Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Low energy, cost saving elements keep beer flowing

EDINA, USA: Breweries need power to produce their products, and power plants need consistent, high-quality water to operate effectively. Since source water varies based on location, water chemistry, and time of year, a power station for a major brewer in North America turned to Dow Water & Process Solutions and Consolidated Water Solutions to deliver a means to a flavorful, robust and satisfying end.

After seven years operating effectively with a two-pass reverse osmosis (RO) system, Consolidated and Dow worked with the power company to evaluate system alternatives for a next-generation configuration.

To help further reduce the energy required to treat boiler feed make-up water, and meet the brewery’s electrical energy and process steam requirements, the plant reconfigured and upgraded its water treatment system with DOW FILMTEC ECO Reverse Osmosis Elements.

Since the integration of FILMTEC ECO technology, the water treatment system has reduced its energy by 10-20 percent, and improved peak flow performance.

Heliatek completes 18 million Euro in series C funding round

DRESDEN, GERMANY: Heliatek GmbH, the world’s leading company in the production and commercialization of organic solar films, has successfully completed its C-Financing round by raising 18 million EUR.

This round was led by AQTON SE, an investment holding of German entrepreneur Stefan Quandt, with participation of all prior investors, Bosch, BASF, Innogy Venture Capital1, Wellington Partners, eCAPITAL, HTGF and TGFS. Since the foundation of the company in 2006, 46 million EUR have been raised in order to develop the technology, the manufacturing process and now the market entry.

The company succeeded with its innovative approach of organic solar films in a roll-to-roll production process. These HeliaFilms are being supplied to industrial partners for applications in BIPV – Building Integrated PV- and Automotive.

These funds come at the time of market entry for Heliatek, which is currently supplying prototypes and pilots to building and construction material companies, automotive manufacturers and their suppliers as well as unique market opportunities.

Xinyi Solar's 150MW ground-mounted solar farm commences on-grid electricity generation

CHINA: Xinyi Solar Holdings Ltd, the largest ultra-clear PV raw glass manufacturer in China, has announced that its 150MW ground-mounted solar farm in Jinzhai County, Liu'an City, Anhui Province has commenced on-grid electricity generation on 27 September 2014.

Occupying an area of approximately 2.33 million square meters , construction of the ground-mounted solar farm started on 27 April 2014 and was completed at the end of August 2014.

After the solar farm commences on-grid electricity generation, its average electricity generation is expected to reach 173,350,000 kWh per year. CO2 emissions are expected to be reduced by approximately 69,339 tonnes on average per year as it provides the annual electricity consumption of approximately 109,713 families.

The ground-mounted solar farm construction by Xinyi Solar is an innovation in efficient use of clean energy (solar energy). While realising significant economic benefits, the power station can also play a positive role to alleviate the tight electricity supply in the nearby areas, enhance integrated use of resources and improve the ecological environment.

Granola Strolla's solar charger keeps you connected

MEMPHIS, USA: Granola Strolla founders Ben and Irene Rodda have created a solar powered, environmentally-friendly device that powers almost any USB device as fast as a wall charger. The lightweight, water-resistant Granola Strolla converts power from the sunlight and stores the solar power in its Lithium Iron Phosphate battery. It even charges indoors and on cloudy days.

The parents of two young children, the Roddas call themselves an environmentally conscious, one-car, two-geek family. Like most Americans, they wouldn't dare be unplugged from their electronic devices. That is why the couple decided to come up with a product to make sure they can check the weather, traffic, or search for a new place to eat whenever they want, without being tied to the wall with a traditional charger.

A Kickstarter campaign is now underway for the Granola Strolla Portable Solar USB charger. The company has until October 12, 2014 to meet its goal of $20,000. Money is being raised to make minor changes to the 3D design so it is easier to manufacture. As well as for the molds to be created and parts to produce the device.

REC launches high-performance TwinPeak series solar panels for major rooftop markets

MUNICH, GERMANY: REC, the largest European supplier of solar products worldwide, announced that it will begin production of a new high-performance solar panel.

The REC TwinPeak Series, which was introduced this week at REC's annual European Partner event in Munich, will be rated up to 275 watt peak (Wp), resulting in 17 percent panel efficiency and targets rooftops in the growing residential, commercial, and industrial markets.

Based on an innovative design that provides more power output per square meter, the new panel features 120 half-cut multicrystalline cells, four bus bars, passivated emitter rear cell (PERC) technology, and a split junction box. Together, these technologies enhance power output by around 10 Wp per panel.

Like all REC products, the REC TwinPeak Series is 100 percent free from potential induced degradation, avoiding power losses even in the harshest conditions and environments in terms of high temperatures and humidity. Production and initial shipments of the REC TwinPeak Series panels will begin in Q1 2015.

Splitting the junction box into three separate units enables the ground-breaking new layout of the REC TwinPeak Series, while also reducing heat build-up and bolstering panel reliability.

Further, the half-cut cells -- which are manufactured by laser cutting standard-sized cells in half -- result in a reduction of resistive losses and a higher fill factor. The PERC architecture improves the light absorption of the cell, boosting overall performance, and the addition of a fourth bus bar increases the flow of current, improving efficiency and reliability.

Monday, September 29, 2014

Largest solar farm of its kind completed in North America

SOUTH BURLINGTON, USA: AllEarth Renewables and Claire Solar Partners have announced the completion of a 2.2MW solar tracker farm in South Burlington, Vt. JA Solar provided multi-crystalline 260 watt PID resistant modules for the project.

The project is the largest in North America to utilize distributed inverters and dual-axis trackers to maximize production.

Claire Solar utilized 366 AllSun Trackers and highly efficient modules from JA Solar, to further maximize the farm's output. The ground-mounted pre-engineered solar trackers, which track the sun throughout the day, produce up to 30 percent more energy than fix ground-mounted systems.

JA Solar's multi-crystalline 260 watt modules outperform the peers' modules by 5-10 watts in terms of power rating. JA Solar's PV module, well-known for its high reliability, high conversion efficiency and high power output, outperforms the industry average by 5-30 watts in terms of power rating.

The project was constructed under Vermont's Sustainably Priced Energy Enterprise Development (SPEED) standard-offer program and will produce over 3 million kilowatt hours of emissions-free energy a year. AllEarth Renewables also served as the EPC for the project.

In 2011, AllEarth Renewables utilized their solar trackers for a 2.1MW solar farm across the road from the Claire Solar site.

Panasonic and Coronal Group complete nine solar projects

NEWARK, USA: Panasonic Enterprise Solutions Co. (Panasonic) and Coronal Group LLC (Coronal) announced the completion of nine solar projects in Tulare and Kings Counties in Central California. The projects provide 16.2 MW of energy to Southern California Edison's grid to power approximately 14,500 homes annually.

"Significant solar projects are beneficial to the economy and how we produce and consume energy, but their financial and structural complexities are a big challenge for companies interested in adopting clean, sustainable energy," said Panasonic Eco Solutions MD, Jamie Evans. "The Panasonic-Coronal platform is a proven integrated business model that removes those obstacles, and helps to deliver affordable, reliable, clean energy."

Panasonic and Coronal acquired the California Renewable Energy Small Tariff projects from Macquarie Capital in 2013. A $50 million funding commitment by Ullico Inc., a labor-union owned insurance and investment company, also contributed to the acquisition and completion of the projects. The projects were built by Panasonic and ImMODO Energy Services Corporation.

"The completion of these nine projects, the first commercial projects to be finished under the Panasonic-Coronal platform, marks an important milestone and there are more in the pipeline," said Jonathan Jaffrey, CEO of Coronal. "Our total joint project development with Panasonic, now more than 100 MWs, is an indicator of both the success of our platform and the rising interest in solar projects."

Coronal's exclusive relationship with Panasonic allows it the flexibility to acquire operating solar assets or partner with developers and engineering, procurement and construction providers in North America.

JA Solar multi-Si solar cells achieve 20 percent conversion efficiency

SHANGHAI, CHINA: JA Solar Holdings Co. Ltd announced that it achieved 20 percent solar energy conversion efficiency in its multi-crystalline silicon solar cell.

By using advanced proprietary light trapping and surface passivation technologies, the JA Solar research team attained this absolute 1 percent increase in conversion efficiency only nine months after announcing the realization of 19 percent efficiency in its multi-Si cells.

Yong Liu, COO of JA Solar, commented: "JA Solar set a new world record for multi-Si cell efficiency by breaking the 20 percent barrier. This accomplishment once again demonstrates JA Solar's unrivaled ability to advance PV technology, and creates value for our customers by increasing power generation and reducing installation costs."

Dr. Wei Shan, chief scientist and general R&D manager, said: "Consecutive record-breaking results by our multi-Si solar cells are a great achievement for our R&D team. But, we have only just begun. The confidence we had in surpassing 20 percent efficiency this year extends now to our expectation to realize even more efficiency gains in the quarters ahead. Furthermore, with these new high performance cells as a foundation, we anticipate setting new performance records at the module level in the near future."

JA Solar intends to mass produce multi-Si cells using its new technology and integrate its new high-efficiency multi-Si cells into commercial module assemblies in 2015.

LDK Solar announces NYSE review decision and Hong Kong convening order

GEORGE TOWN, CAYMAN ISLANDS; XINYU CITY, CHINA & SUNNYVALE,  USA: LDK Solar Co. Ltd in provisional liquidation and its Joint Provisional Liquidators Tammy Fu and Eleanor Fisher, both of Zolfo Cooper (Cayman) Ltd, announced that The NYSE Regulation Inc. Board of Directors' Committee for Review affirmed on September 22, 2014 the delisting decision of the staff of the NYSE Regulation Inc. with respect to the company's American depositary shares formerly listed on the New York Stock Exchange.

