Monday, February 28, 2011

BioSolar’s breakthrough BioBacksheet receives official UL material certification

SANTA CLARITA, USA: BioSolar Inc., developer of a breakthrough technology to produce bio-based materials from renewable plant sources that reduce the cost of photovoltaic (PV) solar modules, reported that its innovative BioBacksheet product has received full Underwriter’s Laboratories (UL) materials certification with its data published on UL’s online certifications directory.

Dr. David Lee, CEO of BioSolar, commented: “After four years of research and development, followed by another year of grueling materials properties testing, we have finally achieved the UL material certification required by PV panel manufacturers for commercial integration. In the past month, we have received many inquiries and requests for samples from PV manufacturers worldwide. We are now accepting purchase orders for commercial test quantities.”

BioBacksheet is now in the relative thermal index (RTI) measurement phase at UL, which is the last hurdle before commercial solar panels using BioBacksheet can be submitted for panel certification or recertification under UL 1703 prior to sale in the general marketplace. RTI is the temperature below which material will not be compromised by long term thermally induced chemical degradation.

The remaining steps for the full commercialization of BioBacksheet are:
* BioSolar provides UL certified commercial samples to PV panel manufacturers.
* PV panel manufacturers use samples to perform internal tests and certification planning.
* BioSolar receives provisional RTI rating from UL before the end of 2nd quarter 2011.
* PV panel manufacturers submit complete panels with integrated BioBacksheet for UL 1703 certification.
* PV panel manufacturer receives UL 1703 certification.
* PV panels with BioBacksheet available for general sale and installation.

The material standards for backsheets have become more stringent over the past years. To meet these tougher standards, other backsheet suppliers have resorted to using high cost complex multi-layer petroleum based plastic solutions. In contrast, BioBacksheet is an elegant, single layer solution made from renewable bio-based materials that costs less and outperforms existing petroleum based multi-layer backsheets.

“In the coming months ahead, we will work closely with solar manufacturers to get BioBacksheet fully integrated into their production lines. Every new square foot of solar panel coming off of a production line is an opportunity for us to sell a square foot of BioBacksheet. It is a multi-billion dollar market opportunity and we have the best product available in the marketplace to meet the needs of the industry,” concluded Dr. Lee.

Suntech recognized by Murphy&Spitz for 'Unrivalled' commitment to sustainability

SCHAFFHAUSEN, SWITZERLAND & WUXI, CHINA: Suntech Power Holdings Co. Ltd, the world's largest producer of solar panels, was recently honored with the "Global Leader Award 2011" from Murphy&Spitz, designed to recognize sustainable companies for exceptional environmental, health and safety (EH&S) practices.

The recognition coincides with Suntech becoming one of the first global solar companies to achieve both OHSAS18001 and SA8000 certifications, two respected occupational health and social accountability standards. Suntech also implements an Environmental Management System, which was certified according to the ISO14001 standard in April 2006.

"We're grateful for confirmation from this independent third party that we're on the right track, and it increases our resolve to further raise the standard," said Dr. Zhengrong Shi, Suntech's chairman and CEO. "The solar industry is about the world using technology to provide clean, sustainable energy without sacrificing our environment. In doing so, we must be aware of our responsibilities to our staff, our community and the sustainability of our manufacturing operations."

In late 2010, representatives from Murphy&Spitz, one of the most experienced sustainability investment firms in Germany, reviewed Suntech's EH&S management systems as well as those of other solar industry manufacturers around the world. The recently-released research report, Sustainability and Social Responsibility of the Photovoltaic Industry, outlines global solar industry standards and identifies opportunities for improvement in sustainability practices.

The comprehensive report praised Suntech's EH&S practices and transparency: "The manner of presentation and transparency is unrivalled in comparison to the other companies we took under review. The structure is similar to 'best practice' examples of other industries and shows a strategic interest. The employees entrusted with environmental and occupational tasks have a high level of qualification and possess international experience in their area. Our visit at Suntech revealed high standards for occupational health and safety, environmental protection and social aspects."

Coinciding with the award, Suntech recently received certifications for OHSAS18001, the internationally recognized occupational health and safety standard, and SA8000, a global social accountability standard for decent working conditions. Both international standards provide authoritative benchmarks for measuring and improving EH&S practices.

In particular, the SA8000 standard, based on the Conventions of the International Labour Organisation and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, considers a range of topics including working hours and conditions, equal-opportunity provisions, compensation and management practices.

GT Solar receives $41.6 million order for sapphire crystallization furnaces from new Asia-based customer

MERRIMACK, USA: GT Solar International Inc., a global provider of polysilicon production technology, and sapphire and silicon crystalline growth systems and materials for the solar, LED and other specialty markets, has received an order valued at over $41 million dollars for its advanced sapphire crystallization furnaces. This is GT Solar’s fourth order for its sapphire crystallization furnaces in recent months.

“We continue to see interest in our advanced sapphire furnace from new market entrants who are interested in producing sapphire material for high brightness (HB) LED applications,” said Tom Gutierrez, GT Solar’s president and CEO. “Our sapphire crystallization furnace provides a scalable and reliable architecture allowing companies to quickly ramp to volume production to produce low-cost, large area sapphire substrates.”

GT Solar’s crystallization process technology and global support resources provide a path to productive and profitable sapphire manufacturing operations. The furnaces ordered by the new manufacturer will initially produce 85 kilogram boules.

During its recent Q3 FY11 quarterly earnings call, GT Solar announced an enhancement to the advanced sapphire furnace that will increase the output capacity to 100 kilograms per cycle. This scalability gives customers an upgrade path to higher levels of throughput and productivity and provides a higher return on their investment.

IEEE announces SIG for India; move to propel India’s involvement in the IEEE global standards process

CHENNAI, INDIA: IEEE, the world’s largest technical professional association, today announced the formation of the IEEE Standards Interest Group (SIG) for Bangalore, India. In the works since last year, the IEEE SIG heralds a new chapter in India’s role in the global standards process and will provide a platform for increased involvement of the local technical community in global standards development.

The initiative is driven by IEEE sections in India with active support from IEEE Standards Association (IEEE-SA), the standards development organization of IEEE. Srikanth Chandrasekaran of Freescale Semiconductors would lead the IEEE SIG as its chair. Cloud Computing and Smart Grid have already garnered significant interest and momentum due to various factors including market demand.

Announcing the SIG, Judy Gorman, Managing Director, IEEE-SA, said: "India is among the largest and most promising markets in the world. A leader in the community of technology-developing countries, India boasts the world’s second largest engineering/technology professionals’ pool.

"Engaging India’s technical professional community in the standards process is therefore a must. The participation of Indian professionals will ensure challenges and factors unique to India are considered in global standards development. The IEEE SIG represents a significant step forward in the organization’s growing engagement with India. Besides providing an established forum to promote and help evangelize IEEE standards interests in India.”

Srikanth Chandrasekaran, chair of the India IEEE SIG, said: "While India’s growing technological prowess is acknowledged widely, there are many technical professionals that are not aware of the importance of standards in technology development, nor actively participate in the standards process. As India becomes the R&D/IT/design hub for multiple industries and verticals it is vital that IEEE engages the Indian technical community in standards development.

"We look forward to building on the initial momentum with active support from IEEE Standards Association—as one of the most credible global standards development organizations in the technical arena. This is surely a boon not just for the country but for its large and growing community of technical professionals."

Friday, February 25, 2011

Active development of electric vehicles in US and China brings Taiwanese lithium battery manufacturers to the world stage at Battery Japan

TAIWAN: The US government and the Chinese government both agreed to provide more rewards and subsidies for new energy vehicles in early 2011.

For example, the US government agreed that annual growth rate of R&D expense on clean energy to increase by 5 percent and planned to build 15,000 charging stations in 13 cities. Moreover, battery lease and vehicle lease dual programs were adopted by the Hangzhou Government of China. Therefore, it is expected that the demand of lithium battery will increase resulting in shortage of lithium battery supply within the next three years.

At the moment, Battery Japan, one of the biggest lithium battery exhibits in the world, is held in early March 2011 in Tokyo, Japan. EnergyTrend, a research division under TrendForce, believes that this exhibit will become the most important beachhead for car makers to win in terms of including batteries in their supply chains.

According to EnergyTrend’s survey, despite unstable fiscal situation in the US, President Barack Obama allocated a $2.6 billion budget for the development of clean energy, and there is a 5 percent increase in the annual growth rate of expenditures. In addition, Ecotality has started to build 15,000 charging stations in 13 cities in the US. With the target of reaching one million electric vehicle sales by 2015, the US government is striving to be more energy smart.

China is now the biggest market for the automobile industry, EnergyTrend believes that the Chinese government started to upgrade the domestic software and hardware facilities for new energy cars in order to bring the automobile industry in China to the next level. In terms of hardware facilities, four state-owned enterprises, such as State Grid, CNOOC has began to integrate specifications of the charging system and battery exchange system and the announcement is expected in second quarter of 2011.

As for software upgrade, the rewards and concessions are released constantly. Currently, there are 20 cities that received subsidies for bus purchases. In addition, 5 cities including Shanghai also implemented subsidies of 3000RMB/kWh for each passenger car purchase. Furthermore, Hangzhou has provided concessions for leasing new energy cars in early 2011 to reduce cost of ownership. (See Chart 1)Source: EnergyTrend.

Based on EnergyTrend’s analysis, the development of lithium battery, which is the most important component for new energy car, decides the realization and commercialization of new energy cars. Moreover, Battery Japan being one of the biggest lithium battery exhibits in the world comprises showcases of storage cell studies, components, materials, facilities, and storage battery and charging batteries.

With the participation of Taiwanese enterprises, such as FEMTC, Sheng Yang, USI, the exhibit can provide system manufacturers with great components at reasonable prices. Also, the exhibit will become the decisive battle for Taiwanese lithium battery manufacturers to go to the international new energy car market.

Latest solar price survey

TAIWAN: According to the latest weekly price survey conducted by EnergyTrend, a research division of TrendForce, the spot price remains balanced this week. Based on this circumstance, EnergyTrend believes that the manufacturers are currently watching the market movements, which shows that the price adjustment will be slight and slow, or even unchanged.

