Saturday, March 31, 2012

Bright future for solar panels

LONDON, UK: The future of solar panels is looking even brighter. New research by Cambridge University scientists has led to the development of a more efficient solar cell.

Currently, solar cells capture part of the sun's light. Much of the energy of the absorbed light is lost as heat, meaning a maximum of 34 percent of the sunlight is converted to electrical power. However, Cambridge scientists have made a breakthrough, which could allow 44 percent of solar energy to be converted. More work needs to be done to realise the full benefits of the scientists' findings, but even using today's solar PV panels is providing huge savings for businesses and householders.

Boston Council in Lincolnshire recently installed solar panels on the roof of a leisure complex at a cost of £105,167. The investment is expected to recover its costs within nine years and generate a profit of at least £260,000 over the next 25 years. Boston Borough Council leader Peter Bedford said the energy-saving income generated may also be higher than anticipated - closer to 80 or 90 percent rather than the 50 percent allowed for, so the energy saving may be more.

He said: "Our investment in solar PV represents a good deal for the council, providing low-carbon clean energy and also making the facility less vulnerable to future energy price increases at a time of global insecurity."

Homeowners can make comparable savings by installing solar panels. Energy suppliers such as British Gas pay for any excess electricity generated as it's fed back to the National Grid. You can even earn money for every kilowatt hour of electricity you generate through the Government's Feed-in Tariff (also known as Clean Energy Cashback), even if you use it.

An average system is 3 kWp and will cost around £10,000 (including VAT at 5 percent). Most domestic PV systems cost around £3,000 to £3,500 per kWp installed. A 3 kWp system can generate over 2,500 kilowatt hours of electricity a year. If your system is eligible for the Feed-In Tariff scheme it could generate savings and income of around £670 per year.

Solar energy is going to become more efficient and even cheaper to install. According to Jenny Chase, an analyst at Bloomberg New Energy Finance, solar power is now cheaper than diesel 'anywhere as sunny as Spain'. The economy of scale through increased global use will soon mean cheaper solar panels and electricity for everyone.

Friday, March 30, 2012

China Sunergy begins manufacturing solar modules in France

NANJING, CHINA: China Sunergy Co. Ltd, a specialized solar cell and module manufacturer, has begun assembling solar modules in France through OEM cooperation with KDG Energy, a French manufacturer of high quality PV modules. Today, the first order will be delivered to Akuo Energy Group, a leading developer, investor and operator of renewable energy plants across the world.

In October 2011, China Sunergy initiated OEM cooperation with KDG Energy. Both parties entered into a memorandum of understanding in November 2011, under which KDG Energy will manufacture solar modules for China Sunergy in France, under CSUN's brand name. China Sunergy will send the required components to KDG for the fabrication of such modules.

Such modules assembled by KDG Energy for China Sunergy will be labeled as "CSUN Made in France", and will satisfy the following three criteria: that the string of cells, lamination, and flash tests are all carried out in France. In mid-March 2012, KDG Energy officially started the commercial production of "CSUN Made in France" solar modules. Today, the first order of "CSUN Made in France" solar modules was delivered to Akuo Energy Group in Paris.

Stephen Cai, China Sunergy's CEO commented: "France has always been an important market for us. KDG Energy is well recognized as a high quality, high-tech manufacturer of photovoltaic panels in France. We expect our cooperation with KDG Energy will allow China Sunergy to further develop its business in France and help China Sunergy position itself as a preferred supplier in the entire European market."

SunEdison, IFC, OPIC and UniCredit complete €155m project financing arrangement for 60.4 MWp solar power plant in Bulgaria

BELMONT, USA: SunEdison, a leading worldwide solar energy services provider and subsidiary of MEMC Electronic Materials Inc. announced it has completed a €155 million non-recourse debt financing arrangement with IFC, a member of the World Bank Group, Overseas Private Investment Corporation (OPIC) and UniCredit Group for SunEdison's 60.4MWp solar power plant in Bulgaria. SunEdison expects to complete the sale of the equity of this power plant in 2012.

IFC provided €46.1 million and mobilized an additional €41.1 million from UniCredit through a syndication loan, while OPIC provided a $50 million parallel loan. UniCredit Bulbank acted as the Bulgarian local bank and provided a local currency VAT facility worth approximately €30 million (58,7 million Bulgarian lev). The total value of the debt for this transaction is approximately €155 million.

Construction of the 60.4 MWp / 50 MWac plant began in September 2011, and it was interconnected in March 2012. Located in Karadzhalovo - a village in the municipality of Parvomay, about 160 km southeast of the capital city Sofia - the project covers an area of 100 hectares (equivalent to 100 football fields) and uses more than 214,000 solar modules.

In the first full year of operation, the system is expected to generate sufficient energy to power 27,000 homes and avoid 37,400 tons of CO2 - the equivalent of removing more than 7,000 cars from the road.

Pancho Perez, GM of SunEdison for Europe, Middle East, North Africa and Latin America, said: "We are very pleased to collaborate with IFC, OPIC and UniCredit in this transaction. This project is a perfect example of how the combination of state-of-the-art technology and SunEdison's successful track record in the construction, operation and maintenance of solar power plants creates sound investment opportunities for our financing partners.

"Our long-term commitment to solar projects and our relentless focus on energy production optimization are both key attributes that lead our financing partners to trust in SunEdison."

Tomasz Telma, IFC director for Europe and Central Asia, said: "IFC's support for renewable energy is an important part of our work to address climate change. The investment in Karadzhalavo is our largest single solar financing to date and the fact that it was completed in just four months is a testament to the strong working relationship among the banks and SunEdison."

OPIC president and CEO, Elizabeth Littlefield, said: "We are pleased to partner once again with SunEdison, as well as IFC and UniCredit, to support a solar solution for Bulgaria's growing demand for energy. These types of public-private collaborations - using development financing to leverage private sector investment in state-of-the-art technologies - point the way to ever-increasing use of renewable energy sources in developing regions around the world, a trend we are happy to support."

Gianni Franco Papa, deputy CEO and head of CEE Division at UniCredit Bank Austria, added: "We are proud of having contributed to the establishment of the SunEdison Karadzhalovo solar power plant, which was advanced with our comprehensive expertise in arranging complex loans. Together with SunEdison and global institutions IFC and OPIC, we put this very important project in renewable energy on a financially sound and competitive foundation."

Blue Earth and Biosar to jointly develop and pursue utility scale solar PV projects

HENDERSON, USA: Blue Earth Inc. announced that its wholly owned subsidiary, Xnergy Inc. signed an agreement with Biosar Energy SA in connection with their recent collaboration to jointly develop and pursue utility scale solar PV projects in the United States.

Biosar has an impressive history of successful solar PV project development in Europe as of 350MW EPC awarded contracts. Jointly collaborating on projects with BBLU through Xnergy, is expected to allow Biosar to enter the US solar PV markets rapidly and efficiently. BBLU is expected to provide licenses, permitting, design and construction expertise that complements Biosar's equipment procurement and large-scale project execution expertise. The two parties have been working together on project proposals for 10 to 100 MW solar PV projects, prior to the signing of the agreement.

Biosar is a wholly owned subsidiary of ELLAKTOR, listed on the Athens Stock Exchange, that specializes in the engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) of utility scale solar PV projects MW size. Xnergy, a BBLU subsidiary, has about 100 MW of alternative energy interconnect experience in California, where the initial projects being developed are located.

Dr. Johnny R. Thomas, CEO and president of BBLU, said: "This agreement is expected to lead to significant revenue generation as the Xnergy portion of the revenue stream from typical utility scale projects is expected to be $5 to $50 million. The experience and relationships gained working with Biosar is expected to facilitate future development and implementation of the utility scale solar PV projects in the Xnergy project pipeline."

Miami Airport Suites Hotel adds solar heating system

MIAMI, USA: When it comes to sun and fun, Miami is hard to beat. Besides gorgeous beaches and exciting nightlife, average temperatures in the high 70s and the bright tropical sun combine to attract millions of visitors. With a bit of green science, it's that same sun that now heats SpringHill Suites Miami Airport South.

A recently installed solar heating system by TEVA energy is reducing the hotel's dependence on fossil fuels. With minimal aesthetic impact, clean heat from the sun is quietly captured and transferred throughout the facility where needed. TEVA energy provides commercial, government and industrial facilities with heat energy at a rate below a facility's monthly energy costs.

For shoppers and tourists, and centrally located, minutes from the Village of Merrick Park, Dolphin Mall, and the popular Miami Merchandise Mart, the SpringHill Suites Miami Airport South is ideal for all types of travel. Guests looking for exclusive hotel specials, Miami airport rooms for pre- or post-cruise stays, or meeting space near Miami Airport, will find ideal accommodations.

One of the city's most sought-after port of Miami, FL accommodations, the SpringHill Suites offers convenient Miami airport business meeting rooms plus 150 well-appointed suites, each combining function and comfort at a size 25 percent larger than comparably priced hotel rooms! These West Miami hotel accommodations also feature a large well-lit desk and 40 inch flat screen TV in each room; a pantry area with a refrigerator, sink and microwave; and complimentary high-speed internet access.

JinkoSolar expands to Singapore

SHANGHAI, CHINA & SINGAPORE: JinkoSolar Holding Co. Ltd, a fast growing, vertically integrated solar power product manufacturer based in China, announced further expansion of its global operations in Asia with the opening of its new office in Singapore. The regional headquarters will supervise sales, logistics, financing, project development and customer service across the country, which is a growing hub of solar energy research and development.

"Singapore boasts an established logistics infrastructure, mature financing system and a skilled talent base -- which facilitates cost-effective and efficient operations for companies like ours," said David Li, JinkoSolar's chairman. "We look forward to continuing support for our existing customers and growing to meet the needs of a robust customer base throughout the region."

JinkoSolar's rapid global expansion over the past few years now includes nine sales and marketing offices located on four continents worldwide. As one of the largest module manufacturer in the world, these regional hubs are a critical integration point for the company's regional operations.