The NYSE Committee's decision follows a review of submissions made by the Company and a hearing with the NYSE Committee on September 9, 2014 attended by the company and its advisors.The ADSs will remain being quoted on the OTC Pink Ltd Information until the company qualifies for listing on an alternate stock exchange.

In addition, upon the application of the Company (acting by the JPLs) and its subsidiaries, LDK Silicon & Chemical Technology Co. Ltd and LDK Silicon Holding Co. Ltd, by originating summonses filed on September 11, 2014 to the High Court of Hong Kong, the Hong Kong Court made an order dated and filed on September 23, 2014 to direct the Hong Kong Scheme Companies to convene the class meetings of their creditors on October 16, 2014 (starting at 8:40 p.m.), Cayman time, and October 17, 2014 (starting at 9:40 a.m.), Hong Kong time, to vote on the Hong Kong schemes of arrangement.

The Hong Kong Court is currently scheduled to hear the petition in respect of the Hong Kong schemes of arrangement on November 7, 2014, at which hearing the Hong Kong Court will determine whether or not to sanction the Hong Kong schemes of arrangement.

High density quantum dots for powerful solar cells

TOKYO, JAPAN: The September 2014 issue of the University of Electro-Communications e-Bulletin includes research highlights on self-organized indium arsenide quantum dots for solar cells;  silicon nanophotonics; solutions to internet congestion; and humanizing robots.

Kouichi Yamaguchi is internationally recognized for his pioneering research on the fabrication and applications of 'semiconducting quantum dots' (QDs). "We exploit the 'self-organization' of semiconducting nanocrystals by the 'Stranski-Krasnov (SK) mode of crystal growth for producing ordered, highly dense, and highly uniform quantum dots," explains Yamaguchi.

"Our 'bottom-up' approach yields much better results than the conventional photolithographic or 'top-down' methods widely used for the fabrication of nano-structures."

Okuno and his colleagues fabricated silicon nanowire arrays by metal-assisted chemical etching, an approach that is simple and cost-effective. Now, Sungwan Boksuwan and co-workers at the University of Electro-Communications in Tokyo, together with scientists in Thailand, have created a new robust two-dimensional handheld micromanipulator for use in cell manipulation.

Binocular vision allows us to gauge depth. For example a dot directly ahead of the left eye will be at an angle to the right that decreases with distance. So how, ask Eiichi Mitsukura and Shunji Satoh at the University of Electro-Communications in Tokyo, can we estimate the depth of black or white paper? With no pattern or texture on the paper there should be no way of determining its contours. They turned to the computational tools used for filling in blind spots for an answer.

EDMI, gridComm to create most robust narrowband power line communication smart meter

SINGAPORE: gridComm, a provider of power line communications (PLC) solutions that enable the transformation of the power grid into a smart grid, today announced that it will collaborate with EDMI to create the most robust narrowband PLC smart meters available to date.

Based on its unique, proven GC2200 OFDMA technology, gridComm and EDMI are developing PLC smart meters such as the DIN Rail MK30 and MK31E split meters. Pre-integrated with gridComm GC-Net, an efficient networking software that performs self-adaptive and auto-network routing configurations to operate in a wide range of noise-prone power line environments, the PLC smart meters will guarantee robust and reliable communications that ensure timely read-back of data.

"gridComm brings together disruptive but cost-effective PLC solutions that work," said Leu Yew Seng, GM of EDMI's International Business Unit. "Working with gridComm allows us to get to market quickly, which helps us shorten development and deployment time. This enables us to meet the demand for smart PLC metering systems as power grids migrate their networks to AMI implementation. We look forward to a strong partnership with gridComm, which will include future collaborations."

Identify and use energy saving potentials with taxxo

ST. GEORGEN, USA: The new energy meters help save energy and money, promote energy efficiently, and conserve resources. Hardly anybody can avoid these topics with nowadays energy prices.

The taxxo Energy Meters are designed for a variety of applications, including metering and monitoring energy consumption in private households, industry, craft, and facility management. The analog and digital energy meters measure the active energy of alternating current circuits or three-phase circuits.

The taxxo M 45-1 analog meter is designed for alternating current circuits and DIN rail mounting with a width of one module to easily fit in your control cabinet. The device does not require external power supply to reliably show the measured values, which makes it perfect for private household applications.

The taxxo ER 80-1 is also a single-phase meter with an illuminated digital LC display that shows six digits in two lines. The counter can be reset anytime which allows an easy monitoring of consumption and therefore a reliable cost control.

Friday, September 26, 2014

Grässlin announces investments in R&D and product marketing

ST. GEORGEN, GERMANY: Grässlin - a manufacturer of energy control solutions located in the Black Forest - announced that it is making investments in its Research & Development, Engineering and Product Marketing teams in Germany to meet growing demand from its OEM and Distribution customers around the world.

Grässlin is part of the Intermatic Inc. companies. Intermatic, headquartered in the United States, relies on Grässlin's German engineering competencies for its HVAC product lines in North America. Intermatic is a manufacturer of electronic controls, including time switches that allow businesses and residences to improve their energy efficiency and security.

Rick Boutilier, CEO and president of Intermatic, announced the increased focus on Engineering and Product Marketing resources at Grässlin because of the growing demand of energy controls, security solutions and efficiency solutions in markets throughout the world.

In 2013 Grässlin consolidated its Technology department back to the Black Forest, making a clear commitment to the location, German engineering and strengthening of the Grässlin head quarter. Grässlin's factory in Peterzell is a main production facility, and the Intermatic and Grässlin manufacturing portfolio includes locations in Juarez, Mexico. Furthermore, Intermatic and Grässlin have sales and supply chain offices throughout the world to meet customer demand.

Both Grässlin and Intermatic are convinced that these measures will promote the innovation and the quality of the Grässlin products so requirements and demands of the supplied markets can be further exceeded in the future.

Thursday, September 25, 2014

Magnolia Solar signs share exchange agreement with Solar Silicon Resources

ALBANY & WOBURN, USA: Magnolia Solar Corp. announced that on September 19, 2014 it signed a Share Exchange Agreement with Solar Silicon Resources Group Pte Ltd ("SSRG") to merge their business interests and assets.

The SEA was entered into between Magnolia Solar and SSRG, and the parent of SSRG, Auzminerals Resource Group Ltd, both Singapore corporations. The closing of the transaction is anticipated to take place in 60-90 days.

Post-closing, SSRG shall become a wholly owned subsidiary of Magnolia Solar in exchange for which the Parent will own 95 percent and Magnolia Solar shareholders will own 5 percent of Magnolia Solar.

The name of the combined company is planned to be changed to High Purity Quartz Technologies. Based upon the financial condition and assets of the combined company, High Purity Quartz Technologies plans to apply to up-list from OTC QB to NYSE MKT or NASDAQ as soon as practicable.

SSRG is primarily a technology company that since early 2010, at its research and test plant facility in Australia, has focused on validating its advanced new techniques and methods of manufacturing HPQS and other high purity quartz materials extensively used in the semiconductor and solar industries, and high-end electronics worldwide.

The SSRG assets include the Lighthouse rock quartz mine in Australia. SSRG also owns extensive reserves of high-purity silica sand, which is used for HD/LCD TV screens.

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Revenue from smart waste technology likely to exceed $42 billion from 2014-2023

BOULDER, USA: A new report from Navigant Research analyzes the global market for smart waste technologies, with a focus on four application segments: smart collection, smart processing, smart energy recovery, and smart disposal.

Aiming to enhance the collection of municipal solid waste (MSW), generate renewable energy, and optimize the environmental performance of landfills, municipal governments and private waste management companies are adopting emerging smart technologies for the collection, processing, and disposal of MSW.

The use of these technologies results in more integrated waste management offerings that move beyond the traditional use of labor, diesel trucks, and open pits to discard MSW. Click to tweet: According to a recent report from Navigant Research, cumulative worldwide revenue from smart waste technologies is expected to total more than $42 billion from 2014-2023.

“At the heart of the smart MSW revolution lies a focus on waste as a strategic renewable resource for material and energy recovery,” says Mackinnon Lawrence, research director with Navigant Research. “Given that the total volume of waste generated globally is expected to grow by nearly 50 percent over the next 10 years, the adoption of innovative technologies for MSW is both a business opportunity and an environmental imperative.”

Smart MSW technologies touch on the four principal phases of the traditional MSW management value chain, according to the report: collection, processing, energy recovery, and disposal. Although as much as 43 percent of the global MSW stream is handled today by some aspect of the smart MSW technology market at some point along the existing chain, the market is still in its infancy.

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Solar3D touts advantages of owning vs. leasing solar

SANTA BARBARA, USA: Solar3D Inc. commented on the growing trend among commercial and residential property owners to own, rather than lease, their solar systems.

Recently, influential experts and media alike have referenced the many reasons why owning a solar system is more advantageous than leasing. Earlier this year, a Fox Business article shared, "Homeowners who chose to own the solar panels not only get the best price but they can also benefit from city and state tax breaks depending on where they live."

A writer for the Institute For Local Self Reliance stated, "...in the years ahead, the expiration of federal tax incentives and simplified options for ownership (and its significant better long-term value) will mean a surge back toward solar ownership."

Among the benefits, SUNworks highlights the government support, citing 30 percent unlimited federal tax credits and state-provided cash rebates. Additionally, owning creates an exemption from future rate hikes due to the offset of utility bills, as well possessing the ability to write off the interests paid on a solar home loan, as opposed to lease payments which cannot be written off.

Lastly, owning a solar system appreciates the value of your home, and provides more flexibility and freedom regarding size and the actual solar installer. Many times, the system pays for itself within five to seven years, equating to a 25-35 percent internal rate of return.

IKEA Group to expand customer solar offer beyond UK to eight new countries

LEIDEN, THE NETHERLANDS: IKEA Group announced that before the end of this year, it will expand its residential solar offer from the UK to the Netherlands and Switzerland, making solar energy affordable to many more homeowners. Over the coming 18 months, the offer will roll out to a further six countries.

