Saturday, April 30, 2011

EMD Serono receives gold LEED rating

ROCKLAND, USA: EMD Serono Inc., an affiliate of Merck KGaA, Darmstadt, Germany, announced that the company’s state-of-the-art research center in Billerica, MA, is LEED Gold certified under the US Green Building Council and verified by the Green Building Certification Institute (GBCI).

LEED is the nation’s preeminent program for the design, construction and operation of high performance green buildings. The Billerica research facility supports the company’s commitment to developing and discovering innovative treatments in oncology, neurodegenerative diseases and fertility, and is one of only five laboratories in Massachusetts to achieve this high rating.

“This distinguished certification from the US Green Building Council is a reflection of our commitment to leadership, innovation, sustainability and making a difference in society,” said Fereydoun Firouz, president and CEO, EMD Serono, Inc. “From the project’s inception, we were committed to constructing a research facility that was founded on environmental responsibility and cutting-edge technology, to create a pioneering spirit among our scientists that fosters creativity and ingenuity in the development of new therapies in our core disease areas.”

“EMD Serono’s LEED certification demonstrates tremendous green building leadership,” said Rick Fedrizzi, President, CEO & Founding Chair, U.S. Green Building Council. “The EMD Serono research facility efficiently uses our natural resources and makes an immediate, positive impact on our planet, which will significantly benefit future generations to come.”

In February 2011, EMD Serono announced the completion of its Billerica research facility - a three-year construction project that included a $65 million expansion plan. Approximately 200 scientists work at the facility focused on expertise in cancer biology, cancer immunotherapy, oncogene signaling, medicinal chemistry, molecular modeling, protein engineering, therapeutic antibodies and manufacturing cell lines across the core therapeutic areas of neurodegenerative diseases, cancer and fertility.

The 140,000 square-foot research facility incorporates environmentally responsible design features throughout the offices and laboratory. The building’s green features include high efficiency variable speed chillers; energy efficient cooling towers; high efficiency boilers; low flow fume hoods; low velocity/pressure drop, energy efficient air distribution systems; energy recovery systems on exhaust; low flow water system; and energy efficient lighting and controls. Natural light is maximized throughout the building with solar panels utilized to generate electrical power for the lobby area, along with a daylight monitoring system incorporated throughout the building to reduce electrical usage.

In addition, more than 20 percent of the building contains recycled content, 95 percent of the building construction waste was recycled including brick and steel materials, and more than 50 percent of the wood is Forest Stewardship Council certified. It is estimated that the EMD Serono research facility utilizes 19 percent less energy and approximately 72 percent less water than a comparable conventional building.

EMD Serono worked with a number of Massachusetts businesses on this project. The architect on the research facility was Ellenzweig. The construction manager was Jones Lang LaSalle, a global real estate services and construction management corporation. The mechanical engineers of the facility were BR+A and the civil engineers were BSC Group.

The Billerica facility is one of four Research & Development hubs within Merck Serono; other R&D centers are located in Germany, Switzerland and China. These state-of-the-art facilities foster enhanced collaboration and synergies to discover and develop innovative therapies.

Friday, April 29, 2011

Enecsys to demo how micro inverters deliver up to 20 percent more energy from solar PV systems over their lifetime

CAMBRIDGE, UK, Enecsys Ltd, the leader in reliable solar micro inverter systems, will showcase its high reliability solar PV micro inverter and monitoring system at Hall 3, booth E3.3 at SOLAREXPO 2011, May 4-6, in Verona, Italy.

Traditionally, domestic and commercial solar PV systems employ series connection of solar modules. A large 'string' inverter is then used to convert the direct current (DC) output from the modules into alternating current (AC) for connection to electricity grid.

By contrast, the micro inverter architecture has a small inverter attached on the rail behind each solar module. The grid-compliant AC output of each micro inverter is then connected in parallel with the others. Each combination of module and micro inverter therefore acts as a stand-alone AC power generator, independent of others in the system.

When using micro inverters, maximum power point tracking (MPPT) can be applied individually to each PV module to ensure maximum energy harvest. Furthermore, solar PV systems based on micro inverters do not suffer from dramatic reductions in energy harvest when one module, or part of a module, has its output reduced by shading or accumulation of surface debris.

Compared with traditional domestic and commercial solar PV systems with string inverters, Enecsys micro inverter systems extract up to 20 percent more energy over the lifetime of the installation, depending on the layout of the roof. Another significant benefit is that using micro inverters eliminates dangerous high voltage DC from rooftops, reducing risks to system installers and, if there is a fire
in the building, to fire fighters.

Enecsys SMI series 200 and 240-Watt micro inverters are the first in a growing family of products to be launched in Italy. The company markets these and other micro inverters elsewhere in Europe and in North America.

Enecsys micro inverters use patented technology developed at Cambridge University, UK. Their rugged topology eliminates the most unreliable and limited-life components found in other micro inverters, specifically electrolytic capacitors and opto-isolators.

Electrolytic capacitors have been replaced by high-reliability plastic film capacitors. Due to the elimination of limited-life components, Enecsys micro inverters achieve greater than 25 years' life expectancy, matching that of solar modules, and the products are supplied with a 20-year warranty. Their reliability has been verified using thermal cycling tests to IEC61215, the same methodology used to test solar modules.

Enecsys micro inverters are also unique in maintaining full performance from -40 degrees C to +85 degrees C. They are safety and EMC evaluated to EN 62109, G83, UL1741, TUV and CE. Country-specific requirements, including VDE V 0126-1: 2006 compliance, are achieved through the use of specific Enecsys installation products and UL1741 certification has been received for the SMI240 model.

SEMI forms alliance with Korean University

SEOUL, SOUTH KOREA: SEMI has signed an agreement with Korea Polytechnic University (KPU) to discover and cultivate quality talent for the LED and photovoltaic industries. The memorandum of understanding (MOU) was signed on April 21 by the SEMI Korea president Hyun-dae Cho and the KPU president Jun-young Choi. The first LED manufacturing process training program will take place at the COEX in Seoul from October 24-26, 2011.

High-brightness LEDs are critical semiconductor technologies for energy efficiency, safety and next generation displays. Improvements in cost per lumen and lighting quality of high-brightness light-emitting diodes (HB-LEDs) parallel those of Moore’s Law, promising huge opportunities in solid state lighting, display backlighting and other high-brightness applications. SEMI believes that for LEDs to reach their full potential, the manufacturing supply chain must collaborate on technology roadmaps and industry standards to reduce costs and spur innovation.

The MOU between SEMI and KPU launches a training program for LED manufacturing process technology, a field vital for the growth and development of the LED industry. KPU was founded by the government and created near major industrial parks to produce outstanding industrial engineers and improve the nation's competitive edge in industrial technology through active cooperation between university and industries.

The two organizations will jointly develop the curriculum which will be based on both theoretical and practical training. The program will provide opportunities to gain hands-on experience in the LED manufacturing process technology using KPU LED facilities and equipment. The curriculum will reflect the current needs and trends of the industry, including input from the SEMI global network of more than 1,900 member companies worldwide.

To advance LEDs in the marketplace, SEMI is involved in several key areas. SEMI offers LED events all over the world that present the latest in LED technologies, as well as solutions for increasing manufacturing productivity and reducing cost. In 2011, SEMI is offering LED events in China, Japan, Korea, Taiwan, and the US.

In addition, SEMI has standards Task Forces on sapphire wafers, carriers, assembly and automation. These groups are comprised of industry leaders in HB-LED devices, sapphire wafers, MOCVD wafer processing, and key equipment and materials suppliers to the LED industry. SEMI is also involved in LED research (Opto/LED Fab Watch and Opto/LED Fab Forecast) and public policy.

Wells Fargo and JA Solar to explore strategic co-operation in renewable energy

SAN FRANCISCO, USA & SHANGHAI, CHINA: Wells Fargo & Co. and JA Solar Holdings Co. Ltd announced that they have signed a strategic cooperation agreement to support JA Solar in building a strong solar presence in the United States and the broader international market.

Under the cooperation agreement, Wells Fargo will provide JA Solar strategic support in a number of areas, including commercial banking services, potential financing for JA Solar's increasing U.S. sales, manufacturing and project development activities, project financing, and other strategic initiatives. Specific financial terms were not disclosed.

"We are delighted to form this partnership with Wells Fargo, one of the premier financial institutions with significant commitment to the renewable energy industry," said JA Solar CEO, Dr. Peng Fang. "This agreement again demonstrates JA Solar's commitment to the US market, as well as the solar industry's development worldwide. By leveraging Wells Fargo's expertise in financial services and strong support for JA Solar, we look forward to further enhancing our market position in the US and providing additional financial resources for JA Solar and our customers in the fast growing US solar market."

"Wells Fargo is one of the first financial institutions to dedicate specialized resources to service the renewable energy sector and we are committed to supporting the financing needs of companies worldwide that are focused on clean energy and interested in operating in the US," said John Adams, executive VP and head of Wells Fargo's Commercial Banking Technology Group, which includes the National Cleantech Group. "We are excited about this agreement with JA Solar and we look forward to working with the company to explore opportunities in the United States."

"Prospects for the solar energy market in the US are quite attractive over the long-term," said Puon Penn, head of Wells Fargo's National Cleantech Group. "Wells Fargo continues to expand its commitment to the industry by building strong relationships with well-established, innovative solar companies throughout the world, including firms in China and across Asia, and providing the commercial banking and other financial services that these companies need to grow and thrive."

To date, Wells Fargo has invested approximately $500 million in solar projects and has become a leader in providing capital and support to renewable energy companies. Since making its first project commitment in 2006, Wells Fargo has deployed more than $2.7 billion in project capital, including approximately $2 billion of tax equity, into more than 250 renewable energy projects in the US that account for over 4,200 megawatts of new clean energy capacity across 25 states. Combined, these projects generate approximately 12 terawatt hours of electricity per year, which is enough clean, renewable energy to provide power to about one million American homes.

