add manufacturing plants and production lines at a brisk pace, as existing panel makers look to take advantage of scale benefits.

We also expect large companies, which compete in non-panel producing segments of the solar supply chain, to expand vertically, and we think they will enter the panel manufacturing business.

3. We believe that solar panel prices will continue to fall in 2011. We estimate that average selling prices for solar panels will drop about 15 percent in 2011 versus 2010, with the substantial portion of the decline occurring in the first half of the year. We think competitors will continue to leverage cost structures through increasing scale and improving operating efficiencies.

However, we note that our anticipated pricing drop is not as steep as that witnessed in late 2008.

4. Although polysilicon prices have risen through most of this year (the primary raw material used to make a solar module), we expect prices to be on a downward trend in 2011. We estimate the average price of polysilicon will end 2011 at around $60 per kilogram, down about 21 percent from $76 per kilogram, the current price on the spot market, according to PV Insights.

Despite our projection for increasing demand of solar and semiconductor wafers, we expect a notable amount of supply to enter the market, putting downward pressure on prices.

5. We believe that China-based solar companies will continue to take market share from most US and European competitors. Backed by local bank debt, Chinese manufacturers expanded production and cut unit costs in 2010, allowing them to offer panels at lower costs and gain market share. We expect this trend to continue, and see China-based solar companies having more than 50 percent of the world's total cell capacity by the end of 2011.

We believe that non-Asia based companies will start focusing more on non-production segments of the supply chain, such as project development and installations, in order to preserve profitability.

6. We believe the companies that can best diversify away from Germany, the largest solar market, will experience the most success. We project that Germany will represent nearly 50 percent of total solar unit installations in 2010, with growth of about 150 percent from 2009 levels. However, we forecast a 15 percent decline for this region next year, and, as a result, we expect Germany to comprise only about 35 percent of total unit installations.

We think expansion into the following future solar growth regions will be key: Italy, Asia, the Middle East, Africa, and, of course, the United States. We believe that China-based solar makers, as well as industry leader First Solar, will be able to do a better job diversifying away from Germany versus European-based counterparts.

7. We think the industry's solar panel costs will fall approximately 13 percent in 2011. China-based panel makers have benefitted from lower polysilicon prices and were able to substantially reduce their costs on a per megawatt basis to about $1.28 in 2010, based on our estimates.

Although we do not see polysilicon prices decreasing ahead, we believe that benefits from vertical integration and operating leverage will lead to lower average panel costs of about $1.12 by the end of 2011.

8. We believe the industry's profitability will decline in 2011. We expect panel selling prices to fall faster than costs, and we see gross margins decreasing on average, from the mid-20 percent range in 2010 to the low-20 percent area in 2011, for many China-based solar makers. R&D and SG&A expenses should rise as competitors look to improve conversion efficiency rates and expand global sales forces.

Overall, we think operating margins will contract from the mid-teens range to the low-teens range over the same period. However, we believe some companies, like LDK Solar Co. Ltd, will improve their margin profile through vertical integration.

9. We anticipate that the industry's high financial risk will persist in 2011. We expect debt levels to continue to rise, as China-based solar makers expand production capacity and extend global sales exposure.

Assuming higher sales and a modest decrease in margins, we think the industry's debt to equity ratio will remain at about 80 percent.

10. We expect solar manufacturers, which have a greater proportion of sales devoted to the United States, to outperform peers in 2011. We estimate that the United States will experience at least a 60 percent rise in unit installations, far greater than our 20% forecast for the industry overall. We attribute this mostly to robust utility and commercially driven projects, as companies transition to renewable sources of electricity, given favorable incentives and more attractive prices.

We expect Advanced Energy Industries, a semiconductor equipment maker that is also aggressively expanding in the solar inverter market, to be a major beneficiary of this trend. We believe AEIS will generate nearly 80 percent of its solar-related inverter sales from the North America market.

CNPV becomes major Chinese supplier for Donauer Solartechnik

LUXEMBOURG, GILCHING, GERMANY & DONGYING, CHINA: CNPV Solar Power SA, a public limited liability company organized under the laws of the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg and a leading integrated manufacturer of solar photovoltaic products, has entered into a long-term strategic partnership agreement with Donauer Solartechnik Vertriebs GmbH, a leading project developer and supplier of solar photovoltaic and solar thermal products, with over 15 years' experience in the renewable energy sector.

Under the terms of this strategic agreement, CNPV will supply Donauer with a total of 200MWp of high performance PV Modules from 2011 to 2013. Scheduled deliveries within the agreement include 40MWp during 2011 as well as 60MWp and 100MWp in 2012 and 2013 respectively.

"Elated" enthused B. Veerraju Chaudary, CNPV's COO,CTO & Member of the Board: "To be chosen from the numerous 'Tier 1' worldwide suppliers, tested against the class leading criteria utilised by Donauer is a fantastic result for us. Their stringent procedures for selection underwrite their market leading statements and successes. We are both flattered, and honoured to support Donauer in maintaining and developing this position."

Donauer, CEO of Donauer Solartechnik Vertriebs GmbH. added: "Meticulous selection, state-of-the-art products and unfailing support allows us to 'really' exceed the customer's expectations. Our choice of CNPV as our major Asian supplier was based not on geography, but on their ability to join us in delighting the end users. The strategic agreement is evidence of our confidence that together we can offer even more assurances and investment returns to our customers and hence grow our market."

Carl Freudhoefer, chief procurement officer of Donauer Solartechnik Vertriebs GmbH, elaborated: "Our clients and their investment teams require good security on their investment, an industry leading annual return, and of course, long duration. CNPV with their high quality, high performance and European insured modules allows us to demonstrate the improvements on the buyers needs."

STR Holdings completes acquisition of US manufacturing facility

ENFIELD, USA: STR Holdings Inc., a leading global provider of high quality, superior performance solar encapsulants to the photovoltaic module industry, has closed on its previously announced acquisition of land and a 275,000 square foot building located in East Windsor, CT.

STR will relocate the majority of its US manufacturing to the new location. In addition, the facility will house US-based product management and sales teams, as well as a new 20,000 square foot research and development laboratory. The facility acquisition enables STR to complete the planned expansion of its Connecticut manufacturing capacity to approximately 3 GW in 2011.

The company continues to anticipate installing 1.2 GW of new production equipment in Connecticut during the third quarter of 2011 and will cease manufacturing at its current facilities in Enfield and Somers, CT after moving its existing equipment into the new facility during the next nine to 12 months.

The company estimates spending approximately $19 million to complete the expansion, $5 million of which will be spent in 2010, with the balance incurred in 2011.

Dennis L. Jilot, chairman, president and CEO of STR Holdings, stated: “The acquisition of our new East Windsor facility marks another important milestone for STR Solar. This facility will provide ample space to increase Connecticut production capacity up to approximately 6.0 GW in support of our continued strong growth and to enable us to increase our industry-leading innovation with a newly dedicated, state-of-the-art research and development facility.”

SECP partners with POSCO Power to build world's largest solar power plant

DIAMOND BAR, USA: Sustainable Energy Capital Partners (SECP), a California-based developer of renewable energy projects, announced a joint venture partnership with POSCO Power to develop and build a 300-megawatt (MW) photovoltaic solar power plant in Boulder City, Nevada.

The Boulder City power plant adds to SECP's growing portfolio of more than 400MW of solar projects in the Southwestern United States. For POSCO Power, the largest independent power producer in South Korea, this opportunity represents the first overseas renewable energy project developed without the involvement of their parent company, POSCO.