As well as helping its customers to access renewable energy, the company is also making strong progress on the EUR1.5 billion it has committed to invest in wind and solar power for its own operations. So far it has installed 700,000 solar panels on its stores and buildings and has committed to own and operate 224 wind turbines as part of its goal to match 100 percent of its energy use with renewable energy generation by 2020.

The company also highlighted a commitment for all plastic material used in its home furnishing products to be 100 percent renewable and/or recycled by 2020. Together the announcements mark a significant step forward in the company's People & Planet Positive sustainability strategy.

The announcements were made in New York by Peter Agnefjäll, the IKEA Group president and CEO, on the eve of the UN Climate Summit which he is attending to call for ambitious measure to tackle climate change.

Canadian Solar constructs and energises first PV solar power plant at Shibushichocho

GUELPH, CANADA: Canadian Solar Inc. announced the completion of the 1.2 MW (DC) solar photovoltaic (PV) power plant at Shibushichocho, Kagoshima Prefecture in Japan.

Powered by Canadian Solar CS6P-255P modules, the plant will generate approximately 1,533MWh of clean, emission-less solar electricity per year. The electricity generated from the project will be purchased by Kyushu Electric Power Co. Inc. under a 20-year feed-in-tariff contract at the rate of 40.00 yen ($0.37) per kWh.

"We are delighted to complete the construction and grid-connection of our first PV solar power plant in Japan," commented Dr. Shawn Qu, chairman and CEO of Canadian Solar. "This is an important accomplishment for our project development and EPC teams in Japan and represents another step in the successful execution of our total solar energy solutions strategy."

Canadian Solar's late stage utility-scale project pipeline in Japan currently stands at 405MW (DC). In addition to the 1.2MW project that has just been connected to the grid, approximately 42.4MW are expected to start construction in the third and fourth quarters of 2014.

Of the total 405MW late stage pipeline, approximately 150MW have full grid connection approval (Keitou Renkei Shoudakusho), and are in the construction permitting stage.

Meyer Burger awarded contract by Hanwha Q Cells

DRESDEN, GERMANY: Meyer Burger and its Group Member Roth & Rau AG have successfully concluded an important contract with Europe´s largest photovoltaics provider, Hanwha Q Cells, for the delivery of MB-PERC upgrade equipment to its production facilities in Germany and Malaysia. Delivery of the systems is planned for late 2014 and the first half of 2015.

Following an successful evaluation phase, Meyer Burger Technology Ltd (SIX Swiss Exchange: MBTN) today announced that Europe’s largest photovoltaics provider, Hanwha Q Cells, has selected the PERC (Passivated Emitter Rear Cell) solar cell technology developed by Meyer Burger’s competence centre for coating technologies, Roth & Rau AG, for the upgrade of their standard solar cell production technology to their PERC-based Q.ANTUM technology.

The contract is for the delivery of MAiA equipment and PERC technology to Hanwha Q Cells’ manufacturing facilities in Germany and in Malaysia in late 2014 and includes the option for the supply of additional MAiA production systems in early 2015.

The implementation of Meyer Burger’s industrially proven PERC upgrade systems, will enable Hanwha Q Cells to significantly increase the efficiency of its high efficiency solar cells such as the Q.ANTUM series under the Q CELLS brand.

RENA and SoLayTec’s InPERC technology reaches 18 percent efficiency on mc-Si at a major Chinese cell manufacturer

SHANGHAI, CHINA & GITENBACH, GERMANY: RENA’s Inline technology for Passivated Emitter and Rear Cell, "InPERC" is currently being implemented at a major customer’s site on pilot production level.

With top cell efficiencies of 18 percent on multicrystalline wafers, RENA successfully transferred its complete InPERC solution comprising rear-side smoothing, passivation, laser ablation, and overall process integration to its customer’s facility.

SoLayTec’s InPassion Atomic Layer Deposition (ALD) tool is a core component of the InPERC high efficiency concept. Its spatial ALD technology allows ultra-fast deposition of aluminium-oxide (Al2O3) layers with outstanding uniformities and passivation properties. This is key for reaching high cell efficiencies while at the same time minimizing the requested layer thickness and the total process costs.

RENA’s and SoLayTec’s customer adopted the InPERC solution for its high performance pilot line. The top efficiencies of 18 percent were achieved without using a selective emitter concept and are already on par with the target set up by the Chinese government for new high efficiency cell lines.

SunShare and Hyland Hills Water World sign one of nation's largest community solar agreements

DENVER, USA: Denver-based SunShare announced it has contracted with Hyland Hills Park and Recreation District to provide Water World,  the largest community owned water park in the country, and its other district properties with 1.4 megawatts of clean, reliable energy from its Adams County Community Solar Garden.

This is among the largest Community Solar deals to be signed between a Community Solar developer and a consumer. SunShare is one of the nation's first Community Solar providers.

"We are proud to be part of this Solar Garden with SunShare," said Harlan Bryant, District engineer for Hyland Hills Park & Recreation District. "It is a win, win, win situation. We're helping Xcel Energy meet its renewable energy requirements; we're helping SunShare, a Colorado company, create jobs here in Colorado; and the District is saving money on our electricity bills." Water World just celebrated its 35th summer in Denver.

Not only an environmental decision, but also an economic one, Hyland Hills will fix part of the District's energy costs at today's levels, protecting it from volatile fossil fuel prices. SunShare will be providing 1.4 megawatts to help power the recreation district and Water World, the equivalent of powering over 300 homes for 20 years.

Dutch Minister of Economic Affairs opens EU PVSEC 2014

AMSTERDAM, THE NETHERLANDS: Henk Kamp, the Minister of Economic Affairs of The Netherlands gave an introductory speech at the political opening session of EU PVSEC 2014.

He said: “The success of solar energy does not only depend on technological innovation it also requires social and economic adoptions. For this reason I welcome the broad scope of this year’s conference which includes topics such as grid integration, system reliability and policies.

"Last year, the Dutch solar industry sector generated a turnover of one billion euro, and today Dutch technologies power half of the world’s solar panels thanks to our ability in technological cooperation i.e. between manufacturers and research, high-tech solutions and design. For instance, we are today demonstrating the integration of solar systems into buildings in zero emission urban areas.”

“The current geopolitical situation reinforces the importance of the three objectives of the EU energy policy: competitive affordable energy, security of supply and sustainability,” said Marie Donnelly, director in DG Energy, Directorate Renewables, Research and Innovation, Energy Efficiency EC Commission.
Energy has moved right to the top of the EU political agenda and in this regard renewables are a key resource that we have. This is the reason why President Juncker wants Europe to be the world leader in renewable energy.

“Many times when we have a discussion on renewables we only consider it for the production of electricity, but we should not neglect the role that renewables can play in heating and transport, which represent 47 percent and 30 percent of EU energy consumption respectively,” she continued.

PV is part of the transition that we are trying to achieve in the energy system, the most evident one being to push out consumers at the center of the energy market. “Up until now PV electricity was produced to be sold to the grid but in the next five years one of the most important targets to achieve is exploiting PV electricity directly in our homes,” she concluded.

Fokko Pettinga, president of Amtech Systems gave an overview of the current status and needs of the PV sector from the point of view of a leading equipment manufacturer. By 2020 the market for PV will exceed one hundred gigawatts worldwide and as the market becomes global the changes in national legislation and support measures will become less important.

He emphasized how important technological cooperation between industries and research is for the PV sector, especially in this particular moment. In the last three years with the prices of solar modules falling, the industry has mainly targeted cost reductions. Today we are already witnessing a slight increase in the price of cells, so at this stage the PV industry must work again to improve cells efficiency in order to secure grid parity. In this regard he said the PV industry should target a goal of 0.5 percent increase in efficiency and 0.5 cents/KWh cost reduction every year.

The following panel discussion, moderated by Melinda Crane, chief political correspondent Deutsche Welle, provided the audience with an outlook on the expectations for the near future of the PV industry and the role of policy and research in this.

Paolo Frankl, International Energy Agency, highlighted that by 2020 China will be the world’s top market and and Europe will be the second, but the level of the EU market will depend on the predictability and credibility of its policy framework. However as the PV market becomes global, the industry will have to learn to deliver more and more services together with technologies, and it will have to be able to do this in different countries and conditions.

Giovanni De Santi, director of the Institute for Energy and Transport JRC, European Commission, remarked that we are at a very important tipping point, as the cost of production of the electricity from PV is now equal or less than the retail price almost everywhere. This gives the PV industry an opportunity to broaden the scope of its research and production activities on aspects such as energy storage, smart grid and building integration.

Dr. Stefan Glunz, Fraunhofer Institute for Solar Energy Systems, was awarded with the European Becquerel Prize for Outstanding Merits in Photovoltaics, for his pioneering work in high-efficiency silicon solar cells. This prize was established by the European Commission in 1989 to mark the 150th anniversary of Alexandre-Edmond Becquerel’s discovery of the photovoltaic effect in 1839, which laid the foundation of both, photovoltaics and photography.

Duke Energy supplies additional details on solar projects as part of $500 million commitment

CHARLOTTE, USA: Duke Energy announced a number of partner companies it will use to build three previously announced solar projects in North Carolina by the end of 2015.

The company will construct and own some of the largest solar facilities on the East Coast, totaling 128 megawatts (MW) of capacity. These projects are part of the company's recently announced $500 million commitment to solar.

Construction is expected to begin in early 2015. When underway, up to 750 local construction jobs will be created. Before construction, the projects must obtain approval from the North Carolina Utilities Commission (NCUC).

"In addition to helping our local economies, the projects will benefit customers by having experienced solar companies involved," said Rob Caldwell, senior VP, Distributed Energy Resources. "This furthers Duke Energy's commitment to the communities we serve while meeting our goal of bringing large amounts of cost-effective renewable energy onto our system."