Intel to transfer world-leading manufacturing expertise to accelerate MiaSolé ramp to 150 MW

SANTA CLARA, USA: MiaSolé, the leading manufacturer of copper indium gallium selenide (CIGS) thin-film photovoltaic solar panels, announced that it has entered into an agreement with Intel’s Technical Manufacturing Services practice.

Under this agreement, Intel will provide customized manufacturing services and systems, strategic consulting, operational knowledge and training to MiaSolé as the company ramps its manufacturing facilities in 2011 and 2012.

"The engagement is part of Intel's broader strategy to partner promising high tech innovation with Intel’s world class manufacturing and Copy Exactly! methodology. This will enable companies like MiaSolé to scale to high volume manufacturing cheaper, faster, and better,” commented Brian Krzanich, senior VP and GM, Intel’s Manufacturing and Supply Chain.

Manufacturing is central to MiaSolé’s business; the company has increased its annualized production capacity to over 50 Megawatts (MW) in just over a year, and is on-track to triple capacity to over 150 MW by the end of 2011.

However, the agreement with Intel – a world-leader in manufacturing with over 40 years of experience – will accelerate the production ramp with improved repeatability and consistency required for high-volume manufacturing. This will further reduce the overall cost of solar energy and broaden its worldwide adoption.

"We are thrilled to learn from Intel’s manufacturing expertise. The best technology manufacturer on the planet is now teaching us what it means to be world-class. This contribution will strengthen our goals to achieve manufacturing scale at our California factory this year,” said Dr. Joseph Laia, CEO of MiaSolé.

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Trina Solar announces research partnership with Australian National University to enhance high-efficiency solar cells

CHANGZHOU, CHINA: Trina Solar Ltd announced through its subsidiary, Changzhou Trina Solar Energy Co. Ltd., the signing of a three year research agreement with the Australian National University.

The joint research and development agreement is expected to receive more than AUD3 million funding from the Australian Solar Institute ("ASI"). The ASI is part of the Australian Government's Clean Energy Initiative and aims to promote and support new innovative research ideas.

Under the term of the agreement, Trina Solar will collaborate with ANU to develop industry-ready n-type monocrystalline solar cells. The project aims to develop high efficiency n-type silicon solar cells with conversion efficiencies of 20 percent for mass production by leveraging existing and proven processing tools currently used for p-type cells. In addition, the project will aim to improve the efficiency of Trina Solar's standard p-type multicrystalline silicon solar cells, by increasing commercial production efficiency to approximately 19 percent.

"We are very excited to announce this research agreement with the Australian National University, which will help Trina Solar remain at the forefront of high-efficiency solar cell production," said Jifan Gao, chairman and CEO of Trina Solar. "Our solar products are among the best performing in the solar space and we continue to enhance their performance while maintaining our cost leadership."

Project leader, Associate Prof. Daniel Macdonald, from the Australian National University, said that the outcome of this research is expected to make solar energy more affordable. "We are pleased to partner with Trina Solar in this project, and we look forward to working together to bring innovative new technologies into production. We hope this will be the start of a long-lasting partnership that will benefit both parties."

National media spotlights Solar3D

SANTA BARBARA, USA: Solar3D Inc., the developer of a breakthrough 3-dimensional solar cell technology to maximize the conversion of sunlight into electricity, has been featured in articles published by and The Christian Science Monitor.

Inspired by light management techniques used in fiber optic devices, the company’s innovative solar cell technology utilizes a 3-dimensional design to trap sunlight inside micro-photovoltaic structures where photons bounce around until they are converted into electrons. Solar3D’s management believes that this breakthrough solar cell design will dramatically change the economics of solar energy.

“It is exciting to see our progress recognized on a national level,” commented Jim Nelson, president and CEO of Solar3D. “The milestones reported in the articles are giant steps toward completion of our prototype, which could in turn greatly affect the economics of solar energy.”

Solar3D’s new solar cell will have two principal sections: the Light Collector section and the Micro Photovoltaic section. The articles reported the completion of the Light Collector design, from which structure of the rest solar cell will flow. The company’s research and development team believes that they can soon calculate the increase in efficiency that the overall 3-dimensional solar cell can achieve relative to current technology.

China Nuvo Solar provides update on Freya acquisition and financing

WEST PALM BEACH, USA: China Nuvo Solar Energy Inc. updated its progress with the previously announced Freya Energy, Inc. acquisition and its financing plans.

As previously reported, the Company is seeking substantially non-dilutive and non-toxic forms of financing. In that regard, the Company said it has received documentation from an investment fund outlining various types of available financing including purchase order financing, factoring of accounts receivable, equipment leasing and equipment sale leaseback.

None of these financing alternatives involves any type of equity. Based on discussions with principals of the investment fund, the Company believes the fund can tailor certain financing solutions to meet the Company's needs.

In addition, the Company has received several term sheets relating to equity-based financing transactions from funds with significant experience working with the needs of micro-cap companies. Although equity-based transactions involve a certain amount of dilution to stockholders, the company is focusing on those types of financings that would be based on sales of restricted stock.

The Company and its legal counsel have also completed the initial definitive documents for the acquisition and is presently circulating them among the various parties.

Solar wafer and cell manufacturers began price cut; cell price dropped below $1/Watt

TAIWAN: According to the latest survey conducted by EnergyTrend, a research department of TrendForce Corp., the decrease in the polysilicon price was limited, which was not in line with downstream PV manufacturers’ expectation. Besides, since the polysilicon spot market is still led by the sell side, the price remained at relevantly high level as a result.

On the other hand, the movement of cutting prices to get orders has started. The close price of Si wafer has dropped below $3.0/piece, and the close price of cell has decreased below $1.0/Watt, which can signal that the price pressure still remained.

The price of polysilicon has decreased by 2.43 percent to $75.25/kg. However, since major manufacturers have cut price to get orders, the average price of Si wafer has obviously decreased. The average price of multi-Si wafer has decreased by 6.31 percent to $3.12/piece, and the average price of mono-Si wafer has decreased by 8.08 percent to $3.401/piece. Moreover, in terms of solar cell, the lowest spot price has reached $0.95/Watt, and the average price has fallen by 2.92 percent, to $1.096/Watt.

Since major manufacturers have continued to cut price in order to compete for orders, Analysts from EnergyTrend believe that the average price will probably drop further. In addition, price fluctuation in the module market still remained. The lowest spot price has dropped to $1.4/Watt, and the average price continued to decline by 2.07 percent, to $1.512/Watt. Finally, the price of thin film has been influenced, and average price has gone down by 5.45 percent, to $1.18/Watt.Source:Energytrend, Taiwan.

According EnergyTrend’s observation, wafer and cell manufacturers are now faced with a price war where those with economies of scale take cost advantages over other smaller manufacturers to cut prices in order to receive orders. The average cell price has gone nearly $1.0/Watt. On the other hand, manufacturers that have weakness on cost management can only follow the price reduction or reduce their utilization rate. As a result, smaller manufacturers can hardly avoid losses under such circumstances.

The Italian government will release the official subsidy policy in the end of April, and the German government will decide whether they will further decrease subsidy in June as well. These uncertain factors in subsidy policies are expected to be solved in the first half of the year, and it will help market demand recovery in the latter half of the year.

Kyocera supplies 6MW of solar modules for solar power plant in Italy

JAPAN: Kyocera Corp. announced that it has supplied approximately 6-megawatts (MW) of the company’s multicrystalline silicon solar modules for a large-scale solar power plant near Turin, Italy.

The large-scale solar plant in Cigliano (Piedmont region), with an output of approximately 6MW, is the largest installation in Italy to have been equipped with Kyocera solar modules. In total, 13,920 215-watt modules (KD215GH-2PU) and 12,900 235-watt modules (KD235GH-2PU) were used for the plant which is operated by the Italian company ENERMILL Energie Rinnovabili s.r.l.

In recent years, more and more solar power plants have been built around the world, and Kyocera has notably shipped more than 50MW of modules for three large-scale power plants in Spain, and agreed to supply modules for a 204MW project in Thailand. Furthermore, data collected from three of these plants in Spain (Dulcinea: 28.8MW; Salamanca: 13.8MW) and Thailand (Korat: 6MW) show that the company’s modules are exceeding the installers’ own original power output estimates - demonstrating the high performance and reliability of Kyocera’s products.

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

SEMI and CPIA release new recommendations for China PV policy roadmap

SHANGHAI, CHINA: The SEMI PV Group announced the availability of “China’s Solar Future — A Recommended China PV Policy Roadmap 2.0,” a report containing specific recommendations for a China photovoltaic (PV) policy roadmap.

The report — prepared by SEMI PV Group, the SEMI China PV Advisory Committee, and the China PV Industry Alliance (CPIA) — recommends that, using the IEA Solar PV Roadmap as a benchmark, China should reach a global average PV electricity penetration level of 1.3 percent PV electricity by 2020, and 4.6 percent PV electricity by 2030. A dramatic increase in government support will be required to achieve these goals.

China will need to have 60 GW installed PV capacity by year 2020 and 270 GW by year 2030. China’s current PV power consumption is less than 1 GW — well below Japan, the US and many European countries.

The report presents an overview of China’s energy profile, growing need for energy, the benefits of PV, and the global status of the PV industry. It delineates a PV installation roadmap with clear annual targets up to year 2030. The report also looks at different government incentive models and offers a number of policy recommendations. These recommendations are a follow-up to the China policy paper issued by SEMI PV Group in 2009.

As the world’s fastest growing developing country, China faces a rapidly increasing demand for energy and the country has also been building a massive PV industry representing all facets of the supply chain, from polysilicon feedstock, ingots and wafers to cells and modules. Yet virtually all of this PV production has been exported. The report recommends an accelerated adoption of PV generated electric power in China to reach global average level of PV power generation by 2020. A healthy PV demand market in China will be very important for the sustainability of China's PV industry.

“Driven by increasing global demand, Chinese companies have been rapidly ramping up production capacities, making China the world’s top producer of PV cells and modules. In 2010, China produced more than 50 percent of global total production of solar cells and modules,” said Allen Lu, president of the SEMI China.

