Thursday, June 20, 2013

Sustainable development path for solar PV manufacturers

Jamie Tang, SEMI China

China Photovoltaic Industry Sustainable Development Forum, Huhhot, Inner Mongolia, August 13, 2013, USA: Facing record low module average selling prices (ASPs) and upcoming anti-dumping (AD) duties in August from the European Commission, China’s PV community has to re-think incentive policies, market exploration, business models, cost control and technology innovation.

With large electricity subsidies from government, both PV manufacturing capacity and prices have improved in recent years. The levelized cost of electricity (LCOE) dropped to US $0.1/kWh in large scale power plants located in northwest China’s abundant sunshine. And it has been widely accepted that the PV market is no longer stimulated by policy, but by commercial interests.

According to present PV electricity subsidy prices, the Chinese government will pay more than US$1Billion, but only for newly installed PV capacity each year. Predicting how and when the feed-in-tariff will be reduced is unclear, but it would be implemented step by step.

More and more upstream PV manufacturers are lining up to develop power plants for higher profit as margins have been reduced in the manufacturing segment of the supply chain. The intent is to be the next First Solar and successfully operate both upstream and downstream business. Potential entrants must pay attention to the rising risk of policy change and cash flow fracturing.

The survival of solar players faced with all these risks and the challenge of sustainable development remains the key objective in the China PV community. In response to this new environment and changing market and policy trends, SEMI China will hold the China Photovoltaic Industry Sustainable Development Forum in Huhhot, Inner Mongolia, on August 13, 2013.

The proper incentive policies for the PV industry and market, mergers and acquisitions, new business models, cost controls and tech innovation will be intensely discussed.  The goal is to collaboratively develop a new model of industry growth and revenue potential as well as restore confidence in the manufacturing sector.

Hohhot is the capital of the Inner Mongolian Autonomous Region in north-central China, and serves as the region's administrative, economic, and cultural center. The region enjoys abundant sunshine with a daily average of 4.7 sunshine peak hours, and is characterized by large areas of desert, low electricity prices (less than 0.38yuan/kWh), abundant coal resources, and a convenient geographic location. All this makes Huhhot the ideal place to develop both PV manufacturing and PV power generation facilities.

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Virtual power plants will reach $3.6 billion in annual revenue by 2020

USA: Using software systems, virtual power plants (VPPs) can combine a rich diversity of independent resources into a unified network via sophisticated planning, scheduling, and bidding of distributed energy resource-based services.

Driven by the integration of variable generation resources – especially from wind and solar – a viable VPP market is emerging and will see substantial growth, from a relatively small base, over the next several years. According to a recent report from Navigant Research, annual worldwide revenue from VPPs will grow from less than $1 billion in 2013 to $3.6 billion in 2020, under a base forecast scenario.

Under a more aggressive forecast scenario, VPP vendor revenue could reach $4.3 billion by 2020.

“The growth in distributed, renewable power generation sources requires additional supply and demand flexibility to accommodate fast ramping periods and corresponding supply forecast error,” says Peter Asmus, principal research analyst with Navigant Research. “VPPs represent an ideal optimization platform for the coming transformation of the power grid.”

Rate-basing utility prerogatives still offer deployment barriers for both VPPs and the complementary market for microgrids. Although recent regulatory reforms are moving in the direction of a greater reliance on distributed energy resources, centralized fossil fuel power plants will still dominate electricity markets for quite some time. Compared to traditional coal and natural gas-fired plants, VPPs offer a low-cost platform to squeeze more value out of existing infrastructure assets and to reduce greenhouse gas emissions associated with peaking power plants.

Amtech obtains second high-efficiency N-type solar customer

USA: Amtech Systems Inc., a global supplier of production and automation systems and related supplies for the manufacture of solar cells, semiconductors, and sapphire and silicon wafers, announced its solar subsidiary, Tempress Systems, received a multi-million dollar order (in the low teens) for its advanced diffusion and PECVD equipment to be used in Nexolon USA's facility located in San Antonio, Texas.

The order is for 100MW and is the first phase of a planned 200MW turnkey project executed by the n-PASHA Alliance for Nexolon. Shipment is expected in the first half of fiscal 2014.

The n-PASHA Alliance members consist of Tempress Systems, ECN (Energy Research Centre of The Netherlands), and RENA GmbH. The Alliance was established in 2012 to more effectively offer the n-PASHA technology, an n-type bi-facial cell concept developed by ECN, which yields high cell efficiencies at a competitive cost level to the solar industry.

The n-PASHA cells used for bi-facial modules generate electricity from light coming through both the front and rear side of the panel positioning the solar field to generate 10-20 percent more power at no additional cost. Additionally, the n-type modules do not suffer from LID (light induced degradation) compared to power loss of typically several percentage points for commonly used p-type modules.

SolarEdge co-operates with ReneSola and Via Solis

ISRAEL & GERMANY: The renowned PV manufacturer ReneSola now offers PV modules with embedded power optimization technology from SolarEdge Technologies.

As partner, the Lithuanian module manufacturer Via Solis integrates the SolarEdge power optimizer technology into the prefabricated ReneSola modules, and supervises the distribution of the smart PV modules throughout Europe. The first smart ReneSola PV modules come in wattages of 250 Watt, and will be delivered to first customers at September 2013.

This agreement extends ReneSola’s product range to include smart PV modules. Smart ReneSola PV modules with embedded SolarEdge power optimizer technology offer cost saving installation due to fewer components compared with stand-alone optimization solutions. Via Solis’ one-stop service for both PV and optimizer components ensures fast and flexible deliveries to the customers.

The embedded SolarEdge technology prevents power losses caused by panel mismatch, soiling and partial shading, and thus enable up to 25 percent more power production. The module-level power optimizers also enable per module performance monitoring for cost efficient and advanced maintenance. The unique SafeDC feature of the power optimizers enables automatic DC voltage shutdown, thus ensuring maximum safety for installers, maintenance personnel and firefighters.

Smart modules offer faster ROI
“Our smart ReneSola modules equipped with SolarEdge power optimizer units will provide an even faster ROIs to our customers working with SolarEdge optimization technology. As the product is assembled in Europe by Via Solis, a manufacturer greatly experienced with SolarEdge technology, it will qualify for FIT bonuses for PV components assembled in Europe,” says Florian Dieckmann, marketing manager at ReneSola Europe.

“Thanks to high speed train connections between China and Lithuania, we are also able to fasten the transport of our products in an environmentally friendly way to our partner Via Solis.”

The Lithuanian module manufacturer and provider of PV system solutions has already installed more than 3 MW of PV projects with SolarEdge power optimizers and inverters in Lithuania. “With these new modules we will extend our business throughout Europe,” says Rimvydas Karoblis, CEO of Via Solis. “Together with our partners we offer high quality smart modules.”

“We are very pleased to have convinced another leading international module manufacturer to integrate our power optimizing technology,” says Joachim Nell, GM of SolarEdge, Central Europe. “This underlines the increasing importance of flexible system designs, which take into account mismatching between individual modules and hence deliver a higher energy yield.”

Renewable energy smart way to go

UK: Clean-tech entrepreneur Gerry McGowan, who heads the growing international developer of renewable energy projects ‘CBD Energy’, has expressed his concern for the future of clean technologies in the UK over what he referred to as “the country’s declining investment in, and commitment to, developing clean energy generating infrastructure.”

Executive chairman and MD, McGowan said: “I read with disappointment the most recent media reports, that the latest Energy Bill has failed to set any clear targets on carbon reduction in the energy supply.  With UK investment in renewable energy at its lowest point in seven years, I’m deeply concerned at the lack of foresight and planning for future energy resources.”

McGowan, the man who earlier in his career developed Australia’s first low-cost airline carrier ‘Impulse’ (now rebranded Jetstar), says renewable energy:

• Can deliver energy security by utilising the natural resources of wind and solar, and avoid the costs associated with the import of fossil fuels, and their environmental impacts.
• Provides a hedge against carbon pricing in the medium to long term.
• Costs one fifth of the cost of nuclear plant to construct.
• Is virtually free once the infrastructure is in place, and is far more reliable in terms of pricing.

“The utilisation of renewable resources is plain common sense,” said McGowan.

He highlights the Australian Federal Government's Climate Commission report, released only this week, which states that most of the country’s coal reserves will have to remain in the ground if the world is to avoid catastrophic global warming.  The report marks the first time a government agency has endorsed calls for fossil fuel industries to be phased out because of their contribution to climate change.

“With 300 years of coal reserves as well as an abundance of gas, the Australian people and their government have passed laws that require the electricity industry to deliver a minimum of 20% of their generation by 2020 from renewable sources.  This target is real and supported by both sides of politics.  The UK has no such reserves and is reliant on foreign nations - who don't always share its ideals - for energy fuels.  No clear targets have been set for decarbonisation of the electricity supply and the financial and environmental costs continue to rise for UK consumers as development is ploughed instead into nuclear and shale gas projects.

‘The UK seems focused on developing other forms of generation which will need to be highly subsidised, and will be financially costly to develop.  What is more, they do not pay to clean up their real waste which has a greater, long-term cost in terms of impacts on health and the environment.

“Surely now is the time for the UK to modernise its electricity generation to 21st century technologies.  Value your own, clean, natural wind and solar resources – and derive value from them in turn.  As the economies of India, China and many other economies industrialise they will increase the use of fossil fuels dramatically.  It is incumbent on the western economies to develop smarter, low carbon technologies for its energy needs to counter these increases.”

CBD Energy, which has a successful track record in developing renewable energy projects across the globe, recently launched a green energy retail bond, which is designed to raise the capital to develop utility-scale solar and wind projects in the UK.

EnergyBonds are a fixed income investment, offering investors both a financial and social return; they pay interest quarterly in cash, at a fixed rate of 7.5 percent per annum, and enable direct investment in the development of renewable energy infrastructure, which will supply UK homes and businesses with cleaner, cheaper power and help consumers hedge against rising fuel costs.