Solar Gard launches new window film that delivers vital UV protection to drivers

SAN DIEGO, USA: Solar Gard, an industry-leading manufacturer of architectural and automotive window films, announced its launch of a clear UV-protectant window film for vehicles.

Solar Gard Ultragard UV window film protects drivers and passengers from harmful sun exposure without altering driving visibility or the appearance of the vehicle’s exterior. Recommended by the Skin Cancer Foundation, Solar Gard Ultragard UV window film blocks 99 percent of damaging UV-A and UV-B rays, which are the leading causes of skin cancer, melanoma and premature aging of the skin.

Solar Gard Ultragard UV is the newest addition to Solar Gard’s comprehensive line of automotive window films that offer protection from dangerous UV rays. Ultragard UV provides the regular benefits of window film with the added benefit of being clear, allowing customers to preserve the original look of their vehicle and meet state tint laws that otherwise exclude films with color or tint.

Globally, the majority of drivers and passengers are not aware that vehicle windows offer very minimal UV-A protection, and even more importantly, that they are at high risk for dangerous UV exposure while on the road. With over 66,000 deaths occurring annually worldwide from melanoma and other skin cancers, there is a vital need in the marketplace for an automotive product that helps protect drivers and passengers from the damaging effects of the sun. Window film is an easily installed, effective solution available worldwide.

Requiring only a one-time professional application, Solar Gard Ultragard UV offers consumers an affordable choice for year-round sun protection. Benefits of Ultragard UV window film include:

* Blocks 99 percent of both UV-A and UV-B rays year-round.
* Protects electronics, upholstery and interior of vehicle from fading and discoloration.
* Helps hold glass together in case of breakage.
* Offers a cost effective solution with an industry leading warranty.
* Signal-friendly with satellite radio, GPS, cellular and tire monitoring systems.

“At Solar Gard, we are committed to creating smart solutions that address critical issues that our customers face every day,” said Kathryn Giblin, director of Global Marketing and Technical Services, Solar Gard. “With skin cancer continuing to be a grave health concern, we are proud to offer Solar Gard’s Ultragard UV window film as yet another option for protection from the sun’s damaging UV rays.”

Thursday, March 29, 2012

SolarMax opens offices in Thousand Oaks and Norco

CITY OF INDUSTRY, USA: SolarMax Technology Inc. is set to open a showroom and office in Thousand Oaks by the end of April. The company has also recently opened a location in Norco. The solar power systems provider hired 20 people to staff the locations.

David Hsu, SolarMax's president, said: “Growth is more than just about opening offices. It’s about helping put jobs back in our community and growing our economy.” SolarMax Technology is set to open offices in cities that include Riverside, San Diego, and Lancaster by the end of 2012. SolarMax Tech. plans to open 25 locations by December.

SolarMax Technology offers residential and commercial solar power systems. The company’s clients include the Wyndham Mt. Laurel Hotel in New Jersey; the YMCA in Anaheim; University of Colorado at Boulder and others.

“We’re poised for phenomenal growth,” Hsu said. “We are expanding office locations, offering financing, and increasing our workforce.”

Salamon Group secures public sector rooftop solar projects

LAS VEGAS, USA: Salamon Group Inc. has secured the rights to build solar power systems on the rooftops of 23 schools in Williamson County Tennessee. Salamon will immediately start building three solar power systems with an output of 200KW each, the first three school rooftops total 600KW.

These three projects have total combined revenues of $3.3 million over the life of the contract, and yield a levered IRR of approximately 25 percent. The company plans to continue building out the remaining 20 rooftops later this spring.

Michael Matvieshen, CEO, said: "We are excited to commence building solar power systems on these public sector rooftops, which is one of the Company's strategic solar verticals. The public sector buildings offer an enormous real-estate opportunity and are the most stable real estate asset to build solar power systems on, and they offer a tremendous potential for a project pipeline for the Company. We expect that our 'SolarPlus' go to market strategy will secure large solar project rights that will allow us to build quality infrastructure type assets with premium investment yields for the company."

About 35 GWp of new solar cell manufacturing equipment will be purchased by 2017

LYON, FRANCE: Yole Développement announced its report “Crystalline Silicon PV: Technology, Equipment & Materials”.

The market is now driven by high PV efficiency and cost decrease. In the years to come, the manufacturing cost reduction in the PV industry will be led by equipment and material innovations. As only a part of the whole existing crystalline silicon manufacturing capacity is suited to the production of very high efficiency solar cells and modules, Yole Développement assumes that a part of the manufacturing capacity will be shut down or used at low utilization rates, and new capacities suited for very high efficiency products will be added. This provides an opportunity for PV equipment manufacturers to find customers despite existing production overcapacities.

“About 35 GWp of new solar cell manufacturing equipment will be purchased by 2017,” says Milan Rosina, Technology and Market Analyst, Photovoltaics at Yole Développement. Under Yole Développement’s report, the main technologies and corresponding equipment used in c-Si solar cell and module manufacturing are analyzed in detail. For each equipment, its description, main characteristics, innovations and market trends, 2011-2017 market figures and main suppliers are given. The challenges and opportunities for equipment manufacturers are also provided.

High PV efficiency is a key driver for costs decrease
Current technology and market consolidation are revealing an increased interest in high-efficiency cell and module approaches. Yole Développement provides details on how high PV efficiency enables product differentiation and cuts on manufacturing and system costs and “Levelized Cost of Electricity” (LCOE).

Different very high cell and module efficiency approaches are reviewed, showing the opportunities for crystalline silicon as well as for some thin-film PV manufacturers. In order to reach very high cell and module efficiency (respectively, over 19 percent and 16 percent), specific technology approaches, new materials and new equipment are required. Materials such as quasimono silicon wafers and new equipment (ion implant tools, amorphous silicon deposition tools) are reviewed and their potential is analyzed. The factors that have to be taken into consideration during the development of new equipment for very high efficiency solar cells are also discussed.

How to stay profitable in PV business
Thanks to incentive policies, in the past the photovoltaic market experienced double digit average annual growth rates and more than 27GWp were installed during the year 2011. This resulted in a massive increase of the manufacturing capacities to cover the increasing demand. However, recently, lowered incentive mechanisms resulted in a market demand lower than expected.

In consequence, high manufacturing overcapacities and module inventory result in a strong price pressure on the PV market and finally leads to technology and market consolidation. PV cell and module manufacturers as well as PV material and equipment suppliers are facing hard times and are trying to find a solution on how to keep their business profitable.

Different manufacturers and suppliers strategies are reviewed in this part of the report. “Today, the key objective of PV manufacturers is no longer to increase their production capacities, but to differentiate themselves from their competitors in an overcrowded market thanks to added value products (with lower price, higher efficiency),” explains Milan. Innovations in field of PV equipment, materials and manufacturing processes are thus more important than ever.Source: Yole Développement, France.

Why crystalline silicon remains a leading PV technology?
As photovoltaics becomes a commodity market and many different PV products are commercially available, the old vision of a PV technology development in which thin-film PV technologies would progressively increase their market shares has become obsolete. Through the last years, the technology progress in crystalline silicon (c-Si) technology has surpassed all expectations.

Today, the c-Si modules are available at prices close or even lower than $1 per Wp, comparable with those of the thin-film PV modules, while their efficiency is significantly higher, providing the system level a premium value. The main advantages of c-Si as well as the potential for further improvement of c-Si manufacturing costs and performances are discussed here in detail. The technology performance and applications are compared with thin-film PV technologies (amorphous silicon, CdTe, CIGS).

Echelon enables micro grids In India and South Africa

SAN JOSE, USA: Echelon Corp. announced two micro grid deployments in India and South Africa that integrate distributed generation to compensate for disruptions in utility-supplied power.

The deployments are built on Echelon's proven, open standard, multi-application energy control networking platform powered by its Control Operating System (COS) and incorporate application software and services from its local partners Grene Robotics and Power Meter Technics (PMT). The first-of-its-kind in the two countries, the micro grid deployments involve dynamically managing demand and energy supply mix for a residential community and a retail mall to deliver reliable service cost-effectively.

The model micro grid deployments are at Palm Meadows in Hyderabad, India, and Clearwater Mall in Johannesburg, South Africa. Palm Meadows is an 86-acre integrated gated community with 335 homes and residential services. Clearwater Mall in Johannesburg is a retail building with more than 240 stores. Such micro grids are likely to be a best practice in emerging countries grappling with intermittent power supply, and are also applicable in environmentally conscious countries that are aggressively incorporating renewable and intermittent energy sources into the distribution network.

"Smart micro grids are an ideal way to integrate local generation at the community level and allow for customer participation in the electricity enterprise," said Michael Anderson, senior VP of Worldwide Markets for Echelon. "Micro grids sit at the edge of the smart grid and provide real-time analysis, decision making and control. The Palm Meadows and Clearwater Mall deployments are great examples of how Echelon's commitment to leading the worldwide transformation of the electricity grid into an energy control network can foster market innovation. The concepts demonstrated in India and South Africa can be replicated worldwide to improve power reliability and to integrate energy efficiency solutions as well as renewable generation."

Palm Meadows – consumers expect power
The Palm Meadows community ties into the grid at a dedicated substation and sources energy in bulk from the utility. The community also runs diesel generators and will incorporate solar generation in the future. Residences within the community are equipped with Echelon smart meters that connect into data concentrators at distribution transformers and feed near real-time usage information to Echelon's Networked Energy Systems (NES) system software.

Echelon partner Grene Robotics' Skynet management application automatically turns on local generation if utility-delivered power is inadequate. The Skynet software interfaces with the NES system software and creates a bill for the customer that reflects the customers' actual use of lower cost grid power and more expensive locally generated power. Customers have the option of reducing usage at times when the more expensive energy is being supplied. The Palm Meadows micro grid is providing reliable service even during frequent utility grid outages and enabling the customer to make intelligent trade-offs between comfort and cost.