In this survey, the average cell price slightly decreased by 0.08 percent to $0.001/ Watt, with the average price of $1.249/Watt, while the module price still remained at $1.63/Watt. As for the upstream, the average polysilicon price slightly dropped by 0.13 percent to $74.6/Kg, and the price change was only $0.1/Kg.

In addition, the average wafer price stayed the same level as last week. In terms of the slight price concussion of cell and polysilicon, EnergyTrend believes that all these figures derived from statistic error, and the actual price will remain unchanged compared to last week.

However, EnergyTrend also found that, with the increasing visibility of Korean wafer makers, their product quality and price have been acknowledged by customers, which has great attraction for cell manufacturers. Furthermore, SNEC Shanghai and PV Japan will be held respectively in this and next week, so it is believed that the demand condition and price trend in 1H11 will become clearer after the events.

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Consumer engagement must increase for smart meter success

MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA: More needs to done to convince consumers of the long-term benefits of smart meters or they will quickly return to old consumption habits and entire projects will ultimately fail, according to Ovum.

A new report by the independent technology analyst and its parent company Datamonitor - identifies two critical areas of customer engagement: early stage customer acceptance and long-term customer behavioral change.

Ovum warns that most current efforts by utilities to gain initial customer acceptance of smart meters have been inadequate. Meanwhile stakeholders such as regulators and governments need to do more to ensure acceptance is fostered in the long-term, or consumers will quickly return to their old consumption habits.

Stuart Ravens, Ovum principal analyst and lead author of the report, said: “The earliest smart meter deployments are reaching completion and a raft of new deployments are starting. However it is becoming clear that the most important part of the equation – the customer – has not been paid enough attention.

“Some utilities have provoked a smart meter backlash by failing to gain initial customer acceptance of smart meters, creating ill-feeling toward the utility and forcing expensive and unnecessary checks on smart meters. But the greatest danger lies in how the customer relationship with smart meters will be affected in the long-term. If consumers do not use the data from smart meters to amend their energy consumption over the long-term, smart meter projects will ultimately fail.

“The success of long-term customer engagement requires input from regulators, governments and customer advocacy groups, with regulators playing a particularly key role. “

According to the report, regulators are vital to creating an environment where the long-term benefits of smart meters can be realised. Ravens added: “Without the correct incentives or a regulatory framework, consumers who do not change their consumption habits will increase utilities’ profits, which is a strong incentive for utilities not to drive consumption reduction schemes. Needless to say, this will do little to convince consumers of the benefits of smart meter deployments.”

Solar3D announces mass scale manufacturing design for 3-D solar cell

SANTA BARBARA, USA: Solar3D Inc., the developer of a breakthrough 3-dimensional solar cell technology to maximize the conversion of sunlight into electricity, today announced that its design will take advantage of low cost semiconductor processes to enable mass production.

Inspired by light management techniques used in fiber optic devices, the company’s innovative solar cell technology utilizes a 3-dimensional design to trap sunlight inside micro-photovoltaic structures where photons bounce around until they are converted into electrons. The company’s management believes that this breakthrough solar cell design will dramatically change the economics of solar energy.

Jim Nelson, CEO of Solar3D, commented: “In the solar industry, it is not enough to have high efficiency, you must also be low cost. We started our company with the mantra of ‘Breakthrough Product, Common Manufacturing,’ and I am pleased to report that we are right on track.”

Nelson continued: “The key to the successful low cost fabrication of our 3D solar cell is that we can use existing semiconductor manufacturing facilities and machines. This is important for two reasons:

a) The semiconductor manufacturing technology we are designing for was perfected in the 1990s. So, there will be no significant operational bugs in the machines or the processes, and the technology has only gotten better over time.

b) Because of our ability to use existing machines and facilities, there will be little or no new need to ‘invent’ new machines or construct new facilities just to make our 3D solar cell.”

A photovoltaic solar cell is basically a diode, and a diode is the most basic building block of modern day microprocessors and electronics. The micro-photovoltaic structures that make up our Solar3D cell are essentially diodes. By designing these “diodes” in the correct shape and size, the company believes its 3D structures can easily be produced in widely available high speed semiconductor manufacturing facilities.

Nelson concluded, “In the end, we intend to achieve what every solar innovator hopes for: More Power, in a Smaller Space, for Less Money.”

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Applied Materials ships 2,000th wire saw for solar manufacturing

SHANGHAI, CHINA: Applied Materials Inc. announced that its Precision Wafering Systems division has set an industry record, shipping its 2,000th wire saw system.

These saws are the preferred choice of major solar manufacturers worldwide for cutting silicon ingots into wafers to fabricate solar photovoltaic (PV) cells. Half of these shipments were for the world-class Applied HCT B5TM wire saw, representing sufficient capacity for manufacturing over 10GW of solar cells each year.

Applied Materials has seen significant market momentum for its B5 wire saw - with recent orders from four large wafer manufacturers in China that total more than 250 additional systems.

Wafering is an important part of driving down cost in solar manufacturing. By the time a finished blank wafer reaches the cell manufacturer, half the final cost of a complete module is already fixed. Helping to reduce the cost of wafering, Applied's B5 system delivers 15 percent higher annual output and lower overall cost per wafer than any wire saw available today.

This benchmark performance, achieved through best-in-class yield and uptime, coupled with unique flexible loading architecture, offers customers a compelling economic advantage, with up to 20 percent higher net revenue per system than competing systems.

"This achievement underscores our position as the solar industry's productivity and technology leader in advanced wafering solutions," said Dr. Charlie Gay, president of Applied Solar. "Our wafering systems combine engineering excellence with R&D programs across three continents, powering our customers' growth strategies and helping to drive down cost per watt."

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Applied Materials reports innovations in solar cell manufacturing at SNEC

SHANGHAI, CHINA: Applied Materials Inc. will introduce its latest advances in PV manufacturing technology at the SNEC PV Power Expo 2011 show this week in Shanghai, China. Applied's innovations are designed to help customers in China and around the world meet their green energy goals by providing technology solutions to optimize wafer and cell performance - and lower manufacturing costs.

"Applied Materials is committed to helping China in its efforts to increase domestic solar use in accordance with its 5 year plan - and we have built the world's largest privately-funded solar R&D center in Xi'an to support this effort," said Dr. Charlie Gay, president of Applied Materials Solar.

"We are the leading supplier of PV equipment and services to China and currently have over 120 solar customers in this region. The benefits of our collaborative approach with customers have earned us three awards from major Chinese solar producers in recent months. We will continue to use our advanced technology and global service infrastructure to enhance our customers' success."

Selective emitter technology for increased cell efficiency
Applied Materials will report on a new Selective Emitter (SE) solution using its high-precision Esatto Technology(TM) on Applied Baccini integrated cell platforms that offers customers a rapid, low-risk route to fabricate SE structures. While a Baccini line can support any SE approach, Applied's new SE solution incorporates a high-precision imaging system, custom screens, optimized dopant paste technology developed with Honeywell Electronic Materials, and dedicated process support. Applied's SE solution has been proven to raise absolute cell efficiencies by more than 0.5 percent at multiple customer sites.

Rebecca Liebert, vice president and general manager at Honeywell Electronic Materials, commented, "We believe Applied's strong track record in developing production-ready manufacturing solutions makes them an ideal collaborator in enabling our customers to optimize the performance of advanced selective emitter dopant pastes."

New wire saw technology to significantly increase cutting speed
Applied will also unveil its upgraded wire saw technology with the introduction of a new, high-strength structured wire capability for its market-leading Applied HCT Squarer(TM), which prepares silicon ingots to be cut into PV wafers.

The new structured wire increases cutting speed by 70 percent - resulting in a 30 percent reduction in total system cost-of-ownership. Applied's technologists are also optimizing structured wire technology for its popular Applied HCT B5 wire saw, which is used by more solar wafer manufacturers than any other wire saw system. The structured wire approach, production-proven for ingot squaring, is designed to deliver immediate and significant productivity and performance advantages when extended to wafering applications on both new and existing HCT B5 tools.

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Yingli Green Energy reports Q4 and full year 2010 results

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 its unaudited consolidated financial results for the fourth quarter and full year ended December 31, 2010.

Q4 2010 consolidated financial and operating highlights
* Total net revenues were RMB 4,066.2 million ($616.1 million) and PV module shipment increased by 21.6% quarter over quarter, reaching a historical high.
* Gross profit was RMB 1,337.7 million ($202.7 million), representing a gross margin of 32.9 percent.
* Operating income was RMB 943.5 million ($142.9 million), representing an operating margin of 23.2 percent.
* Net income was RMB 554.4 million ($84 million) and diluted earnings per ordinary share and per American depositary share were RMB 3.46($0.52).
* On an adjusted non-GAAP(2) basis, net income was RMB 598.3 million ($90.7 million) and diluted earnings per ordinary share and per ADS were RMB 3.73($0.57).
* In October 2010, through one of its operating subsidiaries in China, the company has become the first China-based solar company to have completed a successful registration of RMB 2.4 billion and issuance of RMB 1.0 billion medium-term notes on the PRC inter-bank debenture market.
* In December 2010, the Company re-purchased an aggregate of $171.3 million principal amount of its zero coupon convertible senior notes due 2012 for a total cash consideration of $199.4 million based on a yield to put of 5.125 percent. The company only had $1.2 million Notes outstanding due December 2012.
* The company has been selected to supply approximately 70 percent of the total amount of 272 MW PV projects under the Golden Sun Program, which is sponsored by the Ministry of Finance of China, and received an advance payment of RMB 749.4 million, or 35 percent of the total purchase price in December 2010. The majority of the shipments are scheduled to be delivered by the company in the second half of 2011.

Saturday, February 19, 2011

EnergyOne signs LoI to build two 0.5 MW solar stations

LEXINGTON, USA: EnergyOne Technologies Inc., a renewable energy developer, signed a Letter of Intent with a private party to build two - .5 megawatt solar stations in Hemet, California.

EnergyOne plans to use it's newly patented Photovoltaic-Capacitive Battery Storage (PCBS) solar panels on Phase 2. The PCBS panels integrate a thin film solar cell with a thin film ultra-capacitor and a thin film Nickel Zinc storage battery all in a single multi-layered unit.