“However, on the PV installation front, the situation is quite different. It is hoped that the goals presented in the recommended policy roadmap will serve as a reference document for the Chinese government when setting national targets and new policies for PV. The exact outcome is still unclear, but what’s certain is that relying only on hydro, wind, and nuclear will not be sufficient for China to address the challenges of climate change and energy security. PV must be an important part of the solution.”

GT Solar receives $218.9 million order for advanced sapphire crystallization furnaces from Guizhou Haotian Optoelectronics

MERRIMACK, USA: GT Solar International Inc., a global provider of polysilicon production technology, and sapphire and silicon crystalline growth systems and materials for the solar, LED and other specialty markets, announced that it has received an order for its advanced sapphire crystallization furnaces totaling $218.9 million from Guizhou Haotian Optoelectronics Technology Co. Ltd (HTOT).

The order marks HTOT’s entrance into the fast-growing LED industry, and continues GT Solar’s market momentum for its sapphire crystalline growth technology based on its advanced sapphire furnace. The order will be included in GT Solar’s backlog for its current Q1 FY12, which ends on July 2, 2011.

“Our entrance into the LED market offers a new strategic growth opportunity for our company and Guiyang City as well as the Guizhou region of China,” said Hao Xu, chairman of the board of Guizhou Industrial Investment Group. “Our new sapphire production facility will help to stimulate economic growth in the region and establish HTOT as a leading supplier of material to the LED industry. This project requires a technology partner that can deliver reliable, highly productive equipment as well as installation and support know-how to quickly get our new factory up and running. We selected GT Solar because of its leading technology, proven track record, and years of experience enabling cost-effective, high-volume manufacturing.”

“We are pleased that HTOT has selected our advanced sapphire crystallization furnaces and look forward to a long and successful partnership over the coming years,” said Tom Gutierrez, GT Solar’s president and CEO. “We continue to see growing interest from companies looking to enter the fast-growing LED industry. Our sapphire crystal growth technology provides a proven path to producing high quality material, and our global installation and support resources enable our customers to quickly ramp to high volume, low-cost manufacturing.”

GT Solar’s advanced sapphire furnace technology is the result of over 40 years of continual process improvement and development at Crystal Systems, which was acquired by GT Solar in July of 2010. Crystal Systems is recognized as one of the leading providers of quality sapphire material for the LED and specialty optical and mechanical industries.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Q-Cells enters Japanese residential PV market

TOKYO, JAPAN & BITTERFELD-WOLFEN, GERMANY: Q-Cells SE, one of the world’s leading photovoltaics companies, is the first company of German origin to enter the Japanese residential market with integrated photovoltaic (PV) solutions.

In order to ensure a successful market entry, QCells has founded the Q-Cells Meister Club (QMC), which is an innovative sales network of selected local installers, offering residential PV solutions with Q-Cells solar modules. The QMC delivers Japanese residential end customers high quality solar systems kits for their roof-top installations from a single source.

“The QMC was initiated before the earthquake hit Japan”, says Nedim Cen, CEO of Q-Cells SE. “Yet, we believe that solar energy will be an important resource and growing market for the Japanese energy supply. This is why Q-Cells strengthens its presence in Japan with local partners and PV solutions.”

Since January 2010, Q-Cells has been running an office in Tokyo, selling its high quality products, comprising solar cells, multi crystalline solar modules Q.PRO and Q.BASE and thin-film solar modules Q.SMART. With the official start of QMC in early March, Q-Cells moves into offering complete PV packages to residential end customers.

The residential market makes up for 90 percent of the overall photovoltaic market in Japan with a forecast volume of 1 GWp in 2011. In March, Q-Cells installed its first residential system of 9.87 KWp in Osaka, which can make up for an electricity supply of 10.594 kWh or a reduction of 3.300 kg CO2 emissions per year.

The QMC already counts 30 members, offering entire solar systems kits, including solar modules, inverters, mounting systems, monitoring systems, cables and other components. The members of the QMC benefit from installation and sales trainings provided by Q-Cells with the overall aim, to offer highly secure and best quality system kits and services to Japanese customers.

“Our German Engineering solar modules match the quality of the components of our selected local partners and meet the high quality requirements of Japanese customers”, said Steffen Studeny, MD of Q-Cells Japan. Q-Cells will put further effort in increasing the number of members of the QMC throughout 2011.

Trina Solar extends distribution agreement with Australia's RF Industries

CHANGZHOU, CHINA: Trina Solar Ltd announced through its subsidiary, Changzhou Trina Solar Energy Co. Ltd, the extension of its national distribution agreement with Australia's leading renewable energy distributor, RF Industries Pty Ltd.

The agreement, initially signed in January 2010, has been extended until December 31, 2012. Under the terms of the agreement, Trina Solar recognizes RFI as their exclusive distributor in Australia, and is expected to supply RFI with up to 40 MW of PV modules during 2011.

"We are pleased that RFI has extended the distribution agreement with us in Australia, demonstrating their trust and confidence in Trina Solar's premium solar products," said Jifan Gao, chairman and CEO of Trina Solar. "We believe the renewal and expansion of our long-term relationship will help us grow in this key, fast growing solar-friendly market."

"We are proud to expand our existing successful partnership with Trina Solar and look forward to offering their exciting product range to our customers in 2011," said Scott Magee, MD of RFI Solar. "As a key distributor and integrator in the Australian solar PV market, supplier relationships are critical to our success. We believe this positive partnership with Trina Solar will deliver additional value to our customers, allowing us to provide our customers with access to innovative PV applications from one of the world's premier solar brands."

LDK Solar provides updated outlook for Q1 2011

XINYU CITY, CHINA & SUNNYVALE, USA: LDK Solar Co. Ltd, a leading manufacturer of multicrystalline solar wafers and PV products, provided an updated outlook for the first quarter 2011 and reiterated its guidance for the full year 2011.

For the first quarter of 2011, LDK Solar expects to report revenue in the range of $745 to $755 million, wafer shipments of 625 to 635 megawatts (MW), module shipments of 109 MW to 114 MW, in-house polysilicon production of 2,450 MT to 2,470 MT, in-house cell production between 44 MW and 46 MW, and gross margin between 30 percent and 31 percent. The company’s prior guidance for the first quarter was revenue of $800 to $850 million, wafer shipments of 610 MW to 660 MW, and module shipments of 120 to 140 MW, in-house polysilicon production between 2,300 MT and 2,400 MT, in-house cell production between 45 MW and 50 MW, and gross margin between 27 percent and 29 percent.

LDK Solar reiterates its 2011 guidance of revenue in the range of $3.5 to $3.7 billion, gross margins between 24% and 29%, wafer shipments to be between 2.7 and 2.9 GW, module shipments to be between 800 and 900 MW, polysilicon production to be between 10,000 and 11,000 MT, and in-house cell production to be between 500 and 600 MW.

The outlook for the three months ended March 31, 2011 and full year ended December 31, 2011 are estimates. Results are subject to change based on further review by management. Once the first quarter 2011 reporting date is finalized, LDK Solar will issue a press release announcing the date and details of its first quarter 2011 conference call.

RES Americas contracts with FRV to build landmark project for Austin Energy

SAN FRANCISCO & BROOMFIELD, USA: Fotowatio Renewable Ventures (FRV) announced that it had closed financing and begun construction on the 30 megawatt (MW) Webberville Solar project, one of the largest solar PV systems in the US. The project, which will be located just outside Austin, Texas, is scheduled to be operational by year-end.

Renewable Energy Systems Americas Inc. (RES Americas), headquartered in Colorado with an Austin office of 20 employees, has been selected to construct the project and provide operations and maintenance services for the power plant for five years. Once operational, the solar energy from the plant will provide electricity under a long-term power purchase agreement with Austin Energy for 25 years.

"This utility-scale solar deployment is a critical component of Austin's generation diversity and renewable energy goals," said Larry Weis, Austin Energy GM. "It is also integral to an overarching transition to a new energy economy and a commitment by the Austin community to take a leadership role in protecting our environment and promoting sustainability."

FRV has partnered with Bayerische Landesbank (BayernLB), which has fully underwritten the construction debt for the project. With this team now in place, the construction of the Webberville Solar project - sited on Austin Energy-owned land in Travis County, approximately 15 miles east of Austin in Webberville, TX - is fully under way.

In order to maximize the solar energy output at the site, the solar plant will be constructed by mounting modules on a flat, single-axis tracking system. The project will deploy crystalline 270W photovoltaic modules that FRV procured directly from Trina Solar. The Webberville Solar project will provide enough clean energy to power 5,000 homes, while avoiding the emission of approximately 30,000 tons of CO2 per year.

"Austin Energy's leadership in renewable energy is a superb example for utilities across the country and reflects a strong commitment to their community and environment," said Jose Benjumea, CEO of FRV. "We are very proud to be financing, developing and, now constructing this landmark project." FRV's vice president of development, Tim Lasocki, added: "Austin Energy has been proactive and dedicated to this project and understands the incredible level of effort required to reach the point that we are at today. We believe this will be one of the highest quality solar installations in the United States and we look forward to delivering both economic and environmental benefits to the region."

"We are delighted that FRV selected us to build Webberville Solar, which will help Austin Energy reach their 35 percent renewable energy goal," said Andrew Fowler, executive vice president of construction of RES Americas, the engineering, procurement, and construction (EPC) contractor for the project. "RES Americas is excited to continue providing jobs and clean, renewable energy to Texas."

Raytheon places order for multiple engines from Cyclone Power Technologies

POMPANO BEACH, USA: Cyclone Power Technologies Inc., developer of the all-fuel, clean-tech Cyclone Engine, announced that Raytheon Integrated Defense Systems (IDS), a business of Raytheon Company, has placed an initial purchase order for multiple engines from Cyclone. This contract is valued at approximately $400,000. The work will be performed at Cyclone’s facility in Florida.

These initial purchased engines, named the MantaRay, are based on the company’s Mark V engine and patented technology. The MantaRay represents one of several engine models and projects on which Cyclone and Raytheon are collaborating.