"When you flip that light switch, turn your television on, or boot up your computer, you expect power," said Kiran Penmatcha, CEO of Grene Robotics. "Like a national power grid, the Palm Meadows micro grid manages generation, distribution, and the regulation of the flow of electricity to its households. We are pleased to have helped implement a proven, open and multi-application energy control infrastructure that enables Palm Meadows to become distributors of energy within their community. Today, the community is evaluating the integration of solar generated electricity for the future. Tomorrow, the community may look to add other applications, such as outdoor lighting control on the same infrastructure."

Clearwater Mall – store owners manage energy use, costs and maximize revenue
The frequency and length of blackouts in South Africa can have devastating effects on its commercial sector. For example, the local South African public utility had to institute a system of rolling blackouts over a period of four months to balance electricity demand, in which supply was interrupted at least once or twice a day on an average of four hours at a time.

The Clearwater Mall tenants, which consist of nine anchor stores, and more than two hundred other local and international fashion and quick serve food outlets, restaurants, banks, electronic goods and other specialty stores, require reliable electricity so they can continue to run their business. The mall's new retail micro grid solution, based on Echelon partner PMT's Meteringonline energy management application, employs Echelon smart meters, data concentrators, and NES system software to submeter individual tenant usage, so they can pay only for their actual energy usage rather than the industry norm of paying for energy on a square footage basis.

Further, tenants can opt-in to power supplied by local back-up generation when blackouts occur. PMT's Meteringonline application interfaces to Echelon's system software and reconciles usage with energy source, allocating tariffs based on actual use. The on-demand energy services allow the store owners to manage their energy usage and associated costs and maximize revenues.

"South Africa experiences major power shortages with rolling blackouts on a regular basis, therefore implementing a rock solid energy control networking platform for Clearwater Mall and its tenants was of utmost importance," said Graeme Mellis, director of PMT. "The Echelon solution with our Meteringonline system software created a perfect micro grid solution for Clearwater Mall to deliver multiple applications to its tenants, such as submetering, selective back up generation and consolidated billing."

Growing interest in micro grids
According to Pike Research, interest in implementing micro grids is spreading among educational, commercial, government, healthcare, industrial, and research campuses. A new report from Pike Research forecasts that total installed generation capacity for campus micro grids will increase by 164 percent between 2011 and 2017, rising from 620 megawatts (MW) to 1.6 gigawatts (GW). By the end of the forecast period in 2017, the clean tech market intelligence firm anticipates that the campus micro grid market will reach $777 million in annual revenue.

Peter Asmus, senior analyst at Pike Research, said: "Micro grids are an aggregation and optimization platform that can squeeze the most value out of existing and new distributed energy assets, whether they are solar photovoltaic generation technology or smart meters enabling demand response. Micro grids are the building blocks of a smart grid whose modularity can shrink energy consumption by 10-15 percent through more intelligent networking."

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

AQT selects Sapphire Automation to integrate solar cell manufacturing

SUNNYVALE, USA: AQT Solar, a leading developer of low-cost thin-film solar cells, has successfully transitioned to a fully automated WIP Management System to complete the integration of its Sunnyvale production facility.

AQT partnered with Sapphire Automation to drive greater operational efficiencies and further improve equipment utilization and planning. AQT anticipates that this platform will further improve its rapid technology development and deployment cycles and contribute substantially to ongoing cost reduction initiatives.

AQT’s WIP Management System is run by Sapphire’s Emerald software platform. Sapphire Emerald is highly modular, and provides complete visibility, control and coordination into manufacturing processes and production operations. The Sapphire solution provides a complete view of the factory floor through real time data captures from various factory floor tools and powerful dashboards.

Emerald’s open architecture supports industry standards such as E-10 for tool state management and Web services for data integration with enterprise systems. It offers immediate return on investment by delivering centralized data that improves productivity, automates traceability and eliminates manual paperwork. It can also record manufacturing cycle times and other critical data to empower engineers to spot bottlenecks and increase production output.

AQT Solar’s 24x7 manufacturing operations have been operational since the first quarter of 2012, and will ramp up substantially over the next few quarters. With the automated WIP Management System, AQT Solar has implemented the requisite infrastructure for this expansion.

“We are excited to work with Sapphire. Their proven ability to deliver the flexibility required to support dynamic manufacturing requirements made them a logical and ideal partner for AQT Solar,” said Skip Wong, VP of operations at AQT. “We will continue to expand our manufacturing capacity with the assistance of the Sapphire System and further improve our factory equipment utilization and throughput.”

Germany’s revised solar subsidy policy to bring short-term gains, potential long-term losses

TAIWAN: According to EnergyTrend, the research division of TrendForce, Germany’s ruling coalition has come to a consensus regarding the nation’s revised photovoltaic subsidy policy. In addition to partial subsidy adjustments, an installation cap is also being implemented. According to EnergyTrend research, the German government has laid out the initial progressive feed-in-tariff (FiT) reduction schedule for 2012-2017. If the number of installations falls above or below the target range, figures will be adjusted accordingly.Source: EnergyTrend, Taiwan.

The current revisions to Germany’s solar subsidy policy consist mainly of subsidy amount changes and installation capacity limitations. As for subsidy adjustments, a transitional arrangement will be available for developers who submit planning applications before February 24; small systems installed prior to June 30 and large systems installed before September 30 will fall under the old subsidy conditions.

In terms of monthly adjustments, the revised policy states that beginning in May, the FiT reductions will be a set percentage instead of a fixed amount – a 1 percent reduction per month, as opposed to the previous €15/kWh. Furthermore, changes have also been made to the market integration model. Beginning on January 1, 2013, rooftop systems up to 10 kW will only be subsidized for 80 percent of generated electricity, as opposed to the previous 85 percent; 90 percent of generated electricity will be subsidized for systems between 10 kW and 1 MW, while installations over 1 MW will be fully subsidized.Source: EnergyTrend, Taiwan.

EnergyTrend believes these changes will benefit the stabilization of the German solar industry in 2012. As the new policy provides a transitional period for photovoltaic developers, the current wave of installations may continue until the end of Q3. Q4 demand will depend on the future direction of the new policy as well as investment returns.

Looking beyond 2013, as the FiT reductions will be based on actual installation figures – the draft allows for a 29 percent reduction at most – vendors are currently leaning towards reducing capacity to sustain market price. Thus, EnergyTrend believes demand momentum will gradually decrease, and if the revised draft is passed, Germany’s photovoltaic market will see short-term gains but long-term losses.

ZEBRA solar cell reaches 21 percent energy conversion efficiency

GERMANY: Researchers at ISC Konstanz and the photovoltaics producer Silfab SpA (Padua, Italy) have set a new record for the energy conversion efficiency of solar cells:

The "ZEBRA" cell technology, based on large area (156 mm x 156 mm) monocrystalline silicon wafers, allows an efficiency of 21 percent.

Whereas current monocrystalline solar cells only reach a maximum of 19-20 percent, this back-contact cell's energy conversion efficiency may even be increased to up to 24 percent. This represents an even more noteworthy achievement given the fact that cells based on "ZEBRA" technology can be produced at reduced cost.

Dow officially opens complex at Asia Industrial Estate

BANGKOK, THAILAND: The Dow Chemical Co. has officially announced the grand opening of its new production complex in Asia Industrial Estate (AIE), Ban Chang, Rayong province. This comes at the same Dow marks its 45th anniversary in Thailand and the 25th anniversary of the SCG-Dow partnership, part of the SCG-Dow Group.

A portion of an investment totaling more than USD $3 billion, the new production complex is a joint venture project between Dow, SCG and Solvay S.A. under the project named ‘Thai Growth Project.’

The project, which was announced in 2006, has involved the building of world-class production facilities including an advanced naphtha cracker plant operated by Map Ta Phut Olefins Co. Ltd (JV between Dow and SCG Chemicals), and downstream facilities to produce polyethylene (SPEII), specialty elastomers, propylene oxide and hydrogen peroxide, operated by Solvay. The successful completion of all plants under the ‘Thai Growth Project’ today makes Thailand Dow’s largest manufacturing base in Asia Pacific.

State-of-the-art technology and an emphasis on achieving the highest levels of environmentally-friendly production in operational processes throughout the entire complex are the hallmarks of the Thai Growth Project, with the overall aim of carbon footprint reduction in a sustainable industrial environment.

A recent example is the award-winning hydrogen peroxide to propylene oxide (HPPO) technology invented by Dow and BASF that received both the 2010 Presidential Green Chemistry Challenge Award and the 2009 Institution of Chemical Engineers' Innovation and Excellence Award in Core Engineering. This breakthrough HPPO technology uses simpler raw material integration and can achieve a 70-80 percent wastewater reduction and 35 percent energy consumption reduction compared with existing HPPO technology.

“The success of the Thai Growth Project has enabled Thailand to become the largest Dow manufacturing hub in Asia Pacific and underlines Dow’s commitment to continue long-term investment in Thailand,” said Andrew Liveris, chairman and CEO of The Dow Chemical Co.

“This year, Dow is also constructing a Propylene Glycol (PG) plant and ENLIGHT Polyolefin plant for encapsulant films used in solar panels. The objective of these projects is to expand Dow’s business portfolios, especially its specialty products, to address the world’s evolving needs and to support Thailand’s economic development.”

Jirasak Singmaneechai, MD of Dow Chemical Thailand Ltd, said: “The full operations of this new production complex not only support Thailand’s economic growth but also help create jobs for local people. The continued growth of Dow’s operations in Thailand and the company’s investment in world-class petrochemical technology in the country will provide a strong platform for competing in the often specialized international market, leading to sustainable Thailand-based growth in the industry.

"For making this major opportunity possible, I would like to thank our partners and all who have contributed to the Thai Growth Project and to acknowledge the dedication of our employees, whose commitment to safety has resulted in a record-breaking achievement of 41 million man-hours with no lost injury time.”