Each station will generate 3 MW of energy per day and have the capability to store the system's daily output inside the panels. This will allow access to solar energy for night time use or on cloudy days. The solar output, enough to power over 4,500, homes will be sold to various third parties under long term power contracts.

EnergyOne plans to install up to 5MW of Nickel Zinc-battery energy storage systems that can be charged with power from the grid at night and sold back to the utility during peak demand hours. EnergyOne will own, build, and operate the solar stations. EnergyOne president, Michael Jones, said, "This project will allow EnergyOne to demonstrate the ability of our new PCBS solar panels to store and firm up the solar output, and regulate voltage output across each panel."

EnergyOne estimates the cost of the solar stations and energy storage units to be approximately $7.5 million. EnergyOne projects it could start construction by fall of 2011. Shorebreak Energy Developers, LLC will provide engineering, construction and power contract services for the project. VS Technology Inc. will perform energy storage and battery management system oversight. A megawatt is enough power for about 800 U.S. homes, according to the Energy Information Administration.

Friday, February 18, 2011

SoloPower receives offer of conditional commitment for $197 million guarantee from US DoE to build TFPV module factory

SAN JOSE, USA: SoloPower, a San Jose, California-based manufacturer of flexible thin film solar cells and modules, announced that it has received a conditional commitment from the US Department of Energy (DOE) Loan Programs Office for a $197 million loan guarantee.

The funds will support construction of a facility that, when completed and at full capacity, is expected to produce approximately 400MW of thin film Photovoltaic (PV) modules annually.

“This announcement is the latest confirmation that when it comes to energy policy, Oregon is on the right side of history,” said US Senator Ron Wyden of Oregon. “The project in Wilsonville will hire hundreds of highly skilled, highly paid Oregonians to manufacture the latest in renewable energy technology. Oregon is already an epicenter for renewable energy projects. A loan guarantee to help companies such as SoloPower get important projects off the ground is the right approach that will keep Oregon where it belongs – at the forefront of technology. I look forward to working with the folks at SoloPower in putting Oregonians to work creating the products that represent the future of renewable energy.”

SoloPower CEO, Tim Harris, added: “We appreciate and commend the DOE’s emphasis on supporting innovative, clean-tech companies as a way to further the goal of energy independence while stimulating employment and helping secure our nation’s manufacturing base in this important emerging industry. This backing allows us to rapidly ramp up our production and to promote the spread of clean, distributed solar power to the rooftops and on the ground, while providing hundreds of quality manufacturing jobs using some of the most advanced technology in the world.”

SoloPower announced earlier this year that it had come to an agreement to construct its first large-scale high volume manufacturing plant in Wilsonville, Oregon. Retrofit of the existing building is scheduled to begin in the second quarter of 2011. The factory is expected to provide direct employment to approximately 500 people once it is running at full capacity. About 270 construction jobs will be created to build the plant, and additional jobs are also likely to be generated in the local supply chain.

SoloPower’s family of lightweight flexible modules are certified to both UL and IEC standards with up to 260 Wp/panel, and are being sold in small volumes to leading customers in five countries.

Energy efficiency technology to take solar market by storm

EL SEGUNDO, USA: With their capability to increase the efficiency of solar systems, module level power management (MLPM) solutions are set for fast growth, with almost 40 percent of residential photovoltaic (PV) installations expected to use the technology in 2014, new IHS iSuppli research indicates.

Global shipments of MLPM systems, a category consisting of microinverters and optimizers, are set to rise to 6.2 gigawatts (GW) in 2014, up by nearly a factor of 40 from 160 megawatts (MW), as presented in the figure. By the end of 2014, 38 percent of residential PV installations worldwide will employ MLPM solutions, up from 2 percent in 2010.Source: IHS iSuppli, USA.

Microinverters convert direct current (DC) power from a single solar module to alternating current (AC) power, while optimizers use DC-to-DC converter technology to take full advantage of the power harvest from PV systems.

“With their capability to increase electricity production from a solar installation by as much as 25 percent, MLPM systems offer a new approach to increasing PV efficiency,” said Greg Sheppard, chief research analyst at IHS. “This will drive rapid uptake of MLPM systems, particularly in the residential segment. Additional benefits of MLPM include labor savings for installers, the advantages of per-panel monitoring and improved safety.”

PV systems typically increase their energy harvest using the so-called “three efficiencies:” efficient energy conversion, efficient manufacturing methods and efficient use of materials. However, MLPM increases harvest through a fourth route: the efficient management of solar modules using semiconductor technology.

MLPM solutions are particularly attractive for residential PV systems because they make the installer’s job easier, provide a simpler project design and require little high-voltage DC expertise. The United States and Canada presently are leading the residential MLPM markets, with microinverters the top technology.

MLPM solutions currently carry a cost premium compared to solar systems using normal inverters, with microinverters adding $0.20 to 0.25 per watt for installations, and optimizers adding $0.15 per watt cost. However, with their high semiconductor content, MLPMs benefit from the cost reduction benefits of Moore’s Law.

The average selling price (ASP) for microinverters will decline to $0.29 in 2014, down from $0.88 in 2010. The optimizer ASP will fall to $0.08 in 2014, down from $0.18 in 2010.

Enphase Energy at present dominates the microinverter area with more than a 90 percent market share; Enecsys Ltd. and SolarBridge Technologies recently entered the market.

Meanwhile, SolarEdge Technologies Inc. has an almost 70 percent share of the optimizer market.

With the MLPM market still in its very early stages, competitors are starting to flood into the business. There are at least 15 companies in the MLPM space, with more coming over the horizon, including inverter market giant SMA Group, which is believed to be readying a solution.

Source: IHS iSuppli, USA.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Latest solar price survey

TAIWAN: According to the latest weekly price survey conducted by EnergyTrend, a research institute of TrendForce Corp., solar cell spot prices continued to increase while contract prices for February see no clear movement mainly because manufacturers are currently cautious about market demand. However, contract prices for March are expected to show clear increase.

This week’s survey showed that spot prices of poly silicon came to approximately $75/kg with an increase of 5.81 percent. Prices of poly silicon cells simultaneously increased widening the price difference between mono silicon and poly silicon products. Currently, sales price of poly silicon cells reached $1.27/Watt while that of mono silicon reached 1.32/Watt. On the other hand, module price also rose to $1.63/Watt.

In terms of wafer, the purchase price is over $3.5/Watt. Furthermore, average price quotation of poly silicon wafer increased by 1.18%, and mono silicon wafer rose by 1.3 percent. As for poly silicon wafer, average price came back to $70/kg, a 2.47 percent increase.

Moreover, average prices of thin film showed a downward trend. According to EnergyTrend, current price of thin film reached $1.28/Watt. Notably some manufacturers offered ask prices as low as $1/Watt in India and Thailand where many are faced with severe price competition, but deals were concluded at such price quote. In European market however, thin film price is relatively stable at $1.4/Watt. As for solar inverters, the supply is sufficient and the average price maintained at $0.29/Watt, dipping by 1.02 percent.

In addition, February contract prices showed mere increase. Because manufacturers are still cautious about the demand and economic recovery has just begun, price increase is not expected to be dramatic. The latest survey showed contract price for cells came to $1.25/Watt while that of module came to $1.67/Watt.

As for upstream poly silicon, major manufacturers indicated that current material sources are contract based, adjusted seasonally if there is no dramatic price change, therefore, February contract price only increased by little to $62/kg. Wafers, on the other hand, manufacturers remained stable with an increase of 1 percent, but price increase in March may widen to 3~7 percent.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Inventory spike to hit solar supply chain in Q1

EL SEGUNDO, USA: While new photovoltaic (PV) installations are expected to rise robustly in 2011, the road to growth will be bumpy, with inventories throughout the solar industry expected to surge in the first quarter because of a temporary dip in demand, according to new IHS iSuppli research.

Stockpiles for materials and products across the PV supply chain are set to spike in the first quarter, as a result of a short-term softening in demand for new solar installations. Days of inventory (DOI) will expand by 22.9 percent for crystalline silicon (c-Si) modules and by 21.4 percent for thin-film (TF) modules.

The industry average DOI for c-Si modules in the first quarter of 2011 will reach 48, up from 37 in the fourth quarter of 2010. DOI for thin-film modules during the same period will reach 41, up from 32.

PV modules will suffer the most pronounced jump in inventories, but solar polysilicon, wafer and cell materials also will see DOI increases.

These developments serve as an early indication of a looming overcapacity situation. However, the inventory spike will be confined to just the initial two to three months of the year, IHS believes.

The figure presents the IHS iSuppli solar DOI forecast for various products and materials in the PV supply chain in 2011.Source: IHS iSuppli, USA.

“A major factor behind the solar inventory spike is the subsidy-driven nature of the PV market,” said Stefan de Haan, senior analyst for PV at IHS. “Feed-in tariffs in many countries decreased on January 1, reducing government incentives to install new systems in early 2011. Furthermore, demand—usually lighter toward the beginning of any year—also is being depressed by unfavorable weather conditions prevailing in key European countries. Combined with a less pronounced year-end rally in 2010 compared to 2009, the slowing in demand has resulted in a pileup of inventory.”

The good news is that IHS believes global solar demand will rebound sharply over the course of 2011, bringing inventory for the entire PV value chain back to relatively low levels. On an annual basis, supplier inventory will increase only slightly this year compared to 2010.

The even better news is that despite these first few difficult months, the majority of manufacturers will be able to limit inventory to levels that won’t force them to cut production. DOI might reach 2009 levels, but a major inventory glut as deleterious as that seen during the first half of 2009 is not likely to recur.

Source: IHS iSuppli, USA.

Azuray, Renhe to exhibit solar energy 'Smart Junction Box’

PORTLAND, USA: Azuray Technologies, an emerging leader in solar power electronics, announced that Renhe Photovoltaic Technology will display its new ‘smart junction box’ at the SNEC International Photovoltaic Power Generation Conference & Exhibition in Shanghai, China, February 22-24th, 2011 (Renhe Booth # E2-315).