“This project is the world’s largest solar PV power plant and it meets the POSCO Group’s actively promoted green energy strategy. It will be the foundation of our entry into the US and other overseas markets for new and renewable energy,” said Soung-Sik Cho, president and CEO of POSCO Power.

Parsons Corp., one of the world’s largest engineering, construction, technical, and management services firms, has been engaged to participate in the project.

Construction is scheduled to take place during the second half of 2012 and is expected to create hundreds of jobs for the local community. Once the solar power plant is fully operational, it will have the capacity to provide electricity to nearly 135,000 households for 25 years.

"Our partnership with POSCO Power will become an example of what’s possible in today’s solar industry when global companies work together to implement a shared vision. We, at SECP, are certainly pleased to be bringing much-needed jobs to Nevada while advancing our mission of providing power that is both clean and sustainable,” said Steve Herr, MD of SECP.

Solarfun announces new business developments in Italy

SHANGHAI, CHINA: Solarfun Power Holdings Co. Ltd has announced several new business developments in Italy, including two significant contracts and the opening of a new office in Milan.

Italy is advancing as a strong PV market in Europe, with the country's installed capacity forecast to be over 1,500 MW in 2010. In August 2010, Solarfun entered into an agreement with 9REN Group, a European renewable energy company, to deliver 20.4 MW of PV modules for a new solar park in Italy. The park is expected to be operational by the third quarter of 2011.

In addition, the company also signed a contract with Gestamp Asetym Solar, a Spain-based solar solutions company, for approximately 11 MW of PV modules. The modules will be used for solar parks in both Spain and Italy, all of which are scheduled to be operational in mid 2011.

In light of Solarfun's expanding activities in Italy, the company has opened an office in Milan. The new office is expected to increase regional access to Solarfun's high-quality PV products and provide technical and marketing support for utility, commercial, and residential customers.

Claudio Giorla will head Solarfun's Italian operations as the Company's country manager of Business Development and Operations. Prior to joining Solarfun, Giorla worked as a key account manager and business development manager for the EPC contractor, Guascor Solar Italia. Previously, he served as the general plant manager at Tecnograf, Mondadori Group, a leading European publishing company.

"I am pleased to announce the addition of Mr. Giorla to our team," said Andreas Liebheit, VP and Managing Director of Europe, Middle East and Africa for Solarfun. "His addition to our Business Development and Operations team is an important part of implementing our growth strategy in Europe. Mr. Giorla's market knowledge and relationships in Italy will help support our growing customer base in this important region."

Dr. Peter Xie, president and CEO of Solarfun, commented: "Solarfun's expansion and investment in Italy is a significant milestone in our strategy, as the Italian market is of high priority for us in Europe. We expect our installation base in Italy to grow to over 50 MW in 2010, driven largely by our established relationships with leading regional developers such as Tozzi, Scatec, Gransolar, Rusol, Meridian, the Loh-Group and 9REN."

Abengoa Solar closes $1.45 billion financing for world’s largest solar generation plant

DENVER, USA: Abengoa Solar has finalized $1.45 billion financing to build Solana, the world’s largest parabolic trough concentrating solar plant. This plant, with a total investment of around $2 Billion, will generate 250 net megawatts (MW).

Santiago Seage, CEO of Abengoa Solar, stated: “Solana is the first large scale CSP plant for Abengoa Solar in the US and will be a key milestone for our development in this country as it allows us to strengthen our relationships with the local community as well as with the state and federal public authorities that have contributed notably to this project.”

Abengoa Solar signed a power purchase agreement with Arizona Public Service Co., Arizona’s largest electric utility, to buy the energy produced by Solana for a period of 30 years.

Following the Conditional Commitment announced by President Obama last July, the Department of Energy (DOE), through the Loan Programs Office, has issued a loan guarantee to support this project.

“I want to recognize the leadership of the Department of Energy’s Loan Programs Office in making Solana possible through this loan guarantee. Without DOE’s determination and commitment to solar energy this project would have never become a reality,” said Seage.

“The plant will be located 70 miles southwest of Phoenix, near Gila Bend, Arizona. Solana will produce enough energy to serve 70,000 households and will prevent the emission of 475,000 tons of CO2 per year compared to a natural gas burning power plant. The construction and operation of Solana will bring many economic and environmental benefits to Arizona and will support the nation’s goals for energy independence through a “green” economy.

The Solana project is the first large-scale solar plant in the United States capable of storing the energy it generates. Solana will include six hours of molten salt thermal energy storage capability, which will allow energy to be dispatched as needed during cloudy periods and after sunset. With this capability, Solana will be able to generate electricity well into the evening to help meet the summer peak demand for air conditioning.

The plant’s construction and operation will produce much-needed tax income for local communities and the state of Arizona, and support the nation’s goals for energy independence and developing a clean energy economy.

Abengoa Solar estimates that the Solana project will create between 1,600 to 1,700 new construction jobs and over 85 permanent jobs. Approximately 98 percent of the jobs created by the project will be American jobs, primarily in Arizona, in addition to neighboring states. Furthermore, around 75 percent of the equipment and supplies required to build Solana will be manufactured in the US.

Additionally a mirror manufacturing factory will be built in Surprise, Arizona to supply the mirrors needed for the Solana project. The mirror factory will employ almost 180 people, adding to the number of direct jobs created by Solana. This new facility will provide Arizona with the foundation upon which to expand its solar energy technology manufacturing capabilities and to support future CSP projects.

In late 2009 Abengoa Solar signed a power purchase agreement in California to supply electricity generated by a 250 MW net CSP trough plant located in the Mojave Desert, 100 miles northeast of Los Angeles. The company also has several projects under development in the Southwest.

Abengoa Solar is currently building 930 MW of solar plants worldwide and, with an additional 193 MW already operating, it is the only company worldwide building and operating both trough and power tower CSP plants. The Solana plant will be Abengoa Solar’s fourteenth CSP plant worldwide.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Solarfun board of directors approves name change to Hanwha Solar One

SHANGHAI, CHINA: Solarfun Power Holdings Co. Ltd, a vertically integrated manufacturer of silicon ingots, wafers and photovoltaic (PV) cells and modules in China, announced that its Board of Directors approved its name change to Hanwha Solar One.

The name change reflects the Company's ongoing efforts to strengthen its brand worldwide and the strategic business partnership with Hanwha Chemical, which currently owns 49.99 percent of Solarfun.

Dr Peter Xie, president and CEO, commented: "Following Hanwha's strategic investment in Solarfun in mid-September, we have worked closely together to develop a long-term strategy to grow our company into a top three module manufacturer by 2015. This new name reflects the cooperation between the two companies and our mutual commitment to further growth.

"The complementary skill sets between the two companies will lead to a 'virtual' vertically-integrated business model, under which we will be able to lower our production costs, increase product quality and innovation, and expand our customer base globally."

Energy efficiency will be growing focus for commercial building market in 2011

BOULDER, USA: Despite the general weakness in new construction due to the global recession, one building-related field has continued to grow: retrofits tied to improving the efficiency of facilities. A number of factors have been driving this growth, including the need to improve the energy performance of buildings for cost savings as well as the desire to obtain green building certification.

A new white paper from Pike Research identifies 10 key trends that are having a strong influence on the worldwide building industry. The paper, which includes predictions about the building efficiency market in 2011 and beyond, is available for free download on Pike Research’s website.