“Individual investors can support the development of renewable energy in the UK - and can generate a financial and social return from this ethical investment,” says McGowan. “Facing a distinct lack of public funding or support, the UK can promote private investment in renewable energy that will deliver economic and social benefits.”

Solar Frontier manufactures 14.6 percent efficiency CIS module

JAPAN: Solar Frontier’s latest champion module from its flagship Kunitomi Plant in Miyazaki, Japan, has achieved 14.6 percent conversion efficiency. The rated capacity of this 1257mm x 977mm module has been certified by Underwriters Laboratories Inc. (UL) at 179.8W.

This achievement is at the same level* in terms of efficiency as mass-marketed polycrystalline silicon modules. Solar Frontier’s success in manufacturing this new CIS module on a production line at the Kunitomi Plant suggests an accelerated outlook for transferring this technology to full mass production.

2013 marks the 20th anniversary of R&D on CIS technology at Showa Shell Sekiyu, Solar Frontier’s parent company. Other recent milestones include the world’s highest aperture area efficiency of 17.8 percent for a 30cm x 30cm CIS Solar module, and a world-record energy efficiency of 19.7 percent for a cadmium-free CIS solar cell (approx. 0.5 cm2).

CIS technology has the potential to achieve even higher energy conversion efficiency, and there is also room for further production cost reductions. Solar Frontier’s manufacturing process requires a lower quantity of raw materials and energy, which also means its CIS solar modules have a lower environmental impact. The higher efficiencies strengthen the competitive edge of a CIS solar module that is rapidly gaining a reputation for higher actual output in real world conditions.

“Champion modules are a key validation of technology transfer from Solar Frontier’s laboratories,” said Solar Frontier CTO, Satoru Kuriyagawa. “This is the kind of result we look for in the production factory once we have confirmed experimental results and simulation in our pilot plant at Atsugi Research Center.”

*As of April, 2013, the conversion efficiency of polycrystalline silicon modules is considered to be around 15 percent," according to Shyam Mehta, senior solar analyst, GTM Research in “The module market landscape”, GTM Solar Summit 2013.

Powerway products warranted by global liability insurance

CHINA: Powerway is a world leader in the solar industry; an experienced and respected manufacturer and exporter of PV mounting systems. Our company has extremely high standards of product control, and our systems are widely recognized by customers as reliable and safe over the long term.

Now, however, our groundbreaking company is spearheading another innovation and is backing up its proven performance with an insurance warranty that covers product liability for its systems. This coverage gives customers the security that no matter what happens in the future, the warranty will be supported by a third-party, A-rated insurance company.

The liability insurance
Powerway products are insured by product liability coverage issued by Pacific Property Insurance Co. Ltd, a highly reputable, investment-grade insurance company in China. The insurance indemnifies our clients against any amounts for which they may become legally liable due to our products, with respect to accidental bodily injury or illness to third parties.

Benefits to customers
The purpose of the Powerway liability Insurance program is to reduce the risks inherent in any solar investment and provide solar investors and customers of Powerway products with absolute confidence that their investment is sound and well-protected. The company is proud to have raised the bar once again by offering a solid liability guarantee to back up its already industry-leading products.

Additionally, the credit risk reduction provided by third-party insurance should allow project developers to negotiate better credit terms and obtain financing more easily.

Developers and their capital providers can rest assured that their investment will be protected with world-class, sophisticated, and complete liability insurance for the full term of the warranty. In order to fund projects and plan for the future, bankers and investors require extremely high standards of product and performance over the long term, and anything that reduces their risk can increase the potential for funding and improve the probability of project success.

Intersolar Europe 2013 opens today

GERMANY: The solar industry's largest European exhibition, Intersolar Europe 2013, kicks off today, and the event's organizers are expecting over 50,000 visitors to the booths of the 1,500 solar exhibitors this year.

The conference will continue until tomorrow, but if you're visiting the exhibition, brace yourself for three days of browsing through some of the latest, most innovative and cutting-edge technologies available in the solar industry!

Solar-Fabrik AG agrees sales partnership with BayWa r.e. renewable energy GmbH

GERMANY: Solar-Fabrik AG and the photovoltaic wholesaler BayWa r.e. Solarsysteme GmbH, a subsidiary of BayWa r.e. renewable energy GmbH (BayWa r.e.), agree a sales partnership. The photovoltaic wholesaler from Tübingen is adopting the Premium Modules made in Freiburg by Solar-Fabrik AG as a quality German product with immediate effect.

The photovoltaic wholesaler and system supplier BayWa r.e. Solarsysteme GmbH, whose headquarters are in Tübingen, is extending its product portfolio, incorporating the Premium Modules from Solar-Fabrik AG into its range. Solar-Fabrik’s top products are characterized by very high quality and reliability, and are fabricated in an ultra-modern production plant in Freiburg im Breisgau. BayWa r.e. is convinced to have found in Solar-Fabrik a long-term, reliable partner for the German-made Premium Modules that are in such high demand.

“We are very happy that in Solar-Fabrik we have been able to win an experienced solar specialist as a partner, allowing us to extend our premium range with German made products”, said Günter Haug, GM of BayWa r.e. about the decision. “The high quality workmanship that has gone into the components and the extensive quality assurance process were as important to our decision as were the comprehensive guarantees and levels of customer service.”

The new partnership with BayWa r.e. expands Solar-Fabrik’s network of partnerships. “We wanted to strengthen our sales department through the addition of a strategic partner with good international connections and whose orientation to quality meets our own standards,” explained Martin Schlenk, COO of Solar-Fabrik AG. “Both companies unite many years of experience in this market with a strong orientation towards customers and service. That puts us in a very good position for working together successfully in this marketplace.”

The Premium Modules from Solar-Fabrik, German pioneers in solar energy, are fabricated in Freiburg im Breisgau, and have shown themselves to be successful in thousands of installed systems. The rate of complaints is less than 0.02 percent, and that puts the Solar-Fabrik modules amongst the highest quality available on the market.

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Ascent Solar to receive $6 million funding boost from Asian investor

USA: Ascent Solar Technologies Inc. announced the signing of an agreement to raise $6 million through a private placement to a high net worth private investor in Asia.

In the private placement, the company will issue:
(i) shares of Series A Preferred Stock convertible, at a conversion price of $0.80 per share, into 7,500,000 shares of common stock, and
(ii) warrants with a three year term to acquire 2,625,000 shares of common stock at a cash exercise price of $0.90 per share.

The private placement will be funded in three tranches, with the initial $1 million tranche to be closed this week. The remaining two tranches are expected to fund after a registration statement to be filed by the Company relating to the private placement securities is declared effective by the Securities and Exchange Commission.

Ascent intends to use the proceeds of the offering to fund the continued expansion of its retail channels for its EnerPlex products in the US, Europe and Asia, brand building, as well as the launch of additional products for EnerPlex product line expansion.

Enphase Energy announces commercial solar initiative in Europe

Intersolar Europe 2013, FRANCE: Enphase Energy Inc. announced a new commercial solar initiative to help fuel the momentum of commercial solar and equip installers with a full solution to meet demand for commercial solar projects in Europe.

The new program includes an expanded commercial solution, dedicated resources and trainings for using the Enphase® Microinverter System in commercial projects and partnership benefits that support installers in the growth of their business.

"Commercial solar projects are becoming more widespread in Europe. In France, Netherlands, Belgium, Luxemburg, Switzerland and United Kingdom, small commercial systems up to 100kW represent a fast-growing, addressable market for our microinverters," said Olivier Jacques, MD for Enphase Europe, Middle East and Africa (EMEA). “Enphase offers installers and users a technology solution with a modular architecture, integrated intelligence, lower levelized cost of energy (LCOE) and increased project profitability.”

Suntech's European subsidiary granted definitive moratorium

CHINA: Suntech Power Holdings Co. Ltd announced that Suntech Power International Ltd, the company's principal operating subsidiary in Europe, has been granted a definitive moratorium on creditor claims from the judicial authorities in Schaffhausen, Switzerland. The moratorium is for a six month period and may be extended thereafter.

Previously, on April 9, 2013, SPI had been granted a provisional moratorium for two months on creditor claims as a result of over-indebtedness. The majority of SPI's debt is Suntech inter-company debt.

"SPI has already met important milestones in the restructuring process. The definitive moratorium allows SPI time to restructure debt and reach an agreement with creditors. SPI will continue normal operations during this process," said David King, Suntech's CEO.

Other than the insolvency and restructuring of Suntech Holdings' Chinese subsidiary Wuxi Suntech Power Co., Ltd. and the SPI composition proceedings, Suntech Holdings is not aware of any similar proceedings regarding any of its other entities.

TSMC Solar's CIGS solar modules for commercial use offering record yield of 15.7 percent

TAIWAN: TSMC Solar Ltd announced that TUV SUD confirmed that the latest leading CIGS market size (1.09 m Module 2 ) had reached a rate of return on total area Module 15.7 percent.

The new unit leader beating the previous world record of TSMC Solar 15.1 percent, which was reached in January this year. The module was produced using materials and equipment in the current manufacturing factory of the company in Taichung, Taiwan.

"Our new leader module has increased our record performance by 0.6 percentage points in just four months, but it has also achieved a record temperature coefficient of -0.26 percent/degree Celsius, it demonstrates our ability to continue to improve our process technology, "said Ying-Chen Chao, president of TSMC Solar.

TSMC Solar also announced the launch of the new TS-Series CIGS Module Model C1 with a nominal capacity of between 140 W and 155 W. Certified by UL and TUV SUD module has an improved temperature coefficient -0.31 percent/degree Celsius and it has passed the test Blowing Sand Test based on IEC 60068-2-68 and testing Salt Mist Ed.2.

"Our Model C1 modules provide improved efficiency and reliability in environments with high temperatures and deserts, it shows that we are able to make process improvements record on the market," said Stephen McKenery director international sales, TSMC Solar.

