Monday, December 31, 2012

Locus Energy awarded Green Business Certification by City of San Francisco

USA: Locus Energy, a leading provider of monitoring and data analytics services to the solar PV industry has received certification from San Francisco's Green Business Program. In order to achieve this recognition, Locus Energy completed a series of sustainability measures to reduce the environmental impacts of its business including the use of environmentally friendly supplies, greener waste management practices, and energy and water efficiency improvements.

Locus Energy is dedicated to developing breakthrough technologies that help accelerate the adoption of clean energy generation globally. Locus Energy's platform provides its customers with a tightly integrated hardware and web-based software package used to track the performance of solar PV systems. The revenue-grade energy production data is collected by Locus Energy's industry-leading LGate power meter lineup, and uploaded to its SolarOS monitoring website in real-time.

The effort to become a more sustainable business received strong support from all members of Locus Energy's San Francisco team. "We are excited to be recognized as a member of San Francisco's Green Business Program, an initiative that is focused on working hand in hand with businesses to help develop policies that help support a healthy, safe work environment, minimize environmental impacts, and decrease operating expenses", said Michael Herzig, CEO of Locus Energy.

"We feel strongly that in order to help advance the clean energy cause, Locus needs to set an example as an environmentally conscious corporate citizen, and this award affirms our continued commitment to achieving that goal."

Friday, December 28, 2012

Yingli Green Energy's multicrystalline PV module passes TUV SUD's PID test

CHINA: Yingli Green Energy Holding Co. Ltd announced that its multicrystalline PV modules passed the Potential Induced Degradation (PID) test conducted by TUV SUD.

The PID test was conducted under stringent conditions of 85 degrees Celsius, 85 percent relative humidity, and 1,000 volts of system voltage bias with a testing duration of 96 hours. The test results showed that the power degradation of Yingli Solar modules was lower than 0.5 percent, significantly below the maximum allowable power output degradation rate of 5 percent.

"We're pleased to achieve such a great success in the PID test performed by TUV SUD, which is one of the world's leading technical service organizations," said Liansheng Miao, chairman and CEO of Yingli Green Energy. "The test results fully demonstrate our commitment to product reliability. We will continue to elevate the performance of our products with an aim to maximize customers' benefits."

Robert Puto, global product manager-Photovoltaics of TUV SUD Product Service, commented: "As the competition of the solar industry continues to intensify, more and more PV module manufactures select to partner with leading third-party technical service organizations such as TUV SUD to test and certify their excellent product quality and advanced assembly technology.

"Yingli's leading position in the global market is attributable to its stringent quality control efforts and technology innovations. TUV SUD is committed to providing authoritative testing and certification services for well-known enterprises by leveraging our strong technical strength and brand advantages."

Canadian Solar completes purchase of two solar power projects from SunEdison

CANADA: Canadian Solar Inc. and SunEdison Power Canada Inc., a subsidiary of MEMC Electronic Materials, Inc., announced that they have completed a purchase and sale transaction wherein Canadian Solar's direct subsidiary Canadian Solar Solutions Inc. has acquired a majority interest in two utility-scale solar power projects in Ontario with a total capacity of approximately 24 MW DC.

Subject to certain contractual conditions, Canadian Solar has the ability to complete a purchase of two additional utility-scale solar power projects in Ontario with a total capacity of approximately 22.5 MW DC, and an option to purchase a fifth solar project at a later date from SunEdison.

Each of the five solar power projects was awarded a 20-year power purchase contract by the Ontario Power Authority under Ontario's Feed-In-Tariff Program (FIT version 1.0). The two projects purchased have each received Renewal Energy Approvals and are expected to commence construction in early 2013 and be fully operational by late 2013.

The remaining solar energy projects are in the advanced permitting stage and are expected to commence construction in early to mid-2013 and be fully operational by late 2013 and early 2014.

The aggregate transaction price is approximately C$37 million ($38 million) payable in accordance with certain milestones. The completion of the transaction also brings a settlement to litigation proceedings between Canadian Solar and SunEdison commenced in the Ontario courts in October 2011.

"We are very pleased to announce this transaction with SunEdison which further demonstrates Canadian Solar's ongoing investment and commitment to the Ontario solar energy market, and continues Canadian Solar's growth of its global solar project portfolio and higher margin total solutions business," said Dr. Shawn Qu, chairman and CEO at Canadian Solar. "Each of these four solar projects will create and sustain green jobs in Ontario and will generate clean, renewable energy for decades to come."

White paper compares role of concentrated solar thermal and PV solar technologies

USA: Principal Solar Inc, a publicly traded solar energy holding company executing a unique roll-up strategy to create the world's first distributed solar utility, announced the release of “Technological Niches: Concentrated Solar Thermal vs. Photovoltaic Solar.” 

Authored by Brett T. Gage, research associate PSI, and Rick Borry, Ph.D., chief technology officer, PSI, the paper compares concentrated solar thermal (CST) and photovoltaic (PV) solar technologies, exploring how each succeeds or fails in relation to the electric power generation marketplace.

“Solar electricity will be cost-competitive without subsidies within three years,” says Michael Gorton, CEO, PSI. “This paper explains the strengths and weaknesses of CST and PV technology at a time when both are approaching grid-parity power prices in many applications, making this a timely and highly relevant topic.”

The paper discusses the evolution of solar technology and demonstrates how CST and PV solar technology each serve different technological niches. As of 2012, PV has come to dominate all smaller-scale solar electricity applications, while retaining the majority market share even in commercial and utility-scale applications.

Recently, the Department of Energy (DOE) announced $20 million in new funding that will help integrate concentrating solar power (CSP) systems with fossil fuel power plants. These hybrid systems leverage the infrastructure of fossil fuel plants such as turbine and transmission systems, helping to reduce the cost of solar-generated electricity and bring CSP plants online quicker. CSP retains a strong niche at the utility-scale and in combined heat and power applications, where no amount of PV cost-reduction is expected to overcome its inherent technology advantages.

“As energy independence and sustainability are becoming formidable issues in the public eye, solar presents itself as a primary solution and can increase its future market share simply by participating in the growth of capacity -- rather than serving as a replacement,” says Dr. Borry. “PV and CST complement each other to meet new demands, and both will increase their share of the electric power market as the world adds new capacity outside of the traditional carbon combustion processes.”

Thursday, December 27, 2012

Total BIPV system capacity to quintuple by 2017

USA: Both the building industry, which is still plagued by low housing starts and new builds, and the global solar industry, which is facing severe reductions in financial subsidies in key markets, have been under stress in recent years.

The emergent market for building integrated photovoltaics (BIPV) offers a new way to develop revenue streams for these two industries. According to a recent report from Pike Research, a part of Navigant’s Energy Practice, the total capacity of BIPV systems worldwide will grow from just over 400 megawatts (MW) in 2012 to 2,250 MW in 2017, a more than five-fold increase.

The annual value of the BIPV market will quadruple over the next five years, growing from $606 million in 2012 to more than $2.4 billion in 2017, the study concludes.

“The growing availability of energy-efficient, flexible, and transparent solar materials is transforming the way that architects and building engineers view, and use, photovoltaic systems,” says research director Kerry-Ann Adamson. “In the future, BIPV will no longer be confined to spandrel or overhead applications. Rather, the entire building envelope will be able to put it to use, allowing the structure to produce its own power and feed additional power into the grid system.”

Going into 2013, the BIPV market will open up more as it rebounds from the great solar depression and several long-term projects hit the market, according to the report. An increasing number of players in the supply chain are working together to provide solutions for the entire building envelope.

Among the most important next steps for the industry is the development of finished solar modules made by continuous production from PV rolls. Developing the ability to print the PV coating directly on to steel roof cladding will enable the modules to be produced in large volumes, cost-effectively.

Major oil producing countries in Middle East to increase green energy development

TAIWAN: According to EnergyTrend, a research division of global market research firm TrendForce, the PV markets in Middle Eastern regions are continuing to develop, with top oil producing countries such as the United Arab Emirates, Kuwait, and Saudi Arabia each showing relevant progresses in the area of planned investments.

As EnergyTrend indicates, oil producing countries around the Persian Gulf are showing increasing ambition towards green energy projects, many of which tend to utilize capacities of up to various Giga watts.

Aside from the United Arab Emirate's MAZDAR City, Kuwait has been pushing for a similar development with its Silk City project. The project involves 2GW solar power installation, and places major emphasis on CSP, CPV, and PV technology, which accounts for approximately 30% of installed capacity.

As observed by EnergyTrend, while the Middle East has a suitable environment for solar energy development, there are a number of geography-based challenges that serve as issues for future investors. Given the region's relative scarce water resources, the cost of the traditional cleaning method to maintain the module's power efficiency, for instance, is likely to give rise to soaring maintenance costs.

On the other hand, as sandstorms tend to be relatively common in desert regions, whether businesses can successfully adapt to these regions becomes another potential issue to consider.
According to EnergyTrend, the Middle Eastern market tends to be preferable for European, the US, and Japanese businesses, but less so for those from China. Various Taiwanese manufacturers are already beginning to invest in the Middle East, and are seeking OEM and partnership opportunities as means to increase their visibility. Taiwanese manufacturers are expected to begin shipping relevant products to the Middle Eastern markets in 2013.

Due to the barriers related to technological standards and regulations, manufacturers from China, many of whom rely on low pricing to gain a competitive strength, will have a difficult time entering the Middle Eastern markets.

The state of the PV market appears to be stable, with prices remaining unchanged from last week. It should be noted, however, that many Chinese manufacturers have currently experienced a surge in orders due to the increase in their domestic market growth.

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Upsolar partners with RSEnergy on 2 MW project in Greece

GREECE: Upsolar, a leading international provider of solar PV modules, has been selected for a 2 MW project by RSEnergy Hellas Solartechnik Ltd. (RSEnergy), a major energy engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) firm based in Greece. The agreement is based on a long-term partnership with RSEnergy.