“After months of rigorous engine testing, we’re pleased to say that Cyclone and Raytheon are now entering the next phase of our working relationship,” stated Harry Schoell, CEO of Cyclone.

“We are designing and building engines such as the MantaRay for Raytheon and their customers, and starting to generate revenue from these operations. We’re very pleased to be working alongside such a well established and respected company and look forward to building our relations going forward.”

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Trina Solar announces sales agreement with FRV

CHANGZHOU, CHINA: Trina Solar Ltd (TSL), a leading integrated manufacturer of solar photovoltaic (PV) products from the production of ingots, wafers and cells to the assembly of PV modules, announced that its subsidiary, Trina Solar (US) Inc., has signed a sales agreement to supply solar modules to US-based FRV AE Solar LLC, a subsidiary of Fotowatio Renewable Ventures Inc., a global independent solar power producer.

Under the terms of the agreement, Trina Solar is expected to supply FRV with approximately 35 MW of the Company's powerful utility-scale solar modules during 2011, at predetermined prices. Delivery is expected to commence in the second quarter of 2011 for one of the largest solar PV systems located just outside of Austin, Texas.

"We are excited to announce our continued collaboration with FRV, a leading global solar industry player, on one of the largest solar photovoltaic projects in the United States," said Ben Hill, VP, Sales and Marketing of Trina Solar. "We are pleased to combine our high-wattage, utility scale modules and premium service to deliver cost-effective PV solutions as we expand our strategic relationship with FRV."

Jose Benjumea, CEO of FRV, added, "Trina Solar is a strategic partner to FRV. We follow a rigorous selection process for our suppliers and Trina Solar continues to meet our standards."

27 percent worldwide growth in commercial smart building systems market

FRAMINGHAM, USA: IDC Energy Insights announced the availability of two new research documents focused on commercial Smart Building systems, a market that is emerging as a "killer app" for the smart grid.

The first report, Smart Buildings Global Market Forecast 2010-2015 (Document #EI227827), forecasts a global compound annual growth rate (CAGR) in spending of 26.6 percent from 2010-2015, with forecasted sales reaching $10.2 billion in 2015. Most of the market's forecasted spending growth will occur in Western Europe (28.8 percent CAGR) and North America (28.4 percent CAGR), with demand projected to continue for at least the next five years. The forecast includes systems and services for the control and optimization of building operations and maintenance.

Worldwide, Smart Building (SB) systems market growth will be driven by building owners and managers seeking ways to reduce operating costs and increase the uniqueness of their building assets, thereby embracing the complementary objectives of energy efficiency and sustainability. SB systems are a set of intelligent technologies that enable building managers to measure, monitor, control and optimize the operations and maintenance of a building.

"The primary motivating factor behind the emergence of Smart Building systems is cost reduction through energy savings," explained Casey Talon, a research analyst with IDC Energy Insights' research advisory services focused on clean energy, and one of the authors of the report. "Energy consumption in the building sector is usually one of the leading line items in operational budgets and thus a tempting target for Smart Building controls. Heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) plus lighting comprise more than 70 percent of a building's energy consumption."

Ms. Talon continued: "A second leading motivating factor behind sales of SB systems is the attempt to reach corporate sustainability goals, including greenhouse gas emission reduction programs and carbon reduction goals. In our survey of building management decision-makers, 84 percent of respondents incorporate energy efficiency or conservation measures as a component of their operations."

The second IDC Energy Insights report, Business Strategy: Smart Building Systems Challenges and Opportunities (Document #EI227915), outlines the opportunities and challenges for the three primary stakeholders in the commercial building arena: electric utilities, building owners, and technology vendors. The report gives emphasis to IDC Energy Insights' belief that SB systems have tremendous disruptive potential for the energy and information and communications technology (ICT) industries.

"The smart grid, which has received significant attention, is – in the end – a platform. The Smart Building might turn out to be the first true 'killer app' of the new smart grid infrastructure," stated Ms. Talon. "Advances in energy efficiency and electricity demand management through SB systems will transform the interaction between commercial buildings and the electricity grid."

Examples of the opportunities and challenges highlighted in the report include:

* The highest growth rate areas will be where electricity markets have decoupled revenue from the quantity of energy sold, thereby monetizing energy efficiency projects – notably, California, New York and Ontario. Utilities in these regions are advised to explore capital-friendly methods of incentivizing SB systems, such as rebates.
* Electric utilities that operate in non-decoupled regions should establish pilot projects with large building owners to become familiar with SB systems, which will become more widespread when local regulators create methods for incentivizing energy efficiency investments.
* While building owners and managers often seek an immediate return on investment to their major capital expenditures, the recent global recession saw vacancy rates increase, forcing owners to more aggressively compete for tenants. An energy-efficient building that can promise lower energy bills is one method of drawing interest in a property.
* For SB systems vendors, success in this growing market will be influenced by acquiring a reputation through verified performance data and building solid partnerships, as well as forming relationships with established equipment distributors.

ODIS proves a new laser device using POET monolithic optoelectronic fab technology

SHELTON, USA: OPEL Solar International Inc. announced that its US affiliate company, OPEL Defense Integrated Systems (ODIS) has demonstrated laser operation for the first time in a new integrated device as part of its Planar Optoelectronic Technology (“POET”) process.

POET creates high-performance devices by fusing light and electronics together on a single chip. Specifically, POET is a semiconductor-manufacturing technology that enables the monolithic fabrication of integrated circuit (“IC”) chips containing both electronic and optical elements. By offering components with dramatically lowered cost, together with increased speed, density, and reliability, POET could potentially allow ODIS to fundamentally alter the landscape for a broad range of applications, such as tablet computers and smartphones.

Based on a proprietary Group III-V materials structure, the pulsed vertical cavity surface-emitting laser (VCSEL) operates at 980nm with a 12μm diameter vertical cavity surface and an output power of 1.7mW. In tandem with ODIS’ previously-announced integrated detector - a heterostructure field effect transistor (HFET) device - the laser enables inter-circuit optical connections between electronic devices for on-chip applications.

“This has proven, for the first time, an end-to-end technology for on-chip integration of photonic circuits can manipulate light signals on the same semiconductor framework as electronic signals,” noted Leon M. Pierhal, CEO of OPEL. “This technology has the potential to overcome the constraints of copper interconnects in silicon-based chips, and it further validates the years of development invested in ODIS, as reflected in the potential market applications for POET technology, as well as its overall importance to our stakeholders.

“Let us keep in mind that this is the baseline laser that will serve as the foundation device from which greater enhancements are projected and in the process of development.”

ODIS has also proven numerous other optoelectronic devices, including HFETs, optical thyristors, oscillators, and super-radiant light emitting devices, all able to be monolithically fabricated via the POET process. These devices are currently being validated for scale-up by a third-party fabrication facility.

The POET platform is also the basis for other ODIS projects, under various governmental agency grants, to provide next-generation optoelectronic devices. These include optical code division multiple access (OCDMA) devices for avionics systems, combined RF/optical phased arrays, optoelectronic directional couplers, and ultra-low-power random access memory (RAM).

Monday, April 25, 2011

GT Solar receives $93.9 million order for polysilicon production equipment and technology from Taiwan-based Powertec

MERRIMACK, USA: GT Solar International Inc. announced that it has received a $93.9 million order from Taiwan-based polysilicon producer Powertec Energy Corp. for a complete suite of polysilicon production equipment and technology including SDR 400 reactors, hydrochlorination, filament and product processing equipment.

The equipment will be installed in Powertec’s new polysilicon facility which is expected to begin production in 2012. The order will be included in GT Solar’s backlog for its current Q1 FY12, which ends on July 2, 2011.

“Our goal is to become a leading supplier of polysilicon to support the growth of the world PV industry,” said Scott Kou, CEO of Powertec Energy. “To ensure a low-risk and rapid startup of our new production facility, we wanted proven technology that could deliver high quality material for the lowest polysilicon production costs. GT Solar’s polysilicon technology and complete range of engineering services will allow us to quickly ramp our plant to volume production while delivering the highest return on our investment.”

“We are pleased that Powertec has selected GT Solar as its technology partner for their new polysilicon production facility,” said Tom Gutierrez, GT Solar’s president and CEO. “We have a successful track record of enabling new market entrants to establish highly productive polysilicon manufacturing plants. Our suite of polysilicon equipment and technology delivers industry-leading cost per kilogram polysilicon by increasing throughput and lowering energy consumption.”

The SDR 400 CVD reactor has proven capability of producing over 400 metric tons annually (MTA) of polysilicon and continues GT Solar’s leadership position for developing the most energy efficient reactors in the industry.

PV Japan 2011 postponed to December 5-7, 2011

USA: Due to the ongoing recovery efforts in the wake of the Japan Tohoku-Kanto Earthquake and the request of Japanese government agencies to help conserve energy resources this summer, SEMI and JPEA have decided to reschedule PVJapan 2011. PVJapan, previously planned for July, will now be held December 5-7, 2011 at Makuhari Messe, Japan.

We apologize for any inconvenience the schedule change may cause. If you have any questions or concerns, please contact us directly.

PV Japan 2011 New Schedule
Date: December 5-7, 2011
Venue: Makuhari Messe, Chiba, Japan

The tragic events of March 11, 2011, and the continued recovery efforts have heightened the importance of renewable energy and distributed power generation in Japan. Solar power promises to aid in the recovery of the disaster-affected areas and the Japanese economy. We believe that PVJapan 2011 will be an instrumental part of these recovery efforts, raising awareness and visibility of the solar industry and advancing renewed investment and reconstruction.

IEEE launches smart grid interoperability standards project in India

INDIA: IEEE Standards Association (IEEE-SA), a globally recognized standards setting body within IEEE, officially introduced its globally reputed project, the “IEEE P2030TM Draft Guide for Smart Grid Interoperability of Energy Technology and Information Technology Operation with the Electric Power System (EPS) and End-Use Applications and Loads”, in India.

