Monday, October 31, 2011

New report on concentrated PV

NEW YORK, USA: announced that a new market research report is available in its catalog.

"Concentrated Photovoltaic (CPV) - Global Installation Size, Cost Analysis, Efficiencies and Competitive Analysis to 2020" is an alternative energy offering from GlobalData that offer comprehensive information and understanding of the Market Trends in Global Concentrated Photovoltaics Industry.

The research provides an understanding of the global CPV market and also provides market analysis of the US, Spain, China, Italy and Australia CPV markets. The research provides historical and forecast data to 2020 for installed capacity, power generation and cost trends. The report also details the installed capacity split by concentration (HCPV and LCPV), major countries and major players in the global CPV market. The report analyses renewable energy initiatives with policy framework in countries such as the US, Spain, China, Italy and Australia.

Thailand solar park to use Astronergy thin film PV technology

HANGZHOU, CHINA: Astronergy, a subsidiary of the Chint Group, was selected to provide its thin film amorphous microcrystalline silicon technology (a-Si/uc-Si) PV panels for a 1.65MWp solar park in Thailand.

Astronergy has seen an increase in demand for its thin film panels due to its low voltage, high efficiency (approaching 10 percent), and competitive pricing. The ability to offer MunichRe power performance insurance and being backed by Black & Veatch through its 3rd Party IE Report are just a couple of key differentiators over the competition and has led to further validation of the company's bankability for large scale projects.

"Thin film cells require less energy to manufacture and can be fabricated by a variety of processes. These key features provide a promising path for more affordable solar cells that can compete with the efficiency of the more common silicon-based solar cell, given the right climate region," commented Dr. Liyou Yang, Astronergy CEO.

Commissioning of the solar park took place on October 28th, 2011. In addition to thin film PV panels, additional Chint Subsidiary components were used including inverters and BOS system components; adding to the overall system reliability and lower system implementation costs. The Chint Group and its subsidiaries will continue to work jointly with developers on future renewable energy projects.

Q-Cells and Module24 deliver Q.Smart modules for world's largest CIGS thin-film solar power plant

BITTERFELD-WOLFEN, HEPPENHEIM & STUTTGART, GERMANY: Q-Cells SE, one of the world’s leading solar companies, has sold approximately 200,000 Q.SMART CIGS thin-film solar modules to the solar company GP Joule, based in the North Frisia area of Germany.

Based on this, GP Joule has constructed the world’s largest solar power plant using CIGS thin-film technology, which was constructed in the record time of just eight-and-a-half weeks. The project was developed by the Stuttgart-based project developer Martin Bucher, while the company Module24 selected the premium Q-Cells products for the plant and all the companies involved. Q-Cells provided technical support during the installation phase.

Last Friday saw the grand opening of the plant, Solarpark Ammerland, in the municipality of Wiefelstede in Lower Saxony. Approximately 100 invited guests attended the opening; including Lower Saxony’s premier, David McAllister. Investor of the project is the bank independent investment company Aquila Capital. Information on the volume of the investment is subject to a confidentiality agreement.

The plant was installed on an area of 57ha in Wiefelstede, in the Ammerland district, which had formerly served as a military airbase. With a total capacity of over 20.8 MWp, Solarpark Ammerland will cover the electricity needs of more than 6000 households and save about 11,800 tons of CO2 emissions annually by producing climate-friendly solar energy.

“We’re very pleased to be working with GP Joule and Module24; our cooperation demonstrates that our customers value us as a partner and trust our high-quality product applications and our technical expertise”, said Ingo Engelmann, COO of Q-Cells affiliate Solibro. “Solarpark Ammerland is a beacon project in the field of CIGS thin-film technology which proves the top performance and versatility of our Q.SMART modules.”

Marc Weißmüller, CEO at Module24 GmbH, and project developer Martin Bucher are in full agreement on their trust in Q-Cells: “Q-Cells adheres to the same high quality standards that we and our investors have upheld without compromises for many years now. The Ammerland plant is proof of the fact that CIGS thin-film modules are eminently suitable for building efficient, profitable solar power plants,” said Marc Weißmüller.

“Thanks to Solarpark Ammerland, we’ll be able to bring fallow land back to life and take a further stride along with the state of Lower Saxony towards a sustainable electricity system using renewable energy sources”, says GP JOULE CEO, Ove Petersen. “The project clearly shows that there are forward-looking, efficient and economically sound usage ideas available for converted land, and that these ideas can be realised quickly and without too much bureaucratic red tape.”

Q.SMART solar modules from Q-Cells, based on CIGS thin-film technology, have the highest efficiency recorded to date in the field of thin-film modules. With efficiency ratings of up to 14.7 percent in relation to aperture area, Q-Cells has held the world record for series-produced thin-film modules since 2009.

The performance of Q.SMART modules receives a further boost from a “light-soaking effect“ which can increase output by an average of 2.5 percent above nominal output in standard field test conditions. Their capacity to produce high yields even when light is poor or the climate is hot makes Q.SMART modules suitable for a diverse range of applications, from roof-mounted systems for residential customers to commercial roof-mounted systems and large ground-mounted installations.

Customers who choose Q.SMART always get what they pay for – and more besides. Q-Cells emphasises this fact by providing customers with one of the best performance guarantees in the market, which assures them of 100 percent output in the first three years and states that linear decline in output thereafter will be limited to a maximum of 0.7 percent per year from the fourth year onward. In other words, the modules still deliver 85 percent of nominal output after 25 years.

The CIGS thin-film technology at the heart of Q.SMART was developed in 1983 at the Ångström Solar Center at the University of Uppsala, Sweden, and commercially exploited from 2006 onward by the spin-off company Solibro, which was taken over by Q-Cells in 2009. Q.SMART modules are produced in the company’s manufacturing facility in Thalheim, Germany, which has a total production capacity of 135 MWp.

GE unit invests with Germany’s KGAL in 50-MW Spanish concentrated solar power plant

BADAJOZ, SPAIN: GE unit GE Energy Financial Services announced that it is jointly investing with German fund KGAL €111.1 million in a 50-megawatt parabolic trough concentrated solar power plant using molten salt energy storage in Torre de Miguel Sesmero, Badajoz, Spain.

The GE unit and KGAL agreed to invest structured equity in Extresol II, developed by Spain-based ACS, Europe’s largest developer, builder and operator of solar thermal power plants. Additional financial details were not disclosed. ACS has built more than €2 billion worth of concentrated solar power facilities with molten salt storage in Spain. An ACS subsidiary, Cobra, finished construction of Extresol II in Dec. 2010 and provides operations and maintenance services to the plant.

“This transaction complements our growing European renewables portfolio and brings with it a different technology – concentrated solar power with salt storage – working with strong local partners,” said Andrew Marsden, a managing director and European leader at GE Energy Financial Services. “Such investments also support ecomagination, GE’s business strategy to create value for customers by solving energy, efficiency and water challenges.”

This investment is GE Energy Financial Services’ first in a concentrated solar power plant using molten salt storage. Concentrated solar power involves generating power from steam turbines with free, clean heat from the sun, avoiding the use of traditional fossil fuels such as coal, natural gas or oil. The plants use mirrors that reflect sunlight to heat a thermal fluid. The fluid is used to boil water to create steam and power steam turbines that generate electricity.

Extresol II stores some of the solar heat by melting a special salt mixture during the day, then extracts the heat when the sun isn’t shining, such as at night, to continue producing steam for the turbines. Because salt is able to store heat for long periods, these facilities can generate electricity an extra seven hours a day.

This solar power plant is contributing to the European Community’s goal of generating 20 percent of its power from renewable sources, reducing emissions by 20 percent and increasing energy efficiency by 20 percent by 2020. The plant generates enough renewable electricity to power approximately 37,900 average Spanish households and avoids approximately 149,000 tonnes of carbon dioxide per year assuming its power displaces generation from coal- and oil-fired power plants.

“Our investment in the Extresol II solar thermal power plant expands our renewable energy portfolio into a new asset class and is a natural expansion of previous investments in photovoltaic and wind power plants,” said Dr. Klaus Wolf, MD of KGAL. “We now have more than €1.5 billion in our renewable energy portfolio, with this investment marking another milestone in the history of KGAL’s infrastructure investing. We are pleased to team up with GE Energy Financial Services and retain ACS as a reliable partner and service provider to the project. It underpins the long-term focus and sustainability of our investment approach.”

Spain was the first country to use concentrated solar power integrated with molten salt storage. Sixteen 50-megawatt projects have been built in Spain in the last five years, with another 25 under construction or planned. Worldwide, 30 concentrated solar power projects are operating, 10 using molten salt storage and more than 20 under construction or development.

ESA Renewables plans 20MW Pennsylvania solar farm

LAKE MARY, USA: ESA Renewables (ESA), a leading turnkey solar system provider, recently announced its plan to construct a 20MW solar photovoltaic generation facility in Claysville, Pennsylvania. The planned site is a grid connected 20MW solar photovoltaic generation facility, divided in 20 units, each of them with a 1 MVA step up transformer.

“We are excited to announce the newly planned solar project,” said Jeffrey Burkett, president of ESA Renewables. “We thank the community of Claysville for recognizing the benefits that solar farms can bring to rural communities.”

The ground-mount photovoltaic generating facility would be in operation for a period of twenty years on property located on West Route 40 in Washington County.

ESA plans to construct, commission, monitor and provide maintenance on the solar array during the lifespan of the system. Utilizing ESA’s proprietary control and monitoring system via a secured connection, ESA’s system managers will have immediate access, from anywhere in the world, to pertinent real-time data being generated from the solar array. They will be automatically alerted of events to allow for quick response. Performance data will also be collected and stored for later analysis, simulations, testing, etc. — all essential for effective preventive and corrective maintenance.

Anticipated grid-connection date is August of 2012.

Saturday, October 29, 2011

SolarWorld recognized as renewable-energy industry leader on sustainability, transparency

HILLSBORO, USA: SolarWorld, the largest US solar panel manufacturer, has been recognized by three independent rankings as the global renewable-energy industry’s leader in sustainable corporate management, environmentally sound manufacturing and transparent financial reporting.