The Renhe ‘smart junction box’ incorporates Azuray Technologies’ sophisticated and robust power optimizer with maximum power point tracking (MPPT) technology into leading solar junction boxes from Renhe. The pairing of technologies creates a distributed solar electronic solution that increases energy harvest from underperforming panels up to 25 percent.

On hand at Renhe Booth #E2-315 will be Gary Tang, Sales Manager, China at Azuray Technologies. He will head the company’s new China office in Shanghai which the company is in the final stages of opening. The new branch will give Azuray a permanent, local presence in the world’s leading country for solar module and solar junction box manufacturing.

“We’re pleased to bring Gary Tang on board to head our new China office,” says Gil Miller, VP of Business Development of Azuray Technologies. “His strong expertise and background in China’s solar market will strengthen our existing partnerships with Renhe Photovoltaic Technology and Suntech, as well as expand and accelerate further business development opportunities with Chinese solar manufacturers.”

The extreme reliability and exceptional energy harvest capabilities of the Renhe ‘smart junction box’ represents Azuray Technologies’ growing influence in the distributed solar electronics market. When paired with the communications monitoring platform developed by Azuray, the Renhe ‘smart junction box’ provides a complete system for maximum energy harvest, that also includes solar module monitoring, installation and fire safety features.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Satcon selected for 19.5 MW solar PV project in Germany

BOSTON, USA: Satcon Technology Corp., a leading provider of Utility-Scale power conversion solutions for the renewable energy market, has been selected by relatio to supply 39 PowerGate Plus 500 kilowatt (kW) solar inverter solutions for the 19.5 megawatt (MW) Tauberlandpark installation in Wertheim-Dörlesberg, Germany.

The project is the largest of its kind for Satcon in Germany and marks a significant step in Satcon’s continued growth in the European Utility-Scale solar market.

“The Tauberlandpark project is one of Germany’s largest Utility-Scale solar power installations,” said Andreas Schneider, Chief Executive Officer of relatio Holding. “A project of this scale demands that we partner with an industry leader who brings both the high quality technology and experience that will deliver the highest levels of performance and reliability to our customers. We have selected Satcon due to the proven success of their PowerGate Plus solar PV inverters in many of the world’s largest and most complex large-scale solar power plants.”

The Tauberlandpark Ernsthof West project utilizes Satcon’s PowerGate Plus 500 kilowatt inverters, the world’s most widely-deployed, large scale solar PV inverter with over 1.5 gigawatts sold since its introduction in 2005. All of Satcon’s solutions include the most advanced, Utility-Ready features to enable simplified grid interconnection and can be easily integrated into utility SCADA systems through standardized communication interfaces.

“We are excited to be working with one of Germany’s leaders in large scale solar development,” said Steve Rhoades, Satcon’s president and CEO. “The Tauberlandpark PV project demonstrates the significant growth in Utility-Scale installations in Germany. We are pleased to partner with relatio on this important advancement of Utility-Scale solar power in Germany, and look forward to working closely with them in the future.”

Can western solar manufacturers compete against the Chinese?

Dr. Robert Castellano, The Ibformation Network.

NEW TRIPOLI, USA: This year we expect that more than 20 GWatts of solar cells will be installed, up from 14 GWatts in 2010. Moreover, the Chinese solar cell manufacturers produce more than 50 percent of the worldwide cells and export more than 90 percent.

Five of the top 10 solar panel makers in the world are from China. With the Chinese renowned for low-cost manufacturing, can the non-Chinese solar manufacturers compete against the likes of Suntech Power (STP), Yingli Green Energy (YGE), Trina Solar (TSL), Solarfun (SOLF) and Canadian Solar (CSIQ)?

There is a constant struggle by solar manufacturers to keep production costs down and increase solar cell efficiency. First Solar (FSLR) has been an industry leader in this regard with its CdSe thin film solar cells. Amorphous silicon manufacturers continue to promote themselves as low-cost manufacturers, while at the same time pulling out all stops to get efficiency above 10 percent to remain competitive.

A recent release by SolarPA, which advertises on its home page ( that it uses "Nanotechnology to make solar cells better", notes that it can achieve relative increases on solar cell efficiency by up to 10 percent using a nanocoating that is applied to a completed solar cell. Yes, we know that a 50 MW plant becomes a 55 MW plant with a 10 percent efficiency gain, but an interesting point is that the technology can move binned marginal efficiency cells above a company's minimum level to become useable. This is critical.

Every day, solar cell manufacturers make low-efficiency cells, some days are worse than others, because the manufacturing process, although highly automated, is subject to outside forces, such as the quality and defects of the solar cells and variations in materials and processing parameters. One estimate I've seen is that as much as 20% of annual production results in marginally efficient cells. If a 50 MW plant makes 10 MW of marginal cells at a production cost of $1 per watt, that's $10 million that could be lost. Increasing the efficiency of these cells by up to 10 percent at a cost of a few cents per watt is a huge factor in cost effectiveness.

Another graph on the SolarPA site notes that relative efficiency of solar cells increases up to 18.5 percent over uncoated cells at grazing incidence (30 degrees) of sunlight. We all know that because the sun moves across the sky and the angle of incidence does not remain at 90 percent (perpendicular to the cell), giant solar farms use expensive tracking devices to reposition the solar panels in the direction of the sun.

What about residential and commercial rooftops that don't use these tracking systems? Cells coated with SolarPA's nanomaterial (dubbed NanoCoat) perform with efficiencies up to 18.5 percent better in early morning and late afternoon, as well as up to 10 percent better at noon.Source: The Information Network, USA.

The privately held company is exploring the feasibility coating solar panels already installed, which represents more than 100 GW of power.

Monday, February 14, 2011

Veeco receives $4.8 million US Department of Energy solar manufacturing grant

PLAINVIEW, USA: Veeco Instruments Inc. announced that it has been awarded $4.8 million by the US Department of Energy (DOE) to accelerate the research and development and commercialization of its Copper, Indium, Gallium, Selenium (CIGS) deposition systems.

The award was granted as part of the DOE’s “SunShot” High-Impact Supply Chain R&D Program, the goal of which is to achieve price parity between solar electricity and fossil-based electricity by the end of the decade, without additional subsidies. The DOE funding will help Veeco to speed up its efforts to commercialize multi-stage thermal deposition production systems used to manufacture cost-efficient CIGS Solar cells.

Senator Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) said: “Developing new, clean, homegrown sources of energy is a vital part of our economic recovery.” This federal investment will help drive research and development of new solar power technology, helping make solar power more efficient. By making solar power more effective and affordable over the long term, we can cut emissions, improve our environment, lower our energy bills, and create good-paying green jobs right here at home.”

Representative Steve Israel (D-NY) stated: “Investments in our growing clean technology industry are critical to both our economic recovery and our national security. Veeco is a leader among companies that are finding innovative ways to produce solar technology on Long Island and across the country. This Department of Energy funding will bolster our efforts to compete globally as a clean energy leader.”

“I strongly supported Veeco's grant application because this major investment in Lowell will help create jobs in our community by developing the clean energy technology that can reduce household energy bills while promoting reliable domestic sources of power,” said Representative Niki Tsongas (D-MA). “Veeco is a demonstrated solar technology leader and this well deserved award will help accelerate the R&D, integration and commercialization of their highly innovative products.”

Applied Materials wins Trina Solar's world purchasing award of the year 2010

SANTA CLARA, USA: Applied Materials Inc. announced that Trina Solar Ltd, a leading global integrated manufacturer of solar photovoltaic (PV) products, presented Applied with its "Outstanding Contribution of the Year 2010 - World Purchasing Award" recently in Changzhou, China.

Trina Solar honored Applied Materials for supporting Trina Solar's continued production capacity ramp with on-time delivery, product quality and service excellence. This is the third award in two months that Applied has received from major solar customers in China for its outstanding performance.

"Trina Solar has become a leading global solar company through its vertical integrated business model to provide high-quality and cost-effective products. Such leadership is paved with strong partnerships established with our key suppliers," said Patrick Lu, Vice President of Supply Chain Management of Trina Solar. "The state-of-the-art equipment and quick service response provided by Applied Materials enable us to continue our production roadmap with higher productivity, efficiency and lower cost."

"We're honored to be recognized by Trina Solar, a premier manufacturer of high-quality solar PV products," said Charlie Gay, President of Applied Materials Solar. "Applied has a 25-year history of supporting China's semiconductor and display industries and we are now the leading supplier of PV solar manufacturing equipment to China. We are grateful that close collaborations with valued customers such as Trina Solar are enabling us to utilize our global infrastructure and product technology to support China's aggressive green energy goals."

Applied Materials is a key supplier of screen printing systems for PV cell production at Trina Solar. As the leading equipment supplier to the global solar PV industry, Applied is currently supporting over 1,800 solar manufacturing systems at more than 200 customer sites worldwide.

Moser Baer (MBCEL) to use First Solar modules

NEW DELHI, INDIA & TEMPE, USA: Moser Baer Clean Energy Ltd (MBCEL), the solar subsidiary of Moser Baer Projects Pvt Ltd (MBPPL), and First Solar Inc. announced that MBCEL will procure 25 megawatts (MW) DC of First Solar's advanced thin-film modules for its solar power generation projects. Delivery is expected to take place by June 30, 2011.

Lalit Jain, COO, International Operations, MBCEL, said: "We are very happy to have selected First Solar for meeting part of the requirement for our projects. MBCEL is developing over 300 MWp of solar power projects in Germany, Italy, US, Australia and India and this marks the beginning of a mutually beneficial relationship in the long run."

"We are pleased to collaborate with a leader like MBCEL to contribute to India's development of clean, affordable, sustainable solar electricity, providing our advanced thin film technology and expertise in large-scale solar PV systems," said TK Kallenbach, First Solar executive VP of Marketing & Product Management. "India's rich solar resource, unique energy needs and commitment to solar energy represent a tremendous opportunity for First Solar as we expand our global reach into emerging solar markets."

Saturday, February 12, 2011

First Solar, Southern California Edison sign contract for 250 MW of solar PV power

ROSEMEAD, USA: Southern California Edison (SCE) has signed a power purchase agreement with First Solar for 250 megawatts AC of electricity to be generated with solar photovoltaic panels. This emission-free power source is the equivalent, in greenhouse gas terms, of removing 30,000 cars from the road annually.

