Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Canadian Solar powers city of Cavriglia with PV energy

MILAN, ITALY: Canadian Solar, one of the world's largest solar companies, has announced the provision of 12,465 high-performing photovoltaic modules for a ground-mount solar power plant installed on a former mining site in the Italian city of Cavriglia (Arezzo).

The 10 MW plant, which has been operational since October contains over 40,000 modules including Canadian Solar's CS6P-P series, will reduce CO2 emissions by 5,531,000 kg. Constructed by Canadian Solar partner Coop Cellini Impianti Tecnologici, a highly competitive company known for their expertise and reliability in the renewable energy sector, installed the solar farm in the area of a former mining depot in the Tuscan province. It is connected to the local power grid and will be able to provide enough clean energy to serve the needs of some 7,000 homes.

In order to minimize its environmental impact, the plant's design includes a number of features that enable the plant to blend in with its surroundings, such as a natural hedge all around the plant and trees that act as a natural screen. The project also includes some 1,122 meters of bike trails adjacent to the photovoltaic plant as an extension to the existing system of trails available both to the public and for organized sporting events. With the construction of this "green" plant, many issues related to water run-off have also been resolved, thereby contributing to the safety of the main escarpment.

In terms of safety, the photovoltaic plant is equipped with a remote monitoring system in order to measure and display the key operational data and to respond to any alarms or malfunctions in a timely manner.

"We are truly proud to be working with Canadian Solar because they are a reliable partner that provides high-performance products suited to large-scale installations such as this," said Paolo Tita, project manager for Coop Cellini Impianti Tecnologici. "Moreover, Canadian Solar has an excellent reputation worldwide, and this certainly contributes to the success of our projects."

"The installation of a solar plant such as this, one which is able to meet the energy needs of an entire town, is a clear example of how the power industry is going to evolve in the years to come. The system being used in Cavriglia is a model that can be followed in other Italian towns, so as to achieve the same levels of efficiency seen elsewhere in Europe, where at least 30% of the power generated comes from renewable sources," said Dr. Shawn Qu, chairman and CEO of Canadian Solar.

CS6P: efficiency, reliability and security
The CS6P standard module, a robust solar module with 60 monocrystalline or polycrystalline cells. These modules can be used for on-grid solar applications. Theirs meticulous design and production techniques ensure a high-yield, long-term performance for every module produced. Also the rigorous quality control and in-house testing facilities guarantee Canadian Solar's modules meet the highest quality standards possible.

The CS6P module series manufactured by Canadian Solar is on top of the PV USA (or PTC) tests achieving highest ratings. PTC tests are universally accepted and recognised as the best way of measuring the performance and electricity generated by a module under everyday conditions.

Canadian Solar's warranty now provides a linear performance guarantee for the Company's PV module power output over a 25-year period and covers workmanship and material defects to 10 years. Product warranty will backed by 25-year and by non-cancelable insurance policy.

Gemma Renewable Power signs EPC contract for $16.6 million solar energy project

ROCKVILLE, USA: Argan Inc. announced that its wholly owned subsidiary Gemma Power Systems, through its wholly-owned subsidiary Gemma Renewable Power LLC, has signed an approximately $16.6 million EPC contract with Southern Sky Renewable Energy Canton LLC to design and build a 5.7MW (DC) solar energy facility consisting of approximately 19,800 photovoltaic panels located on a closed capped landfill in Canton, Massachusetts.

When completed in the summer of 2012, the solar energy project will cover approximately 12.5 acres of the 40 acre landfill. GRP has received a full release to start all construction and engineering activities.

Ralph Palumbo, MD of Southern Sky Renewable Energy, LLC stated: “SSRE is very pleased to have selected Gemma Renewable Power LLC as its EPC contractor. The team of professionals that Gemma has provided to the Canton Landfill Solar project consists of experienced energy facility engineers and constructors. Gemma project management will result in the construction of a successful landfill solar project.”

Rainer Bosselmann, chairman and CEO of Argan said: “We are pleased to assist in meeting the electricity needs of the citizens of Canton, Massachusetts with a clean renewable energy source. We welcome the opportunity to work with the Southern Sky Team on this important solar energy facility. With the start of the Canton solar energy project, Gemma Power Systems is currently constructing facilities using three different types of renewable energy technologies – solar, wind and biomass.”

JinkoSolar recognized for high performance modules by PHOTON Lab module test

SHANGHAI, CHINA: JinkoSolar Holding Co. Ltd, a fast-growing, vertically integrated solar power product manufacturer based in China, has announced that two types of JinkoSolar monocrystalline modules have been recognized for high yield by PHOTON Lab's outdoor field test. The field test measures each module's yield in order to determine the exact amount of kilowatt-hours per kilowatt of installed power that flow from the PV system to the inverter.

Two types of JinkoSolar modules were among the 100 plus modules included in the field test. One JinkoSolar module achieved a chart-topping monthly yield of 126.9 kWh/kW and the other yielded 123.8 kWh/kW, ranking them both amongst the top of all modules measured in the study.

PHOTON Lab conducts its annual module field test on a piece of property in Germany that is free from shadowing. Two to four units of each module type are represented in the test to prevent potential faulty modules that can distort test results. PHOTON Lab has developed its own fully automated electronics to perform the measurements at each module's output to assure accuracy. The test operates under real-world conditions, storing module and weather data to ensure precise correlation.

"PHOTON's outdoor field test has demonstrated that JinkoSolar modules are amongst the highest yield modules in the market," said Kangping Chen, CEO of JinkoSolar. "We are pleased to hear that our modules performed well in this rigorous test, and we look forward to continuing to work with PHOTON Laboratory in validating the quality of future Jinko products."

KYOCERA receives Japan's 2011 Minister of Environment award for comprehensive activities to combat climate change

KYOTO, JAPAN: Kyocera Corp. announced that it has received Japan's 2011 Minister of the Environment Award for the Promotion of Measures to Cope with Global Warming (countermeasures category) in recognition of the comprehensive environmental activities undertaken with the community by the company's Shiga Gamo & Shiga Yohkaichi manufacturing plants (Shiga Pref., Japan).

This is the second year running that Kyocera has been a recipient, following last year's award in the technology development / product category for its high-output multicrystalline solar module for industrial and commercial applications.

For this year's award, Kyocera was recognized for the comprehensive work done by its two Shiga-based facilities to help combat climate change — including work done with the local community and government, and its implementation of solar energy applications. Specific programs are listed below:

Development and sales of the "Solar Cycle Station"
Development and commercialization of the Solar Cycle Station — an environmentally friendly solar-powered recharging station for electric-assisted bicycles.

Participation in the Next-Generation Energy Park Plan (Higashiomi City, Shiga)
Kyocera participated in the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry project to develop the local economy and promote environmental preservation measures.

Operation of environmental education facilities
Kyocera has been providing environmental education tours and facilities for the local community such as the Kyocera Shiga Green & Eco Garden (Shiga Gamo Plant), and the Ecology House (Shiga Yohkaichi Plant).

Providing "Eco-Lessons" at local schools
Using solar energy as a educational subject, Kyocera has been offering Eco-Lessons to local elementary schools in order to enhance children's awareness of environmental issues and interest in alternative energy, and to foster an eco-friendly perspective in the next generation.

Forest upkeep and water purification experiments
Kyocera undertakes forest upkeep on its facility grounds, and uses the forest clippings to make charcoal which is then used for an experimental water purification system.

As a company which is committed to its local communities, Kyocera will continue to proactively promote activities that contribute to environmental preservation and community development.

US-China trade dispute could stall Arizona's solar progress

WASHINGTON, USA: The Coalition for Affordable Solar Energy (CASE) and the Greater Phoenix Economic Council (GPEC) are concerned that jobs will be lost in Arizona due to SolarWorld's anti-trade petition.

Arizona is the third-largest employer in solar-related fields in America with nearly 5,000 jobs across 980 solar establishments in the state, according to the National Solar Jobs Census for 2011 report released by The Solar Foundation. Nationally, the solar industry is expected to add about 37,000 jobs by 2013, with many anticipated to be created in Arizona. SolarWorld's trade complaint could put these jobs in jeopardy.

"Arizona jobs are at stake in the brewing solar trade war between the US and China. As with most trade wars and protectionism, we stand to lose much more than we could gain – in this case, jobs for Arizonans and Americans," said Barry Broome, president and CEO of the Greater Phoenix Economic Council (GPEC).

GPEC has worked tirelessly to attract solar-related businesses to expand or relocate to Arizona and create high quality jobs for Arizonans. The Greater Phoenix region is now home to leading global PV manufacturers such as Suntech and First Solar, as well as supply-chain leaders like Power-One, Rioglass, Maxwell Technologies, Gestamp Solar Steel and six others. The region also represents thousands of downstream industry jobs in sales, marketing, logistics, construction and engineering. Arizona Governor Jan Brewer also completed a successful trip to China in September 2011 to continue attracting foreign investment opportunities that would benefit Arizona workers and the state's solar industry.

"The US is a net exporter of solar products to China and the world," continued Broome. "At the end of the day, free trade is good for the solar industry, it's good for Arizona jobs, and it's good for the US economy. We encourage policymakers to reach a decent resolution that protects our US interests without sacrificing the opportunities provided by a free trade alliance with China."

In October 2010, Suntech opened a 117,000 square foot manufacturing facility in Goodyear, Arizona. With more than 100 well-trained workers, the facility is now operating 24 hours per day and producing nearly 50MW of solar panels per year. Suntech was planning to grow the facility to 120MW; however, the imposition of trade barriers would undermine the facility's continued growth.

"Trade barriers would hurt the economics of our Arizona manufacturing operations," said Polly Shaw, director of External Relations for Suntech America, a member of CASE. "Global supply chains have been critical to driving down the cost of solar manufacturing, and Suntech depends heavily on companies and operations in countries around the world, including both the US and China. The US has been a major beneficiary of solar trade, as a net exporter of solar products to China by more than $250 million and the world by nearly US$2 billion. In fact, Suntech has been a net consumer of solar products in the US for almost a decade."

