Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Solar Frontier sets new efficiency world record

TOKYO, JAPAN: Solar Frontier has achieved 17.8 percent aperture area efficiency on a 30cm x 30cm CIS-based photovoltaic submodule in joint research with Japan’s New Energy and Industrial Technology Development Organization (NEDO).

This new record for thin-film CIS technology was accomplished at Atsugi Research Center (ARC), Solar Frontier’s dedicated research laboratory in Japan that is the cornerstone of the company’s integrated research and production framework. After a string of major deals and production milestones unveiled in the past few months, today’s announcement underlines the company’s fundamental capability in R&D with focus on practical commercial applications.

“I would like to emphasize as we have before that this efficiency is on a fully integrated submodule, which our laboratory produces with processes very similar to what is in place in our factories at commercial production scale,” said Satoru Kuriyagawa, CTO at Solar Frontier. “Even higher efficiencies can be achieved by using a device with a very small surface area, but the reason we prefer to focus on the submodule level is that the path to commercial production is more practical. This achievement confirms that we are on track to achieve the higher module efficiencies we are targeting in our commercial production efficiency roadmap.”

“This latest efficiency achievement demonstrates Solar Frontier’s continued leadership not only in the mass production of CIS thin-film solar modules but also in the technology’s fundamental advancement, where our company’s roots lie as a pioneer of CIS,” said Solar Frontier’s senior VP, Atsuhiko Hirano. “ARC is one of the most advanced solar R&D labs in the world. Its achievements include pioneering work in the zinc oxide buffer compound that eliminates the need for cadmium. The work done here is the foundation on which our products are able to achieve more kilowatt hours under actual operating conditions, meeting the needs of residential, commercial and utility customers worldwide.”

This new record surpasses Solar Frontier’s previous world record of 17.2 percent set in March 2011.

Solar Frontier’s CIS modules are manufactured at its Kunitomi plant, which started full commercial operations last year. The technological advances made at ARC are applied to mass production through Solar Frontier’s integrated research and production framework, which includes a pilot plant equipped with the machines on which the gigawatt-scale Kunitomi plant’s machinery is based.

The Kunitomi plant recently produced a champion module at 14.5 percent aperture efficiency (13.38 percent module efficiency), achieving a 164W rating.

GE Energy Financial Services more than doubles global solar power investments

SAN DIEGO & ARLINGTON, USA: GE unit GE Energy Financial Services announced that it has more than doubled its global solar power investment commitments in the past year to $1.4 billion, for nearly $5 billion in projects. Its latest deal is a $100 million investment in a 127-megawatt project that will be built in Arizona.

GE Energy Financial Services announced at the Infocast Solar Power Finance & Investment Summit in San Diego that its one-gigawatt portfolio spans 48 solar power plants – including 24 San Diego school rooftops -- in six countries: Australia, Canada, Italy, Portugal, Spain and the United States.

“We started last year with the goal of increasing our investments in solar power given improving solar technologies and decreasing costs, and have exceeded our own expectations by doubling our portfolio, investing in attractive projects across the globe,” said Alex Urquhart, president and CEO of GE Energy Financial Services.

Kevin Walsh, managing director and leader of power and renewable energy at GE Energy Financial Services, added that deploying capital at such large scale – for nearly $5 billion in projects -- has helped not only GE but the entire solar power industry grow. “We continue to seek to invest in the best solar power projects – with solid partners, power contracts and proven technology.”

Solar narket variables result in spot market uncertainty, high-efficiency products a new trend at PV Expo Japan

TAIWAN: EnergyTrend, a research division of TrendForce, indicates, the buzz on the solar market this week was not just surrounding the German government’s slashing of solar subsidies and advancement of the policy cuts to March 9; PV Expo Japan began on February 29, and the spot market is in a wait-and-see state.

Under Germany’s new policy, rooftop system subsidies will be cut by 20-30 percent, while ground-mounted systems below 10MW will see a 25 percent reduction; over 10MW will no longer receive support. Furthermore, beginning in May 2012 subsidies will be cut by €0.15/kWh monthly until January 1, 2013. Additionally, beginning on January 1, 2013, a partial subsidy policy will take effect, with systems under 10kW only receiving subsidies for 85 percent of produced electricity. Larger facilities will have a 90 percent cap.Source: EnergyTrend, Taiwan.

PV Expo Japan highlights high-efficiency products, makers anticipate July 2012 orders from Japanese market
The three-day long PV Expo Japan event has begun, marking the first international PV exhibit since Germany’s policy changes. Furthermore, beginning in July 2012 Japan will implement a large-scale ground-mounted system subsidy policy. Thus, global makers congregated at the expo are eagerly swapping opinions and seizing opportunities to penetrate the Japanese market.

According to EnergyTrend’s onsite reports, high-efficiency products are the main attraction at this year’s PV Expo Japan. Taking into consideration Japan’s renewed growth momentum, high-efficiency product supply and demand will be an important indicator of the solar market in 2Q12.

The industry supply chain has also seen changes. According to EnergyTrend observation, Taiwanese groups previously rumored to be looking into investing in the solar industry have begun setting the stage, choosing sectors with related resources as their entry point. EnergyTrend believes this change is an indication that the PV industry is headed in a collective direction, utilizing group resources and power to integrate the industry chain both vertically and horizontally, thereby increasing profitability.

As cost control is the current industry focus, the entrance of Taiwanese groups is expected to have a deep impact not only on both sides of the strait, but globally as well.

Weekly PV spot price flat due to market uncertainty
As for this week’s spot prices, according to EnergyTrend research, due to contradicting news from the market, spot price is currently inconclusive. This week’s price quotes, from polysilicon to solar inverter price, stayed flat. If market sentiment turns pessimistic, a replay of 2011 may occur, with PV Expo Japan representing a turning point that initiates a new wave of price fluctuations. Thus, EnergyTrend believes manufacturers’ outlook on 2Q12 this Thursday and Friday will have a profound influence on the future spot price trend.

EnergyTrend estimates, the top ten global PV markets in 2012 will be Germany, China, the US, Italy, Japan, India, France, Australia, Greece, and Canada. Several emerging regions will follow in their footsteps, and high-efficiency solar cells and modules are expected to become the future direction of the market.

Arizona innovator raises solar lotus through biomimicry

SCOTTSDALE, USA: Monarch Power announced the Monarch Lotus and unveiled the first prototype of the solar energy innovation. Dr. Joseph Hui founded Monarch Power after exploring ways to recharge his Tesla electric vehicle.

Later, after researching methods of powering his home and heating his pool, Dr. Hui turned to the world energy challenges in Africa, China, and some Middle Eastern countries. Dr. Hui's passion for improving the quality of life through clean energy living led to the innovation of the Lotus.

The four-meter-wide Lotus not only looks like nature's symbol of renewal but folds up the same as nature's version. In his research, Dr. Hui employs biomimicry, a design discipline that seeks sustainable solutions by emulating nature’s time-tested patterns and strategies. The new Lotus is capable of generating enough power (2 KW) and hot water for the average family. "As I have traveled through the less fortunate regions of the world, I felt compelled to use my research and the wisdom of nature to improve quality of life," said Dr. Hui.

Dr. Hui has throughout his professional and academic career pioneered innovations in many technology areas. As a holder or participant of dozens of patents, Dr. Hui has launched numerous business ventures with Monarch Power being the most recent.

TÜV Rheinland validates performance of solar panel made with ENLIGHT polyolefin encapsulant films

MIDLAND, USA: The Dow Chemical Co. continues to take steps to validate the benefits of using ENLIGHT Polyolefin Encapsulant Films technology to help harness the power of the sun and turn it into useful energy for the world’s needs.

Crystalline silicon PV (photovoltaic) modules made with ENLIGHT™ Polyolefin Encapsulant Films were performance tested by TÜV Rheinland1 in Germany. Following requirements of IEC 61215, the panels were shown to perform well in all test protocols.

“This is another step – an important one – that continues to validate the performance of ENLIGHT films for use in crystalline silicon photovoltaic cell technology,” says Mark Hofius, leader of the R&D team. Hofius noted that Dow’s own research shows that using ENLIGHT Polyolefin Films to make photovoltaic panels can help extend service life and maintain module reliability. Based on accelerated damp heat test results power loss in panels using more traditional films occur after just 2,000 hours. Modules based on ENLIGHT Polyolefin Film shows no power loss after 10,000 hours.

Using Dow’s polyolefin encapsulant films can also help lower the total system cost of producing the modules. ENLIGHT can allow panel manufacturers to use faster processing speeds (up to 30 percent faster) because of an extended window for lamination temperatures and the virtual elimination of bubbles, which leads to fewer rejects, according to Hofius. “Damage to equipment and modules might also be markedly reduced with our material because this process does not produce acetic acid,” he says.

Dow began commercial production of these films in Findlay, Ohio, a little more than a year ago. Demand has been so great that the Company is already building two additional manufacturing plants that will come on-stream later in 2012 – one in Map Ta Phut, Thailand, and one in Schkopau, Germany, the heart of Europe’s “solar valley.” When complete, these sites will triple Dow’s current capacity to produce ENLIGHT films.

Dow is dedicated to finding technologies that help harness the power of the sun and bring energy to use in many different ways – through commercial solar farms, through rigid and flexible photovoltaic solar modules, and through innovative new roof shingles for residential homes. Current products include adhesives, heat transfer fluids, coolant and wafer cutting fluids, and metallization, imaging, texturizing and cleaning technologies for solar cells. Dow also is home to POWERHOUSE Solar Shingles, which integrates solar technology into residential roofing shingles.

According to the United Nations Environmental Program (UNEP), the global solar industry is projected to grow at 25 percent a year over the next five years, as people continue to embrace solar energy as a good source of electricity and as solar energy costs begin to reach parity with other available energy sources.