The solar panels will be ground-mounted on about 2,500 acres of public land near Primm, Nev. First Solar is developing the project, named Silver State South, which will interconnect with SCE’s proposed Eldorado-Ivanpah 220-kilovolt transmission line. The project is expected to begin producing electricity as early as 2014 and be fully operational by May 2017. It will create about 300 construction jobs, and the solar panels will be recycled after their useful lifespan.

“First Solar’s industry-leading technology makes solar PV an excellent option for clean, emission-free power we can deliver to our customers,” said Marc Ulrich, SCE vice president, Renewable and Alternative Power. “When we get projects of this magnitude, we make great progress toward our renewable energy goals.”

This contract is subject to California Public Utilities Commission approval.

“This agreement represents another important milestone toward our goal of grid parity,” said Frank De Rosa, First Solar senior vice president of North American Project Development. “First Solar applauds SCE’s commitment to renewable energy and looks forward to bringing this project to completion.”

Southern California Edison is the nation’s leading utility for renewables. In 2009, SCE delivered 13.6 billion kilowatt hours of renewable power to its customers, about 17 percent of its total power portfolio.

Friday, February 11, 2011

Applied Materials, American India foundation inaugurate 122nd Digital Equalizer Center

BANGALORE, INDIA: Applied Materials, in association with the American India Foundation (AIF), inaugurated their 122nd Digital Equalizer (DE) Center at Govt. Higher Primary School, Muthsandra, near Varthur, Bangalore.

AIF’s Digital Equalizer Program is a Technology Enabled Learning Program that prepares hundreds of thousands of children to compete in the digital economy. With this specific launch, Applied Materials has contributed computer and internet connectivity infrastructure for the training and development of seven teachers and 156 students studying in this school.

"Digital Equalizer is one of AIF’s flagship programs, which provides opportunity for underprivileged children to enhance their learning through the use of digital technology. Students learn through a series of projects using Project based learning methodology which are aligned with the National Curriculum Framework. AIF has already set up DE centers in 2100 schools across 13 states of India since 2001.” said J. Sundarakrishnan, director of DE Program.

AIF's partnership with Applied Materials has been wonderfully enriching since it has given us opportunities to innovate and experiment new ideas and technologies like solar powered DE center, N-Computing models, Bala Mela, new project-based learning methodologies, water filters, etc. Additionally, the energetic participation of AMAT employees to volunteer with the DE centers is an icing on the cake! We're delighted that AMAT continues the trend by launching the new DE center in Govt Higher Primary School, Muthsandra in Bangalore” he added.

The one of a kind DE Program is focused on building self–sufficient centers, by supporting government schools and teachers over a period of 3 years, after which they will be able to educate students independently. These DE centers have been installed in Karnataka, Tamil Nadu and Mumbai. The program is specially crafted for children in grades 6 and above. It is tightly integrated with school curriculum thereby improving subject matter expertise through the use of technology.

Dr. Madhusudan Atre, president and MD, Applied Materials India said: “Applied Materials is committed to investing in meaningful social causes in every community it operates in. Entering the sixth year of Applied India's partnership with AIF we are extremely proud to be a part of the Digital Equalizer program which is aimed at bridging the digital gap for students in government schools across India. “The program successfully boosts the potential of these students and provides them with a platform to explore the growth that technology can bring in their day to day lives. We will continue our commitment towards the DE program in the future.

The first Applied Materials Digital Equalizer Center was launched in 2005; since then they have successfully implemented DE centers in over 122 government schools, enriching the lives of over 60,000 students and training 131 teachers. India is home to some of the brightest minds. However, bridging the digital gap will bring the underprivileged and the rest of the world on the same page providing opportunities of growth and development to all.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Latest solar price survey

TAIWAN: Acording to the latest weekly price survey conducted by EnergyTrend, a research institute of TrendForce Corp., solar cell spot prices continued to increase, which many manufacturers viewed as a signal for price rebound. Contract prices for March orders are still under negotiation and the estimated price range is $1.3/Watt~$1.25/Watt.

This week’s survey showed solar cell spot prices increased by 2.36% to $1.21/Watt. Module price simultaneously rose by 1.64 percent as well. In terms of wafer, the trading price is over $3.5/Watt. On the other hand, average price quotation of poly silicon wafer increased by 1.18 percent, and mono silicon wafer rose by 2.09 percent. As for poly silicon, average price came back to $70/kg, a 2.47 percent increase.

Average prices of thin film, concentrator PV and solar Inverter showed a downward trend. According to EnergyTrend, current price of thin film reached $1.3/Watt. Notably some manufacturers offered ask prices as low as $1.2/Watt in India and Thailand where many are faced with severe price competition.

In European market however, thin film price is relatively stable. As for solar inverters, the supply is sufficient and it takes about one month after placing an order to receive the shipment. The average price maintained at $0.29/Watt, dipping by 1.02 percent.

Moreover, Germany has announced its policy adjustments; the subsidy cut will be no more than 15 percent. It is expected to see companies start pulling in production schedules in 2Q. Though growth rate in 2Q is not experiencing any signs of slow down as previouly expected as a result of the policy adjustments, it remains unclear as to whether the German market will show earlier demand realization in the first half of 2011.

In addition, installation cap is not included as previous market rumors had expected. EnergyTrend expects to see such policy imposition in Germany in 2012.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

KYOCERA to supply 3MW of solar modules for Utility Co.'s solar power plants in NE Japan

KYOTO, JAPAN: Kyocera Corp. announced that it is supplying a total of 3-megawatts (MW) of the company's multicrystalline silicon solar modules for two of Tohoku Electric Power Co., Inc.'s new solar power plants (2MW in Miyagi Pref.; 1MW in Aomori Pref.). Construction of the two facilities will start this month and are planned to be completed in January 2012.

The 2MW Sendai Solar Power Plant in Shichigahama, Miyagi Prefecture is expected to produce enough power for roughly 600 homes by generating 2,100MWh of electricity, off-setting about 1,000 tons of CO2 emissions each year; while the 1.5MW Hachinohe Solar Power Plant in Hachinohe, Aomori Prefecture (of which Kyocera is supplying 1MW) should supply power for roughly 500 homes with 1,600MWh, off-setting about 800 tons of CO2 emissions each year.

Presently, power companies across Japan have planned to build roughly 30 large-scale solar power plants with a total of 140MW of power output by 2020. Including Tohoku Electric Power Co. Inc., Kyocera has already agreed to supply its solar modules for plants to be constructed by seven power companies in Japan.

Outside of its own domestic market, Kyocera has notably shipped more than 50MW of modules for three large-scale power plants in Spain, and agreed to supply modules for a 204MW project in Thailand. Furthermore, data collected from three of these plants in Spain (Dulcinea: 28.8MW; Salamanca: 13.8MW) and Thailand (Korat: 6MW) show that the company's modules are exceeding the installers' own original power output estimates -- demonstrating the performance and reliability of Kyocera's products.

Kyocera first started R&D into solar energy technology in 1975, and from that point on has continually pursued the enhancement of quality and technology. Kyocera hopes to apply its many years of experience and know-how in the solar industry to supply high-performance modules that can help to contribute to the prevention of global warming.

Echelon and Japan’s ITOCHU to provide energy management and smart street lighting solutions

SAN JOSE, USA: Echelon Corp. has entered an agreement with ITOCHU Corp. of Japan to be an authorized distributor and partner.

ITOCHU, one of the leading trading companies in the world with approximately 150 locations in 74 countries, engages in trading for products ranging from energy and solar, to aerospace, electronics and chemicals. Echelon and ITOCHU plan to jointly develop and sell solutions for the emerging global smart grid market, with a focus on enterprise energy management, street lighting, and renewable energy.

“Conservation of energy and development of renewable energy sources are ITOCHU‘s focal business areas. There is a huge, global market opportunity to provide open, distributed energy control solutions that support enterprise energy management, smart street lighting and management of renewable energy. We believe Echelon’s products are a perfect match for these solutions,” said Tomohito Arai, GM, Information Technology Business Department of ITOCHU.

Multiple strategic business units are involved in the new Echelon relationship within ITOCHU’s ICT, Aerospace & Electronics Company. The start-up team consists of resources from two departments, Industrial Machinery & Electronic Systems Department (IM&ES) and Information Technology Business Department (ITB). ITOCHU will initially focus on expanding the Japanese market for Echelon’s Neuron 5000, FT 5000, and power line smart transceiver LonWorks 2.0 microprocessor products. ITOCHU also expects to create new applications for Echelon’s i.LON SmartServer energy manager and control network integration software products.

Echelon’s smart power line products have particularly strong potential in the Japanese market. “Power line communication is enabling tremendous cost savings for customers, allowing them to use existing power lines to transmit data and eliminating the need to lay new communications lines,” says Kiyoshi Fujii, deputy GM, Industrial Machinery & Electronic Systems Department (IM&ES) of ITOCHU.

“We are excited about ITOCHU as our new channel partner because they provide expertise and opportunity to Echelon on many different levels. Our energy control network technology combined with ITOCHU’s vast reach, expertise in the marketing of electronic components, including semiconductor devices, and network integration capabilities should provide world-class system solutions that support the emerging, global, smart grid market,” said Anders Axelsson, senior VP, Commercial Market for Echelon.

Intevac to participate in 5th International PV power generation conference and exhibition

SANTA CLARA, USA: Intevac Inc. announced that the company will participate in the 5th International Photovoltaic Power Generation Conference and Exhibition in Shanghai, China. Intevac will showcase their revolutionary, high value, low-cost solutions for the solar industry.

Intevac will promote LEAN SOLAR, a high-productivity, multi-step processing system that offers precise film property control in a small footprint. LEAN SOLAR can be configured for specific requirements and can run photovoltaic applications including PVD, CVD, etch and ion implant.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Cadmium telluride single junction solar cell results by EPIR and NREL team: Breakthrough fill factor achieved

BOLINGBROOK, USA: EPIR Technologies Inc. have repeatedly fabricated high efficiency polycrystalline cadmium telluride (CdTe) solar cells on commercial glass substrates.