Green energy specialist launches commercial division in Northern Ireland

UK: A leading green energy company is targeting commercial customers after opening for business in Northern Ireland.

Renewable Solutions is looking to work with businesses and organisations keen to become more energy efficient and reduce their energy costs.

The company opened an office in Cromac Square, Belfast, last year and has since provided dozens of domestic customers with a range of renewable energy solutions including solar PV, heat pumps, solar thermal, heat pumps and biomass.

The success the company has enjoyed has led to Head of Commercial David Hunt targeting business owners.

Hunt said: “During the past year, Renewable Solutions has undertaken more than 600 installations as a business across both domestic and commercial customers and the Northern Ireland operation has provided a number of these projects. Our customers have seen dramatic reductions in their carbon emissions along with significant cuts to their energy bills.

“Our commercial team is active in a number of sectors including healthcare, education, farming, hospitality and food manufacturing and we have already begun a number of discussions with businesses in these areas in Northern Ireland.”

There are a number of funding opportunities available to businesses to help them put in place their own green energy strategy. These include the Renewable Heat Incentive (RHI) scheme and commercial grants of up to £3,000 available through Action Renewables’ partnership with Electric Ireland. The grants are being issued on a first come, first served basis. Solar PV is also an attractive proposition for most commercial customers with payments made of 17.6p per kWh for installations up to 50kwp.

Solar tariffs could push global trade in new directions

THAILAND: The European Commission’s announcement of antidumping duties on Chinese PV imports ups the stakes in the sector’s ongoing trade dispute, and opens the way for retaliatory Chinese tariffs.

In different quarters, the move has been heralded as a lifeline for Europe’s remaining PV industry, and derided as a possible nail in the coffin of the region’s polysilicon producers.

Given the risks that escalating trade measures pose for solar players in both markets, the possibility remains that some form of agreement will be reached in the coming months. Furthermore, the factor that has sparked most of the solar industry’s current woes – massive overcapacity – may also help to limit the impact of the current dispute on the global market.

EC ratchets up solar trade war
The latest furore to hit the global solar photovoltaic industry has been caused by the European Commission’s imposition of provisional anti-dumping duties on solar imports from China.

On June 5th, the Commission announced that it would set tariffs on Chinese PV, at an initial average of 11.7 percent, before raising these rates to an average 47 percent from August. Depending on the outcome of ongoing EC investigations, and of any negotiations with China, final duties will be imposed for a five-year term by December.

The provisional duties cover PV wafer, cell and module sales, and are therefore, more stringent than tariffs already imposed by the US on cells.

Monday, June 17, 2013

Eltek to showcase THEIA HE enhanced performance solar inverters and solar energy storage system

Intersolar Europe 2013, GERMANY: Eltek will showcase its new THEIA HE-es system and updated THEIA HE-t solar inverter product range at Intersolar Munich (19-21 June).

With the increasing acceptance of photovoltaic (PV) installations around the world and the trend of ever increasing energy costs, the next step for PV generation is increased self-consumption by the power producer.

Eltek’s THEIA HE-es combines the THEIA HE-t high-efficiency solar inverter, an IP21-level enclosure, and batteries to store between 2.4 kilowatt hours (kWh) and 18.2 kWh of solar energy. The storage system enables PV system owners to make greater use of the energy they produce at a time when they need it.

The THEIA HE-es features include dynamic battery management that can use batteries only when most profitable. The system also facilitates adjustable charge and discharge limits, and is configurable for all battery technologies, including Lithium, NiCad, lead acid or sodium batteries.

Using a proprietary architecture, and when connected into the THEIA HE-t, the THEIA HE-es has total DC-AC power conversion efficiency above 90 percent, providing users with the optimal PV energy storage system.

Duke Energy continues to rise in solar electricity rankings

USA:  Duke Energy continues to move up the solar energy charts.

In the recent Solar Electric Power Association (SEPA) utility rankings, Duke Energy was ranked eighth among holding companies in the United States for total solar capacity. Among individual utilities, Duke Energy Progress in North Carolina and South Carolina was ranked eighth nationally for its annual increase in solar.

SEPA reported that Duke Energy's regulated utilities have 183 megawatts of capacity available for its customers. That figure is roughly half of the capacity of the company's coal-fired Lee Steam Station in South Carolina.

In Duke Energy's regulated areas, the company purchases most of its solar capacity from other companies to comply with regulatory guidelines set forth by the various states.

BenQ Solar presents high efficiency total solutions for European residential market

TAIWAN: To meet the significant demand for residential solar products, BenQ Solar, the world's leading solar solution brand, announced today that it has successfully deployed high value-added and reliable total solutions for homeowners in the European solar market.

BenQ Solar partnered with IRFTS, the specialist renowned for EASY ROOF EVOLUTION systems, to develop an exclusive building-integrated photovoltaics (BIPV) mounting systems, based on 20 percent high efficiency SunForte module, that are flexible and easy to install for customers in France and the Benelux countries.

In Italy, AC Unison, the high performance and integrated AC module total solution, will be available. The system comes with high efficiency poly-crystalline modules matched with built-in micro-inverters and web-based monitoring platform, and is capable of harvesting 5-20 percent more energy than conventional counterparts. Outstanding performance can be maintained even under partial shading. True plug-and-play design is featured, reducing installation time by up to 50 percent. The absence of high voltage DC also allows safe installation and ownership.

BenQ Solar also offers high efficiency DC solutions with back-contact cell technology. The SunForte module series, boasting a high efficiency of over 20 percent, now presents a new generation product compatible with transformer-less inverters under high voltage conditions. The panels' building-integrated photovoltaics (BIPV) mounting systems EASY ROOF EVOLUTION can also enjoy 10-year product guarantee from IRFTS.

As an integral part of the total solution, BenQ Solar provides smart energy storage systems, either equipped with lead-acid or lithium-ion batteries, for customers to choose from. Users will be able to better harness energy and effectively increase self-consumption.

To promptly serve customers, BenQ Solar is capable of offering high efficiency and quality made-in-Europe PV modules from its production site in the Czech Republic.

juwi still relies on power of the sun

GERMANY: Despite the difficult circumstances in the German home market juwi, the specialist in energy from Wörrstadt, sticks to its solar branch, but is going to adjust the capacities to the changed situation. The reduced feed-in tariff for solar energy and the price increase of solar modules have nearly paralyzed the German PV-market.

“Apart from some exceptions, it is not possible to realize free-field PV-projects profitably in Germany anymore,” reports juwi’s CEO Matthias Willenbacher at the Intersolar Europe, the world’s leading trade fair for the solar industry. “juwi does not retreat from this market completely, we simply adjust our capacities to the changed circumstances,” says Willenbacher.

In 2013, the project developer is going to install less than ten megawatts (MW) in PV in Germany. The year before more than 100 MW were installed. The company sees potential for growth especially abroad. During the Intersolar, which takes place from June 19-21 in Munich, the juwi group presents itself in hall A6, booth 454.

Although there are difficulties to overcome in the German market, juwi has installed exceptional 321 megawatts in photovoltaic plants during the last financial year. “This year, we are going to realize solar projects with more than 200 megawatts internationally” says juwi’s CEO. “But today and in the near future, there is no economic base in Germany”, Willenbacher points out. Therefore, the company is concentrating on the growing solar markets.

“Solar energy has an enormous potential worldwide,” the CEO is convinced. “Especially in the booming markets of Southeast Asia and India.” Therefore, the company is realizing many big projects in these regions.

Last year juwi opened a branch office in Singapore to work from there on promising projects in Thailand and Malaysia. The joint venture “juwi Shizen Energy” that was founded this January in Japan has already brought the first photovoltaic power plant to the grid.

At the moment, the company is developing many big projects in the Far East. Even more are already in the pipeline. In Northern Thailand, in Kamphaeng Phet and Ubon Ratchathani juwi is building five free-field photovoltaic plants with a total capacity of 48 megawatts.

The yearly produced energy is sufficient to supply 30.000 households with electricity. In India, juwi has brought its biggest solar farm on the subcontinent so far to the grid, on behalf of Green Infra, a producer of electricity. The 26-megawatts project, that is situated near the desert town Jodphur, is producing 465 million kilowatt hours of clean solar energy in only one year.

On the other end of the globe, on the southern tip of Africa, juwi is also setting an example. In Rustenburg, the company is building a solar park with seven megawatts. In the province Northern Cape, juwi is realizing two parks with a capacity of ten megawatts each, in the Western Cape a photovoltaic plant with a capacity of eight megawatts.

juwi is also successful in Great Britain. Two solar projects, that have already been sold to the solar company Lightsource Renewable Energy before the connection to the grid, were commissioned last week. The facilities Ninnis Farm (3.88 MW) in Cornwall and The Hollies (8.6 MW) in Lincolnshire are the first projects juwi has developed in the United Kingdom.

The energy specialists from Wörrstadt were also active in the German home market. The largest solar park of the state Thüringen was commissioned at the end of 2012 in Ronneburg. The facility with a capacity of nearly 20 megawatts is situated on a former quarrying field of uranium. In the duchy of Lauenburg in Schleswig-Holstein, juwi has successfully brought a solar farm with a capacity of 25 megawatts to the grid. Merely from the power of the sun the solar park Elemenhorst is producing over 23 million kilowatt hours of clean electricity a year – enough to supply more than 7.700 households.

Next to the classic project business, juwi is promoting its end customer business. “By now solar power from the own rooftop is noticeable cheaper than the common price for electricity,“ says Willenbacher. Hence, rooftop facilities are becoming more and more attractive for the industry as well as for private customers. “Therefore it makes sense to use the own solar power with the aid of storage systems”, juwi’s CEO is adding.

With “juwi Home Power ©“ the company is offering a battery storage that is charged with solar energy during the daytimes. As soon as the own PV-facility is not able to guarantee the supply of the house anymore, the storage system takes over the supply of the house. Thus, cheap solar energy can be used in the evenings and at night.