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Borrego Solar completes 3.4 MW solar power installation at Edwards Air Force Base

SAN DIEGO, USA: Borrego Solar Systems Inc., a leading designer, installer and financier of grid-tied government solar photovoltaic (PV) systems, announced the completion of a 3.4 megawatt (MW) solar power installation at Edwards Air Force Base in Southern California. Comprised of 3 ground-mounted, single-axis tracking solar farms, the system is the largest military project completed by Borrego Solar to date, and demonstrates the value of the company’s end-to-end solar power installation services for military facilities.

The system was financed via Borrego Solar’s in-house Power Purchase Agreement (PPA). Per the agreement, Borrego Solar financed, designed and installed the system at no upfront cost to Edwards Air Force Base. Borrego Solar will sell energy back to Edwards Air Force Base at an economical and fixed rate, offsetting an average of 6 percent of the energy consumption across the three facilities.

“As we work to reduce our dependence on fossil fuels, solar energy is one of the most reliable and cost-effective tools available to us,” said Ms. Amy Frost, chief of the Civil Engineer Asset Management Branch for Edwards Air Force Base. “Financing large-scale projects can be tough in this economic climate, so a PPA made a lot of sense for us, as it eliminated the need for upfront investment and long term maintenance. The deal allowed us to quickly implement solar on our facility and deliver immediate operational savings.”

Scaling up efforts such as this to promote energy security, the Department of the Army recently established the Energy Initiatives Task Force (EITF) to oversee the Army’s goal of transitioning to 25 percent renewable energy use by 2025. Despite the Army’s goals, financing solar projects can still be a challenge. By entering into a PPA with Borrego Solar, military facility managers can move solar projects forward, and enjoy many of the benefits of solar energy while investing zero upfront capital costs.

"We are proud to have completed this project as it is a great example of how public-private partnerships can succeed and allow the development and installation of large-scale solar energy systems on government property,” said Mike Hall, CEO of Borrego Solar. “Edwards Air Force Base should be applauded for making renewable energy a priority at their facility. We look forward to continuing our work with military facility managers to help them take full advantage of the financial benefits that come from using solar to generate clean and sustainable energy, and local jobs.”

Borrego Solar continues to deliver on its mission to help federal organizations go solar. Last week, the company was awarded a contract by the General Services Administration (GSA), certifying it to provide solar installation services to federal agencies. Edwards Air Force Base is the largest project in Borrego Solar’s growing military portfolio to date. The company completed a nearly one MW solar project in 2010 at the Point Loma Navy Base in San Diego Bay.

Konarka advances award winning power plastic solar cell efficiency with 9 percent certification

LOWELL, USA: Konarka Technologies Inc., an innovator in development and commercialization of Konarka Power Plastic, a lightweight, flexible organic solar film that converts light to electricity, a lightweight, flexible organic solar film that converts light to electricity, announced that Newport Corp. has certified Konarka’s next generation organic solar cells as demonstrating 9 percent single-junction efficiency.

These recent advances continue to be based upon Konarka’s inverted cell architecture, the company’s intellectual property protected under issued patents. Located in Irvine, California, the Newport Technology & Applications Center’s Photovoltaic (TAC-PV) Lab is accredited by the American Association for Laboratory Accreditation (A2LA).

“With this recent certification, Konarka makes continual progress in the solar cell efficiency of Power Plastic suitable for our large scale roll-to-roll processing plant on inexpensive plastic films,” commented Howard Berke, chairman, CEO and co-founder of Konarka.

“For architects, design engineers and builders integrating solar technology into curtain walls, windows, transit structures, automobiles with energy-harvesting rooftops, consumer electronics and more, Konarka is dedicated to increasing the efficiency and lowering the cost of manufacturing our design-friendly solar films for more cost-effective, energy-harvesting applications. We are also quite enthused that this result was achieved with our newest proprietary blue-grey polymer system which is in highest demand by our customers in several market segments.”

Thin, lightweight, transparent and flexible, Konarka’s Power Plastic solar films are ideally suited for integration into various building materials, including glass, steel, plastics, composites and fabrics, offering creative architects and product designers superior, widespread latitude with several color and transparency options across a wide range of sizes enabled by Konarka's roll-to-roll continuous manufacturing process.

Smart energy fuels China’s energy conservation and emission reduction

BEIJING, CHINA: Smart energy is recognized as an important approach to achieve energy conservation and emission reduction as well as accelerate the industrial upgrade in China, for it is real-time, secure, cost-effective and efficient.

Smart energy involves the production, transmission, measurement and management, storage and application of power, aiming to optimize system energy efficiency utilizing the modern information technology. At present, the key fields of smart energy include new energy, smart grid, battery, new energy vehicles and LED lighting.

New energy
New energy like solar energy and wind energy will become an important part of power generation, taking up a growing percentage in China’s power supply structure.

Solar energy: Impacted by the European debt crisis in 2011, the global PV market, especially European market, shrank quickly, while China's PV market experienced a fast growth thanks to a host of favorable policies such as the launch of benchmark on-grid price. In 2011, China’s new PV installed capacity came to 2.2GW.

Wind energy: In 2010, the world's wind power installed capacity continued to grow rapidly and stably, and 37,700MW were added, bringing the total installed capacity to 195,600MW, up 23.9 percent from 2009. As a result, the global wind power equipment manufacturing has seen rapid development, fueling the prosperity of the new energy industry.

Smart grid
From 2009 to 2020, the State Grid Corporation of China plans to invest a total of RMB 3.45 trillion, among which RMB 384.1 billion will be allocated to smart power, or a 11.1 percent of the total. In the next decade, efforts will be stepped up to develop the smart grid. With smart grid, China will build an intelligent power management system, and with the aid of the telecommunications network technology, establish an energy measurement, remote meter reading, and electricity load control system, in order to meet the country’s demand for power and to safeguard its power grid security.

Meanwhile, this will also provide a new approach to the power management on the demand side. On the whole, to develop the smart grid technology, China will focus on the R&D and improvement of power grid equipment and energy measurement and management.

From 2008 to 2018, the global demand for energy storage is expected to grow from 111GW to 4,661GW, with an average annual growth rate of 45 percent. The demand for lithium battery totaled 3GW in 2008, which will reach approximately 727GW by 2013, and by 2018, 3,034GW. The CAGR is expected to get up to 100 percent. The fast growth is largely ascribable to the lithium-ion battery's high energy density, high voltage, long cycle life, sound safety, and its pollution-free feature.

New energy vehicles
In 2010, the total output of new energy passenger cars came to 1,061,000 worldwide, up 26.9 percent year-on-year, showing a steady rising trend. China's new energy vehicle industry is still at the startup stage, with outdated charging stations and supporting facilities. In the short and medium term, the new energy vehicle industry will focus on hybrid vehicles, supplemented by electric vehicles.

LED lighting
In the past few years, the global LED market has maintained a fast growth. The market size surged from $4.23 billion in 2006 to $7.93 billion in 2010. On the whole, as the market expansion continues and the product prices keep falling, the global LED market will maintain a stable growth rate in future.

Since smart energy has a bearing on the national power energy security and the implementation of the energy conservation and emission reduction program, China should vigorously develop the new energy technology, promote solar energy, wind energy and biomass energy, expedite the development of grid-connected PV power plants, and increase the percentage of new energy in its overall energy structure.

Meanwhile, it is necessary to combine power grid planning with its power supply
development, and energy storage planning with power grid and power supply development, so as to integrate power generation, transmission and storage on the whole power chain. Besides, China should actively encourage the application and promotion of new energy-efficient technologies like new energy vehicles and LED semiconductor lighting, in order to improve its energy efficiency and boost its competitiveness in the field of energy utilization.

Monday, February 27, 2012

Suntech tops 2011 PV module rankings as Chinese dominance continues

ENGLAND, UK: Suntech Power was the largest supplier of PV modules by shipment volumes for the second consecutive year, according to the latest market rankings released by IMS Research. For the first time, it was also joined by three other Chinese crystalline PV module manufacturers in the top five as Chinese manufacturers tightened their grip on the market, the analyst firm revealed.

According to IMS Research’s latest quarterly report, despite challenging market conditions throughout 2011, Suntech became the first supplier to ship over 2 GW of modules, and topped IMS Research’s module rankings for the second year in a row.

The only non-Chinese manufacturer ranked in the top five was US-based thin film supplier First Solar which was ranked as second largest supplier, also for the second year running. Chinese suppliers Yingli, Trina and Canadian Solar (considered as a Chinese supplier as the majority of its operations are based in China) all gained one place in the rankings to make up the rest of the top five, displacing Japan’s Sharp to sixth position.

IMS Research also found that the PV module supplier base consolidated considerably in 2011 with the largest suppliers collectively gaining share of the market. “Leading suppliers were able to leverage their strong brands to grow their shipments in highly competitive market conditions in 2011,” commented Sam Wilkinson, senior market analyst at IMS Research. “2011 claimed a number of victims, but nearly all of the top-ten suppliers grew their shipments and collectively they accounted for nearly half of total industry shipments.”

Although eight of the ten largest suppliers grew their annual shipments by more than 10%, most suppliers recorded lower shipments in Q4’11 compared to the previous quarter. “Despite a very strong end-of-year rush to install in Germany, high inventory levels for PV modules in the supply chain meant that this was not reflected in suppliers’ shipments. The rush also came later than many expected and so many suppliers were not able to capitalise on this,” commented Wilkinson.Source: IMS Research, England.

Canadian Solar and Trina Solar were amongst the few suppliers that bucked this trend by increasing their shipments in Q4’11, with Canadian Solar becoming the third largest supplier in the quarter and increasing its annual market share by over one percentage point. Another significant market share gain allowed Chinese-based Jinko Solar to become the only new name in IMS Research’s top ten suppliers in 2011. Having more than doubled its annual shipments, Jinko Solar was ranked as the seventh largest module supplier in 2011.

Sharp Solar installs first SunSnap residential solar solution in LivingHomes demo

CAMAS, USA: Sharp Electronics Corp.'s Solar Energy Solutions Group is showcasing SunSnap, its new residential PV solar appliance, as part of the TED2012 Conference in Long Beach from Feb. 27-March 2, 2012.

The installation was completed in collaboration with LivingHomes, which introduced the LivingHome C6, its first low-cost home, next to the Long Beach Performing Arts Center for TED attendees to visit.