“Buildings account for about a third of global energy use, and as much as 40 percent of energy consumed in the United States. Therefore, they represent a prime opportunity for efficiency improvements,” says senior analyst Mike Wapner.

“As such, the commercial building sector is becoming an increasingly attractive market for technology and service companies alike. From energy management systems to LED lighting, the industry is in a period of strong technological innovation.”

Wapner adds that, in addition to emerging technologies, the regulatory and policy environment for building efficiency is dynamic, as well. Building codes, mandatory disclosure rules, and other regulations related to energy efficiency are developing quickly around the world, and new financing options are emerging to support the business case for energy efficiency retrofits.

Pike Research’s building efficiency industry predictions for 2011 and beyond include the following:

* Energy codes will keep raising the bar and enforcement is catching up.
* Mandatory disclosure rules will incentivize building owners to invest in energy efficiency.
* The pace of building certification will increase, led by LEED.
* Building energy management systems are in high demand.
* The US ESCO market will see moderate growth and ESCOs in Asia Pacific’s developing markets will advance rapidly.
* Lighting: 2011 will not yet be “The Year of the LED”.
* The connection between efficient buildings and the smart grid will continue to grow.
* An increasing number of financing options will continue to emerge to support building efficiency programs.
PACE is a financing option struggling to overcome a roadblock of its own.
* Systemic conditions, policy choices, and practical considerations will continue to present barriers to achieving energy efficiency, but investments in training, information access, and technology will gradually overcome many of them.

Solar Capital closes new $100 million senior secured credit facility

NEW YORK, USA: Solar Capital Ltd has announced the closing of a new $100 million Senior Secured Credit Facility with a new lender.

The facility, which expires in December 2015, bears interest at a rate of LIBOR plus 3 percent. The company’s initial draw on the new facility was used to repay the remaining balance of its 8.75 percent Senior Unsecured Notes at par.

“With the addition of this new credit facility, we have expanded our borrowing capacity to $490 million and have established a relationship with a new lender. We used borrowings under this facility combined with the proceeds from our recent equity private placement to extinguish our 8.75% Notes and decrease our cost of capital," said Michael Gross, chairman and CEO of Solar Capital.

Monday, December 20, 2010

Global solar PV demand forecast to reach 20.4 GW in 2011; growth rate drops to 25 percent

SAN FRANCISCO, USA: Global solar photovoltaic demand grew 196 percent to reach 10.6 GW in the first nine months of 2010 putting the PV industry on course for a record year, according to a report issued by Solarbuzz.

In the latest edition of Solarbuzz Quarterly, 2010 market size has been increased to 16.3 GW from the previous 15.2 GW forecast. Soaring PV markets around the world have led to global demand more than doubling, with European markets taking a 78 percent share.

Third and fourth quartee 2010
Third quarter 2010 global demand was 4.0 GW, down marginally from 4.1 GW from the prior quarter due primarily to slower market uptake in Germany after mid-year reductions in incentive tariffs, offset by increases in other markets. However, fourth quarter 2010 global demand is projected to increase by 43 percent to an all time quarterly high of 5.7 GW.Source: Solarbuzz.

On the supply side, Chinese manufacturers accounted for 66 percent of Q3'10 global cell production, up from 50% one year earlier, as they continue to grow market share.

JA Solar had the highest cell shipments in third quarter, while 8 out of the top 12 were Chinese or Taiwanese manufacturers. The fastest growing large cell manufacturer was Taiwan's Motech Industries, followed by Trina Solar and JA Solar in equal second place.

Looking into 2011
Aggregate PV manufacturers' solar shipment* growth is projected at 46 percent in 2011. This is in contrast to a slowing global market growth rate, which is forecast to be 25 percent in 2011, following incentive tariff cuts in the dominant German market and policy adjustments in the Czech Republic and France, in particular.

Instead, 2011 market expansion will be driven by Italy, United States, China, Canada, India and smaller markets in Europe and Asia.Source, Solarbuzz.

As a result of excess production, factory gate module prices are projected to drop by more than 15 percent over the year to fourth quarter 2011, led down by low cost Asian producers.

"Wholesalers in Germany will defer purchases in the early months of 2011 until they start to see improving price offers from module suppliers," said Craig Stevens, president of Solarbuzz. "However, more competitive pricing will emerge during second quarter that will be sufficient to re-stimulate that market during the second half of the year."

Weak first quarter 2011 demand in Germany will be the primary cause of module inventory build of over 3 GW in the PV chain. However, some leading manufacturers integrated into the downstream have established better positions by building up project pipelines in other European countries, the US and Asia.

Many other manufacturers are dependent on upfront payments and penalty clauses to ensure wholesalers and project developers follow through on framework supply contracts as prices fall.Source: Solarbuzz.

China Sunergy to supply 120 MW of PV modules to Ecoware S.p.A.

NANJING, CHINA: China Sunergy Co. Ltd has entered into a framework agreement with Ecoware S.p.A., a subsidiary of Kerslef Group, a leading Italian company in the integration of photovoltaic systems and solar fields of any size, both for private and industrial use.

According to the terms of the agreement, China Sunergy will supply 120 megawatts (MW) of PV modules, which are branded as CEEG by China Sunergy, to Ecoware S.p.A. from the fourth quarter of 2010 to the third quarter of 2011.

The two module companies acquired by China Sunergy in this November, CEEG (Shanghai) Solar Science & Technology Co., Ltd and CEEG (Nanjing) New Energy Co., Ltd. (together "CEEG"), have built a steady supplying relationship with Ecoware S.p.A. over the past three years.

"We are very pleased to continue our partnership with Ecoware S.p.A., a loyal client of these two acquired module companies in the past and now a client of China Sunergy. The signing of the agreement will further strengthen our successful cooperation and increase our share in the Italian PV market," Stephen Zhifang Cai, CEO of China Sunergy, commented. "So far this year, China Sunergy has entered into collectively over 600 MW of PV module contracts for year 2011 delivery."

TGI acquires Worldlink's license for $10 million

RED BANK, USA: TGI Solar, a diversified holding company, has acquired a license and rights to offer Worldlink's patent protected technology platform for the transfer of real time financial and other data to mobile devices.

TGI shall offer these products and services through its wholly owned subsidiary Worldlink Data Inc. (WLD). Neil A. Riches, Worldlink's founder and Managing Director, will join TGI's Board of Directors and assist with launching WLD in the US.

TGI shall pay for the purchase with its preferred stock, which will have convertibility option into common, upon reaching certain criteria, and will give Worldlink Group plc substantial equity position in TGI. Working capital to launch WLD shall be provided initially by Worldlink Group plc through arrangement with FMS Group, in the amount of Euro 5MM.

Saturday, December 18, 2010

California approves innovative program to spur mid-sized solar, renewable development

SAN FRANCISCO, USA: The California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) voted unanimously to approve a new program designed to drive small to mid-sized renewable energy development.

Called a “Renewable Auction Mechanism” (RAM), this next-generation feed-in tariff program will require investor-owned California utilities to purchase electricity from solar and other renewable energy systems up to 20 MW in size. Solar advocates and industry representatives applauded the CPUC for its innovative approach to helping California meet its renewable goals and build a strong new energy economy.

Adam Browning, Executive Director of Vote Solar, a non-profit organization working to make solar a mainstream American energy resource, said: "This is an elegant program that will drive significant new development in small to mid-sized renewables in California. The approach builds on best-practices to deliver cost-effective solar on-line quickly, in a way that delivers sustained value to ratepayers.