The 2011 annual report of the Carbon Disclosure Project (CDP) for Germany, released in Frankfurt in mid-October, positions SolarWorld as the “Sector Leader” among its renewable energy peers. The CDP is a cooperative endeavour by more than 551 institutional investors worldwide to improve corporate transparency on greenhouse gas emissions affecting the climate. To this end, participating companies voluntarily report their annual C02 emissions and their strategies and steps toward climate protection. SolarWorld was deemed to most fully disclose its data, placing the company at the top of the CDP’s ranking.

“SolarWorld’s commitment to sustainability and transparency is a key factor that differentiates us from our competitors,” said Kevin Kilkelly, president of SolarWorld Americas. “As a company, we believe it is not valid to claim to sell a green product if your own business and manufacturing practices are not equally sustainable. Sustainability – environmental, social and fiscal – is at the very core of who we are and what we do.”

For the high quality of its financial reporting, SolarWorld also received accolades in this year’s “Best Annual Reports” competition by Manager Magazine. With its integrated financial and sustainability reporting, which includes environmental and social key performance indicators, SolarWorld outpaced all other companies in the renewable-energy sector. In the overall ranking, the group occupied 10th place among the 160 most important companies listed on four European stock indexes: the DAX, MDAX, SDAX and TecDAX.

Earlier this year, the Silicon Valley Toxics Coalition (SVTC), a watchdog group that has monitored the sustainability of the computer and solar industries, ranked SolarWorld first among world solar producers on a range of issues pivoting on sustainable performance. Among factors was the company’s voluntary compliance with reporting regimens encompassing a company’s entire impact, one of which is the UN-backed Global Reporting Initiative.

SolarWorld’s performance on the SVTC’s Solar Scorecard was the second year in a row in which the company ranked highest among producers of crystalline silicon solar technology on the only annual ranking of all solar companies on sustainable performance.

Friday, October 28, 2011

China Sunergy expands market share in Germany with 23 MW sale to SUNfarming

NANJING, CHINA: China Sunergy Co. Ltd, a specialized solar cell and module manufacturer, announced that it agreed to supply 23 MW of solar modules to German solar distributor and project developer SUNfarming Group.

SUNfarming Group will use CSUN modules to design and mount customized PV systems for commercial and residential ground mount and rooftop projects, mostly in North and East area of Germany. Over 18 MW of the CSUN modules sold will be used in ground mount projects and others will be used in rooftop projects. CSUN will deliver the 23MW modules within the fourth quarter of 2011.

"China Sunergy's high quality solar panels, backed-up by thorough after-sales service and insured guarantees, enable to meet our needs and protect our investments." said Martin Tauschke, CEO of SUNfarming Group. He added: "China Sunergy is an extremely reliable supplier. We value this relationship and will seek more opportunities to use CSUN panels in future projects."

Stephen Cai, CEO of China Sunergy, commented: "This is an important sale for China Sunergy because it signals that, despite industry uncertainty, we have the opportunity to grow market share in Germany. We began to sell modules to SUNfarming Group as early as 2007 and we are very pleased to sign this additional 23 MW contract now. Germany will remain a very important market for us."

GT Advanced Technologies announces $47.7 million order

MERRIMACK, USA: GT Advanced Technologies Inc. announced that it has received a $47.7 million order for polysilicon production equipment and technology from Polysilicon Technology Co. (PTC), a company based in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. The order includes SDRTM 400 reactors and increases GT’s polysilicon bookings to over $500 million since the beginning of the current fiscal year, and will be included in GT’s backlog for its Q3 FY12, which ends on December 31, 2011.

“We have a strong record of helping new entrants to develop highly productive and low-cost polysilicon production plants around the world and we are excited to be working with Polysilicon Technology Company on this important project,” said Dave Keck, VP and GM of GT’s polysilicon business. “This project is an important step in establishing the renewable energy industry in Saudi Arabia and the region as a whole. We are proud to be associated with the highly qualified team at PTC.”

The order is GT’s first from a company based in Saudi Arabia and is the only active polysilicon production project in the Middle East at this time. The new contract continues a technology agreement with PTC that was first signed in 2009. The plant will be located in Jubail Industrial City, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. Delivery of equipment is expected to begin in the latter half of 2012 with completion scheduled for the end of the year.

“Making such an order reflects our clear vision, belief and commitment to this industry,” said Ibrahim Al-Humaidan, executive director of PTC. “PTC has wider plans and this major milestone embarks its onsite activities in Jubail, GT is a leader in this field with a proven track record and we are happy to be working with them and to be the first company to transfer such an advanced technology to our region.”

Intelligent Building Management Systems market in India to grow 24.93 percent

DALLAS, USA: According to a new market research report "Indian Intelligent Building Management Systems market (2011-2016) published by MarketsandMarkets, the total market for Intelligent Building Management Systems is expected to reach $1,891 million by 2016 at a CAGR of 24.93 percent from 2011 to 2016.

The most common examples of intelligent building techniques being used in India are corporate boardroom, presentation suites, and lecture halls, where the operation of the large number of devices that define the room function (such as videoconferencing equipment, video projectors, lighting control systems, and public address systems) would make manual operation of the room very complex. It is common for room automation systems to employ a touchscreen is the primary way of controlling each operation.

The Indian market scenario is such that home automation technologies are viewed as integral additions to the Smart grid. The ability to control lighting, appliances, HVAC as well as Smart Grid applications (load shedding, demand response, real-time power usage and price reporting) will become vital as Smart Grid initiatives are rolled out.

Green Automation is the term coined to describe energy management strategies in home automation when data from smart grids is combined with home automation systems to use resources either at their cheapest prices or most available. For example; taking advantage of high solar panel output in the middle of the day to run washing machines automatically.

120-year anniversary of DECKER Anlagenbau: From foundry to high-tech PV plant engineering

GERMANY: How do you keep the ball rolling for 120 years? Well, that’s exactly what the DECKER plant engineering company in Berching (Bavaria, Germany) did. A keen sense of upcoming technology developments enabled the German company to stay in tune with changing demands in the global industrial markets.

Today, the company produces silicon recycling plants for the photovoltaic (PV) industry - and once again shows that the company keeps the finger on the pulse of technology. Once the company was in the business of casting iron and steel, now its experts produce custom equipment for wet chemical surface treatments. The company history reads like a history book on modern industrial development.

Brilliant ideas do not just appear like magic. The DECKER Company keeps growing with the increasing demands of its customers, and the company leaders always smartly adjusted the production to the changing markets. The company started as a foundry in Nuremberg (Germany) and turned into a plant engineering company in the beginning of the 1960s. People who visit parks in and around Nuremberg may still rest on one of the many park benches, which the original foundry produced in the 1930s.

Today, DECKER installations are used in metal processing industries in procedures involving anodizing, black finishing, chromating and phosphatizing. For fifty years, the engineer Hans Schnyder maintained continuity in quickly changing times. He and his long-time chief executive Manfred Götz constantly searched for new markets using the development of their biggest customers as a yardstick. Among their large customers were such industry giants as Siemens and Wacker.

The DECKER Co. was among the first to build silicon cleaning plants for the semiconductor industry. In 2000, the company took up the high-tech development of contact-free bearings based on high-temperature superconductors for the IT industry.

Given this history, it cannot surprise anybody that the company got involved in the emerging photovoltaic industry in recent years. The DECKER Co., under the guidance of the new CEO, Kay Rehberg, developed a recycling plant, which cleared the path to economical large-scale silicon recycling. In this development, the company was able to build on decades of experience in the wet chemical surface treatment.

The DECKER Co. is again among the first to recognize the emerging demand for efficient facilities, which can dispose of huge amounts of photovoltaic equipment. The system has received the innovation award for the recycling system at this year’s Intersolar Europe. The DECKER Co. has good reason to be proud of this award.

The expanding global markets play a large role in the company plans. China is the largest and most important market for the DECKER Co. Stepping into new territories is part of the DECKER history. It is also the basis for a tradition of mapping out a successful path into the future.

Global and Chinese solar cell and module industry 2011-2015

DUBLIN, IRELAND: Research and Markets has announced the addition of QYresearch's "2011 to 2015 Deep Research Report on Global and China Solar Cell and Module Industry" report to its extensive offering of energy market research publications.

QYResearch's latest publication, entitled 2011-2015 Deep Research Report on Global and China Solar Cell and Module Industry, is an expert and in-depth study of a dynamic sector of the Chinese and global economy.

The authors provide introductory information such as a definition and classification of solar cells and modules, as well as an outline of the manufacturing process and product specifications.

Eighty five key manufacturers of solar cells and modules from China and around the world are examined under the headings of production capacity, production cost, selling price, production value, profit margin, etc. Detailed information on each manufacturer also includes their product specifications, clients, equipment, raw materials and company background.

The capacity and production market share of regional solar cell and module markets from around the world (China, Europe, USA, Japan, etc.) are explored.

The market share and module production of leading products such as C-Si and Thin Film (a-Si CIGS CDTE) are also provided, as is the global and Chinese supply and demand of solar cells and modules.

A wealth of up-to-date and revealing statistics covers capacity production, average selling price (ASP), cost, profit margin, production value and more over the period 2009-2015.

The 2011-2015 Deep Research Report on Global and China Solar Cell and Module Industry also analyses the situation regarding key raw materials, equipment suppliers and equipment: PECVD diffusion furnace, screen printer, silicon wafer, solar cell paste testing equipment, etc. Upstream module equipment such as laminator stringers and raw materials such as EVA TPT, photovoltaic (PV) glass and more are also examined.

The report features solar cell and module cost structures, as well as forecasts for 2011-2015. The manufacturing cost of related products in the industry chain is also analysed.

Finally, the report also incorporates a 100MW solar cell and module project feasibility analysis - with some fascinating research conclusions. The 2011-2015 Deep Research Report on Global and China Solar Cell and Module Industry was formulated with the support and assistance of industry experts and enterprises.