Since the realignment of the company in 2012, the solar branch has become part of the newly founded juwi Energieprojekte GmbH. The new affiliate unites technology spanning project development and provides customized solutions regarding renewable energies from a single source.

S.A.G. Solarstrom AG well equipped for the future

GERMANY: The successful work of Executive and Supervisory Boards in fiscal year 2012 was rewarded at the shareholders’ meeting of S.A.G. Solarstrom AG and complete confidence in the Boards was expressed at the meeting of June 12, 2013 in Merzhausen.

All resolutions were passed with the vast majority of over 92 percent of the issued voting capital present. All members of the Supervisory Board were reelected with over 97 percent of the issued voting capital present.
The vast majority of the shareholders’ meeting also approved the standardization of the authorized capital and the splitting of a conditional capital, enabling the company to issue convertible bonds and/or warrant bonds or profit participation rights. With its resolutions, the shareholders’ meeting affords the company full flexibility and capacity to act.

“We are very pleased with the high degree of confidence displayed by our shareholders”, says Dr. Karl Kuhlmann, CEO of S.A.G. Solarstrom AG. “ S.A.G. Solarstrom AG is thus excellently equipped for the challenges of the business years 2013 and 2014”.

S.A.G. Solarstrom AG prepares for punitive tariffs – forecast confirmed
The capital market assessed the decision to reinforce the Group and to not pay a dividend very positively overall. Considerable markdowns in stock did not occur. Some investors and other market participants also welcomed the decision.

The shareholders voted with a very large majority of nearly 98% of the issued voting capital present against a dividend payment. In view of the market environment, which remains difficult with punitive tariffs on Chinese modules introduced at the start of June, these liquid reserves should provide the Group with additional room for maneuver.

In his address, Dr. Karl Kuhlmann very clearly criticized the EU Commission’s decision to introduce punitive tariffs. “We consider this decision to be a big mistake. These customs duties will not benefit the German module manufacturers at all, as the duties will lead to a considerable decline in the market”. However, S.A.G. Solarstrom AG sticks to its forecast for 2013 to increase installation and sales volume to over 117 MWp and to achieve a positive operating result. Currently, new sourcing options and further cost reduction potential is being explored throughout the system for this purpose.

New business units and new markets
In his speech, the CEO listed the milestones of business activities in 2012. Despite an extremely challenging market environment with a sharp fall in component and system prices, S.A.G. Solarstrom AG achieved a positive consolidated result of €1.1 million and was thus one of the very few solar companies that was able to successfully stand its ground on the market and adapt flexibly to the changes.

Kuhlmann provided an outlook of the business year 2013 with intense project activity in the UK, the expansion of the secondary market business, the development of the Latin American market, new integrated energy concepts and solutions for own consumption and storage.

Conergy builds solar park and carport plants totalling 4.6 MW

GERMANY: Conergy completed two orders for installations in La Fare-les-Oliviers, a village near Aix-en-Provence in the South of France. On the one hand, the PV solution provider constructed a 4.5 MW solar park in the southeast of the village for a local grid operator and energy provider.

Conergy thereby expanded its strategic partnerships with energy providers in France as well. On the other hand, Conergy realised two carport plants totalling 100 kilowatt capacity for the village, which will simultaneously provide shade for 56 cars in the summer heat of the Provence.

Conergy expands collaboration with energy providers
Conergy acted as main contractor for this 4.5 megawatt solar power plant for investor UEM, the grid operator and power utility company of the city of Metz. UEM has mandated Conergy both with the planning and engineering of the power plant as well as with the construction, the supply of the components and the subsequent maintenance and operational management of the 9.5 hectare solar park.

Since completion of the construction work in May, 18,000 Conergy “P Series” modules are producing some 6,500 megawatt hours of clean solar power every year. This is enough to supply more than 1,800 homes in the Provence.

An official ceremony will take place on 17 June, during which representatives of Conergy and UEM and the village mayor of La Fare-les-Oliviers will inaugurate the plant.

“With its decision to increase both, market volume and subsidies, the government has given a boost to the solar sector,” said Philippe Pflieger, MD of Conergy in France. “Although the economic situation in this country remains tense, we believe that these steps will restore a good outlook for solar energy in our country. But the competitive pressure remains high. That makes it all the more pleasing that both energy providers and local authorities are putting their trust in our high-quality solar systems and that we were able to secure not just one but two important orders under these circumstances.”

Conergy carports provide green power as well as shade for 56 vehicles in the Provence
With around 1,800 kilowatt hours per square metre annually, La Fare-les-Oliviers benefits from one of the highest levels of insolation in the whole of France. The local authority therefore decided to use the power of the sun to generate green power – and simultaneously provide shade in the summer. The two carports of the town hall offer shade for 56 vehicles and provide a roof surface of 740 square metres. On this surface, the solar experts from Conergy installed two solar plants with a total capacity of 100 kilowatt in collaboration with Sunalp, who acted as main contractor on the project.

Conergy supported its long-time partner with both the planning and the roof integration and it also supplied the 420 Conergy “P-Series” modules and six Conergy IPG15T inverters. The plant produces around 127 megawatt hours a year, sufficient to supply around 36 households of La Fare-les-Oliviers. At the same time, the power plant prevents the emission of some 12 tonnes of damaging CO2 in this holiday region in the Provence.

Suntech displays European Union AD-tariff free modules, RESS and double glass module

Intersolar Europe 2013, CHINA: Suntech Power Holdings Co. Ltd has announced that its European Union anti-dumping (AD) tariff free modules, Residential Energy Storage System, and double glass module will be on display at Intersolar 2013 in Munich, Germany.

Suntech will be able to provide an EU AD tariff-free version of all its standard modules including Wd mono, Wd poly and Ve poly for customers in the European market. The module's components will be manufactured outside of Mainland China and will not be subject to the trade tariffs announced by the European Union on June 5th.

Suntech's Residential Energy Storage System will qualify for the recently announced subsidy for self-consumption PV systems with storage in Germany. RESS has several modular power options available for a peak capacity from 4.5kWh to 17.8kWh, includes a lithium battery with an incentive policy compliant warranty and is available in either alternating current (AC) or direct current (DC) main circuit for on-the-grid or off-the-grid applications. RESS will also feature a touch-screen interface for easy operation and an intelligent control system that can be accessed remotely for real-time monitoring.

Suntech's head of Sales, Europe, Thilo Kinkel, said: "We are very confident that we can supply our customers in Europe and across the globe with excellent products regardless of tariffs. We also continue to launch innovative solutions to meet our customers' needs such as our Residential Energy Storage System which provides an effective 24 hour power solution."

Suntech's new double glass module, the Wdj series, substantially reduces potential induced degradation (PID) by eliminating the negative voltage between the module's frame and cells. The Wdj series is also rated for 1500V systems and can significantly reduce balance of system costs (BOS) by decreasing the number of inverters necessary in the solar installation.

Friday, June 14, 2013

Sungrow presents new PV inverter at Intersolar 2013

GERMANY: Sungrow, a leading provider of renewable energy and the largest manufacturer of PV inverters in Asia, will be represented at Intersolar 2013 in Munich and present at booth B5-130 new PV inverter.

With the brand new SG500MX, SG250K3, SG100K3 and SG1000TS MV Sungrow presented at the SNEC in Shanghai last May before four new products and turnkey solutions for MW inverter. Thanks to the numerous advantages in terms of technology and network adaptation and the better user experience Sungrow stood at SNEC in the spotlight and had the most visited booth.

At Intersolar Sungrow will also present the SG30KTL next to the recently launched SG500MX, as is already the wall-mounted type PV inverter with maximum power a bestseller in Europe. In addition Sungrow will introduce more new powerful PV products, including a central PV inverter, which is one of the most powerful individual systems in the world. In addition, an intelligent and highly efficient platform for PV systems in residential areas as well as a new concept for PV string inverters in energy storage systems.

"After the introduction of 4 new products we present only a month later three more new products,"  said Raymond, VP of Sungrow. "Thanks to our decades of growth and our perspective in the PV industry, we are able , customers reliable products and conscientious service. "

CEEG cancels solar module factory project

GERMANY: CEEG, a subsidiary of the Société Nationale de l'Electricité et du Gaz (Group books), the consortium, by letter dated 13 June 2013, cancelled the contract to build a fully integrated solar module factory in Algeria. The project was to be under centrotherm photovoltaics and Kinetics Germany GmbH. The original project amounted to about 290 million euros.

The effectiveness and relevance of termination is checked by the company. too a lawful termination would have no negative impact on the projected cash flow of centrotherm photovoltaics AG and the future development of society.

Any claims for damages against the company would be covered by the insolvency plan.

SPG Solar unveils technology and training center

USA: SPG Solar announced the opening of the Technology and Training Center at Depot Park in Sacramento, Calif.

The facility provides a unique training opportunity for construction crews, engineers and designers to assemble and install SPG Solar's SunSeeker single-axis tracker.

"We constructed the new facility to display our simplified seven-step install process, allowing solar developers and construction firms the opportunity to build the system from start to finish," said Doug May, CEO of SPG Solar. "The goal of the facility is to help people develop the proper technical skills for installation, so crews can hit the ground running once they're in the field and on the clock."

The opening of the Technology and Training Center is the next step in SPG Solar's mission to have the lowest install costs and highest quality single-axis tracker on the market. The simple installation of a single-axis tracking system increases a system's output and maximizes a project's ROI. The SunSeeker tracker was engineered to be installed faster and perform under any condition. The system follows the sun throughout the course of the day to help maximize solar energy production.

SPG Solar will also use the facility for testing, recently completing a 50-year lifecycle test which proved that the tracker is designed to handle the elements with all key components fully operational upon completion. SPG Solar currently has 3.5 megawatts (MW) of the SunSeeker tracker in operation at the location.

Thursday, June 13, 2013

Standard Solar commits to Clinton Global Initiative for innovation and growth in solar PV

USA: Building on the success of its first Clinton Global Initiative (CGI) Commitment to Action, Standard Solar, a leader in the full-service development, construction, integration, financing and installation of solar electric systems, announced a second commitment as part of the Clinton Global Initiative America (CGI America) meeting.