The Coalition for Affordable Solar Energy (CASE) was formed in response to an anti-trade action filed by Germany-based SolarWorld with the US government that threatens the entire US solar industry. CASE represents more than 100 leading US solar companies that represent more than 10,000 jobs in the US solar industry, or roughly 10 percent of the industry's total workforce, and the coalition is quickly growing. The Coalition is committed to building a domestic solar industry, promoting innovation, and making solar an affordable option for all Americans.

Solar firms ready to defend against US subsidy probe

This post/news is taken verbatim from China Daily, as I've been unable to locate the press release. If I do get hold of the release, it will replace this news item.

Yang Ning (China Daily)

BEIJING, CHINA: Chinese solar manufacturers on Tuesday said that they "have confidence in vigorously defending themselves" in the anti-dumping and anti-subsidy investigations being conducted by the United States into Chinese photovoltaic solar cell companies.

Representing the country's solar industry, the China Chamber of Commerce for Import and Export of Machinery and Electronic Products (CCCME) said that possible sanctions would "unavoidably cause serious impairment to the sustainable development of the green-energy industries as well as consumers' interests, both in China and the US".

CCCME vice-president, Wang Guiqing, said that the Chinese solar industry is an important component of the global solar industry chain, and products from China make a tremendous contribution to the development of the US solar industry and create many jobs in the US.

Last year, the US imported $1.5 billion worth of solar panels from China, up from $640 million in 2009, figures from the US Commerce Department show.

"If the US government imposed any definitive trade restrictions, it would cause significant losses to the upstream and downstream industries and consumers in the US, only to the benefit of a small fraction of US companies such as SolarWorld," said Wang.

In October, the US unit of Bonn-based SolarWorld Industries America Inc and six other US-based solar cell companies filed a petition with the US government, alleging that Chinese companies sell solar panels in the US at unfair discounts and receive government subsidies.

The US International Trade Commission will examine the issue and vote on Dec. 5 on whether there is enough evidence that Chinese solar makers are injuring the US solar industry. The US Commerce Department would then make a decision on duties in January and March.

A coalition of 101 US solar companies opposed the trade case, saying it would threaten tens of thousands of jobs in the US industry. The coalition asked SolarWorld to withdraw the petition, according to a CCCME statement.

A group of China's biggest solar companies, including Suntech Power Holdings Co, Yingli Green Energy Holding Co, LDK Solar Co, plus Canadian Solar Inc, said their commercial success in the US lies in having more advanced manufacturing technologies, efficient management and larger production scales.

Shi Zhengrong, chairman and CEO of Suntech, said the Chinese companies' accomplishments were due to technological progress and policy support, rather than government subsidies.

"Speaking of subsidies, SolarWorld received tax breaks and public subsidies worth $43 million from the US government. However, Chinese companies by no means get such subsidies," said Shi.

On Friday, the Ministry of Commerce announced that it had opened an investigation into US government policy support and subsidies for its renewable-energy sector at the request of domestic industry associations, which complained that US measures constituted unreasonable barriers and restrictions on China's renewable-energy industry.

Chinese solar companies said that they are against the few petitioners led by SolarWorld only, not the entire US solar industry. They have no intention of initiating a trade war, said the CCCME statement.

Source: China Daily.

CIGS thin-film technology reaches world-record efficiency of 17.4 percent

BITTERFELD-WOLFEN, GERMANY: Solibro GmbH, a subsidiary of Q-Cells SE, has marked a ground-breaking world record with its thin-film technology CIGS. Solibro’s thin-film Q.SMART module technology is now the first in the entire thin-film sector to achieve a solar module efficiency of 17.4% (aperture area). The new record has been confirmed by the independent Fraunhofer ISE Institute, located in Freiburg, Germany.

The record test module, with size 16 cm2, was fabricated using processes fully scalable to cost-effective mass production. The co-evaporation CIGS (Copper Indium Gallium Selenid) process uses metal flux profiles, temperature profiles as well as process time similar to Solibro’s current production.

“We are very proud of this result as it demonstrates the leadership of the CIGS technology produced by Q-Cells’ subsidiary Solibro. The current record verifies the feasibility of the efficiency roadmap of the Q.SMART module targeting an average aperture efficiency out of series production of up to 16.7 percent in 2016,” said Lars Stolt, CTO of Solibro.

Already in March 2011, a Q.SMART thin-film module, marked a world-record, with an independently confirmed efficiency rating of 14.7 percent, which still is the world-record for monolithically integrated CIGS thin film modules in series production, today.

Q.SMART’s CIGS technology harnesses a “light-soaking” effect unique in the thin-film sector to generate an average of 2.5 percent power boost above nominal power at standard test conditions. Q.SMART also outperforms in diverse environmental conditions, including low-light periods of the day and high-heat climates. Ideal for residential, commercial and utility-scale settings, Q.SMART comes along with a positive sorting; i.e. customers always receive what they pay for - and more.

In October 2011, Q-Cells realised a lighthouse project by delivering around 200.000 Q.SMART modules into the world’s largest CIGS solar power plant located in Ammerland, Germany.

The CIGS technology behind Q.SMART was developed in 1983 by the Ångström Solar Center at Uppsala University, Sweden, commercialized by the spin-off company Solibro in 2006, and acquired by Q-Cells in 2009. Q.SMART is produced in Thalheim, Germany, at the company’s own factory with a total nominal production capacity of 135 MWp.

With this world-record Q-Cells has marked the fifth world record in 2011 underpinning the technological leadership of its products. Next to the two world-records in the CIGS sector, a polycrystalline solar module from Q-Cells’ in-house research centre achieved a module efficiency of 18.1% related to the aperture area in July 2011.

Recording this efficiency, Q-Cells has beaten its own world record of 17.8 percent, set in spring 2011. In April 2011, a cell produced on the basis of the Q.ANTUM technology had already set a record for major polycrystalline solar cells, achieving an efficiency of 19.5 percent.

Munro Distributing now offers SolarWorld Sunmodule solar panels

RAYNHAM, USA: Munro Distributing Co. Inc., a leading supplier of clean energy solutions and electrical supplies, announced the launch of a new product line and the immediate availability of US-manufactured SolarWorld Sunmodule solar panels.

Munro’s solar division, which facilitates residential and commercial solar electric and thermal systems, has leveraged its expertise and market presence to form a strategic distribution alliance with SolarWorld, the largest and most experienced US solar manufacturer.

“Partnering with SolarWorld is consistent with our goal to assist customers in choosing the best components for their projects in order to minimize costs, while ensuring maximum system production,” said Glenn Maltais, VP, Market Development and Sustainability. “By promoting American-made modules as an integral part of our product line, we are doing our part to support the US solar manufacturing market.”

Sunmodules are available in both mono-and polycrystalline in a wide range of sizes, making them suitable for all applications – from a residential rooftop to a large-scale facility. With plus sorting, SolarWorld only delivers modules that are factory-tested to meet or exceed their name plate power rating - even after initial light-induced degradation. Now available at Munro’s locations throughout New England, Sunmodules come with a 25-year linear performance guarantee and a 10-year product workmanship warranty.

“This partnership joins SolarWorld’s 35-plus years of solar-manufacturing experience with Munro’s decades of expertise supplying electrical products in New England,” said Kevin Kilkelly, president of SolarWorld Americas. “Key distribution partners, like Munro, offer our installers access to local knowledge and relationships along with SolarWorld’s trusted, American-made product.”

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

MyGenflex, KYOCERA’s solar energy kit, offers increased flexibility and system monitoring for optimal efficiency

SCOTTSDALE, USA: Kyocera Solar Inc. announced that its MyGen Kits — all-inclusive kits for residential and light commercial solar energy installations — have expanded to include MyGenflex. This latest addition offers increased versatility for installation, expansion and monitoring services, featuring Kyocera’s premier KD240 watt solar modules, and new M215 microinverters from Enphase Energy.

The MyGenflex kit is Enphase Energized with high efficiency M215 microinverters from Enphase, enabling a scalable solar system by converting direct current (DC) produced by solar modules into alternating current (AC) from each individual module in an array. This allows owners the flexibility to add to their solar energy system as needed.

Further enhancing the MyGenflex system is the Enlighten monitoring and analysis software from Enphase, which monitors each microinverter and solar module in the system. Performance information is available via the web as part of a monitoring solution that allows owners and installers to track system performance.

“A Kyocera Enphase Energized solution not only enables a flexible, high-performance solar energy system that is expandable and intelligent, it is also backed by the same dependable support that Enphase customers swear by,” said Bill Rossi, chief marketing officer of Enphase Energy.

Kyocera’s current MyGen line is already recognized as a comprehensive, convenient way to integrate solar power — the pre-engineered systems include the modules, inverter, racking, monitoring, grounding, manual, drawings, and minor components needed to complete a grid-tied solar energy installation. MyGen “Made in America” kits, which qualify for participation in the ARRA “Buy America” Program, offer the benefits of U.S.-based manufacturing with the expertise that comes from Kyocera’s 37-year experience in the solar industry.

“Kyocera’s pre-engineered MyGen kits greatly simplify the task of installing a solar electric generating system on a home or business,” stated Steve Hill, president of Kyocera Solar. “These turn-key kits offer the reliability and industry-leading output of Kyocera’s modules, which have repeatedly achieved record-breaking cell efficiencies. With the innovative features of the Enphase Microinverter System, MyGenflex represents an ideal solution for those seeking to invest in solar energy for cost and environmental benefits.”

Carmanah installs $1.4 million solar rooftop PV system for Ontario refrigeration facility

VICTORIA, BRITISH COLUMBIA: Carmanah Technologies Corp. received a $1.4 million CAD contract from a commercial refrigeration service provider in Southern Ontario and at present has designed, supplied and installed a nominal 250 kW solar rooftop photovoltaic (PV) system.

The solar array occupies roughly 30,000 square feet of the facility’s rooftop, and generates approximately 300,000 kWh of clean, carbon-free electricity annually—an amount equivalent to that consumed by 25 average Canadian households. The rooftop-mounted solar system generates revenue under the refrigeration service provider’s contract with the Ontario Power Authority’s Feed-In-Tariff (FIT) program.

The Ontario FIT program allows owners of an electrical service connection to sell energy from renewable resources, including solar, back into the electrical distribution grid. The Ontario Power Authority’s FIT program offers Ontario residents, businesses and government bodies or institutions a wide range of benefits, including job creation through provincial content requirements and distributed power generation. Distributed power generation helps to increase stability of the electrical infrastructure by decreasing the burden on large centralized generating facilities and reduces both long term environmental and health costs associated with non-renewable energy sources.