Sunvalley Solar awarded 39 KW solar installation contract in Valencia

WALNUT, USA: Sunvalley Solar Inc., a leading solar power technology and solar system integration company, announced that it has signed a 39 Kilowatt commercial solar installation contract for a company in Valencia, California.

"This system, though not as large as some of our commercial contracts, represents a substantial achievement in our marketing goal of penetrating the relatively new commercial and residential area of Valencia, California. This system will be the second placed in this district and will help us reach our objective of developing name recognition and gaining market share. Ultimately this business will help us generate future contracts," said James Zhang, CEO of Sunvalley Solar.

This 39 Kilowatt solar power system uses high efficiency solar panels from CEEG (Shanghai) Solar Science and Technology and a solar inverter from PV Powered. The total contracted value is approximately $200K. The contract is supported by solar incentive rebates from the local utility company and from Federal Tax Cash Grants from the Federal Treasury Department.

The installation for this project will start in late 2011.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Global PV inverter market likely to grow at CAGR of 10.3 percent over 2010-2014

DUBLIN, IRELAND: Research and Markets has announced the addition of the "Global Photovoltaic Inverter Market 2010-2014" report to its offering.

The report, which is based on an in-depth study of countries in the Americas and in the EMEA and APAC regions, aims to aid decision makers understand the key trends impacting this market.

An analyst from TechNavio's Cleantech team said one of the major trends prevailing in the global PV inverter market is technological and functional advancement. Mergers and acquisitions are also a prevailing trend. Moreover, the EMEA region is currently dominating the Global PV Inverter market.

According to the report, PV inverters, which were initially just a part of a power system, have now been recognized as the heart and brain of a solar power plant. One of the reasons for the increased acceptance of PV inverters is the frequent power imbalances taking place in grids. The emergence of new raw materials and the incorporation of energy storage with PV inverters are driving the Global PV Inverter market.

The report also discusses the discrepancy between national and state-level standards and policies and how this might affect market growth. The report contains a comprehensive market and vendor landscape in addition to a SWOT analysis of the key players.

Report on markets for molybdenum in solar panels, OLED displays and other electronics apps

GLEN ALLEN, USA: Industry analyst firm NanoMarkets announced the release of its latest market report on electrode materials titled, "Molybdenum Markets in the Electronics and Solar Industries - 2011."

In this report, NanoMarkets identifies and quantifies the markets for molybdenum in important emerging markets including solar panels, displays and advanced lighting. In addition to covering novel uses of molybdenum itself, this report also looks at emerging applications for molybdenum compounds such as molybdenum disilicide, molybdenum disulfide, molybdenum oxide, and molybdenum-doped zinc oxide.

While this report focuses on the use of molybdenum for electrode applications, it also discusses the current and future use of molybdenum and its compounds in related markets such as heating elements and sealants. Among the firms that are discussed in this report are American Elements, Angstrom Sciences, Avancis, First Solar, GE, Honda Soltec, Kurt J. Lasker, Q-Cells, Samsung, Soltecture, Sylhan and Wurth Solar. As with other NanoMarkets reports, this report on molybdenum pinpoints opportunities and also provides eight-year forecasts, broken out by application.

Molybdenum's high conductivity and especially its ability to adhere to CIGS absorber layers has made it the dominant material for bottom contacts in the CIGS solar panel sector, a sector that is expected to grow rapidly over in the near future. In addition, NanoMarkets believes that the strong performance of molybdenum in the CIGS sector will encourage its use in other solar panel sectors; especially in the CdTe solar panels, which, to date have been the most successful of all the thin-film photovoltaics offerings.

There is also considerable R&D work currently being carried on into using molybdenum in and molybdenum compounds for OLED displays and lighting. The new NanoMarkets report notes that, although OLED technology has considerable market potential over the next decade and has received backing from the largest firms in displays, smartphones and lighting, it is still struggling to find optimal electrode materials. In particular, the OLED industry is desperately seeking electrode materials that are less vulnerable to corrosion and which can lead to higher performance for the OLEDs themselves.

While NanoMarkets believes that molybdenum will find new markets in the electronics and solar panel industry in the near future, the report also notes that much will depend on its pricing. If inflationary trends ultimately lead to much higher prices for molybdenum, solar panel makers and other users will look for ways to avoid molybdenum, with aluminum and copper serving as acceptable substitutes in the solar panel industry, for example.

ET Solar intros anti-reflective modules

NANJING, CHINA: ET Solar Group Corp., a China-based vertically integrated producer and provider of photovaltaic modules and related solutions to the global solar market, today announces introduction of anti-reflective modules globally.

ET's anti-reflective modules offer higher electricity production, more stable performance and lower unit cost than conventional glass based modules. Furthermore, the dense coating on the surface of the anti-reflective modules effectively delivers higher light absorption and slows the power degradation, which compares favorably to conventional glass based modules.

The anti-reflective modules are offered under ET Solar 25-year linear power performance warranty, along with a 10-year workmanship warranty and global technical support.

T-Solar continues international expansion with construction of 61 MW in India and Peru

MADRID, SPAIN: The T-Solar Group, a major solar-PV power generator world-wide, is continuing its international expansion with the construction of a further 61 MW in Peru and India.

The group, which already has over 230 MW under operation and construction in Spain, Italy, India and Peru, has just brought its first PV power plant (5 MW) in India online. The new plant uses thin-film amorphous silicon panels produced in the company's state-of-the-art factory in Galicia (Spain).

It is located near the city of Jodhupur, in the state of Rajasthan, from which it will be feeding 8.5 GWh a year into the country's national electricity grid. It is the first photovoltaic power plant to be brought online by a Spanish company in India, and also one of the first to be commissioned within the framework of the Jawaharlal Nehru National Solar Mission (JNNSM).

17.3 MW in India
The plant was developed by T-Solar and Astonfield Renewable Resources under a joint-venture agreement they signed last June to roll out photovoltaic power projects. Before year-end, T-Solar and Astonfield will connect their second photovoltaic power plant to the grid on the Indian subcontinent, this time in the Patan district in the state of Gujarat.

The new plant, with an installed capacity of 12.3 MW, will generate 19.4 GWh a year, which will be uploaded into the national electricity grid in a country where demand for electricity is growing as fast as its economy.

The investment in both projects is €38m. The two power plants will generate sufficient power to supply over 43,000 Indian homes.

44 MW under construction in Peru
Along with India, Peru is one of the locations in which T-Solar is focusing its international expansion. In 2010, the company was awarded a 20-year contract to supply the Peruvian government with the 44 MW output of two photovoltaic plants located in the Arequipa region in southern Peru.

The two new plants will be T-Solar's first large-scale projects in the country. They will also use the thin-film amorphous hydrogenated silicon modules produced by the Group to generate 80 GWh a year: sufficient power to supply over 18,000 Peruvian homes. The company is planning to bring them online in June 2012.

A total of €118m will be invested in both projects, partially financed by the American agency, Overseas Private Investment Corp. (OPIC).

REFUsol solar inverters pass UL certification tests

METZINGEN, GERMANY & SAN JOSE, USA: REFUsol GmbH announced that Underwriters Laboratories (UL) has successfully tested and passed the REFUsol 012K-UL, 016K-UL, 020K-UL and 024K-UL solar inverters for use in the US market. All four inverters were tested in accordance to UL1741 and IEEE 1547 standards. The official UL trademark is awaiting issuance.

The UL certification assures safe operation of the inverters for rooftop or ground mount projects throughout the USA. "Now that we are UL certified, REFUsol offers among the most efficient, three-phase transformerless string inverters in the USA. This is an exciting and positive development for US installers, EPCs and developers as they can now reduce time and cost for PV deployment," says Dr. Michael Seehuber, CTO, REFUsol GmbH.

For utility-interactive equipment, these UL test requirements are intended be used with the Standard for Interconnecting Distributed Resources With Electric Power Systems, IEEE 1547, and the Standard for Conformance Test Procedures for Equipment Interconnecting Distributed Resources with Electric Power Systems, IEEE 1547.1.

Juergen Schwarz, VP Finance and Business Development, REFU Solar Electronics, said: "Our light, compact inverters feature a precise MPP tracker. This enables the inverters to adjust their settings accordingly and achieve high efficiency, even with different temperatures and varying sun exposure."

REFUsol inverters are rated IP65 or NEMA 4, making them suitable for indoor and outdoor conditions. The products covered by these requirements are intended to be installed in accordance with the National Electrical Code, NFPA 70.

GE to cut solar installation costs in half, make rooftop solar more affordable

NISKAYUNA, USA: With the goal of making solar photovoltaic (PV) systems on rooftops more affordable for home and building owners, a team of scientists and engineers from GE Global Research, the technology development arm for the General Electric Co., is working on two projects aimed at simplifying and reducing the cost of solar PV installations. The projects are part of the US Department of Energy’s Sunshot Initiative.

GE is investing hundreds of millions of dollars to promote the growth of the solar industry. Recently, GE’s Energy business announced plans to build the largest U.S. solar factory in Aurora, Colorado (outside of Denver) producing high efficiency thin film solar panels. Over the next three to five years, the new plant will create 355 advanced technology jobs in Colorado and another 100 new positions at GE’s Renewable Energy Global headquarters and Global Research Center in Niskayuna. This will add to the large team of scientists and engineers already working on cutting-edge solar technologies.

The projects announced are part of GE’s R&D efforts, which are focused on integrating more solar power at the utility, commercial and residential scale.

“Today, the average cost of installing a solar system on a typical home is $6.50 per watt, or $32,500. We want to cut the cost by more than half. At less than half the price, solar systems will be practical for millions of homeowners in the United States,” said Charlie Korman, manager, Solar Energy Programs at GE Global Research. “To achieve such a radical cost reduction, new technologies are needed to simplify and standardize how solar installations are made. The process has to be as routine as putting a new roof on your home.”