Duke Energy projects
* At the 65-MW Warsaw Solar Facility in Duplin County, Chapel Hill-based Strata Solar will serve as the engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) contractor. The project will use solar panels manufactured by Arizona-based First Solar, and the solar inverters will be manufactured by the German company SMA Solar Technology, with production facilities in Denver, Colo.

* At the 40-MW Elm City Solar Facility in Wilson County, First Solar will supply its Series-4 thin-film solar panels and serve as the EPC contractor. SMA Solar Technology will supply the inverters.

* At the 23-MW project in Bladen County, near the Cumberland County line, Arizona-based Phoenix Solar will be the project's EPC contactor. The solar panels will be manufactured by Yingli Solar.

Duke Energy will also purchase power from five other new solar projects to be built and owned by other companies. Altogether, the eight projects total 278 MW.

Monday, September 22, 2014

First GW of installed PV capacity and thousands of jobs created in PV sector today in Netherlands

AMSTERDAM, THE NETHERLANDS: The 29th European Photovoltaic Solar Energy Conference and Exhibition (EU PVSEC 2014) started on Monday 22 September, with more than 1,500 contributions from 71 countries in all areas of PV technologies, applications, markets and policies.

The conference will be combined with a top PV industry Exhibition to showcase new products and technical innovations from all over the world and from all areas of PV. This 29th conference will address not only the technical progress in research and deployment, but will also highlight the impact that the growth of PV will have on our overall energy system.

The Netherland’s Minister of Economic Affairs Henk Kamp, opened the conference. Just this month, the Netherlands celebrated its first GW of installed PV capacity.

Teun P. Bokhoven, Conference General chairman and president of the Dutch Renewable Energy Federation says: “With the geo-political tension in the world today and Europe’s urgent need to become more energy independent, PV can strongly contribute toward a more sustainable energy future in Europe”.

“This period may be a turning point for Europe,” says Bokhoven. “Europe’s PV manufacturing capacity decreased strongly over the past years. Despite this with a strong European market and export potential, new opportunities arise for the upstream side of PV manufacturing, using the latest state of the art of Europe’s technology in producing PV at higher efficiencies and lower cost. The distribution and storage of solar energy will become as important as producing it. New challenges arise. Focus has been in the past on the production of solar energy. Today we need to look far more downstream and address the challenges of energy distribution and storage as well."

Arnulf Jaeger-Waldau, Conference Technical Programme chairman, says, “The conference in Amsterdam is an excellent opportunity to raise awareness that the declining trend of the PV industry both in manufacturing and implementation can be revised with the right political framework to exploit Europe’s innovation potential and revitalize manufacturers and installers”.

Monday’s scientific opening provided presentations on recent research advancements and new technologies.

Yingli Solar to supply over 24 MW of PV modules to Pavana solar power plant

BAODING, CHINA: Yingli Green Energy Holding Co. Ltd, the largest vertically integrated photovoltaic module manufacturer in the world, known as "Yingli Solar," announced that it will supply over 24 megawatts (MW) of solar PV modules for the Pavana Solar Park, which is the largest solar power plant to break ground in Honduras.

The project is owned by Energia Basica S.A., a Honduran energy company. Sybac Solar, a leading global solar integrator based in the United States, will provide engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) services.

Located in the city of Choluteca in southern Honduras, the Pavana Solar power plant is expected to be the largest solar project to connect to the country's national utility grid. Yingli will deliver nearly 80,000 large-format YGE 72 Cell Series modules to the project site from October through November 2014, and interconnection is expected to take place during the first quarter of 2015.

Forecasts indicate that the system will generate approximately 40,000 megawatt-hours annually, which is equivalent to the annual electricity consumption of about 61,000 Honduran citizens.

ZSW's new best mark in thin-film solar performance with 21.7 percent efficiency

STUTTGART, GERMANY: The Centre for Solar Energy and Hydrogen Research Baden-Württemberg (ZSW) has set a new world record in thin-film photovoltaics.

Scientists in Stuttgart achieved 21.7 percent efficiency with a solar cell made of copper indium gallium diselenide (CIGS). ZSW succeeded in bringing the record back to the institute with this cell's performance.

Swedish researchers achieved a new best mark in June, which has now been surpassed by 0.7 percentage points. The progress underway in the southwest of Germany is helping to make solar power more affordable.

EHT completes 108 KW solar energy installation under Ontario Fit program

TORONTO, CANADA: EnerDynamic Hybrid Technologies Corp. (formerly MCM Capital One Inc.) is pleased to announce that it has completed the installation of the 108 Kilowatt St. Etienne Project under the Ontario Feed-in Tariff (FIT) program.

The project includes approximately 520 Jinko solar panels, Schletter racking and Santerno Inverters. It is 25 percent owned and operated by EHT over the 20 year PPA and produces approximately 130,000 Kilowatt hours per annum and earns a rate of 71.3 cents per Kilowatt hour.

"While not material to our overall business, the Project was installed using our new rapid deployment installation system which includes a 30 percent reduction in labor costs and standardization of our supply chain," says John Gamble, CEO. "The know-how, including efficiencies and cost savings, derived from this project will drive enhanced profitability for future large scale EHT owned solar projects."

Under the Ontario Feed-in Tariff program, administered by the Ontario Power Authority, the project is backed by a 20-year Power Purchase Agreement (PPA). In total, over the next 20 years, the project will provide in excess of 2.5 million hours of clean electricity for the Province of Ontario.

29th EU PVSEC starts in Amsterdam

AMSTERDAM, THE NETHERLANDS: Henk Kamp, The Netherland’s Minister of Economic Affairs opened the 29th European Photovoltaic Solar Energy Conference and Exhibition (EU PVSEC 2014) on Monday, 22 September 2014, 10:00.

Opening addresses are followed by Ms Marie Donnelly, European Commission, Director in DG Energy, Directorate Renewables, Research and Innovation, Energy Efficiency, and Fokko Pentinga, President of Amtech Systems, Member of the select Top Team Energy, the Netherlands.

The Opening Ceremony is chaired by Vladimir Sucha, Director General JRC, European Commission, and by Teun Bokhoven, Conference General Chair of the EU PVSEC 2014 and President of the Dutch Renewable Energy Federation.

Following the Opening Addresses / Political Opening, a round table of distinguished international personalities will discuss on Europe’s role in globalized PV Research, Industry and Markets.

HyperSolar sees market opportunity for fuel cell vehicles with Toyota FCV

SANTA BARBARA, USA: HyperSolar Inc., the developer of a breakthrough technology to produce renewable hydrogen using sunlight and water, commented today on the recent debut of the 2015 Toyota FCV, a sedan which runs on hydrogen power, and is expected to reach dealerships in the middle of next year.

The vehicle, chronicled in a recent USA Today story, is expected to possess an approximate 300-mile range, and cost around $50-$60 to refuel. The highly anticipated automobile will join other hydrogen-powered vehicles including the Hyundai Tucson Fuel Cell and Honda FCX Clarity, as auto manufacturers continue to develop fuel cell powered vehicles.

Toyota also commented on the scalability of hydrogen fuel cell technologies, citing the need for large vehicles such as buses and trucking fleets to become more energy efficient.

The product rollouts are rapidly growing, as manufacturers seek to leverage market opportunities, such as in the state of California where approximately 50 stations are expected to be operating by the end of 2016. Toyota highlighted the importance of fueling infrastructure and production, as a spokesperson for the company referenced the state's approximately $200 million in funding from the California Energy Commission, as well as Toyota's "undisclosed investment in hydrogen producer FirstElement Fuel."

This expansion of fueling stations has increased the need for actual hydrogen fuel production, for which HyperSolar seeks to apply its hydrogen fuel produced from renewable resources such as wind or solar, known as "green hydrogen," as opposed to "brown hydrogen" produced from natural gas, a fossil fuel.

The market for renewable hydrogen production is anticipated to grow as according to a 2014 Union of Concerned Scientists article at least 33 percent of the hydrogen provided at a company's California filling stations must come from renewable sources to meet the standard.

Abengoa announces first asset sale to Abengoa Yield

WASHINGTON, USA: Abengoa, the company that develops innovative technology solutions for sustainable development in the energy and environment sectors, has entered into a definitive agreement with Abengoa Yield, subject to the closing of financing, to sell three renewable facilities for a total amount of $323 million.

The transaction has been approved by both Abengoa Yield's and Abengoa's boards of directors.

The renewable assets sold consist of:
* Solacor and PS, Concentrating Solar Power assets with a combined capacity of 131 MW located in Spain,
* Cadonal, a 50 MW wind farm located in Uruguay.

The closing of the operation is scheduled to be formalized before the end of the year and is framed within the Right Of First Refusal agreement signed by both companies.

SunEdison accelerates mission of bringing power to remote areas with latest India projects

BELMONT, USA & CHENNAI, INDIA: SunEdison Inc. has announced a new project that will install 241 kilowatts (kW) of solar PV micro-grids with battery storage in 54 remote Indian villages, bringing cost effective electricity access to 7,800 off-grid individuals.

Under the Indian government's decentralized distribution generation scheme administered by the Rural Electrification Corp. (REC) and Andhra Pradesh Eastern Power Distribution Co. Ltd (APEPDCL), SunEdison will build, operate and then transfer the facilities to the public within five years, putting the power of energy generation into the hands of the people.

"Rough terrain and limited road access make this project the most difficult rural installation SunEdison has attempted to date, but it isn't just about logistics or economics for us; it's about creating positive, long term social and environmental impact as well," said Pashupathy Gopalan, president of SunEdison Asia Pacific. "More and more businesses and organizations are understanding that this triple bottom line approach is working, and they are joining us in bringing clean energy to those who need it most."