“Now that the FIT program is in place, it makes financial sense for Ontario corporations to explore renewable energy production as a way to reduce operating expenses, while also delivering on their own sustainability mandates. For a high energy user, with plenty of roof space such as a cold storage facility, a rooftop PV system is a smart long term investment.” said Carmanah CEO, Bruce Cousins.

China ready to act in PV cell probe

This post/news is taken verbatim from China Daily, as I've been unable to locate the press release. If I do get hold of the release, it will replace this news item.

Du Juan and Ding Qingfen (China Daily)

BEIJING, CHINA: China has prepared for the worst outcome of the US investigation into the Chinese photovoltaic (PV) solar cells industry, a senior official said, indicating that the government will act accordingly if any tariffs are imposed.

China already communicated with US officials about the investigation during the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation meeting in the US, Chen Deming, minister of commerce, 'there is any told China Daily after the Fifth Member Congress of the China Association of Enterprises with Foreign Investment on Monday.

"Once there is any bad consequence from the investigation, we are ready to take measures," he said.

In October, several US solar cell companies filed a petition with the US Department of Commerce (DOC) and the International Trade Commission, alleging that Chinese companies got illegal subsidies from the government and sold solar panels below cost on the US market.

On Nov 9, the DOC held an initial hearing and then announced it was launching an investigation into the Chinese companies.

Li Junfeng, secretary-general of the Chinese Renewable Energy Industries Association, said any tariffs imposed on Chinese PV solar cell products, regardless of the amount, would inflict huge damage on the industry.

"The Chinese PV solar panel industry depends heavily on the overseas market, with more than 95 percent of its products for export to the US and European market, and this is dangerous for healthy and sustainable development," said Gao Hongling, deputy secretary-general of the China Photovoltaic Industry Alliance.

"The Ministry of Commerce's statement shows that the government knows better than before how to use the international trade tools under the World Trade Organization framework to protect the development of the domestic industries, pursuing a fair global market," said Li Lei, a lawyer with the law firm Sidley Austin who is representing the Chinese solar cell enterprises.

He said that the Chinese government showing its stance is good news for the Chinese solar companies, given that US President Barack Obama and the US government showed support for the US solar companies soon after their petition.

"The quick action of the Chinese companies clearly shows that they know better how to protect their rights and benefits in the global market," he said.

On Friday, China started an investigation into US government support and subsidies for its renewable energy sector at the request of domestic industry associations, which argue that the US subsidy and support policies created unreasonable barriers for the renewable-energy industry in China, according to a commerce ministry statement.

Yingli Green Energy Holding Co, Trina Solar Ltd, Suntech Power Holdings Co Ltd and Canadian Solar Inc - the four largest solar companies in China - will hold a news conference Tuesday afternoon on the US anti-dumping and anti-subsidies investigation.

This will be the first time the Chinese solar cell companies speak to the domestic media together since the investigation started.

Source: China Daily

Asoka launches first solution for residential solar power systems using power lines for data logging

SANTA CLARA, USA: Asoka Corp., a pioneer in powerline communication (PLC) hardware, software and cloud Digital Living Services, announced SolarLink, the first residential solar solution that uses existing in-home electrical wiring for system data logging and remote monitoring.

The SolarLink PLC adapter directly connects the solar power system’s inverter and data logger to the residence’s home area network internet service through the electrical wiring to upload data to the solar service provider. This eliminates the need for complex cable installations and is more robust than unreliable wireless systems, providing flexibility in installation options and reducing installation costs and customer inconvenience.

SolarLink enables providers to remotely monitor system performance over the Internet and diagnose maintenance issues without on-site visits. It also gives third party solar monitoring services a way to provide data so customers can see how much power their system has produced, how much of that they have used and how much has been sold back to their utility.

“SolarLink is a key part of Asoka’s state-of-the-art Digital Living Service line of solutions,” said Eric Grubel, CEO of Asoka. “Our PLC technology and simple-to-install hardware provide solutions that cut time and costs for installers by utilizing the most ubiquitous network in the home—residential electric wiring.”

“We have enjoyed working with Asoka,” said Michael Herzig, CEO of Locus Energy, a New York City-based solar monitoring software provider. “Not only do they stand behind their products with one of the longest warranties in the industry, they also have the flexibility and service necessary to meet the changing demands of the fast-moving renewable energy space.”

“SunCap Financial’s mission is to provide a simple and affordable solar solution for homeowners through our partner installer network,” said Jordan Fruge, senior VP of sales and marketing for SunCap Financial, a Houston based solar lease provider. “Asoka’s innovative powerline technology and plug and play installation allows our partners to save time and money on difficult cable runs and increase profits and customer satisfaction by offering monitoring services over the Internet.”

Vincotech adds new modules for single-phase solar inverters and UPS

MUNICH, GERMANY: Vincotech, a supplier of module-based solutions for power electronics, has added three new products to its family of power modules for single-phase solar inverter and UPS applications. These recent additions to the flowSOL 0 range are the latest in a line of high-performance, ultra-efficient power modules.

Vincotechs has extended its offering of flowSOL 0 power modules to meet the latest demands of single-phase solar inverter and UPS inverter applications. Featuring a booster and inverter (H-bridge) in the same flow0 housing, they are rated for 1.5 kW to 5 kW.

Engineered especially for transformer-less 600V solar- and UPS applications, the new modules leverage the latest Infineon CoolMOS C6 technology and SiC diodes to deliver superior performance and satisfy very high demands for efficiency (up to 98 percent).

The modules are packaged in Vincotech’s standard flow 0 2-clip housing measuring 66mm by 33mm and 12 mm in height. They are in serial production and samples are available now.

Canadian Solar and saferay implement 8.5 MW solar power plant in Germany

MUNICH, GERMANY: Canadian Solar, one of the world's largest solar companies, has supplied solar modules for an 8.5 MW power plant in Lindenhof near Neubrandenburg in the German state of Mecklenburg-Vorpommern. Berlin-based saferay expects to complete the project next month.

With this co-operation to build the Lindenhof solar power plant Canadian Solar further extends its successful collaboration with project company saferay. The PV system uses a total of 36,000 CS6P-P solar modules manufactured by Canadian Solar. These modules are particularly powerful with high quality, reliability and good energy yield.

"We continue to rely on Canadian Solar modules in our projects due to their outstanding quality and performance, and excellent customer service. This makes Canadian Solar a strong partner for us," said Dr. Marko Schulz, MD, saferay. "Thanks to favorable weather conditions, we are on track to complete the solar park installation so the power plant will be turnkey ready in December. So far, we have completed 5.5 MW."

Successful partnership for large-scale projects
The solar park is the second large-scale project delivered by Canadian Solar and project development company saferay. In September 2011, saferay completed the Senftenberg II/III 78 MW partial complex in Brandenburg, part of the world's largest solar power plant (166 MW) using Canadian Solar modules.

"This is a showcase partnership for us, where we are able to work with a strong local partner on large scale projects in a strategic geographic market. We look forward to continuing to work with saferay in the future and to providing the high efficiency, high performance modules essential for any successful project," said Dr Shawn Qu, chairman and CEO of Canadian Solar. "The project makes an important contribution toward the development of Mecklenburg-Vorpommern. Solar energy generates green energy and is a driver for the creation of qualified jobs in German cities and communities. Wherever PV plants are built, the local economy will also benefit."

First Solar signs 2˚C challenge communiqué

DURBAN, SOUTH AFRICA: First Solar Inc. has signed the 2˚C Challenge Communiqué as global leaders converge on Durban, South Africa for the next round of United Nations climate change debate.

“Our mission is to power the world with clean, affordable solar electricity. Price reductions in photovoltaics just since Copenhagen have put renewables on a trajectory to reach parity with unsubsidized fossil fuels. To promote further progress towards a low carbon and 100 percent renewable energy society, we urge the leaders at Durban to stop subsidizing fossil fuels and ultimately to set a price on carbon that is sufficient to dissuade people from burning it,” said David Eaglesham, First Solar’s CTO.

Initiated by The Prince of Wales’s Corporate Leaders Group on Climate Change (CLG) and managed and developed by the University of Cambridge Programme for Sustainability Leadership, the 2˚C Challenge Communiqué calls on governments to break the deadlock in the international climate negotiations and take the necessary action at the national level to ensure a successful transition to green growth and a climate resilient economy.

The Communiqué notes that, if they fail to act, governments "risk permanent damage to their credibility", but the right action would "secure a low carbon-emission economy that is more resilient, more efficient and less vulnerable to global shock". Without an international deal, "business will have insufficient clarity or certainty of action to invest to its full potential".

First Solar, for its part, recently announced the achievement of a cumulative production milestone of 5 gigawatts (GW) of its advanced, thin-film solar modules, which collectively displace 3.3 million tons of CO2 emissions and represent the equivalent of planting 84 million trees or removing 650,000 cars from the road.

Demand for solar energy remains constrained in many markets, however, by artificially low prices for conventional energies based on fossil fuels, which emit CO2 when they are burned to provide energy. The International Energy Agency’s latest estimates indicate that fossil-fuel consumption subsidies worldwide amounted to $409 billion in 2010, up from $300 billion in 2009, with subsidies to oil products representing almost half of the total.

North American PV market set to double YoY in Q4’11

SAN FRANCISCO, USA: Caught between strong utility-scale project demand, declining solar incentives in distributed generation applications, module over-supply, and significant policy uncertainty, the North American photovoltaic (PV) market is at a crossroads, according to the conclusions of the recently-released NPD Solarbuzz North America PV Markets Quarterly report.

“PV is now positioned to take significant market share from other energy sources as it approaches grid parity in some regions. Downstream companies are facing enormous challenges to adapt to rapidly changing channel structure and business models in order to successfully participate in that opportunity,” said Craig Stevens, President of NPD Solarbuzz.

In Q4’11, the North America photovoltaic market is forecast to grow 33 percent Q/Q and 101 percent Y/Y. Q4'11 installations of more than 0.8 GW of PV capacity are expected, resulting in a total demand of over 2.2 GW in 2011.