Kan Trakulhoon, president and CEO of SCG, said: “SCG is proud to be part of the success in the Thai Growth Project with partner, Dow. This project highlights Thailand’s high investment potential, making it the manufacturing base for Thai and international investors. Several key factors that make Thailand an attractive place to invest include our strategic location in the ASEAN region, strong manufacturing clusters, good infrastructure, commitment to research and development, and continuous support by the government. I am confident that Dow and SCG Chemicals will continue to make Thailand a strong and sustainable manufacturing base.”

Cholanat Yanaranop, president of SCG Chemicals Co. Ltd, a subsidiary of SCG, said: “SCG Chemicals is honored to be a part of Thai Growth Project’s success. This success not only increases the integration of the naphtha cracker, operated by Map Ta Phut Olefins Co. Ltd and raises proportion of our high value added products, but it also emphasizes the strong 25-year partnership between Dow and SCG Chemicals and commitment to sustainable growth.”

Vincent De Cuyper, group GM of Chemicals Sector and member of the executive committee of Solvay, said: “Solvay is proud to be a partner in this exciting world-class hydrogen peroxide plant in Thailand and looks forward to continue sharing its hydrogen peroxide technology with Dow in other regions of the world. Our new hydrogen peroxide unit represents the latest flagship of our peroxide leadership technology. This investment in production facilities with a strongly enhanced ecological footprint clearly shows Solvay's commitment to sustainable development.”

Enphase Energy microinverters installed on 346kW community solar project

PETALUMA, USA: Enphase Energy Inc. announced the installation of its Microinverter System on a 346kW solar array located in the town of Brewster, Mass. Constructed by My Generation Energy, the system combines the output of 1,440 Enphase M215 microinverters paired with Sharp 240 watt solar modules, generating over 450 kWh of energy annually or enough to power 50 homes and businesses.

The Brewster Community Solar Garden Cooperative provides local residents and businesses restricted from installing solar on their own properties the opportunity to benefit from solar energy by joining the cooperative.

“Our partners continue to find innovative ways to advance solar energy adoption at both the residential and commercial level, and the Brewster Community Solar Garden project is one of the most unique we’ve seen so far,” said Bill Rossi, CMO of Enphase Energy. “Our Enlighten monitoring and analysis software streamlines commercial site management for our customers, like My Generation Energy, as they can easily the track the performance and overall health of their installed systems remotely.”

Community solar projects are gaining momentum as state congressional bills in Colorado, California (SB843) and Maryland (SB595) are proposed or approved. John Farrell, a senior researcher at the Institute for Local Self Reliance wrote last September, said, “Community solar power can offer unique benefits in the expansion of solar power, from greater participation and ownership of solar to a greater dispersion of the economic benefits of harnessing the sun’s energy.”

“We’ve mastered installing the Enphase Microinverter System in residential and commercial applications. We’re excited to now bring its benefits to our Community Solar Garden® project and other large commercial-scale projects as well,” said Luke Hinkle, president and CEO of My Generation Energy.

Continuing this trend, My Generation Energy is currently constructing a 475kW rooftop system in Hyannis, Mass., on Cape Cod, with the Enphase Microinverter System.

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Heraeus to exhibit SOL9383 and new pastes for N-type cell design

Green Energy Expo, DAEGU, SOUTH KOREA & WEST CONSHOHOCKEN, USA: The Heraeus Photovoltaic Business Unit, a world leader in developing front and back-side silver paste for crystalline solar cells, will be highlighting its series of pastes for N-Type cell designs at this year’s Green Energy Expo in Daegu, Korea, March 28-30, booth A510.

“We’re looking forward to exhibiting our production proven SOL9383 Series and our newest products for N-Type cell designs,” said Andy London, VP of Heraeus Materials Technology LLC in West Conshohocken. “Customers have manufactured cells with efficiencies greater than 19 percent with SOL9383. Our new pastes for N-type designs approach 20 percent efficiency and also provide higher output power.”

The SOL9383 Series are aluminum doped silver conductor pastes for N-Type monocrystalline silicone solar cell wafers with P+ surface. This new series is optimized for high throughput processing and provides fine line resolution for advanced cell designs. The SOL9383 Series also provides low contact resistance and can be co-fired with commercially available silver pastes. Heraeus has mass produced this product for over two years, and is the only paste manufacturer to mass produce N-Type cell design pastes.

Heraeus manufactures high volumes of thick film pastes for some of the most prominent companies within a variety of industries. For over 40 years, the company has built a reputation of innovation, extensive research and new product development in this field. The Heraeus Photovoltaics Business Unit applies its innovative technology to the field of photovoltaics, offering silver pastes for crystalline solar cells. The Heraeus SOL Series of silver pastes is specially formulated to provide higher efficiencies and wider processing windows, resulting in better yields and higher output for cell manufacturers.

Maricopa Solar assets to be auctioned on April 17

SAN DIEGO, USA: On behalf of Maricopa Solar, LLC, Heritage Global Partners will conduct a global webcast bulk auction of company assets, in partnership with Hilco Industrial and BidItUp, and in collaboration with Auction AZ.

The approval of Debtor’s Motion to engage Heritage Global Partners is currently pending in the United States Bankruptcy Court for the District of Arizona. Following approval, the auction will be staged on Tuesday, April 17, 2012, beginning at 9 am MT via live global webcast at and onsite at 8475 N. 75th Ave. in Peoria, AZ.

Prior to the auction, a one-day open to the public inspection will take place on Monday, April 16th, from 9:00am – 4:00pm MT at the plant location in Peoria, AZ.

This bulk and piecemeal offering of Maricopa Solar will feature a complete 1.5 MW Solar Thermal Farm to include 60 Stirling Energy SunCatcher Solar Dish Engine Systems and related support equipment including Switchgear and telecom assets.

“This sale is truly an exceptional opportunity for buyers to realize a unique technology and prospect to acquire a high-quality renewable power source,” said David Barkoff, director of Sales, Heritage Global Partners.

As a pilot project of Stirling Energy Systems in 2010, The Maricopa Solar Thermal Farm utilized concentrated solar power (CSP) systems which use mirrors or lenses to concentrate a large area of sunlight, or solar thermal energy onto a small area.

Led by auction industry pioneers Ross and Kirk Dove, Heritage Global Partners, is one of the country’s leading asset advisory and auction services firms, which assists large and small companies with buying and selling of assets. A Counsel RB Capital company, Heritage Global Partners offers asset brokerage, asset inspection, asset valuations, industrial equipment and real estate auctions, as well as enterprise auctions combining tangible and intangible assets.

Upsolar expands presence in Balkan region

Solar Balkans 2012, PARIS, FRANCE: Upsolar, a leading international provider of solar PV modules, announced its latest move in the emerging Balkan solar market. The company partnered with Plan-net Solar, a leading provider of construction services, to install a 1.2 MW rooftop PV system in Slovenia – the company’s largest system in the country to date.

Plan-net Solar, the exclusive Upsolar distributor in Slovenia, recently completed the project’s 783-kW first phase; the entire system is scheduled for completion in the second half of 2012.

Composed of 230Wp polycrystalline modules with positive tolerance, this project is a major proof point for Upsolar’s strategic movement in the up-and-coming Balkan market. The company’s presence in the region also includes an office in Athens, Greece, established in 2011.

“Upsolar’s market flexibility and knowledge of global developments is vital to broadening our customer network. With teams in place across Europe, we are able to maintain growth in major markets while simultaneously exploring opportunities for expansion in developing areas,” said Enrico Carniato, Europe sales director for Upsolar. “By partnering with a trusted name like Plan-net Solar to bring our quality modules to Slovenia, we can assure local customers of a secure, long-term solar investment.”

European customers also benefit from Upsolar’s “Made in EU” certified polycrystalline modules, produced with locally sourced components. The company achieved this distinction in accordance with the Institute of Industrial Certification for Mechanics (ICIM).

“Our collaboration with Upsolar is a strong asset in our mission to expand solar implementation in Slovenia,” said Marko Femc, GM of Plan-net Solar. “The company’s product variety, including modules equipped with power optimizer technology and unique framing options, is especially attractive to customers in this region. We’re confident our joint efforts will enhance the solar experience for our customer base and help to facilitate increased adoption of renewable energy across the greater Balkan region.”

Businesses given support to make the most of Green Deal

UK: Tens of thousands of businesses are being helped to make the most of the Government’s new Green Deal scheme.

Green Deal Manager will enable general contractors, plumbers, heating engineers, door and window installers, electricians and renewable energy installers to comply with a vast array of requirements needed to take part in the scheme and help them become ‘PAS2030 accredited’.

The Green Deal will allow homeowners and businesses to take out long term loans in order to implement energy efficiency measures. The installations will be funded by a charge on energy bills with the guarantee – the so- called ‘Golden Rule’ – that the savings on those bills will be greater than the loan repayments.

According to industry experts, Green Deal installers are expected to increase their turnover by as much as 20 per cent. The Government says the Green Deal will help to insulate 14 million homes by 2020 with 65,000 jobs being created as a result of the drive to make homes and businesses more energy efficient.

The Green Deal Manager website has been developed by Eco-Architect Graham Jack in conjunction with Green Deal industry expert Phyllis Boardman.

Graham said: “In order to become an installer of Green Deal energy efficiency measures, companies must provide a string of policy and procedure documents. Our online project management portal brings all of these together in one place, cutting through the red tape and streamlining the entire process.

“For a small investment, installers can both prepare for the launch of the Green Deal in October and continue to remain fully accredited going forward.

“All of the documents required are kept in one place on a secure and encrypted server which also enables collaboration across organisations. Our unique system is the first of its kind and the feedback we have had already from small installers through to PLCs has been phenomenal.”