Interoperability has been one of the key concerns in building a Smart Grid in India, like in many other regions of the world and the project aims to address this. IEEE-SA’s India Standards Interest Group (SIG) announced in February 2011 will work closely with IEEE P2030 Working Group to introduce interoperability standards in India later this year, enabling faster implementation of Smart Grid.

Leveraging the technical breadth of IEEE-SA and its open standards development process, IEEE P2030 will provide a knowledge base for understanding and defining Smart Grid interoperability of the electric power system with end use applications and loads. It will involve the integration of energy technology and information and communications technologies, slated to be among the most important essentials to achieve seamless operation for electric generation, delivery, and end-use benefits that will permit two-way power flow with communication and control.

The draft guide is available for purchase at

Dick DeBlasio, Chair, IEEE-SA P2030 Working Group, commented: “The approval of IEEE P2030 represents a significant milestone for IEEE, the public, industry and Governments across countries, especially with the global focus on bringing intelligence and standardization to the way energy is transmitted, distributed, managed and kept secure. And it strongly addresses the need to reduce energy transmission's carbon footprint. India is among the most promising and growing Smart Grid markets in the world and we firmly believe that IEEE P2030 will define key elements of a modern, intelligent grid and accelerate progress in making Smart Grid a success in India.”

Srikanth Chandrasekaran, Chair - India SIG, IEEE-SA further explained: “IEEE P2030 will provide urgently needed guidelines for Smart Grid interoperability, building on the many technologies used in the electric power system and merging these with communication, monitoring, and analysis technologies and capabilities. Interconnection and intra-facing frameworks and strategies with design definitions are addressed in this standard, providing guidance in expanding the current knowledge base.

"This expanded knowledge base is a key element in grid architectural designs and operations and leads to a more reliable and flexible electric power system. The IEEE P2030 standards project will support the goal of the India Smart Grid Task Force to coordinate the development of interoperability standards, critical to achieve the Smart Grid vision in India."

OCI to build P5 polysilicon plant in Saemangeum Industrial Complex

SOUTH KOREA: OCI will invest KRW 1.8 trillion to build facilities on a large scale through an additional polysilicon production plant with production capacity of 24,000 metric tons a year, clearly showing its willingness to make another enormous facility investment for the prior occupation of the high-purity polysilicon market.

OCI announced to construct its P5 polysilicon plant with annual production capacity of 24,000 metric tons in Saemangeum Industrial Complex, North Jeolla. Construction of the facility will be commenced in second half of 2011 and completed by December 2013. A total of KRW 1.8 trillion won will be invested.

With P5 Plant which is the world’s largest single plant in size and produces 24,000 metric tons, OCI will be equipped with a total manufacturing capacity of 86,000 metric tons and cement its reputation as the largest polysilicon supplier in the world.

Upon completion of the P4 Plant construction by the 4th quarter of 2012 to produce 20,000 metric tons per year based on the accumulated technical expertise and improved productivity, OCI expects to gain cost competitive advantage through economies of scale from a total 62,000 metric tons of production capacity. Also the P5 plant construction will lay a strong production foundation to support continuously increasing world demand in the long run.

The construction of P5 plant is the first full-fledged investment in the Saemangeum Industrial Complex under the Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) agreement signed last August between OCI and authorities of North Jeolla Province. Through such investment, OCI can strengthen its cost competitiveness through efficient infrastructure and low-priced energy procured from the co-generation plant.

“To strengthen our market dominance through satisfying the needs of customers, it is timely to drive the expansion of P5 Plant at this moment since the major polysilicon suppliers such as Hemlock and Wacker are targeting 2013 for their aggressive plant expansion deadline,” an OCI official said.

“As the polysilicon market will clearly head towards an oversupply situation, the growing needs of high-efficient solar cells will ultimately lead the insistent demands for high-purity polysilicon products, the core material for high-efficient solar cells manufacturing. Instead of turning to vertical integration, global customers prefer sourcing their polysilicon product supplies from OCI, which is devoting into polysilicon production only instead of relying on vertical integration.”

OCI is supplying super high-purity polysilicon of 10-nine grade and over to about 50 customers worldwide through continuous R&D activities and capital investment. With the further plant expansion, OCI expects to assure stable supply to existing and new customers and, thereby, smoothly respond to the growing demand for high-purity products.

German PV capacity to reach 41.6 GWp by 2014

NOIDA, INDIA: According to our latest research report “German Photovoltaic Market Analysis”, Germany has been the global leader in photovoltaic industry during the past decade. Energy import dependency, limited fossil & nuclear resources, and vast availability of solar radiation across the nation have infused solar photovoltaic industry developments in the country.

However, economic slowdown and weak economy had forced the government to drastically cut subsidies for the industry and driven authorities to formulate FIT cuts. Despite this fact, it is anticipated that the cumulative photovoltaic capacity will reach 41.6 GWp by 2014.

Our study reveals that, Germany has been the most dominant PV market in the world during previous decade. The country captured over half of the global PV installations in 2010 and sustained its top position in the global PV arena. The industry has been receiving notable support from the government in the form of various programs aimed at meeting increased energy needs through renewable sources.

Further, our report states that at the segment level, commercial installations have been leading the industry followed by residential installations. Attractive incentives and long term economic benefits encouraged investors to opt for commercial (mainly rooftop) systems installations and uplifted the overall industry developments.

However, in coming years, it is anticipated that residential PV installations will orchestrate substantial increase in market share as proposed FIT cuts will shift consumer preference from large-scale installations to small & medium scale system developments.

Friday, April 22, 2011

Yingli Green Energy partners with JV of West Holdings and Super Tool to boost sales of PV modules in Japanese residential rooftop market

BAODING, CHINA: Yingli Green Energy Holding Co. Ltd announced that it has entered into an exclusive agent agreement, and a 10 MW PV module distribution contract, with YHS Co. Ltd, a joint venture of West Holdings Co. Ltd, one of the largest construction companies for residential rooftop solar power systems in Japan; and with Super Tool Co. Ltd, a Japan-based specialist of wrench components and hardware tools.

Under the terms of the relevant agreements, YHS is expected to purchase 10 MW of PV modules from the Company in the second half of 2011, and will be appointed as the Company's exclusive agency in Japan for sales of PV modules within the Japanese residential market, effective from March through December 2011.

"We are pleased to announce this meaningful step that we took in expanding our sales within the Japanese solar market," commented Liansheng Miao, chairman and CEO of Yingli Green Energy. "We believe by cooperating with YHS, which enjoys strong support from WHD in the areas of distributing, marketing and selling imported PV modules in Japan, we will be better positioned in assessing and responding to the needs of our Japanese customers."

Miao continued: "In light of the recent events in Japan, more countries and regions are expected to switch towards safer, cleaner and lower carbon energy generation sources which increases the need for renewables. As a leading solar energy company, we are committed to meeting these increasing demand worldwide."

Spire Solar Systems breaks ground at the Berkshire School

BEDFORD, USA: Spire Corp., an American global solar company providing turn-key production lines to manufacture photovoltaic (PV) modules, and Engineering, Procurement and Construction (EPC) integration services for solar systems, announced that it has begun the construction of a 2 megawatt (MW), eight-acre solar PV system at the Berkshire School in Sheffield, Massachusetts.

Spire is developing the system in collaboration with PowerPlay Solar, developer of the project, for the non-profit, private high-school. The Berkshire School’s mission is to become carbon neutral by 2016. Upon completion, the 2MW project will generate over 2,300 MW/hours per year of electricity, enough to power 40 percent of the school.

“We are excited to have begun construction of the solar field at the Berkshire School,” said Roger G. Little, chairman and CEO of Spire. “Our Solar Systems group continuously expands as we target large scale projects in the Northeast.”

Hanwha SolarOne announces latest modules to receive UL, MCS and TUV quality certifications

SHANGHAI, USA: Hanwha SolarOne Co. Ltd, a vertically integrated manufacturer of silicon ingots, wafers and photovoltaic cells and modules in China, announced quality certifications for its new crystalline solar modules in the British, North American, and German markets.

The new certifications come from three independent quality certification bodies including US-based Underwriters Laboratories Inc., UK-based Microgeneration Certification Scheme, and Germany's Technischer Uberwachungs-Verein [Technical Inspection Association].

To date, Hanhwa SolarOne has maintained a strong portfolio of UL-certified crystalline modules. Long recognized as a guarantee of high performance, safety, environmental friendliness and quality, certification from UL is essential for products sold in the US market.

The company's most recent certifications include its X-tra serial and Black Diamond modules, as well as some from its standard line. It has also validated a significant number of modules through TUV Rheinland, recognized across Europe as the highest guarantee of product safety and performance. Similarly, for the UK market, products bearing the MCS mark are likely to be seen as the preferred option in the market place. MCS is also linked to financial incentives which include feed in tariffs.

Dr. Peter Xie, president and CEO of Hanwha SolarOne, commented: "I am very pleased to announce the latest international certification achievements of our newest crystalline modules. As we grow into a global company, we continue to make every effort to ensure the market-leading safety, reliability and performance that our brand has become known for, is extended to all of our customers.

"The UL certification extends even more of our high-quality products to the North American market, while the MCS and TUV Rheinland labels will enhance our offerings in the United Kingdom and EU. The certifications are a great accomplishment, and are a strong signal of our company's commitment to expanding in these markets."

ADB providing $150 million credit guarantees to scale up India's solar power sector

MANILA, PHILIPPINES - The Asian Development Bank (ADB) will provide up to $150 million in credit guarantees to help India scale up its use of solar power as a major renewable energy source.

The guarantees will be available to local and foreign commercial banks that finance private sector solar power plants in the country and will cover 50% of the payment default risk on bank loans made to project developers. The guarantees will help mobilize long-term funding for solar energy development and support the Government of India's push to diversify its energy mix away from a heavy reliance on fossil fuels to lower-carbon, renewable sources.