The Zero Energy, Zero Carbon, Energy Star(R) certified and LEED(R) Platinum-certifiable, prefabricated home combines world-class architecture and an unparalleled commitment to healthy and sustainable construction. Designed for ease-of-installation, SunSnap modules were easily integrated into the building design, and can easily be scaled up to offset the energy usage of the entire home.

The SunSnap Solution is a home appliance that consists of black-on-black 235-watt Sharp photovoltaic (PV) modules, making the roof installation more aesthetically pleasing. Installation is simplified through the implementation of a Sharp-enhanced Zep racking system. The solution is Enphase Energized with high-efficiency microinverters from Enphase Energy.

"TED2012 is the perfect venue to expose new, forward-thinking audiences to Sharp's vision to expand and simplify the mainstream adoption and use of solar energy for homeowners," said Eric Hafter, senior vice president, Sharp Solar Energy Solutions Group. "LivingHomes' already energy-efficient design comes full circle with the integration of the SunSnap solar appliance, which offsets all the power consumption for the future owner while requiring only a small physical footprint on the roof of the home."

SunSnap will help consumers and contractors more easily realize the value of home-generated solar by removing barriers to solar through a simplified product design and installation process. As a scalable PV appliance, SunSnap offers homeowners the ability to install a system that meets their budget, roof space and personal energy needs. A small, modestly priced "starter kit" featuring as few as one solar appliance can be initially installed and the system can then be expanded in the future as often as desired.

"Homeowners are empowered now, more than ever before, to take control of their energy costs with clean affordable power. Paramount Solar's collaboration with Sharp provides our consumers with a swift installation thereby reducing expenses and maximizing immediate savings and long-term benefit," said Hayes Barnard, CEO of Paramount Solar, the system installer for this LivingHomes project.

Paramount Solar is performing the SunSnap installation on the LivingHomes demonstration home.

The SunSnap Solution will first be available through traditional solar distributers and dealers beginning March 2012. Sharp expects to expand SunSnap sales to retail channels such as popular consumer electronics retailers, in the second half of 2012.

"We're excited to be partnering with Sharp and demonstrating our solution at TED2012," said Bill Rossi, chief marketing officer for Enphase Energy. "Solar energy systems with this level of design flexibility, simplicity and insight, made possible by Enphase's unique microinverter system, are making solar an attractive option for more and more homeowners."

By converting direct current (DC) from the solar modules to grid-compliant alternating current (AC) at the module-level, the Enphase Microinverter System creates independent power producers out of each solar module in an array. With this, installers have complete design flexibility and are able to offer system owners expandable solar systems that can be easily added to year after year.

The mounting and grounding technology is inherently simple and streamlined, integrated seamlessly into the solar module through the incorporation of Zep Solar's Zep Compatible frame design. By incorporating the Zep Groove into the PV module, we have eliminated the need for bulky rails and separate grounding hardware found in conventional mounting schemes.

The SunSnap appliance is backed by the Sharp 25-year limited warranty on power production.

Consumer support for clean energy has declined significantly since 2009

BOULDER, USA: The clean energy industry is dynamic and evolving, as the future of energy in the United States continues to be a topic of intense focus, particularly in this election year. However, according to a new survey from Pike Research, consumer support for clean energy concepts – ranging from renewable energy to alternative fuel vehicles to smart grid technologies – has declined significantly between 2009 and 2011.

In a survey of more than 1,000 US adults conducted in the fourth quarter of 2011, the cleantech market intelligence firm found that the average percentage of consumers with an “extremely” or “very” favorable view of 13 clean energy concepts declined significantly from 50 percent in 2009 to 45 percent in 2010, and dropped further to 43 percent in 2011. The survey results, part of Pike Research’s annual Energy & Environment Consumer Survey, are summarized in a free white paper.

Among the 13 clean energy concepts, Biofuels suffered the most precipitous decline in favorability, dropping 17 points from 56 percent in the 2009 edition of Pike Research’s survey to 39 percent by 2011. Favorability ratings of Smart Grid and Clean Coal were tied for the second largest decline, each falling 10 points over the two-year period.

The percentages of survey respondents stating that they had either a “very favorable” or “favorable” view for each of the 13 concepts in 2011 were as follows:

Solar Energy: 77 percent
Wind Energy: 71 percent
Hybrid Vehicles: 61 percent
Electric Cars: 55 percent
Natural Gas Cars: 51 percent
Clean Coal: 42 percent
Nuclear Power: 40 percent
Biofuels: 39 percent
Smart Meters: 38 percent
Smart Grid: 37 percent
Carbon Offsets/Credits: 19 percent
LEED Certification: 18 percent
Cap and Trade: 14 percent.

Carbon Offsets/Credits garnered the largest percentage of “strongly unfavorable” or “somewhat unfavorable” views from survey participants, with a 25 percent unfavorable rating, followed closely by Nuclear Power with a 23 percent unfavorable rating and Cap and Trade with a 22 percent unfavorable rating.

LEED Certification, the green building certification program administered by the US Green Building Council, suffered from a very low level of familiarity among respondents – 45 percent stated that they were unfamiliar with the program, the lowest level of familiarity of any of the 13 energy and environment concepts.

HyperSolar signs agreement with top university for R&D

SANTA BARBARA, USA: HyperSolar Inc., the developer of a breakthrough technology to produce renewable hydrogen and natural gas using water and solar power, has entered into a year-long sponsored research agreement with the University of California, Santa Barbara (UCSB) to help achieve important milestones in the company’s development plan.

“We are very excited about this opportunity to gain access to the talents and state-of-the-art facilities of one of the world’s top universities for scientific impact,” said Tim Young, CEO of HyperSolar. “UCSB is world renown for its scientific accomplishments. The Center for Science and Technologies Studies at Leiden University in the Netherlands recently ranked UCSB 7th of 500 major universities in the world for scientific impact. This comes on top of many other distinctions the campus has received in recent years, including the award of 5 Nobel prizes to faculty members.”

The agreement with UCSB will enable HyperSolar to refine its solar-powered nanoparticle technology for generating zero carbon hydrogen and renewable natural gas using sunlight, water and carbon dioxide (CO2). The research project will be led by Professor Eric McFarland in the Department of Chemical Engineering at UCSB.

The major milestones in the agreement include: (1) a proof-of-concept heterostructure for hydrogen production using photovoltaic elements; (2) analysis of the feedstock potential of wastewater; (3) a complete photoreactor prototype for sustained hydrogen production; and (4) optimized nanoparticulate heterostructures using low-cost semiconducting materials.

Dr. McFarland commented: “We look forward to assisting HyperSolar with this research project. For almost a century, scientists have tried to ‘split water’ to produce hydrogen and oxygen in a cost effective manner. Researchers around the world have built an enormous knowledge base about the problems and opportunities in renewable hydrogen production which we will draw on. I believe that HyperSolar’s plan to use wastewater as a feedstock for hydrogen and methane production is a very promising approach. Our research team looks forward to applying our experimental knowledge to this very exciting and meaningful project.”

Unlike conventional electrolysis, where hydrogen and oxygen atoms are completely disassociated using a large voltage, HyperSolar designed its reactions to use a very small voltage and only produce hydrogen (H2). By elegantly engineering the reaction kinetics toward H2 generation in conjunction with wastewater, the HyperSolar nanoparticles function as one-way machines that detoxify wastewater, and produce clean water and pure hydrogen in the presence of sunlight.

No other energy source is required, making this an extremely economical and commercially viable approach to hydrogen production. This hydrogen can then be combined with captured CO2 to produce renewable, pipeline ready natural gas.

Premier Power inks 5 MW agreement for Scandinavian solar projects

EL DORADO HILLS, USA: Premier Power Renewable Energy Inc. will provide a total of 5 MWp in equipment for solar projects located in Scandinavia. The plants will be funded through an agreement with a Danish firm Viasol A/S. Shipments of equipment will begin in February, and all systems are scheduled for completion by the end of 2012.

"We are continuing with our strategic expansion to European markets, in 2011 we expanded to the Bulgarian market and now we are expanding to the Scandinavian market." said Bjorn Persson, executive VP of European operations at Premier Power. "Along with our recent plants in the Czech Republic and Bulgaria, Scandinavia is yet another example of Premier Power's prowess in strategically entering emerging markets throughout Europe. Our market agility and ability to shift strategy – from organic growth, to partnerships, to acquisition, to joint ventures – is what sets us apart, and we will continue to explore such opportunities in the future."

In September of 2011, Premier Power with its joint venture with European firm Plaan Czech, entered into an agreement to build a total of 16.2 MW in solar power plants in Bulgaria. To date, Premier Power's portfolio includes more than 1,000 operational plants across Europe and the United States.

"The significant decline in module prices we've seen over recent months has caused many European markets to reach grid parity earlier than expected," said Miguel de Anquin, president of Premier Power. "By mitigating the need for government incentives, these markets equate to stable and predictable growth for Premier Power. We expect to see this trend proceed in similarly structured markets as the global solar industry continues to mature."

1 GW solar park in Serbia

SARAJEVO, SERBIA: Luxembourg-based Securum Equity Partners said it has signed a 1.75 billion euro ($2.32 billion) deal to purchase photo voltaic panels from Italy-based MX Group for its future 1 gigawatt solar park in Serbia.

Ivan Matejak, the head of the company's Serbian unit, said on Thursday the solar park in the south of the Balkan country could be the largest in the world when it is completed in three to five years.

'Electricity generated by the solar park will be exclusively for export,' he said. Matejak added that some 2,500 to 3,000 workers will be needed to build the solar park that will employ 500 to 600 people when it is connected to the grid.

MX Group may also set up a photo voltaic panels plant in Serbia at a later stage, Matejak added.

Serbia produces 70 percent of its electricity in coal-fired plants and the rest from hydropower. It urgently needs to upgrade its energy infrastructure, which was damaged and mismanaged during the Balkan wars of the 1990s and improve its energy mix to meet growing demand and reduce future reliance on imports.