CGI is an initiative of the Clinton Foundation that convenes global leaders to create and implement innovative solutions to the world’s most pressing challenges. During CGI America, being held this week in Chicago, Standard Solar is pledging a two-pronged commitment to address the industry challenge of fully integrating photovoltaics (PV) with the grid:

1) it will work with innovative companies to develop and demonstrate new products and technologies that enhance markets, reduce costs, and/or promote new revenue streams for solar PV.

2) continue the Company’s commitment to rapid growth to achieve the scale necessary to compete with grid-supplied power.

As its first project under this commitment, Standard Solar is working with Solar Grid Storage (SGS) to co-locate a grid-interactive energy storage system with a new PV installation, creating one of the nation's first commercial micro-grids. The 402.3kW system, financed by the Kingdon Gould Jr. family, is located at the Konterra Headquarters Building in Laurel, Maryland.

This innovative system has the potential to reduce PV project costs and offers new benefits to hosts including backup power, demand reduction and peak shaving. Moreover, the system can enhance grid reliability by helping balance the grid through frequency regulation, volt-ampere reactive (VARs) compensation, and demand response services. The system is scheduled to be operational by the fall of 2013.

Standard Solar intends to allocate $10 million to innovative efforts over the next five years, and will make annual CGI commitments for individual projects.

Trina Solar leads establishment of new SEMI standards

CHINA: Trina Solar Ltd announced that the Semiconductor Equipment and Materials International (SEMI) has approved two standards submitted by Trina Solar.

The standards are: the "Specification for Packaging Protection Technology for PV Modules" (SEMI PV44-0513) and the "Test Method for the Content of Vinyl Acetate (VA) in Ethylene-vinyl Acetate (EVA) Applied in PV Modules Using Thermal Gravimetric Analysis (TGA)" (SEMI PV45-0513).

Trina Solar is the first PV company in China to lead the establishment of an international SEMI standard.

The first specification aids in the standardization of packaging particularly during the transportation of PV modules while the second specification guarantees minimum quality standards around poly ethylene-vinyl acetate (EVA). Both standards aim to ensure greater consistency across the industry.

"The establishment of the new standards is a milestone in the development of both Chinese and International SEMI standards," said James Amano, senior director, International Standards and EHS at SEMI. "The standards reflect the success of increased global collaboration undertaken in recent years."

"We are proud to be the first PV company in China to establish new international SEMI standards," said Wei Zhou, VP \of Quality at Trina Solar. "As an industry leader, Trina Solar is committed to contributing to and supporting the scientific development and technological progress of the PV industry. We developed these two standards based on our long industry experience. We believe the standards will help the industry continue to meet growing customer needs for more efficient and environmentally sustainable PV solutions."

At its first plenary session in February 2012, the SEMI China PV Committee accepted two proposals for new standards submitted by Trina Solar. The committee also approved the establishment of the Crystalline Silicon PV Module Task Force, which will be led by Trina Solar.

The company spearheaded the drafting of the standards and the development of joint testing and verification of technical indicators. The standards were technically approved by the Photovoltaic Global Technical Committee and later approved for publication by the global Audits and Reviews Subcommittee in May 2013.

Energy rating of PV modules improves certainty for investors

GERMANY: With its new measurement procedures, the Fraunhofer Institute for Solar Energy Systems in Freiburg can offer more certainty to photovoltaic project developers and investors.

The energy rating enables a precise yield prognosis for each location worldwide, therefore improving the bankability. Real environmental effects are taken into account in the testing laboratories and flow into the energy yield assessment.

Experts from Fraunhofer ISE’s own calibration laboratory “CalLab PV Modules” are present at the Intersolar Europe held from 19-21 June in Munich. They can be found at Booth B2.320 and are happy to provide qualified information.

“Up to now the data sheet and the manufacturer’s specifications have served as the basis for the energy yield assessment when planning photovoltaic systems,” explains Boris Farnung, head of the calibration team at Fraunhofer ISE.

“In the practice, however, there is often a discrepancy between the manufacturer’s specifications and the laboratory measurements. Only with uniform power rating measurements, is it possible to determine benchmarks for different module types at a given location. When the solar irradiation over a day sinks to one fifth the standard value of 1000 W/m², the efficiency decreases two to five percent. In addition, losses due to higher operating temperatures are measureable at Central European locations and become more evident in southern locations.”

For the energy rating, the dependence on irradiation and the temperature behavior are measured for a relevant number of modules, chosen randomly. With these measurements, the energy yield of a module can be determined for any given location using the meteorological data at the site. The measurements require highly complex and cost intensive equipment that few laboratories worldwide can afford.

After undergoing a complete modernization of its measurement technology, Fraunhofer ISE fulfills the requirements over and above those set down in the international standard IEC61853 Part 1. For example, the radiation incident on the test module is extremely homogeneous, while in the climate chamber the preset module temperature remains stable.

With a measurement uncertainty of 1.8 percent for crystalline silicon photovoltaic modules, Fraunhofer ISE offers the highest precision worldwide.

Applied Materials loses top spot in solar equipment market

USA: Despite huge investments over the past several years in new solar technology, Applied Materials (AMAT) lost its lead in the solar equipment market, dropping 78.6 percent year-on-year.

Applied moved into the top spot back in 2008 with the success of its ill-fated amorphous/microcrystalline silicon turnkey business called SunFab. Subsequently Applied announced in mid-2010 it would discontinue sales to new customers of its fully-integrated SunFab lines.
Applied's first customer, pulled plans to build a factory in New Mexico in April 2010, while another early customer, SunFilm, filed for bankruptcy protection, also in April 2010. Signet filed for insolvency in June 2010. Spanish solar panel maker T-Solar has filed for insolvency in March 2013.

Applied purchased HCT Shaping Systems SA of Switzerland in 2007 for $475 million and Baccini, manufacturer of screen printers for $330 million also in 2007. Applied purchased Varian Semiconductor for $4.7 billion in November 2011.

Applied created a market for amorphous solar cells at a time when there was a severe shortage of silicon causing prices to skyrocket. SunFab (or Applied's competitor Oerlikon) was the only way for a solar cell manufacturer to enter the market. Unfortunately, efficiencies obtained of less than 10 percent were not competitive compared to polycrystalline silicon or CdTe thin film competitor First Solar (FSLR).

Meyer Burger moved up into the first position in rankings dropping 51% in dollar values. Meyer Burger offers a complete line of product equipment and services along the photovoltaic value chain that includes the manufacturing processes for wafers, solar cells, solar modules and solar systems.

In July 2012, Centrotherm Photovoltaics AG announced that it submitted an application to file for self-administrative insolvency. Revenues listed in the above table are for Q1 2012 only and any financial information for the whole of 2012 is not being released by the company.

According to a note to shareholders of Meyer Burger, "2012 was an extremely difficult year for the whole photovoltaic industry. The sharp consolidation process that had already started in the second half of 2011 continued unabated throughout 2012, mainly as a result of over capacity at solar cell and module manufacturers and steeply falling prices for cells and modules. Cell and module manufacturers were therefore very reluctant to invest in new production equipment."

In 2012, an estimated 30 GW of new photovoltaic (PV) capacity was installed at private and commercial end users, increasing the total globally to over 100 GW (source: EPIA Market Report 2012, February 2013)., as shown below:
Despite this solid demand for end installed capacity, enormous overcapacity produced by solar cell and solar module manufacturers in past years still remained. This overcapacity, although decreasing, combined with the significant decrease in the price of solar modules and the enormous pressure on margins at cell and module manufacturers has increased consolidation in the industry as a whole and even led to some manufacturers having to cease operations entirely.

Survival tactics of solar cell manufacturers will be a bright spot for equipment manufacturers. China Sunergy CEO, Stephen Cai presented four key strategic business developments, which need to occur, if companies are to weather the solar storm: (i) higher efficiencies; (ii) downstream investment; (iii) global operation; and (iv) diversified channels.

The first item, higher efficiencies, is critical for equipment manufacturers. As new solar cell designs are implemented or new processes designed to increase efficiency, new or additional equipment is needed. Applied's $4.7 billion purchase of VSEA was because of its Solion Blue technology, designed to produce high-efficiency P-type mono-crystalline solar cells utilizing the proprietary patterned implant technology of Varian's Solion ion implant platform. The technology is being used by Suniva in Norcross, GA. Suniva however, is a small company with a module capacity of only 170MW in the US.

Solion is a disruptive process, meaning that a solar manufacturer will need to change its production line from a diffusion process for doping to an implant process.

However, Applied Materials passed on an opportunity to invest in privately held SolarPA (New Tripoli, PA), which has developed a proprietary nanocrystal coating that increases the efficiency of solar cells by more than 1 percent at a cost of goods to $0.20 per panel, or less than 0.1 cent per watt. The coating is applied on a completed cell with no disruption to the cell manufacturing process and can be applied using a screen printer. In other words, Applied Materials could have sold more screen printers to customers who would use this technology. It could have even been used in conjunction with its Solion ion implant technology.

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Maxwell, Soitec join forces to demo benefits of integrating energy storage with CPV technology

USA: Maxwell Technologies Inc. and Soitec will collaborate on a California Energy Commission-funded, two-phase program to demonstrate the cost and efficiency benefits of combining an energy storage system with Soitec's Concentrix CPV technology.

Maxwell has been awarded a $1.39 million contract by the California Energy Commission's Research and Development program to fund design and integration of an ultracapacitor-based energy storage system with Soitec's CPV system located on the campus of University of California, San Diego—one of the nation's greenest universities— and a second commercial scale system at Soitec's solar power plant in Southern California.

The integrated systems will also take advantage of other technology advances, including solar forecasting and predictive energy control, to maximize the benefit of incorporating ultracapacitor energy storage.

The project starts in June 2013 and will run through November 2015. Independent evaluation of the performance of the integrated systems will be performed by DNV KEMA under a sub-contract with Maxwell.