The United States is projected to account for 84 percent of North American demand in Q4’11; Canada, dominated by Ontario, has the remaining 16 percent. When viewed at a state or provincial level, California remains the largest single market in Q4’11, with 21 percent of market share. Ontario is forecast to become the second-largest region (16 percent), followed by New Jersey (11 percent).

Demand in the United States market has spread to many states beyond California, but in Canada, Ontario is 99 percent of the national market, which creates significant policy risk.Source: Solarbuzz, USA.

The primary driver in Ontario has been the feed-in tariff (FIT), while American states have been driven by a combination of policies and regulations at both state and federal levels. More recently, the US federal government played a critical role in the US solar marketplace, providing investment tax credits (ITC), cash grants, depreciation bonuses and loan guarantees as vehicles to make PV more financeable.

By the end of Q3’11, the federal government cumulatively awarded over $1.4 billion in cash grants for solar systems, which is equivalent to 800 MW of installed capacity. The California Solar Initiative, the largest state-level incentive program in the US, has supported over 650 MW since its inception in 2007.

In Q4’11, ground-mount installations are forecast to have 38 percent of the market, followed by building-mount, non-residential systems (>100 kW), which will have 37 percent of the market. The ground-mount segment benefited from demand from Ontario and from large-scale installations in California and Arizona geared toward meeting the state RPS requirements.

In Q3’11, the US PV market grew by 32 percent from Q2’11 and could reach 1.9 GW for the year, which would mean that the market has doubled in size for the second consecutive year. For large-scale non-residential and utility-scale projects in Q3’11 and Q4’11, the scheduled expiration of the US federal cash grant has encouraged progress to meet qualifying requirements; ongoing installation will continue throughout 2012, stimulated by the progress requirements for these cash grants.

The next four quarters carry significantly more downstream uncertainty than normal. The SolarWorld Chinese anti-dumping petition has split the US PV industry, with clear evidence that some Chinese manufacturers and project developers have already started to delay shipments and installations. Taken together with the expiration of the US federal cash grant, deferral of module supplies awaiting a price bottom will slow 2012 growth. The North American market, however, is still forecast to triple in size by 2015, with the ground-mount installations securing the largest market share of 42 percent.

The Canadian market is continuing its growth in Q4’11, and is projected to increase 35 percent Q/Q and 33 percent Y/Y, as utility-scale projects continue development, most under Ontario’s previous incentive scheme. The province’s current incentive program, a feed-in tariff, stimulated approximately 16 MW of residential installations during Q4’11 and will continue to be Canada’s primary driver of PV uptake. In terms of policy developments, most attention is now focused on the FIT program’s review, which is being conducted by the Ontario Power Authority.

Expectations are that FIT rates will decline, but other aspects of the policy, such as local content requirements, will remain largely unchanged.

Solar3D appoints Dr. Nadir Dagli chief scientific advisor

SANTA BARBARA, USA: Solar3D Inc., the developer of a breakthrough 3-dimensional solar cell technology to maximize the conversion of sunlight into electricity, announced the appointment of Dr. Nadir Dagli as Chief Scientific Advisor to guide the development of the company's technology and prototype.

Over his career, Dr. Dagli has pioneered many novel breakthrough technologies in photonics and made significant contributions to compound semiconductor electro-optic modulators that are critical to high-speed telecommunication systems. Dr. Dagli chaired and served on the technical program committees and advisory committees of numerous leading conferences. He has also authored and coauthored over 150 journal and conference publications.

"As we press to move our technology closer to commercialization, we are extremely pleased to have someone of Dr. Dagli's caliber on our team," said Jim Nelson, CEO of Solar3D. "He brings years of direct and complimentary experience to bear on the issues that we will face as we develop our technology. He has the knowledge and creativity to help us optimize the efficiency of our new solar cell design."

Solar3D's breakthrough technology uses low-cost processes and innovative 3D light trapping structures to increase the efficiency of solar cells in order to decrease the overall cost per watt of electricity. Through revolutionary solar cell engineering, Solar3D's approach will tip the solar cost curve in the direction of massive scalability, thus allowing the global deployment of a non-polluting energy technology that produces electricity from an unlimited power source, the Sun.

"I am honored to be part of an innovative company that is determined to make solar energy more cost-effective," said Dr. Dagli. "Solar3D's technology has the potential to change the way people think about energy by making it economically feasible to dramatically increase the use of photovoltaics to generate electricity."

Dr. Dagli received his Ph.D. in electrical engineering from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and has been a professor of electrical and computer engineering at the University of California at Santa Barbara (UCSB).

New energy converter offers increased safety, easier installation and higher efficiency

Solar Canada 2011, HORB AM NECKAR, GERMANY: At this year’s Solar Canada, taking place in Toronto, Dec. 5-6, DEGERenergie will introduce its new EK-6 energy converter. The new model offers a multitude of improvements, making operation and installation easier as well as increasing safety. With more than 45,000 systems installed worldwide, DEGERenergie is the global market leader for solar tracking systems.

Just in time for Solar Canada 2011, DEGERenergie is launching its new EK-6 energy converter. The new model excels with numerous innovations and improvements.

One of the innovative new features of the EK-6 is an automatic position reset function for nighttime. It makes sure that the DEGERtraker is optimally positioned to catch the first rays of morning sunlight for energy generation. In order to guarantee this, the energy converter prompts the system to align itself back to the East every night. This function is activated when the control module (DEGERconecter) does not send a signal to the EK-6 for more than four hours.

The SAFE POS function, another new feature of the EK-6, increases the safety of DEGERenergie systems. This function triggers solar modules to automatically move into their horizontal safety position. For example, if there is a broken wire or if the connection between the wind monitor and energy converter 6 is disrupted.

The DEGERenergie Research & Development team has made additional optimizations to the braking function of the energy converter. This function prevents the module surface from automatically repositioning when experiencing strong wind by increasing the self-locking effect of the drives by about 40 percent.

Also new is the integration of the entire circuit concept into a micro controller as well as the integration of several functions into the on-board PCB. Additionally, new status and operation LEDs allow easier monitoring of the systems and simplify commissioning and troubleshooting.

The new EK-6 energy converter is delivered with a new housing, separating its electronics from the installation parts. Meaning the main voltage and safety extra-low voltage areas are separated, increasing safety and providing for easy installation.

DEGERenergie is the global market leader for solar tracking systems. Worldwide, approximately 45,000 DEGERenergie systems have been installed in over 45 countries. The company is represented in Spain, Greece and North America with its own subsidiaries and cooperates with local distribution and service partners in many countries worldwide. The patented DEGERenergie Maximum Light Detection (MLD) technology makes it possible to improve the energy yield of solar power plants by up to 45 percent compared to fixed systems.

Monday, November 28, 2011

Coalition of 150 solar employers of over 11,000 workers shows widespread support for US solar manufacturing

WASHINGTON, USA: About 150 US solar-industry employers of more than 11,000 American workers have joined the Coalition for American Solar Manufacturing (CASM) to support the US government’s investigation of China’s solar trade practices and the restoration of fair, sustainable, international solar-industry competition.

The numbers include seven US solar manufacturers that have joined to stop what CASM calls China’s state-sponsored solar industry from allegedly using export-oriented subsidies to dump exports into the US market and harm American manufacturers and workers. Without a production cost advantage, China is deploying a staggering volume and array of subsidies to underwrite its production largely for export at dumped prices, according to CASM. The campaign has triggered trade petition drives to hold China accountable not just in the United States but also in Australia and Europe.

The US coalition includes dozens of solar suppliers and installers from across the country, many of whom have issued impassioned pleas to preserve fair trade and US jobs.

“We are gratified, but not surprised, to see this showing of support from such a broad cross-section of the American solar industry,” said Ben Santarris, US head of corporate communications. “We know that support for domestic manufacturing is deep and pervasive. It’s great to see that it’s also resolute enough to stand up and be counted and heard.”

A sampling of the coalition’s associate members and their viewpoints:

Mark Becker, president, Semper Fidelis Construction Inc., nine employees, California, said: “Free and fair trade is an American value. The current policies of the People's Republic of China are not examples of free and fair trade. Devalued currency and government-propped businesses that can sell their products at a loss are putting Americans out of work.”

Christopher Maingot, project development, Superior Solar Systems, 25 employees, Florida, said: “Solar manufacturing in the US needs support. Heavily subsidized Chinese imports are killing the American solar manufacturing industry. This is a growing Industry that has the ability to put a lot of out-of-work Americans to work and to put America in the forefront of a very lucrative and important energy source going forward.”

Luke Uzupis, co-founder, Amped On Solar, 10 employees, New Jersey, said: “From day one, our mission has included supporting American jobs and the American economy. Unfair practices by off-shore manufacturers and US companies who support those products have made it difficult for us to remain competitive.”

James Coger, president, Custom Home & Commercial Electronics, 25 employees, Arizona, noted: “When there is a level playing field, American business can compete with any country. The subsidies China provides to its solar PV panel manufacturers make for an illegal environment, making it impossible for any country to compete in the one-sided market!”

Volatility in fossil fuel costs to drive renewable energy market

DALLAS, USA: Despite recent economic turbulence around the globe, electricity demand continues to grow, particularly in China, India, and other developing countries. Cumulative installed electricity capacity topped 5,000 GW worldwide in 2010. That figure is forecast to exceed 6,400 GW in 2016 with a 4 percent CAGR over the next five years.

Lucintel, a leading global management consulting and market research firm, analyzed cost competitiveness of various energy sources and presents its findings in the report, “Quarterly Competitive Analysis of Conventional and Renewable Energy Sources in US Market 2011-2012.”

Volatile fossil fuel costs, and the environmental problems associated with burning such fuels, could drive increased acceptance of alternative technologies, especially for eco-friendly technologies such as wind and solar. Although renewable energy sources face certain challenges, such as high costs and variability complications, technological innovations are expected to reduce the cost of electricity, providing renewable energy with a boost.

Lucintel’s research indicates that the levelized cost of energy (LCOE) for natural gas is the lowest while solar PV is highest. LCOE for wind energy is high because the price of wind turbines is increasing. A substantial decrease is expected in the cost of solar PV because of solar module costs declining, largely driven by decreases in the price of the polysilicon raw material and increased competition among polysilicon suppliers. It is expected that the LCOE for solar PV would be $223/MWh in Q4 2012.