Located in Igoumenitsa, the solar PV system will provide clean power to a private Greek investor. This project serves as the latest in Upsolar’s robust Greek portfolio, with the company shipping more than 55 MW of modules throughout the country since it established Upsolar Greece in 2010.

“As customers in Greece seek new methods to secure strong, long-term investments, the country’s solar market has the potential to become a major global player in the coming years,” said Ioannis Markatatos, country manager for Upsolar Greece. “Thanks to our partnerships with reputable partners like RSEnergy, Upsolar is poised to achieve significant market share across the region."

RSEnergy, a turnkey energy solutions provider, has chosen Upsolar PV modules for use in its ground mounted and industrial rooftop applications across Greece.

“RSEnergy has constructed projects with Upsolar PV modules all over Greece. The installations show very high yields. Our customers are extremely satisfied with the quality components deployed,” said Müller-Polyzos, CEO of RSEnergy.

“In addition to the very high electricity production, Upsolar provides security to the investors by means of the PowerGuard insurance. The PowerGuard insurance is backed up by industry-leading insurance companies with A ratings. This provides investment security to our customers over the whole lifetime of the project.”

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

American Vanadium announces submission of plan of operations

CANADA: American Vanadium  Corp. announced the submission of the Plan of Operations for the Gibellini Project in Nevada to the US Bureau of Land Management (BLM) which, upon the agency’s determination of completeness, initiates the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) review process. Additionally, the Company has submitted a Reclamation Plan to the Nevada Division of Environmental Protection.

“This is a major step forward in our mine permitting process,” said Bill Radvak, president and CEO of American Vanadium. “The BLM, the Nevada Division of Environmental Protection and Eureka County have all been very supportive and a pleasure to work with on this project, providing both regulatory and technical direction to enhance the project’s environmental protection measures and streamline the permitting process.”

The Plan of Operations details the plan for the Gibellini Project from mine design, to processing facilities, to the reclamation and closure plan. Importantly, the Plan of Operations incorporates numerous product outputs for high purity vanadium products for the titanium alloying industry as well as electrolyte for the vanadium flow battery market.

In addition, the Plan of Operations incorporates a micro grid design utilizing solar power generation and a vanadium battery which will be capable of powering the mine off-grid.

Monday, December 24, 2012

Kuwait University and imec to collaborate on advanced silicon solar cell technology

BELGIUM & KUWAIT: World-leading nanotechnology research centre imec (Belgium) and Kuwait University signed a long-term collaboration agreement for research and development on innovative silicon solar cell technologies.

The agreement has been signed on Wednesday December 19, 2012, in Kuwait City during a ceremony in the presence of the Belgian Minister of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade Deputy-Prime Minister, Didier Reynders, and Kuwait University President, Prof. Abdullatif Al-Bader, and Director General of Kuwait Foundation for Advancement of Sciences, Dr. Adnan Shihab-Eldin.

The basis of the collaboration between imec and Kuwait University is imec’s wafer-based silicon solar cell industrial affiliation program. By joining this program Kuwait University will acquire and further build up knowledge and expertise in advanced silicon solar cell processing technology.

Resident researchers from Kuwait University will collaborate closely with imec researchers at imec’s facilities in Leuven, Belgium, and in Kuwait, and they will contribute to the research program with their excellent technology-modeling and simulation expertise. In this way Kuwait University will provide in-depth scientific understanding in exploring and validating directions for further solar cell innovation toward higher efficiencies and lower cost.

Additionally, imec scientists will organize training sessions and scientific seminars in Kuwait for students and researchers of Kuwait University, to stimulate growth in expertise and human capital in field of solar cells and renewable energy in Kuwait.

“The need and importance of renewable energy is dominantly present in the Middle East region. With this collaboration we feel that Kuwait is taking a new and strategic step in establishing a key position in the field of silicon solar cell technology in the region,” says Ludo Deferm, executive VP, Business Development at imec.

“We are very pleased to welcome Kuwait University as one of our research partners. It is a confirmation of imec’s high level of expertise and leading position in advance solar technologies and it is nice example of the important value that imec can bring to the Middle-East region.”

Elaborating on the KU-imec collaboration in the sphere of solar cell technology, Prof. Hasan Al-Sanad, VP for Research, said: “Kuwait University is driven toward creating an enabling environment that could spur scientific research in the field of silicon solar cells in Kuwait, enhancing institutional capabilities and competence in this field. The intent is to open the door for scientific exchange, knowledge-sharing and skills acquisition through training and practical exposure that could benefit our faculty and scholars, to innovate, and gather in-depth knowledge and capability in the field."

The collaboration with imec is, therefore, “a defining step in this direction, an agreement opening the door for advanced research in the critical area of solar cell technology, with its long-term implications for the state, society and the region". Dr. Hasan added: “The joint agreement marked the beginning of a journey, a valued partnership for advancing institutional R&D capabilities, and bolstering KU’s scientific standing in the field.”

China studies policies and measures to promote healthy development of PV industry

CHINA: Premier Wen Jiabao chaired a State Council executive meeting on the 19th, the research to determine policies and measures to promote the healthy development of the photovoltaic industry.

The Conference believes that the rapid development of photovoltaic industry in China in recent years, has formed a relatively complete photovoltaic manufacturing industry system. The main question is: serious excess capacity, the market over-reliance on external demand, companies generally operating difficulties.

The meeting stressed that the photovoltaic industry is a strategic emerging industries. Development of photovoltaic industry to adjust the energy structure, promote energy production and consumption patterns change, and promote the construction of ecological civilization is of great significance.

China's photovoltaic industry is currently experiencing difficulties, both the industry is facing severe challenges, but also the opportunity to promote industrial adjustment and upgrading, especially the cost of photovoltaic power generation dropped significantly, provided favorable conditions for the expansion of the domestic market.
To improve policies and measures in accordance with the innovation and institutional mechanisms to expand the consumer market, and standardize the market order, promoting industrial restructuring, to reduce the cost of power generation of ideas, balanced, comprehensive facilities strategy, efforts to enhance industrial competitiveness.

The meeting identified the following policy measures: (a) to accelerate industrial restructuring and technological progress. Make the best use of the market "Forced mechanism to encourage corporate mergers and acquisitions, eliminate backward production capacity, improve technology and equipment level. Strict control of simple expansion of production capacity of polysilicon, photovoltaic cells and modules in the new project. (B) of to standardize industrial development order.

To strengthen the coordination of the photovoltaic power generation planning and supporting grid planning, the establishment of a simple and efficient grid service system. Establish a sound system of technical standards, strengthen market supervision, the key equipment to implement mandatory testing and certification system. (C) actively explore the domestic photovoltaic applications market.

Efforts to promote distributed photovoltaic power generation, to encourage the installation of units, communities and families, and the use of photovoltaic power generation system, orderly construction of photovoltaic power plants. To strengthen international cooperation to consolidate and expand the international market. (D) the perfect support policy.

Development of photovoltaic power plants subregion Internet benchmark price reasonable reduction in feed-in tariff in accordance with the policies of the electricity subsidies, according to the changes in cost and subsidy standards, the implementation of distributed photovoltaic power generation based on resource conditions.

Perfect central finance to support the the photovoltaic development of mechanisms, the same preferential VAT policies for PV power plant project implementation and wind power. (E) to give full play to the role of market mechanisms to reduce government intervention to prohibit local protection. Improve the electricity pricing mechanism and subsidies effect evaluation mechanism, to improve the effect of policies.

Play the role of industry organizations, strengthen self-discipline, and guide the healthy development of industry. The meeting asked the departments to pay close attention to the development of the perfect supporting policies put in place.

CNPV expands success in India

LUXEMBOURG & CHINA: CNPV Solar Power SA, a public limited liability company organized under the laws of the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg and a leading integrated manufacturer of solar photovoltaic products, initiated shipments to Navalakha Group, of Maharashtra, India, against their recently awarded contract to supply 7MWp high performance CNPV solar modules.

CNPV was recently awarded an initial 7MWp supply contract after intense evaluation by Navalakha Group, competing at the outset with 20+ suppliers, shortlisted to three, and finally securing the agreement based upon the demonstrable financial value Navalakha Group can attain by using CNPV's High Performance, High Power Solar Modules and the passionate detailed service commitment.

"We take pride in every facet of our activity," said Satendra Navalakha, chairman of Navalakha Group. "The completion of the project just marks the beginning of our responsibilities. Our solar PV selection process is tailored specifically to integrate into this philosophy and with CNPV we have found a supplier who not only delivers top quality High Performance Solar Modules with high energy yield, but also assists us in smooth execution of our project.

"Their support and co-ordination during and after the tender process has been consummate, and further re-affirms our belief that their solutions on longevity of the system will not only deliver an increased profit for us, but will further develop our credibility as a leading RE project developer."

Jia Zhimin, CNPV's CEO and Bypina Veerraju Chaudary, CNPV's COO and CTO are clearly delighted at the evaluation: "We are overjoyed to hear first-hand reports from such an esteemed and reputable individual as Navalakha that quantify CNPV's interactions and levels of service. So often within our industry we hear proclamations by suppliers of 'excellent service and support' but to our mind, it is only relevant when it comes from the recipient."

Ponsekar, CNPV's VP Sales for South Asia added: "A hugely competitive market drives suppliers in two directions, either to cut prices with disregard to the customer's true goals, or to fully understand the real needs of the end user and provide a techno-commercial offering specifically geared to fulfil the Company's vision. The second option takes longer, but it is the backbone of the final agreement with the Navalakha Group. I am thoroughly delighted to have our involvement confirmed by the venerated Navalakha Group, and trust that this first delivery of 7MWp during December, will consummate a further 40-50MWp during 2013."

E. J. McKay advises SMA Solar in acquiring Jiangsu Zeversolar

CHINA: SMA Solar Technology AG signed a definitive agreement to acquire a 72.5 percent controlling stake in Jiangsu Zeversolar New Energy Co. Ltd, a leading photovoltaic inverter company in China.