Friday, February 24, 2012

PV balance of system market to reach $24 billion in 2016

ENGLAND, UK: PV balance of system (BoS) equipment revenues are projected to increase from $17 billion in 2011 to close to $24 billion in 2016. The report found that whilst inverters will continue to be the largest part of the market, monitoring hardware, mounting structures and tracker systems will outpace the rest of the market to capture an increasing share.

IMS Research’s report “The World Market for PV Balance of System Equipment” which analysed volumes, pricing and revenues for eight BoS products, revealed that market revenues would fall by 5 percent this year from 2011’s peak of $17 billion. Ash Sharma, senior research director commented: “Flat installations and shipments will inevitably lead to a fall in BoS equipment revenues this year due to price erosion, most notably for inverters and mounting structures. However the longer-term prospects for the market are still very positive with a $24 billion market size forecast in 2016.”

The report also found that whilst inverters formed the largest part of the market, accounting for more than 40% of revenues in 2011, the fastest growing segment will be tracker systems, with revenues for these products predicted to grow by close to 30 percent per annum up until 2016. Falling prices for these products is expected to boost penetration, particularly in high irradiation regions, such as California, South Africa and the Middle East which are all predicted to see high growth in PV deployment over the next few years.

“Although the tracker market fell off a cliff at the end of 2008 when the Spanish market collapsed, it’s now facing a major resurgence as falling prices and more efficient motor control allows for a much more cost-effective system”, added Sharma.

According to the report, depending of the type of installation and the equipment used, BoS costs can sometimes outweigh the PV module costs. This means that customers are increasingly focusing on the BoS components to find cost savings and suppliers are experiencing price pressure that was previously reserved for module suppliers.

Despite this, PV modules are still predicted to remain the largest single hardware cost in a PV system and will account for more than 50 percent of total PV hardware revenues in 2016. Intensifying competition particularly for PV combiner boxes and mounting systems, especially from Chinese suppliers means that prices are forecast to continue to decline.

However, price declines of BoS components will not be as severe as those experienced by module suppliers “Although there will remain great pressure on suppliers to reduce prices as incentives fall, new products such as enhanced monitoring hardware, smarter inverters and a shift towards ground-mount mounting structures will help maintain average prices.” added Sharma.Source: IMS Research, England.

Consolidation of supply base and diversification of markets

DUBLIN, IRELAND: Research and Markets has announced the addition of GlobalData's new report "Global Solar PV Market Outlook in 2012 - Consolidation of Supply Base and Diversification of Markets" to its offering.

The year 2012 will be characterized by the consolidation of solar Photovoltaic (PV) supply base and the diversification of the solar PV market. While the number of solar PV equipment companies will continue to face tough operating conditions in the market, weak demand in European PV markets will be partially offset by the growing markets of US, India, China and Japan. Module prices will also drop, owing to increased market competition and a decline in polysilicon prices.

The industry trends of 2011 will largely continue in 2012. Companies will rework their strategies around building brand perception and reducing cost and expanding their presence across the PV value chain. Moreover, PV companies with weak balance sheets and limited resources will lose market share to more resourceful players. Moreover, companies with diversified market bases will have an advantage over companies that are limited focusing on conventional European PV markets.

PPG Glass featured on RBC Centre, largest LEED-certified building in Canada

PITTSBURGH, USA: PPG Industries announced that SOLARBAN 70XL glass is part of an advanced, energy-efficient curtain wall system that recently helped RBC Centre in Toronto become the largest building in Canada to earn LEED(R) certification for new construction.

The 43-story tower, which earned LEED certification at the Gold level, features more than 420,000 square feet of custom curtain wall fabricated from Solarban 70XL glass on the upper floors and laminated security glass on the lower floors. Floor-to-ceiling windows maximize daylighting, while the building’s north-south orientation and a sophisticated system of sensor-controlled sun shades and automated blinds limit heat gain and promote energy performance.

Introduced in 2005 at the GreenBuild International Conference and Expo, Solarban 70XL glass is engineered with a proprietary triple-silver coating that delivers an optimum balance of transparency and solar control. With visible light transmittance (VLT) of 64 percent and a solar heat gain coefficient (SHGC) of 0.27, Solarban 70XL glass has a light-to-solar gain ratio (LSG) of 2.37 that remains unmatched by competing products even six years after its introduction.

The RBC Centre, designed by Kohn Pedersen Fox Associates, incorporates a comprehensive array of environmentally advanced systems to reduce energy use and promote water conservation. As a result, the building is projected to realize savings of 40 percent on energy costs and 47 percent on indoor water compared to similar structures of its size and type.

Odersun wins iF gold award

FRANKFURT, GERMANY: After winning the iF material award, customized solar modules from Odersun AG were also recognized with the iF gold award for their exceptional design.

From over 4,300 submissions, 100 outstanding products and ideas were honoured with the iF gold award. Odersun was among the winners of this exclusive prize – the first company from the solar sector to achieve this accolade – gaining recognition for its solar modules designed for the building envelope.

The iF design award jury had already recognized the exceptional aesthetics of Odersun PV elements with the iF material design award 2012. The jury was particularly impressed by the individuality and diversity of the concept, which allows solar modules to be integrated into architecture almost seamlessly, without having a disruptive effect. The verdict: “This is a fantastic example of technology and aesthetics going hand in hand.”

Uwe Hering, Sales and Marketing director at Odersun AG commented: “This exclusive award sets our PV modules apart, which are developed and produced with a firm focus on design and aesthetics. The modules are incorporated into solar façades by architects and energy planners as sustainable building elements. Alongside performance, the visual impression made by the modules is absolutely essential here.”

Solar modules from Odersun provide a compelling look with their uniform, elegant appearance. They are built entirely to the customer's requirements – their shape, size, material, layout and design can vary to suit any application. With their aesthetic look and exceptional ease of integration, they are particularly suited for use in architecture, in other words in building-integrated photovoltaics (BiPV).

The modules replace other building elements, themselves becoming scalable and flexible building material. Using “Made in Germany” technology they help to create architecture which is both visually sophisticated and sustainable.

As well as the solar modules themselves, Odersun’s interactive Solar Module Designer was also recognized with the iF communication design award. Following its success at the red dot design awards, this was the second design award for the online configuration tool, which enables solar modules to be configured exactly to the customer's liking. The Solar Module Designer from Odersun is also available as an iPad app.

The Odersun modules, together with 100 other gold award winners from the iF design awards 2012, are on display at the BMW Museum in Munich until the end of February. A must-see for architects and design enthusiasts, who want to admire the very best design in the world. The exhibition is open daily from 10am to 6pm, closed Mondays.

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Canadian Solar supplies solar modules for Denmark's largest PV system

MUNICH, GERMANY: Canadian Solar, one of the world's largest solar companies, announced the supply of 2,800 solar modules for a rooftop system in the Danish city of Virum. The solar installation, north of Copenhagen, has a capacity of 605 kW, which makes it Denmark's largest PV system.

SRU Solar AG, based in the city of Berga in Saxony-Anhalt, Germany, constructed the pioneering PV system on two roofs of an office complex located in Virum, in cooperation with the young Danish energy company Greengo Energy. Connected to the public grid in January 2012, this is the largest PV installation of its kind in Denmark. It is part of Greengo Energy's strategy to install PV systems on commercial roofs and to supply companies with solar power at prices below the market average.

"To us, the successful completion of the PV project is a milestone for the development of the Danish PV market. The good cooperation with our partners and the high-performing and excellent quality of the components used were of paramount importance in this project," said Dr. Ing. Matthias Schonhard, member of the board at SRU Solar AG and head of the project.

"We are proud that SRU Solar and Greengo Energy have selected Canadian Solar modules. The project is a major step forward for the Danish PV market. Solar energy offers great potential for a cost-effective and reliable source of electricity, particularly in countries with a highly decentralized structure like Denmark with its many small islands. We look forward to continuing our support of the growing Danish PV market by providing tailored solutions where needed," said Dr. Shawn Qu, chairman and CEO of Canadian Solar.

BIPV glass market to reach $6.4 billion by 2016

GLEN ALLEN, USA: NanoMarkets announced the release of its latest report on Building Integrated Photovoltaics Market, "BIPV Glass Markets 2012." In the report NanoMarkets estimates that the total market for BIPV glass will reach $6.4 billion in revenues in 2016 compared to $1.5 billion in 2012.

The report analyzes the opportunities for BIPV glass products using c-Si, thin-film and OPV/DSC materials and provides eight-year forecasts in terms of MW and square footage shipped as well as forecasts of revenue generated. The report also contains an extensive discussion of the product evolution of BIPV glass and a forecast of each product type.

The report also discusses the strategies of some of the important suppliers of BIPV glass panels including, Atlantis Energy, Dyesol, Ertex, Focus Materials, Mage Sunovation, Onyx, Pilkington, Pythagoras, Schott, Sharp, Schuco, Suntech, Wuerth and others. The report also contains an analysis of the firms that NanoMarkets believes will be the most influential in the BIPV glass market.

SPI Solar to develop 1 MW utility-scale solar energy facility in Rhodope, Greece

ROSEVILLE, USA: SPI Solar, a leading vertically integrated photovoltaic solar developer and engineering, procurement and construction (“EPC”) services provider, announced that it has successfully completed the acquisition of the necessary contracts and permits to serve as developer of a 1 megawatt fixed-ground-mount solar energy facility (SEF) which will be located in Rhodope Prefecture, a North Eastern region of Greece.

This is SPI’s third major solar development in Greece. In January 2012, SPI announced the second project, a 2 megawatt SEF which is also located in the Evros region. The first project, announced in August, was a 4.4 megawatt SEF located in the Evros region.

The Rhodope SEF will be a fixed-tilt ground-mount utility-scale facility, and the electricity generated by the Rhodope SEF will be purchased by the Greek Public Power Corp. through a 20-year Power Purchase Agreement (PPA). SPI acquired a limited liability corporation to gain interest in, and become the developer of record for the Rodpoi project.