Although conventional energy sources are the biggest and by far the largest source of energy today, conventional sources are making way for non-conventional energy sources because of their finite existence and their increasing footprint.

Lucintel’s research report provides trend scenarios and forecast statistics for quarterly cost for different energy sources for 2005–2012; details the industry’s drivers and challenges; production; consumption; and demand and supply scenarios of the different energy industry. The report also examines emerging trends and status of conventional and non-conventional energy sources in US.

Blue Oak Energy designs largest PV project achieved by US Coast Guard

DAVIS, USA: Blue Oak Energy and Point 2 Structural Engineers designed a 2.8 megawatt solar electric project for the US Coast Guard in Puerto Rico as part of a large-scale energy savings performance program implemented by Schneider Electric. The US Coast Guard reduced greenhouse gases (GHG) by replacing brown power with PV-generated green power.

“By replacing conventional forms of energy with renewables, the Coast Guard not only reduces GHG emissions but also improves the reliability of its electrical system, especially important in the hurricane belt of the Caribbean,” said federal energy solutions program manager for Schneider Electric, Kevin Vaughn.

The PV systems span two sites – Air Station Borinquen in Aguadilla and Rio Bayamon Housing Center in San Juan – and includes: 200 residential rooftops, six commercial rooftops, five carports arrays and three ground mount arrays.

Significant variations in building elevations and orientations combined with extreme weather conditions posed a unique challenge to provide economical and technically feasible designs.

“We standardized design across many small housing units, multi-use facilities and time weathered buildings, some dating as far back as World War II,” said Blue Oak Energy Engineering project manager, Zack Zoller. “We went with a campus-wide approach to lower design and installation costs.”

OPEL secures financial backing from Silicon Valley Bank

SHELTON, USA & TORONTO, CANADA: OPEL Technologies Inc., a leading supplier of high concentration photovoltaic (HCPV) solar panels and solar tracker systems and a semiconductor device and process developer, has secured a line of credit for $5 million from Silicon Valley Bank (SVB) in Massachusetts.

"We are pleased to add this line of credit to our financial options," said Michael McCoy, CFO of OPEL Technologies. "The credit line will be utilized to fund US and qualified foreign receivables of the company."

Leon M. Pierhal, CEO of OPEL, added: "With OPEL's accelerating and ever-increasing sales pipeline, we are fortunate to have this capability available as needed to assist us with operating capital. Silicon Valley Bank is a long established cornerstone institution within the high tech industry which over the years has demonstrated its capability of recognizing firms with growth potential."

"Opel's products are facilitating market adoption of solar energy solutions," said Dave Rodriguez, senior relationship manager for Silicon Valley Bank's Cleantech Practice. "SVB works with hundreds of innovative companies across North America and we look forward to supporting Opel's global sales expansion."

Kaneka and imec develop high-efficiency heterojunction silicon solar cells with copper electroplating

LEUVEN, BELGIUM: At the 21st International Photovoltaic Science and Engineering Conference, held on November 28th-December 2nd in Fukuoka, Japan, Kaneka and imec present silver-free heterojunction silicon solar cells.

The results were obtained by applying copper electroplating technology, which was developed by Kaneka based on imec’s existing copper electroplating technology, A conversion efficiency of more than 21 percent was achieved in 6-inch silicon substrates with an electroplated copper contact grid on top of the transparent conductive oxide layer.

Today, silver screen printing is the technology of choice for the realization of the top grid electrode in heterojunction silicon solar cells. The difficulty of lowering resistivity and thinning the metal line in silver screen printing prevents from achieving high efficiency and low cost. In the presented silver-free approach, the screen-printed silver is replaced by electroplated copper. Formation of top grid electrode with copper-electroplating in hetero-junction silicon solar cells is the world first result.

Copper-electroplating is an economical and industry-proven process. This solution not only overcomes the disadvantages of the silver screen printing, but provides advantages such as enabling higher efficiencies and reducing fabrication costs.

These results showing beyond 21 percent conversion efficiency in heterojunction silicon solar cells based on imec’s copper electroplating know how were obtained in a bilateral collaboration between Kaneka Corporation and imec in Leuven (Belgium).

Kaneka’s Photovoltaics European Laboratory is located at the imec campus in Leuven (Belgium), giving access to imec’s state-of-the-art PV infrastructure and enabling close interaction between imec and Kaneka researchers. The collaboration between Kaneka and imec comprises the improvement of Kaneka’s thin-film solar cells and the development of next-generation heterojunction cells.

Friday, November 25, 2011

Multi-crystalline solar cells with inexpensive metal contacts at 18 percent efficiency

MAINZ, GERMANY: SCHOTT Solar AG has reached and its project partners after only six months a major milestone in the research project in Las Vegas: A metallized with copper solar cell achieved a high efficiency of 18.0 percent. Base is a multi-crystalline wafers with screen-printed standard backside of SCHOTT Solar AG.

The aim of the project in Las Vegas is now the standard silver contacts largely replaced on the front side of solar cells by a cheaper nickel-copper-plating. This allows the production costs for the front-side will be more than halved. SCHOTT Solar is so, RENA GmbH and the Research Institute for Micro Sensors CiS and PV GmbH.

The principal challenge in the metallization with a nickel-copper-plating, is to prevent the diffusion of copper into the silicon solar cell. There would be the lifetime of the electrons and thus the efficiency of reducing the cell. The project team has therefore developed a galvanic nickel layer as a diffusion barrier and appropriate production techniques to create this and the copper contacts on the cell.

With the new "InCellPlate" technology of the project team RENA promising prototypes to standard industry equipment has made. These solar cells will now be installed in test modules and make their long-term stability in hardness tests to the test. In addition, the project aims to transfer the development team successes now on mono-crystalline cells. Efficiencies of over 19 percent are to be expected.

Besides lower costs for the raw material is copper, the Las Vegas method has another advantage: the galvanic coatings are environmentally friendly because they are free of lead and solvents, and meet the real needs of the RoHS Directive of the European Union. This restricts the use of hazardous substances in electrical and electronic equipment. The use of relatively expensive silver paste is avoided, it is only a very thin galvanic silver-plating required in order to solder the cells to the copper strips laminated to form a module. As a result, the silver consumption is reduced by at least 95 percent.

Panasonic to build new solar manufacturing base in Malaysia to produce wafers, cells and modules

OSAKA, JAPAN: Panasonic Corp. announced its plan to establish a company in Malaysia that will serve as Panasonic's new solar manufacturing base. Panasonic Energy Malaysia Sdn. Bhd., to be set up in December 2011, will operate a vertically-integrated solar manufacturing facility producing from wafers to cells and modules. Panasonic will invest 45 billion yen in the facility, which will start operation in December 2012 with an annual production capacity of 300 MW.

With environmental awareness increasing globally and introduction of subsidy systems and Feed-in Tariff schemes in Japan as well as other countries, etc., the solar cell market is predicted to grow further. Robust demand is expected particularly in the residential sector, the main target of the Panasonic HIT (Heterojunction with Intrinsic Thin-layer) solar modules. The new factory, to be built in the Kulim Hi-Tech Park in Kedah, will not only help Panasonic meet this growing demand, but also strengthen the HIT module's cost-competitiveness with the vertically-integrated production.

Panasonic will sell its solar modules as an individual product as well as part of a system combined with storage batteries. Further, as part of its comprehensive solutions business, which is built on capacities brought together across the Panasonic group companies, Panasonic will accelerate its solar business development globally.

Outline of the new company
Company Name: Panasonic Energy Malaysia Sdn Bhd
Location: Kulim Hi-Tech Park, Kedah, Malaysia
Establishment: December 2011 (production scheduled to start in December 2012)
Capital: 22.5 billion yen
Capital Subscription: Panasonic Asia Pacific Pte Ltd 100 percent
Outline of Business: Production of HIT solar modules (integrated production of wafers, cells and modules)
Building Area: Approx. 70,000 m2
Number of Employees: Approx. 1,500
Annual Production Capacity: 300MW.

Health resort powered by the sun

HAMBURG, GERMANY: Bad Salzungen, a health resort in the federal state of Thuringia/Germany, has ambitious plans: a 1.1 MWp solar power park, to be installed and ready for operation by the end of this year. The ground-breaking ceremony on the premises of a former landfill took place on Nov. 18th.

SunEnergy Europe GmbH, winner of the call for proposals, is confident to meet the Dec 31st installation deadline, which is important to obtain the 2011-feed-in-tariff-conditions. The Hamburg based company looks back upon a long-time experience in PV-projects, many of them installed in challenging weather conditions.

The solar park is an investment project by Neue Energien Bad Salzungen GmbH, formed by E.ON Thüringer Energie AG and the municipality of Bad Salzungen. SunEnergy Europe GmbH acts as general contractor for the turn-key-installation. The health resort of Bad Salzungen takes a big step on its way to a climate-friendly future.

According to yield simulations the solar power park will save about 600 tons carbondioxide compared to the use of fossil energy sources while providing electrical energy to meet the demand of more than 300 households per year. Additional benefit of the project is the fact that the former landfill for building rubble area now serves for a good and reasonable purpose.

SunEnergy Europe’s CEO, Dr. Hartwig Westphalen, points out the characteristic features of this project with regard to the future development of solar business: “There is an interesting shift with regard to the investors towards a greater number of protagonists coming from municipalities and public services. The role of photovoltaics as energy provider in daily life is increasing. We are very pleased to have E.ON Thüringer Energie AG, a representative of the established energy providers, among our customers.”

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Photon Energy to build largest rooftop PV installation in Poland

PRAGUE, CZECH REPUBLIC: Strongly believing in the key benefit of PV to bring the point of energy production immediately to the point of its consumption, Photon Energy takes part in building a 311 kWp rooftop PV installation in Ruda Slaska, Southern Poland. When completed in mid 2012, it will be by far the largest solar power installation on a roof in Poland, marking Photon Energy’s strong foothold in the market.

The installation will be placed on the roof of the Upper Silesian water utility company - Górnośląskie Przedsiębiorstwo Wodociągów S.A. (GPW), the largest water supplier in Poland, which will also act as an investor in the project. In partnership with Photon Energy, RenCraft Sp. z o.o, a company that has hitherto been specialising in energy generation from biomass, participated in and won the public tender to design and construct a photovoltaic installation on the roof of the GPW’s premises in Ruda Slaska.