Korman noted that the price of rooftop solar has dropped significantly as more and more installations have been made over time, but the prices are still not competitive with current electricity rates. He explained that getting solar installations into the $3.00 per watt range would make rooftop solar a much more attractive investment for millions of consumers in the US. For example, the value of the energy generated by a 3.00 per watt residential solar system (fully installed) would more than offset the monthly payment on a typical home equity installment loan.

The first of the two projects will be a $2.9 million program to improve some of the underlying technologies in residential solar systems that help reduce the cost of key components. This will complement another program GE has underway with the New York State Energy Research Development Authority (NYSERDA) to reduce the costs of residential solar installations. The second program is a $3 million project focused on commercial rooftop applications. The goal here is to develop pre-wired and pre-configured components for easier installation of solar systems onto commercial rooftops.

The two solar projects with the DOE are closely aligned with GE’s ecomagination initiative. Ecomagination represents GE’s commitment to bring new technologies and products to market that help power the world in cleaner, more sustainable ways. The effort to reduce solar installation costs is a key part of a broader R&D portfolio to make solar a more viable energy source.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Smart meter deployments will be key part of greenhouse gas reduction initiatives in Asia Pacific

BOULDER, USA: As countries across the Asia Pacific region step up their efforts to curb emissions of greenhouse gases (GHGs) and reduce energy costs, utilities and governments are launching increasingly aggressive deployments of smart meters, with the goals of reducing electricity use, empowering consumers, saving money for both consumers and suppliers, and paving the way for emerging technologies such as demand response and smart grids.

As carbon reduction and energy efficiency efforts grow, smart meters and advanced metering infrastructure (AMI) will play a vital part in an overall smart grid strategy. Indeed, in many Asia Pacific nations smart metering is regarded as the fundamental step in reducing CO2 emissions and fostering a cleaner society. According to a recent report from Pike Research, the installed base of smart meters in Asia Pacific will total more than 350 million by 2016, with countries such as Japan, China, and Australia achieving smart meter penetration rates among the highest in the world.

“The last two years have seen a surge in interest and activity around smart meters in Asia Pacific,” says senior analyst Andy Bae. “Electric utilities and solutions providers across the region are starting to experiment with and deploy a wide range of innovations by implementing nationwide smart grid projects that have smart meters at their core.”

Among countries in the region, China has the most ambitious goals for smart meter installations. By 2016, Pike Research forecasts, China will represent more than three-quarters of the installed base of smart meters in Asia Pacific, and the government has declared plans to continue a large-scale meter deployment through at least 2020. China plans to introduce 682 million to 782 million smart meter units by 2020 – a number that would dwarf deployments in other countries.

Nevertheless, market barriers remain for utilities and suppliers looking to capitalize on national smart meter programs. Price burdens for Asia Pacific customers are high, as most national policymakers believe that the costs of the rollout of smart meters should be apportioned across the supply chain. In addition, legislative issues – related to meter ownership, access to data, and rights transfers resulting from switching electricity suppliers – are yet to be ironed out.

Global market for distributed solar PV systems to top $150 billion by 2015

BOULDER, USA: As small renewable energy systems are increasingly deployed at the sub-utility scale, distributed solar photovoltaic (PV) systems will continue to be the leading form of renewable distributed energy generation (RDEG) installations. Solar PV capacity was added in more than 100 countries during 2010, and the distributed solar PV market is dominated by residential and commercial grid-connected PV systems as the installed price of solar energy continues to fall and end-user demand rises.

According to a new report from Pike Research, a variety of market conditions will continue to drive growth in the worldwide distributed solar energy market, which the cleantech market intelligence firm forecasts will increase from approximately $66 billion in 2010 to more than $154 billion annually by 2015, a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 18 percent. During that period, the firm anticipates that total installed capacity of distributed PV will rise from 9.5 gigawatts (GW) to more than 15 GW.

“Consumer and commercial demand for distributed solar systems is growing as the cost of PV modules has continued its steady descent,” says senior analyst Peter Asmus. “Combined with innovative financing and leasing options, third-party and utility ownership models, and highly-effective feed-in-tariff programs, solar PV is expanding faster than most expected.”

Asmus adds that demand for such systems is concentrated in regions with favorable financial incentives, including Germany, Italy, France, the Czech Republic, the United States (led by California), and Canada (led by Ontario). Pike Research’s analysis indicates that Europe will continue to be the largest regional market for distributed solar PV over the next several years, but China and India’s growing economies and high percentages of population without access to reliable electricity represent large market opportunities.

“Today’s solar PV market is all about cost,” says Asmus, “which is good for consumers and installers, but brutal for manufacturers. We expect that costs will continue their rapid decline as Chinese crystalline silicon manufacturers gain market share and efficiency continues to increase for thin-film technologies.”

Arizona Governor Jan Brewer celebrates progress of Sempra generation solar plant

ARLINGTON, USA: Arizona Governor Jan Brewer joined community leaders and executives from Sempra Generation, a leading solar developer and subsidiary of San Diego-based Sempra Energy, Zachry Holdings, Inc., a leading US EPC firm, and Suntech Power Holdings Co. Ltd, the world's largest producer of solar panels, to celebrate the ongoing construction of Mesquite Solar 1.

"In order to advance Arizona's economy, it's essential that we attract the industries of the future," said Governor Jan Brewer. "The Mesquite Solar complex represents clean energy and quality jobs. I look forward to Sempra Generation's continued growth and success in Arizona."

The event also commemorated the first shipment of solar panels from Suntech's 117,000-square-foot manufacturing facility in Goodyear, Ariz. to the construction site. Upon completion in 2013, the 150-megawatt (MW) Mesquite Solar 1 plant will feature more than 800,000 Suntech solar panels, with a portion of them manufactured in Arizona.

Developed by Sempra Generation, Mesquite Solar 1 will generate enough clean electricity for about 56,000 homes. As announced earlier this year, the power from the project has been sold under a 20-year agreement to California's Pacific Gas & Electric. At full build-out, the Mesquite Solar complex could grow to about 700 MW.

"We are pleased to be joined by Governor Brewer and the local community to celebrate the construction progress that's being made here at the Mesquite Solar complex," said Jeffrey W. Martin, president and CEO of Sempra Generation. "Because of the leadership of Governor Brewer and other policy-makers in the state, this solar project has created hundreds of new construction jobs while supporting an expanded manufacturing base in Arizona. Mesquite Solar 1 is a giant step forward for our company, and it's having an even more significant impact on the local economy."

With decades of experience in power plant construction, Zachry is responsible for the engineering and construction of Mesquite Solar 1.

"We are excited to partner with Sempra and Suntech to build one of the largest solar plants in the world," said Steve Dedman, senior VP with Zachry. "We are nearly complete with the design and procurement of materials, and are off to a good start on the construction effort. Many of our materials and supplies have been purchased from businesses in the local region. We have established a local employment office in Buckeye and are expecting a field workforce of several hundred employees at peak."

Since opening in October 2010, Suntech's Goodyear manufacturing facility has grown steadily, and now employs more than 100 professionals producing about 50 MW (DC) of solar panels each year. Over the next year, about one out of every three panels produced at Suntech's Goodyear facility will be sent to the nearby Mesquite Solar 1 plant.

"It's great to see thousands of panels coming off our lines and being installed right here in Arizona," said John Lefebvre, president of Suntech America. "A skilled workforce and supportive business climate made Arizona a natural fit for Suntech's first US manufacturing facility. Arizona is well-positioned as a global hub in the growing clean energy economy."

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

SiOnyx Solar achieves record results for Black Silicon solar cells

BEVERLY, USA: SiOnyx Inc. announced that its patented ultrafast laser texturing technology known as Black Silicon has achieved a 0.3 percent (absolute) efficiency boost over industry-standard baseline solar cells. The SiOnyx 156 mm multicrystalline silicon cells, made in collaboration with German research institute ISC Konstanz, achieved average absolute efficiencies of over 17 percent.

Importantly, SiOnyx Black Silicon boosts efficiency in thinner wafers, vital for reducing the cost of silicon-based solar cells. Average efficiencies of 16.9 percent were achieved for 150-micron thick multicrystalline cells that are 20 percent thinner than wafers in production today and represent a cost reduction of 10-15 percent. All cells were processed and tested at ISC Konstanz using a standard emitter, screen-printed metal, and aluminum back surface field. Black Silicon texturing was performed using a Coherent Aethon tool with a Talisker picosecond laser.

Additionally, the SiOnyx process results in a significant improvement in process uniformity. Standard deviations for cell efficiency and current are reduced by a factor of two using SiOnyx's Black Silicon, resulting in further cost reductions through improved process yield and tighter efficiency binning.

"These results are further validation of the Black Silicon process and its ability to improve the economics of mainstream solar energy - and the technology is ready now," commented Stephen Saylor, president and CEO of SiOnyx.

"SiOnyx's single-sided texture achieves significantly lower surface reflectance than industry-standard isotexture to improve cell performance. We boost infrared performance, thus making SiOnyx Black Silicon a great complement to existing selective emitter technologies."

SiOnyx Black Silicon is a drop-in solution for the majority of solar cell lines using industry standard isotexture and is critical in supporting roadmap architectures requiring a planar back surface for dielectric passivation. SiOnyx Black Silicon is completely independent of grain orientation and therefore ideal for all wafer types including multicrystalline.

By decoupling the saw damage removal and surface texturing steps, the SiOnyx process is the perfect solution for manufacturers seeking to improve both the price and performance of existing lines while establishing a roadmap for next-generation cells using backside passivation with local contacts.

MB Wafertec responds to difficult and highly volatile market environment

SWITZERLAND: Meyer Burger Technology Ltd announced the reaction by MB Wafertec, Thun/Switzerland to the difficult and highly volatile market conditions in the photovoltaic industry.

The high uncertainties within key markets, which have been exacerbated by current economic difficulties and fiscal policy problems, have caused MB Wafertec (Meyer Burger Ltd, Thun) to adjust their production capacity in recent months. The location in Thun will further adapt its capacity beginning in November 2011 through partial interruptions in the serial production of wire saws in order to meet changes in customer demand. The Group’s targets for net sales and earnings for the current year 2011 remain unchanged from today’s point of view.