SPI worked with its local partners SDL Solar and Global Energy Services Ltd to identify the build-ready project, perform on-site technical due diligence and also to provide project oversight during the construction of the SEF. Once completed, SPI intends to perform operations and maintenance of the facility over the term of the PPA. The SEF will use LDK’s high-performance solar modules.

“This project brings a total of 7.4 megawatts under development by SPI in Greece in less than a year,” said Stephen Kircher, CEO of SPI. “Greece provides a very rewarding environment for us to do business in. This project will produce a net economic gain on many levels. It will be owned and operated by private investors within Greece, and as with all of the SEF developments we engage in, local jobs will be created during the construction of the facility. And once completed, the facility will be producing low-cost, sustainable electricity for decades to come.”

COLEXON sells solar project companies

HAMBURG, GERMANY: COLEXON Energy AG has sold two further solar project companies as part of the plan to streamline its business activities. COLEXON has sold the Renewagy 1. Solarprojektgesellschaft mbH & Co. KG, with a rooftop installation portfolio in Southern Germany consisting of 55 photovoltaic installations at 29 locations and a nominal output of 4.5 MWp. Buyer is Belgian-based solar power producer 7C Solarparken N.V. headquartered in Mechelen. Both parties have agreed to not to divulge the sale price.

Furthermore, COLEXON has sold a photovoltaic installation in Italy with a nominal output of 1 MWp to an Italian energy utility company. Antitrust approval for the transaction is expected in the coming month. Both parties have also agreed not to divulge the sale price.

Following these transactions, COLEXON maintains a portfolio of German core projects with a nominal output of 23.2 MWp in total bundled in seven project companies, as well as core projects in Italy with a nominal output of 5 MWp in total, partially bundled in a local joint venture.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Gehrlicher Solar and Masdar PV build roof-top installation with full-size modules in Belgium

ICHTERSHAUSEN/DORNACH near MUNICH, GERMANY: The 5.7 m² large thin-film solar modules from Masdar PV gleam in the sunshine with a slightly reddish hue. In this showpiece project, Gehrlicher Solar, in the role of system integrator, working together with Masdar PV, has demonstrated the versatility of full-size modules.

The innovative installation in Belgium was recently hooked up to the power grid for the French customer InnoVent. The 7.7 kWp roof-top installation is the second of its kind with modules of this size as roof elements.

This is the continuation of the successful co-operation between Gehrlicher Solar and Masdar PV. The project entailed challenging requirements in terms of innovative and engineering abilities, as did their first cooperative project. The building on which the thin-skin solar modules were to be mounted was an old barn built back in the late 19th century.

The structure’s age and its sloping roof made it necessary to use a special sub-construction for the modules. The experts from Gehrlicher had the right solution to hand though: the GehrTec Intra substructure allowed Masdar PV’s solar modules to be fully integrated into the roof and thus create a completely rain-proof roof system.

Since the substructure required only a few system components and the a-Si solar modules offer an excellent cost-benefit ratio, the system’s total costs are such as to render it very attractive to investors. “We are proud to have carried out this project with Gehrlicher Solar,” said Dr. Matthias Peschke, COO of Masdar PV. Following our joint pilot project for a façade-integrated system in Munich, we have once again been able to offer our customer an innovative and aesthetically appealing solution.”

Klaus Gehrlicher, CEO of Gehrlicher Solar, is also very pleased with the latest joint effort, adding, “By using our well-tested substructure in combination with the full-size modules from Masdar PV, we can offer our customers solutions that are even more economical.”

For InnoVent, the project planner, this example of co-operation with Gehrlicher Solar and Masdar PV represents the prelude to a good business relationship. The highly innovative company, whose achievements include that of building one of the first wind farms in France, is also developing projects based on solar and wind energy in southern Africa. Products from Masdar PV are currently being used there as well.

New Energy Systems Group signs new US partner

SHENZHEN, CHINA: New Energy Systems Group, a vertically-integrated original design manufacturer and distributor of Anytone and MeePower branded consumer backup power systems for mobile devices and Kim Fai solar panels and solar related application products to service municipal power applications, announced that Shenzhen Anytone Technology Co. Ltd, a subsidiary of the company, signed an agreement with New Trent Inc. to manufacture New Trent's products to be sold in the US and UK in 2012.

New Trent, based in Freemont, California, is a retailer and distributor of mobile power devices for use with leading consumer electronic, smart phone, digital camera and mobile computing devices manufactured by companies such as Apple, RIM, IBM and Dell. New Trent sells products to online and retail locations under its brand name.

New Trent signed an agreement with Anytone to produce two "New Trent" branded recharging devices for sales in the US and UK markets. Anytone models 8800BD and M700 are flexible, back up mobile power devices that can be used to recharge and power phones and tablets manufactured by a variety of manufacturers.

Model M700 is an innovated design which allows the users to power their devices without preparing any accessories. Both models can fully recharge depleted power sources in devices faster than those devices' original chargers. As part of the agreement, New Trent undertakes to sell $1.0 million products in its first year of the partner relationship with Anytone. New Energy's "Anytone" or "MeePower" brands are not included in this agreement.

Weihe "Jack" Yu, chairman and CEO of New Energy Systems, said: "Through several steps of discussion and testing after the Consumer Electronics Show 2012 in Las Vegas, we are pleased to sign our agreement to sell Anytone made products in the US With a strong portfolio of products for consumer electronic devices and accessories, we are focused on expanding our sales outside of China, where we hope to realize higher average selling prices and margins."

36 percent of electricity in Germany to be generated from renewables by 2020

LONDON, ENGLAND: The energy market in Germany will see dramatic changes during the next few years. With the nuclear energy capacity halved, the landscape to 2020 will look very different with renewable energy to account for 36 percent of electricity generated.

Frost & Sullivan's Energy group forecasts that overall electricity generation will decline from 625 TWh in 2010 to 590 TWh in 2020, due to energy efficiency measures and increased imports (which will be needed to fill part of the gap left by the nuclear plant closures). However, the installed capacity is set to rise from 153 GW to 179 GW in 2020. This is mainly because of the growth in wind and solar, both of which have relatively low availability and need to be supported by back-up power such as gas turbines.

Frost & Sullivan Energy Consultant Jonathan Robinson says: "Germany is already a leading European renewables market, but it will go beyond its EU obligations with significant further investment in the next 8 years. However, the growth in renewables poses serious challenges and will require substantial investment in upgrading the existing power transmission infrastructure."

For what concerns renewable energy, solar and wind are set to play a big part in future. Solar PV capacity is forecast to treble while wind will grow by average of 2GW per year. Massive change is forecast for solar in particular - renewable energy to account for 36 percent of electricity generation by 2020 (aim of EEG is to raise renewable energy share to at least 35 percent of gross power consumption by 2020).

Energy efficiency will play an important role in the reduction in demand; the Energy Efficiency Act (EnEfG) sets target to reduce energy consumption by 9 percent in 2020, in comparison to consumption 2001-2005.

"Energy efficiency will be a big topic in 2012, as the EU moves towards forcing Member States to take action. The voluntary approach adopted in 2007 has largely failed, with minimal energy efficiency gains in most Member States. As usual in these matters, Germany is already leading the way, but it is likely that more will need to be done," adds Robinson.

However, from now till 2020, according to Frost & Sullivan, coal will remain the leading fuel (37 percent of generation) but Germany will experience a decline in lignite-fired output as older power stations are decommissioned. We will also see an increase in share of gas through an accelerated development programme – though greater shares anticipated post-2020.

"Germany has of course always been a key market for power generation equipment, but there is now the need for across the board investment in generation, transmission and distribution. This creates interesting opportunities for equipment manufacturers and project developers," concludes Robinson.

Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport dedicates 5.4-MW SunPower solar power system

PHOENIX, USA: Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport and SunPower Corp. are dedicating a 5.4-megawatt high efficiency SunPower solar power system. The system is expected to generate the equivalent of 51 percent of the electricity demand at the airport's rental car center, two East Economy parking garages and toll plaza, saving $4.7 million over the next 20 years.

"With this SunPower system, Sky Harbor Airport is reinforcing its commitment to energy conservation and improving air quality in Arizona, while saving airport funds," said Phoenix mayor, Greg Stanton. "Councilman Bill Gates has been championing this effort at the city and it's exciting to see it come to fruition."

"This SunPower system will reliably produce clean energy for years to come," said SunPower director, Western Project Sales, Rick Whisman. "SunPower's technology will ensure that the system delivers energy over the long term, reducing operational expenses significantly with no upfront expenditure."

The project was facilitated in part by Arizona Public Service Co.'s (APS) Renewable Energy Incentive Program, which offers financial incentives to customers that help to offset up to 40 percent of the costs of installing solar energy.

The airport has a solar services agreement with SunPower, which designed and built the system, and is operating and maintaining it. The airport is hosting the system and buying electricity at rates that are competitive with retail electricity, providing a hedge against rising electricity costs with no capital investment. The renewable energy credits (RECs) associated with the energy produced by the system will be transferred to APS in fulfillment of the state's renewable energy standard and tariff.

At the airport, SunPower installed SunPower E20 solar panels, the most efficient solar panels on the market today, at three rooftop locations: the Rental Car Center and two buildings that comprise the East Economy Garages. System construction was completed in two months at the end of 2011.

According to estimates provided by the US Environmental Protection Agency, the system is expected to offset the production of more than 5500 tons of carbon dioxide per year, which is equivalent to removing 19,800 cars from Arizona's roads over the next 20 years.

Rush order influx continues, makers treading cautiously

TAIWAN: Benefitting from the continual influx of rush orders, Taiwanese manufacturers have had their hands full in Q1. While the industry is wondering whether this will continue into Q2 or not, according to research by EnergyTrend, TrendForce's green energy research division, makers have already begun negotiating orders for April.

As some makers have even initiated discussion with clients about long-term OEM project, makers indicate visibility is satisfactory for the time being. Related vendors are extremely conservative towards the current market, and unwilling to make conclusive statements about the Q2 outlook.Source: EnergyTrend, Taiwan.