"Solar energy is ideally suited to India because it has available land with strong sunlight. Solar plants are easy to install, even in remote communities that currently have no other access to energy, suit small-scale demand, and are relatively cheap to operate and maintain," said Philip Erquiaga, director general of ADB's Private Sector Operations Department. "In a world of depleting fossil fuels, solar energy is a long-term, sustainable solution to India's energy needs and security."

India's solar energy potential is among the best in the world with around 300 sunny days a year. Companies have been slow to tap that potential, however, because of the high up-front costs of solar plants and a lack of affordable long-term finance from banks. ADB's partial guarantees on loans of up to 15 years will make the longer-tenor loans to solar power projects more attractive to banks and the projects. These guarantees will support projects of up to 25 megawatts. ADB is also separately considering direct finance for larger solar power projects with the private sector in India.

"What we do in the next two to three years is critical for the solar program in India. Banks that finance projects alongside ADB will become more comfortable with solar power and this in turn will eventually transform market risk perceptions and induce other banks to lend to the sector without ADB support," said Don Purka, senior Investment Officer in ADB's Private Sector Operations Department.

The Government of India last year established the Jawaharlal Nehru National Solar Mission under which it intends to commission 20,000 megawatts in grid-connected solar power by 2022 to help fill persistent energy shortages in the country. The first step to that is building smaller plants that can ultimately be scaled up.

Alongside the guarantees, ADB is also providing $1.25 million to provide training on solar technology and risk issues and assist participating banks to carry out technical due diligence on individual solar projects. A grant of $500,000 will be provided from ADB's concessional Technical Assistance Special Fund, with the other $750,000 grant coming from the Government of Japan-established Asian Clean Energy Fund. This fund is part of the ADB-administered Clean Energy Financing Partnership Facility.

The guarantees support ADB's Asia Solar Energy Initiative which ADB announced a year ago to promote the development of solar energy in developing member countries into a competitive and prominent energy source.

UNI-SOLAR brand PV installed on Eurocopter Logistics Center in France

AUBURN HILLS, USA: United Solar, a leading global manufacturer of lightweight, flexible thin-film solar modules and a wholly owned subsidiary of Energy Conversion Devices, announced the completion of a 1.1 megawatt (MW) solar power system on the rooftop of a logistics center in Marignane, France.

The facility will be used by Eurocopter, a subsidiary of EADS, a world leader in defense, aerospace and related services, and DAHER, an integrated equipment and services supplier. The solar installation will cover the 46,500 square meter warehouse and will provide enough power for 2,250 local residents with a carbon offset of more than 873 metric tons per year.

The building was built to the new HQE (high environmental quality) standard in France by BARJANE, a developer of business parks and logistics sites in France, who will own and manage the building and its rooftop solar system.

BARJANE chose the UNI-SOLAR solution due to its very light weight (3.8kg/m2), the ability to lay the solar panels flat directly onto the waterproofing membrane, all this while producing a higher rating of 1,239kWh/kWp compared to alternative solutions. The UNI-SOLAR laminates were bonded to a waterproof membrane by Derbigum, a United Solar channel partner, to form their DERBISOLAR® PV product.

"This is another example of the strength of the partnership between United Solar and Derbigum, and our ability to provide solar solutions for blue-chip customers to meet their energy, environmental and social responsibility needs," said Ted Amyuni, president-EMEA, United Solar.

United Solar has more than 25 years experience in the industry of solar power generation, and is the largest manufacturer of lightweight flexible solar panels in the world.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Applied Materials re-inforces commitment to reducing carbon footprint on Earth day

BENGALURU, INDIA: Reinforcing its commitment toward reducing the company’s carbon footprint, Applied Materials organized a series of internal programs during the past month.

These programs included an e-Waste Recycle Week, demarking a Car Pool/ Public Transport Day, Sapling Plantation, and an upcoming Lake-a-thon Lake Restoration Campaign. In addition employees have also committed to smaller permanent changes to foster conservation of energy and resources at the office.

Through a range of internal programs, Applied Materials have cut down their environmental footprint by more than 20% since 2007; Applied Materials provides energy-efficient manufacturing systems to customers worldwide.

“Billions of energy-efficient electronics and clean energy producing solar panels are manufactured using the equipment made by Applied materials, but the most direct impact that Applied makes on people’s lives is in the neighborhoods where employees live and work.” said Michael R. Splinter, chairman of the Board of Directors, president and CEO Applied Materials.

“We have made a commitment to reduce the company’s carbon footprint to 50,000 tonnes by 2012. In addition to reducing operating costs and manufacturing efficient equipment, we’re encouraging employees to make and sustain changes in their daily energy consumption. Applied Materials is making a difference — one person and one city at a time.”

Applied Nanotech launches new solar inks pilot manufacturing line

AUSTIN, USA: Applied Nanotech Holdings Inc. has announced the official launch of its new solar inks pilot manufacturing line with a ribbon cutting ceremony on Friday, May 6, 2011 at 2:00pm CDT at Applied Nanotech's newly extended facility.

The ceremony will begin with comments by Lee Leffingwell, Austin City Mayor, Lloyd Doggett, Congressman, 25th District of Texas and Applied Nanotech executive officers, Dr. Zvi Yaniv, and Doug Baker. The launch will end with a tour of the facility and a networking hour.

Applied Nanotech's nanoparticle ink technology formulations of aluminum, copper, nickel and silver will be delivered using aerosolized jet, inkjet and spray coating methods and other non-contact printing techniques that will enable ultra-thin silicon wafers to be used for photovoltaic applications.

Currently, solar cell wafers must be thick enough to survive the direct contact metallization processes which use screen printing equipment that comes in direct contact with the wafer and can exert enough force to cause ultra-thin wafers to break. Silicon is the largest cost in conventional solar cell production and the primary material in solar cells, making up 50-60 percent of overall cost.

Using methods such as inkjet, aerosol jet and spray coating – all non-contact methods – will allow solar companies to save substantial material costs on the amount of silicon used by enabling the use of thin wafers. "Through its proprietary nanoparticle inks and non-contact printing methods, Applied Nanotech is leading the transition to use thin solar wafers in high throughput production environments," commented Dr. Zvi Yaniv, CEO of Applied Nanotech.

"The solar industry is set to be transformed by nanotechnology as new inking techniques work to lower overall solar cell costs and preserve solar as one of the leading renewable energy options in the market for decades to come."

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Responding to constant decrease in solar price, some makers lower production capacities

TAIWAN: Due to the weakened demand, the pressure of price reduction still remained. According to the latest survey conducted by EnergyTrend, the price in the downstream solar cell industry has slightly decreased. Therefore, EnergyTrend believes that the sales price has come down close enough to production costs.

However, the circumstances of high raw material price in the upstream of the solar cell industry limited manufacturers to cut price further. Therefore, some companies have lowered their production capacity in response to the current market. On the other hand, since the pressure of a decreasing price in polysilicon and Si-wafer has increased, it is forecasted that the price of the upstream solar cell industry will continue to decrease in the near future to get more business orders.

As the survey showed, the price of polysilicon has increased by 2.37 percent to $77.13/kg. However, there is a decrease of 2.97 percent in the average contract price of multi-Si wafer, to $3.33/piece, while the price of mono-Si wafer has still remained the same. Moreover, the price of solar cell has fallen by 1.74 percent, to 1.129/Watt, since the market demand has not recovered.

Compared with a few weeks ago, the price decrease has narrowed, some manufacturers indicated that since the sales price has reached close to production cost, they will consider decreasing production capacity in response to market condition. Besides, price fluctuation in the module market still remained. The lowest price decreased below $1.5/Watt, and the average price dropped by 0.39 percent, to 1.54/Watt. Finally, the price of PV inverter has declined by 3.02 percent, to $0.257/Watt.

According to EnergyTrend’s observation, since Italian government will release their latest subsidy policy at the end of April and the peak season is approaching, the wait-and-see attitude has spread in the market. However, oversupply has still remained until the early second quarter of the year.

Some solar cell manufacturers have faced the pressure that the sales price is close to production cost. Therefore, it is only reasonable for manufacturers to cut production capacity.

National Instruments announces 2011 Green Engineering Grant program

INDIA: National Instruments has announced its 2011 Green Engineering Grant program, a worldwide competitive program that fosters rapid design, prototyping and commercialization of promising new renewable energy, energy efficiency and smart grid systems.

Through the program, NI will donate up to $25,000 equivalent in NI LabVIEW graphical system design software tools and training to eligible startups to help advance clean energy development in applications such as solar, wind and biofuel technology. The 2011 program has a special focus on technologies that improve the smart grid and provide the foundation for a clean energy future.

“For more than 30 years, engineers and scientists around the world have used NI software and hardware to implement their world-changing innovations more quickly and efficiently,” said Dr. James Truchard, president, CEO and cofounder of National Instruments. “The NI Green Engineering Grant program helps remove technological barriers by providing access to the training and tools needed to bring smart grid and renewable energy solutions to market.”

LabVIEW software and the LabVIEW FPGA Module, as well as embedded prototyping and deployment platforms such as NI CompactRIO and PXI instrumentation, are ideal for building innovative control and monitoring solutions for the renewable energy market. Small companies throughout many countries have combined the open, graphical nature of LabVIEW software with the high-performance characteristics of modular, reconfigurable NI hardware to prototype and prove advanced embedded designs significantly faster than with traditional solutions.

“With only three employees, we work hard to develop clean energy solutions for people in developing nations,” said Matt Bennett, vice president of research and development for Windlift, a startup company that develops mobile airborne wind energy systems, including onboard energy storage for mobile microgrids in post-conflict reconstruction and disaster relief.

“The NI Green Engineering Grant gave us the tools to facilitate rapid development of our technology, helping us to progress from concept to prototype in just eight months. Also, the same hardware and software will carry through the entire technology development process, providing a smooth transition when we are ready to enter production.”

Digi wireless gateways and iDigi device cloud enable PowerDash energy monitoring for solar inverters, smart meters and other clean energy devices

MINNETONKA, USA: Digi International announced that PowerDash is using the ConnectPort X2 Smart Energy wireless gateway and iDigi Device Cloud to connect its energy performance monitoring solutions to Smart Energy devices for residential solar installations. It is also using the ConnectPort X4 for commercial/industrial solar power installations to connect a broad range of production, metering and sensing equipment.