Graham has previously developed an online management site for Code for Sustainable Homes developments, which allows clients to see precisely what evidence is required for a Code assessment. The site was developed with the support of the computer department at Liverpool John Moores University.

Graham added: “That knowledge and technology has now been adapted and refined to create Green Deal Manager. Given the vast number of installers within the industry now and in the future, we are expecting the site to be of huge interest in the run up to October this year.”

Rehm supports supply demands of VisionXC with production facility in Dongguan

CHINA: The VisionXC from Rehm Thermal Systems combines compact design with the best thermal performance, ensuring the best results are achieved for manufacturers across the globe. Launched earlier this year to worldwide industry acclaim the system is exclusively manufactured in Rehm’s production facility in Dongguan, China, which enables the company to meet and serve the demands of both the global and local market successfully.

Rehm have been developing a presence in China for a number of years and the decision to manufacture the VXC exclusively in China is indicative of their commitment to the region. Not only does the facility in Dongguan place Rehm closer to customers in order to improve lead times and the overall service offering, but it also delivers Chinese customers a significant competitive advantage, which European customers can now also take advantage of.

Rehm’s production facility in Dongguan is managed by an international management team, made up of staff from both Germany and China, who ensure that European standards are met. Therefore Rehm’s customers throughout the world can rest assured that the reflow soldering systems produced are to a high standard and fulfil the same quality criteria upheld at all of their production facilities.

The facility has also been officially recognised further for its quality by being awarded the TÜV Süd certification. The successful production processes are maintained by the well trained staff at the facility, as well as the proven and defined manufacturing processes, which have been directly transferred to replicate the tried and tested techniques from the production department in Blaubeuren, enabling a smooth production process to be achieved for all of Rehm’s customers.

The VisionXC produced at the Dongguan facility was launched in China 2011 and has met the requests of EMS service providers who wanted to produce smaller batch sizes for their customers; this has been enabled by providing manufacturers with a system that is cost effective but yet still responds to their high performance demands.

The system has reliable transportation, exceptional heat transfer and cost benefit advantages, which have been proven to be very successful with countless customers already using these systems in China and now the first systems are being sold to customers in Europe also. The VisionXC is also available with a reduced option package and can be adapted to the needs of individual service providers for ease of use.

Johannes Rehm, GM, commented: “We are committed to providing our customers with the best possible service and our Dongguan facility has allowed us to expand our presence and technology support for our customers in China. Rehm are thrilled to be officially recognised for the quality of our production facilities and we were delighted to be awarded the TÜV Süd certification, providing further evidence of our commitment to providing quality services.

“The production facility in Dongguan, China, enables us to exclusively produce and provide high quality VisionXC systems to the local market, which allows us to serve the immediate needs of these customers and also enables Rehm to provide the same high quality products not just in China but to the wider market also. We have made an exception for the VisionXC 422 air, which is due to be manufactured in the same way at our facility in Russia in the near future to enable us to serve the local market in this area as well.”

Solar3D high efficiency solar cell fits into highest growing segment

SANTA BARBARA, USA: Solar3D Inc. spotlighted a report published by Research and Markets which forecasts the dramatic shift in the solar industry’s next generation to high efficiency solar cells. Solar3D’s 3-dimensional solar cell is forecast to be the highest efficiency among currently anticipated next generation silicon solar cells.

Jim Nelson, CEO of Solar3D, commented: “There is a greater emphasis worldwide on rooftop applications, as well as other limited footprint uses of the solar cell. Due to a reduction in government subsidies, users of solar energy are desperate to find a product that will be able to deliver higher efficiency, in a smaller space, for less money. That has been the singular focus of our work over the past 2 years. And we are on the verge of doing just that as we finalize our prototype.”

Solar3D announced its findings that its design is expected to result in a solar cell that will deliver 25+% efficiency—highest among all existing designs in silicon. However, efficiency is only part of the equation.

Nelson continued: “Manufacturers measure the efficiency of their solar cells under optimum conditions—with sunlight shining directly onto the cell from the best angle. But these measurements do not represent real world conditions, because light collection drops off markedly as the sun delivers light from more extreme angles during different times of the day. The real deliverable is not efficiency but the total power generated by the solar cell throughout the day or throughout the year. Our wide angle collection feature makes simple comparison of solar cells based on efficiency inaccurate and obsolete.”

The company’s analysis indicates that a typical 17 percent efficient solar cell performs more like a 5 percent efficient cell when light is shining 20 degrees from the side, such as during the morning and evening hours. Even high efficiency cells like Sunpower’s IBD only behave like traditional cells in their light collection techniques. Solar3D’s analysis shows that the 3D cell can maintain its high efficiency for a longer period of time and can generate as much as double the power output of conventional solar cells.

Solar3D is currently constructing a prototype of its 3-dimensional solar cell using silicon. “It is our fundamental belief that low cost silicon is the best material for solar cells and 3D is the best way to get more performance out of silicon,” Nelson concluded.

juwi continues expansion in Asia-Pacific

SINGAPORE & WORRSTADT, GERMANY: The juwi group, one of the leading project developers for renewable energies, enters the Southeast Asian market and thus, further expands its international project business.

The subsidiary ‘juwi Renewable Energies Pte Ltd.’ is currently establishing its headquarters in Singapore, the financial center of Southeast Asia. Prospectively, the company will support costumers and projects in the entire Asia-Pacific region. Currently, the focus is on the Thai and Malaysian PV-markets. In the medium-term, the markets in the Philippines, Indonesia, Japan, Australia and China also offer enormous growth potential.

The first turn key projects in 2012 are planned in Thailand and Malaysia. As in the other geographies, juwi will also develop, finance and operate renewable energy power plants.

“Thailand and Malaysia offer attractive conditions for the PV industry, and 100 percent renewable energies are achievable much earlier than many people are aware of. We are passionate to contribute with our international experience to unlock the enormous potential of renewable energies in the region,” emphasizes Amiram Roth-Deblon, juwi regional director, Asia-Pacific.

Due to the good prerequisites in the ASEAN states and juwi’s extensive international experience in the development and realization of renewable energy projects ‘juwi Singapore’ expects rapid growth. While in many established markets ‘saturation effects’ become visible, Asia has a great backlog demand for renewable energies. Therefore, the activities in Singapore will greatly contribute towards a global sustainable energy supply that current and future generations will benefit from.

The establishment of the Singapore office is a very important step in juwi’s internationalization strategy. Further market entries are currently examined.

Australian Solar Institute provides boost for solar innovation in Australia

AUSTRALIA: The Australian solar industry received a boost today with the announcement of close to $12 million Australian Solar Institute (ASI) Round 3 funding to accelerate solar energy technology development.

The funding was announced by Minister for Resources and Energy, Martin Ferguson AM MP during a visit to Silanna Semiconductor Pty Ltd. in Sydney, which was a successful recipient of ASI funding in 2010. ASI executive director, Mark Twidell, said Silanna has used ASI funding matched with its own investment to demonstrate efficiency improvements to help reduce the cost of solar technology.

“Silanna is a great example of how ASI is able to assist Australian manufacturing companies to diversify and drive innovation in photovoltaic technology,” Twidell said. “Silanna‟s innovations, when commercialised, will be suitable for concentrating photovoltaic applications including power plants and spacecraft.”

ASI investment director, Olivia Coldrey, said ASI is further supporting industry to develop solar technologies through new strategic investment. Ms Coldrey said the announcement includes ASI funding for an exciting, diverse range of solar technologies, particularly concentrating solar power technologies.

“It includes $1.6 million for CSIRO to develop solar hybrid fuels and almost $0.5 million for BlueScope Steel Ltd to collaborate with German researchers to develop thin-film solar cells which can be integrated into buildings,” Ms Coldrey said. “These ASI-funded projects reflect the range and high quality of solar research and development around Australia, and the majority are industry-led.”

Ms Coldrey said a total of $2.3 million has been committed to projects funded under the Australia-Germany Collaborative Solar Research and Development Program.

“Australian and German researchers will work together on projects to accelerate the commercialisation of solar technologies.Both countries are leaders in solar innovation and have a history of successful collaboration.”

Ms Coldrey said the Australian Solar Institute is also helping to grow the skills and capacity of the sector through scholarships and fellowships.

“We are announcing support for eleven PhD Scholars and seven Postdoctoral Fellows for the next three years, on top of eight early and mid career researchers already announced. Supporting the next generation of leading Australian researchers is critical to developing a viable solar industry in Australia.”

Ms Coldrey said ASI investments in developing solar technologies have to date leveraged partner contributions almost three-fold, resulting in a total leveraged portfolio value of almost $260 million.

Monday, March 26, 2012

Finkelstein Thompson LLP announces investigation of First Solar

WASHINGTON, USA: Finkelstein Thompson LLP is investigating potential claims on behalf of shareholders of First Solar Inc.

The investigation focuses on potential liability arising from First Solar’s reporting of payments for replacement of defective solar panels it manufactured. First Solar’s 2011 yearly report revealed $125.8 million in warranty payments for the fourth quarter, nearly doubling the Company’s total exposure since announcing the defect in 2010. The payments resulted in First Solar recording a loss for the year.

MEI’s Pura wet processing system achieves breakthrough for ultra-pure polysilicon for solar cells

ALBANY, USA: MEI LLC has made a significant process breakthrough to create ultra-pure electronic-grade polysilicon ideal for manufacturing high efficiency photovoltaic (PV) solar cells and semiconductors.

MEI’s Pura wet processing system for polysilicon manufacturers achieves ultra-pure levels, dries tiny granular material—that prior to now was thought to be impossible to dry in large quantities—and reduces energy consumption over today’s wet processing and drying systems by 70-80 percent or more. Pura also saves valuable manufacturing floor space by reducing the wet process system footprint by more than 60 percent.

“By adopting the Pura wet processing system, manufacturers will reduce their costs and increase yield while obtaining a very high purity product,” said Dan Cappello, president and CEO, MEI LLC. “As part of Pura, we are also announcing our unique patent-pending FlashDry process.