Fortum launches solar power production in India by acquiring a 5-MW photo-voltaic solar power plant

FINLAND: Fortum has acquired a solar power plant in the state of Rajasthan, north-western India. The company's short term ambition is to build a small photo-voltaic (PV) solar portfolio in order to gain experiences in different solar technologies and operating in the Indian power market.

"Solar power fits well with Fortum's other CO2-free production and we believe it will play an important role in tomorrow's low carbon energy system," says Matti Kaarnakari, MD, Fortum India Pvt Ltd. "Solar power is a strong growth segment that will account for an increasing part of power generation in the future. Fast technological development is boosting competitiveness and on best markets, wholesale parity can be expected already within a few years' time."

The power plant's nominal peak capacity is 5.4 megawatts and its annual production is approximately 9 gigawatt-hours. The power plant was constructed as part of the Jawaharlal Nehru National Solar Mission (JNNSM), the Indian government's initiative for 22 gigawatts of installed solar power generation capacity by year 2022, and it has been fully operational for one year. The plant will receive a higher, guaranteed electricity price for 25 years. The period and the prices for power generation under the government's power purchase agreement (PPA) are defined to ensure a sufficient return on investment.

"India is one of the most interesting countries for solar power development. Apart from the naturally favourable geographic location, India has ambitious plans for solar power on both national and state levels," Kaarnakari continues.

In the short term, Fortum is looking to invest some tens of millions of euros - including this acquisition - in developing its PV solar competence and operations in India.

P2 Solar acquires second renewable energy project in India

CANADA: P2 Solar Inc. has acquired its second significant renewable energy project for development in India.

The project is a 500 KW mini-hydro facility located immediately downstream from P2's previously announced Project Rajgarh, near Ludhiana, Punjab, India, on the Sidhwan irrigation canal, and is named Project Tibba.

Project Tibba was acquired through P2's wholly owned Indian subsidiary, Jagat Energy Private Limited. Both Project Tibba and Project Rajgarh are owned outright by us, fully permitted and ready for construction. The company considers these projects as a series and both sites are being assessed for the possibility of incorporating solar PV arrays of several megawatts atop the canal space. Construction of Project Tibba will be co-ordinated with that for Project Rajgarh, the latter of which is scheduled for groundbreaking this summer.

Combined, these two mini-hydro facilities are expected to generate approximately $800,000 in annual revenues. Project Tibba's capital budget is $1.6 million, but with low operating costs EBITDA is estimated to be 95 percent.

As P2 indicated prior, the Punjab government is keen to harness the significant mini-hydro potential of its canals, which amounts to several hundred MWs, as well as to utilize the free space above its canals for expanding solar PV capacity.

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Energy efficient HVAC systems will surpass $33 billion in annual revenue by 2020

USA: Energy consumption by heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) systems accounts for roughly 40 percent of total building energy consumption, and in turn, buildings account for 35 percent to 40 percent of total worldwide energy consumption.

Thus, HVAC energy consumption in commercial buildings is a key contributor to total global energy consumption. Driven by tightening energy efficiency regulations and by demand for higher-efficiency buildings, the technology for efficient HVAC systems is advancing.

According to a new report from Navigant Research, annual revenue from energy efficient HVAC systems will grow from $17.2 billion in 2013 to $33.2 billion by 2020.

“In the wake of the global recession of 2009, developed markets for efficient HVAC – especially in North America and Europe – remain sluggish,” says Bob Gohn, senior research director with Navigant Research. “However, the North American market will revive during 2013 and begin to experience more substantial growth during 2014. Europe will follow a similar trend, but recovery will likely not occur until mid to late 2014. The strongest region for energy efficient HVAC expansion, however, will be Asia Pacific, which will account for 55 percent of the world market by 2020.”

The global HVAC market, according to the report, is led by large suppliers, such as UTC (Carrier), Hitachi, Ingersoll-Rand (Trane), Daikin, and LG Electronics, many of which also produce various other products, technologies, and services.

HVAC-only manufacturers are largely limited to smaller and midsize brands such as Lennox and Uponor. Some larger suppliers, such as Johnson Controls, also provide integrated engineering and operations/ maintenance services, overlapping in part with services more traditionally provided by energy service companies.

Two thirds of the biomass, solar and wind companies do not have a communication strategy

GERMANY: Only one in three enterprises in the renewable energy industry have a dedicated communication strategy. Particularly those responsible for PR in firms without a properly defined communication strategy criticise the lack of an overall plan, and the lack of internal and financial support for communication activities.

While 74 percent of those responsible for corporate communication consider press and public relations work important, only a few of the enterprises surveyed provide a significant budget for PR activities. Despite turnovers running into millions, half of the companies questioned invest less than 10,000 euros a year in such activities.

These are the initial results of the ongoing study “Communication in Biomass, Solar and Wind Firms“ being carried out by Krampitz Communications. The agency, which has specialised in renewable energy and technology topics since 2004, is presenting the preliminary results and trends shown by the study at Intersolar Europe on 20 June 2013, 11:00 am.

Measuring results of PR work
“Only those who proceed strategically, with clearly defined goals and target groups, and who develop messages based on their special strengths will have any success with their communication activities”, says agency proprietor Iris Krampitz.

“With this study, we want to substantiate what we have learned in nine years press work in the renewable energy sector, sensitise the industry for strategic press and public relations work, and find out how strategic the communication work done by biomass, solar and wind firms is today.” The Cologne based agency is also examining the extent to which the messages reach their intended target audiences.

Since April 2013 Krampitz Communications has been surveying those responsible for corporate communications in biomass, solar and wind firms about their press and public relations work. The second part of the study will investigate how successful the communication activities are. The final results and reports are due to be published in the fourth quarter of 2013.

PV materials market to jump 52 percent to $27.2 billion in 2018

USA: The global market for photovoltaic (PV) materials is poised to grow 52 percent to $27.2 billion, up from $17.8 billion in 2012. As PV supply and demand come back into balance in 2015, margins will steadily improve and create new opportunities for innovative materials developers, according to Lux Research.

Metals, including polysilicon, metallization pastes, and metallic absorber materials in CIGS, will gain the biggest market share, reaching $12.8 billion in 2018. Polysilicon alone will make a $6 billion market, based on global x-Si module demand.

“Differentiated materials that enable high cell or module efficiencies or longer lifetime will be able to earn a premium and cash in on the growing demand,” said Fatima Toor, Lux Research analyst and the lead author of the report titled, “From Cost Reductions to Performance Enhancements: Mapping the $27 Billion Photovoltaic Materials Market.”

“In addition, the push towards improved quality will lead to materials innovations that not only drive down the $/W but also the $/kWh, enabling sustainable growth of global PV demand.”

Lux Research analysts used detailed cost and demand models to evaluate materials opportunities in the emerging landscape. Among their findings:

Crystalline silicon tops market share. Materials needed for crystalline silicon modules present the largest opportunity, reaching $23.8 billion in 2018. Materials like backsheets, non-EVA encapsulants, metallization pastes, and antireflection (AR) coatings for module glass provide opportunity for innovation.

Differentiation is key. As module manufacturers drive to offer improved efficiencies or reliability, they need innovative materials such as Innovalight’s silicon inks for selective emitter cell design. Other innovators include 1366 Technologies, Natcore, Bandgap Engineering, Polyrise, Cencorp, and Sinovia Technologies.

Move toward quality. The solar industry now prioritizes low $/kWh on top of $/W, offering modules with a longer lifetime. Material suppliers like DuPont and downstream developers are setting the new standard. Simultaneously, companies such as Solar Buyer are helping financial institutions rate module quality.

Soitec connects solar-power demo plant in Namibia

FRANCE: Soitec (Euronext), a world leader in generating and manufacturing revolutionary semiconductor materials for the electronics and energy industries, has installed a concentrator photovoltaic (CPV) demonstration plant in the isolated rural village of Usib near Rehoboth in central Namibia.

The new 25- kilowatt installation has been connected to the grid of the national power utility, NamPower, and provides electricity for users including a rural school. Soitec and NamPower have entered into a cooperative agreement in which Soitec has constructed and operates the CPV plant and will transfer the knowledge gained as well as operations and maintenance duties to NamPower.

Usib is an isolated rural community with a school providing education and accommodations to more than 100 children from the surrounding area. Production from a small vegetable garden supplements the diet of the school's boarders.

Additionally Soitec's subcontractor Alensy has installed a solar water pump at the community garden to ensure there is sufficient water to irrigate up to one acre of crops. Funds from the sale of electricity generated by the power plant and injected into the grid will be credited to the school's electricity bill. The power plant will be in operation for at least 20 years.

CPV is the most efficient technology in the photovoltaic industry, achieving current energy-generating efficiencies of 30 percent - approximately twice that of conventional photovoltaic technologies. Soitec's CPV modules use a durable glass-glass design and Fresnel lenses to concentrate sunlight 500 times onto small, highly efficient multi-junction solar cells.

By using dual-axis tracking, Soitec's systems provide high, constant power output throughout daylight hours. In addition, the company's systems are resistant to energy losses in high temperatures and achieve passive cooling without water consumption, offering competitive advantages in countries with high direct normal irradiance (DNI) such as Namibia. Soitec has installed its CPV technology in 18 countries to date.

IEEE unveils comprehensive resource portfolio to drive continued advancement of global smart grid

USA: IEEE, the world's largest professional organization dedicated to advancing technology for humanity, unveiled a host of resources designed to foster continued innovation and advancement of the global smart grid.

IEEE Smart Grid Research represents a concerted effort to build one of the industry’s most comprehensive portfolios of smart grid-related intelligence, including materials such as vision documents and research papers that address problems and challenges in both the long- and short-term.

“With IEEE Smart Grid Research, we are moving into the full lifecycle of standards-related activities by adopting a proactive, forward-looking approach from pre-standard activities to real-world adoption and implementation,” said Bill Ash, strategic program manager, IEEE Standards Association (IEEE-SA).