The transaction enables the Niestetal, Germany based SMA to secure access to the growing Chinese solar market and to consolidate its global leadership.

This landmark transaction, the largest in the Chinese solar industry of the year, is representative of the kind of work E. J. McKay is engaged in, that of "advising a highly select group of key clients in their significant cross-border transactions that create measurable synergy and transform the impacted industry," said James Z. Li , chairman of E. J. McKay .

"The SMA Zeversolar deal is an important strategic milestone for our client and solidifies EJM's leadership position in the renewable energy sector."

Carmanah/ADB supply emergency solar systems to Brazilian Air Force

CANADA: Airfield lighting partners Carmanah Technologies, ADB Airfield Solutions and Brazilian distributor AVIEX Importacao have been selected to supply five emergency-deployable, solar-powered airfield and helipad lighting systems to the Brazilian Air Force at a value of over $400,000.

The fully portable lighting systems will be stored at the Brazilian Air Force Command Centre and are designed to be easily deployed at offsite locations as operational requirements change. All systems include durable deployment containers to ensure safe transportation and storage. Each airfield and helipad is also equipped with a rugged radio controller to allow for remote activation, in-field programming, and on-demand switching between standard and infrared night operations modes.

“Carmanah’s technology offers our military clients a practical solution to meet the realities of tactical and emergency operations. Rapid deployment is often necessary in remote and under-serviced locations. Solar airfield lighting ensures that essential access can be maintained around the clock anywhere there is a safe landing surface, regardless of the availability of traditional power sources,” said Steve Rauch, president and CEO of ADB Airfield Solutions, LLC.

“This transaction underscores the strength of our partnership with ADB and our continuing relationship with the Brazilian Air Force,” said Carmanah CEO Bruce Cousins.

“Carmanah’s innovative solar airfield solutions for airfields and helipads are well-suited to military applications and are accepted and proven worldwide. We are pleased to see such a large order commitment, which we believe marks a shift in our close-rate of large Aviation projects. Future applications of solar technology within civil airfields remain a significant market opportunity for the company and a primary focus for the Aviation team.”

Friday, December 21, 2012

SMA taps fast-growing Chinese PV market

GERMANY & CHINA: SMA Solar Technology AG concluded a contract in Shanghai about the acquisition of a majority stake of 72.5 percent in Jiangsu Zeversolar New Energy Co. Ltd, a leading inverter manufacturer in China.

Zeversolar offers products specially tailored to the requirements of the Chinese photovoltaic market. With this joint venture, SMA is securing access to the growing Chinese market and is strategically consolidating its position as global market leader.

“Over the next few years, China will become the largest photovoltaic market worldwide. Up to now, we did not have access to this market due to local particularities. For this reason, our majority shareholding in Zeversolar is strategically highly relevant for us. We are taking advantage of this historic chance to successfully anchor SMA in a young growth market and to further establish our position as global market leader,” says SMA speaker of the Managing Board, Pierre-Pascal Urbon.

He also emphasizes the positive effects resulting from the transaction: “Through this transaction, SMA can open up the procurement channels in China more quickly than planned and, thus, advance ongoing cost-reduction measures at a faster rate.”

SMA plans to use the joint venture primarily to aid comprehensive operation in the Chinese market. Through this transaction SMA can optimally meet local requirements.

“With this joint venture SMA is gaining access to products specifically tailored to the unique needs of the Chinese market. As a leading manufacturer in China, Zeversolar is also in contact with the prevailing customers and decision-makers in the energy industry. We will be serving the Chinese market via the modern production site in Yangzhong and are also in a position to quickly increase capacity through already established processes,” says Pierre-Pascal Urbon.

It has always been SMA’s philosophy to carry out production locally should it be required by the conditions on-site. “Accordingly, we set up production sites in North America early on to establish our market leadership in the region,” explains Pierre-Pascal Urbon.

Chen Yulong, CEO, Zeversolar, is very pleased with the signing of the contract: He says: “We have managed to successfully position Zeversolar in the Chinese market over the course of several years. With this joint venture, we are creating a stable future for the company and will be able to implement our growth plans even faster. With SMA’s experience added to our roster, we will be able to advise our Chinese customers in the energy industry when it comes to the ever more important question of grid integration and, thus, set ourselves apart from our competitors. We are very happy that our management board stands in full support of the transaction and will play a major role in the further development of Zeversolar."

Zeversolar’s enterprise value based on SMA’s stake of 72,5 percent is CNY 319 million (approx. €40 million) from which net liabilities are deducted in order to determine the purchase price. The purchase is financed with cash on hand. The economic start of the joint venture is planned for January 1, 2013.

The transaction is still subject to approval by Chinese government authorities and the responsible anti-trust offices. E. J. McKay acted as the financial advisor, CMS as the legal advisor, and Deloitte & Touche as the financial and tax due diligence consultant to SMA; Zhenghan acted as the legal advisor to Zeversolar.

IEEE 802.24 Smart Grid technical advisory group formed

USA: IEEE, the world's largest professional organization dedicated to advancing technology for humanity, today announced the formation of the IEEE 802.24 Smart Grid Technical Advisory Group (TAG).

The newly launched entity is a collaborative umbrella organization that works with multiple IEEE 802 working groups (WGs) and will liaise with key smart grid ecosystem stakeholders, such as regulatory agencies, other standards development bodies and industry organizations. The IEEE 802.24 Smart Grid TAG’s goal is to help resolve questions and challenges regarding the use of IEEE 802 standards in smart grid applications.

“IEEE 802 networking standards have achieved near-ubiquitous adoption – they’re essential underlying technologies found in almost every computing device made today, whether it’s a desktop computer, laptop, tablet or smartphone. These standards are an integral part of the connected world,” said Bill Ash, strategic program manager, IEEE Standards Association (IEEE-SA).

“Now with the smart grid’s continued evolution, IEEE 802 standards will also play a fundamental role in critical applications like home automation, advanced metering infrastructures, renewable integration and demand response. The IEEE 802.24 Smart Grid TAG will serve as the ultimate resource for practical information and insight about the use of IEEE 802 standards in the smart grid.”

Among the IEEE 802 WGs taking part in the IEEE 802.24 Smart Grid TAG are the IEEE 802.1 Higher Layer LAN Protocols WG,IEEE 802.3 Ethernet WG,IEEE 802.11 Wireless LAN WG,IEEE 802.15 Wireless Personal Area Network (WPAN) WG,IEEE 802.16 Broadband Wireless Access WG, IEEE 802.18 Radio Regulatory TAG,IEEE 802.21 Media Independent Handoff WG and IEEE 802.22 Wireless Regional Area Networks (WRAN) WG.

As part of its charter, the group will become an essential link and first point of contact for an array of smart grid constituencies, including policymakers and regulatory bodies, Standards Development Organizations (SDOs) and trade associations, as well as an internal resource for other IEEE societies, groups and committees. Primary responsibilities and activities falling under the IEEE 802.24

Smart Grid TAG’s purview include facilitating coordination and collaboration among IEEE 802 groups and providing conference and event speakers able to address the use of IEEE 802 standards in smart grid applications. Additionally, participants will cooperatively develop a range of materials such as white papers, guidelines and presentations.

“As foundational elements working at the lower layers to connect devices together, IEEE 802 standards are applicable in a wide variety of environments. As a result, they are a natural fit within today’s nascent smart grid ecosystem,” said James Gilb, chair, IEEE 802.24 Smart Grid TAG.

“IEEE 802 holds nearly unlimited potential for relevance within smart grid applications. By providing needed guidance, expertise and other resources relating to these standards, the IEEE 802.24 Smart Grid TAG will help ensure continued innovation and advancement of the smart grid.”

Thursday, December 20, 2012

JinkoSolar to jointly invest and develop 200 MW PV project with Jinchuan Group in Gansu province

CHINA: JinkoSolar Holding Co. Ltd. has signed a strategic co-operation agreement with Jinchuan Group Co. Ltd, a Chinese state-owned enterprise, to jointly invest and develop a 200 MW photovoltaic ("PV") solar power plant in Jinchang, Gansu Province, China.

Once connected to the grid, the project will become one of the Asia's largest independent PV solar power plants.

With approximately RMB 2 billion investment scale, the project has been approved by Gansu Development and Reform Commission and is expected to be completed and connected to the grid by June 2013. The PV solar power plant will complement the large industrial base and infrastructure Jinchuan Group has already built in the region with three thermal power plants.

"Jinchang receives large amounts of sunlight and has ample land resources, which make it very suitable for PV power plant development." said Xiande Li , chairman of JinkoSolar. "We are very pleased to cooperate with Jinchuan Group, a reputed SOE with international competitiveness. We are confident that our cooperation will aid in the development of a green future for the region and a sustainable return on our investment."

AE-AMD Renewable Energy and Tenesol/SunPower begin work on two solar projects In South Africa

SOUTH AFRICA & USA: AE-AMD Renewable Energy, a joint venture between the Spanish AMDA energia and the South African Alt-E Technologies, and Tenesol, a SunPower company, announced two South African ground-mounted solar power projects totaling 33 megawatts (MW).  Both projects, which Tenesol will construct, are located near Douglas, South Africa in the Northern Cape Province.

Herbert, a 22-MW project, has begun construction, and groundbreaking for the 11-MW Greefspan project will begin in the coming weeks. They are both part of the South African government's Independent Power Producers Procurement Program and completion for both projects is expected in the second quarter of 2014. The last step in financing took place on Nov. 16 when final agreements were signed-off by the South African Department of Energy.

"SunPower's successful track record of building solar power plants around the world, coupled with Tenesol's historic presence in South Africa, will positively impact this region," said SunPower Regions President Howard Wenger . "These two solar power projects will generate local construction jobs and deliver clean, reliable energy to the community."

Both systems will be owned by AE-AMD Renewable Energy in partnership with the IDEAS Fund, an infrastructure fund managed by Old Mutual Investment Group of South Africa that will also resell the electricity to Eskom upon completion of the projects. Tenesol has a five percent share in the two projects.