Affected by EU and US anti-dumping lawsuits, the number of Chinese PV makers turning to cooperate with Taiwanese manufacturers has increased significantly, but activity has been limited to the midstream solar cell and module sector. According to EnergyTrend, currently Chinese manufacturers are either adopting direct investment or establishing new companies by joint venture in Taiwan.

Although Chinese makers’ movements in Taiwan are preparations for the storm, related vendors indicate that the expansion of capacity and human resources will still depend on future order status. Currently, major Taiwanese makers’ product lines and human resources are currently at 80-90 percent. First-tier manufacturers’ annualized capacity remains fully loaded, while second and third-tier makers are utilizing over 60 percent capacity.

Furthermore, according to EnergyTrend, the cooperative activity is coming from Japan as well. To reduce production cost, Japanese manufacturer Sharp has placed more orders with Taiwanese solar cell makers. In addition to solar cell OEM, Sharp has also begun placing PV inverter orders with Taiwanese manufacturers, but at low volume. EnergyTrend believes Sharp is testing the waters in Taiwan, looking for potential long-term partners to help drive cost down.

As for this week’s spot prices, according to EnergyTrend, polysilicon spot price stayed flat, with ASP remaining at $29.68/kg. Si wafer ASP continued to climb, with multi-Si wafer ASP increasing by 2.33 percent to $1.229/piece, and mono-Si wafer ASP at $1.623, up by a slight 1.37 percent. This week’s solar cell ASP also increased slightly, by 1.35 percent, arriving at $0.527/Watt.

As for modules, quotes showed slight recovery, with ASP at $0.873, a 0.23 percent increase. EnergyTrend believes that as upstream prices continue to rise, midstream solar cell and module makers will also increase price, to reflect cost. However, cell and module makers are cautious when it comes to price adjustments; while they must raise price as cost increases, adjustments must be made gradually so as not to exceed downstream clients’ acceptable range.

New Energy Technologies and NREL fabricate institute’s largest-ever organic PV device

COLUMBIA, USA: New Energy Technologies Inc., a developer of innovative technologies for generating sustainable electricity, and NREL scientists collaboratively developing New Energy’s SolarWindow technology – capable of generating electricity on see-through glass – have successfully fabricated the largest-area organic photovoltaic (OPV) module ever produced at the United States Department of Energy’s National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL).

Scientists developing New Energy’s SolarWindow technology fabricated today’s large area 170 square centimeters (cm2) working module, more than 14-times larger than previous OPV devices fabricated at NREL.

NREL is among the world’s most respected and advanced solar-photovoltaic research institutions, and over its 35-year history has been credited for ground-floor support of many of the commercial technologies employed by today's renewable energy industries. NREL and New Energy have been working through a Cooperative Research and Development Agreement to advance the company’s SolarWindow technology for generating electricity on glass windows.

“The fabrication of a large-area see-through solar module of these dimensions is an important step in New Energy’s SolarWindow ongoing development,” stated Dr. David S. Ginley, an award-winning NREL Research Fellow and accomplished expert in transparent conductors and OPV. “We believe that building integrated applications provide a promising avenue for OPV deployment and we are continuing to work with New Energy Technologies to further address scale-up, a key milestone toward developing a deployable technology.”

“For more than three decades, NREL researchers have worked to help companies move their renewable energy technologies closer to commercial product,” explained William Farris, Vice President of Commercialization & Technology Transfer at NREL. “It’s encouraging to contribute to breakthroughs such as today’s large-area solar photovoltaic array, an important step toward supporting New Energy Technologies’ SolarWindow toward eventual commercial application.”

“The achievement marks our SolarWindow’s ongoing progress in addressing an important hurdle to commercialization – scale-up,” stated John A. Conklin, president and CEO of New Energy Technologies. “Our scientists, technical advisors, business team, and shareholders, whose patience and perseverance have contributed to this significant technical stride, can be proud of their Made-In-America accomplishment. In 2012, our focus is on aggressively advancing our SolarWindow technology toward commercialization with larger scale, high-speed manufacturing, higher voltage and bolstered power output, and greater transparency.”

Today’s large-area SolarWindow milestone was made possible through the efforts of New Energy’s Principal Scientist, Dr. Scott Hammond, in collaboration with numerous NREL Researchers. Working at lab scale, scientists made use of a solution-processable coating technique in order to deposit see-through electricity-generating coatings on to glass surfaces.

These electricity-generating coatings, consisting largely of ‘polymers’, are first designed and subsequently produced by way of organic synthesis; they are then applied to glass using various methods, including high-speed, high-volume industrial processes important to the eventual commercial manufacturing of SolarWindow products. Once electricity-generating polymers are applied to a material surface, the resultant effect is the production of an OPV cell. The prospect of SolarWindow products generating electricity on see-through glass is made possible by way of the unique architecture associated with this fabrication of the OPV device.

Last month, New Energy announced that researchers had investigated and made use of a high-speed/large-area solution-coating process, which allows for rapid scale-up to larger glass surface areas. This improved process also generally provides for more uniform and faster application of SolarWindow electricity-generating coatings than conventional methods, and has resulted in the production of the company’s new, large-area SolarWindow prototype.

Notably, the Company’s latest solution-coating technique has already been demonstrated as compatible with roll-to-roll (R2R) high-speed and high-volume fabrication methods, potentially providing for very-large scale manufacturing. Compared to manufacturing of first-generation solar products, low temperature and ambient pressure R2R manufacturing promises: low labor costs; decreased capital equipment expenditure; reduced cost of energy required for production; and improved environmental and occupational control.

Currently under development for eventual commercial deployment in the estimated 85 million commercial buildings and homes in America, SolarWindow™ is the subject of ten new patent filings and is the world’s first-of-its-kind technology capable of generating electricity on see-through glass windows.

Suntech recognized by MIT Technology Review as one of world's 50 most innovative companies

SAN FRANCISCO, USA: Suntech Power Holdings Co. Ltd, the world's largest producer of solar panels, has been included in the 2012 TR50, Technology Review's annual list of the world's 50 most innovative technology companies, for its success in developing and commercializing advanced solar technology.

TR50 members are nominated by Technology Review's editors, who look for companies that over the last year have demonstrated original and valuable technology, are bringing that technology to market at a significant scale, and are clearly influencing their competitors.

"Suntech shows why mastering manufacturing is crucial in getting energy technologies to scale," said Jason Pontin, editor in chief and publisher of Technology Review. "It is driving down the cost of solar cells and improving their efficiency."

Since inception, Suntech has steadily increased the conversion efficiencies of its commercial solar cells from about 14 percent in 2001 to over 20 percent today, all while reducing the costs of production. These developments have helped to drive down the global market price of solar panels from about $6 per watt in 2001 to roughly $1 per watt today.

"We're honored to be recognized by MIT Technology Review as one of the world's most innovative companies," said Dr. Zhengrong Shi, Suntech's founder and CEO. "Due to incremental innovation and economies of scale, the best photovoltaic technologies are now competing in the mainstream against traditional sources of power generation. Suntech will continue to invest heavily in advanced photovoltaic research, and, more importantly, in bringing that technology to the market. All of our efforts are focused on one thing: making solar electricity affordable for everyone, everywhere."

Two Suntech innovations that achieved large-scale production in 2011 are its Pluto cell processing technology and its SuperPoly silicon processing technology.

* Suntech's Pluto cell processing technology, developed in collaboration with the University of New South Wales, features a proprietary front surface metallization process that creates grid contacts thinner than 30 microns wide, about a quarter the size of traditional screen-printed cells. These ultra-thin metal lines - made primarily of copper instead of silver - reduce shading on the cell surface, allowing the cells to absorb more sunlight and generate more electricity.

* Suntech's SuperPoly technology utilizes advanced silicon ingot casting techniques commercialized internally along with the expansion of Suntech's internal silicon wafer production capacity. Suntech's innovations help produce high-quality multicrystalline wafers using modified multicrystalline casting equipment. The technology achieves lower oxygen content for multicrystalline wafers leading to strong resistance to light-induced degradation and ultimately allows for the production of higher output solar panels at a lower cost.

5.3 MW Conergy solar power plant connected to the grid

HAMBURG, GERMANY & MADRID, SPAIN: A further solar park equipped with Conergy products has been connected to the grid in southern Spain. On an area of almost 36 hectares near the town of Mazarrón in the Murcia region, the two local Conergy partners Valfortec and Solaer installed components from the system supplier. Now over 22,000 modules on over 50 kilometres of Conergy SolarLinea mounting systems are producing clean energy here. This energy is fed into the Spanish power grid by over 380 Conergy IPG T inverters.

It is the complete package that gave Conergy the edge: “For us as a solar specialist, optimised complete solutions, quality and reliable guarantees represent the ultimate package. Conergy offers solar technology that combines these characteristics in its entire product range, but also in its services and especially in its guarantees,” says Fidel Roig, Valfortec’s MD.

Ignacio Arganza, Solaer’s MD, adds: “We have installed Conergy components with a total output of over 20 MW since 2009 already and we are fully convinced. These products deliver high yields, are easy to configure and to install. And Conergy provides first class technical support.”

With close to 2,800 hours of sunshine a year and an irradiation level exceeding 1,700 kilowatt hours per square metre, southern Spain also represents an extremely attractive location for solar plants. The new Conergy park will generate over 8.1 gigawatt hours of clean energy annually, sufficient to supply 2,700 households throughout the year. At the same time, the solar park will prevent the emission of over 4,000 tons of CO2.

Sunny southern Spain offers best conditions for achieving grid parity
With its numerous hours of sunshine, southern Spain thus provides the best conditions for achieving grid parity in the foreseeable future, the stage when solar power consumed by a household costs no more than power from finite fossil fuels or nuclear power sources – without any subsidies. In spite of the moratorium currently in force in the country, this also continues to be the declared aim of the Spanish government, which is currently in discussions about suitable supportive measures for achieving grid parity in the near future.

“Currently, it is only possible to construct and connect projects that were approved before the moratorium, such as the Conergy park near Mazarrón,” says Luis Jiménez Gutierrez, MD of Conergy Spain.