"In combination with California’s 80,000 behind-the-meter solar systems and the Renewable Portfolio Standard that is driving large-scale projects, this program pioneers a new approach to wholesale distributed generation. At scale, solar is more cost effective than the fossil fuel alternatives. All it takes is the right market mechanism to turn the opportunity into reality, and we thank the Commission and Commission staff for their vision."

“The Solar Alliance applauds the CPUC for creating and approving this RAM Program, which will open up a significant market potential in California for simplified renewable energy procurement,” said Sara Birmingham of the Solar Alliance, a trade association of solar manufacturers and developers.

“This program is a great step forward in facilitating the expansion of distributed solar power generation,” said Marc Van Gerven, CEO of Q-Cells North America, a global leader in developing solar power systems. “We are committed to partnering with utilities and the CPUC in continuing to grow solar adoption and California's leadership in the renewable energy market.”

“This program is a thoughtful design that helps keep the state on track with its renewable energy obligations and goals but in a cost-effective and pragmatic way. We are very excited about the significant opportunity it provides solar developers,” said Polly Shaw, Director of External Relations for Suntech America, one of the world’s largest solar energy companies.

“The passage of the Renewable Auction Mechanism by the CPUC today marks the beginning of a new era for the solar industry in the United States and will allow us to reduce air pollution, increase energy independence and create new green jobs much more quickly. We are very grateful to the CPUC staff and commissioners for their hard work to develop this program over the last two years,” said David Hochschild, VP at Solaria, a solar manufacturer headquartered in California.

Friday, December 17, 2010

45 MW solar PV project worth $200 million successfully launched in Bulgaria

LOS ANGELES, USA: The largest solar PV project in Bulgaria and one of the largest in the EU was officially launched on December 13, 2010. The 45 MW project consisting of one 20 MW solar photovoltaic installation and one 25 MW solar photovoltaic installation in the villages of Samovodene and Zlataritsa is currently under construction with almost 5 MWs already completed.

The project was created by a partnership of California - based renewable energy company NEOptions, the Bulgarian Development Collaborative, and SDN Co., a South Korean producer of power generators, solar modules and marine propellers.

"Large scale renewable energy development projects – especially in new EU countries where there is no track record and experience in the construction and operation of such facilities is especially challenging, and it takes a great deal of work to put the right partnerships and structures together to ensure the success," said President of NEOptions, Angelina Galiteva.

NEOptions' contribution to the endeavor was a combination of in-depth knowledge of the proposed projects and strong working relationships built over time with the other partners. NEOptions also participated in the preparation of the solicitation materials, project description and initial engineering in order to attract a viable investor for the 45 MW PV project.

After approximately three years of collaborating with SDN (previously known as Seoul Marine) and discussing project development for both the US and Bulgaria, NEOptions presented the Zlataritsa and Samovodene projects to SDN.

"We are pleased that the initial meeting between the Project parties in Seoul in 2009 and all the hard work involved in developing the project has resulted in a positive outcome for the 45 MW solar PV park in Bulgaria," Galiteva stated.

"SDN is an aggressive and thriving company and will certainly be a sizeable player in the solar PV market long term. We congratulate them on this successful launch," she added.

Borislav Sarandev lead the efforts of the Bulgarian Development Collaborative for the projects, which included site selection, land acquisition, and securing the myriad of necessary permits, licenses and interconnection documents needed to have a turn key project of this type.

"Professionalism and understanding of local policies, regulations and relationships is what guaranteed this development team's fast track permit approval and rapid start on construction of this solar park," said Galiteva.

"We are very fortunate to have a partner such as NEOptions on our side," stated Borislav Sarandev. "Ms. Galiteva, who is a world renowned expert in the field of renewable energy, made certain that we had all the right parties from across the globe working together to reach the ultimate goal of building the projects. Without her participation this would have been almost impossible to achieve."

Gi Choi, CEO of SDN also praised the participants and expressed his appreciation for the opportunity to construct the 45 MW PV project.

NEOptions and their Bulgarian partners continue to develop projects in Bulgaria and the region. Ms. Galiteva and Sarandev are confident that the area will become a hot bed for renewable energy development and that as countries continue to introduce supportive legislation, this team will have a rich portfolio of projects for investment.

Helping fuel this optimism, Bulgaria's Economy and Energy Minister Traicho Traikov recently announced that the country's renewable energy legislation will be harmonized with EU laws, in order to attract major foreign investors.

Day4 Energy signs supply agreement with largest solar cell manufacturer in Taiwan for PV cells

BURNABY, USA: Day4 Energy Inc., a leading global provider of solar photovoltaic (PV) products and solutions, announced an extension to the supply agreement with Motech Industries Inc., the largest solar cell manufacturer in Taiwan.

Motech and Day4 Energy have agreed to significantly increase the contracted quantity of multi-crystalline silicon solar cells supplied to Day4 Energy and its Day4 solarSYSTEMS manufacturing partners. Delivery of the increased volume is scheduled to begin in early January 2011.

"After four years, Motech continues to be a valued and trusted Day4 Energy supplier of quality solar PV cells for solar module production." says George Rubin, President of Day4 Energy. "This agreement contributes to ensure sufficient supply required to feed our European facility, as well as our network of Day4 solarSYSTEMS manufacturing partners."

Day4 solarSYSTEMS is an industry first, a revolutionary turn-key manufacturing program that significantly alters the traditional approach to manufacturing and distributing solar photovoltaic cells and modules.

"We are pleased to be a core supplier to such an innovative and growing organization" noted Sam Tsou, VP of Business Operation, Motech Industries. "We look forward to a strong partnership with Day4 Energy, and supporting the development of their Day4 solarSYSTEMS franchise" concluded Tsou.

As one of the top solar cell manufacturers worldwide in terms of capacity and output, Motech recently increased its annual cell production for 2011 by approximately 700MW.

Global PV installation to witness moderate growth in 2011; concerns of oversupply remains

TAIWAN: According to EnergyTrend, a research division under TrendForce, total global capacity in 2011 is estimated to maintain at 20GW-25 GW, while demand remains at 15.5GW-20GW, based on the analysis of supply and demand of the solar energy market in 2011.

Therefore, concern of oversupply sill remains. As for price trends, due to decreasing subsidy of major European countries, if prices cannot accurately reflect internal rate of return (IRR) performance, it would reduce the general public’s willingness to install solar energy systems. In light of that, EnergyTrend believes that the price is expected to reach $1.25/W in 1Q11.

In respect of solar energy industry outlook, EnergyTrend belives that the market will increase stably, and worldwide demand grows at the speed of 20-25 percent in YoY. However, several key markets are likely to be affected by decreasing subsidies in 2011, and the growth rate will be below 20 percent.Source: EnergyTrend.

In addition, TrendForce estimates that global installation volume in 2011 is expected to be in the range of 15.5GW to 20GW, while the capacity in 2011 ranges from 25GW to 30GW, leading to the concern of oversupply.

In terms of market outlook by region, the installation volume in the European market in 2011 slightly declines compared with that of in 2010, while the installation volume in China, Japan, and the US rises. In aggregate, total global PV installation volume will likely rise.Source: EnergyTrend.

In light of price trend, it is certain that the price comes to $1.25/W in 1Q11. According to EnergyTrend’s survey, the price of solar cell in December 2010 has dropped and the quote price from main manufacturers has decreased between $1.35/W and $1.38/W, (+3~5 percent MoM).