The ground-mounted solar systems will feature 138,000 Tenesol TE 240 photovoltaic solar panels on single-axis trackers. The solar panels are being produced at the Cape Town manufacturing facility which has been in operation for more than a decade, and has 3BBBEE rating.

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

PV supply chain prepares for Q1'13 demand surge in the UK

USA: Suppliers of solar photovoltaic (PV) modules and balance-of-systems components are preparing for a potential Q1’13 revenue windfall in the UK market. The windfall will be stimulated by anticipated downward revisions to Renewable Obligation Certificate (ROC) levels beginning in April 2013, according to the NPD Solarbuzz UK PV Market Entry Guide: New Revenue Opportunities report.

“Explosive PV growth in 2011 and 2012 was dominated by residential installations benefitted by attractive feed-in-tariffs,” according to Finlay Colville, Vice President of NPD Solarbuzz. “However, the focus at the start of 2013 will change rapidly to megawatt-scale ground-mount installations as installers seek to beat the end-of-March cutoff deadline.”

A significant pipeline of hundreds of megawatts of ground-mount applications accumulated in 2012, and successful projects delayed component purchases as global PV prices continued to fall. In what is expected to be a frantic rush for the lowest-priced off-the-shelf components, Asian module, inverter, and racking suppliers are now targeting further market share gains within the UK.

PV Supply Landscape Within the UK by Megawatt-Level (End of 2012)
Source: NPD Solarbuzz UK PV Market Entry Guide: New Revenue Opportunities report, December 2012.

Cumulative PV demand in the UK will exceed 1.6 GW by the end of 2012, with more than 94 percent of this demand installed during the past two years. This growth rate has elevated the UK to a top-10 global PV market in 2011 and 2012, and it has ensured that the UK is included in the leading PV suppliers’ global end-market strategies.

Moreover, the UK has a lower financial risk assigned to investments (compared to other legacy PV-rich countries within Europe), and many PV component suppliers are now planning long-term strategies based on sustained UK PV industry growth. The UK PV market is even more appealing to overseas suppliers because of the low level of domestic PV manufacturing in the UK.

However, it is supplying energy that underpins the UK’s role within the global PV industry. “Energy costs remain a highly emotive issue within the UK,” added Colville. “Consumers continue to prioritize investments to hedge against inevitable rising electricity prices. So long as PV system pricing continues to decline, there is a strong possibility that the Department of Energy and Climate Change’s Impact Assessment goal of 22 GW by 2020 can be reached.”

As the UK PV market transitions from an emerging high-growth opportunity to a more mature and stable end-market, PV module and balance-of-systems suppliers have to adjust supply strategies to align with the leading downstream installers and project developers.

“By the middle of 2012, there were more than 4,000 certified PV installers in the UK,” added Colville, “This made it very difficult for overseas PV suppliers to decide which companies to forge long-term supply relationships with. The growth of the ground-mount segment will assist in filtering down the list of downstream survivors, with many of these companies participating in the Q1’13 demand pull over the next few months.”

Chinese solar cell and panel manufacturers survey

IRELAND: Research and Markets has announced the addition of the "Chinese Solar Cell and Panel Manufacturers Market Survey - Continuous" subscription to its offering.

ENF Chinese Cell and Panel Manufacturers Continuous Report is worthy of your trust in the selections as an information tracking source. We have collected data on the capacity, production, equipment and raw materials of each company for your use to understand your customers or suppliers.

ENF has been collecting information on the photovoltaic industry for over seven years from suppliers, manufacturers and customers. Our strong relationships with companies throughout the photovoltaic value chain allows us to not only collect detailed information, but it also allows us to cross reference it with other members in the value chain, ensuring our customers have the most current and reliable information.

Continually updated key-contact details allow equipment and material suppliers to get directly through to the key managers they seek, saving a lot of time in finding their potential customers and expanding their business.

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Kohl's activates largest solar project at Maryland

USA: Kohl’s Department Stores announced activation of the company’s largest solar project at its million-square-foot e-commerce fulfillment center (EFC) in Edgewood, Md.

The EFC opened in 2011 and recently earned Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) certification from the US Green Building Council (USGBC) at the gold level. The location is Kohl’s sixth solar site in Maryland. It is also the company’s first LEED-certified logistics facility.

“The Edgewood facility demonstrates Kohl’s collective approach to environmental responsibility in many ways, including our commitment to collaboration with our partners and expanding our successful programs such as solar and LEED certification,” said John Worthington, Kohl’s chief administrative officer.

“We worked with experts internally and externally to maximize the sustainable aspects of this site, which ranged from expanding onto and retrofitting an existing building structure to addressing the nature of the distribution center as an industrial, round-the-clock facility with different operational considerations than what our stores may have. We are very pleased with the results and look forward to carrying forward what we have learned into future building and LEED projects.”

The Edgewood EFC’s 2.4 MW, 8,360-panel rooftop solar array will generate more than 3 million kWh of electricity annually and provide more than 40 percent of the facility’s energy. Up until this project, Kohl’s largest solar site was its San Bernardino, Calif. distribution center with a 1 MW, 6,208-panel rooftop solar array.

As one of the largest single retail hosts of solar power in North America, Kohl’s solar portfolio now totals nearly 42 MW, generating more than 57,400 Megawatt-hours (MWh) of electricity annually.

The company has also made continued progress related to its commitment to environmentally responsible building design, construction and operation. Beginning with the gold LEED certification of its Milwaukee photo studio in 2008, Kohl’s set a goal to LEED certify all new corporate buildings and all newly constructed stores. The company has since earned LEED gold certification on volume prototypes for new and existing stores, resulting in more than 300 LEED-certified locations from coast to coast.

What were the top emerging technology companies in 2012?

USA: Global megatrends like energy and infrastructure, health and wellness, and materials revolutions create pressing social and economic needs – and the right emerging technologies to address them can create major business opportunities.

Emerging technology research firm Lux Research scouts for technology developers that address these megatrends, profiling 1,380 companies across 15 different emerging technology domains in 2012.

To conclude the year, Lux Research selected the 10 most compelling companies profiled in 2012 across all its coverage areas (released today) and the 10 “companies to watch” for 2013 (to be released Thursday, December 20th).

Lux Research analysts base company profiles on primary and secondary research, rating each firm on a 10-metric scorecard, while providing critical analysis of their prospects. Each firm gets a “Lux Take” that ranges from “Strong Caution” to “Strong Positive,” to provide a bottom-line assessment of its prospects, with a “Wait and see” rating for companies that still face too much uncertainty for a definitive call. Its top choices from 2012 include:

1. Solazyme – Positive – Alternative Fuels; Bio-based Materials and Chemicals
One of the few advanced fermentation companies generating revenue today, Solazyme is aligning partners and scaling production facilities to sell into high value markets before bringing down costs to compete in commodity fuels and chemicals.

2. EOS – Positive – Advanced Materials
A leader in the burgeoning 3D printing space, EOS boasts a long list of development partners and employs a savvy business model that includes selling “optimized” raw material input powders at very high margins to go along with laser sintering tools.

3. Vigilent – Positive – Grid Storage; Efficient Building Systems
Vigilent’s artificial intelligence-based energy management software learns operational habits and optimizes building energy efficiency and consumption, offering payback periods to customers of less than two years.

4. Cambrios Technologies – Positive – Printed, Flexible, and Organic Electronics; Solar Components; Advanced Materials
Cambrios develops silver nanowire-based transparent conductive films to replace indium tin oxide, particularly for touchscreen applications. Along with partners Nissha Printing and Synaptics, it released its first commercial product in the Huawei Ascend.

5. Oxford Pharmascience – Positive – Formulation and Delivery
The ability to manipulate properties such as taste and viscosity to improve oral delivery of medicine makes Oxford Pharmascience appealing. Calcium supplements gained the company entry into emerging markets and doubled its revenue in one year.

6. SunPower – Positive – Solar Components; Solar Systems
As the manufacturer of the highest efficiency crystalline silicon modules on the market at 21 percent efficiency, SunPower has strong strategic partners and a multi-gigawatt project pipeline in the high profit margin regions of the Americas and Asia.

7. Efficient Power Conversion – Positive – Energy Electronics
This fabless manufacturer of gallium nitride (GaN) power electronics devices is already offering products in the 40 V to 200 V range, and is well positioned to expand its offering to 600 V applications, taking advantage of GaN’s improved efficiency over today’s silicon-based devices.

8. Enviro Voraxial – Positive – Water
The company sells high efficiency, low footprint oil-water separators especially suitable for the offshore market, and quadrupled its revenues in 2012.

9. Itaconix – Positive – Bio-based Materials and Chemicals
With a low-capex, low-opex process expanding to 5,000 MT/year to produce itaconic acid polymers for chemical intermediates, binders, and super-absorbents, Itaconix is one of the few bio-based chemical companies we expect to run in the black in 2013.

10. Desso – Positive – Sustainable Building Materials
This developer of carpet for residential, office, and hospitality sectors and artificial grass for sports stadiums uses "cradle-to-cradle" principles, making its products biodegradable and recyclable, while offering functionality like capture and retention of allergens and enhanced sound insulation.

Suntech solar modules shine in desert simulation test

CHINA: Suntech Power Holdings Co. Ltd  announced that its solar modules have passed the Blowing Sand Test based on DIN EN 60068-2-68 LC2 by SGS, the world's leading inspection, verification, testing and certification company. The SGS test result confirms that Suntech's solar modules are suitable for solar installations in desert regions.

"As solar energy proliferates around the world, it is critical to develop solar modules that can perform optimally in different terrains and environments. For our customers, passing the Blowing Sand Test confirms that Suntech's solar modules are well-suited for desert regions and can withstand high-velocity sand and windy conditions," said Dr. Stuart Wenham, Suntech's CTO.

"Quality assurance is an integral part of Suntech's value proposition, and we pride ourselves on rigorous testing procedures to ensure that our customers have a product that can operate for 25 years anywhere on the globe."