“We are building out a portfolio of rich resources ranging from long-term vision and roadmap documents to research papers that explore today’s pressing challenges, to help key stake holders advance their own work. This will enable us to create a pipeline for incubation of innovative technologies to standards development and market acceptance, supporting global growth of the smart grid market.”

IEEE Smart Grid Research incorporates long-term research focused on five technology sectors that include power, computing, communications, control systems, and vehicle technology. It leverages potential use cases, application scenarios and enabling technologies to deliver the most complete picture possible of the next generation of technology in each respective smart grid space.

IEEE Smart Grid Research will have a long-term vision document, reference model and roadmap for each of the five technology sectors, as well as shorter-term research available for addressing more immediate concerns. IEEE Smart Grid Research materials will cover projections of where the smart grid will evolve to, technology challenges and opportunities, and areas where additional research is needed.

Among the first resources available will be three downloadable Vision documents.

IEEE Grid Vision 2050, addressing the smart grid power landscape, offers a long-range view of the power landscape as it relates to the smart grid, including existing and future technology developments and emerging challenges that must be overcome during the next 40 years.

IEEE Smart Grid Vision for Computing: 2030 and Beyond examines potential branches for the evolution of both smart grid operational concepts and computing technologies. The document aims to stimulate investments in those computing technologies enabling achievement of Smart Grid visions and improving electric power system performance and capability for greater efficiency, speed, reliability, and resiliency.

IEEE Smart Grid Vision for Computing: 2030 and Beyond also focuses on a broad array of computing technologies spanning multiple disciplines, and outlines their possible roles in the future electric grid. It further details projections of how smart grid concepts will influence power systems and span bulk transmission systems to isolated islands of local generation, as well as different demand-side participation concepts.

IEEE Smart Grid Vision for Communications: 2030 and Beyond lays out a vision of the smart grid for the year 2030 from a communications perspective. It also discusses imperatives of different stakeholders, and impediments to realizing this vision. Following the discussion are smart grid goals for different constituencies, and how communications should evolve to enable key smart grid functionality.

Long-term IEEE Smart Grid Research resources represent a collaborative effort being jointly produced by IEEE-SA and its relevant IEEE technical societies, which are partnering to develop long-term documents in each of the five technology topic areas. Participating societies include IEEE Communications Society (IEEE ComSoc), IEEE Computer Society, IEEE Control Systems Society (IEEE CSS), IEEE Intelligent Transportation Society (IEEE ITSS) and IEEE Power & Energy Society (IEEE PES).

Monday, June 10, 2013

Canadian Solar signs C$310 million EPC agreement for construction of 130 MW DC solar power plant in Ontario

CANADA: Canadian Solar Inc. announced that its subsidiary, Canadian Solar Solutions Inc., has entered into an Engineering, Procurement, and Construction (EPC) agreement with Grand Renewable Solar LP, a solar energy project developed by Samsung Renewable Energy Inc.for the construction of a 130 MW utility-scale solar power plant.

This EPC agreement is expected to generate revenue of approximately C$310 million ($301.1 million) for Canadian Solar. Construction of the solar power plant will begin in the third quarter of 2013, with the facilities expected to be fully operational in 2015.

"We are delighted to announce our agreement with Grand Renewable Solar LP to collaborate on this landmark solar project in Canada," said Dr. Shawn Qu, chairman and CEO of Canadian Solar. "This transaction represents the largest EPC contract in our history and underlies the progress we have made in the transformation of our business from a module supplier into a leading total solutions provider with a global footprint and bankable brand."

This 130 MW (dc) utility-scale solar power plant will produce approximately 165,000 MWh of electricity per year and power approximately 13,750 homes, displacing approximately 162,000 metric tons of carbon dioxide emissions over the 20-year period.

In addition, the installation will include approximately 440,000 Canadian Solar CS6X high-performance modules, which have been formally tested and certified, validating the quality of the company's products. The solar power plant is expected to create several hundred direct and indirect green energy jobs during the development, construction and operation phases of the project.

Friday, June 7, 2013

Mainstream partners with Actis on $1.4bn wind and solar asset platform in Chile

CHILE: Global wind and solar developer Mainstream Renewable Power announced a joint venture with the global pan-emerging market investor Actis to deliver 600 megawatts of wind and solar projects into construction and operation in Chile by early 2016.

The joint venture company, which is 40 percent owned by Mainstream and 60 percent by Actis, will purchase the projects, which have been fully developed by Mainstream, at Financial Close. Mainstream will continue to manage the construction and support the operation of the projects on behalf of the joint venture.

Since 2008 Mainstream has taken a leadership position in the Chilean renewable energy market where its local team has been developing an advanced portfolio of more than 3,500 megawatts of wind and solar projects.

Globally, Mainstream has a development pipeline of over 17,000 megawatts across four continents and is currently constructing wind and solar projects in Ireland, South Africa, Chile and Canada.

This is Mainstream’s second collaboration with Actis. In 2012 Mainstream successfully bid and won three government tenders in South Africa for 238MW of wind and solar projects which are currently in construction. Actis invested $100 million in the projects which are due to be operational in early 2014.

Yingli Green Energy's PV modules passes SGS's blowing sand test

CHINA: Yingli Green Energy Holding Co. announced that the company's PV modules have passed the Blowing Sand Test conducted in SGS's Solar Test House, demonstrating that the company's PV modules can keep an outstanding performance even in harsh conditions such as in the desert.

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

"We're pleased to see our modules passed SGS's Blowing Sand Test," said Dr. Dengyuan Song, CTO of Yingli Green Energy. "This test result once again proved the high quality of our products attributable to our continuous optimization of our manufacturing technologies and unwavering commitment to high quality. We believe the test result will help further reinforce our customers' confidence in the "Yingli Solar" brand and our position as an industry leader."

Dr. Daniel Deng, technical manager for SGS said: "Endurance testing like blowing sand test is critical to understand the reliability and durability of PV modules in real world conditions. SGS follows an internally developed test procedure and can customize specifications like sand homogeneity, sand concentration, sand shape, and wind speed according to single selected deserts. Test result of Yingli's products has showed the lowest power degradation after long term blowing sand testing among all our customers of Si-crystal modules till now. We were extremely impressed with the quality and performance of Yingli's PV modules to withstand the blowing sand test that replicates the conditions of real world's desert sandstorm."

Energy Ministers meeting to renew focus on Integration of EU energy markets

LUXEMBOURG: Minister Pat Rabbitte T.D., the Irish Minister for Communications, Energy and Natural Resources will chair a one-day meeting of the TTE Council (Energy) in Luxembourg today, during which the EU Ministers for Energy will discuss a range of important issues.

Speaking in advance of the meeting, Minister Rabbitte said: “European Energy Ministers will take stock of our progress over the last six months on important energy issues, that affect each and every European citizen. These will include steps we have taken towards the completion of the internal energy market, sustainability of bio-fuels and the employment of innovation and technology in the delivery of energy services across Europe”.

“Regarding one of the highest priorities for the Irish Presidency, the Internal energy market, our approach has been to frame the discussions around the delivery of real benefits for EU energy consumers, both households and business. To that end we particularly focused deliberations around how best to equip consumers to become a more active driving force in this market.

“The impact of Indirect Land Use change on greenhouse gas emissions is a complex area. Tomorrow we will be presenting Ministers with the outcomes of debates held in both the Energy and Environment Councils as well as the outputs from an ad hoc working party that the Presidency has been steering. The early debates in February offered varying views on the issues involved and the report we will be presenting at Council shows how far Member States have come in the meantime.

“Amongst other discussions at the meeting will be a policy debate on smart technologies under the Commission’s communication on Energy Technologies and Innovation, as well as an update on events and developments in international relations during our Presidency, such as EU-Russia energy relations, and on how energy measures are helping promote jobs and growth.

“What we are all aiming for is creating a low carbon economy which will deliver benefits in terms of energy security, growth, innovation, competitiveness and job creation,” the Minister concluded.

Thursday, June 6, 2013

DuPont and Yingli Green Energy sign expanded strategic agreement

CHINA: DuPont and Yingli Energy (China) Co. Ltd have signed a new one year, $100 million strategic agreement that includes the supply of advanced solar materials, the installation of a solar power plant and co-marketing initiatives aimed at accelerating the broader and faster adoption of solar energy to address the world’s growing energy needs.

This agreement is an expansion of a $100 million supply agreement between the companies announced in February 2012.

“Materials are critical to help ensure our solar panels provide superior power output for their 25-year expected lifetime, or longer,” said Liansheng Miao, chairman and CEO, Yingli Green Energy.

“The agreement we have signed with DuPont assures our supply of high-quality materials that have proven performance and our continued collaboration on further technological advances to optimize the efficiency and durability of our products.  Yingli Green Energy has long been committed to making solar affordable for everyone with superior quality products.”

Under the terms of the agreement, Yingli China will purchase materials including DuPont Solamet photovoltaic metallization pastes that help boost the power output of solar cells and DuPont Tedlar polyvinyl fluoride film that has been proven to protect solar panels even in the harshest environmental conditions.

The companies will extend their collaboration to include the installation of a solar energy plant at a DuPont facility in China using panels made with advanced materials from DuPont, and will potentially expand installation of similar plants to additional DuPont sites or other commercial projects in China.

Yingli China and DuPont further agreed to extend their collaboration on technology to develop the next generation of high-efficiency solar cells and modules, and on co-marketing activities.

Northern Power 100 turbine powers innovative microgrid in Hawaii

USA: Several farmers in North Kohala, Hawaii, are now benefitting from an innovative off-grid water-pumping system powered by a Northern Power NPS 100 wind turbine. Like many others in remote locations and island communities, North Kohala farmers have been searching for an alternative to using polluting, expensive diesel fuel to generate electricity.