Noticeable change in customer behaviour
The looming global economic slowdown coupled with the uncertainty and reluctance of consumers following political decisions to reduce feed-in tariffs in various European countries (Germany, Spain, Italy) have led to dramatic changes in sales trends for solar modules and systems in recent months. These circumstances, as well as the reluctance of the end customer, have forced many solar cell and solar module manufacturers to defer additional projects for the expansion of their production capacities. MB Wafertec is feeling the decline in its customers’ readiness to invest mainly in incoming orders for new production equipment.

The current market difficulties also offer the Meyer Burger Group and the entire industry chances for the future. The cost of manufacturing solar systems across the entire production chain will be further reduced, thus increasing the speed at which the goal of grid parity can be realised. Meyer Burger will continue to very actively and acutely observe the market and, depending on its further development, will take the relevant, appropriate measures for the entire Group.

Planned measures at MB Wafertec
Based on the current demand, the Group has decided to interrupt production at its subsidiary MB Wafertec (Meyer Burger Ltd, Thun) for a maximum of three weeks during November 2011. Employees working in production will bridge this time gap through the reduction of existing overtime hours and by taking the balance of unused holidays. Additional measures such as the use of unpaid leave or the possibility of reduced working hours are being considered for December 2011 and will depend upon the situation and degree of capacity utilisation.

MB Wafertec has been consistently optimising its production and its entire supply chain management in previous years and is therefore highly flexible and can rapidly adjust its own production capacity to meet any fluctuations in demand. As soon as the customers’ preparedness to invest recovers, the company will be able to increase its production and delivery capacities accordingly within the shortest period of time.

Targets for fiscal year 2011 remain unchanged
From today’s point of view, Meyer Burger Technology Ltd confirms its targets for the fiscal year 2011. A large number of machines are currently being transported to customers’ facilities or are already at customers’ locations and, in accordance to the delivery agreements, will be accepted by customers before year-end.

Hence, Meyer Burger confirms its previous expectation to achieve net sales of approximately CHF 1’200 million and an EBITDA margin of between 23-25 percent for the fiscal year 2011 (excluding pro-rata results of Roth & Rau AG).

Conergy builds one of the largest rooftop plants in Italy

HAMBURG, GERMANY: Conergy is installing one of Italy’s largest rooftop plants on the roofs of the exhibition centre halls in Parma. The large-scale 5 megawatt plant is already the second project commissioned by the Italian trade fair company Fiere di Parma. At the end of 2009, the solar energy company had already installed a 1.7 megawatt rooftop plant.

During its first year of operation, this plant, which was also planned and built by Conergy, produced a yield that was far higher than had been forecast in spite of long periods of poor weather. The large-scale plant being built at the moment will spread over the roofs of three halls and at 5 megawatts is nearly three times the size of its little sister.

“Our first Conergy plant has already far exceeded our expectations,” says Franco Boni, president of the Parma Exhibition Centre. “It was therefore clear to us that we would also go for quality with our second plant and continue our successful partnership with Conergy. The new plant is part of our comprehensive modernisation program for the halls and at the same time an ecological showcase in exhibition construction, of which we are very proud.”

Across an area of some 44,000 square metres, around 22,000 Conergy PowerPlus modules will generate approximately 5,500 megawatt hours of clear power per year. This means that the plant will generate more energy that the exhibition centre itself will consume, underlining the role that the Parma Exhibition Centre plays as a green pioneer. To produce the same power from fossil fuels, nearly 1,300 tons of crude oil would need to be burnt; this would release around 3,000 tons of carbon dioxide into the air and contribute to further global warming. 16 Conergy IPG C central inverters will feed the excess solar energy into the local power grid.

“We are pleased that the Parma Exhibition Centre and the financing bank Cariparma Crédit Agricole continue to put their faith in us – both in our extensive Conergy expertise in the planning and realisation of solar plants as well as in the high quality of our premium components,” says Conergy Italy boss Giuseppe Sofia.“ This showcase is one of the largest industrial rooftop plants in the country – and that is also where we see a great deal of potential here in Italy for the future. Besides the topic of sustainability, companies are increasingly trying to tackle the rising energy prices in the country. And in that context, a rooftop plant kills two birds with one stone: it helps with the green image and also saves the company real money.”

The customer also benefits financially from using European solar systems. The new Italian solar energy law “Quarto Conto Energia” rewards plant operators who go for solar systems “made in Europe” in the future. They will be granted a 10 % higher feed-in tariff. Conergy’s modules, inverters and mounting systems fulfil all the requirements laid down in detail by the Italian energy agency in their guidelines; they have already received the required “Made in EU” certifications and are marked with the corresponding TÜV logos.

Monday, October 24, 2011

KYOCERA supplies 2MW of modules for solar power plant in France

KYOTO, JAPAN: Kyocera Corp. has supplied 8,500 solar modules for a new 2-megawatt (MW) solar power plant which sits over four acres of unused farmland in north-western France. The plant was officially inaugurated on October 21 in Distré, in the French department of Maine-et-Loire.

The large-scale installation is a flagship project in terms of sustainability, and the Kyocera solar modules produce an average total power output of 2,200,000-kW/hours per year of environmentally-friendly electricity — equal to the average annual energy consumption of 900 local households. Furthermore, the clean-energy power plant will off-set roughly 700-tons of CO2 per year.

The solar installation is the largest solar power plant in north-western France, and is a pioneer project for future model systems. The renewable energy plant was established as a sustainable solution for the reclamation of unused land, as the space can now be used to make a positive contribution to the environment via clean energy generation.

The project was realized with an investment by the French company Quénéa Energies Renouvelables — a medium-sized enterprise specializing in the field of renewable energy — and the state-run financial institution Caisse des Dépôts et Consignations.

Kyocera has notably shipped modules for large-scale power plants around the world, including more than 50MW for three projects in Spain. The company has also agreed to supply modules for a 204MW project in Thailand, and is currently supplying 13MW to a solar power plant in eastern Japan which is scheduled to begin operation this December.

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 high performance and reliability of Kyocera's products.

Sojitz launches mega-solar power business in Germany

GERMANY: Sojitz Corp. launched a mega-solar independent power provider (IPP) business in Mixdorf, Germany approximately 100 km south of the German capital Berlin. Total project costs are approximately 55 million euro (6.1 billion yen).

The project has a total generating capacity of 24 MW, making it one of Germany’s largest solar power businesses. Sojitz has been operating a solar power business with a 3 MW annual generating capacity in Betzweiler in southern Germany since 2010. The Mixdorf project is Sojitz’s second in Germany.

The Solarpark Mixdorf power generating facility is a large-scale project with approximately 100,000 solar panels, installed over 80 hectares (about 20 times bigger than the Tokyo Dome). The facility was completed and began operating in July, and is already providing a stable supply of power.

Sojitz entered into a long-term 20-year electricity sale agreement with EON-Edis AG, Germany’s public power company, to sell electricity for 0.2207 euros/kilowatt hour (approximately 24.2 yen), the rate specified in Germany’s feed in tariff (FIT, a fixed rate purchasing system).

Engineering, procurement, and construction (EPC) for the project were carried out by Wirsol Solar A.G., one of Germany’s leading PV-companies and Sojitz’s consortium partner in the European solar power business.

It is presumed that the European countries by which the environmental business law proposal is fully fixed became a driving force, and the amount of introduction in the whole world of solar power generation amounted to 40 GW at the end time of December 2012.

Especially in Germany, in accordance with the renewable energy law revised in 2004, nationwide efforts are being made to promote renewable energy sources that do not rely on nuclear power, being the renewable energy advanced nation which has introduced about 17 GW equivalent to 43 percent of the amount of world introduction.

Also, Germany set a target of obtaining 50 percent of all energy from renewable sources by 2030 and the future continuous growth in solar powered business is expected.

Under the Shine 2011 medium-term management plan that started in 2009, Sojitz positioned the environment and new energy sources as new growth fields and set Environment & Urban Infrastructure Development Office in April 2011. That will focus on smart businesses as future earnings drivers while also securing earnings through development and operation of environmentally friendly social and industrial infrastructure and by providing high-value-added services made possible by innovations in information technology. Sojitz is also using the expertise gained in the solar power business to build a solar power value chain and will undertake business in other renewable energy fields as well.

US solar cell makers respond to Chinese Commerce Ministry statement

WASHINGTON DC, USA: Following is a statement by the Coalition for American Solar Manufacturing (CASM), led by SolarWorld Industries America Inc., the largest domestic crystalline silicon solar cell and panel producer. The statement responds to what CASM characterized as misleading and unfounded statements by China’s Ministry of Commerce regarding the antidumping and countervailing petitions filed by SolarWorld Industries America Inc. against China’s trade practices. The statement is authorized by coalition spokesman Gordon Brinser, who also is president of SolarWorld.

“The Chinese government’s claims that our actions are improper and protectionist, and that its illegal subsidies and massive dumping of solar product are helping the global economy and the environment, are absurd. China is one of the biggest trade protectionists in the world. In the solar industry, China is gutting manufacturing and jobs here in America and abroad while China’s solar industry pollutes its own people. The accusations have no basis in fact.

“Regarding trade issues, the use of antidumping and countervailing duty laws is a WTO-legal and quasi-judicial process. The determinations that will be made by the US government will be based on fact and reviewable under US and WTO law. For China to label the actions of a US industry “protectionist” when China is seeking to defend itself against egregiously unfair trade practices is baseless. China is a heavy user of the antidumping and countervailing trade laws to “protect” its own industries. It is no coincidence that China has been named in the most antidumping and countervailing duty cases from countries all around the world: It is the worst violator of global trade laws.

“Regarding economic considerations, it is widely known that China’s economic growth model is causing huge disruptions in the global economy. Its policies of restricting exports of rare earth minerals, forcing companies to hand over their technology as a condition of doing business, ineffectual intellectual property enforcement, and massive industry subsidies are flat-out protectionist. Worst of all, China’s manipulation of its currency severely distorts global markets.