"FlashDry is especially important for granular, fine and reclaimed scrap polysilicon because we can reduce surface contamination and preserve the purity level obtained during the wet processing stage. No one has ever achieved this outside of a lab in large quantities until now. MEI is already processing tons of test material. Independent testing quantifies the unprecedented purity and dryness we can obtain from any size polysilicon, from chunks to granules.”

The Pura wet processing system is unlike today’s conventional wet process systems, which have seen little or no innovation in decades. Conventional wet processes and drying techniques are extremely inefficient, consuming massive amounts of chemicals, water, and electricity for heated drying, not to mention valuable floor space.

The new Pura wet processing system encompasses MEI’s unique process IP (intellectual property) for etching, rinsing, and drying polysilicon, the key ingredient in manufacturing solar cells. Pura includes MEI’s patent-pending FlashDry cold dry process that eliminates the use of heat for drying polysilicon.

Pura targets manufacturing applications where high purity polysilicon and the ability to process all form factors is required. PV manufacturers often blend very fine granular material with large rock-like chunks to increase the charge weight of the crucibles used to make ingots for solar wafers. Adding the finer material to the crucible maximizes material use and reduces the handling time during this early, pre-wafer stage of solar cell manufacturing.

Pura combines MEI’s expertise in wet batch processing to create an ultra-pure polysilicon product, regardless of form factor, using a unique etch and rinse process combined with the company’s new FlashDry cold dry process. The result is less metallic contamination, less oxidation, and a measurably drier product. With the price of solar cells dropping, MEI’s process IP breakthroughs can reduce the manufacturer’s cost of ownership significantly.

Another unique benefit of working with MEI is software expertise. IDX, the company’s proprietary control software, provides access to process data from the Pura wet processing system. This allows engineers visibility into what is occurring in any tank or chamber.

Cast-mono wafer production likely to reach 2.4 GW in 2012

SANTA CLARA, USA: PV polysilicon and wafer prices fell approximately 50 percent in 2011. With demand for solar systems forecast to be down or flat in 2012, polysilicon and wafer prices are expected to remain under heavy pressure. As a result, revenues for both industries are predicted to shrink, polysilicon by 35 percent and wafer by 47 percent.

Fig. 1: Polysilicon and PV Wafer Industry Revenues
As described in the new NPD Solarbuzz Polysilicon and Wafer Supply Chain Quarterly, significant oversupply of both polysilicon and wafer production is causing less competitive manufacturers to temporarily idle or shutter factories and reduce utilization. Polysilicon factory utilization is forecast to fall from 76 percent in 2011 to 66 percent in 2012. Wafer utilization is forecast to fall from 64 percent to 57 percent.

In this very challenging market, cast-mono is emerging as an important strategy for wafer and vertically integrated module makers, particularly in China, to increase competiveness. The technology enables hybrid mono/multi-crystalline ingots to be grown in high productivity conventional multi-crystalline DS casting furnaces at lower costs than Cz grown mono ingots.

“Chinese manufacturers know they need to increase conversion efficiencies in order to remain competitive in the oversupplied market. They see cast-mono as a low-cost approach with relatively low technical barriers to achieving this goal,” stated Charles Annis, VP at NPD Solarbuzz.

Commercial production of cast-mono wafers and modules began in 2011. This year, cast-mono is predicted to account for 2.4 GW, or about 8 percent, of total PV wafer production. Based on survey results detailed in the report, cast-mono production is forecast to grow steadily and to account for more than 25 percent of all wafer production by 2016.

“Many leading Chinese manufacturers are very optimistic about cast-mono, but there are still multiple technical and commercial challenges, such as the wide range of efficiency distributions and the non-uniform appearance of modules, which need to be resolved before the technology can fully achieve its promise of higher efficiency at lower costs. In 2012, we will see how the end market receives a strong supplier push of cast-mono,” added Annis.

Friday, March 23, 2012

Government defeat good news for solar industry

UK: The Supreme Court has rightly delivered the final blow to the Government’s attempt to appeal over its plans to cut subsidies for solar panels on homes, according to a leading renewable energy company.

David Hunt, a director with Eco Environments which has offices across the UK, said: “The Supreme Court has reached the right decision today, but the greatest shame is that the Government refused to back down weeks ago. By blindly pursuing their appeal bid all the way to the highest court they have caused untold damage to the solar industry and left their much trumpeted green credentials in tatters.

“The Government now needs to heed the lessons of today and understand that they need to abide by due process of law like the rest of the population.

“Memories are short but legal precedent long-lived. We must never find ourselves in the situation we have been in with the feed-in-tariff chaos. The solar industry is one of the most exciting and dynamic sectors in the UK economy, creating many thousands of jobs when many sectors are looking to make cutbacks. The Government now has a moral obligation to restore certainty to our industry and start to rebuild its own reputation with businesses and consumers.”

Earlier today, the Supreme Court refused the Government permission to appeal, announcing that the application “does not raise an arguable point of law of general public importance which ought to be considered”.

The ruling means that solar PV installations registered after December 12 last year and before March 3 this year now qualify for the 43.3p kw/h subsidy rather than the 21p rate the Government tried to enforce.

Wafer cost analysis for solar cell and low-cost technology trends

DUBLIN, IRELAND: Research and Markets has announced the addition of the "Wafer Cost Analysis for Solar Cell and Low-Cost Technology Trends" report to its offering.

The photovoltaic market that grew rapidly until 2010 is slightly slowing down due to the FIT cut and global financial crisis. The module price decreased annually through an excessive investment in production lines along with reduced demand. Wafer, which is a key component for crystalline solar cell seems to have dropped by more than 30 percent this year as well.

Some have an optimistic view of the photovoltaic industry for the second half of this year, but the PV market seems to continue just as through the first half of this year. The price of all raw materials including modules are expected to steadily decrease. In this situation, new technology for high efficiency and cost competitiveness are required for companies - especially for manufacturing costs of wafer which is one of the photovoltaic value chains (polysilicon accounts for 50-60 percent) meaning that vertically unintegrated companies will face a considerable burden in terms of production cost.

This report comprehensively handles development trends of low cost wafer technology and contains the cost analysis depending on vertical integration as well as analysis of investment in single/multi crystalline production lines.

Winfried Hoffmann becomes new EPIA president

BRUSSELS, BELGIUM: Dr. Winfried Hoffmann has become the new President of the European Photovoltaic Industry Association (EPIA). He takes over the position after having been elected as EPIA’s new VP, and after VPs Boris Klebensberger and Virgilio Navarro Sanchez-Sicilia declined the presidency.

Additionally, Jerry Stokes has been elected to fill a vacant seat as a Director on EPIA’s eight-member Board. The elections were held at EPIA’s Annual General Meeting in Brussels.

Dr. Hoffmann, a Member of the Supervisory Board of SMA Solar Technology AG, is a pioneer in the European solar industry, having spent more than 30 years working in photovoltaics. He holds a Ph.D. in biophysics, and in 1979 joined the photovoltaic R&D group for thin film solar cells of NUKEM in 1979. He took over the company’s leadership in 1985.

Dr. Hoffmann has also served as the chairman of the Board of RWE SCHOTT Solar GmbH, and as CTO and VP of the Solar Business Group at Applied Materials GmbH, where he was later a consultant.

After his ascension to the EPIA presidency, Dr. Hoffmann said: “Solar PV has just had another record year -- with more than 28 GW of new grid-connected capacity globally in 2011. Today the industry faces major challenges even as our technology approaches competitiveness with conventional electricity sources. In the coming years, we will need to work to create new markets and business models for PV.

"We will also need to make sure that European policymakers understand the importance of maintaining a stable regulatory environment and of markets based on principles of free and fair trade and fair competition principles. As EPIA’s new President, I look forward to addressing these challenges and helping guide our industry into an even brighter future.”

Dr. Hoffmann takes over the EPIA presidency from Ingmar Wilhelm, who held the position for the last two years. Wilhelm, who leads Business Development at Enel Green Power, will remain on the EPIA Board as a VP.

EPIA Members also chose Jerry Stokes of Suntech Europe to fill a Director vacant position on the Board.

Stokes is the president of Suntech Europe. He has been active in the PV market for over 20 years, during which he has worked with both crystalline and thin-film technologies. He holds an honours degree in metallurgy from Brunel University in the UK, and apart from the solar industry has extensive experience in batteries and energy storages, fuel cells, industrial and building automation and new technology marketing.

Heraeus PV business unit to attend International Green Energy Expo in Daegu, South Korea

WEST CONSHOHOCKEN, USA: The Heraeus Photovoltaics Business Unit, a world leader in developing front and back-side silver paste for crystalline solar cells, will be exhibiting at this year’s International Green Energy Expo from March 28 to 30 in Daegu, Korea. During the show, Heraeus will be featuring some of their newest products, including new pastes for N-Type cell designs at booth number A510.

“This will be our second time exhibiting at the Green Energy Expo and we are looking forward to addressing the Asian market about the benefits of our newest products,” said Andy London, VP of Heraeus Materials Technology LLC in West Conshohocken. “As an industry leader, we are always looking to provide the most efficient, cost effective products for our customers.”

Heraeus will be highlighting its new pastes for N-Type cell designs, a front-side/back-side low activity soldering paste for new passivation layer cell designs and a modified front-side paste for conventional cells at this year’s show as well as its SOL500 Series of pastes for thin film and advanced cell design applications.

Enbridge acquires 50-MW Nevada solar project from First Solar

CALGARY, CANADA: Enbridge Inc. and First Solar Inc. announced that Enbridge has acquired a 100 per cent interest in the 50-megawatt (MW) Silver State North photovoltaic (PV) project that First Solar has developed and constructed in Clark County, Nevada, near the community of Primm. Terms of the transaction were not disclosed.