“Obviously, a moratorium is never a cause for joy. But according to its own statements, the government is holding firm to its view that there will be some appropriate support measures to smooth the path of Spain’s photovoltaic sector towards grid parity. We are therefore definitely optimistic and expect the government to implement measures in this area in the near future, which will ensure planning security for the entire industry.”

Solutia demos advanced solar control, range extension technologies

2012 SAE Hybrid and Electric Vehicle Symposium, SAN DIEGO, USA: Solutia Inc. will feature Saflex S series advanced solar absorbing polyvinyl butyral (PVB) interlayers and XIR reflective film products during the 2012 SAE Hybrid and Electric Vehicle Symposium Feb. 21 through Feb. 24, held in San Diego, California. The company will showcase both heat-reducing technologies for automotive laminated glass applications during the four-day event.

"XIR reflective films and Saflex S series interlayers provide cost-effective opportunities to extend range in hybrid electric and pure electric vehicles," said Tom Selm, global business director for Solutia's Advanced Interlayers division.

"Both product technologies reduce the rate at which the sun heats up a vehicle by preventing solar energy from penetrating vehicle glass without sacrificing driver visibility." When a vehicle starts off cooler or gains less heat while driving, the air conditioning (A/C) system uses less power to achieve and maintain a desired cabin temperature. This allows automotive designers to use smaller and lighter A/C systems, which also allows electric vehicles the ability to increase the driving range for each charge.

Simulations and analysis conducted by the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) show that A/C use on a pure electric vehicle can decrease its driving range by 15 to 40 percent, depending on frequency of A/C usage and unit size. NREL studies also show that advanced solar control technologies, such as XIR reflective films and Saflex S series solar absorbing interlayers, can reduce cabin temperatures by approximately 13 to 26 degrees Fahrenheit, depending on location. When taking into account the potential reduced A/C usage, this can translate into improved vehicle range compared to a standard windscreen.

"With the current focus on developing high fuel economy hybrid and electric vehicles, the energy load of the A/C system is of increasing significance," said Matthew Rose, automotive market manager for Solutia's Advanced Interlayers division. "This increased range performance reduces consumers' current 'range anxiety' and improves start/stop functionality of the vehicle, extending battery life."

Additionally, OEMs have adopted new onboard comfort and convenience features, such as active sensors, telematics and connectivity options. These options also draw power from a finite source, further limiting range.

"Alternative propulsion vehicles are here to stay, and regardless of which technology becomes prevalent, we will continually see demand for range extension," said Michael Johnson, XIR market manager for Solutia's Advanced Interlayers division. "By reducing the significant A/C power draw, more power can be made available for additional electronic features."

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Agua Caliente earns solar project of the year awards

DES MOINES, TEMPE & PRINCETON, USA: NRG Energy Inc. and MidAmerican Renewables LLC announced that their 290-megawattAC Agua Caliente solar project has earned two top solar project awards.

The Yuma County, Ariz., photovoltaic power project being built by First Solar Inc., was named Solar Project of the Year by Renewable Energy World, a leading industry magazine, and PV Project of the Year by Solar Power Generation USA, the industry’s leading utility-scale solar power conference. The first 30-megawatt phase of the project began commercial operation in January.

“The editors of the Renewable Energy World network feel strongly that Agua Caliente represents the direction that solar power is taking in North America,” said managing editor Jennifer Runyon. “Large-scale solar power will help this region meet its renewable energy goals. For this reason, we were delighted to name Agua Caliente Solar Project of the Year in our 2012 Excellence in Renewable Energy Award program.”

”Agua Caliente is a shining example of how choosing the right location, selecting the best technology, and assembling a world-class team is crucial for the success of any solar project,” said Tom Doyle, CEO and president, NRG Solar. “This project is a testament to the success of the US Department of Energy loan guarantee program in putting Americans back to work. Currently, more than 400 workers are building the largest solar project in the state of Arizona.”

“Agua Caliente is an exceptional project. This national recognition further demonstrates the viability of solar as an important renewable energy resource,” said Bill Fehrman, president, MidAmerican Renewables.

The Agua Caliente project is expected to be the world’s largest operational PV power plant upon completion in 2014. When fully operational, the project will generate enough clean solar electricity to serve the needs of approximately 100,000 average US homes.

Alliant Energy engages UBS Investment Bank to assist with sale of RMT

MADISON, USA: Alliant Energy Corp. has engaged UBS Investment Bank to assist with the sale of its non-regulated subsidiary RMT Inc. (RMT), a renewable energy engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) contractor.

Earlier this month, the Alliant Energy Board of Directors approved a plan to sell the RMT business. RMT is an EPC contractor specializing in the design and construction of wind and solar electric energy generating facilities.

RMT's experienced construction crew is backed by in-house engineering and development support professionals who have provided engineering, procurement and civil and electrical infrastructure construction for over 5,000 MW of renewable energy projects across 26 states. RMT was founded in 1977 and began working in the renewable energy field in the mid-1990s. The company is based in Madison, Wis.

Monday, February 20, 2012

ET Solar launches global product roadshow

NANJING, CHINA: ET Solar Group Corp., one of the global leading solar one-stop solution providers, announced a global roadshow to promote the company's new module products.

The roadshow is scheduled to consist of various conferences between February and July this year in 13 countries across Europe, North America, Asia and the Middle East.
The new module products to be promoted over the roadshow include Moly (Mono-like) modules, Dual-box modules, Anti-glare modules, and Chromatic modules. These products were developed in the past six to 12 months to increase unit output, lower production
cost, enhance operating safety and offer remote operability.

Dennis She, president and CEO of ET Solar, commented: "It is our firm belief that solar industry will only grow when new products that offer stronger operating efficiencies and lower cost are constantly brought to the market. In the past, we have made tremendous efforts to develop and introduce new products to our customers. We are now pleased to be on the road again to present our latest technological achievements that will make solar energy more efficient and affordable. Our research and development aim at expressing our dedication towards innovation and excellence."

S.A.G. Solarstrom AG expands power plant portfolio by around 1 MWp

FREIBURG, GERMANY: S.A.G. Solarstrom AG has expanded its own power plant portfolio by around 1 MWp with retroactive effect from December 31, 2011. The Group has invested in a 919 kWp roof-top system on the roof of a logistics service provider in Dortmund. The total volume of the investment is around €2 million.

S.A.G. Solarstrom AG’s own system portfolio has thus increased to 88 systems in Germany and abroad, with a total output of 26.1 MWp. With this expansion, S.A.G. Solarstrom AG is underlining the strategic significance of its own system portfolio, which is also to be further expanded in the future.

S.A.G. Solarstrom AG’s operative business is based on four pillars, with the business areas Plant Operation and Services, as well as Power Production in particular being the cutting-edge areas of the industry with a high degree of potential for the further development of the Group.

“Our own system portfolio supplies a very solid and attractive cash flow and also offers us interesting long-term options, such as opportunities for the direct marketing of green electricity“, says Dr. Karl Kuhlmann, CEO if S.A.G. Solarstrom AG. “In addition, the portfolio provides us with valuable indicators on the long-term performance of photovoltaic systems, as the oldest systems in the portfolio have been connected to grid for fourteen years.“

The Executive and Supervisory Boards have therefore decided to expand the system portfolio with a roof-top system of around 919 kWp on the roof of a logistics service provider in Dortmund (Solarpark Dortmund GmbH & Co. KG). The system produces around 920,000 kWh of electricity per year and can thus supply 200 four-person households. The production of the green electricity is also reducing CO2 emissions by 650 tons.

The Group’s own system portfolio now includes 88 systems in Germany and abroad, with a total output of around 26.1 MWp. The commercial value of the portfolio, which has been determined by a renowned auditing firm at around €76 million, has increased to over €78 million. With its system portfolio, S.A.G. Solarstrom AG has set up considerable, long-term assets over the past few years.

“We will continue to expand the power plant portfolio according to the internal and external means available to us“, explains Dr. Karl Kuhlmann. “The systems are all fully financed as individual project companies and deliver attractive, predictable earnings.“

Friday, February 17, 2012

Suntech announces prelim financial results for Q4 and full year 2011

SAN FRANCISCO, USA & WUXI, CHINA: Suntech Power Holdings Co. Ltd, the world's largest producer of solar panels, today announced preliminary financial results for the fourth quarter and full year ended December 31, 2011.

Suntech exceeded shipment guidance for the fourth quarter of 2011. The Company previously expected shipments to decline by approximately 20 percent from the third quarter of 2011, but currently anticipates shipments to decline by approximately 10 percent from the third quarter of 2011. Revenues in the fourth quarter of 2011 are expected to be in the range of $610 million to $630 million. Gross margin is expected to be in the middle of the previously guided range of 9 percent to 11 percent.

Suntech expects shipments for the full year 2011 to be approximately 2.09GW, above previous guidance of 2GW. Revenues for the full year 2011 are expected to be in the range of $3.13 billion to $3.15 billion.

In the fourth quarter of 2011, due to continuing stringent working capital management, Suntech significantly reduced accounts receivable and inventory by a total of approximately $450 million, which was partially offset by an approximate $85 million decrease in accounts payable. This result exceeds Suntech's stated goal to reduce accounts receivable and inventory by a total of $200 million in the fourth quarter of 2012. Net debt declined by approximately $200 million in the fourth quarter of 2011. Cash and restricted cash increased from $567.7 million as of September 30, 2011 to over $700 million as of December 31, 2011.

Dr. Zhengrong Shi, Suntech's chairman and CEO, said: "Our sales and operations teams both performed well in the fourth quarter, enabling us to achieve key goals and improvements across our business. We exceeded shipment guidance and improved our cash position through ongoing management of accounts receivable and inventory. We also completed the impairment assessment for the third quarter of 2011. The charges that we incurred were all non-cash and will not impact our operations moving forward. We will continue to implement the initiatives necessary to maintain our position as the leading supplier of solar panels."