“China has for years been engaging in economic protectionism and a quiet economic war affecting all of its trading partners. Its record is clear and there is ample evidence.

“The actions of China with regard to its solar industry are a prime example of the combined impact of its destabilizing economic policies. The aggressive dumping as well as massive illegal subsidies from the Chinese government have cost the US industry thousands of jobs in Arizona, California, Massachusetts, Maryland, New York and Pennsylvania and have forced more than seven companies to close or downsize in the past 18 months.

“Exports of Chinese solar cells and panels to the United States rose more than 350 percent from 2008 to 2010. In July 2011 alone, imports of Chinese crystalline silicon photovoltaic panels and modules exceeded the volume imported in all of 2010. This surge has been the primary cause of a 40 percent decline in world prices over the past year.

“China’s predatory and illegal aggression is crippling the US industry. CASM is holding China accountable for its disregard of the very trade rules it has agreed to follow. Rather than handing over the keys to the industry, CASM has decided to take a stand and defend US innovation, industry, and jobs.

“Finally, regarding environmental issues, China’s record is equally troubling. For example, only last month, China temporarily suspended the operations of Zhejiang Jinko Solar Co. after hundreds of protesters, some of whom overturned vehicles and ransacked offices, complained about “toxic smokestack emissions,” large fish kills, and an unusual number of cancer deaths.

“Beyond this one case, China’s solar-industry’s significant abuse of China’s environmental landscape has been well-documented since at least early 2008. If the government of China and its state-sponsored solar industry are concerned about the environment, they should develop a solar market in their own country, stiffen their environmental rules to match western standards and produce solar products using the same high environmental standards followed in the United States.

“US producers comply with some of the most stringent environmental standards in the world."

“The US solar industry and workers can compete with any solar producers in the world. They should not, however, be forced to compete against the massive shipments of illegally dumped and subsidized imports supported by the entire Chinese government.”

Start of construction for Payom’s next solar power plant with a performance of 4.4 MW

GERMANY: Payom Solar AG is further pushing forward the expansion of the portfolio of solar power plants.

Thus, the construction of a free-field solar plant with a performance of 4.4 MW that shall be finished and put into operation until the end of the year has just begun in Oldenburg (Lower Saxony). The funds for the construction of the plant derive from the issue of the corporate bond. After completion and commissioning, Payom Solar AG then runs solar power plants with a capacity of about 6.4 MW.

As recently as August, two free-field plants with a volume of 2 MW were just put into operation in North Italy.

“As announced at the emission of the bond, we are step by step building up a portfolio of high-yield solar power plants in Europe and thus ensuring a continuous flow of income. In the coming weeks, we will develop further projects ready for construction, which will then be built in the first quarter of 2012” explains Daniel Grosch, chairman of Payom Solar AG.

GCL-Poly to build 84 MW in California

HONG KONG: GCL-Poly Energy Holdings Ltd will invest in and build two solar
projects totaling approximately 84 megawatts, developed by solar energy developer
Solar Projects Solutions, LLC.

The construction of the projects is expected to commence in 2011, and will reach commercial operation in 2012. The projects are located in the California Central Valley in Tulare County and have executed power purchase agreements with Pacific Gas & Electric (“PG&E”). Once built, the systems will utilize approximately 300,000 photovoltaic panels and is expected to supply 151,000 MWh to PG&E annually.

“GCL-Poly’s investment into these projects is in line with the Group’s plan to grow and develop its environmentally-friendly power business globally,” said Shu Hua, executive president of the Group. “By building these projects, GCL-Poly takes an important step in executing its dual-end strategy along the solar value chain, from polysilicon and wafer manufacturing, to system integration and solar power plant development.”

Friday, October 21, 2011

Yingli Green Energy issues statement on SolarWorld Industries America's petitions

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", issued the following statement in response to petitions filed by SolarWorld Industries America Inc. with the US Department of Commerce and the International Trade Commission.

"We and our counsel are reviewing the petitions, which have just been filed. We would like to remind everyone that such petitions obviously present only the views of one side, and only a partial view of a very complicated story. As a NYSE-listed public company with global presence, we have been holding ourselves to the highest standard of fair international trade practices. We are confident in our position and we intend to mount a vigorous defense. We are committed to the US market for the long run, since we have faith in our products and technology and believe that we are well positioned to continue to compete effectively in the US market."

China Sunergy delivers first Quasar shipments to Sunergic S.A.

NANJING, CHINA: China Sunergy Co. Ltd, a specialized solar cell and module manufacturer, delivered its first commercial Quasar module shipments to Switzerland's Sunergic S.A..

Under the agreement, China Sunergy has delivered in October 0.30MW of the Quasar modules to Sunergic, which is located in the Vevey area and is one of the leading solar distributors in Switzerland. Quasar modules are China Sunergy's most advanced high efficiency solar products, and they are now undergoing TUV Rheinland and UL (Underwriters Laboratories) safety and quality product certifications. The modules are being launched on a trial basis exclusively to long-term customers to test market reactions. China Sunergy has previously supplied solar modules to Sunergic S.A. and already has a good relationship with the company.

"We are pleased to see the Quasar module advancing into commercial production and sales, and with good value for the price, this sale demonstrates that Quasar products have huge potential to become a key profit driver for CSUN in the future. It's great to be working with one of our key existing customers to introduce this new leading edge product," said Stephen Cai, CEO of China Sunergy.

Nico Lugt, Sunergic's CEO said: "Clearly, it's in the best interest of solar developers to buy modules that generate more electricity in the same amount of space, especially in Switzerland, because surface is rather limited and manpower for installation is expensive. We are willing to buy dependable, extra efficient modules at a premium because they give us a competitive advantage over other distributors in Switzerland. Having China Sunergy as a long term partner, we look forward to more exciting projects in the near future."

Suntech response to solar trade petition

SAN FRANCISCO, USA: Suntech Power Holdings Co. Ltd, the world's largest producer of solar panels, offers the following statement regarding Solarworld's petition filed simultaneously with the US International Trade Commission (ITC) and the US Department of Commerce (DOC).

"We're currently reviewing the petition filed with the US International Trade Commission and the US Department of Commerce. Anyone can file one of these actions; having filed an action is in no way a validation from the US government as to the merits of the action. Companies listed in the petition are not subject to a single blanket judgment, and each individual company, including Suntech, will respond in accordance with ITC and DOC guidelines.

"As a global company listed on the NYSE, we are confident in our position and well-prepared to substantiate our strict adherence to fair international trade practices. Until the issue is resolved, we will continue to work with our customers and partners to ensure business as usual."

Thursday, October 20, 2011

SolarWorld and coalition of US solar manufacturers petition to stop unfair trade by China’s state-sponsored industry

WASHINGTON, D.C., USA: Representing a coalition of seven US manufacturers of solar cells and panels, SolarWorld Industries America Inc., the largest domestic producer, today petitioned the federal government to halt what the company describes as an ever-rising tide of heavily subsidized solar cells and panels that China’s state-supported solar industry is illegally dumping into the American market.

The Coalition for American Solar Manufacturing – representing a significant majority of US production of crystalline silicon solar cells and panels – filed complaints today with the US Department of Commerce and International Trade Commission seeking relief from China’s illegal trade practices. The complaints aim to end China’s decimation of US solar manufacturing and jobs.

The cases, which allege dumping margins well in excess of 100 percent as well as massive subsidies, are among the largest against China – and the largest in renewable-energy industry history.

“Artificially low-priced solar products from China are crippling the domestic industry,” said Gordon Brinser, president of SolarWorld Industries America Inc., based in Hillsboro, Oregon. “As the strongest and most experienced US producer, SolarWorld is leading the effort to hold China accountable to world trade law.”

“China’s systematic campaign to dismantle the US industry has cost thousands of jobs in Arizona, California, Maryland, Massachusetts, New York and Pennsylvania,” Brinser said. “China’s wrongful tactics run systematically across the board; central planning has subsidized most facets of these companies’ business. China actually has no production cost advantage. Labor makes up a modest share of solar-industry costs, China’s labor is less productive, its raw material and equipment have come from the West and China must pay for long-distance shipping. Yet, massive state subsidies and sponsorship have enabled Chinese manufacturers to illegally dump their products into a wide-open US market.”

The petitions allege that the Chinese government – its state-controlled financial, utility and other institutions intermingled with its solar manufacturing industry – has deployed an arsenal of land grants, contract awards, trade barriers, financing breaks and supply-chain subsidies to advance its pricing and export aggression. China exports nearly all of its production to benefit from other markets’ consumption incentives while increasing output and impeding imports. Along the way, it also sidesteps US-level manufacturing standards for labor, quality, and the environment.

Imports of Chinese crystalline solar cells and panels rose more than 300 percent from 2008 to 2010. In July 2011 alone, exports exceeded those from all of 2010. In the first eight months of 2011, Chinese imports into the United States totaled $1.6 billion. Over the past 18 months, seven U.S. employers have shut down or downsized, not counting cutbacks among manufacturers of a variety of new solar technologies known as thin films.

Since 2006, SolarWorld has pursued a course of investment and expansion, creating hundreds of jobs in Oregon and California to undertake all solar-industry manufacturing steps – without loans, guarantees or subsidies from the federal government. SolarWorld employs more than 1,100 at its US headquarters and manufacturing plant in Hillsboro, Ore., and its commercial hub for the Americas in Camarillo, Calif.

The company is leading a group of seven domestic manufacturers, including SolarWorld, representing American manufacturers and employers in virtually all regions of the country.

China Solar & Clean Energy Solutions announces entry of share transfer and investment agreement with Beijing Northern Solar Facilities

BEIJING, CHINA: China Solar & Clean Energy Solutions Inc., a premier manufacturer and distributor of solar water heaters, space heating devices, and integrated low carbon solutions providers in the People's Republic of China, announced the entry of the Share Transfer and Investment Agreement with Beijing Northern Solar Facilities Co. Ltd and its seven (7) individual shareholders, who owned 100 percent outstanding shares of Northern Solar, pursuant to which our wholly owned subsidiary Deli Solar (Beijing) will acquire 88 percent of outstanding shares of Northern Solar.