"Silver State North marks Enbridge's entry into the US solar energy market and demonstrates Enbridge's continuing commitment to growing its green energy business, while delivering attractive returns and stable cash flows," said Don Thompson, VP, Green Energy, Enbridge Inc. "The US solar market presents significant growth opportunities given the excellent solar resource, supportive regulatory environment and expanding portfolio of solar energy projects."

Located 40 miles south of Las Vegas, Nevada, Silver State North was constructed under a fixed-price engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) agreement with First Solar, and is expected to begin commercial operation by May 2012. First Solar will provide operations and maintenance services to Enbridge under a long-term contract. NV Energy will purchase the energy output under a 25-year power purchase agreement (PPA) approved in 2010 by the Public Utilities Commission of Nevada.

"Silver State North is a premier utility-scale PV solar facility," continued Thompson. "We have been impressed with First Solar's strong technical competence and attention to meaningful community engagement practices that align with Enbridge's values."

"First Solar is very pleased to expand its relationship with Enbridge, a leader in renewable energy that shares our commitment to sustainability," said Frank De Rosa, First Solar senior VP for Business Development, the Americas. "We are very proud to have completed construction of the first utility-scale PV solar project on Bureau of Land Management (BLM) land in Nevada, which would not have been possible without the hard work and dedication of county, state and BLM officials."

Silver State North, which will use First Solar's advanced thin film PV modules, will generate enough clean solar energy to serve the needs of about 9,000 average Nevada homes per year, displacing about 42,000 metric tonnes of carbon dioxide (CO2) annually - the equivalent of taking about 8,000 cars off the road. The project will also contribute to helping Enbridge meet its Neutral Footprint commitment to generate a kilowatt of renewable energy for every kilowatt of conventional electricity that the company's operations consume.

The project complements Enbridge's growing portfolio of renewable and alternative energy technologies that now includes interests in eight wind farms, four solar projects, a hybrid fuel cell and four waste heat recovery facilities. Together, Enbridge's investments in renewable energy have the capacity to produce almost 1,000 MW of renewable energy.

First Solar will recognize revenue from Silver State North after final testing and commissioning, expected in the second quarter of 2012.

Wattner acquires solar power plant Rätzlingen for SunAsset 3 fund

COLOGNE, GERMANY: Wattner has acquired the solar power plant Rätzlingen I and is incorporating it into its closed-end solar fund Wattner SunAsset 3. The installation was constructed in December 2011 on commercial property in Lower Saxony. The facility has a capacity of 5.6 megawatts (MW) and an investment sum of approx. 10.5 million euros.

Within the next months, the solar power plant Rätzlingen II, with a capacity of 5.1 MW, will be built at the same location. That will bring the overall investment sum for Rätzlingen up to nearly 19 million euros, with a total capacity of approximately 11 MW.

With Rätzlingen I joining Fürstenwalde and Rüsselsheim/Opel I, Wattner SunAsset 3 has increased its investments in installations eligible for feed-in tariffs from the year 2011 to over 31 million euros. Including Rätzlingen II and additional acquisitions as well as installations currently under construction, the fund's overall investment balance is positive.

Thursday, March 22, 2012

PV materials market forecasted to grow to $40+ billion by 2016

MILLBURN, USA: Driven by the global demand for economically viable, renewable solar power, — expected to more than double from 2011 to 2016, — materials for crystalline silicon and thin film modules are one of the largest and fastest growing markets for suppliers of electronic materials.

A report by the expert consultants of AEI Consulting notes however, that the demand could be flat during 2012 due to challenging external environment suffering from adverse policy changes in major PV markets in Europe. The new report includes detailed insights into the demand for silicon, slurries, gases, wet chemicals, precursors, dopants, and other critical materials.

The market for chemicals and materials used in PV solar cells and modules stood at $19.7 billion in 2011, of which polysilicon accounted for 41 percent, metallic pastes 11 percent, Glass-EVA-backsheet 16 percent, saw wires and slurry 12 percent, chemicals 9 percent, and other materials for balance 11 percent.Source: AEI Consulting, USA.

The market is projected to grow to a forecasted $41.6 billion in 2016. The report notes that the share of polysilicon in the global PV materials market is expected to come down to 16 percent level by 2016 due to decrease in silicon usage thanks to technological advancements. The outlook for materials sales in 2012 will slow slightly as PV module demand in Germany adjusts to new incentive policies and module prices decline. Growth resumes in 2013 as new markets emerge, according to the industry report.

Hoku Solar to design and build 7-MW solar energy facility on Kaua'i

HONOLULU, HAWAII: Hoku Solar Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Hoku Corp. that delivers investment-grade solar energy facilities for commercial, institutional and utility clients, announced the signing of an agreement with a subsidiary of Alexander & Baldwin Inc. (A&B), to design and build the 7.2 megawatt Port Allen Solar Farm for A&B on the island of Kaua'i, Hawaii.

Hoku Solar will partner with Helix Electric, Inc., one of the largest electrical contractors in the US, to construct the photovoltaic facility, which is expected to be placed in service in late 2012. A&B selected the Hoku-Helix project team via competitive bid. Power generated by the Port Allen Solar Farm will be sold by A&B to the island's electrical utility company, Kaua'i Island Utility Cooperative (KIUC) under a 20-year agreement recently approved by the Hawai'i Public Utilities Commission.

Scott Paul, Hoku's CEO, said: "Alexander & Baldwin's investment in solar energy marks another important milestone along Hawai'i's path toward clean energy, and Hoku Solar is proud to have been selected to design and build this solar farm. We have invested heavily in Hoku Solar's utility-scale PV capabilities over the last several years, and we look forward to bringing our local team and expertise to bear on this flagship project."

Chris Benjamin, president of the Alexander & Baldwin Land Group, commented: "The Port Allen Solar Farm is a very important project for A&B -- and for Kaua'i -- and we're pleased to be working with the experienced teams at Hoku Solar and Helix Electric to bring the facility to life."

In December 2011, Hoku Solar delivered the Kapolei Sustainable Energy Park, a 1.18 megawatt solar energy facility developed by Forest City Sustainable Resources. The project is the first -- and, currently, the largest -- utility-scale PV facility on O'ahu.

Feed-in tariffs to stimulate significant growth

DUBLIN, IRELAND: Research and Markets has announced the addition of the "BIPV Technology and Market Forecast (2009-2015)" report to its offering.

BIPV (Building Integrated Photovoltaic) is the efficient photovoltaic system for the following two reasons. First, the solar module is integrated or used for exterior envelopes of buildings as a material: securing economics of electricity. Second, BIPV has high value-added aspects such as aesthetics. Therefore, BIPV has a double effect while reducing installation cost since it has another function other than a material for exterior envelopes of buildings - the conventional function of generating electricity.

In addition, it is also more beneficial because the extra site to install is not necessary like the conventional stand-alone photovoltaic system. In particular for countries like Korea that have limited space and densely populated areas, it is a very important issue to adopt distributed power systems such as BIPV.

Since the global economic recession from the end of 2008 to the beginning of 2009, each government has recommended and given incentives for residential and commercial rooftop PV systems. Recently, many countries are adopting FIT policy for BIPV in order to reduce energy consumption from residential and general buildings.

The worldwide BIPV installation market has grown by 48.7 percent to 270.1MW in 2010 from 181.6MW in 2009 - thanks to BIPV support policies and market trends. The installation market is expected to be aggressively increased by more than 60 percent to 433MW compared to previous year as FIT support policy is implemented in France and Italy in 2011. In addition, it is expected that more countries will apply incentive policies for BIPV. As the BIPV applications are expanded to rooftops of large-sized warehouses, factories, parking lots, airports and skyscrapers as well as soundproof walls of highways. The market is expected to grow to 1.867.5MW which is 10 times more than 2009.

MiaSole expands European organization

SANTA CLARA, USA: MiaSole, the leading manufacturer of copper indium gallium selenide (CIGS) thin-film photovoltaic solar panels, announced the appointment of Michael Povlin as director Sales and Marketing EMEA. This appointment emphasizes MiaSole's continued strategy to expand its business globally and to execute on strategic, international partnerships.

Povlin provides a vast knowledge of the solar and technology industries, with more than 20 years of international management experience at high-tech companies. Povlin also has proven experience in market development and sales strategies in Germany and throughout EMEA, having previously served as the director of sales and marketing EMEA at Abound Solar. Prior to joining Abound Solar, Povlin held management positions at Integrated Device Technology, Tensilicia and Intel.

"MiaSole's 14 percent efficiency solar panels are the best thin film solution for European free field and rooftop applications, and Michael's appointment underscores our commitment to the European market," said Rich Hossfeld, VP of Sales and Business Development for MiaSole. "Michael's experience will be integral in further driving the growth of our company as well as enhancing the value and service we offer our customers. I look forward to working with Michael to develop strategies to drive our sales execution throughout EMEA and deliver the lowest levelized cost of electricity."

MiaSole recently announced that it has achieved a major thin film efficiency milestone of 14 percent in production, representing a greater than 30 percent increase year over year.

Konica Minolta Sensing announces world's first dedicated dye sensitized solar reference cell

RAMSEY, USA: Konica Minolta Sensing Americas Inc. (KMSA), the worldwide leader in the industrial measurement of color, light and 3D shape, announced the launch of its new AK-300 PV Reference Cell, the world's first dye-sensitized solar cell.

Now available, the AK-300 is the latest addition to the AK Series of reference cells. KMSA first introduced its AK Series in 2010 at the SPIE Optics and Photonics conference to much industry excitement. Reference cells are used as a standard point of calibration to ensure consistent measurements of newly developed photovoltaic cells.

The AK-300 was developed in conjunction with the National Institute of Advanced Industrial Science and Technology (AIST) and utilized Konica Minolta Sensing's advanced optical filter technology. The reference cell has been uniquely designed using an optical filter mounted on a stable crystalline silicon solar cell rather than using traditional dye materials.