The role of Photon Engineering s.r.o., a 100 percent-owned subsidiary of Photon Energy, is to provide engineering works, technology procurement and construction services.

Completion of the 311 kWp rooftop solar power plant will mark Photon Energy’s entrance into the Polish PV market, to which the company has been inclining, notwithstanding the country’s weak support for renewable energy sources (RES). Having been listed on the Warsaw Stock Exchange, NewConnect segment since 2008, Photon Energy is known in financial and investment circles. Now, partnership with RenCraft Sp. z o.o will establish Photon Energy as an experienced EPC provider and enable completion of a power plant that will take up a substantial share of the currently total installed PV capacity in Poland.

ForVEI JV acquires portfolio of OPDE PV plants for Euro 88 million

UK: ForVEI, the multishareholder vehicle, has completed the acquisition of a portfolio of OPDE (one of the main Spanish contractors) PV plants for an installed power of 8MW and an enterprise value of €33 million. Foresight Group advised on the transaction and acted as originator, structurer, arranger and manager.

ForVEI is a joint venture comprising VEI Capital, Foresight Solar VCT and Quercus Renewable Energy, which is backed by primary investors including Assicurazioni Generali SpA (G), Intesa Sanpaolo, Palladio Finanziaria SpA, Veneto Banca SpA and Banca Popolare di Vicenza Scrl.

The acquisition was supported by a lease back financing of €33 million ($45 million) which has increased the entire ForVei/OPDE PV Plants enterprise value to over €88 million ($120 million). This acquisition follows the acquisition of the initial three OPDE PV plants for an enterprise value of €55 million announced in September. Together they represent the largest lease financing of PV plants arranged by a single bank in Italy. Two Intesa Sanpaolo (ISP) Group leasing companies own the PV plants for 18 years with ForVei paying a monthly rental fee. The two projects are expected to yield an annual equity return of 13 percent.

This year Italy has been one of the most effective markets in the world in solar energy with an additional 6.5GW of PV Plants connected to the grid according to the Italian Power Controller. This is three times the amount of PV energy connected in Germany over the same period. Italy now has a total of 10GW installed PV power.

Pietro Zerauschek, Foresight Group Managing Partner Italy and leader of the Italian Solar Team declared: "We are very satisfied at completing the acquisition of the entireOPDE PV plants portfolio. Thanks to this operation, ForVei now handles a portfolio of over 28MW with a medium average annual return of 13 percent. The completion of the acquisition demonstrates that there is still interest for lenders in quality projects sponsored by high level investors, despite continuing pressure on markets.”

Diego Biasi, founder partner and portfolio manager of Quercus, added: "We are very pleased to increase our investment in ForVEI. Our portfolio of PV plants in Italy is gaining institutional dimensions and we are prepared to continue with our strategic investment plans to close early additional relevant acquisitions both independently and through this joint venture."

Simone Borla, founder partner of Quercus, commented: "the ForVei partnership is extremely effective and we believe that our second fund, Quercus Renewable Energy Fund II, which is currently fundraising among institutional partners, will benefit from the investment opportunities identified by Quercus and Foresight Group which can be financed via the relevant relationships with different banks that ForVei and its shareholders have consolidated through the activities accomplished in 2011.”

Leading Chinese PV module manufacturer to bundle PARALEX inverter for US market

TORONTO, CANADA: Sustainable Energy Technologies Ltd has reached an agreement with a leading Chinese PV module manufacturer, which is targeting more than 250MW of production capacity for 2012, to bundle PARALEX inverters with its high efficiency solar modules and distribute the bundle to the solar installer community in the U.S.
Under this non-exclusive agreement, Sustainable Energy will also collaborate to market the value of the parallel system architecture as well as providing system design and technical support.

"This agreement once again proves the demand for PARALEX. We believe that the majority of solar PV systems for residential and small commercial systems will be "kitted" to reduce transaction costs and generally reduce the overall complexity of the installation by eliminating custom engineering.

"PARALEX simplifies distribution and system planning by enabling a standardized bundle which can be adapted on site to accommodate variations in site conditions and system sizes. Early market response for to the value added by PARALEX has been positive and securing OEM partners like this is a priority for our sales team," said Michael Carten, CEO of Sustainable Energy Technologies.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Global BIPV market by products, technologies & applications (2011-2016)

DUBLIN, IRELAND: Research and Markets has announced the addition of the "Global Building Integrated Photovoltaics (Bipv) Marketby Products, Technologies & Applications (2011 - 2016)" report to its offering.

The principle of BIPV is that the PV panels or modules are incorporated into the envelope of a building/faade/roof and they generate electricity at that specific location. This, in turn, maximizes the energy efficiency by eliminating the transmission losses that generally occur when electricity is supplied through the national grid.

In terms of installation, Europe is leading with a growing number of legislations and incentives in favor of BIPV. This is followed by North America and Asia. There is also tremendous opportunity observed in Middle East region for this market. It has been observed that commercial buildings have the highest share in the revenue generated in the overall BIPV market while it is the least for industrial buildings.

This lesser level of adoption in industrial buildings is due to the need for higher initial investment. However, it has been recently observed that the adoption level is gradually growing in the industrial sector as well with increasing number of awareness campaigns and showcase of developments by the market players.

There are numerous companies with solutions based on amorphous silicon technology and the number of companies with solutions based on CdTe and CIGS technologies is also observed to be growing in the recent past. BIPV technology is expected to find tremendous growth opportunities in the construction industry and in the generation of heat from BIPV modules.

The global BIPV market is expected to grow from $4.33 billion in 2009 to $12.73 billion in 2016 at a CAGR of 16.9 percent from 2011 to 2016. The companies in China and Japan largely adopt strategies such as expansion of production facilities, R&D agreement with universities, undertaking of installation projects, and acquisition of certifications in order to achieve tremendous growth in this competitive market.

Cemig to begin construction on solar PV plant in Jan. 2012

CORDOBA, ARGENTINA: Brazilian power utility firm La Companhia Energética de Minas Gerais S.A. (Cemig) will begin construction of a 3-megawatt (MW) pilot solar photovoltaic plant in the city of Sete Lagoas, Minas Gerais, in January 2012.

The investment for this project will be 40 million reais, or about $22.46 million, and it is expected to begin commercial operation in May 2012.

Solar price drop curbs; Carbon emissions trading to spur solar demand

TAIWAN: The carbon emissions trading system has been widely discussed in the past, but for a number of reasons, the idea has not been received well. Recently, greater reception in several parts of the world have begun: with Europe’s rather mature trading platform and market, the Australia government’s recently passed the Clean Energy Act, planning to enforce the carbon emissions trading system starting 2015.

Moreover, China also announced its carbon emissions trading pilot scheme. Consequently, the tradition coal power industry’s generation will decrease as the popularization of the carbon emissions trading system increases, which will benefit the industries of assorted clean energies including solar energy.Source: EnergyTrend, Taiwan.

EnergyTrend, a research division of TrendForce, believes that the underperformance of the global solar industry is mainly due to drastic overexpansion of the global solar capacity. Reducing PV capacity will revive the weak demand, but to what degree remains to be seen.

As for this week’s spot prices, polysilicon, Si wafer, and solar cell price all remain on a downtrend. However, except for the polysilicon price, the prices in the PV supply chain started to alleviate. Lowest polysilicon price was $23/kg, while ASP fell to $25.85/kg, a decrease of 8.33 percent.

In terms of Si wafers, lowest multi-Si wafer price remained at $1.1/piece, while the mono-Si wafer price was $1.6/piece. This week’s multi-Si wafer ASP dipped 1 percent to $1.183/piece; mono-Si wafer ASP fell to $1.65/piece, a decrease of 2.19 percent. The weakening downtrend met the price trend EnergyTrend’s prediction from last week.

The lowest solar cell price was $0.45/Watt, while ASP fell to $0.519/Watt, a 0.95 percent decrease. In terms of module, PV module ASP fell by 1.18 percent to $0.924/Watt. The thin film ASP decreased as well, by 0.47 percent to $0.852.

SCHWEIZER implements diversification strategy; starts entry into PV in Asia

SCHRAMBERG, GERMANY: Schweizer Electronic AG, one of the leading manufacturers of premium PCBs as well as innovative solutions and services for automotive, solar and industry electronics, informs about first concrete steps regarding the diversification of their business strategy.

Following the foundation of the business division "Energy" in spring 2011 the company an-nounced last weekend via an ad hoc release the start of a production of photovoltaic (PV) – high efficiency modules in Asia as well as the set-up own sales channels for solar parks in China. The investment volume for the first production line amounts to $50 to $60 million.

By investing anti-cyclically, SCHWEIZER plans to participate in the expected positive development of the photovoltaic market. "We believe in the future of photovoltaic," says Dr. Marc Schweizer, CEO of Schweizer Electronic AG, the solar strategy of the company. "Just now is the right point in time to enter the solar business. With our planned production line we are excellently positioned to directly meet future demands," he explains.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

China PV installations to surpass US and Japanese markets in 2011

SAN FRANCISCO, USA: In the Asia Pacific region, the photovoltaic (PV) market is forecast to grow 39 percent Q/Q and 130 percent Y/Y in Q4’11. Q4'11 installations of more than 2 GW of PV capacity are expected, which will significantly raise the region's share of the global market this year, according to the new Asia Pacific Major PV Markets Quarterly report released by NPD Solarbuzz.

The region is poised to grow an additional 45 percent in 2012, as Asian governments introduce new installation targets. China's National Energy Administration recently revised its official cumulative solar installation target up from 10 GW to 15 GW for 2015, representing just one of the most recent examples. China is projected to account for 45 percent of regional demand in Q4'11 and is on course to surpass the US and Japanese market sizes in 2011.Source: Solarbuzz, USA.

Elsewhere, regional demand is being driven by national incentive programs in India, while Japan is also growing rapidly ahead of its new FIT program. Other emerging markets in the region such as Taiwan, South Korea, Thailand, and Malaysia are projected to deliver a combined 700 MW of additional demand in 2012.

Non-residential ground mount systems are projected to account for 64 percent of the regional market by Q4’12, up from just 16 percent in Q1’11. This share growth will come at the expense of the residential segment, which falls from 58 percent in Q1’11 to just 20 percent by Q4’12.