Dr. Siva Sivananthan, founder and CEO of EPIR Technologies, said: “EPIR has been collaborating closely with a team of scientists from National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL). Together we developed a CdTe solar cell with a maximum of 15.2 percent efficiency.” Dr. Sivananthan added, “The combination of EPIR’s expertise in CdTe materials and NREL’s expertise in CdTe solar cell device technology has empowered us to achieve these excellent results in a short timeframe.”

Dr. Chollada Gilmore, EPIR’s CdTe Solar Cell Technical Lead, added: “Our champion cell efficiency was officially verified by NREL at 15.2 percent efficiency. The high efficiency was driven by a fill factor of 77.6 percent, which is one of the highest fill factor values ever recorded for this type of solar cell. These results are significant because our solar cells were fabricated using inexpensive commercial TEC-series glass substrates as opposed to technical-grade glass which is commonly used in champion cell fabrication.”

Dr. Timothy Coutts, NREL Fellow Emeritus and founder of the Device Development Group at NREL, stated: “This achievement elevates EPIR to the very small group of solar companies and research facilities that have reproducibly fabricated CdTe solar cells with greater than 15 percent efficiency. This clearly validates EPIR’s expertise in CdTe solar cell growth and fabrication.”

Dr. Timothy Gessert, principal scientist and Group Manager of the NREL CdTe Research Group said: “This is an important advancement for CdTe thin-film PV technology because it not only surpasses the previous best result that was published for commercial soda-lime glass by a clear margin (14.4 percent was the previous best result on commercial soda-lime glass), but all the layers incorporated into this new device structure are consistent with present commercial manufacturing processes.”

EPIR Technologies, Inc. is a pioneer of single crystal II-VI photovoltaic materials and a global leader in the field of infrared sensors and imaging.

Hanwha SolarOne to supply 54 MW of PV modules to SunEdison projects in 2011

SHANGHAI, USA: Hanwha SolarOne Co. Ltd, a vertically integrated manufacturer of silicon ingots, wafers and photovoltaic cells and modules in China, has signed an agreement with an MEMC Electronic Materials subsidiary to supply 54 MW of PV modules to its SunEdison affiliate in 2011 for use in its solar power plant projects. The agreement also includes an option for an additional 30 MW in 2011.

Dr. Peter Xie, president of Hanwha SolarOne, commented: "We are pleased that MEMC has again selected us as a supplier of PV modules for SunEdison projects. We first started delivering modules to SunEdison in 2010, and this new order marks a significant expansion in our relationship. SunEdison is a leading player in the global market and we are especially excited to be in close collaboration with such an established name on a high volume basis."

Bruce Ludemann, VP and GM of Hanwha SolarOne, North America, added: "The North American market is key to our long term success and SunEdison has helped us establish a respected presence in the U.S. and Canadian markets. We expect to build on our successes in 2010 and continue to be a key supplier and partner to SunEdison for many years to come. As a result of this project and others in our pipeline, we expect shipments to North America in 2011 to exceed 100 MW, which would double our volume from 2010."

Monday, February 7, 2011

Avnet delivers training for solar powered systems using ST's proven solutions

PHOENIX, USA: Avnet Electronics Marketing Americas, a business region of Avnet, Inc. (NYSE: AVT) and STMicroelectronics, a world leader in semiconductor solutions for energy efficiency, have teamed up to offer a series of multi-media technical videos focusing on challenges and solutions of designing for solar powered systems.

Design Solutions for Solar Applications is a three-part video series that walks designers through proven design techniques and world-class solutions – all geared toward bringing engineers’ solar designs to market faster. The entire series led by Avnet Electronics marketing technology director, Heather Robertson is available on-demand and free of charge

“To continue to accelerate growth in the solar industry, there is a strong need for high-performance, cost-effective design,” said Luca Difalco, business development manager, Alternative Energy for STMicroelectronics. “Based on our many years of experience designing for the solar industry, the solar-specific products and reference designs from STMicroelectronics will change development and enable customers to rapidly complete their designs.”

“As solar power continues to evolve and grow as a viable energy-generation technology, we’ve seen a surge in demand for both design expertise and integrated solutions,” said Alex Iuorio, senior vice president of supplier marketing at Avnet Electronics Marketing Americas. “This technical series pairs engineers with the technical expertise as well as the product offerings they’ll need to develop their on- and off-grid solar applications.”

This technology presentation series is part of Avnet Electronics technical support portfolio, which includes online technical forums and Avnet OnDemand product videos led by an industry-leading team of technical support experts.

IEEE-SA to hold smart grid workshop in Delhi

NEW DELHI, INDIA: The Standards Association of IEEE today announced that it is holding a Smart Grid workshop in association with IEEE-Delhi chapter on 10th February at Jamia Millia Islamia University, Jamia Nagar, between 02:00–05:30 p.m. The workshop is part of IEEE-SA’s growing interest in getting engaged with the fast growing Indian SmartGrid market.

Satish Aggarwal, NRC representative, IEEE Standards Board and Senior Program Manager, United States Nuclear Regulatory Commission would provide an overview of IEEE, IEEE-SA, and IEEE Activities in Smart Grid followed by SK Soonee, Chief Executive Officer, Power System Operation Corp. and N.S. Sodha, General Manager Incharge (Load Despatch & Communications), Power Grid Corporation of India who will speak on Smart Grid from the transmission perspective. Smart Grid from the distribution perspective will be presented by Arunabha Basu, Head Technical, North Delhi Power Limited, while, Sanjay Verma, SWAT Leader–Smart Grids, India Region, GE Energy will cover the vendor perspective.

These presentations will be followed by a panel discussion titled, “How can India get more involved and leverage IEEE to address their key issues in Smart Grid” that would be led by James Wendorf, director-Industry Connections, IEEE-SA.

According to James Wendorf, Director-Industry Connections, IEEE-SA, said: "India is a key market for smart grid globally and IEEE-SA, being a leader in global smart grid standard efforts brings much to the table for India, which is a nascent market and quite unique in nature. Policies are a key ingredient in the development of standards and New Delhi being the seat of decision making in India, we look forward to understanding the current policy status and challenges in the Smart Grid area.

"We keenly look forward to meeting with various stakeholders at the workshop and actively explore ways to get more involved in driving solutions and standards in partnership with IEEE.”

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Solon and Tucson Electric Power unveil 1.6 MW solar power plant

TUCSON, USA: Tucson-based SOLON Corp., one of the largest providers of turnkey solar power plants and manufacturer of crystalline silicon solar modules in the U.S, today announced the completion of a 1.6 megawatt (MW) solar power plant in Tucson in conjunction with Tucson Electric Power Co. (TEP).

As TEP’s largest local solar resource, the array will provide a faster, more cost effective way for TEP to integrate solar power into its renewable energy portfolio for Tucson residents.

TEP will provide the output of this array directly to customers through its new Bright Tucson Community Solar program. The program will allow customers to purchase solar energy in 150 kWh “blocks,” providing an easy and affordable way to reduce or eliminate their use of conventional power. The solar power plant is in the new Solar Zone at the University of Arizona (UA) Science and Technology Park, and consists of a single-axis tracking system featuring SOLON’s Velocity MW system. TEP will own and operate the solar production facility.

SOLON’s Velocity MW Solar System provides preconfigured, compact one-megawatt modular solar clusters. Engineered with utilities in mind, the Velocity MW system provides a streamlined concept that results in a reduced number of individual components, fewer connections, and significantly less time spent on installation and maintenance.

In total, over 5,800 Tucson, AZ manufactured panels on 11 SOLON single-axis trackers make up this system. This proprietary tracking design enables the solar panels to follow the sun throughout the day, allowing the plant to produce up to 25% more output than a traditional fixed-tilt system.

“SOLON developed the Velocity MW System specifically with utilities such as TEP in mind – the system’s modular design will help utilities quickly scale to capacity while increasing energy output over the life of the system,” said Dan Alcombright, Regional Vice President and General Manager at SOLON. “We are proud to help TEP bring convenient and affordable solar power to customers right here in Tucson, and to see the system become operational today.”

“At TEP, we’re continuously seeking out new opportunities to expand the use of solar power in Tucson,” said Paul Bonavia, chairman, president and CEO of TEP and its parent company, UniSource Energy. “SOLON’s modular, turnkey solution will allow us to offer solar power to our customers at an affordable price through a new program that has the potential to greatly expand the local market for clean, green power.”

SOLON provided engineering, procurement and construction services for the system. Construction on the 1.6 MW system, which spans 14 acres, began in October 2010, and concluded in December 2010. The array is expected to produce approximately 3,000,000 kWh in first-year output, and approximately 60,000,000 kWh over 20-years.

How do you say “colossal solar mistake” in Italian?

Eric Wessof, Greentech Solar

BOSTON, USA: That would be “errore solare colossale!”

Japan was the largest solar market in 2003. Starting in 2004, because of a generous and well-administered feed-in tariff, Germany led the globe in solar demand and has remained the "savior market" for photovoltaic panel makers.

That would be with the exception of the Spanish solar debacle, whereby Spain went from global number one in 2008 to virtually no market in 2009 due to a poorly priced and administered feed-in tariff. Spain's tariff system had no mechanism to adjust rates as market conditions changed. Drastic measures to withdraw the feed-in tariffs plunged the market from more than two gigawatts in 2008 to about 100 megawatts in 2009.

The point is that planning and regulatory diligence can make or break a renewable energy policy. Germany seems to have done it right, while Spain and perhaps now Italy are examples of how to get it wrong.Source: Greentech Media.

The solar industry rested some of its hopes on the Italian market in 2010. Generous feed-in tariffs attracted investors and developers.

And that's worked out well, depending on which numbers you choose to believe. The 2010 Italian market is either 1.8 gigawatts according to analysts or 6 gigawatts if you have faith in the GSE, Italy's federal agency for energy services (Gestore dei Servizi Energetici).

Vishal Shah of Barclays Capital said in an investment note, "No one really knows how many megawatts were installed. Anyone claiming to know how many megawatts were installed with a high level of conviction is probably just guessing."

So -- there was an enormous surge of fourth-quarter solar applications in Italy and because the GSE does require good documentation, there is consensus that many of those applications were genuine.