PowerDash is a Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) platform that streamlines and simplifies the collection, management and usability of energy production and consumption data from clean energy technologies such as solar inverters, smart meters, wind power systems and other devices.

“I have been involved in this type of work for nearly eight years, and the challenge has always been getting the required data from the different devices,” said Stephen Lapointe, principal, PowerDash. “Digi enables the development of applications and tools that are at the heart of what the Smart Grid needs. It provides an effective communications layer on top of existing Grid infrastructure making it possible to develop Smart Grid tools and applications in an effective way. Digi has delivered on the promise of the ZigBee Smart Energy standard.”

Used in residential applications, the ConnectPort X2 connects ZigBee Smart Energy devices such as Smart Meters to the PowerDash solution. It gathers high accuracy solar production data required by state solar renewable incentive programs from revenue grade ZigBee Smart Meters and sends it back to the iDigi Device Cloud over Ethernet. PowerDash applications use the iDigi Device Cloud to access the solar production information in real-time. iDigi also speeds solar system installation and makes device management easier.

The ConnectPort X4 is used in commercial installations to wirelessly connect smart energy devices, sensors, inverters and other devices to the PowerDash solution. It connects the devices via ZigBee, serial connections and/or Ethernet to the ConnectPort X4 which transmits the data back to the PowerDash solution over cellular networks. iDigi is used in commercial applications to simplify device installation and management.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Westinghouse Solar announces innovative new flat roof solar power system

CAMPBELL, USA: Westinghouse Solar Inc., a designer and manufacturer of solar power systems, announced the release of a new lightweight, non-penetrating flat roof solar power system designed especially for commercial rooftop projects.

Continuing on its path of innovation, Westinghouse Solar has combined its new 235 watt high efficiency solar panel with a new lightweight, aluminum and stainless steel flat roof mounting system with two very important benefits to commercial building owners and installers. First, the system is non-penetrating (no holes in the roof), thereby reducing the possibility of roof leaks and preserving roof warranties.

Second, the system has been aerodynamically designed with extensive wind tunnel testing to resist high winds, thereby minimizing the ballast weight necessary for the system. This innovation delivers the industry's lightest fully integrated rooftop system with a total weight of 2.7 pounds per square foot – making the Westinghouse system suitable for virtually all commercial rooftops.

Pre-engineered at a five-degree angle to maximize energy production, the elegant design ships flat for cost-effective shipping and ease of staging, and eliminates the need for panel-to-panel wiring and grounding resulting in a low cost system that is much less expensive to install than comparable systems.

"By integrating the racking, wiring and grounding into the panel itself, the Westinghouse Solar commercial flat roof system is easier and faster to install than other rooftop systems," said Barry Cinnamon, CEO of Westinghouse Solar. "As the cost of solar panels continues to decline, labor is becoming a larger component of the overall PV project cost. Westinghouse Solar is driving down the capital expense associated with commercial solar deployment by dramatically reducing rooftop installation materials and labor costs."

The Westinghouse Solar Flat Roof Solar Power System is available for order in the US immediately, with availability in Europe and Asia during the third quarter of 2011.

PV equipment spending of $15.2 billion in 2011 at risk from market downturn

SAN FRANCISCO, USA: Following a year when global photovoltaic (PV) market demand grew 139 percent, PV cell manufacturers have embarked upon aggressive expansion plans in support of ambitious shipment guidance for 2011. Consequently, the scale of expansions announced would create a $15.2 billion revenue opportunity for PV equipment suppliers during 2011, an increase of 41 percent Y/Y, according to the latest Solarbuzz PV Equipment Quarterly report.

While Y/Y growth for c-Si equipment spending (including ingot, wafer, cell and module stages) in 2011 would amount to 31 percent, thin-film spending would grow by an incredible 71 percent. Underpinning this thin-film growth is a resurgence of investments in a-Si and CIGS technologies, which account for 78 percent of planned thin-film capacity expansions.

Tier 1 expansions remain dominated by aggressive schedules announced by publicly-listed Chinese c-Si producers, followed by cell producers in Taiwan and thin-film leader First Solar. Examples of revised year-end nameplate capacity targets include JA Solar to 3 GW, Trina Solar to 1.9 GW, Neo Solar Power to 1.8 GW, and Jinko Solar to 1.5 GW. In the past 12 months, manufacturers in China and Taiwan accounted for 82 percent of the $3.6 billion revenues allocated to new c-Si cell equipment worldwide.

Adding to the c-Si expansion activity, thin-film manufacturing capacity is scheduled to grow by 70 percent between Q1’11 and Q1’12, as the second thin-film investment cycle draws to a conclusion. Within this period, an incredible 65 thin-film expansion phases are projected to be implemented, with a combined nameplate capacity of 4.8 GW.

According to Finlay Colville, senior analyst at Solarbuzz: “Fab investments during 2011 are providing opportunities for the PV equipment supply-chain, reflected in tool backlogs at the $1 billion level reported during Q1’11 by equipment leaders Applied Materials, Centrotherm, GT Solar and Meyer Burger. While suppliers of choice to tier-1 manufacturers have been forced to increase monthly tool shipments, tier-2 c-Si and thin-film investments are offering significant revenue upside for emerging equipment suppliers.”

Capacity expansions are consistent with leading cell manufacturers guiding 2011 shipment growth rates of 55%. However, market demand is forecast to increase by only 12 percent this year, as incentive tariff cuts are implemented across major European markets. This imbalance will have a profound impact on the equipment supply-chain, starting with a reset of capacity growth plans during 2H’11. With tool lead times typically three to six months, the full impact of these changes will be felt hardest during 2012.

Fig. 1: PV Equipment Spending by Technology Segment (Q1’11 - Q1’12)Source: Solarbuzz PV Equipment Quarterly.

Equipment spending downturn ahead
During Q1’11, PV equipment spending reached another quarterly high of $3.7 billion. The current PV spending cycle will peak in Q2’11, followed by a sharp decline from Q4’11, as the industry resets its expansion plans to meet the pending market downturn in 2H’11. For leading equipment suppliers aligned with tier-1 expansion phases, this will translate to an immediate decline in new order intake.

However, new opportunities will then emerge for equipment suppliers of next-generation fab tools, as high-efficiency roadmaps are reprioritized. Q-Cells recently announced plans to upgrade their 1.1 GW of cell capacity during 2H’11 with front- and rear-side enhancements, providing an early indicator of roadmap deliverables. High-efficiency c-Si variants are forecast to comprise 35 percent of all c-Si cell capacity by Q1’12. Accelerating next-generation concepts will facilitate adoption rates of new tool types, such as ion implanters being championed today by semiconductor-equipment market leader Varian Semiconductor Equipment Associates.

As existing backlogs are shipped during 1H’11, strong Q1’11 revenues will be announced shortly. However, the leading indicator will be new orders received, as PV producers review their plans for 2012. Further expansion by thin-film entrants will depend upon the success of initial fabs ramped up in 2011 and 2012. However, a long queue of hungry investors eyeing up the PV industry will likely keep this fragmented segment financed for some time.

As the equipment spending cycle approaches its downturn in 2H’11, new challenges will emerge for tool suppliers. This is most vividly captured within the $750 million segment for PECVD tools used to deposit passivation layers and anti-reflecting coatings during c-Si cell formation.

Meyer Burger’s proposed takeover of Roth and Rau comes ahead of a likely drop-off in PECVD order intake as Centrotherm increases its market-share, Jusung Engineering is buoyed up following a significant win at a top-10 cell producer, and Orbotech’s subsidiary OLT Solar prepares to deliver its first beta-site tool in Q2’11.

Source: Solarbuzz.

Monday, April 18, 2011

AUO PV modules approved by California Energy Commission for expansion into the US market

HSINCHU, TAIWAN: AU Optronics Corp. announced that its multi-crystalline solar modules EcoDuo PM220P00, EcoDuo PM240P00, and mono-crystalline solar module GreenTriplex PM250M00 have been added to the California Energy Commission's (CEC) List of Solar Eligible Equipment to officially enter into the US market. AUO will provide high quality and reliable solar modules to residential users, solar system integrators, and local distributors to meet customers' diverse needs.

According to "Guidelines for California's Solar Electric Incentive Programs", residential and business consumers will enjoy financial rebates if they purchase and install solar systems from CEC's Eligible Solar Electric Equipment List. These solar equipments must pass the rigorous testing of UL 1703 to ensure safety, reliability, and compliance with the International Laboratory Accreditation Cooperation for maximum power determination, measurement of temperature co-efficients, etc.

AUO's EcoDuo PM220P00, EcoDuo PM240P00, and GreenTriplex PM250M00 PV modules have all met the above standards and have been added to the CEC's Eligible Solar Electric Equipment List for local consumers' reference. AUO modules also can be sold in other US states that have adopted the CEC standards, such as Connecticut, Massachusetts, Nevada, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin states.

AUO's EcoDuo PM220P00 is the world's first PV module to have passed PAS2050 carbon footprint verification by SGS, signifying a critical milestone for the PV industry. AUO's EcoDuo PM 240P00 PV module has passed salt mist corrosion tests by IEC and CNS, meaning it may maintain power efficiently in both coastal and humid regions.

The above two PV modules can be adopted in residential, commercial and utility. AUO's premium GreenTriplex PM250M00 PV module has an aesthetically pleasing all black appearance, three busbar cell design, and self-cleaning function. The addition of photocatalyst on the surface helps break down contaminants when exposed to sunlight to enhance power generation and reliability. This PV module is very suitable for residential users. All AUO products will be offered with long-term performance warranties.

PV modules 2010 top 10 rankings

ENGLAND: Suntech was the largest PV module supplier in 2010, growing its shipments by more than 130 percent over the previous year, to ship more MWs than any of its competitors. First Solar, which held the top spot in 2009, fell to second place, increasing its shipments by less than 50 percent, although the total market more than doubled.