Internal rates of return (IRRs) on PV systems in the four major markets will build over the next four quarters, ending 2012 at levels between 10 percent and 13 percent, as system prices drop faster than incentive rates.

Project IRRs are at their highest for the utility-scale PV facilities in China and India. The more mature markets of Australia and Japan see the best returns in the residential segment.

In Japan, even with installed system prices significantly higher than other major markets, national and local incentives continue to provide favorable economics.

Market constraints and downstream access issues exist in most countries in the region. In China and India, financing, land use, and regulatory issues are a significant barrier to large-scale projects. India’s market is being shaped by domestic content requirements, while China’s State Owned Enterprises (SOEs) account for more than 50 percent of the 16 GW Chinese project pipeline.

In Australia, policy disruptions have already forced many downstream players into liquidation. In contrast, a building international presence in the Japanese market is evidenced by a steady build in module imports from just over 5 percent of the market in Q1’10 to a short-term peak of 21 percent in Q1’11.

“As the European markets no longer present certain growth, the Asia Pacific markets are increasingly the focus of international companies looking to expand. Companies seeking to take a share of this growth still face significant hurdles to define strategies to successfully access the downstream value chain,” said NPD Solarbuzz analyst Christopher Sunsong. “These challenges, though, are unlikely to deter their determination to participate given the potential of this new regional market opportunity.”

Suntech reports Q3 2011 financial results

WUXI, CHINA: Suntech Power Holdings Co. Ltd, the world's largest producer of solar panels, announced financial results for its third fiscal quarter ended September 30, 2011.

* Total net revenues were $809.8 million in the third quarter of 2011, representing a sequential decrease of 2.5 percent, and an increase of 8.9 percent year-over-year.

* Total PV shipments increased approximately 16 percent sequentially, and 36 percent year-over-year.

* Gross profit margin was 13.3 percent in the third quarter of 2011, at the high end of the previously guided range of 11 percent to 13 percent.

* Net loss attributable to holders of ordinary shares was $116.4 million, or $0.64 per diluted American Depository Share (ADS). Each ADS represents one ordinary share.

* Suntech achieved 1.6GW of silicon ingot and wafer capacity and 2.4GW of cell and module capacity as of the end of the third quarter of 2011. PV cell capacity includes 600MW of capacity that is operated by a Suntech joint venture.

"Suntech's diverse global sales channels combined with customer preference for high performance, bankable products enabled Suntech to meet our third quarter shipment and margin guidance, despite the challenging market conditions," said Dr. Shi, Suntech's chairman and CEO.

"While European markets remained the cornerstone of demand in the third quarter, we were pleased to see continuing growth opportunities in the Americas and the Asia Pacific. In particular, demand for solar in China accelerated rapidly with the introduction of the first national feed-in-tariff.

"Looking forward, we expect excess capacity to fuel strong competition and consolidation in the next two to three quarters. This will be challenging for all solar companies. Through this period, we will accelerate initiatives to strengthen our financial and operational discipline and streamline our organization. These include reducing operating expenses by 20 percent in 2012, holding capacity expansion in 2012, and improving working capital by $200 million by the end of 2011.

"At the same time, we also recognize that the near-term challenges create opportunities, and we are excited by the prospects for the solar industry. Lower cost will drive significant growth in demand, especially for utility-scale solar projects. With Suntech's brand, bankability and well-established channels to market, we are confident that we will be well positioned to supply this next wave of solar growth."

NRG Energy acquires solar developer Solar Power Partners

PRINCETON, USA: NRG Energy Inc. has acquired San Francisco-based Solar Power Partners, a leading developer of commercial and industrial (C&I) distributed solar projects.

In addition to 30 megawatts (MW) of distributed solar projects in operation or under construction, NRG also will secure development rights to Solar Power Partners’ extensive pipeline of development projects in California, Hawaii, Arizona, Connecticut, New Mexico, Massachusetts, New Jersey, Ontario and Puerto Rico. SPP sites include grocery stores, hospitals, universities, office buildings, municipal buildings, schools and airports.

“With California’s goal to install 12,000 megawatts of distributed generation by 2020, and the increase in smart energy choices American businesses are demanding, this acquisition will place NRG at the head of the pack as the solar industry moves toward smaller solar projects that connect directly to the grid,” said Tom Doyle, president, NRG Solar.

“Solar Power Partners has been highly successful forging partnerships to develop distributed solar projects, and I believe the company will make NRG the leading provider for the increasing number of businesses seeking solar solutions to manage their energy costs.”

Solar Power Partners will become an integral part of NRG Solar, an NRG subsidiary. The company has completed almost 50 commercial solar facilities and brings a team with deep experience developing, financing and operating projects. Solar Power Partners also specializes in creating long-term partnerships with customers to tailor each solar system to meet specific needs.

“We are excited to be joining forces with NRG Solar and believe that our combined platform will allow us to accelerate our growth and to bring more clean solar power to the market,” said Bob Powell, Solar Power Partners president and CEO, who will continue with the company as a senior executive in NRG Solar.

GloPak announces 1,002 KW solar system

SOUTH PLAINFIELD, USA: GloPak Corp. announced the installation of a solar power system to reduce energy consumption and lower the environmental impact of its South Plainfield, New Jersey manufacturing facility.

This initiative consists of the installation of 3,454 solar panels – fixed to the roof and the surrounding property of GloPak’s South Plainfield facility. The combined ground and roof mounted systems will produce over 1 megawatt of solar energy resulting in electricity savings in excess of $180,000 annually, consequently reducing GloPak’s reliance on the energy grid and helping to reduce pollution in the State of New Jersey.

The new solar panel system is also expected to reduce environmental impact of the facility, reducing carbon dioxide emissions by over 7,000 tons. The roof system has been operational for several months and the ground mounted system will be operational in early 2012.

“This solar project allows us to build sustainable content into our products while still providing quality to our customers,” stated Harold Martin Sr., CEO of GloPak Corp., “As part of our commitment to the environment, focusing on green and sustainable solutions, our new plant will reduce our carbon footprint. Our CO2 emission will be reduced by 690 Metric Tons of Carbon Dioxide each production year. We are very proud of our efforts to improve the environment.”

In addition to installing solar panels, GloPak uses extensive recycling programs, energy-saving lighting systems and biodiesel to lessen its impact on the environment.
GloPak tapped Rockaway, NJ-based The Solar Center to install the state-of-the art PV (Photovoltaic) system in December 2010.

Currently, the GloPak project is approximately half complete, and will be fully operational in early 2012. "We are thrilled to be working on this project with GloPak that is setting the standard for corporate environmental stewardship in New Jersey," said Gerry Heimbuch, VP of Commercial Projects at The Solar Center.

"This is one of the largest green initiatives in the New Jersey manufacturing sectors and we are proud that GloPak selected The Solar Center to build it," expressed Heimbuch.

Monday, November 21, 2011

Symmetrical boost concept for solar apps up to 1000V

Michael Frisch, Vincotech GmbH, Unterhaching (Germany) and Temesi Ernö, Vincotech Kft2060 Bicske (Hungary)

GERMANY: In a transformerless solar inverter application the symmetry of split supply DC voltages with ground is an important issue. The following concept shows the handling of both the input and the output asymmetry in an MPP booster circuit. The first example demonstrates how to connect solar panel strings with different power and intensity conditions on a solar inverter environment.

High efficiency with low effort
The following figure (Fig. 1) shows a circuit, which is able to adjust the MPP (maximum power point) of the solar panel, to correct the asymmetry of the input while keeping the symmetry of the NP (neutral point) of the booster output. The circuit comprises two boost circuits: a positive and a negative one. The symmetry will be achieved with a corrected PWM (pulse with modulation) of the boost circuits.Fig. 1: Fig. 1: Circuit with adjustable MPP.

In the example below (Fig. 2) there is a very high non-symmetry in the input (10kΩ vs. 100kΩ) and at the output 40Ω vs. 60Ω load simulated.Fig. 2: Signals.

The result shows that it is possible to cover such conditions with such a simple boost circuit by only using the right PWM signal generating the exact software algorithm needed. For the control the following signals are required: Input voltage (for the MPP tracking) and the positive and the negative DC-output voltages to be adjusted for symmetrical values.

Multiple input as new option
However, it is not only possible to control a non-symmetrical solar panel and load condition, but also to combine panels with different powers and MPP characteristics within the boosters.

The solution below (Fig. 3) explains a solution for the connection of 2 “low voltage” solar strings and a “high voltage” string to a 3-phase NPC solar inverter. The input stages are designed based on 2 Vincotech P915 power modules and the output is built up with 3 Vincotech P965 mixed component 3-level power modules.Fig. 3: Solar inverter.

This is an example for using two lower voltages (125-500V) and a higher voltage (250-1000V) PVs with independent MPP tracking in a 3 phase output system (ca.24kW). By eliminating the optional GND connection to the LV1, LV2 allows independent MPP tracking for LV1 and LV2.

Applied Materials Foundation and SELCO Solar partner for electrification of 1,000 village households and 10 schools

BANGLORE, INDIA: Applied Materials Foundation, the philanthropic arm of Applied Materials Inc., and SELCO Solar Pvt. Ltd, a social enterprise, have announced a collaboration to electrify 1,000 village households and 10 schools in Karnataka, via solar lighting systems.

Most of these, households were identified as they do not have reliable access to the electricity, and they cannot afford Solar Home Lighting Systems, due to their economic status . With the support from Applied Materials Foundation, SELCO is now able to make the cost of the lighting systems affordable to the very poor households.

Harish Hande, MD, SELCO SOLAR, appreciates the uniqueness of the partnership with Applied Materials. “It is these type of partnerships between visionary companies like Applied Materials, that grassroots organizations like SELCO can provide clear and safe lighting to poor households and schools”

“Applied Materials vision is to apply nanomanufacturing technology to improve the way people live. We take great pride in applying this vision, by utilizing solar technology to positively impact the communities where we operate,” said Aninda Moitra, country president, Applied Materials India.

“Approximately 400 million people are without access to reliable electricity and an estimated 100,000 villages are without access to the national grid. In these cases, the use of coal, kerosene, and other "dirty" fuel sources for power, cooking, and lighting provide energy with intermittent quality and reliability, as well as cause serious health and environmental concerns. We commend SELCO in their efforts to impact lives through the use of clean energy. We’re proud to be associated with this program that is addressing energy needs in villages where sustainable, reliable energy is not yet available.”