The next shoe to drop is the action that the Italian government takes to fix the mess.

There were more than 50,000 applications, and if the government pays the 2010 incentives for the entire 4 gigawatts in applications pending grid connection, that would mean approximately $60 billion in incentive burden, according to Shah -- a figure "higher than the German/Spanish subsidy burden."

There remain a lot of questions about how the GSE will deal with this fiasco. They certainly are not equipped to inspect every one of the more than 50,000 applications in any efficient way. Again, according to Shah,"Most solar panel manufacturers and the Italian industry association believe that only 25 percent of the 4 gigawatts in reservations were complete."

The actual number is less important than whether Enel, the Italian electricity utility, can interconnect all of these projects and the effects this will have on the Italian solar market and on solar manufacturers in the second half of 2011. How widespread is the issue of project developers cheating? And how will the GSE deal with that -- criminal charges or just being put back into the 2011 queue?Source: Greentech Media.

Charges of "feed-in tariff fraud" are surfacing, with word of large megawatt-scale installations turning out to be just a few tens of kilowatts. "As we feared, cases of real fraud have emerged," Industry Minister Paolo Romani said in a letter to Corriere della Sera cited by Reuters. "It's an abnormal acceleration. Controls have started immediately."

Solar module suppliers such as Yingli, Trina, SunPower, Suntech and First Solar are some of the leading suppliers to Italy and their ASPs could be negatively affected in the second half of 2011 from this errore. This would also affect inverter suppliers overexposed in Italy like Power-One.

Shayle Kann, Greentech Media Research's Managing Director, sums it up: "There is a high probability that much of the 4 gigawatts announced by the GSE was not actually completed in 2010. But even 25 percent of that would result in a total 2.85-gigawatt Italian market in 2010 -- much higher than the Italian government expected or desired. Over the next few months, we will see Italy's response, potentially in the form of further FIT cuts or a hard cap on the market.

"Combined with mid-year cuts in Germany, this dims second half prospects for the global market. In the longer term, this supports our assertion that 2011 will mark the beginning of a global demand diffusion in which the industry becomes less reliant on a single market of last resort, but is instead supported by a class of markets expanding more steadily in tandem. Look for growth in long-term markets such as the US, China, and India as markers of this trend."

Source: Greentech Media, USA.

Angus Power signs 10 MW of solar project financing

TORONTO, CANADA: Angus Power (an H.H. Angus & Associates company) is announcing that it has acquired full project financing for a minimum of 10 MW of commercial-scale rooftop installations from Solar Power Partners of California and JCM Capital of Toronto, Ontario.

The Fund focuses on the installation of solar projects on large commercial and industrial buildings across Ontario, utilizing Ontario's Feed-in-Tariff program via solar Power Purchase Agreements (PPA) with the Ontario Power Authority.

John Hawkes, President of Angus Power, said: "We are pleased to have been selected by a team that combines a strong knowledge of the solar business in North America with a competent and creative local investment group. In a market that is populated with a lot of new players, the strength of an engineering company with a 90 year history of excellence behind it, some of the best project management in the country and cost effective financing offers clients a very competent team."

JCM Capital's MD, Christian Wray, added that this agreement will supply a high-quality pipeline of projects to the Fund. "Angus is an ideal partner, bringing both deep relationships with commercial building owners and a first-class track record in engineering."

"This agreement demonstrates the need for this offering and the backlog of demand in the market. Our process and benefit to the solar development community in Ontario is very straightforward and being well received," said Roy Schwartz, VP of Project Development for Canada, Solar Power Partners.

In addition to the rooftop solar work Angus has already secured preferred positions on ground mount solar and biogas projects.

Friday, February 4, 2011

AEG Power Solutions receives €36 million order for delivery of power supply systems for polysilicon manufacturing process

BELECKE, GERMANY: AEG Power Solutions (AEG PS) and GCL-Poly Energy Holdings Ltd, Hong Kong (GCL-Poly), signed a €36-million-euro contract at the end of 2010 for Thyrobox M power supply systems - AEG PS' latest modular solution. The agreement enables AEG PS to help GCL-Poly strengthen and expand its position as one of the leading polysilicon and wafer suppliers in the world.

AEG PS, wholly-owned by 3W Power Holdings S.A. (Euronext Amsterdam 3WP, Frankfurt 3W9, ISIN GG00B39QCR01, WKN A0Q5SX), is a global provider of premium power electronics. Headquartered in Hong Kong and operating primarily out of mainland China, GCL-Poly delivers high-quality, low-cost silicon products.

Thyrobox M is the world’s most compact power solution for polycrystalline silicon deposition process. Varying on the type of reactor used during the process, Thyrobox M's footprint is close to 25 percent smaller than previous Thyrobox solutions and up to 70 percent smaller than competing products.

The system's compact design reduces installation, commissioning and maintenance costs for the entire energy supply as well as building costs. With advanced process monitoring capabilities, a 0.95 power factor and more than 99-percent energy efficiency, the Thyrobox M solution delivers unprecedented performance, reliability and stability to polysilicon manufacturers worldwide.

After a steady market following a decline, the demand for polysilicon is showing signs of new growth, reflected by the number of new projects and capacity expansions launched currently on a global scale. For many years, AEG PS has maintained excellent business relations with GCL-Poly and proved to be one of their premium suppliers and technology partners.

Gladwyn De Vidts, AEG PS’ vice president power control systems, said: “The Chinese market, and especially the market for solar products, is growing quickly and remains one of our business focuses for the coming years. With the latest contract, GCL-Poly confirms the existing partnership and proves its confidence in AEG PS as one of their leading technology suppliers. We feel very honored that we have been chosen to contribute to GCL’s success.”

“About four years ago, we started our cooperation with AEG PS, one of the top global power system technology suppliers. It is our strategy to work only with manufacturers that offer premium quality products. We are happy to reinforce our good relationship with AEG PS,” added Shu Hua, executive director and president of GCL-Poly.

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Ascent Solar signs distribution agreement with SW Solarwatt

THORNTON, USA: Ascent Solar Technologies Inc., a developer of flexible thin-film solar modules, announced that SW Solarwatt will act as a Distributor of Ascent Solar's lightweight, flexible, high-power thin-film CIGS modules for building integrated (BIPV) applications in Greece and Cyprus.

The agreement with SW Solarwatt establishes Ascent Solar’s presence within the Eastern Mediterranean’s developing solar market and includes direct application of Ascent Solar’s solar modules to building materials for both grid-connected and off-grid solutions.

Ascent Solar President and CEO Farhad Moghadam stated: "We are pleased to announce our agreement with SW Solarwatt. This relationship will enable integration of Ascent Solar’s flexible, lightweight CIGS modules in a variety of applications, from grid-connected rooftop installations to portable power and other off-grid stand alone solutions. We look forward to working with our new partners in the growing Eastern Mediterranean market.”

Sempra Generation selects Suntech and Zachry for landmark Arizona solar power plant

SAN FRANCISCO, USA: Suntech Power Holdings Co. Ltd, the world's largest producer of solar photovoltaic (PV) panels, and Zachry Holdings Inc., a leading US EPC provider, have been selected by Sempra Generation to design and construct the Mesquite Solar 1 project in Arizona.

The renewable electricity generated at Mesquite Solar 1 will be sold to Pacific Gas & Electric under a 150 MW (AC), 20-year power purchase agreement pending California Public Utilities Commission approval. Construction on Mesquite Solar 1 is slated to begin in mid-2011, with completion by 2013. The solar facility will create more than 200 local jobs for construction and installation.

Backed by Suntech's power output warranty, the Mesquite Solar 1 solar plant is projected to generate more than 350,000 megawatt-hours of electricity annually – enough to power roughly 50,000 homes for decades. That clean electricity could offset roughly 200,000 tons of carbon emissions each year, similar to taking about 40,000 cars off the road or planting 20,000,000 trees. The project utilizes solar panel technology that does not require water to produce electricity.

Zachry will oversee the installation and integration of more than 800,000 Suntech multi-crystalline solar panels at the site. With 85 years of experience, Zachry has managed the engineering and construction of numerous industrial plants across the US, typically coal and gas-fired generation projects. The leading EPC provider is now diversifying its energy portfolio of projects to include solar and other types of renewable energy.

"We are excited about continuing our relationship with Sempra and working with Suntech – the world's largest producer of solar panels – to create hundreds of green jobs and promote sustainable economic development," said Steve Dedman, senior vice president of Zachry Holdings, Inc. "When completed this will be one of the largest solar plants in the world. Our participation in this very significant project signals Zachry's commitment to the solar market, and specifically utility-scale solar generation."

The solar power plant will be constructed about 30 miles west of Suntech's new Goodyear, Arizona, manufacturing facility, which will supply a portion of the solar panels for the Sempra Generation project. In addition, Suntech's technical team, working closely with Zachry, will support the execution of the project to meet Sempra Generation's power production expectations.

"We're thrilled to work with Sempra Generation and Zachry to realize one of the world's largest solar projects just down the road from our U.S. manufacturing base in Goodyear," said Steven Chan, president of Suntech America. "This landmark project further substantiates the ongoing expansion of our local manufacturing operations, which has just expanded to a second production shift and 78 employees, up from 40 employees when it commenced operations in October 2010. We will continue to grow our US footprint and work with local partners such as Zachry to facilitate the growth of the US solar industry."

Sempra Generation, a subsidiary of San Diego-based Sempra Energy, operates and maintains a fleet of natural gas-fueled power plants, and is a leading developer of solar and wind facilities that serve US markets.

"Large, multi-phase solar projects like the 700-MW Mesquite Solar energy complex are at the heart of our renewable strategy," said Jeffrey W. Martin, president and CEO of Sempra Generation. "That's why this first 150-MW phase is so important, and why we are pleased to partner with Suntech and Zachry as we begin developing this world-class solar complex."

Dr. Zhengrong Shi, Suntech's founder, chairman, and CEO said: "This project demonstrates that the solar industry is offering a competitive, fast, reliable and scalable solution for utility-scale electricity generation. With continued investments in R&D and production capacity, we are targeting to drive solar past retail grid parity in half of world markets by 2015."