SunEdison also announced today a new grant to enable 200 salt farmers in the Little Runn of Kutch area of India to purchase solar water pumps. The solar water pumps will be used by the families to pump brine and ultimately to produce salt. The salt farmers have been using diesel powered pumps, but rising diesel fuel prices have eroded their income and driven many of them into poverty. The grant was made to the Grassroot Trading Network for Women, a not-for-profit company promoted and owned by the nearly 2 million member strong Self Employed Women's Association (SEWA) of India.

SunEdison will begin construction of the mini-grids in October 2014 and plans to commission them by March 2015. Capacity building and installation of the solar water pumps will begin in November of this year. Both projects are part of the SunEdison Eradication of Darkness (SEED) program, an initiative funded by the SunEdison Foundation to bring sustainable energy to the billions of people globally who lack the electricity critical for healthcare, sustenance, and education.

Blue Sun earns BQ-9000 producer status

SAINT JOSEPH, USA: Blue Sun has received BQ-9000 Producer status from the National Biodiesel Accreditation Commission and National Biodiesel Board. There are fewer than 50 companies that have achieved this milestone recognition.

The NBAC's National Biodiesel Accreditation Program, BQ-9000, is a co-operative and voluntary program for the accreditation of producers and marketers of biodiesel fuel. The program is a unique combination of the ASTM standard for biodiesel, ASTM D6751, and a quality systems program that includes storage, sampling, testing, blending, shipping, distribution, and fuel management practices.

The Blue Sun process includes a biodiesel distillation step, which further elevates the quality of the fuel. Blue Sun fuel exceeds ASTM D6751, particularly in low contaminants including very low monoglycerides (below 0.1 percent) and excellent cold soak performance.

Friday, September 19, 2014

SunEdison announces completion of 1.8 MW solar electric system on superfund site

BELMONT, USA: SunEdison Inc., a leading global solar technology manufacturer and provider of solar energy services, in partnership with BlueWave Capital LLC of Boston, announced the completion of a 1.8 megawatt (MW) DC solar power plant  constructed on a remediated EPA Superfund site in New Bedford, Massachusetts.

The system was developed on approximately 10 acres of land on the remediated Sullivan's Ledge landfill site and represents another significant step towards meeting the City of New Bedford's goal to satisfy 60% of their electricity needs from solar power. The City of New Bedford is the owner and host of the site and will purchase the net metering credits generated from the system.

SunEdison partnered with BlueWave Capital to develop the project, arranged construction financing and permanent financing for the project, and managed local partners to provide EPC services. This project marks the second of three solar projects that SunEdison and BlueWave have developed for the City of New Bedford, a community that has been recognized nationally as being a leader in renewable energy.

White House highlights new DOE measures to advance RE deployment

WASHINGTON, USA: Building on the President’s Climate Action Plan and the Administration’s effort to diversify our energy portfolio and cut energy waste, the Energy Department announced a series of executive actions to expand the deployment of renewable energy and cut greenhouse gas emissions.

Altogether, these measures will bring the US closer to its clean energy future, while protecting the environment and helping Americans save money by saving energy.

New effort to train skilled veterans, drive solar deployment
Record-breaking growth in the solar industry over the past few years is driving high demand for skilled solar workers. To connect skilled veterans to the clean energy industry, the Energy Department’s Solar Instructor Training Network  is launching a pilot job training program for veterans at up to three military bases this fall.

The network aims to connect talented veterans with the Department’s extensive network of more than 400 community college-based solar training institutions.

Further cost reductions in solar energy
Solar energy deployment continues to grow at a rapid pace in the U.S. as costs continue to fall substantially. Three studies conducted by the Energy Department’s Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (LBNL) highlight the decline of solar energy costs across utility, residential and commercial scale systems.

Additionally, LBNL’s Tracking the Sun study finds that in 2013, the installed price of residential and commercial photovoltaic systems continued to decline rapidly in recent years, falling by 12 to 15 percent from the prior year, depending on the size of the system.

The Energy Department’s SunShot Initiative also announced a new online tool to chip away at solar soft costs– like interconnection, permitting, and financing. A new website, Solar Powering America, provides easy access to a variety of resources to encourage solar deployment, including funding programs, best practices, and interactive tools and datasets from multiple federal agencies.

Better Buildings challenge gains 28 new partners
President Obama launched the Better Buildings Challenge in February 2011 to accelerate private sector investment in energy efficiency and make commercial and industrial buildings 20 percent more energy efficient over the next decade.

Today, 28 new states, cities, multifamily housing organizations, retailers, commercial real estate organizations and manufacturing organizations announced that they are joining the Better Buildings Challenge. These new Partners have committed to improve the energy efficiency of more than 400 million square feet of building space. In total, more than 200 Better Buildings Challenge Partners, representing more than 3 billion square feet, 600 manufacturing plants and more than $2 billion in financing, are on track to meet the 2020 goal. The new partners are:

* State of New York
* Chula Vista, CA
* Beacon Communities, MA
* The Boston Land Company, MA
* Century Housing, CA
* Cheyenne Housing Authority, WY
* Cion Housing, NM
* Darigold, WA
* District of Columbia Housing Authority
* East Hartford Housing Authority, CT
* Haverty’s, GA
* Housing Authority of McDonough County, GA
* FirstService Residential, NY
* Fort Wayne Housing Authority, IN
* Houston Housing Authority, TX
* Island Grove Village Apartments, CO
* JBG Commercial, MD
* Jewish Community Housing for the Elderly, MA
* Korman Residential Properties, PA
* The Model Group, OH
* Nevada Rural Housing Authority, NV
* New Life Homes, NM
* Peabody Properties, MA
* Presby’s Inspired Life, PA
* Schochet Companies, MA
* The Silver Group, CA.

Additionally, five new state, local and regional organizations are joining the Better Buildings High Performance Outdoor Lighting Accelerator, bringing the Department closer to exceeding the goal to replace more than 500,000 outdoor lighting poles with more efficient ones by 2016. The new partners are:

* Rhode Island Office of Energy Resources
* Southeast Michigan Regional Energy Office
* Southern California Regional Energy Office
* Portland, Maine
* Flint, Michigan.

Efficiency standard for commercial air conditioners proposed
Building on the effort to help Americans save money by saving energy, the Department issued a proposed energy efficiency conservation standard for commercial unitary air conditioners, often used in commercial and industrial buildings.

If finalized as proposed, the standard would save 11.7 quads of energy over the lifetime of units shipped over 30 years, the largest energy savings estimated for any efficiency standard issued by the Department to date, while also potentially helping to cut more than 60 million metric tons of carbon pollution by 2030. The standard could expected to save consumers nearly $10 billion on their energy bills through 2030.

SPI Solar announces developments in solar PV market in Hawaii

ROSEVILLE, USA: SPI Solar has entered into an agreement to acquire certain assets relating to current SPI solar PV projects in Hawaii.

Under the terms of the agreement, SPI will acquire Hawaiian Power, LLC’s equity interests and debt related to an SPI and HPL joint venture to develop and operate solar PV projects in Hawaii.

As a result of the transaction, SPI will own a 100 percent interest in an entity that currently has approximately 15.0 megawatts under development in Hawaii. The aggregate purchase price for the assets is $3.95 million consisting of 3,000,000 SPI Solar shares of common stock valued at $1.15 per share, subject to adjustment, and $0.5 million in cash, with closing expected in September 2014.

Separately, SPI also announced that it has commenced providing engineering, procurement and construction services on the first MW of a series of projects on Maui, Hawaii. SPI’s provision of EPC services on these projects, which comprise four 0.25 MW projects on Maui, together total approximately 1 MW of nameplate capacity. The estimated completion date for these projects is December 2014.

In addition, SPI has also acquired the development rights to an additional 2.5 MW of projects near Kona, Hawaii. With SPI’s approximately 15 MWs under current development in Hawaii and, with this investment, SPI’s total solar project interests in the Hawaii PV market will now comprise approximately 17.5 MW, all of which are expected to be completed throughout the remainder of 2014 and 2015.

Array Technologies and ET Solar partner on Bakersfield 111 solar park

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. & SAN FRANCISCO, USA: System reliability is always paramount and Bakersfield 111 Solar Park presents industry-leading tracker manufacturer, Array Technologies, Inc. (ATI) and ET Solar's turn-key solar financial solutions provider, ET Capital, with an interesting case in point.

Not only does the 1.8 MW DC facility need to operate properly in the extreme temperatures of the desert-like summers typical of the San Joaquin Valley, but also withstand winds in excess of 105 MPH. Given these conditions, not just any tracking or racking system would do.

The DuraTrack HZ single-axis solar tracker was chosen to meet the reliability requirements for Bakersfield 111 Solar Park. The advanced tracking system is designed to withstand site wind gusts, in this case of up to 110 MPH, without the need to stow. In addition, the DuraTrack HZ's closed, rotating gear drive system can withstand prolonged exposure to temperatures in excess of 124° F.

Another key feature is the DuraTrack HZ's ability to minimize failure points by linking up multiple rows of modules with a flexible driveline. Since each motor drives approximately 17 rows of 60 modules each, the Bakersfield 111 Solar Park employs only 6 motor units to track more than 6,000 ET Solar 300W photovoltaic modules.

With outstanding environmental adaptability, cost-effectiveness and superior performance, ET Solar's photovoltaic modules satisfy the demand of customers, and bring more returns and benefits for them. More importantly, ET Capital's tailor-made financial solutions greatly minimize the potential financing risks of Bakersfield 111 Solar Park, and ensure the implementation of project progress as planned.

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Solar3D's SUNworks Commercial Division and Recycling Industries to hold solar ribbon cutting ceremony

ROSEVILLE, USA: Solar3D Inc., a leading solar power company and the developer of a proprietary high efficiency solar cell, announced that its SUNworks Commercial Division, along with Recycling Industries Inc. (RI), are hosting a solar ribbon cutting ceremony September 30th at 11:00am to showcase the newly implemented 400kW solar system atop its Sacramento facility.