Dr. Daniel Deng, technical manager for SGS said: "SGS follows an internally developed test procedure and can customize specifications like sand homogeneity, sand concentration, sand shape and wind speed according to single selected deserts. We were extremely impressed with the quality of Suntech's solar modules and their ability to withstand the Blowing Sand Test that replicates the conditions of a heavy desert sandstorm. Endurance testing is critical in order to understand the reliability and longevity of solar panels in real world conditions."

To determine the effects on solar panels of dust and sand suspended in air, SGS's Desert Dust Test simulates the erosion effects of high-velocity sand particles within dust chambers. Pulses of compressed air are blown through a manifold located in the bottom of a collection trough, forcing dust up and over the solar module. Suntech solar modules passed the maximum power determination, the insulation test and the wet leakage current test.

State-of-the-art manufacturing and quality testing lies at the core of Suntech's business, which enables it to deliver high-quality solar products to customers at an affordable price. Suntech's quality control program features 52 tests and checks throughout the cell and module manufacturing process.

Once fully assembled, all Suntech modules undergo a final performance test and are categorized based on power and current production. In addition, Suntech solar panels undergo the Combined Cycle Testing at its advanced testing laboratories that simulate long-term environmental stress conditions. Suntech's rigorous review process ensures that it delivers only the highest quality products to our customers.

Worldwide smart meter shipments surpass 15.4 million units in 3Q 2012

USA: Worldwide smart meter shipments surpassed 15.4 million units in the third quarter of 2012 (3Q12), representing year-over-year growth of 126.9 percent and a 58.6 percent increase over the second quarter, according to the IDC Energy Insights Worldwide Quarterly Smart Meter Tracker.

Growth was observed across all regions except for the Americas, as several large projects came to completion in the previous quarter. Latin and South America remain promising, but scale projects have not yet emerged to replace the decline in North American shipments.

The Asia/Pacific region grew at an astonishing rate of 516.8% year over year and 142.02 percent sequentially. Much of this growth can be attributed to China; Chinese utilities are beginning to equip meters deployed under previous metering tenders with communications. The Asia/Pacific region will remain a source of growth for the smart metering industry in coming years as Japan, Korea, Oceana and even South and Southeast Asia begin to ramp up advanced metering infrastructure (AMI) deployments.

While the Europe, Middle East and Africa (EMEA) region exhibited growth of 54.5 percent year over year and 8.5 percent sequentially, this performance stands well below the expectations set by previous regulatory targets.

Petr Stabrawa, senior research analyst at IDC Energy Insights, noted: "The current growth in Europe looks unimpressive, particularly when compared to some of the Asian markets. It is therefore not surprising that the AMI industry is becoming increasingly frustrated with Europe. At this stage, however, there are no indications that meter shipments will pick up significantly before 2014, although more tenders will be announced next year."

One trend that has developed in recent quarters is the growth of cellular AMI communications. IDC Energy Insights forecasts that cellular will reach 17 percent of smart meter shipments in the more mature metering markets of Europe and North America by 2016, up from less than 8 percent in 2012.

Dean Chuang, senior research analyst for IDC Energy Insights, added: "In some markets, such as the UK, growth in cellular will be driven by unique market needs. In other markets, declining public cellular rates and the desire to use the AMI network as common infrastructure will drive utilities to take a hard look at higher-bandwidth networks for new AMI deployments."

While many of the basic metering upgrades underway in Asia/Pacific and other emerging markets are likely to deploy power line communications (PLC), high bandwidth networks have also been deployed in other regions. For example, 3G and 4G-WiMax utility networks deployed in Australia are currently being utilized as common infrastructure for metering and distribution monitoring and control. Many of these Australian networks may eventually be displaced by FTTP (fiber-to-the-premises) through the Australian National Broadband Network.

Monday, December 17, 2012

RE on the rise in Japan

JAPAN: The Agency for Natural Resources and Energy (ANRE) compiled the figures regarding the present status of introduction for facilities generating renewable energy as of November 30, 2012 (preliminary figures), and announced the result.

The total combined capacity of such facilities between April 1 and November 30, 2012, reached 1,443,000 kW, an increase of 288,000 kW from the previous month, among which photovoltaic power facilities accounted for 1,398,000 kW, an increase of 272,000 kW from the previous month.

ANRE also approved those generating electricity by combusting mixtures of coal and other materials which started operation from April 1 to November 30, 2012, from which 350,000 kW of electricity could be generated.

However, ANRE considers that it is not appropriate to calculate all the electricity as the output from biomass power generation facilities. Based on this viewpoint, the capacities of such facilities are not taken into consideration as a matter of convenience.

Top-10 solar market predictions for 2013

USA: This is an IHS News Flash covering the Top 10 predictions for the global photovoltaic market in 2013, from the IHS Solar service at information and analytics provider IHS.

“The photovoltaic industry is in the midst of wrenching change—buffeted by government incentive cuts and nose-diving prices that has hurt solar suppliers worldwide, rocked by trade disputes among its major players, and hamstrung by a sputtering global economy,” said Ash Sharma, director, solar research at IHS.

“However, there are some bright spots ahead: Solar installations are on the rise, technology is becoming more efficient, and a weak EU market roiled by financial turmoil will be offset by an ascendant China and the United States.”

Here are the top 10 predictions for 2013 from the IHS solar research team.

1. The global PV market will achieve double-digit installation growth in 2013, but market revenue will fall to $75 billion. Industry revenues—measured as system prices multiplied by total gigawatts installed—peaked at $94 billion in 2011, but fell sharply to $77 billion in 2012.

Revenue is projected to decline once again in 2013 to $75 billion, on the back of lower volume growth and continued system price declines, given that PV component prices continue to fall.
 2. The solar module industry will consolidate further in 2013. As 2012 comes to a close, fewer than 150 companies will remain in the photovoltaic upstream value chain, down from more than 750 companies in 2010.

Most of the consolidation will involve companies going out of business entirely. Many integrated players, particularly those based in China, will fold up shop in 2013. The large expense of building and then operating integrated facilities that are underutilized will be more than many can handle financially.

3. PV module prices will stabilize in 2H 2013 as oversupply eases. Despite a drastic decline in prices along the silicon supply chain since March 2011, solar prices will stabilize by mid-2013. Changes in market dynamics will help restore the global supply-demand balance.

4. Solar trade wars will rage on in 2013, yielding few winners. As of November 2012, there were six different solar trade cases proceeding involving China, Europe, the United States and India. This cycle of sanction and retaliation will not help solve the fundamental challenge of overcapacity plaguing the global PV industry.

5. South Africa and Romania will emerge as PV markets to watch in 2013. The two countries next year will expand from virtually no solar installations to capacity of several hundred megawatts. The PV uptake in both markets is driven by distinct factors. In South Africa, PV additions will mainly stem from the tenders awarded in 2012; in Romania, the growth driver will be a green certificate (GC) scheme that will stay in place until 2014.

6. Double-digit returns remain possible for European PV projects in 2013. With the subsidy schemes that are currently in place, all EU countries continue to offer attractive conditions for both private and institutional investors. Meanwhile, an evaluation of no-incentive scenarios shows that the most mature market segments are on the cusp of grid parity, allowing healthy returns on investment.

7. Solar will surpass wind in the United States. The year 2013 marks an important milestone, representing the first time that new US solar PV capacity additions will be greater than those made by wind. This is partly a result of the near-term uncertainty over the federal production tax credit for wind. However, it is also a reflection of solar PV’s increasing competitiveness as a form of renewable power generation in some key US markets.

8. China will become the world’s largest PV market. Total PV installations in China next year are predicted to surpass 6 gigawatts, allowing the country to surpass Germany as the No. 1 solar market on the planet.

9. Energy storage will transform the solar industry. Batteries increasingly are being seen as an attractive way of retaining PV electricity, letting people use the power later in the day to avoid paying high prices for electricity from the grid. Next year IHS forecasts a big jump in the number of residential PV systems installed with batteries attached.

10. New technology will revive equipment vendors’ prospects. Improved technologies will help PV manufacturers cut costs, increase margins and ultimately distinguish themselves from the competition. Such a focus creates an opportunity for both manufacturers and equipment suppliers to obtain larger revenue streams.

European solar manufacturers welcome European Parliament debate on Chinese dumping

UK: During the plenary debate on 22 November, Members of the European Parliament made it very clear that they expect the European Commission to speed up its investigation against Chinese dumping of photovoltaic products.

The Commission initiated an antidumping investigation on solar imports from China in September, followed by initiation of an anti-subsidy investigation in November. The investigations will include analysis of
industry and market data and inspections of European and Chinese companies by European Commission officials.

The European Commission has a maximum of nine months to deal with each of the investigations, which means the anti-dumping investigation has to be concluded latest in early June, and the anti-subsidy investigation in early August 2013. Given the number of insolvencies in the European solar industry that already took place in 2012, the majority of MEPs participating in the debate strongly urged the European Commission to take action before the nine-month deadline in order to save European jobs and industry.

EU ProSun, which represents the majority of European solar pruduction filed both trade complaints with the European Commission. Milan Nitzschke, president and spokesperson of EU ProSun said: "EU ProSun applauds the call of Members of the European Parliament on the European Commission for an accelerated decision. Chinese manufacturers continue to undercut each other with heavily dumped prices and thereby destroy jobs and technologies in Europe.

"As Chinese companies expect that the European Union will take action to tackle this problem, they started dismantling their warehouses in China to ship even more solar power products over to the European Union. This is obviously a step to pre-empt and avoid the upcoming anti-dumping and anti-subsidy tariffs. The rapid emptying of warehouses leads to further distortions in the European solar market. The European Commission must not waste time and has to intervene before it is too late."

ecoSolargy secures $150 million to finance utility-scale solar projects

USA: ecoSolargy Inc., a full service solar solutions provider, has successfully secured $150 million through private equity investors for its 2013 financing program. Spearheaded by the company's utility project development division, the program aims to finance utility-scale solar projects in all stages of development.