Initiated in May 2011, this project has already been implemented in 202 households and four schools. SELCO has followed its bottom up approach of identifying the exact need of energy, customizing the product and installing them at the end user’s door steps with regular warranty and after sales service. On completion the project will positively impact over 10,000 individuals, and generate 279 kilowatt hours of clean, safe energy.

The Applied Materials Foundation and SELCO were invited to the Clinton Global Initiative (CGI) to announce their commitment to electrifying villages and schools and training social entrepreneurs in rural India. The CGI was established in 2005 by former President Bill Clinton and is an annual gathering of global leaders to devise and implement innovative solutions to some of the world’s most pressing challenges.

Manz plans to acquire CIGS modules innovation line from Würth Solar

REUTLINGEN, GERMANY: Manz AG, one of the world's leading providers of production systems for the photovoltaic and flat panel display (FPD) industry, has signed a letter of intent to acquire the innovation line for CIGS solar modules from Würth Solar in Schwäbisch Hall.

As part of the acquisition, Manz plans to integrate the current production site, and a total of 118 Würth Solar employees, into its own Group. The aim is to establish an innovation factory that focuses on the rapid further development of already leading CIGS technology. This technology has the potential to deliver the lowest cost per watt compared to all other technologies, thereby optimally serving current market demands. The Centre for Solar Energy and Hydrogen Research Baden-Württemberg (ZSW) will continue to intensively support the R&D activities. The takeover is set to be concluded prospectively by early 2012.

This step represents a consistent further development of many years of successful cooperation. The line has been used to date both by Würth Solar for CIGS module production, and by Manz as part of a licensing and co-operation agreement for the further development of CIGS system solutions. With this new agreement, the line is solely intended to serve future research and development activities.

This will allow the further development of the technology to be accelerated considerably, and the enormous cost-reduction and efficiency-enhancement potential of CIGS technology to be fully exploited. As a consequence, Manz is making a significant contribution to quickly reducing costs per watt – one of the central topics in the photovoltaic industry. It will also allow the milestones that have been planned to date to be reached earlier than planned.

These include the optimisation of manufacturing processes, boosting efficiency, savings in terms of materials, and with them the reduction of production costs. Manz AG is thereby exercising its pioneering technological role in the photovoltaic industry, offering global solar manufacturers an economically attractive production solution.

Dieter Manz, Manz AG's CEO, explains the takeover's significance for Manz: "Operating our own research line allows us to qualify our innovations directly in ongoing production operation. By contrast with a conventional pilot line, our innovation line, with its capacity of up to 6 MWp, will produce significantly more solar modules, which Würth Solar will continue to sell in the future."

He adds: "The agreement that we have now reached is the right response to the solar market's requirements. We are firmly convinced that CIGS will prevail on the market in the medium term due to its high cost-reduction potential. Together with Würth and the ZSW, we have developed a world record module, entailing an aperture efficiency of 15.1% in production format, within a short period of time. We can further accelerate development and expand our advance in technology with the CIGS innovation line that we are creating."

Manz is to acquire the production site without incurring any further one-off costs. The CIGS technology licenses will also transfer to the company on an unrestricted basis. The know-how licensing and cooperation agreement that was concluded in 2010 will be replaced when the new contract is concluded. Manz will adopt most of the ongoing costs for the operation of the line to offset this.

With this step, Würth Solar will focus entirely on its core competency of selling photovoltaic systems and components, as well as complete photovoltaic plants and turnkey solar power plants.

"In overall terms, we have developed an optimal solution to enable CIGS technology to realise an even more rapid breakthrough. We are particularly pleased that we will bundle our know-how with that of the employees at the Schwäbisch Hall location, thereby setting new benchmarks as a high-tech engineer for CIGS technology," commented Manz.

GCL-Poly co-operates with CGN to jointly develop solar farm project with total capacity of 1GW in Datong City, Shanxi province

DATONG CITY, CHINA: GCL-Poly Ltd, a wholly-owned subsidiary of GCL-Poly Energy Holdings Ltd, entered into a cooperative framework agreement in Beijing with CGN Solar Energy Development Co. Ltd, a wholly-owned subsidiary of China Guangdong Nuclear Power Group, pursuant to which both parties will jointly speed up the development and utilisation of solar energy and encourage the application of clean energy via strong co-operation.

Pursuant to the co-operative framework agreement, both parties intend to jointly develop a solar farm project with total installed capacity of 1GW in Datong City, Shanxi Province. GCL-Poly will be responsible for the rolling development and construction of the project.

GCL-Poly and CGN will create a synergistic and win-win partnership through the co-operation on the solar farm project in Datong City, Shanxi Province, which will lay a solid foundation for further high level cooperation in future solar power generation.

CGN Group is the only national large-scale clean energy enterprise in China mainly engaged in nuclear power generation business. To respond to the strategic development of renewable energy in China, CGN Group, a nuclear power based company, rides on its success in the development of wind power, and hydro power to actively develop the solar power generation business, while CGN, the wholly-owned subsidiary of CGN Group, specialises in the development, construction, technological R&D of solar PV, solar thermal, and micro-grid integrated power plant.

As a world leading developer, operator as well as product and technology provider of green energy and new energy, GCL-Poly continues adhering to the principle of “bringing green power to life” and has been committed to providing high quality and low carbon energy and services. As an expert in providing solar system integration solution, GCL-Poly owns the largest polysilicon production capacity and is the best in cost control in the world.

Benefiting from its competent and well-experienced team in electricity nvestment, construction, operations, and its success in global investment, construction, and operation in solar system, GCL-Poly is unparalleled in technology, information and efficiency. GCL-Poly formally launched the global solar system integration business and solar farm business, promoting the development and application of solar farm resources worldwide with its low cost, high quality and high efficiency model.

Datong City in Shanxi Province is located near the loading centers in Beijing, Tianjin, Tangshan of North China Power. Upon the completion of the solar farm, it will benefit from advantages such as low-cost electricity transmission, richly available unused saline and alkaline land resources and favourable environment for developing clean energy.

In particular, the demand for solar new energy industry development would continue to increase in tandem, given that Datong City in Shanxi Province won the bid to host the “International Solar Decathlon” in 2013, and is actively developing itself as the national model city of new energy.

The purpose of this strategic cooperation between GCL-Poly and CGN is to kick-start solar farm investments systematically in Shanxi Province where the area has abundant solar resources. The co-operation meets the State and Shanxi provincial government’s requirement to transform the existing energy structure, which would definitely promote the development of new energy business in Shanxi Province.

US solar producers: Just how desperate are Chinese solar importers?

WASHINGTON, USA: The Coalition for American Solar Manufacturing (CASM), seven US manufacturers of crystalline silicon solar cells and panels, supported by over 140 US companies and more than 10,000 employees, called on a group of Chinese solar importers to explain a number of deceptions that CASM contends the importers’ news releases have trumpeted.

CASM contends that a news release issued by the Chinese importers on Nov. 15 cherry-picked quotations from a statement of industry trade association Semiconductor Equipment and Materials International (SEMI), inaccurately implying that the association has taken a position against the SolarWorld-led coalition’s trade case alleging illegal Chinese trading practices. In fact, SEMI has assumed a neutral position.

CASM embraces SEMI’s statement that the association “has long advocated for a strong, effective and enforceable rules-based international trading system that promotes free and open trade with all parties acting in line with their commitments. This allows companies to compete on the basis of quality, technology and service within a predictable system according to rules that governments have negotiated in bilateral, regional and multilateral settings.”

In that light, CASM fully endorses SEMI’s support for the right of CASM members, and employers in any US industry, to avail themselves of US and WTO trade laws to determine whether foreign producers are dumping and receiving unlawful subsidies. If Chinese producers are found to violate US and WTO laws, the SEMI statement indicates it would make sense to support the findings of US and international authorities and any remedies associated with them.

In another instance of the importers’ deception, an interview in The Oregonian newspaper suggested that backers of the Chinese importers improperly implied a recent study by the nonprofit Environment California on the state’s solar incentives supported the position of the importers, according to CASM. In response to a release from the importers on Nov. 14, the Portland newspaper reported on an interview with the California group’s leader:

“‘We do not have a position on any international trade issue,’ said Bernadette Del Chiaro, who directs the nonprofit’s clean-energy programs. She said that groups organizing against SolarWorld’s trade complaint mistakenly claimed she had taken a position opposing the company’s case.”

“We are eager to debate the Chinese importers on the facts of our petition,” said Ben Santarris, SolarWorld’s head of corporate communications and sustainability for the Americas. “However, when the importers deliberately mislead the public about nonprofit groups’ positions, you have to wonder whether anything they say can be taken with any degree of credulity.”

Moreover, in the importer group’s very first news release, it cited a so-called survey by PV Magazine showing 76 percent of respondents opposed the filing of the petition. The importers failed to mention, however, that the “survey” was a voluntary and arbitrary reader-interaction feature in which 140 web surfers answered the magazine’s “Question of the Week.”

“By almost any standard, to claim that 140 voluntary participants in a reader-interaction feature on a web site with 50,000 unique visitors a month somehow reflects industry or public opinion is patently reckless,” said Santarris. “In fact, the Solar Energy Industries Association right now is featuring a nationally representative survey on its website that suggests a bipartisan, 82 percent majority of the public supports US solar manufacturing. Maybe that’s why the importers are resorting to quoting informal reader features.”

The next step in the SolarWorld case will be a Dec. 2 vote by the US International Trade Commission on whether subsidized Chinese exports have harmed the domestic industry. If it finds in favor of the CASM petition, the first possible determination on “critical circumstances” could come as soon as Jan. 12, meaning importers of record could later be required to deposit estimated duties on imports back to this past Oct. 14. The Commerce Department determined Nov. 9 that the petition had support from companies producing more than half of US output and the case raised enough concern to warrant intensive federal investigation.

The Coalition for American Solar Manufacturing is made up of seven companies that manufacture solar cells and modules in the United States. These member companies have plants in nearly every region in the United States, including the Northwest and California, the Southwest, Midwest, Northeast and South and support several thousand US manufacturing jobs.