Recycling Industries has been a fixture within the Sacramento region since 1981, providing products and services to homeowners and businesses including comprehensive recycling programs, school and church fundraisers, recycling centers, and air collection systems.

Rallying behind their motto of "Green I$ Good", RI enlisted the help of SUNworks to install the largest solar project for a recycling company in the Sacramento region. RI expects the new SUNworks installed solar array to offset 80 percent of the power at its 155,000 square foot Watt Avenue recycling facility, increasing electrical efficiency and greatly reducing costs.

As Recycling Industries is among the largest recycling centers in the Sacramento region, the solar installation has generated significant attention from local, state and federal officials, along with multiple national and regional media outlets.

Grupo Clavijo presents advanced range of solar structures and trackers

SPAIN: Once again, the Spanish firm, Grupo Clavijo will be present at one of the most important events in the solar power sector in the United States: Solar Power International (Las Vegas, Nevada, USA 20-23 October).

Visitors to the event will be able to find out first-hand (Hall S3, stand 4912) the most advanced technology solutions in trackers and structures that this firm offers installers, EPC contractors and developers of solar photovoltaic projects. Its extensive range of products is designed to achieve the maximum profitability of the installation, guaranteeing the investment throughout its useful lifetime: fixed structures, horizontal single axis trackers, polar-aligned single axis trackers and dual axis trackers.

Grupo Clavijo is currently present on the five continents, where more than 600 MW has already been installed in major projects such as Chañares/Fotones (Chile, 40 MW), Hanford (California, USA, 25.4 MW), Curbans (France, 33 MW), South Africa, 100 MW, Ohad (Israel, 55 MW) and Zuera (Spain, 11 MW). The firm plans to finish 2014 with more than 1.2 GW of installed power.

Grupo Clavijo offers technology and innovation in its entire range of products and a comprehensive service that includes installation and optional maintenance in any part of the world. And it all comes with the highest certifications and guarantees: UNE-EN-ISO 9001:2008 quality management system, TÜV-NORD, “Resistance and stability – serviceability” structural safety certificate 2011 and Technical Due Diligence, Bankability Report, Black & Veatch (B&V) 2012.

Solar Power International Las Vegas is one of the major showcases for products and services for the international solar market, with more than 600 exhibitors and over 16,000 expected professional visitors.

Suntech and Greenfield form strategic alliance with youmex providing complete financial package in the UK

WUXI, CHINA: Shunfeng Photovoltaic International Ltd and Greenfield Solar International GmbH & Co. KG have entered into a strategic alliance with German-based clean energy financing and investment group youmex to finance and sell their solar farm projects pipeline in Great Britain using Suntech as its exclusive PV panel supplier for projects.

"We are excited to complement our partnership with Greenfield with youmex's financial services to our customers. We believe that this alliance will serve as another catalyst for growth in the UK's solar market," said Eric Luo, CEO of Suntech. Luo, who is also responsible for Shunfeng Photovoltaics International Holding's acquisition strategy, added that, "Through our partnership, Suntech and Shunfeng will be able to look at other acquisitions in the market as part of our strategy to become the largest integrated clean energy supplier globally."

In the alliance, Greenfield will provide EPC services, while youmex will arrange construction loans and long-term project financing as well as selling the PV Solar Power Plants to investors.

"With its fully integrated transaction management of these three tasks, youmex speeds up and assures the whole process of financing and sales for one of the largest PV pipelines in UK," explains Kai Hartmann, head of Corporate and Structured Finance at youmex group. "We are very thrilled to be part of the alliance that unites the core competencies, experiences and strengths of these three complementary partners."

"Together with the expertise of Suntech and youmex, our alliance is well-positioned to solidify a strong presence within the UK's solar PV market," echoed Helmut Kube, MD of Greenfield.

Among its many products for utility-scale projects, Suntech produces 60 Cell polycrystalline modules which are excellent for weak light performance markets such as the UK and are manufactured with advanced cell technology material making them highly resistant to Potential Induced Degradation (PID), thus allowing for high performance under extreme conditions for many years.

"We have great confidence in the quality and sustainability of our products for these projects," said Luo. "Our polycrystalline silicon modules recently ranked above industry standards in a technical review conducted by UK-based consultancy OST Energy and received the VDE-Quality Tested certification, which recognizes high quality products that go beyond existing standards in the photovoltaic industry."

EMCORE announces sale of space PV business to Veritas Capital

ALBUQUERQUE, USA: EMCORE Corp., a leading provider of compound semiconductor-based components, subsystems, and systems for the fiber optics and space solar power industries, announced that it has entered into a definitive agreement with an affiliate of private equity firm Veritas Capital, under which an affiliate of Veritas has agreed to purchase EMCORE's Space Photovoltaics business for $150 million in cash.

The transaction is subject to approval by EMCORE's shareholders and other customary closing conditions and is currently expected to close in December 2014 or January 2015. The transaction is not subject to a financing condition.

In connection with this transaction, an affiliate of Veritas has entered into a voting agreement with certain shareholders of EMCORE, including certain directors and officers of the Company, that control in the aggregate approximately 11 percent of the voting power of the company, under which they have agreed to vote their shares in favor of the transaction.

EMCORE's Space Photovoltaics business was founded in 1998 and is based in Albuquerque, NM. The business provides products for space power applications including high-efficiency multi-junction solar cells, coverglass interconnected cells and complete satellite solar panels, along with terrestrial applications, including high-efficiency multi-junction solar cells for concentrating photovoltaic power systems.

Verengo reaches 75 MW residential solar milestone

TORRANCE, USA: Verengo Inc., one of the nation's leading residential solar specialists, announced it has reached the 75 MW (megawatt) milestone with its 13,000th residential rooftop installation.

Verengo, honored last month by Inc. magazine on its 500|5000 List as one of the fastest-growing private companies in the US, also announced an expansion plan focusing on key strategic markets on the east and west coasts.

"Verengo is having its best sales year ever," said Ken Button, Verengo co-founder and president. "Achieving 75 MW (megawatts) of PV solar installations in only six years is a remarkable accomplishment. It reflects the success of our company's trusted values and innovative strategies designed to surpass customer expectations."

"Our business is maturing. We believe that if we focus our investment in our most profitable core markets of Southern California and the east coast, particularly New York, we can lower consumer costs, enhance customer service and drive long-term profitable growth," Button added, noting that the company recently closed a round of financing to support this growth plan.

SEMI releases Q2 2014 worldwide PV equipment market statistics report

SAN JOSE, USA: SEMI has reported the worldwide PV manufacturing equipment billings and bookings for the second quarter of 2014. Worldwide billings increased to $319 million in Q2 2014, an increase of 33 percent from the prior quarter but 11 percent below the same quarter a year ago.

Worldwide bookings for the first quarter declined to $234 million, 21 percent below Q1 2014, but 25 percent higher than Q2 2013.  At 0.73, the book-to-bill ratio is below parity.
On a regional basis, equipment bookings in Q2 2014 dramatically increased in the Americas and decreased in Europe and Asia.  However, Asia still represented almost 80 percent of total PV equipment bookings.

The worldwide PV equipment billings and bookings data is gathered jointly by SEMI and the German Engineering Federation (VDMA) from about 40 global equipment companies that provide data on a quarterly basis.

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Rwanda hires UK firm to roll-out solar energy

KIGALI, RWANDA: Rwanda has contracted Ignite Power Ltd, a British company, to provide solar powered electricity to Rwandan households.

The company will start with a pilot of 1,000 households in four of Rwanda's 30 districts, including Kamonyi and Gisagara.

Francis Gatare, Rwanda Development Board (RDB)'s CEO, said if the pilot yields positive results, the company will be allowed to roll out between 250,000 and 1 million panels.

The two-year contract will enable energy access to remote places. The cost of the project will be determined after the pilot is completed, according to officials.

Yariv Cohen, chairman of the Clean Access Initiative, an affiliate of Ignite Power Ltd, said the company is trying out renewable energy at large scale.

Electricity remains Rwanda's main concern, key to propelling the country into a middle income society by the year 2020. Over 70 percent of households are expected to be covered by 2017, up from the current 21 percent.

Ignite Power will join several other solar energy projects as Rwanda seeks to explore renewable energy to serve the country's increased energy needs.

Agahozo Shalom Village has just inaugurated a $23.7m project on a 21-hectare field covered with more than 28,000 solar panels emitting 8.5MW, the largest in East Africa.

Another German-built solar plant on Mount Jali, on the outskirts of Rwanda's Capital, Kigali, has been producing up to 250KW into the national grid since 2007. There are plans to upgrade the plant to a 1MW capacity.

Rwanda Energy Group (REG), a state-owned utility company, says 85 percent of the overall primary energy consumption in Rwanda is from biomass, 11 percent from petroleum products and 4 percent from electricity.

Bullfrog Power and SolarShare launch Brampton's first community-owned solar project

TORONTO, CANADA: Bullfrog Power, Canada's leading green energy provider, and SolarShare, Canada's largest renewable energy co-operative that allows Ontario citizens and businesses to invest in community-based solar energy installations, are launching the first community-owned solar project in the City of Brampton with a rooftop ribbon-cutting.

The Holtby project, located on an industrial, mixed-use building in Brampton, Ontario, is the latest SolarShare project and was completed with investment from Bullfrog Power. Holtby is the 25th SolarShare project in Ontario and has a system capacity of 600 kilowatts. Bullfrog Power-through its Bullfrog Builds Renewable Accelerator program-is among a small group of strategic partners supporting the capital-intensive development phase of SolarShare renewable energy projects.

"This project is an important example of the impact that supporters of green energy across Canada are having each and every day," said Ron Seftel, senior VP, Operations, Bullfrog Power. "Through our Bullfrog Builds Renewable Accelerator program, bullfrogpowered individuals and businesses in the area and across Canada were able to contribute to making this project a reality."