In terms of 1Q11price, TrendForce believes that IRR performance is affected by key European countries, such as Germany, Czech, and France. According to EnergyTrend’s survey, when compared with the current price, it is no longer attractive if the price decreases by less than 5 percent, IRR<6.5 percent; furthermore, if the price decreases by 10 percent, IRR will return to 10 percent. Hence, TrendForce believes that it is possible that the price may reach 1.25/W in 1Q11.

TrendForce indicates that market demand uncertainties in 2011 arise from the impact of a third quantitative easing (QE3) monetary policy by the US. Since QE3 is possibly launched by the Fed, flood of capital increases substantially. In order to find a gateway for excess capital, investing in the renewable energy industry is the best choice.

Judging from global financial crisis in 2008 and 2009, the demand of global renewable energy did not weaken. However, due to dramatically declining capital flow, construction programs related to renewable energy are put off.

Nevertheless, since the second half of 2009, quantitative easing monetary policy and increasing capital flow allowed relevant programs to be revisited. EnergyTrend forecasted that quantitative easing monetary policy will be an X factor for worldwide solar market development.

TrendForce indicates that the price fluctuation of solar cells is only limited to the transactions between solar cell manufacturers and module manufacturers at this stage. Hence, the price of wafers and Poly-Si still remains the same, which is not affected by the declining transaction price for the downstream clients.

If the pressure from the decreasing solar cell price continues to increase, the solar cell manufacturers are forced to reduce the prices of wafers and Poly-Si to reflect costs.

Global General Technologies to merge with China-based solar panel manufacturer

HENDERSON, USA: Global General Technologies Inc. (GLGT) intends to complete merger with a China-based solar panel manufacturer.

The merger candidate, ZhiHua Co-Channel Hi-Tech Co. Ltd, is China's most dynamic solar panel company, focusing on the production of high quality solar energy cell monocrystalline silicon chips, with solid silicon production. ZhiHua currently has nearly 100 employees, its engineering works cover an area of 32,000 square meters, and its building size is 2 million square meters.

The company boasts annual revenues in the $10 million dollar range, with its business activities split between domestic and foreign markets. ZhiHua Co-Channel Hi-Tech Co., Ltd. exports its green technology products to more than 10 countries. Also, the company has signed significant green energy contracts with municipal governments in China's Jiangxi province.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

M+W Solar to set up PV power plant in southern Italy

STUTTGART, GERMANY: M+W Solar GmbH, a company of M+W Group, has received another order to engineer and construct a photovoltaic power plant in Italy. This turnkey required plant will have a maximum output of five megawatts (MWp) and be located in the area of Oria in the Apulia region of southern Italy. It is due to be connected to the national grid in 2011.

This future photovoltaic power plant will have an annual output of around 7,000 megawatt hours of electrical energy which will provide more than 2,000 households with environmentally friendly solar electricity. Compared with coal generated electricity, this will save around 6,500 tonnes of carbon dioxide emissions each year.

Around 23,000 multicrystalline photovoltaic modules will be needed over an area of nearly 110,000 square metres. Forty-two grid connected central inverters will convert DC electricity from the modules in to network compliant AC electricity.

Together with planning and construction, the order also requires that a variety of official permits and approvals are obtained, all of which are now in place. The property and project rights have been secured by M+W Group for 20 years.

Commercial sector drives US solar market with 38 percent growth in Q3

WASHINGTON & CAMBRIDGE, USA: Solar energy markets in the US continued to surge during the third quarter of 2010, according to a report released by the Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA) and GTM Research.

More than 27,000 US homes and businesses installed solar energy systems in the third quarter of 2010. Installations in the non-residential photovoltaic (PV) sector grew 38 percent over the second quarter to reach 103 megawatts (MW).

Alongside support from state and federal policies, nationwide growth is being propelled across residential, commercial and utility-scale market segments by the continued decline of average system costs, which the report finds were below $6/watt in Q3 for the first time, or 8.5 percent less than Q1 averages.

The report also includes detailed data and analysis on national and leading state trends, including demand, average system costs, component costs, and manufacturing production, which culminate in five-year demand projections by technology and by state.

“The third quarter, and this year as a whole, has been a banner year for PV in the US,” said Shayle Kann, GTM Research’s Managing Director of Solar. “With the combination of ARRA incentives, the Treasury Cash Grant, and a compelling cost environment, PV installations have spiked across all market segments.”

In third quarter solar electric installations, California led the way with over 67 MW of new capacity, followed by New Jersey, Florida, Arizona and Colorado. For solar heating and cooling systems, California, Hawaii, Arizona, Puerto Rico, and Florida were the leading markets.

As of the end of the third quarter, the US had installed 530 MW of PV, already well over the 435 MW installed in all of 2009. GTM Research forecasts further growth in the fourth quarter, with total 2010 PV installations poised to reach 855 MW.

Concentrating solar power installations and solar heating and cooling installations in the last quarter of the year could drive total 2010 US solar installations above 1 gigawatt – 1,000 MW – for the first time.

“This report for the third quarter shows what many of us already suspected; that 2010 will be a historic year for solar energy in the United States. Thanks to a variety of factors, including the 1603 program, the solar industry is on pace to grow by over 100 percent and install more than 1 gigawatt of solar in 2010. This is the first time we have crossed this threshold,” said Rhone Resch, president and CEO of SEIA.

“And the promise for 2011 is even greater. With the 1603 program on the cusp of being extended, combined with the continuing decline in system costs for consumers, solar is poised to create tens of thousands of jobs and install even more capacity than 2010. It is truly an exciting time for our industry.”

JA Solar in partnership and supply agreement with tenKsolar

SHANGHAI, CHINA: JA Solar Holdings Co. Ltd, one of the world's largest manufacturers of high-performance solar cells and solar power products, has announced a partnership and supply agreement with tenKsolar Inc., a Minnesota-based solar technology company.

Under the agreement, JA Solar will supply its high-efficiency "SECIUM" solar cell technology for use in tenKsolar's RAIS rooftop array. When deployed in the tenKsolar RAIS array using static reflection as a proprietary cell-optimizing architecture, JA Solar's 19 percent efficient SECIUM solar cell yields an effective area efficiency (peak energy produced per unit of module area) of over 25 percent, resulting in superior rooftop energy density at a competitive installed cost.

"We are pleased to work with tenKsolar, an innovative solar technology company based in the United States," said Yong Liu, CTO of JA Solar. "By utilizing JA Solar's leading-edge, high-efficiency SECIUM Solar cells, tenKsolar is able to achieve a PV system with higher energy density output for commercial flat rooftop and space-constrained ground-mount projects, thus reducing the cost of delivered energy," he said.

AUO SunPower solar cell fab dedicated

HSINCHU, TAIWAN: AU Optronics Corp. announced the inauguration of AUO SunPower Sdn. Bhd. ("AUO SunPower") in Malaysia.

The ceremony was attended by AUO chairman K.Y. Lee, Malaysian Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib, SunPower CEO Tom Werner, and Melaka Chief Minister Datuk Seri Ali Rustam.

The construction of the facility will continue through 2013 and, when completed, is expected to generate more than 1,400 megawatts annually of high-efficiency solar cells to meet world demands.

AUO SunPower is located in Melaka's "solar valley", south of Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. The construction will continue through 2013 and, when completed, is expected to generate more than 1,400 megawatts annually of high-efficiency solar cells.