This microgrid project, known as SkyGrid Energy, marks the growing trend of turning to affordable, clean, renewable wind energy as the solution. The NPS 100 wind turbine is specifically designed to support microgrids with its sophisticated voltage controls and no inrush current, thereby relieving stress to the system. In addition, the NPS 100's ability to control reactive power independently of wind speed more reliably meets energy demands, a crucial component of microgrids.

The SkyGrid Energy microgrid has been fully operational since April 2013. In addition to the NPS 100 wind turbine, which is the primary source of energy production, the system also includes a battery bank and solar panels. The system is capable of pumping more than 30 million gallons of water annually and is being used to irrigate 400 acres of agricultural land and support 14 participating farms and agricultural businesses.

The project was partially funded by the US Department of Energy through the Hawaii Renewable Energy Development Venture. Gen-X Energy Development LLC, the project developer, plans to replicate and deploy this microgrid solution throughout Hawaii and other island communities.

Solar Universe announces online design center

USA: Solar Universe, the leader in solar franchising, announced the launch of its online design center for consumers.

The platform is set to revolutionize the solar shopping experience for homeowners by bringing real-time engagement and quotes online, allowing new consumers to explore their options from their own homes. The current process of going solar requires a number of in-person visits, thus creating significant hurdles for new buyers. The design center is a scalable solution to support new customers wanting to enter the solar market.

Solar consumers save an average of $50 per month on their energy bills, seeing the cost of installation pay off completely within five years of their initial investment. The design center simplifies and improves the entry point to the market to help more consumers access energy savings. In addition to simplifying the process, customers can build a system with a sales rep in real-time and get a true feel for the placement, aesthetics and finance options available for their unique situations.

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Schneider Electric and partner on home energy management

USA & AUSTRIA: Schneider Electric, a global specialist in energy management, announced a partnership with, the leader in interactive security and connected home services, to bring the Wiser home management system to home builders, utilities and other service providers in the energy efficiency space.

The partnership capitalizes on Schneider Electric’s global presence in energy management and’s unparalleled back-end, data-processing and user interface capabilities.

Schneider Electric’s Wiser home management system leverages’s Connected Home platform and offers homeowners and property managers the ability to proactively track and manage electricity usage in real-time, monitor the power generated by rooftop solar panels and operate connected thermostats and load control devices more intelligently to reduce energy usage.

Schneider Electric’s Wiser home management system, powered by, seamlessly connects utilities and consumers. Wiser also enables homeowners to better control energy and save money, with features such as thermostat and lighting control that can be easily accessed through the web portal,, or the Wiser app, available for Android devices, in addition to iPads, iPhones and iPods.

This simplified, combined offering gives customers visibility and control of household energy use, enables homeowners to drive energy efficiency by reducing or shifting energy use during peak times, and provides customizable settings for optimal comfort. Customers using the Wiser home management system also have a flexible option for extending their energy management services into a whole home security and monitoring solution with’s Interactive Security services, provided by’s nationwide network of authorized security dealers.

Ascent Solar’s EnerPlex products reach new heights aboard Hainan Airlines

USA: Ascent Solar Technologies Inc. announced the availability of the EnerPlex Kickr IV on all of Hainan Airlines’ over 500 domestic and international routes, including those of its subsidiaries: Shanxi, Chang’an and China Xinhua Airlines.

Hainan Airlines is China’s largest privately owned airline. Founded in 1989, it services 17 countries and is one of only seven airlines globally to receive the 5-Star ranking from Skytrax. With over 100 aircraft, Hainan operates one of the most modern and luxurious international fleets in the world, catering both to leisure as well as frequent business travelers.

In addition to Hainan Airlines’ in-flight sales offering, on-line platform and mileage exchange program, Kickr IV will also be prominently featured in Hainan’s “Thirty Thousand Miles” in-flight magazine.

“Hainan Airlines continually looks to offer its discerning passengers the newest and most novel premium products; the inclusion of Ascent’s ground-breaking EnerPlex product line allows Hainan Airlines to cater to our customers by providing them with a product choice which many travelers never imagined existed,” said Tracy Sun, Hainan’s Aircraft Media Project director. “Additionally, we are able to reward our valued Fortune Wings members with a premium product through our mileage exchange program.”

The Kickr series is a line of portable solar chargers, providing a charging solution for most USB enabled devices, enabling power to be generated almost anywhere with sunlight, perfect for those consumers who spend time separated from a reliable electrical grid. Easily foldable and incredibly lightweight, the Kickr is extremely portable and fits in a briefcase or carry-on.

BluEarth Renewables to purchase four utility-scale solar power plants from Canadian Solar

CANADA: Canadian Solar Inc. announced that its subsidiary, Canadian Solar Solutions Inc., has entered into a sales agreement with a BluEarth Renewables Inc. subsidiary, whereby BluEarth will acquire from Canadian Solar four utility-scale solar power plants totaling 38.5MWac(53.9 MWdc) valued at over C$225.0 million ($217.2 million).  CIBC World Markets acted as advisor to BluEarth in the transaction.

The four utility-scale solar power plants being purchased by BluEarth are located in Kawartha Lakes, Belleville, Beaverton and Napanee, Ontario, Canada. Construction on all four utility scale projects is expected to commence in 2013, with commercial operation expected in 2014. Canadian Solar will provide turnkey engineering, procurement and construction ("EPC") services for all four sites.

"At BluEarth we are focused on developing and operating a portfolio of energy projects that optimizes people, planet and profits," said Kent Brown, president and CEO of BluEarth. "These projects are a great fit with our existing renewable energy plants and projects, moving us closer to our goal of $1 billion of high-quality, long-term contracted renewable energy plants. We look forward to continuing our relationship with Canadian Solar both in the delivery of these high-quality projects and on potential future projects."

These four utility-scale solar power plants are designed to generate sufficient power for approximately 6,878 homes, and will provide emissions free energy to Ontarians over their 20-year operational period covered under the Ontario Power Authority contracts. In addition, the utility-scale solar power plants will include approximately 186,000 Canadian Solar CS6X high-performance modules, which have been formally tested and awarded international certifications validating the quality of the Company's products.

The utility-scale solar power plants are expected to create more than 400 new jobs during the development and construction phases of all four solar projects.

"BluEarth's focus on promoting the responsible use of renewable resources is directly aligned with our goal of contributing to the growth of solar powered energy in Canada," said Dr. Shawn Qu, chairman and CEO of Canadian Solar. "Development of these utility-scale solar power plants will contribute to job creation in the Ontario market during the construction phase, while also extending our position as a leading provider of solar energy solutions in Canada."

These four utility-scale solar plants being sold to BluEarth are part of Canadian Solar's pipeline in Ontario, Canada, of 29 projects equivalent to approximately 400 MW (dc). The Company estimates that the resale value of its entire Ontario project pipeline, once built into grid-connected solar power plants and sold to investors, will exceed C$1.50 billion ($1.45 billion).

Is solid-state RF the next energy source?

THE NETHERLANDS & USA: Could radio-frequency signals become the next major energy source for industrial, scientific and medical (ISM) applications?

At the IEEE International Microwave Symposium this week, NXP Semiconductors N.V. is introducing the industry's first complete RF power transistor portfolio designed specifically for the 2.45-GHz ISM frequency band, enabling RF energy to be used as a clean, highly efficient and controllable heat source.

NXP is demonstrating a wide range of RF-powered applications at IMS 2013, including an RF spark plug -- a compelling alternative to conventional ignition systems for automotive engines; an RF plasma lamp delivering bright, sun-like light at 140 lumens per watt; and a solid-state cooker that can heat food safely, uniformly and precisely.

Optimally matched to the 2.45-GHz ISM band, the NXP BLF2425M and BLF25M series of RF power transistors achieve best-in-class efficiencies in excess of 52 percent and offer a full range of power levels between 12 and 350 W. NXP developed this dedicated ISM portfolio while working with lead customers on RF-powered solutions for home appliances for cooking, heating and drying; medical devices for precision medical procedures; and automotive engines.

The devices are based on NXP's latest 28V LDMOS processes and all feature NXP's field-proven ruggedness, manufacturing consistency and long-term reliability, which enable these transistors to drive the typically mismatched loads of ISM applications.

Recurrent Energy reaches commercial operation with six solar power projects totaling 52 MWac in Ontario

USA & CANADA: Recurrent Energy, a leading North American solar project developer, announced the commercial operation of six photovoltaic (PV) projects, providing a total of 70 megawatts peak (MWp)/ 52 megawatts AC (MWac) of clean solar electricity for two communities in Ontario, Canada.

These projects are the first six of nine to reach commercial operation date (COD) in a 100 MWp/74 MWac portfolio acquired by Mitsubishi Corporation and Osaka Gas at commercial operation of each project as agreed in June 2012. The electricity generated from this portfolio will be delivered to the Ontario Power Authority (OPA) through 20-year feed-in tariff agreements.

"I'm happy to congratulate Recurrent Energy on achieving this significant milestone. It's clear that Ontario's clean energy policies are creating thousands of good jobs and cleaning up our air," said Minister of Energy Bob Chiarelli. "We're building on that strength by making important changes - like setting annual renewable energy procurement targets for the first time - to bring greater predictability and sustainability to Ontario's clean energy sector."

"The completion of this portfolio is a milestone for utility-scale solar in Ontario and Recurrent Energy," said Arno Harris, CEO of Recurrent Energy. "Ontario's commitment to making clean energy a mainstream source for these communities is coming to fruition."

These six projects, located near Smiths Falls and Waubaushene, Ontario, are all operational. The remaining three projects in the portfolio are expected to reach COD by early 2014.

The entire 100 MWp/74 MWac portfolio is expected to generate more than 124 million kWh during the first year of operation, enough to power approximately 12,300 homes in Ontario.

The development and operation of these projects has provided the communities with significant local investment and both short-term and long-term job creation. Between 2009 and 2013, Recurrent Energy created approximately 650 jobs during the construction phase alone.

Including this portfolio, Recurrent Energy currently has 20 projects totaling 220 MWp/159 MWac in development in Ontario. All 20 projects are expected to be operating by early 2014.