"ecoSolargy's commitment to clean energy expands beyond the provision of high-quality solar products and the development of strategic and installation solutions," said Alan H. Lee, CEO of ecoSolargy. "Our position in the solar industry has allowed us to effectively collaborate with private investment partners to raise funds that will help propel utility-scale projects in the US and abroad."

ecoSolargy's utility project development division was created four years ago to acquire, develop, and operate large scale solar projects throughout the world. With an experienced staff in solar development, financing and construction, the utility project division is fully equipped to manage utility-scale projects and can quickly determine if a project fits within ecoSolargy's parameters and portfolio.

Through project consulting and investigation, environmental studies, utility and government agency negotiations, as well as project design, engineering and logistics, ecoSolargy's project development division's capabilities can lead a project to completion. ecoSolargy is currently looking to finance utility-scale solar projects for 2013 that are in pre-development, development or construction stages, or that are already owned and operated.

"We anticipate ecoSolargy's utility-scale project development program to be quite successful in 2013 as we add to our portfolio and help develop solar projects throughout the United States," said Jimmy James Nhieu, VP of Project Development at ecoSolargy. "We welcome owners and developers of projects at all stages to contact us and inquire more information regarding our financing program."

SOLARCON China 2013 provides technology-focused platform

CHINA & USA: SEMI announced the successful return of the SOLARCON China 2013 exhibition and conference, taking place in Shanghai, China on March 19-21, 2013.

Leading companies representing the entire PV supply chain will participate in SOLARCON China 2013 — from PV manufacturers and cell/module makers to equipment and materials suppliers.  Global participants include: DuPont, 3M, Applied Materials, SCHMID, centrotherm, SIBCO, JA SOLAR, Trina Solar, Astronergy, Hareon SOLAR, Youser, Gsola, TBEA, Longji and Tianjin Zhonghuan.

Over 60,000 attendees are expected to converge on the Shanghai New International Expo Centre to attend concurrent exhibitions, including SOLARCON China and SEMICON China, on March 19-22.

Allen Lu, president of SEMI China, said: “The recently announced 12th Five-Year Plan for solar development has set a target of 21GW installed solar capacity by 2015.  To ensure the success of this plan, China must deliver on the promise of technological leadership.

"SOLARCON China provides an excellent platform for industry leaders to meet and address the critical challenges facing both China’s supply and demand markets. SOLARCON China 2013 has been recognized as the only high-profile technology platform to showcase the latest technology and products and is the best place to find solutions to reduce costs and enhance productivity.”

An additional focus at SOLARCON China 2013 will be on the downstream PV application market. With the rapid development of China’s domestic PV market, particularly with distributed PV power systems, SOLARCON China 2013 has successfully attracted the participation of local utility/EPC companies, who play an important role in this segment.

As a trade association advocating for solar in China, SEMI China continues the momentum from SOLARCON China to create an experience for participants all year long. With a strong global and domestic network, SEMI China provides year-round activities and events, from standards and roadmaps, to a series of business development events that help industrial players increase their exposure and gain better business opportunities. In this way, SEMI China drives the deep interaction along the PV supply chain.

SEMI and the China Photovoltaic Industry Alliance (CPIA) also welcome back the China PV Technology International Conference (CPTIC) to be held concurrently with the SOLARCON China 2013 exhibition.

CPTIC is China’s most comprehensive technical conference for the solar industry, and will feature critical forums on the global PV technology roadmap, international trade, large-scale project implementation and more.  By November 31, over 120 high-quality papers were received from leading institutions, universities and companies — a new “Call for Papers” record for CPTIC.

SOLARCON 2013 is approved by China’s Ministry of Commerce, certified by US Commercial Service, and guided by China’s Ministry of Industry and Information Technology, Shanghai Municipal Commission of Economy and Information, and Shanghai Pudong New Area People’s Government.

The SOLARCON China exhibition offers a unique platform for companies to showcase their PV manufacturing technology and products: PV cells and modules; materials and equipment; PV balance of systems (BOS); PV components, tracking and mounting systems; PV applications; solar thermal and applications/technology. This year’s show has themed exhibition pavilions for thin-film technology, CPV, and smart grid implementation.

Friday, December 14, 2012

NRG completes 25 MW Avra valley solar PV facility

USA: NRG Energy Inc., through its wholly owned subsidiary NRG Solar, announced the start of commercial operations for the Avra Valley Solar Generating Station, a 25 megawatt (AC) photovoltaic facility near Tucson, Ariz. The station’s electricity will be sold to Tucson Electric Power under a 20-year power purchase agreement.

“Today, we celebrate the Avra Valley solar project as an example of our success in developing solar projects that meet the renewable energy needs of local utilities and generate cost-effective solar power over the long term,” said Randy Hickok, senior VP of NRG Solar. “Although NRG has many distributed solar projects and thermal operations in Arizona, this project represents our first delivery of solar power to Tucson Electric Power, helping TEP meet Arizona’s renewable energy goals.” The NRG system will serve as the single largest solar array in TEP’s renewable energy portfolio.

“We’ve worked hard to embrace solar energy as a clean, cost-effective renewable resource for our customers. The NRG system shows how we can expand our renewable energy portfolio while also investing in our community and helping to create jobs,” said Paul J. Bonavia, chairman and CEO of TEP and its parent company UNS Energy Corp.

The Avra Valley array will generate enough energy to meet the annual needs of approximately 5,000 homes, and up to 20,000 homes at peak capacity. Using clean solar power also avoids the annual emission of approximately 51,500 metric tons of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere, the equivalent of taking more than 10,700 cars off the road.

Avra Valley is the sixth large-scale solar facility in NRG’s operational fleet, producing clean solar power for thousands of homes and businesses in three states. The other five are Agua Caliente in Yuma County, Ariz. (to be completed in 2014); Roadrunner in Doña Ana County in New Mexico; and Avenal, Blythe, and California Valley Solar Ranch (to be completed in 2013) in California.

Duke Energy Renewables acquires solar power project at the University of Arizona's Tech Park

USA: Duke Energy has acquired a commercial solar power project located within the University of Arizona's (UA) Science and Technology Park (UA Tech Park) in Tucson, in an area dedicated to solar energy.

Duke Energy Renewables, a commercial business unit of Duke Energy, purchased the 6-megawatt (MW) Gato Montes Solar Power Project from AstroSol Inc. The project is expected to achieve commercial operation within the next week. Tucson Electric Power Company (TEP) will buy all of the electricity from the project under a 20-year agreement.

"Gato Montes is our fifth solar power project in Arizona in the past two years," said Duke Energy Renewables president, Greg Wolf . "In fact, we'll have 37 MW of solar energy in production in Arizona by the end of the year, representing more than half of the 67 MW in our growing portfolio of solar projects nationwide."

The solar photovoltaic (PV) thin-film, amorphous silicon technology used in the Gato Montes project is a first in the Duke Energy Renewables fleet. It is also unique at the UA Tech Park, where various solar projects are being tested under identical operating conditions to evaluate the most beneficial technology for solar energy production in the Southwest.

"The Gato Montes installation is an excellent example of cutting-edge technology," said Bruce A. Wright , UA associate VP for university research parks. "We are proud of our partnership with this project as it complements the mix of solar technology showcased at the UA Tech Park's Solar Zone."

Construction on the 38.5-acre parcel of land in the UA Tech Park began in December 2011 by vis-solis LLC, the US subsidiary of Solmotion. AstroSol Inc. received certification from the Border Environment Cooperation Commission and received financial approval for a $12.3 million loan from the North American Development Bank to construct the project.

The Gato Montes Solar Power Project consists of 48,000 PV panels and is Duke Energy Renewables' 12th wholly owned commercial solar project in the US In addition to Gato Montes, Duke Energy Renewables has four other commercial solar projects in Arizona.

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Phoenix Solar to build solar park on military conversion site in Saxony-Anhalt

GERMANY: Phoenix Solar AG, a leading international photovoltaic system integrator listed in Prime Standard of the Frankfurt Stock Exchange, has been commissioned to build a solar plant with a peak power of 4.2 megawatts in the district of Jerichower Land, Saxony-Anhalt. A number of compensatory measures for the environment and nature conservation will be implemented on the former military base through
the construction project.

Phoenix Solar AG has supported the client in developing the project and is now responsible for the planning, delivery and construction of the solar park. Around 18,000 crystalline solar modules and SMA inverters will be used on an area of approximately seven hectares. Phoenix Solar and the investor intend to build the power plant to completion as early as January 2013.

With a construction project involving, for example, the building of a solar park, the Conservation Act of the Federal State of Saxony-Anhalt requires the operator to carry out what are known as compensatory measures: In the case of this project, these measures include the development and maintenance of a wet, species-poor fallow meadow covering an area of 13,000 m², the landscaping of the edge of a forest rich in structure and species, the installation of nesting boxes for bats and the piling up of stones to encourage habitation by lizards and other species.

The first afforestation of half a hectare of deciduous forest is also part of the measures, along with the planting of a richly structured hedge from local shrub species which provides an important habitat for the animal world, while enhancing the countryside. With all these measures today's photovoltaic power plants make a significant contribution to renaturation - the regeneration of near-natural habitats on sites previously used for military purposes.

This solar park will benefit not only the climate and nature but also the local community through trade tax revenue. The maintenance of grassland and of the photovoltaic power plant will be performed by companies in the region.

Blue Earth and Hareon Solar develop 497 KW solar PV project in Hawaii

USA: Blue Earth Inc., a renewable energy and energy efficiency services company, has signed a joint development agreement with Hareon Solar Technology Co. Ltd to jointly fund and develop a 497 KW ground mounted solar PV system, the "Waianae Project," on the island of Oahu, with Hareon being the controlling member.

Blue Earth and Hareon Solar will jointly own the project initially with equity transaction possibility between the members.

The joint development agreement realizes the first of seven Hawaii projects acquired by Blue Earth and co-developed with a local developer, as previously announced. The engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) work will be performed by Xnergy Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Blue Earth. The project is expected to be completed in the first quarter of 2013.