The two-building facility will be 108,000 square meters (more than 1 million square feet), which is approximately the size of seven US football fields, and will house 28 solar cell production lines when fully online. In production since October of this year, AUO SunPower has already produced approximately 5 megawatts with up to 22.5 percent conversion efficiencies.

"We are pleased to dedicate this facility and celebrate the success of the AUO SunPower joint venture," said K.Y. Lee, chairman of AUO. "The AUO SunPower Fab is already in production, benefiting from our leading manufacturing technology, and efficiently-run global operations and management. We welcome Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib to our facility today, and thank him and the Malaysian government for their full support of our joint venture."

AUO SunPower has been recognized by the International Energy Agency for its superior energy-efficient design. In addition, it has applied for both gold and silver Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) certifications for its administration building and cell fab, respectively. AUO SunPower was engineered with a variety of energy efficient features that will help increase operations efficiency and cut energy costs. These features include:

* Solar covered parking, with the system generating up to 2.6 megawatts of power;
Rooftop solar on all site facilities with systems generating more than 10 megawatts of power;
* Rain water retention ponds for environmental protection and water recycling;
* Improved HVAC cooling and heating systems that offer a much lower carbon footprint for a facility of this size and type;
* 100 percent of the hot water heating capacity is generated by heat recovery air compressors;
* Cooling system efficiency that uses approximately 40 percent less electricity compared to typical systems in the Melaka area.

"AUO SunPower will enable us to significantly increase the production of our high-efficiency solar cells in this state-of-the-art manufacturing facility," said Tom Werner, SunPower CEO.

"Malaysia's investment in the AUO SunPower joint venture, an excellent talent pool and a positive business investment climate, has given us the opportunity to significantly expand solar cell production that will meet the demand for solar worldwide, which has grown nearly eight fold over the past four years. We appreciate our partnership with the Malaysian government."

SunPower closes industry's first solar project bonds

SAN JOSE, USA: SunPower Corp. has closed its euro 195.2 million solar bond issuance associated with the company's 44-megawatt (MW) Montalto di Castro solar park in Italy.

The proceeds will be used to pay for the development and construction of the solar park, which is now complete and connected to the local electrical grid. SunPower also announced that the sale of the 44-MW solar park is scheduled to close before the end of this year.

"This is the world's first publicly rated bond issue for a solar project, as well as Italy's first rated project bond. It opens up a new global-scale pool of capital to fund solar projects beyond traditional project financing from banks," said Dennis Arriola, SunPower CFO.

"Achieving investment grade ratings is a milestone for the solar sector and further demonstrates the bankability of SunPower's turnkey solar energy systems. Our success is a culmination of an exhaustive due diligence process which resulted in various independent parties recognizing the technical, financial and operating expertise that SunPower delivers."

The solar bonds were issued in two classes:
* Class A1 bonds of euro 97.6m in fixed rate notes paying 5.715 percent, due in 2028.
* Class A2 bonds of euro 97.6m in fixed rate notes paying 4.839 percent, due in 2028.

The Class A1 benefit from a loan guarantee by SACE (an insurance and financial group controlled by Italy's Ministry of Economy and Finance) and its Aa2 credit rating from Moody's. The class A2 bonds have been rated Baa3 from Moody's and were purchased by the European Investment Bank.

Concurrently, SunPower announced the completion of the entire 72-MW Montalto di Castro solar park, which is one of the world's largest solar parks in terms of energy generation. All phases of the project have been constructed using high-efficiency SunPower solar panels and SunPower T0 Tracker technology to generate approximately 140 gigawatt hours of electricity per year.

"The Montalto di Castro solar park is the first and largest solar project of its kind and we are proud to announce its completion," said Yoram Amiga, president, utility and power plants international for SunPower. "Today, Italy is experiencing a strong demand for solar, as it can be installed quickly, is cost-competitive and a reliable source of power. SunPower's ability to finance the final phases of the park through solar bonds underscores the strong appeal of predictable cash flows from our systems technology and utility-scale project execution expertise."

The SunPower developed solar park is located in the Lazio region of Italy near Rome, where the 20-MW first phase was connected to the grid in November of 2009, several weeks ahead of schedule. The 8-MW second phase was commissioned earlier this fall, and the third and fourth phases, totaling 44 MW, were completed earlier this month. SunPower will provide operations and maintenance services for the solar park.

The lead managers for the bonds were BNP Paribas, London Branch and Societe Generale (Corporate & Investment Banking). Societe Generale is also the lead manager for the VAT Loan. The company was advised by Allen & Overy (London and Rome) on legal matters and by Deloitte LLP (Rome) on tax and accounting matters.

NVVN puts out list of solar projects under India's JN-NSM

NEW DELHI, INDIA: NTPC Vidyut Vyapar Nigam Ltd (NVVN) has put out the list of selected solar projects under the Jawaharlal Nehru-National Solar Mission Phase 1, Batch 1.Source: NVVN, India.

Here's the other page, as this is quite a long list.Source: NVVN, India.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

AUO SunPower dedicates 1,400 MW solar cell fab

SAN JOSE, USA: SunPower Corp., a Silicon Valley-based manufacturer of high-efficiency solar cells, solar panels and solar systems, announced the inauguration of AUO SunPower Sdn. Bhd., the company's joint venture solar cell fabrication facility (Fab 3) in Malaysia with AU Optronics Corp.

Malaysia Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Abdul Razak, Datuk Seri Ali Rustam, Chief Minister of Melaka, AUO Chairman K.Y. Lee, SunPower CEO Tom Werner, and federal and state government officials attended today's dedication.

The construction and ramp of Fab 3, located in Melaka, south of Kuala Lumpur, will continue through 2013 and, when completed, is expected to generate more than 1,400 megawatts annually of high-efficiency solar cells.

The two-building facility will be 108,000 square meters (more than 1 million square feet), which is approximately the size of seven US football fields, and will house 28 solar cell production lines when fully online. In production since October of this year, Fab 3 has already produced approximately 5 megawatts of Gen 2 solar cells with up to 22.5 percent conversion efficiency.

"We are pleased to dedicate this facility and celebrate the success of the AUO SunPower joint venture," said K.Y. Lee, chairman of AUO. "The AUO SunPower Fab is already operational, benefiting from our leading manufacturing technology, and efficiently-run global operations and management. We welcome Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib to our facility today, and thank him and the Malaysian government for their full support of our joint venture."

As with SunPower's Fab 2, fully online since January of 2009, Fab 3 has been recognized by the International Energy Agency for its superior energy-efficient design. In addition, Fab 3 has applied for both gold and silver Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) certifications for its administration building and cell Fab, respectively.

Fab 3 was engineered with a variety of energy efficient features that will help increase operations efficiency and reduce energy costs. These features include:
* Solar covered parking that will provide up to 2.6 megawatts of annual power generation.
* Rooftop solar on all site facilities that will total more than 10 megawatts of annual power generation.
* Rain water retention ponds for environmental protection and water recycling.
* Improved HVAC cooling and heating systems that offers a much lower carbon footprint for a facility of this size and type.
* 100 percent of the hot water heating capacity is generated by heat recovery air compressors.
* Cooling system efficiency that uses approximately 40 percent less electricity compared to typical systems in the Melaka area.

"Fab 3 will enable us to significantly increase the production of our high-efficiency solar cells in this state-of-the-art manufacturing facility," said Tom Werner, SunPower CEO.