IMS Research’s latest analysis of the global PV supply chain, based on shipment data from hundreds of suppliers, reveals that whilst market conditions meant that all suppliers could grow their shipments, some suppliers were able to benefit more than others: Chinese Tier-1 suppliers Canadian Solar and Hanwha SolarOne (formerly Solarfun) both gained two places in the rankings; in fact, all the suppliers in the top 10 gaining rank were Chinese.

Conversely, both the suppliers losing rank were Western, headquartered in the US. One Western supplier bucking this trend was REC, which moved quickly up the rankings to become the eleventh largest supplier of PV modules in 2010.

“2010 was an outstanding year for everyone in the PV industry. Module suppliers were able to benefit from the strong demand, which lasted all year, and make great increases in their shipments; five of the top ten suppliers more than doubled them, some even increased them by more than 150 percent,” says Sam Wilkinson, PV Market Analyst at IMS Research.

Another clear winner in 2010 was JA Solar, another large Chinese supplier, which increased its production by nearly 180 percent, becoming the largest producer of PV cells, having been only the fifth largest producer in 2009.

IMS Research predicts a slowdown in growth for the PV module market in 2012, as many major European markets cool following amendments to incentive schemes.Source: IMS Research.

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Solar cell manufacturers to adjust production plans to take account of 2011 PV market slowdown

SAN FRANCISCO, USA: With the photovoltaic (PV) industry set to implement cutbacks in their production plans during the second half of 2011 - as a result of a slowdown in demand across Europe - accurate industry-wide capacity and production data will be increasingly important to making appropriate adjustments.

Equipment spending on manufacturing capacity expansions during 2010 grew by 83 percent Y/Y and in 2011 is on track to grow a further 41 percent. Meanwhile, leading c-Si cell manufacturers in China are guiding 2011 shipment levels to more than 50 percent compared to 2010 – growth rates well above most demand scenarios currently being forecast for the year. Up until now, the main rationale for these aggressive plans has been driven by corporate goals based upon relative market-share growth.

Adding to the 2011 business challenges, industry-wide inconsistencies in corporate definitions of manufacturing capacity and in-house cell production create significant challenges for solar companies to align supply with an accurate determination of the global supply/demand balance.

With over 350 c-Si cell and thin-film panel manufacturers around the world, Solarbuzz allocates cell (and thin-film panel) manufacturers into tier categories, depending on a range of criteria; vertical integration upstream, technology maturity, ramped manufacturing level, ASP’s achieved, brand-awareness, and sales and marketing network. Three tier levels are then used for categorization. For example, tier 1 manufacturers match the full list of criteria listed above. Conversely, tier 3 manufacturers match few – if any – of these.

In 2010, approximately 50 cell manufacturers fell into the tier 1 grouping, manufacturing 77 percent of the cells produced during the year. Some 220 manufacturers then made up the tier 2 grouping, contributing 22 percent during 2010. The final tier 3 group – which includes many of the new thin-film entrants working on pilot lines or in the process of qualifying new production lines – account for the remainder.

Turning to capacity, tier 1 manufacturers must be prioritized if a clear picture of supply is to be understood during 2011. Further, nameplate capacities should also be replaced by annualized ramped manufacturing capacities. During 2010, tier 1 producers had an annualized ramped manufacturing capacity level of 18GW. In 2011, this is projected to grow to around 30GW with much of the capacity additions due to come online during 2H’11, significantly above market needs.

Looking back to last year, ranking of in-house 2010 production by company is partly dependent on the precise definition of in-house. This updated ranking in the recently released Marketbuzz 2011 report from Solarbuzz is based on further discussions with major manufacturers which provided additional information. For the purposes of this ranking, the definition of in-house production can include production at affiliated companies and also where a manufacturer has contractual rights to production located at external facilities.

Additional adjustments of internal capacity capabilities were necessary to enable a more accurate assessment of ramped manufacturing capacity levels for several of the leading companies; in particular, where debottlenecking and line enhancements had resulted in ramped capacity levels more than 150 percent of original nameplate capacities reported.

Fig. 1: Top Solar Cell Producer Rankings in 2010Source: Solarbuzz, USA.

“With many manufacturers contracting out larger proportions of their production in order to access lower cost and preserve supply flexibility, adjustments also have to be made to take out double-counting of cells,” said Finlay Colville, senior analyst at Solarbuzz. “Clear definitions and application of terms have become increasingly important to establish consistency between stated capacities, production and utilization. This clarity will also become increasingly important to corporate decision-making as manufacturers re-adjust short-term expansion plans to align with the 2011 global supply/demand balance.”

Source: Solarbuzz.

Friday, April 15, 2011

United Solar announces establishment of manufacturing facility in Ontario, Canada

AUBURN HILLS, USA & LASALLE, CANADA: United Solar, a wholly owned subsidiary of Energy Conversion Devices Inc. (ECD), the global leader in thin-film, flexible, lightweight solar products and systems, announced that it will establish a manufacturing facility in Ontario, Canada, that will be operational by August 2011.

The 7,000 square meter facility, located at 6135 Morton Industrial Parkway in LaSalle, Ontario, is under lease to the company for 10 years, and will result in the hiring of up to 80 people. United Solar will upgrade the existing building and deploy capital equipment with total first year project capital anticipated to be approximately $4 million.

United Solar will manufacture its proprietary thin-film solar laminates in the facility specifically for sale in the Ontario market. The Ontario-made product is an important component in complying with the domestic content requirement of the Ontario Power Authority's feed-in-tariff program. The plant will have an initial annualized capacity of 15 megawatts (equal to providing solar power to 4,000 homes with a carbon offset of more than 5,000 metric tons per year), but will be designed with the ability to quickly ramp to 30 megawatts once higher market demand is established.

"I'm pleased to welcome United Solar and 80 new jobs to Ontario," said Sandra Pupatello, Minister of Economic Development & Trade and MPP for Windsor West. "The fact that United Solar is establishing their first Canadian manufacturing facility in Windsor-Essex, Ontario speaks to our competitive business environment, skilled workforce and green energy plan."

"This is another demonstration that Ontario's clean energy economy continues to grow," said Brad Duguid, Ontario Minister of Energy. "Projects like United Solar's are helping build our clean energy economy, creating good jobs, powering our homes and helping clean up the air we breathe."

Lindsay Boyd, Chairperson of the WindsorEssex Economic Development Corp. (WEEDC) Board said, "A company like United Solar brings a unique element to this emerging cluster in our region and further positions us as the leaders in this sector."

"It's been a rewarding experience to work with the United Solar team and we very much appreciate their professionalism, investment and confidence in the region," added Ron Gaudet, CEO of WEEDC.

Ken Antaya, Mayor of LaSalle, said: "LaSalle is excited that this cutting edge technology has chosen our town to establish a local manufacturing facility that will immediately create 80 new jobs and make a substantial financial commitment in our community. We welcome them with open arms and they can rest assured that the town will do everything in its power to assist them in making their endeavor a success."

"United Solar is proud to be expanding our base of manufacturing to Ontario and to be part of the growth of the Windsor-Essex region," said Mark Morelli, President and Chief Executive Officer of ECD. "We are grateful for the assistance of the Windsor-Essex Economic Development Corporation and the government of the Province of Ontario in our decision to build out this facility. We believe in the potential for solar energy in Ontario and look forward to many years of success in this market."

United Solar has applied for training grants from the Ontario government to assist with the ramp up of the facility. In addition, the company is expecting to receive support under the Ontario Works Program and from the Apprenticeship Training Tax Credit, which are designed to encourage job growth in the province.

United Solar has manufacturing facilities in Auburn Hills and Greenville, Michigan; Tijuana, Mexico and a joint venture manufacturing operation in Tianjin, China.

SMA Canada production underway at Ontario manufacturing facility

TORONTO, CANADA: Production of the SMA Sunny Boy and Sunny Central solar inverters is underway in Ontario. These residential, commercial and utility-scale devices are being assembled by Celestica, a global leader in the delivery of end-to-end product lifecycle solutions, to meet Ontario’s microFiT and FiT domestic content requirements.

Celestica will initially produce the SMA Sunny Boy 3000-US, 4000-US, 5000-US, 6000-US, 7000-US and 8000-US inverters, as well as the Sunny Central 500HE model. Celestica’s operations will follow a flexible concept, with the ability to quickly adjust production to meet the needs of Ontario’s fast-growing solar market.

To comply with the area’s domestic content requirement, Celestica will assemble all of SMA’s products at its Toronto operation.

“SMA chose to work with Celestica at its Canadian operations based on its reputation for highest-quality manufacturing and ability to rapidly scale-up with growing demand,” said Scott Crabtree, managing director of SMA Canada. ”We are very pleased to be working with such a capable group and look forward to a successful collaboration.”

Crabtree, who leads SMA’s US-based assembly in Denver, will also oversee the company’s Canadian efforts.

SMA’s 3,000- to 8,000-watt Sunny Boy models, which are ULC (Underwriters Laboratories Canada) Certified, are part of the world’s most popular line of solar inverters. Not only does the Sunny Boy line feature class-leading efficiency and reliability, but the longevity of these inverters is enhanced via SMA’s patented OptiCool active temperature-management system and rugged cast-aluminum, outdoor-rated enclosure. They include a 10-year factory warranty, with the ability to extend up to 20 years.

The utility-scale Sunny Central 500HE (high efficiency) features a maximum output of 550 kVA and integrated grid-management features. By connecting to an external medium-voltage transformer to accommodate long distance power feeds to distribution substations, the Sunny Central 500HE is ideal for utility installations. Its industry-leading maximum efficiency of 98.6 percent results in an outstanding energy yield. The Sunny Central 500HE is available with a 99 percent uptime guarantee.

“Ontario has taken an admirable leadership role in promoting renewable energy,” said Jurgen Krehnke, president and general manager of SMA America and president of SMA Canada. “SMA is pleased to support the Ontario Green Energy Act by bringing local production to Ontario.”