A special purpose entity (SPE) called Waianae PV-02, LLV has been established for this project. The SPE has a fully executed power purchase agreement (PPA) with Hawaiian Electric Co. (HECO). The solar PV system will provide electricity directly to the power grid. The agreement between the SPE and HECO is for twenty years. The project will employ local trade people during construction and help to achieve the state of Hawaii's renewable energy objectives.

"We are delighted with this joint development relationship. Hareon Solar is a leading company in the global solar PV industry and has an abundance of solar related resources," stated Johnny R. Thomas, CEO of Blue Earth. "Partnering with Hareon Solar represents another important strategic development for Blue Earth and we look forward to developing, implementing and participating in the ownership of several solar PV projects. This fits Blue Earth's goal to own solar PV projects to implement its recurring revenue business model."

Hareon Solar advocates and commits itself to the development of renewable energy. As one of the largest PV cells and modules manufacturer, and one of the largest solar project developers globally, Hareon has been providing vertically integrated production and services for the solar photovoltaic industry worldwide.

It is specialized in high-end R&D, production and distribution of silicon sticks, wafers, cells and modules, as well as investment and operation of solar plants.

"The development of our Hawaiian projects shows Hareon's commitment to the solar markets in the Americas. It is an important step forward in Hareon's globalization strategy and we are confident that Hareon will establish itself as one of the top tier solar market participants in the Americas in addition to Europe, Asia, Africa, and elsewhere," stated Louis Liu, VP of Worldwide Project Business of Hareon.

First Solar releases 92.5-W thin-film PV module

USA: First Solar Inc. announced the release of its most advanced thin-film photovoltaic (PV) module, the Series 3 FS-392, which is rated at 92.5 watts. The new FS-392 module maintains all the existing IEC certifications and UL listings for the Series 3 family, including UL listing for 1000-volt systems.

“The FS-392 demonstrates the success of First Solar’s R&D investment to drive higher and higher module conversion efficiencies into production,” said Tom Kuster, First Solar VP of Product Management and System Technology.

“This increase in module efficiency, coupled with our thin-film technology’s real-world yield advantage when compared to crystalline silicon PV, results in higher energy density and lower levelized cost of energy (LCOE).”

One of the drivers of First Solar modules’ performance advantage over crystalline silicon solar modules is a lower temperature coefficient, delivering higher energy yields at elevated operating temperatures typical of utility-scale power plants in sunny regions.

Suntech and SunSystem announce 25MW sales agreement in Romania

CHINA: Suntech Power Holdings Co. Ltd, one of the world's largest producers of solar panels, and SunSystem S.p.A., a leading Italian solar engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) company, have signed a contract for Suntech to supply 25 megawatts (MW) of polycrystalline solar panels. The Suntech solar panels will power two new photovoltaic projects under construction in Romania that will be grid connected by the end of 2013.

"We are pleased to collaborate with SunSystem, a leading EPC company in Italy and Romania. Suntech's collaboration with SunSystem marries global expertise with best practices to deliver reliable and cost-effective solar to Romanian communities," said Vincenzo Quintani, South-East Europe Sales Director, Suntech. "This project, along with our recent contract with EDP Renovaveis, underscores the viability of our growth strategy in Eastern Europe."

Davide Scarantino, MD of SunSystem, said, "Our entrance in Romania is part of our strategy to diversify the markets we operate in, and capitalize on our experience and technical knowledge in developing burgeoning solar markets in Europe."

The two power plants will utilize Suntech's 60-cell polycrystalline modules, STP 245-20/Wd, with a improved frame design and more than 15 percent efficiency, ideally suited for large-scale commercial projects and rooftop installations. The power plants will use Aros Sirio K500 HV-MT inverters made by Italian manufacturer Aros Technology Srl. The installed Suntech solar panels will generate an estimated 30,000 MW-hours of electricity per year.

The power plants will be operated by SunSystem and developed by RoEnergy, a SunSystem company in Romania. Since its inception, SunSystem has installed more than 2,000 solar systems, of which 700 were installed in 2012.

Q3 US solar energy growth highlighted by PV, record residential installs

USA: GTM Research and the Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA) released the US Solar Market Insight: Third Quarter 2012.

The report finds that the US solar photovoltaics (PV) market installed 684 megawatts (MW) in the third quarter (Q3) of 2012, representing 44 percent growth over the same period last year. This quarter marked the third largest on record for the US PV industry and raised the total installed capacity through the first three quarters of the year to 1,992 MW — already surpassing 2011’s annual total of 1,885 MW.

Cumulatively, there are now 5.9 gigawatts (GW) of PV, which converts sunlight directly to electricity, operating in the U.S. from more than 271,000 installations. Combined with concentrating solar power facilities (CSP), which convert the sun’s heat to electricity, there are more than 6.4 GW of solar electric capacity installed in the US, enough to power more than one million average American households.

The third quarter featured strong growth in distributed generation (DG) markets; the residential PV sector installed more than 118 MW, an all-time high for a quarter, while the commercial market (including governmental and institutional facilities) hit 257 MW, rising 24 percent above last quarter.
In addition to solid growth nationally, Colorado, Florida, Maryland, Massachusetts, and Pennsylvania saw growth of 5 MW or greater compared to the previous quarter. Behind Maryland, Massachusetts saw the greatest quarter-over-quarter increase, up from 25 MW in Q2 2012 to 40 MW this quarter. All Massachusetts installations in Q3 2012 came from the commercial and residential sectors, boosted by the expansion of net metering allowances and an influx of national retailers that offer leasing and other innovative “third-party” ownership models.

For the quarter, the top ranked states were California, Arizona, New Jersey, Massachusetts and Nevada. As of Sept. 30, top states for total cumulative installed solar electric capacity were: California, New Jersey, Arizona, Nevada and Colorado. (See complete state rankings charts here.)

The GTM and SEIA research teams expect third-party leased PV systems to remain a hot option in the market for homeowners into 2013 and beyond. During this quarter, residential PV markets in Arizona, Colorado, California, and Massachusetts saw third-party systems range from 57 to 91 percent of total residential system installations.

“While Q3 2012 was remarkable for the US PV market, it is just the opening act for what we expect to see in Q4,” said Shayle Kann, VP of research at GTM. “We forecast more than 1.2 GW of PV to be installed next quarter on the back of developers who are pushing to meet year-end deadlines in both the utility and commercial segments. We also expect to see the residential PV market post another record number in Q4, as third-party residential installers gain more traction in mature, cost-effective markets.”

Historically, Q4 has been the strongest for PV installations in the U.S. In 2010 and 2011, Q4 represented 41 percent and 42 percent of annual installations, respectively. US Solar Market Insight® forecasts a similar Q4 bump in 2012 with approximately 1,200 MW to be installed. That would not only account for 38 percent of this year’s forecasted total, but would be the largest single quarter on record for the US PV market by far.

SEIA and GTM Research expect 2012 growth to top 70 percent with a record 3.2 GW of solar installed – enough to power more than half a million average US homes.

“This quarter’s record residential growth shows the power of innovation in the US solar industry,” said Rhone Resch, president and CEO of SEIA. “With costs continuing to come down and new financing options, solar energy is affordable today for more families, businesses, utilities, and the military. Thanks to smart long-term policy, the solar industry is growing to meet the challenge of putting Americans back to work and helping to grow both our nation’s economy and our clean energy portfolio.”

System prices for PV projects in the US continued their downward trajectory in third quarter 2012. Average residential system prices dropped quarter-over-quarter from $5.45 per watt to $5.21 per watt nationally while average non-residential prices declined 15 cents per watt, falling to $4.18. Average utility system prices, which are currently at $2.40 per watt, continue to see the greatest reduction in prices of the three market segments covered, falling by 30 percent since third quarter last year.

Commercial installations grew 24 percent in third quarter over second quarter in 2012, led by notable growth in California and Massachusetts; a strong fourth quarter is also expected for this market.

"The data coming out of the US Solar Market Insight reports mirrors what we are seeing as an owner of commercial rooftop solar projects in the US," said Mike Ward, US president, IKEA. “We completed 23 solar installations in 2012 and next year, we plan to deploy at least 7.5 megawatts of solar PV at five more IKEA locations across the US. Having strategic data and understanding trends in each state market is crucial for us to achieve our goal of having 90 percent of our facilities powered by solar and reaching a total generating capacity of 38 megawatts.”

Today, the US solar energy industry employs 119,000 Americans at 5,600 companies, mostly small businesses, across all 50 states.

Key findings include:

Photovoltaics (PV)
* PV installations totaled 684 MW in Q3 2012, up 44% over Q3 20112.
* The residential market grew 12 percent over Q2 2012 and had its largest quarter in history.
* The non-residential market grew 24 percent over Q2 2012, thanks primarily to growth in California and Massachusetts.
* There is now a total of 5.9 GW of PV operating in the U.S. from over 271,000 installations.
* We expect record installations in Q4, leading to 70 percent annual installation growth in 2012 on 3.2 GW installed.

Concentrating Solar Power (CSP and CPV)
* All phases of BrightSource’s Ivanpah project are expected to come online in 2013.
* Abengoa’s Solana Generating Station is over 75 percent complete and expected to be online in summer 2013.
* SolarReserve continues PPA discussions with Tri-State and Xcel for its 200 MWac Saguache project in Colorado.
* The California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) unanimously approved an amended PPA for BrightSource’s Sonoran West project.

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Solar modules production costs fall as low as $0.48/W in 2017

USA: The solar industry is reeling from overcapacity and supply outstrips demand by two to one. It needs to drive costs lower in order to overcome diminished subsidies and regain profitability – and the cost reductions it needs are at hand, according to Lux Research.

Module prices have fallen precipitously over the past four years to a low of $0.70/W but the cost of goods sold (COGS) for modules has not reached this level, resulting in massive losses for most module manufacturers.