As stated on the company's Q3 2011 earnings announcement, due to the challenging solar market conditions and the significant reduction in the company's market capitalization in the third quarter of 2011, Suntech initiated an assessment of its goodwill, intangibles, and certain investments. Suntech recently completed its analysis and has recorded impairment charges of $571 million in the third quarter of 2011.

These charges consist of $407 million in non-cash impairments of goodwill and intangible assets; $109 million of non-cash impairments of Suntech's investments in, and prepayments to, Nitol Solar and Shunda; and a $55 million non-cash write-down of equipment and facilities.

Chinese tier-2 PV module prices fall below $1/W in Jan., but price cuts slow

ENGLAND, UK: The average price of Chinese Tier-2 crystalline PV modules fell to $0.96 per watt in January 2012, according to the latest PV module pricing report from IMS Research. Annualized price declines (ignoring seasonality) slowed to 22 percent in January, having exceeded 50 percent in December, as incentive levels were reduced in a number of major PV markets at the end of 2011.

Highly competitive pricing from Chinese Tier-2 manufacturers has continued into 2012 according to the new report, and the average crystalline PV module price from these suppliers declined twice as quickly as the total market in January dropping to $0.96/W. Although many spot prices were offered below this in recent months, this is the first time that the global average price had fallen below this industry milestone. Prices as low as $0.80/W (~€0.60/W) were recorded for Chinese Tier-2 module suppliers in January, typically for large orders from German distributors.

The report also found that significant pricing variations throughout the supply chain with distributors seeing an even faster fall in prices. Research analyst and report author, Jessica Jin commented, “Having enjoyed less price pressure than manufacturers in December ahead of FiT cuts in major markets, distributors’ prices were found to have declined faster than manufacturers’ prices in January. However, the average distributor price for Chinese Tier-2 crystalline prices still remained 25 percent higher than manufacturer pricing.”

Although January saw module prices decline once again to new record lows, declines actually slowed in comparison to previous months in response to strong demand in Europe. “Following the political response to Germany installing 7.5 GW in 2011, significantly more than the Government’s annual target, it is considered highly likely that major amendments or cuts will be made to the FiT in the world’s largest market in the first half of 2012. The threat of these changes, combined with the attractive returns offered by the current system prices in Germany, is driving demand to remain unusually high in the first few months of the year,” commented Jin.Source: IMS Research, England.

Applied Materials reports results for Q1-2012

SANTA CLARA, USA: Applied Materials Inc. reported results for its first quarter of fiscal 2012 ended January 29, 2012.

Applied generated orders of $2.01 billion and net sales of $2.19 billion. Non-GAAP operating income was $344 million, and non-GAAP net income was $240 million or 18 cents per share. GAAP operating income was $179 million, and GAAP net income was $117 million or 9 cents per share. Applied completed the acquisition of Varian Semiconductor Equipment Associates, Inc. during the quarter, and the results include Varian's operations for the full period.

"Global demand for mobile devices is driving a third consecutive year of strong capital investment by semiconductor customers," said Mike Splinter, chairman and CEO. "As a result, we see solid order momentum and an improved outlook overall for our second quarter."

"Applied delivered net sales and earnings above the high end of our expectations," said George Davis, chief financial officer. "In a quarter in which we closed the Varian acquisition, we also returned substantial capital to our stockholders, paying $104 million in cash dividends and using $200 million to repurchase over 18 million shares of our common stock."

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Renewables integration will provide key driver for energy storage systems for ancillary grid services

BOULDER, USA: In the context of the power grid, ancillary services refer to auxiliary functions that are necessary to maintain the balance and quality of electricity on the grid. Energy storage systems (ESS) are of particular usefulness in achieving this balance and quality at the grid operator level and can perform key functions that include frequency regulation, voltage support (or control), short duration renewables integration, spinning reserves, electric supply reserve capacity, and load following.

While energy storage systems for ancillary services are currently hindered by existing market structures, high capital costs, and discrepancies between asset ownership and the accrued benefits of such systems, as well as supply chain and project management challenges, the potential share for energy storage systems within the larger ancillary services market will increase over time.

According to a recent report from Pike Research, the growing need to integrate intermittent renewable sources of energy, particularly solar and wind power, into the power grid will help drive significant growth in ESS for ancillary services over the next decade.

The cleantech market intelligence firm forecasts that revenues from ESS for ancillary services applications will rise from $412 million in 2011 to more than $3.2 billion by 2021.

“Highly responsive, flexible technologies will perform better than slower or niche technologies, unless these can reach a threshold of market penetration to counter their disadvantages,” says research analyst Anissa Dehamna. “That said, the potential market for ancillary services is vast and will continue to grow as global generation capacity increases, as a result of both new electrification and capacity additions to existing networks, and increased instability resulting from renewables integration.”

Dehamna adds that, in the initial adoption period, the ESS for ancillary services market will be limited to regions with suitable market structures, primarily deregulated electricity markets. The key regions will be North America, Europe, and Asia Pacific, particularly for frequency regulation, load following, spinning reserves, and short-duration renewables integration. The primary technologies for these ancillary services include flywheels, pumped storage, compressed air energy storage, and battery technologies such as lithium ion, sodium sulfur, and advanced lead-acid batteries.

Konarka’s next gen organic PV cells first OPV technology to pass TÜV Rheinland tests

LOWELL, USA: Konarka Technologies Inc., an innovator in development and commercialization of Konarka Power Plastic, a lightweight, flexible organic solar film that converts light to electricity, announced that Konarka’s next generation organic solar cells are the world’s first organic photovoltaic (OPV) which passed accelerated lifetime tests based on product aging criteria contained in the IEC 61646.

The testing was performed by TÜV Rheinland, a leading international test institution, in its Assessment Center in Cologne, Germany. These recent advances are based upon Konarka’s inverted cell architecture, the company’s proprietary intellectual property protected under issued patents.

“Successfully passing the IEC 61646 lifetime test by TÜV Rheinland is a world first and an enormous achievement for Konarka’s OPV cells,” commented Howard Berke, chairman, CEO and co-founder of Konarka. “While our thin-film solar technology has numerous characteristics that set it apart from crystalline silicon and other thin-film technologies, this TÜV certification brings our competitive differentiation to a new level while affirming the stability of OPV under the solar industry’s accelerated lifetime testing protocol. We are delighted that our partners can confidently and effectively integrate Konarka Power Plastic into their glass BIPV applications including curtain walls, windows and other building glass applications.”

The Assessment Center of TÜV Rheinland is the world's leading test lab which optimizes processes and modern testing and simulation facilities for proven quality and reliability according to national and international standards.

Thin, light weight, transparent and flexible, Power Plastic solar films are ideally suited for integration into various building materials, including glass, steel, plastics, composites and fabrics, offering creative architects and product designers superior, widespread latitude with several color and transparency options across a wide range of sizes enabled by Konarka’s roll-to-roll continuous manufacturing process.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Gehrlicher Solar España completes a 10 MW solar park for KGAL’s German fund ESPF 1

MADRID, SPAIN: Last December, Gehrlicher Solar completed the construction and commissioning of Pereruela Solar Park, the second connected installation in the province of Zamora, which means a total of 14 MW installed in this region. In February, the company will hand the plant over to the investor European Solar Power Funds 1 GmbH & Co. KG, a German investment fund specializing in photovoltaic projects, managed by KGAL GmbH & Co. KG with headquarters in Grünwald near Munich.

The ground-mounted photovoltaic installation will produce around 15.000.000 kWh of power per year, equivalent to the yearly power needs of 3.960 households and to a yearly saving of around 5,000 CO2 tons. The solar park occupies a total area of 37.6 hectares of free ground, of which 27.8 correspond to the photovoltaic installation. 122.584 First Solar modules and 14 SMA inverters have been installed.

Gehrlicher Solar has been responsible for the integral execution of this project including designing, managing, construction, and operation and maintenance. The project increases the total power operated and maintained by Gehrlicher in Spain to over 40 MW, positioning the firm in this country at a high level in this business segment.

Guillermo Barea, CEO of Gehrlicher Solar España, stated: “This project has been a great challenge for us, as it has successfully overcome several technical, administrative and environmental obstacles in a record time of 17 weeks. The last announcement from the Spanish government will worsen the situation of the Spanish PV industry. The Gehrlicher team has anticipated possible changes of the legal framework and made efforts to develop new markets. We will keep on working hard and face the new market framework as an opportunity. Pereruela Solar Park has created a strong basis in our relationship with KGAL, with whom we hope to realize further projects in other markets soon.”

Dr. Klaus Wolf, MD of KGAL, added: “We are delighted that Pereruela Solar Park, our 13th photovoltaic project in Spain, is now online. The various funds managed by KGAL in Spain now operate power plants with a total capacity of around 76 MW. This was the first time we had worked with our partner Gehrlicher Solar España and they did an excellent job under conditions that weren’t exactly easy. We look forward to working with them again on other interesting projects on various European markets.”

Transparent conductors in thin film and organic PV-2012

NEW YORK, USA: announced that a new market research report is available in its catalogue: Transparent Conductors in Thin Film and Organic Photovoltaics-2012.

Transparent Conductors in Thin Film and Organic Photovoltaics – 2012" is the latest report from NanoMarkets in our ongoing coverage of materials and markets in the photovoltaics sector. In this report, NanoMarkets examines the changing opportunities for different kinds of transparent conductors in the TFPV and organic PV industry.

This report considers how transparent conductors will find markets and help create value for suppliers of leading edge PV technologies under the changed circumstances that PV faces today in which government subsidies are under threat and there are huge pressures to reduce TFPV costs to make it competitive with c-Si PV and with other sources of energy in general.

Taking into account the new dynamics of the TFPV and OPV industry, this report identifies where transparent conductor firms can generate business revenues, both from the older segments of the TFPV/OPV industry and from emerging segments, such as BIPV glass.

This report is designed to help transparent conductor suppliers to understand how the overall changes in the PV industry will influence their sales. It covers the use of transparent conductors in thin-film Si, CIGS, CdTe, OPV, and DSC and includes a discussion of how both established transparent conductor technology and the latest transparent conducting nanomaterials can make money in the PV market.