AK-300 main features include:

Spectral mismatch error less than 1 percent: By employing Konica Minolta Sensing's high-accuracy optical filter technology originally cultivated for color measuring instruments, spectral mismatch is greatly reduced. Spectral mismatch, which had been a major problem with conventional cells, can be suppressed to 1 percent or less even when evaluating solar cell performance using JIS C-8942 Class C solar simulators.

Ready for immediate use: The AK-300 is a completely integrated cell with connectors for I-V measurement as well as temperature measurement. The built-in temperature sensor can be connected to a commercially available temperature controlled stage to easily achieve and maintain the standard test condition of 25 degrees C. Also included are the short-circuit current (Isc) values used for solar simulator adjustment.

Improved durability against solar simulator light: In general, reference standard cells using optical filters have low durability against exposure to light, resulting in changes in characteristics due to continuous exposure to solar simulator light. AK Series Reference Cells have a high durability against exposure to light, greatly reducing solarization (changes in characteristics due to the effects of light exposure) and ensuring stability even when used over a long period of time.

Zero errors caused by multiple reflections: Errors in short-circuit current (Isc) due to multiple reflection is greatly reduced. Improvements in the optical structure suppress multiple reflections and reduce the 1.3 percent error of conventional products to 0.0 percent.

Demand for green energy production and new higher efficiency materials continue to grow. As a global leader in measurement technology and instrumentation, Konica Minolta Sensing is further expanding its reach into this quickly growing market by using its expertise to quantify the results of these new materials and technologies.

JinkoSolar modules pass TUV Rheinland ammonia test

SHANGHAI, CHINA: JinkoSolar Holding Co. Ltd announced that its modules have successfully passed an ammonia corrosion test. Conducted by international research firm TUV Rheinland at its Solar Energy Assessment Center in Cologne, Germany, the ammonia test results indicate that all six JinkoSolar modules tested should receive ammonia corrosion certification.

High amounts of ammonia in agricultural areas such as livestock farms can be detrimental to the functionality of PV installations. The ammonia corrosion test examined the resistance to ammonia of six types of JinkoSolar poly or mono-silicon PV modules using the following measurement criteria: relative power measurements, insulation testing and visual inspections. In order to pass, the maximum permissible power degradation of 5 percent must not be exceeded, the minimum requirements for insulation test and wet leakage test must be met and no major visual defects must be detected. All criteria were fulfilled.

"Our goal is to manufacture PV modules of the highest quality," said Kangping Chen, CEO of JinkoSolar. "Resistance to ammonia is a critical component of this goal. This certification represents another assurance for our customers that JinkoSolar modules have been held up to a variety of rigorous tests in harsh elements around the world. JinkoSolar takes great pride in providing premium quality products to our global customers."

Ulrike Therhaag, director of TUV Rheinland Greater China said: "We are pleased to work with JinkoSolar to successfully implement the test. The outcome demonstrates the premium quality of the company's modules and its superior resistance to corrosion."

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Eco Environments helps Olympic legacy project to soar

LONDON, UK: An Olympic legacy project in Leicestershire has gone solar with the help of a leading renewable energy company.

Eco Environments erected 92 Hyundai solar panels as part of a 23kW system for Sport in Desford, the community sports association based in the Leicestershire village. Eco Environments, which has seven offices around England and Wales including a Midlands regional base in Birmingham, won the project following a competitive tender process.

The solar PV installation formed part of the works carried out as a result of £50,000 National Lottery funding from Sport England’s Inspired Facilities Fund towards a £100,000 project. Every sports facility receiving the funding will carry the London 2012 Inspire mark – celebrating its unique link to the Games.

Jim Houghton, development manager for Sport in Desford, said: “The solar installation is very neat and works like a dream. As a result of our smart meter which I can read from my computer at home, I can see that even now our daytime electricity consumption has dropped to zero on several occasions, something which will only improve further during the summer months.”

Chair of Sport in Desford, Sue Houghton, added, “Our new green credentials will become a beacon of good practice in our community as well as reducing costs and producing an income to plough back into continuing to develop our sporting legacy.”

Chris Acton, Eco Environments’ commercial business development manager, said: “Schemes such as Sport in Desford will provide a real community-based legacy from the Olympics and it is great to be able to play our part in this process. The money saved and generated as a direct result of the 92 solar panels may even help to produce a future Olympic star!”

As a result of the project, carbon emissions will be reduced by more than 10.3 tons a year combined with a saving of £1450 on electricity bills, something which will increase year-on-year. Overall, the scheme is estimated to give a minimum 23 per cent average annual return on investment over 25 years.

Lord Coe, chair of The London Organising Committee of the Olympic Games (LOCOG), said, “This is a fantastic funding project that will deliver a real legacy from the London 2012 Games.”

US reaches preliminary decision on solar anti-dumping tariffs, Chinese makers pleasantly surprised

TAIWAN: The US Department of Commerce has reached a preliminary decision regarding anti-dumping (AD) and countervailing duty (CVD) petitions against Chinese solar makers. Punitive duties on imports to the US are set below 5 percent, lower than generally expected - Suntech will face tariffs of 2.9 percent, Changzhou Trina Solar Energy 4.73 percent, and all other Chinese manufacturers 3.59 percent.

The US.’s anti-dumping ruling will be announced on May 17, and EnergyTrend, green energy research division of TrendForce, believes the combined AD and CVD tariffs may be lower than 20 percent - currently it seems like all the commotion surrounding the lawsuits was unwarranted.Source: EnergyTrend, Taiwan.

EnergyTrend analyzes the preliminary ruling from three perspectives: the status of China’s solar industry, the relationship between Chinese and Taiwanese vendors, and how this will affect the anti-dumping ruling.

Status of China’s solar industry
According to EnergyTrend, China’s second and third-tier solar panel manufacturers are not adept at taking orders themselves – the majority rely on orders outsourced by major makers. As a precaution against the US AD and CVD lawsuits, Chinese manufacturers began moving production to Taiwan at the end of 2011, negatively affecting China’s second and third-tier makers.

As the anti-dumping decision will not be reached until mid-May and the market currently remains in a state of oversupply, EnergyTrend believes major manufacturers will not significantly increase order volume to second and third-tier makers before May, which means the smaller makers will continue to suffer in the short term.

China-Taiwan co-operation
As demand from the North American market is currently strong, it is unlikely Chinese manufacturers will give up on such a lucrative opportunity. According to EnergyTrend research, prior to the the AD ruling in May, Chinese makers will continue to maintain the same amount of outsourcing to Taiwanese manufacturers.

Furthermore, the Taiwanese government recently decided to allow Chinese vendors to invest in the Taiwanese solar industry, a move that EnergyTrend believes will deepen co-operative ties between China and Taiwan.

Influence on anti-dumping ruling
As the US government’s punitive tariffs are largely symbolic so far, EnergyTrend believes there is a chance China will also be let off easily in May’s anti-dumping decision, with combined duties amounting to less than 20 percent.

As punitive tarrifs are set below 5 percent, and manufacturers’ production cost is already close to breaking even, EnergyTrend believes industry vendors will raise their selling prices to deal with the changes. From the cost perspective, according to EnergyTrend calculations, total cost for outsourced production is 10-20 percent more than China vendors’ own manufacturing cost.

If the combined AD and CVD tarrifs are less than 20 percent, EnergyTrend believes Chinese manufacturers will maintain the current level of outsourcing to Taiwanese makers. Taiwanese manufacturers’ orders will continue to increase after May.

As for spot price, according to EnergyTrend research, as traders and some makers continued to clear excess polysilicon inventory this week and demand is still weak, spot price continues to fall. Lowest traded price this week was $23/kg, while average price fell by 2.87 percent to $26.09. In terms of silicon wafers, as vendors and buyers were not seeing eye-to-eye this week, price negotiations have arrived at an impasse.

Average multi-Si wafer price fell only slightly, by 0.26 percent to $1.161/piece. Average mono-Si wafer price fell by 0.31 percent to $1.592/piece. As for solar cells and modules, this week’s average solar cell price was $0.5/Watt, representing a 0.4 percent decrease – mono wafer and high-efficiency product price continued to fall.

As solar module makers are facing the pressure of losses for the first half of the year, current price quotes are nearing manufacturers’ minimums and it is unlikely there will be any significant price adjustments in the near future. Thus, this week’s average solar module price fell only slightly, by 0.24 percent to $0.845/Watt.

Trina Solar statement on prelim determination of CVD in the US

SAN JOSE, USA: Trina Solar Ltd offers the following statement regarding the preliminary determination of countervailing duties by the US Department of Commerce (DOC).

On March 20, 2012, a preliminary determination was announced by the DOC in Washington, DC regarding the exportation of Crystalline Silicon Photovoltaic Cells and Modules from China. The ruling establishes a preliminary rate of 4.73 percent for Trina Solar applicable to the importation of solar cells and modules/panels produced in China. Trina Solar, among other suppliers, was identified as an exporter of these products to the United States market.

The DOC further preliminarily ruled that the scope of the case covered exports to the United States of Chinese made solar cells, as well as modules manufactured outside of China from solar cells produced in China. The DOC clarified that the scope does not cover the exportation of modules manufactured in China from solar cells produced in a third country. Trina Solar continues to take necessary steps in these administrative proceedings while abiding by its contractual commitments.

"Trina Solar is committed to providing high-quality modules and services to the United States market for the long term, where we value our customer base and supply chain business partners," said Jifan Gao, chairman and CEO of Trina Solar.

"We are working to ensure that our US team will continue to grow our North American business in order to meet our customers' expanding service needs," added Mark Kingsley, chief commercial officer of Trina Solar. "As applicable to the rest of the solar industry, this preliminary determination is only the first step, and is subject to further examination and final determination later this year by the DOC. Moreover, the determination of whether injury has been found or not is dependent upon the International Trade Commission's subsequent ruling."

"As a forward thinking global company, we will continue to assess our options to most effectively serve all of our markets, including our growing business segments in the United States."