“With pressure from competitors, customers, and policy-makers to drop prices even further, manufacturers need to drive costs down to survive and thrive during the coming years of growth in the demand market,” said Ed Cahill, Lux Research Associate and the lead author of the report titled, “Module Cost Structure Update: Path to Profitability.”

Lux Research conducted a cost and sensitivity analysis, examining the impacts of drivers like low-cost manufacturing locations, high efficiency, increased capacity utilization, and higher production yields on module COGS. Among their findings:

* CIGS has the greatest potential to cut cost. COGS will fall across the board between 2012 and 2017, but the rate of decline will be the steepest for copper indium gallium (di)selenide (CIGS) thin-film modules, which can shave $0.14/W off the cost to $0.64/W.

* Cadmium telluride (CdTe) remains the low cost leader. Despite the travails of its main champion, First Solar, CdTe thin-film modules will remain the cheapest solar option in 2017, at $0.48/W, down from the current $0.67/W.

* Efficiencies are the key driver. Manufacturing location has the greatest potential influence on COGS but overcapacity makes opening new facilities in low-cost countries unlikely. Consequently, increasing module efficiencies will make the most difference, up to $0.09/W for mc-Si and $0.21/W for CIGS.

Sanko. Chiyoda and Solar Frontier work on large-scale PV generation system

JAPAN: Sanko Real Estate Co. Ltd, Chiyoda Corp. and Solar Frontier KK will work together on the Ise Futami Mega Solar Hikarinomachi to construct a large-scale PV generation system in Ise-shi, Mie.

Solar Frontier will provide the PV modules and Chiyoda will be responsible for designing and constructing the system for Sanko. Solar Frontier was selected as a result of high-appraisal for its CIS thin-film PV module, which has superior generation performance and environmental advantages.

Chiyoda was selected because of its in-depth knowledge of solar energy design and an ability to execute projects. The construction is scheduled to begin in Dec. 2012, and production of solar power will begin in the spring of 2013.

The project will be constructed on a site (approx. 7 hectares) adjacent to the Hikarinomachi (Town of Light), a large-scale residential estate being developed by Sanko at Futami-cho, Ise-shi, Mie. Approximately 32,300 PV modules will be installed, which will have an output capacity of 5.2 MW to generate 6 million kWh annually.

New IEEE standards to help utilities modernize communications infrastructure for smart grids

USA: IEEE, the world's largest professional organization advancing technology for humanity, announced updates to four wireless communications technologies in the IEEE 802 family of standards, as well as a new IEEE 802 standards-development project.

The new standards support the global utility industry’s needs for smart grid data communications infrastructure and build on the IEEE Standards Association (IEEE-SA) portfolio of more than 100 active IEEE standards or standards in development pertaining to the smart grid.

“Utilities can use the IEEE 802 family of broadband wireless communications standards to modernize their communications and networking infrastructure for advanced metering and other smart grid applications,” said James Gilb, chair of the IEEE 802.24 Technical Advisory Group (TAG). “These new updates to the IEEE 802 standards will enable utilities around the world to build the carrier-grade, high-capacity networks they will need to connect the millions of grid components and end-use devices that will operate on smart grids.”

The new IEEE 802 standards include the following:

IEEE 802.15.4g-2012: IEEE Standard for Local and Metropolitan Area Networks – Part 15.4: Low-Rate Wireless Personal Area Networks (LR-WPANs) Amendment 3: Physical Layer (PHY) Specifications for Low-Data-Rate, Wireless, Smart Metering Utility Networks – is a global standard that provides carrier-grade wireless communications connectivity for very large-scale smart metering applications and advanced metering infrastructure used in smart grids.

It supports geographically diverse networks with minimal infrastructure that can potentially connect millions of end points. The new standard, an amendment to IEEE 802.15.4, offers the communications range, robustness and coexistence characteristics required for these types of applications and deployments that fit the general objectives of IEEE 802.15 but were not covered by the existing standard. IEEE 802.15.4g-2012 is available for purchase at the IEEE Standards Store.

IEEE 802.16-2012: IEEE Standard for Air Interface for Broadband Wireless Access Systems. The standard supports worldwide deployment of innovative, cost-effective, interoperable and multi-vendor broadband wireless access (BWA) products, with Ethernet as well as IP interfaces, that utilities can use for machine-to-machine smart grid applications.

The standard specifies the air interface, including the medium access control and physical layers (MAC and PHY), of combined fixed and mobile point-to-multipoint BWA systems. The standard updates the WirelessMAN-OFDMA air interface designated by the ITU as IMT-2000.
Further enhancement relevant to smart grid applications are provided in IEEE 802.16p-2012, an amendment providing “Enhancements to Support Machine-to-Machine Applications.” IEEE 802.16-2012 is available for purchase at the IEEE Standards Store, and IEEE 802.16p-2012 is available for purchase at the IEEE Standards Store.

IEEE 802.16.1-2012: IEEE Standard for WirelessMAN-Advanced Air Interface for Broadband Wireless Access Systems. The standard provides an enhanced air interface and improved capacity for metropolitan-area networks that utilities can use for smart grid machine-to-machine communications, as well as mobile voice-based applications, with support for Ethernet as well as IP interfaces.

IEEE 802.16.1-2012 is a new standalone version of the technology first specified in IEEE 802.16m-2011 and designated by the ITU as IMT-Advanced. Further enhancement relevant to smart grid applications are provided in IEEE 802.16.1b-2012, an amendment providing “Enhancements to Support Machine-to-Machine Applications.” The new standard is available for purchase at the IEEE Standards Store.

In addition, the IEEE-SA has approved development of a new standard that is intended to enable the handover of groups of wireless data connections between different types of networks in a heterogeneous network. Utilities will be able to use the standard to allow large groups of devices to handover from one network to another to ensure continuous connectivity and service reliability if a part of the network loses connectivity.

IEEE P802.21d: Standard for Local and Metropolitan Area Networks—Part 21: Media Independent Handover Services Amendment: Multicast Group Management – is intended to amend IEEE 802.21-2008 by adding support for simultaneous handovers of multiple users.

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Green Plug announces series C investment round

2013 International CES, USA: Green Plug has completed a Series C investment round.

Leading the round was UK-based strategic investor Imagination Technologies Group plc (LSE: IMG), joined by longtime institutional investors Herald Ventures and Killik & Co., both of London; and Peninsula Ventures of Redwood City, Calif. The amount of the investment was not disclosed.

Green Plug will use the investment proceeds to advance both the state of the art and the state of the market for programmable power controllers, where extreme price sensitivity has effectively stymied major leaps forward.

“With the Series C round, our upward trajectory continues,” said Frank P. Paniagua, Jr., founder and CEO, Green Plug.

“We’ve been able to pivot to where the market is, even as we anticipated and shaped that market. Our current investors have exhibited great confidence in our direction and our vision, with a 12 percent boost over our Series B round. Our goal is to become the IP leader in our space, delivering on the promise of bringing innovative and affordable solutions for AC-DC power devices, integrated wireless power and eventually, when the market is right, Smart Grid connectivity.”

Monday, December 10, 2012

STX Solar to build PV farm in Japan with Korea South-East Power

SOUTH KOREA: South Korea’s STX Solar will join hand with Korea South-East Power to jointly pursue a photovoltaic (PV) power generation project at Sendai-shi Miyagi Prefecture, Japan. The partnership agreement for the construction of PV power farm in Japan was signed a day before the announcement.

STX Solar, Korea South-East Power, Bookook Securities and Korea Electric Power Corporation formed a consortium to pursue PV power opportunities in which Korea South-East Power contributes to the overall business management, STX Solar EPC (engineering, procurement and construction), Bookook Securities financing, Korea Electric Power Corp. power generation management.

The construction of PV farm with the total capacity of 45 megawatts (MW) is expected to begin on an 830,000 pyeong site at Sendai-shi Miyagi Prefecture in the first half (H1) of next year. The PV farm will sell 660,000 MWh (megawatt-hour) of electricity to a Japanese power generation company which is enough to supply 19,000 households a year.

Japan’s PV market is growing at an annual average of 30 percent which is a stark contrast to the stagnating global PV market. The Japanese government has recently begun FIT (feed-in-tariff, or subsidy) program for the PV industry in a bid to nurture PV power as the next new renewable energy.

Global Photonic Energy develops potential grid parity solar cell

USA: Global Photonic Energy Corp. (GPEC), a leading developer of a sustainable organic photovoltaic (OPV) technology that enables ultra low-cost solar power generation and exciting new product capabilities, announced the demonstration of a thin-film solar cell that can potentially provide electricity at grid parity, or the cost of traditionally provided electricity.

Dr. Stephen R. Forrest of the University of Michigan said the breakthrough, presented at the Fall Meeting of the Materials Research Society, is the result of substantially reduced production costs. It is based on a patent-pending invention that reuses the same Gallium Arsenide wafer multiple times to produce solar cells.

This unlimited wafer reuse approach to conventional “epitaxial lift off” technology that typically leads to wafer damage, and hence only a very limited number (1 to 2) of wafer reuses, has the potential to reduce the cost of a typical gallium arsenide solar cell to below $1 per Watt (peak).

“This exciting development implies that ultra-high efficiency solar cells based on Gallium Arsenide can eventually produce electricity at or below grid parity.” Dr. Forrest stated. “Using integrated solar concentrators and our adhesive-free, cold-weld bonding technology to plastic substrates, we estimate electricity could be produced as low as $0.45 cents per Watt, compared to traditional grid parity of $1 per Watt.”

“This is a historic development for GPEC,” stated Dean Ledger, president and CEO of GPEC. “In addition to its dramatically reduced cost structure, this demonstration in the University of Michigan laboratories can be used for numerous applications because these high-efficiency solar cells, deployed on roll-up plastic sheets, are ultra-lightweight and flexible. These applications include use in off-grid locations, spot powering of vehicles, mobile military equipment and satellites.”

Ledger said GPEC will commercialize its technology through licensing of its intellectual property, becoming part of its foundational portfolio of more than 425 patents.