With the successful completion of the installation, SolarShare will raise community investment through its Solar Bonds from co-op members. Investors earn a competitive 5 per cent return on 5-year bonds and so far they are close to having collectively raised an impressive $5 million from its members.

PV equipment: Dynamic first half of 2014

FRANKFURT, GERMANY: The development in turnover of the manufacturers of components, machinery and equipment for photovoltaics in Germany has seen a significant increase in the first half of 2014. Compared to the same time period last year the turnover has increased by fairly 39 percent.

“The market for production solutions and manufacturing technologies for photovoltaics has been very dynamic in the first half of 2014,” explains Dr. Peter Fath, MD of RCT Solutions GmbH and Chairman of the Board of VDMA Photovoltaic Equipment. With a global market share of over 50 percent German photovoltaic equipment suppliers defend their excellent competitive position in the first half of 2014.

This development is mainly driven by the markets in Asia. At the same time, there are also positive signals from the United States and the emerging markets in Latin America, South Africa and the MENA region. The export quota of German photovoltaic supplier was in the first half of the year at 91 percent, which provides a familiar description of the industry’s export orientation.

For the German photovoltaic engineering business is mainly located in Asia. About 70 percent of sales in the reporting period were made in Far East. Lead markets for photovoltaic equipment are primarily China and Taiwan. The US market has also progressed, where more than twice as much could be sold as in the previous year. The emerging markets have contributed nearly 8 percent of sales in the first half of the year and are well above the European countries and almost on par with the domestic business.

The strongest market segment for the German photovoltaic equipment in the first half of 2014 was cell production equipment (39 percent), followed closely by manufacturing solutions for thin-film photovoltaics (33 percent). Equipment for the crystalline backend - the module production – accounted for 15 percent of the turnover in the first half of 2014, equipment for poly - silicon, ingot and wafer manufacturing 13 percent.

The order situation in the first half of 2014 showed positive dynamics. Incoming orders increased by over 30 percent compared to the same period last year. Business in Asia also dominantes the incoming orders for photovoltaic equipment in the first half of 2014 and reached a share of over 78 percent. Orders received from the domestic market are responsible for almost 10 percent of the orders in the first half of 2014. European countries contribute only 4 percent. The remaining 8 percent are assigned to the American business.

"In view of the rapidly developing PV installation market and the good capacity utilization leading photovoltaic manufacturers photovoltaic equipment supplier expect an increased investment in modern machinery and technology. However, the ongoing trade disputes between the United States and China / Taiwan threaten to slow the current dynamics," says Dr. Florian Wessendorf, MD of VDMA Photovoltaic Equipment.

The expansion of the U.S. duties on solar products from Taiwan and the July announcement of tightening the duties on Chinese and Taiwanese solar products (cells and modules) have the consequence that further expansion plans by Chinese and Taiwanese manufacturers are reconsidered and postponed at the moment.

The orders on hand of PV equipment companies is with 5.0 production months in the second quarter 2014 only slightly weaker compared to the total mechanical engineering sector (5.7 months in June 2014). "Even though we still have to master one or the other challenge, I am convinced that the German photovoltaic equipment companies are on the right path. The industry has done their homework to the greatest possible extent," says Fath.

ReneSola expands distribution partnership with SolarMax

MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA: ReneSola Ltd announced a new partnership initiative with Swiss inverter manufacturer SolarMax to distribute SolarMax solar inverters in Australia.

The partnership is an extension of ReneSola's distribution agreement in North America, and Australia will be the second country in the world where ReneSola will sell SolarMax inverters directly to the company's customers.

ReneSola will offer its solar panels along with SolarMax's P-series and MT-series solar inverters and accessories as a premium package to residential and commercial customers. The inverters are fully certified for use in Australia and New Zealand and are accredited by the Clean Energy Council (CEC).

Duke Energy commits $500 million to North Carolina solar power expansion

CHARLOTTE, USA: Duke Energy announced a $500 million commitment to a major expansion of solar power in North Carolina.

This culminates the company's request for proposals (RFP) issued in February 2014 for new solar capacity. It will help Duke Energy further its commitment to renewable energy, diversify its energy portfolio and meet North Carolina's Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency Portfolio Standard (REPS). It also provides customers greater access to renewable energy in a cost-effective manner.

The company will acquire and construct three solar facilities – totaling 128 megawatts (MW) of capacity – including the largest solar photovoltaic (PV) facility east of the Mississippi River. The three facilities will be located in Bladen, Duplin and Wilson counties.

Duke Energy also signed power-purchase agreements with five new solar projects in the state, representing 150 MW of capacity. Together, the eight projects will have a capacity of 278 MW. The $500 million commitment includes the investment in the three facilities and the value of the five long-term power-purchase contracts.

ISS signs 48 MW solar farm Duke Energy PPA

ASHEVILLE, USA: IS 41, a 48MW solar farm project located in Bladen County, NC, was one of the selected projects that qualified for the Duke Energy Request For Proposal (RFP) that was announced earlier in the year.

Signing the 15-year PPA with Duke Energy on this project is "very exciting" stated representatives for ISS this week. IS 41 will be built on approximately 300 acres of level farm land located in the middle of the state and will employ almost 200,000 highly efficient solar photovoltaic panels producing enough energy to power almost 10,000 area homes.

Advanced Energy has been approved as the inverter manufacturer for this project due to the level of sophistication and reliability offered in the company's utility scale inverters.

The actual owner/operator for this solar farm has still not yet been determined and many potential investors are flying in and out of the area daily to view the site and meet with the partners at ISS to determine if this project will be an addition to their existing renewable energy assets. A project of this size is a $100,000,000 investment and is the perfect size to add to the renewable energy portfolios of many companies.

ISS is in negotiations with several entities for the purchase of this project along with several other shovel ready projects currently available by the company. ISS company spokesman, John Green, stated that adding so much capacity to the grid in 2015 is very exciting for his company as they work on a possible merger in 2015 when the company plans to go public and begin expansion into a number of other states.

SolarCity product makes it possible for businesses to significantly increase solar output from each rooftop

SAN RAFAEL, USA: SolarCity unveiled a new product in its Zep Solar line of solar products—a flat roof solar mounting solution that is twice as fast to install and can generate significantly more solar electricity from each rooftop than alternatives for the commercial market.

ZS Peak makes it possible for far more businesses, schools and other organizations to install solar power on their buildings and immediately pay less for solar electricity than they pay for utility power, and will significantly expand the addressable market for commercial solar.

Like the revolutionary Zep residential solar systems, ZS Peak provides an innovative snap-together system to simplify and accelerate installation. SolarCity estimates that ZS Peak can increase generation capacity on flat roof buildings by 20-50 percent per building and do so without requiring any penetrations.

The system's dense, east-west layout structure will allow SolarCity to fit up to 20 percent more solar panels on standard roofs and up to 50 percent more panels on lightweight roofs, such as those commonly found on warehouses. The increase in panels per roof is particularly valuable in the commercial market, as conventional flat-roof solar systems typically power less than half of a commercial building's load.

ZS Peak's east-west orientation not only allows installers to fit more solar panels on each roof than standard south-facing systems, it also captures peak power production throughout a longer period of the day. By lengthening power production time and eliminating the typical mid-day spike of standard solar systems, SolarCity can also make more efficient use of solar inverters to further reduce costs for customers.

ZS Peak has so significantly improved on the aerodynamics of conventional systems that it can be installed as a lightweight, non-penetrating system on many roofs that would otherwise require the solar panels to be bolted down.

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Canadian Solar announces 1.5 MW solar module supply agreement in Jordan

GUELPH, CANADA: Canadian Solar Inc. has been awarded a module supply agreement to provide 1.5 MW of photovoltaic modules to Kawar Energy for a rooftop solar power project located in a university in Amman, Jordan.

"We made the decision to work with Canadian Solar on the largest solar power rooftop project in Jordan as we trust the quality and performance of its solar modules, as well as its track record of success delivering modules to large scale solar power projects worldwide. These attributes make Canadian Solar a perfect fit for our project needs," said Hanna Zaghloul, CEO of Kawar Energy. "We look forward to continuing our partnership with Canadian Solar."

"We are delighted to partner with Kawar Energy to supply our high efficiency modules to this project. Our quality and reliability makes Canadian Solar stand out from the competition, and we are pleased to win this important module deal in Jordan," commented Dr. Shawn Qu, Canadian Solar's chairman and CEO.

"This agreement is a testament to Canadian Solar's success in emerging markets and it once again underscores our proven track record of delivering top quality modules to solar power projects around the world."

Canadian Solar will supply its high efficiency 72 cell CS6X300P modules with power output respectively of 300Wp to this project. All Canadian Solar modules come with a 10-year material warranty and a 25-year linear power output performance guarantee backed by a third-party insurance policy under-written by leading insurance companies.

Suntech and Greenfield form strategic alliance with youmex

WUXI, CHINA: Shunfeng Photovoltaic International Ltd and Greenfield Solar International GmbH & Co. KG have entered into a strategic alliance with German-based clean energy financing and investment group youmex to finance and sell their solar farm projects pipeline in Great Britain using Suntech as its exclusive PV panel supplier for projects.

"We are excited to complement our partnership with Greenfield with youmex's financial services to our customers. We believe that this alliance will serve as another catalyst for growth in the UK's solar market," said Eric Luo, CEO of Suntech.

Luo, who is also responsible for Shunfeng Photovoltaics International Holding's acquisition strategy, added that "through our partnership, Suntech and Shunfeng will be able to look at other acquisitions in the market as part of our strategy to become the largest integrated clean energy supplier globally."

In the alliance, Greenfield will provide EPC services, while youmex will arrange construction loans and long-term project financing as well as selling the PV Solar Power Plants to investors.