Deli Solar (Beijing) will acquire the total 88 percent of outstanding shares of Northern Solar from the seven (7) selling shareholders: Donghua Xie, Jianguo Yu, Jinhai Zhang, Fuhe Zhen, Baohui Zhu, Xiurong Li and Youyi Wang and the remaining six (6) selling shareholders will obtain 12 percent of total outstanding shares (upon the share transfer, Jianguo Yu will no longer own the shares of Northern Solar). The total share purchase price is RMB 960,000 ($150,420) to the selling shareholders.

Under the Agreement, Deli Solar will increase the registered capital by investing an additional capital of RMB 800,000 ($125,350) into Northern Solar. Deli Solar will deposit RMB 1.76 million ($$275,770) with Northern Solar as a loan and the share transfer will occur upon completion of due diligence and auditing services on Northern Solar. The loan will be automatically converted to share transfer purchase price payable to the selling shareholders and increased registered capital in Northern Solar.

Under the Agreement, if any party breach the Agreement, the breaching party will be responsible for a total default payment of RMB 100,000 ($15,669) to the other party.

Upon the completion of share transfer, Deli Solar will have four out of five directors on the Board of Northern Solar. Deli Solar will appoint the chairman of the board and the corporate representative registered with the local authorities. Upon the completion of share transfer, Northern Solar will have two (2) supervising officers appointed by Deli Solar and selling shareholders. Northern Solar will have the CEO, CFO, and two vice presidents appointed by the Board upon the share transfer.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Sustainable Energy showcases PARALEX – “Practical Parallel Solar” – inverters

TORONTO, CANADA: Sustainable Energy Technology Ltd announced the introduction of its PARALEX “practical parallel solar” inverters at Solar Power International 2011, Oct. 18-20 2011, at the Dallas Convention Center in Dallas, Texas. With over 25,000 solar professionals, including 1,200 companies covering over 1 million square feet of exhibit floor space, Solar Power International is the largest conference of its type in North America.

Sustainable is showcasing the PARALEX line at its booth #724.

PARALEX 5000C60 - designed for the rapidly growing US commercial roof top market.
PARALEX 5000A60 - focused on the rural and agricultural markets.

PARALEX is the only solar inverter which combines the higher yields and design flexibility of module level power optimization (“parallel solar”) with the low cost, reliability and easy serviceability of conventional string inverters. Featuring field exchangeable electronics, PARALEX also cuts service time and increases system availability. PARALEX is reporting peak efficiencies above 97 percent and 99.8 percent product reliability. PARALEX is “practical parallel solar.”

The PARALEX inverter, in combination with the PARALEX integrated balance of system solution, allows for a reduced balance of system cost, simple easy installation, and a power monitoring granularity not matched by conventional string inverters.

AMETEK highlights fully automated EN50530 test system

Solar Power International 2011, DALLAS, USA: AMETEK Programmable Power announced a fully automated EN50530 test solution that utilizes three core "Surround the Inverter" elements: the TerraSAS Solar Array Simulator, MX/RS Grid-Simulator and CTS Compliance Test System.

AMETEK is showcasing the TerraSAS Solar Array Simulator, which provides the DC emulation element of the EN50530 standard, at the Solar Power International Show, Dallas, TX, October 18, 2011, Booth #323, Hall A.

The automated test system is configured and controlled via AMETEK Windows-based software that enables users to select the EN50530 Test regime, connect the inverter under test, start the test, walk away and return to collect the report. Previously, testing to the EN50530 standard for efficiency of grid-connected PV inverters required an engineer or technician to be present to manually progress through each curve set. Main target groups are PV inverter manufacturers and test houses.

"Our goal is to provide a fully automated EN50530 test system that emphasizes precision MPP (Maximum Power Point) Tracking capabilities and control of AC Grid parameters to ensure reliable and accurate efficiency measurements. The key is to automate those tasks that can be automated, allowing the engineer to focus on inverter design," notes Dan Donati, VP, AMETEK Programmable Power Solutions.

AMETEK Programmable Power, through its Elgar brand of solutions, has supplied solar array simulators for more than 20 years for ground-based satellite test systems. Its "Surround the Inverter" programmable power products and systems simulate the output of solar arrays, the loads applied to the output of the inverter, and the interface with the grid, providing a comprehensive and energy efficient means of testing PV inverters.

TerraSAS Solar Array Simulators are available as single- or multi-channel systems from 5kW-1MW (80V-1500V). Single/Three-Phase MX/RS Series Grid Simulators are available from 15kVA-1MVA and offer an innovative Energy Regeneration mode that returns up to 85 percent of the electricity generated by the inverter back to the grid. Shipment of the EN50530 solution is expected to begin in early Q2 of 2012.

Solar cell makers face profitability challenges in quarter due to falling price and shrinking market demand

TAIWAN: According to EnergyTrend, a research division of TrendForce, as upstream raw material price decreased rapidly and manufacturers sustained fewer inventory depreciation losses in Q3, most makers’ Q3 figures were better than those from the previous quarter. However, related manufacturers indicate that demand has not increased notably in Q4, global inventory levels remain relatively high, and the industry is entering the traditional slow season. Consequently, EnergyTrend believes that manufacturers will continue to face operational challenges until Q1 of 2012.

As for conversion efficiency rates, mainstream product conversion efficiency rate was 16.4-16.6 percent in Q3, and has already reached 16.8 percent in Q4. Looking ahead, manufacturers have all set their target rates above 17 percent for Q1 of 2012. Thus, solar cell makers are currently concentrating their efforts on improving process technology in hopes of raising average conversion efficiency rate to 17 percent by the end of this year.

Furthermore, as demand remains weak, makers have been strict about solar cell price quotes. According to EnergyTrend’s research, the lowest price for 16.8 percent of the solar cells has reached the $0.6/Watt threshold, and 16.6 percent of the solar cells have prices under $0.6/Watt. As for the mainstream 3Q product (conversion efficiency rate of 16.4 percent), currently the lowest price has fallen below $0.5/Watt. Products with conversion efficiency rates of 16 percent or lower are currently secondary products that are priced per piece.

As for this week’s spot price, polysilicon, Si wafer, and solar cell price all show a downtrend. Lowest price for polysilicon was US$32/kg, while ASP fell to $38.13/kg, a decrease of 5.88 percent. With regard to Si wafers, lowest multi-Si wafer price fell to $1.41/piece, whereas mono-Si wafer price stayed at $1.9/piece. This week’s multi-Si wafer price decreased significantly, with ASP declining by 10.4 percent to $1.534/piece. Mono-Si ASP was $2.098/piece, a decrease of 8.54 percent. Solar cell price has fallen below the $0.5/Watt threshold to $0.48/Watt, and ASP decreased by 6.74 percent to $0.623/Watt. As for modules, solar module ASP fell to $1.07/Watt, a 0.65 percent decrease.Source: EnergyTrend, Taiwan.

Additionally, this week Taiwanese manufacturers have been displaying their newest products at Solar Power International’s convention in Dallas, and it is clear that makers are focusing on lowering cost and increasing efficiency. For instance, Motech boasted their new “LEO cell”, a multi-Si solar cell with increased conversion efficiency (17.4 percent) from new process technology. Thus, not only will manufacturers face an oversupply situation in 2012, but increasing product conversion efficiency will be another important challenge for makers to overcome if they are to survive the economic downturn.

Universal PV Interface Alliance (UPVI) formally launched

Solar Power International 2011, DALLAS, USA: The Universal PV Interface Alliance (UPVI) announced its launch as an industry consortium dedicated to the development of a standard, universal electrical and mechanical interface between photovoltaic (PV) modules and embedded module-level electronics or cable assemblies.

The UPVI Alliance will enable manufacturers to implement a single interface that is tested and certified to be interoperable with other UPVI-certified products. The UPVI Alliance unifies several parallel efforts to develop a non-proprietary interface, and will ultimately reduce costs, complexity, and technology risk for manufacturers of PV modules, module-level power electronics, junction boxes, and cable assemblies.

The founders of the UPVI Alliance include SunPower, SolarBridge Technologies, SolarEdge, and Tigo Energy. The Alliance welcomes Enecsys and T-Conn Precision Corp. as its first additional members. UPVI members invite all interested companies to attend an informational meeting during Solar Power International on Thursday, Oct. 20, 2011, from 9-10:30 a.m. in the “Industry 1” room at the W Hotel - Victory (2440 Victory Park Lane, Dallas, TX 75219). This event will review the objectives and roadmap of the UPVI effort, and discuss ways that organizations can get involved so as to help influence UPVI standards and related output.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Enphase Energy launches M215-Z microinverter

Solar Power International 2011, PETALUMA, USA: Enphase Energy announced a new addition to the 215-Series microinverters, the M215-Z, which seamlessly integrates with the frame of any Zep Compatible solar module.

The M215-Z combines the performance and intelligence of Enphase microinverters with the time saving and aesthetic advantages of the Zep Solar mounting system. Zep Compatible solar modules are available today from leading module makers, and new Enphase Energized modules were recently announced from Upsolar and Sharp Solar.

“Our module partners want the benefits of an AC Module solution without the hassle of unique SKUs and the risk of unproven technology. We’ve worked closely with our partner Zep Solar to provide module makers a no-compromise solution to their needs,” said Raghu Belur, co-founder and VP of products. “Not only does this approach give our module partners flexibility, it also lets our customers install the brands they know and trust.”

The M215-Z can be connected to Zep Compatible modules while on the ground, allowing the mounting hardware, inverter and module to be installed on the roof at the same time. Wire management is accomplished by snap-in AC wiring clips offered by Zep Solar, further streamlining the installation process.

Hanwha SolarOne unveils high performance solar PV modules with Enphase microinverters

Solar Power International 2011, DALLAS, USA: Hanwha SolarOne Co. Ltd announced its first AC Module (ACM) incorporating the world’s most efficient microinverter technology from Enphase Energy. The Enphase Energized AC Module is a combination of Hanwha SolarOne’s high performance solar modules with Enphase’s highly efficient third generation microinverters, allowing installers to sell the most advanced solar solutions to customers.