JA Solar to supply 400MW of solar modules to leading European provider of PV systems by 2013

SHANGHAI, CHINA: JA Solar Holdings Co. Ltd, one of the world's largest manufacturers of high-performance solar cells and solar power products, has signed a supply agreement with one of the leading European specialists in photovoltaic systems to provide 400 megawatts (MW) of solar modules from 2011 through the end of 2013.

Under the terms of this agreement, JA Solar will supply the company with 100 megawatts of solar modules in 2011, 125 megawatts in 2012 and 175 megawatts in 2013.

"We are excited to embark on this long-term relationship with one of Europe's leading suppliers of solar power systems and PV modules," said Dr. Peng Fang, CEO of JA Solar. "Combining our high quality solar modules with our partner's extensive and diversified customer reach in Europe will enable us to further strengthen our position in this important market."

Intergraph advances smart grid technology for increased network reliability, efficiency and security

HUNTSVILLE, USA: Intergraph continues to advance its smart grid solutions to enable utilities to better manage their complex electrical distribution infrastructure and field crews, and take advantage of real-time operations data within a consolidated command-and-control environment.

The newest solution designed for the smart grid operations center now supports the full functionality of an advanced distribution management system (ADMS) by providing integrated power systems analysis within one environment. This consolidated approach enables utilities to take full advantage of their investments in advanced metering infrastructure (AMI) for operations to improve operational decision-making and increase grid reliability, efficiency and security.

In today's market, utilities are looking for a "best of breed" outage management system (OMS) with value-added capabilities. To maximize resources, cut operational costs, meet industry performance metrics, maintain reliable customer service and improve safety and security, utilities are now seeking solutions that integrate intelligent grid technology into the OMS environment to provide more comprehensive distribution operation functionality.

InService 8.3, the newest version of Intergraph's smart grid technology, integrates OMS, mobile workforce management, security, geospatial technology, SCADA and power systems analysis tools into a single user interface for optimal operating efficiency and reliability. The latest version delivers several enhancements that improve the integration and display of SCADA data and integrated power system analytics, to meet the requirements of the most advanced utilities by organizing vast amounts of data into understandable visual representations.

Intergraph customers can now leverage the full operational benefits of their smart meter investments by integrating their AMI systems with OMS. Through a new, optional component that allows operators to query AMI-enabled meters for outages and receive responses from the meters indicating whether they have power, utilities can detect and verify outages without customer intervention, leading to reduced restoration time, improved customer service, financial savings and a reduction in customer average interruption duration index (CAIDI) and system average interruption duration index (SAIDI).

By integrating its AMI system with Intergraph OMS, a major northeast utility in the US reported a reduction of CAIDI by nearly four minutes and an annual savings of more than $400,000 as a result of more rapid and accurate outage detection and validation.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

LDK Solar announces closing of follow-on public offering and underwriters' exercise of over-allotment option

XINYU CITY, CHINA & SUNNYVALE, USA: LDK Solar Co. Ltd, a leading vertically integrated manufacturer of photovoltaic products and a leading manufacturer of solar wafers in terms of capacity, announced the closing of its follow-on public offering of 13,800,000 American depositary shares, or ADSs, representing 13,800,000 ordinary shares of the company.

The offering included an additional 1,800,000 ADSs sold by the Company pursuant to the underwriters' over-allotment option, which was exercised in full. The Company received aggregate net proceeds of approximately $164.2 million, after deducting underwriting discounts and commissions.

Citigroup Global Markets Inc., Deutsche Bank Securities Inc. and UBS AG are acting as joint book runners for the offering.

UL India opens largest PV testing and certification facility in Bangalore

BANGALORE, INDIA: Underwriters Laboratories (UL), the global leader in product safety testing and certification, announced the opening of its testing and certification facility for Photovoltaic (PV) equipment in Bangalore.

This state-of-the-art lab is UL’s 5th global footprint and has been set up with an investment of $4 million The lab is equipped with Environmental Chambers, Sun Simulators and Instrumentation from global leaders like ESPEC, Spire Corp. and Agilent. It is capable of testing and certifying 48 families of PV modules in a year. Apart from testing for certification, this facility can also support testing for Product Development, Quality Control and Performance Assessment for PV Power Plants.

Globally the demand for PV systems has significantly increased and will continue to grow as a sustainable energy source. With the JNNSM (Jawaharlal Nehru National Solar Mission) setting forth aggressive goals for deployment of solar power in India, there is a strong need in the Indian industry to have a full-fledged test facility for PV Modules and other Balance of Systems and also to support the local manufacturers aspiring to reach global markets with their products.

This lab will enable Indian companies to get necessary certification of PV Modules and other Balance of Systems equipment to various National and International Standards like UL, IEC, EN etc., thereby assisting their entry into the global markets.

RA Venkitachalam – MD and VP, UL Emerging markets, said: "There is a growing demand for PV equipment globally driven by government and industries striving for the development of sustainable energy sources. And since India too has joined the race this lab will enable the Indian PV manufacturers to get access to the state-of-the-art facility evaluating and improving the quality and performance of their products."

Jeffrey A Smidt, VP and GM, Global Energy, UL added: "UL is installing a large-scale network of PV test facilities in the key PV markets globally and India as one of the most important emerging PV markets must be part of that essential network. It is our focus to support manufacturers around the world with the market access they are looking for, without neglecting the safety and performance of the PV module."

UL is engaged in formulating PV equipment safety specifications since the 1980s. Apart from this facility in Bangalore, India, UL has four other PV testing facilities in Ise City, Japan, San Jose, California (.US), Suzhou, China and Zeppelinheim (Neu-Isenburg), Germany.

Additionally, UL is working with various governmental departments and industry bodies in India to understand the needs of the manufacturers and users of Photovoltaic equipment in an attempt to provide proactive solutions to the industry problems.

Some examples are the training courses conducted by UL University - the training and consulting arm of UL and provision for local engineering support to PV manufacturers as well as supporting professionals in extending their skills to qualified PV module installers in India. Similarly UL is working with other organization like BEE, QCI, UNDP, TERI, SESI and SEMI under various initiatives.

GreenTouch demos first technology on road to realizing 1,000-fold network energy efficiency vision

BANGALORE, INDIA: The GreenTouch Consortium, a global research initiative dedicated to dramatically improving the energy efficiency of information and communications technology (ICT) networks by a factor of 1,000, has detailed the accomplishments of its first eight months of operation and demonstrated a Large-Scale Antenna System proof of concept ‒ the first of many technologies it is working to deliver. This antenna system offers the potential for tremendous energy savings thanks to its novel wireless transmission techniques.

Presented at a GreenTouch event held in London, the Large-Scale Antenna System proof of concept demonstrated that radiated power consumption could be significantly reduced as the number of antenna elements is increased. For example, an antenna array comprising 100 elements would transmit only one percent of the energy transmitted by a single antenna, for the same quality of service.

In addition to this technology demonstration, the event included a series of presentations from industry experts who detailed significant milestones GreenTouch has reached since its launch last year and highlighted some of the more than two dozen research projects that are either already in progress or under consideration. These milestones included: doubling membership and attracting the participation of leading scientists from across the industry and around the world; establishing ongoing working groups focused on several key technology areas; and earning awards from Global Telecoms Business and the World Economic Forum.

The research projects featured today were drawn from the consortium’s key areas of technology focus ‒ wireline access; core switching and routing; mobile communications; core optical networking and transmission; and services, applications, and energy trends ‒ and will be introduced in greater detail in upcoming months.

“The areas of the network where GreenTouch is focusing its research efforts are those that have clear potential for achieving significant energy efficiencies, and evidence that the consortium has made some impressive strides in a short period of time,” said Vernon Turner, senior VP of Enterprise Infrastructure, Consumer, Network, Telecom and Sustainability research groups, at IDC. “What makes this demonstration of initial technology such a promising step forward is that it credibly addresses the sweet spot where the amount of data transmitted is maximized as the energy required for that transmission is reduced.”

“When we launched the GreenTouch Consortium last year, we set ambitious goals for ourselves,” said Gee Rittenhouse, GreenTouch Consortium chairman and vice president of research at Alcatel-Lucent Bell Labs. “This initial technology demonstration and the research projects we’ve undertaken show that GreenTouch is on track to meet its objectives and position us squarely on the cutting edge of sustainable technology development.”

Besides Rittenhouse, other GreenTouch technology visionaries who spoke at today’s event included Executive Board Member Claude Monney, Senior Consultant, Swisscom, who reviewed the group’s research strategy; and Executive Board Member and Network Committee Chair Rod Tucker, Laureate Professor of Electrical and Electronic Engineering, University of Melbourne, who provided an update on the consortium’s research pipeline and its key Network Committee projects.

Representative projects include:
* Utilizing energy-efficient electronic integration of packet router functions combined with silicon photonic technologies to minimize losses in electronic interconnections and in the optical and electronic interfaces used in high-speed optical transport networks.
* Generating energy efficiencies in delivery of high-bandwidth services through a dynamic wavelength capability that can more closely align the energy requirements of a given service with the energy needed to support it.
* Reducing energy consumption in wireless access networks without compromising coverage by using separate data and signaling networks to facilitate “on-demand” rather than “always on” device functionality.

Special guest speaker Luis Neves, Chairman of the Global eSustainability Initiative (GeSi) and Vice President of Corporate Responsibility at Deutsche Telekom, provided commentary in the area of ICT networks energy efficiencies and how ICT-driven sustainability is of benefit to everyone.

Large-scale antenna system demo
What distinguishes the GreenTouch Large-Scale Antenna System from other antenna systems and enables it to achieve such a significant reduction in power is the way in which it transmits signals. Instead of broadcasting signals throughout the entire coverage area as other antenna systems typically do, the Large-Scale Antenna System utilizes knowledge of the propagation channels to transmit concentrated beams of information selectively to many users at once.

The greater the number of antenna elements deployed, the higher the concentration of the beams and, therefore, the lower the power that any antenna needs to send a given amount of information. Importantly, along with the large reduction in radiated power, signal strength and quality of service are maintained. In practical application together with advances in other wireless technologies, the potential benefits this technology could yield are immense.