"Malaysia's investment in the AUO SunPower joint venture, an excellent talent pool and a positive business investment climate, has given us the opportunity to significantly expand solar cell production that will meet the demand for solar worldwide, which has grown nearly eight fold over the past four years. We appreciate our partnership with the Malaysian government."

Gebr. Schmid GmbH signs contract with Jain Solar for two cell production lines

KOLKATA, INDIA & GERMANY: At the end of September 2010, a contract was concluded between India's Jain Solar Energy Pvt Ltd and the process equipment supplier Gebr. Schmid GmbH + Co. for two cell production lines with a total capacity of 13,200 cells/h.

These production lines make up the first joint project between the business partners Jain Group and the Schmid Group. The sum which will be invested in the final expansion phase totaling 400 MW lies in the three-figure million euro range.

The cell production system is one of the most modern of its kind worldwide featuring the process cluster system which means it can produce at a very attractive CoO (cost of ownership) rate. The individual process clusters are hereby interconnected by the Montech Intralogistic System which is controlled by the Schmid Overall Factory Control System.

The final expansion stage will be installed in two phases: the delivery of the lines is hereby planned for the second and third quarter of 2011.

When ordering the cell production lines, Jain Solar Energy Pvt Ltd has also opted for the Selective Emitter technology. The special feature of this technology: the high phosphorous doping on the cell is selectively etched and remains only in those places where contacts are subsequently printed.

Further, the new space-saving Schmid direct-plasma PECVD cluster concept will also be applied. This enables a high throughput rate with unique availability on a very small footprint.

SoloPower broadens product line by offering world's most powerful certified flexible CIGS module

SAN JOSE, USA: SoloPower Inc., a California-based manufacturer of flexible, thin film solar cells and modules, continues to make steady progress with the successful expansion of its product line to include the newly certified SFX3 module.

Capable of producing up to 260 Wp, the SFX3 is the most powerful flexible, certified, thin film CIGS module available for purchase in the marketplace today. SoloPower's aperture efficiency also continues to improve with NREL measuring flexible modules made on the company's production line as high as 12.1 percent.

Following in the footsteps of the narrower SFX1 module, which was the first flexible CIGS module certified to both UL 1703 and IEC (61646 and 61730) standards, the wider and more powerful SFX3 module greatly broadens the company's product offering in the global marketplace.

"Achieving the certification of both our wide and narrow modules to the necessary UL and IEC standards allows us to provide efficient and cost-effective solutions to a broad range of market channels and geographies," stated SoloPower CEO Tim Harris.

"With the SFX3 module passing the same certification standards as the SFX1 recently did, we can deliver powerful, lightweight products optimized for use on both low-slope and standing-seam metal roof systems in Europe, North America and Asia."

"Breaking through the 12 percent aperture efficiency barrier for production line modules is an added bonus, and highlights our company's focus on continual product improvement," stated Harris.

"The fact that we've been able to improve our aperture efficiency from 11.2 percent to 12.1 percent over the past 6 months while simultaneously beginning to deliver products to the global marketplace is a testament to the SoloPower team's effectiveness."

SoloPower CTO, Mustafa Pinarbasi, added: "SoloPower has the first and only flexible CIGS products today certified to both UL 1703 and IEC (61646 and 61730) standards. This illustrates SoloPower's technological edge. Our high power SFX3 panel enhances the company's position in the flexible solar segment and demonstrates our drive to lower the cost of solar power to grid parity."

SoloPower is in the process of shipping SFX1 and SFX3 modules to customers in Australia, Belgium, France, Germany, Japan, and Korea, as well as to multiple locations in North America. Demand is rapidly building for these high-efficiency modules packaged in a durable, lightweight, flexible form.

The SFX1 module (up to 85Wp, 0.292m x 3.05m, 2.27kg /5lbs.) and SFX3 module (up to 260 Wp, 0.88m x 3.05m, 6.8kg/15lbs.) are currently manufactured at the San Jose, California production facility. At slightly less than 0.5 lb. per sq. ft., the thin film modules produced by SoloPower weigh significantly less than traditional solar panels, which are often too heavy to be placed in large numbers on older buildings.

SoloPower's flexible CIGS module achieved IEC 61646 and IEC 61730 certifications through TUV SUD America, Inc.; and the ETL Mark certification to the UL 1703 standard through Intertek.

Twin Creeks Technologies breaks ground on solar cell and panel manufacturing facility in Ipoh, Malaysia

SAN JOSE, USA: Twin Creeks Technologies, Inc., a Silicon Valley-based manufacturer of crystalline silicon solar panels, committed to changing the economics of solar generated electricity, has broken ground on its new 100-megawatt (MW), solar cell and panel manufacturing facility to be located at the Perak High Tech Park in Ipoh, Malaysia.

A joint venture between Twin Creeks Technologies and the Perak State Economic Development Corporation through its associate company, The Red Solar Inc., the new 250,000 square-foot production facility, Twin Creeks Malaysia Sdn Bhd (TCMSB),represents a substantial investment by Malaysia.

This partnership, signed on June 4, 2010, was the result of a successful Perak trade and investment delegation mission led by the Perak Chief Minister, Dato' Seri Dr. Zambry Abdul Kadir, and Tan Sri Datuk Dr. Ahmad Zaharuddin, Chairman of the Malaysian Biotechnology Corporation Sdn Bhd.

"Over the long term, energy needs across the world are projected to increase – and renewable sources such as solar will play an important role in fulfilling those needs," said Siva Sivaram, CEO of Twin Creeks Technologies.

"The government of Malaysia recognizes the need to move away from purely fossil fuel based energy production and we are proud today to announce the groundbreaking of our first solar panel manufacturing facility in Malaysia. With their support, this plant will bring economic development and clean, reliable, domestic-sourced solar energy."

The TCMSB facility will expand production of Twin Creeks' proprietary crystalline silicon photovoltaic technology to address the growing solar market in Malaysia and ASEAN (The Association of Southeast Asian Nations) countries. Phase one output of the facility will be 100-megawatts(MW) with an expansion agreement to reach 500-megawatts(MW) of crystalline silicon-based solar cell and panel capacity.

Expected to have a considerable impact to job creation within the state of Perak, the TCMSB facility will be built in multiple phases. Once in full production in 2012, Twin Creeks' solar modules will enable an immediate "grid parity" with the conventional means of producing electricity at an average delivered cost that is competitive with fossil fuels.

Yingli Green Energy signs three-year sales contract to supply 220 MW of PV modules to S.A.G. Solarstrom AG

BAODING, CHINA: Yingli Green Energy Holding Co. Ltd, a leading solar energy company and one of the world's largest vertically integrated photovoltaic manufacturers, which markets its products under the brand "Yingli Solar," announced that it has entered into a three-year sales contract with S.A.G.

Solarstrom AG, one of the leading manufacturers, independent developers and system integrators in the solar power and solar investment market in Europe. Under the terms of the contract, Yingli Green Energy will supply 220 MW of PV modules to S.A.G. from 2011 through 2013. The modules are expected to be installed in residential, commercial rooftop and ground-mounted power plants across key European PV markets where S.A.G. operates.

"We are pleased to announce our extended partnership with S.A.G., which will further strengthen the already successful cooperation between us," Liansheng Miao, chairman and CEO of Yingli Green Energy, commented.

"This long-term contract reflects the trust and confidence that our customers have in Yingli Green Energy's ability to meet their increasing requirements on a consistent basis. We recognize that strong support from our channel partners and loyal customers is a key success factor for our sustainable growth in this fast-growing and competitive industry."