With vertically integrated manufacturing of silicon ingots, wafers, PV cells and modules, Hanwha SolarOne’s modules are crafted from the very first materials to be reliable and efficient. The combination of Hanwha SolarOne’s field-proven modules with Enphase microinverters allows the ACM to deliver maximum energy harvest for PV solar installations.

“By delivering innovative, cost-advantaged solar products with guaranteed performance, Hanwha SolarOne and partners like Enphase are charting a rapid course to a truly global solar economy,” said Sungsoo Lee, chief strategic officer of Hanwha SolarOne. “The Enphase Energized AC Module will drive increased clean energy projects that maximize solar power for homes, businesses and utilities around the world.”

Enphase Energy’s third generation microinverters easily attach to the frame of a Hanwha SolarOne 60-cell module to generate grid-compliant alternating current (AC) power directly at the module-level. The ACM is guaranteed by a 25-year limited warranty for both the microinverter and module.

“The powerful combination of SolarOne’s modules with our Microinverter System creates a high performance, easy-to-install system that comes complete with integrated intelligence and a comprehensive warranty,” said Bill Rossi, chief marketing officer of Enphase Energy.

Hanwha SolarOne will be exhibiting at booth #3527 where it will feature an Enphase Energized AC Module.

Monday, October 17, 2011

$6 billion overspend forces PV manufacturing equipment suppliers to adjust strategies

SAN FRANCISCO, USA: Global PV equipment spending (including c-Si ingot-to-module and thin-film panel) is now projected to fall by more than 45 percent in 2012, down from a historic peak of $13.1 billion this year, according to the latest Solarbuzz PV Equipment Quarterly report. As a result, PV equipment suppliers are being forced to redefine their product roadmaps to align with the projected upturn in spending after 2012.

Almost half of PV equipment spending in 2011 has been stimulated by new entrants to the PV industry or from existing tier 2 or tier 3 manufacturers seeking to increase revenues simply by adding more capacity. The majority of this investment has turned out to be supplemental to the capacity required to meet short term industry demand.

Consequently, revenues available to PV equipment suppliers have been temporarily inflated by $6 billion during 2011. The scale of this over-investment will not only drive the magnitude of the revenue declines during 2012, but will also prolong the spending downturn period into 2013.

According to Finlay Colville, senior analyst at Solarbuzz: “Aspirations of rapid market entry or market-share gains from lower tier cell manufacturers have been key factors behind the surplus in equipment spending during 2011. However, the second strong cycle of thin-film investments also peaked this year. This saw considerable funding being allocated to next-generation PV technologies.”

Having posted positive revenue growth between Q3’09 and Q1’11, PV equipment spending during both Q2’11 and Q3’11 has declined by single-digit percentage points, as the slowdown in new capacity expansion starts to impact equipment suppliers’ revenues. While strong Y/Y growth of 21 percent during Q3’11 will be highlighted during company reporting later this quarter, the leading forward indicators show sharp declines in new order intake, resulting from PV manufacturers’ concerns over capacity and demand levels forecast for 2012. Double-digit Q/Q revenue declines are now forecast between Q4’11 and Q2’12.

The only PV equipment suppliers that will be shielded from rapid declines in revenues through 2012 are those with strong order backlogs aligned with polysilicon expansion phases in progress across the Asia Pacific region. This will actually drive Y/Y growth in revenues for a select group of companies meeting this upstream demand. Conversely, many other PV equipment suppliers will experience Y/Y revenue declines of 30-70 percent. Equipment suppliers that benefitted most from the c-Si wafer, cell and module expansions of 2011 will be the hardest hit during 2012, as new expansion plans are pushed out or postponed.Tier 1 Manufacturers in Asia to Dominate New Spending Upturn.

Upgrade and replacement equipment revenues in 2012 are unlikely to provide anything other than partial compensation for the significant declines in new capacity additions. Similarly, technology inflection points that may drive upside in tool revenues are likely to be spread across a wide range of competing high-efficiency schemes being investigated today. This gloomy outlook is further exacerbated by the continuous shakeout of uncompetitive PV cell manufacturers that will likely spread beyond Europe and North America during 2012.

As a result, PV equipment suppliers—historically driven by incremental capacity to meet end-market growth—are now adjusting strategies based upon new product roadmaps to focus on the leading tier 1 manufacturers across Asia. Fundamental to the success of these roadmaps will be predicting the timelines and scale of the upturn in PV equipment spending at the process tool level.

“The total addressable market for PV equipment today is heavily influenced by different investment motives and technology preferences, rather than capacity required under any rational supply-demand balance,” added Colville. “Forecasting the spending cycles associated with these motives and technologies throughout the different stages of the value-chains will be essential for tool suppliers over the next few quarters.”

GE plans to build largest US solar factory in Colorado, expand solar innovation in New York

AURORA, USA: GE announced plans to build its new solar panel factory in Aurora, Colorado. When completed, the advanced manufacturing facility will create 355 jobs in Colorado and will be larger than any existing solar panel factory in the country today. GE anticipates the new factory will first start up earlier than expected with the first panels coming off the line in 2012 with commercial availability in 2013.

GE will locate the factory in an existing building in Aurora, just east of Denver. This location, which also is in proximity to GE’s existing solar center of excellence, enables an accelerated start-up schedule with production equipment installation beginning in January 2012. At capacity, the new factory will produce enough panels per year to power 80,000 homes and will be larger than 11 football fields. When complete, the new solar factory will highlight a $600 million investment in GE’s solar business.

Colorado already is home to GE Energy’s thin film solar pilot line, where joint technology advancements from GE’s Global Research Center and PrimeStar Solar have been validated and tested. GE completed the acquisition of PrimeStar earlier this year.

“Working with our Colorado-based solar team, we were able to achieve record efficiencies in our solar panels in record time,” said Victor Abate, VP of GE’s Renewable Energy business. “The Colorado location will allow us to deliver our technology roadmap faster and commercialize industry-leading panel efficiencies sooner. We also look forward to continuing to build our relationships with Colorado’s local, state and federal officials who have been extremely helpful as we moved through the site selection process.”

“This is great news for Colorado and further proof that our state is emerging as a center of innovation. GE’s move to Aurora takes advantage of Colorado’s clean energy resources and a collaborative business environment that is committed to helping the company succeed,” said Colorado Gov., John Hickenlooper. “We look forward to supporting GE as it fosters its technical innovation and research capabilities in Colorado.”

“This is terrific news for Aurora, for Colorado and for solar, and it shows the tremendous potential renewable energy holds to create jobs and power our economy,” said US Sen., Mark Udall. “I’m confident that this is only the beginning—I look forward to working with GE and its partners to build its presence and create more good-paying jobs in our state. They’ve recognized what I’ve said for years: Colorado can lead the world in creating clean energy jobs and putting people to work. These innovative new jobs will allow us to build the products of the future while using Colorado’s natural resources and talented workers. With the sun in the San Luis Valley, the wind on the Eastern Plains and the brain power at our top-notch colleges and universities, Colorado is positioned to lead the world in the global economic race.”

“Colorado already is a leading center for innovation and the new energy economy with the most qualified high-skilled workers in the country,” said US Sen., Michael Bennet. “We welcome the increased presence of a renewable energy industry leader. GE’s new plant will advance Colorado’s profile in renewable energy, bring good-paying jobs and boost our state’s economy. Today’s announcement is a testament to the unity and commitment of Colorado’s congressional delegation, Governor Hickenlooper, his economic development team and leaders at the University of Colorado, Colorado State University and Colorado School of Mines who worked together to pave the way for GE’s decision.”

"I am so proud GE is building the largest solar panel factory in the nation right here in the 7th Congressional District of Colorado. This plant will create over 350 jobs and reinforces Colorado's leading role in renewable energy. This solar technology was originally developed at NREL and further highlights how this world-class lab continues to partner with the private sector to create long-term jobs and bolster our nation's energy security. Making things here in Colorado and America ensures we will make it in America," stated US Rep., Ed Perlmutter.

In support of its expected growth in the solar space, GE also announced plans to create 100 new positions in New York. “We plan to add 100 high-tech jobs between our Renewable Energy Global Headquarters in Schenectady and GE’s Global Research Center in Niskayuna,” Abate said. “The Cuomo administration has demonstrated a change in business culture in New York state. New York is well positioned to continue to be part of GE’s solar business growth.”

“Bringing 100 new high-tech jobs to the Capital Region without any taxpayer subsidy is a real victory for our upstate economy,” said New York Lt. Gov., Robert Duffy. “With this announcement, we are once again proving that New York state is open for business and well positioned to create new economic opportunities across our state. We look forward to continuing to work with GE and support the growth of their solar business here in New York.”

Solar panels produced in GE’s new Colorado factory also will be more efficient, lighter weight and larger than conventional thin film panels. Higher efficiency is a key component of GE’s commitment to offer advanced solar products while reducing the total cost of electricity for utilities and consumers. Lighter panels will facilitate easier installation and enable important applications including commercial rooftop. Larger-sized panels help to lower total system cost by reducing the amount of racking and electrical components required.

Abate added, “We are building out our global solar business now because of our technology innovation and economics. We remain on track to deliver the most affordable solutions for our customers as we continuously improve this technology.”

GE has dramatically grown its wind business through technology and scale since entering the space in 2002 and anticipates a similar trajectory for solar given recent technology breakthroughs. GE has more than 27 gigawatts of wind and solar resources installed around the world.

In addition to thin film solar panels, GE offers power electronics and pre-designed utility-scale solar power plants for use in multi-megawatt applications. Power electronics are critical to bringing renewable energy sources, such as wind and solar, into the mainstream, delivering economies of scale and providing stable connection to the grid. The recent acquisition of Converteam will add the company’s energy conversion technologies to GE’s solar offerings, further broadening GE’s portfolio.