"Yingli Green Energy is one of our most preferred partners due to their excellent product quality and reliability. This secured volume of high-quality PV modules is an important step towards implementing our planned growth over the next few years," said Dr. Karl Kuhlmann, CEO of S.A.G. Solarstrom AG.

Intertek expands inverter test lab capacity and services

CHICAGO, USA: Intertek has announced the expansion of its Cortland, NY inverter test facility. The laboratory tests a wide variety of small to medium-sized inverters to US, Canadian and International safety and performance requirements.

The expansion increases Intertek’s capacity to test multiple inverters in parallel, and extends the range of products that can be tested in this location to up to 150 KW. Inverters are a critical part of distributed energy generation products, providing the means for making power derived from renewable energy sources compatible with the power grid, as well as providing safety functions for connection-to and disconnection-from the power grid for wind turbines, photovoltaic (PV) systems, fuel cells, and other types of generators.

Because of their complex design and the rigorous test requirements of the standards, inverter testing can be time-consuming, which negatively impacts time to market for manufacturers. Intertek’s expanded capacity reduces queue times in the lab and helps manufacturers of renewable energy solutions get their products to market faster.

“Intertek continues to invest in and expand its leadership position in the Energy market,” said Troy Hewitt, Global Business Leader for Intertek’s Wind Energy services. “Our goal is to provide the industry’s fastest testing and certification turnaround. This gives our clients a time-to-market advantage of weeks and months ahead of their competitors – a truly significant edge in today’s renewable energy marketplace.”

Intertek tests to the UL 1741 standard for “Inverters, Converters, Controllers and Interconnection System Equipment for Use With Distributed Energy Resources”, and the associated Canadian standard, CAN/CSA-C22.2 No. 107.1, “General Use Power Supplies”. Product certification ensures acceptance by state and local inspectors, and the utilities which control grid interconnection.

Listing is a term defined by the National Electric Code (NEC) and indicates that the product has been found to comply with national safety standards by a Nationally Recognized Testing Laboratory (NRTL). Intertek also tests to international standards for inverters, giving our clients access to global markets for their products.

In addition to accreditations covering global certification, Intertek is an OSHA-approved NRTL in the United States and a Canadian Testing Organization (TO) and Certification Organization (CO) accredited by the Standards Council of Canada (SCC).

These accreditations authorize Intertek to evaluate and certify (List) products to a wide variety of national and international product safety standards. Products proven to comply with North American standards are eligible to bear a label with the ETL Listed Mark, the fastest-growing safety certification mark in North America.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Canadian Solar, SkyPower announce 18.5MW engineering, procurement and construction agreement for solar projects

KITCHENER and TORONTO, CANADA: Canadian Solar Solutions Inc., a subsidiary of Canadian Solar Inc., one of the world's largest solar companies, and SkyPower Ltd, one of Canada's largest owners and developers of solar energy projects, have signed an engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) agreement.

As part of the agreement, Canadian Solar Solutions, through SkyPower's power purchase agreements, will commission two solar parks with a nameplate capacity of 18.5 megawatts (MW) in Ontario. SkyPower recently closed financing on these projects with Deutsche Bank.

The agreement will result in the creation of new green energy jobs and will further accelerate Canadian Solar's EPC turn-key business in Ontario. The first project is a 10.5 MW solar park in Napanee, home to First Light I, SkyPower's first solar project and Canada's first fully operational solar park. The second project is an 8.5 MW solar park located in Thunder Bay, Ontario.

"A new study called Solar Vision 2025, issued by the Canadian Solar Industry Association and prepared by consultants Ernst & Young, reports the cost of solar power projects will be cut by more than 50% before 2025, making the solar electricity competitive with electricity generated by oil, gas, hydro or nuclear plants," said Dr. Shawn Qu, CEO and president of Canadian Solar.

"The report illustrates that solar power is already price-competitive with other sources at peak times. Agreements like the one announced today with SkyPower are very important. By partnering and also working closely together with the political leaders and other stakeholders in the province, we can help make the predictions in the study a reality."

The construction of both projects is expected to reach completion by mid-2011. Together, they are expected to generate approximately 19 million KWh in their first full year of operation and almost 400 million kWh total over the next 20 years. This is equivalent to producing enough electricity to power almost 33,000 homes and a CO2 offset of removing almost 60,000 cars off the road over the initial 20 years of the project.

"This agreement with Canadian Solar is an important milestone for both our companies and a direct result of the Province of Ontario's efforts to create a world-leading market for renewable power," said Kerry Adler, president and CEO of SkyPower.

"Agreements such as these are expected to create hundreds of new green energy jobs for Ontarians enhancing the solar industry's positive direction for a more sustainable environment for future generations."

SkyPower's projects will be composed of 47, 710 CS6P high efficiency polycrystalline modules and 36, 972 CS6P high efficiency monocrystalline respectively.

Solarbuzz forecasts 16.3 GW PV market size in 2010; projects demand growth of 25 percent in 2011

SAN FRANCISCO, USA: Global solar photovoltaic demand grew 196 percent to reach 10.6 GW in the first 9 months of 2010 putting the PV industry on course for a record year, according to a report issued this week by Solarbuzz, an international solar energy market research and consulting company.

In the latest edition of Solarbuzz Quarterly, 2010 market size has been increased to 16.3 GW from the previous 15.2 GW forecast. Soaring PV markets around the world have led to global demand more than doubling, with European markets taking a 78 percent share.Source: Solarbuzz, USA.

Third and fourth quarter 2010
Third quarter 2010 demand was 4 GW, down marginally from 4.1 GW from the prior quarter due to slower market uptake in Germany after mid-year reductions in incentive tariffs. However, fourth quarter 2010 demand is projected to increase by 43 percent to an all time quarterly high of 5.7 GW. On the supply side, Chinese manufacturers accounted for 66 percent of Q3'10 global cell production, up from 50 percent one year earlier, as they continue to grow market share.

JA Solar had the highest cell shipments in third quarter, while eight out of the top 12 were Chinese or Taiwanese manufacturers. The fastest growing large cell manufacturer was Taiwan's Motech Industries, followed by Trina Solar and JA Solar in equal second place.

Looking into 2011
Aggregate PV manufacturers' solar shipment* growth is projected at 46 percent in 2011. This is in contrast to a slowing global market growth rate, which is forecast to be 25 percent in 2011, following incentive tariff cuts in the dominant German market and policy adjustments in the Czech Republic and France, in particular.

Instead, 2011 market expansion will be driven by Italy, United States, China, Canada, India and smaller markets in Europe and Asia.

As a result of excess production, factory gate module prices are projected to drop by more than 15 percent over the year to fourth quarter 2011, led down by low cost Asian producers.

"Wholesalers in Germany will defer purchases in the early months of 2011 until they start to see improving price offers from module suppliers," said Craig Stevens, President of Solarbuzz. "However, more competitive pricing will emerge during second quarter that will be sufficient to re-stimulate that market during the second half of the year."

Weak first quarter 2011 demand in Germany will be the primary cause of module inventory build of over 3 GW in the PV chain. However, some leading manufacturers integrated into the downstream have established better positions by building up project pipelines in other European countries, the US and Asia.

Many other manufacturers are dependent on upfront payments and penalty clauses to ensure wholesalers and project developers follow through on framework supply contracts as prices fall.Source: Solarbuzz, USA.