"With its fully integrated transaction management of these three tasks, youmex speeds up and assures the whole process of financing and sales for one of the largest PV pipelines in UK," explains Kai Hartmann, head of Corporate and Structured Finance at youmex group. "We are very thrilled to be part of the alliance that unites the core competencies, experiences and strengths of these three complementary partners."

"Together with the expertise of Suntech and youmex, our alliance is well-positioned to solidify a strong presence within the UK's Solar PV market," echoed Helmut Kube, MD of Greenfield.

Energy Storage Peak Body launched in Australia

AUSTRALIA: the Australian Energy Storage Council – the new peak body for the energy storage industry – has been formally launched, opening up exciting new opportunities for the sector in Australia.

“Energy storage brings exciting new opportunities for the energy industry and for energy consumers. Deployed wisely it can significantly bring down electricity costs and make the electricity network more robust, flexible and reliable,” said John Grimes, chief executive of the Energy Storage Council.

“It is important that energy utilities engage with the energy storage sector sooner rather than later. Too often the energy sector ignores emerging technology trends and is blindsided when they are deployed widely.

“That’s why, one of the first things the Energy Storage Council will do is to focus on developing standards and protocols for embedding energy storage into the energy network.”

The Australian Energy Storage Council is a national member based not-for-profit organisation and is governed by a volunteer board. The Council will be funded by membership, industry events and training activities.

The founding partner and supporter of the Australian Energy Storage Council is the Australian Solar Council, bringing over 50 years of knowledge along with recent history in organising energy storage focussed training courses.

RECAI scores and rankings at September 2014

UK: After several months of edging closer to the US, China reclaims the index top spot for the first time since May 2013.

The last year has seen a transformation as China’s new government set about opening up the market to foreign investors. Earlier this year, the National Development and Reform Commission detailed 80 infrastructure projects open to private investment, more than half of which are energy-related, with 35 in renewable generation.

The Government has also set aggressive technology targets for 2017, showing its commitment to high levels of capacity deployment, largely driven by its pollution-reduction program, but also reflecting the sector’s strategic economic value.
A renewed focus on offshore wind also opens up a new market for the private sector, particularly given China’s current lack of construction experience and immature supply chain.

Similarly, increased support for distributed solar projects and a reported 8GW target for 2014 alone could replicate the phenomenal growth already seen in China’s utility-scale solar sector. Looking ahead, it is also planning a US$40b project to develop 15GW of tidal power.

While a fall to second place for the US should not undermine its significant deployment and investment opportunities, it does reflect the increasingly crippling effect congressional gridlock and drawn out approvals are having on its ability to give investors long-term certainty.

Recent months have seen at least three instances of partisan politics keeping the sector in limbo, affecting both specific initiatives and investor confidence in general: failure to renew the PTC for wind and other technologies in the Senate, blockage of the proposed US$150m loan guarantee for the flagship Cape Wind offshore wind project, and a Republican funding bill designed to topple the Clean Power Program targeting 30% carbon emission reductions by 2030.

Germany and Japan retain third and fourth places respectively. However, both should be watched closely as the latest amendments to Germany’s Renewable Energy Sources Act (EEG) take effect, and the nuclear debate reopens in Japan.

With proposals to cut subsidies for large-scale solar earlier than planned now attracting legal challenge, and a dwindling budget for future projects under the new CfD FIT regime already resulting in the cancelation of offshore projects, the UK slips to seventh place below India.

India’s jump to sixth place reflects its new Government’s more strategic, long-term vision for its renewable energy sector, with ambitions increasingly measured in billions of dollars and gigawatts of capacity. The recent launch of a major grid upgrade program and reinstatement of tax incentives for wind projects are also expected to boost investment and deployment.

The successful repeal of Australia’s carbon pricing legislation in June and ongoing uncertainty over the future of its Renewable Energy Target has caused another slip down the rankings, to tenth place. Uncertainty is making it difficult for investors to maintain confidence, and many projects are stalled pending the outcome of the review.

Brazil’s jumps to ninth place, spurred by sustained high levels of interest in its latest energy auctions, and an increasingly strategic approach to developing its solar sector.

Also in South America, Chile continues to climb the index, replacing Italy in 12th place, as it continues to attract mega-scale solar and wind projects that show a strong outlook for increased generating capacity..

After sitting just outside the top 10 for the past year as investors tried to predict the future for Italy’s renewables markets, a slip to 15th place provides the answer. Retroactive solar PV subsidy changes have prompted investor exodus, the threat of legal challenge and the onset of some inevitable restructuring.

The formalization of the “reasonable profitability” criteria replacing Spain’s long-standing subsidy regime is another setback for this troubled market, taking it down to 22nd place. An improved economic picture and high asset base make this a higher-than-expected ranking though for a market many now consider unbankable. It will be interesting to see whether distressed deals, subsidy-free renewables or greater European energy market interconnection can rekindle interest in Spain.

The Netherlands jumps to 13th place following financial close of the 600MW €2.8b (US$3.7b) Project Gemini offshore wind project – one of the year’s biggest project finance deals so far. The US$430m financing of Westmeerwind’s 144MW onshore project also reinforces the market’s attractiveness for large-scale wind projects.

The opening of Round 4 of South Africa’s renewable energy procurement program sees a further 1.105GW of capacity up for grabs, with preferred bidders expected to be announced in late October. The robust project pipeline supported by this structured auction process, and an increasing energy imperative reinforced by rolling blackouts for the second time this year, has boosted South Africa to 16th place.

Financial close on the US$684m needed for the 121MW Ashalim solar thermal plant in Israel, and receipt of technical bids for five wind projects totaling 850MW in Morocco have helped take these markets up to 27th and 28th places respectively.

The removal of import duties on solar PV equipment in Kenya, though sparking outrage from domestic manufacturers, is likely to improve deployment prospects by pushing down project costs and offering developers greater flexibility. Coupled with a new 560MW geothermal tender, Kenya rises to 36th place.

Solar industry needs co-ordinated strategy to address supply chain challenges

HANAU, GERMANY & ORLANDO, USA: Delayed or lost shipments, missing or mislabeled inventory, product in the wrong place – there are many ways in which companies and whole industries suffer when the supply chain is not optimized. For the solar industry, this means $400-500 million in unnecessary annual losses.

The PV industry has worked very hard and made tremendous progress in manufacturing and balance of systems cost reductions. Following on these successes, the industry has the opportunity now to turn its attention to this key area.

Supply chain is a different and more complex field than it may appear at first. “When you ask most people what is the supply chain, the immediate answer is moving trucks from one point to another point, and moving shipments,” notes IPVEA MD, Bryan Ekus. “That's not supply chain, that's logistics.”

Supply chain involves an integrated look at multiple elements, including logistics and information technology, but goes beyond this as well. “The key word is collaboration,” notes Hellmann Logistics Global head of Renewable Energy, Holger Meyer. “It is all about collaboration in the company, as well as with your partners along the supply chain.”

The need to address supply chain issues in the PV industry is greater now than it has been in the past, as the global PV industry continues to expand beyond its traditional base in Germany to increasingly greater numbers of nations around the world. “The complexity starts when you are moving out huge volumes into a number of countries,” notes Meyer.

Fortunately, the global solar industry can learn from other industries that have addresses supply chain issues, such as the automotive and fashion industries. In order to being the process of tackling this challenge, a number of leading solar PV companies representing the whole production value chain will meet on September 24th at the PV Production and Energy Storage Supply Chain Forum in conjunction with the 29th EU PVSEC in Amsterdam.

SunPower achieves production milestone manufactures one-billionth solar cell

SAN JOSE, USA: SunPower Corp. announced that it has manufactured its one billionth high efficiency solar cell.

This milestone was achieved 11 years after the company started manufacturing its A-300 solar cell in its first fabrication facility (Fab).  Today, SunPower operates two Fabs that will generate approximately 1,300 megawatts of solar cells by the end of this year.

To meet growing demand for SunPower solar systems, the company is building a new 350-MW Fab, with first silicon expected in early 2015.

"SunPower is proud of the role we've played to help the global adoption of solar, which, over the past 11 years has experienced a 45 percent annual growth rate resulting in nearly 155 gigawatts of installed power capacity today.  This is enough to offset the electricity needs of over 25 million homes," said Tom Werner, SunPower president and CEO.

"The SunPower team has worked continually to improve our manufacturing and cost reduction processes in concert with advancements in research and development, always raising our own innovation bar.  Solar is now more affordable, with demand for the residential, commercial and utility scale power plant markets at historic highs."

Since its founding in 1985, SunPower has continuously improved the design of its all-back contact, Maxeon solar cell, beating its own world records for efficiency and reliability.

In 2003, the company began mass production of its A-300 solar cell with efficiencies of 20 percent; and today commercially manufactures solar cells with efficiencies of up to 24.2 percent, the industry's highest. In addition, SunPower offers the most reliable cell on the market today, as confirmed by several independent testing organizations.

North America's largest 100 percent biomass-fuelled power plant opens in Ontario

CANADA: Ontario, Canada is now home to North America's largest power plant fuelled completely by biomass. The Atikokan Generating Station conversion is complete and the station is now generating electricity and helping meet local power needs in northwestern Ontario.

Atikokan Generating Station, which employs 70 full-time workers, burned its last coal two years ago, on Sept. 11, 2012. Conversion of the station began in mid-2012 and included construction of two silos and boiler modifications to accommodate the biomass. The project employed over 200 highly skilled trades people and technical workers.

A coal-free energy mix will lead to a significant reduction in harmful emissions, cleaner air and a healthier environment.

The biomass used to fuel Atikokan Generating Station is being harvested and processed in Ontario. Domestic suppliers have leveraged this opportunity to secure contracts to provide pellets to international buyers.

Pattern Energy signs O&M agreement with Duke Energy Renewable Services

CHARLOTTE, USA: Duke Energy Renewable Services has signed a long-term agreement to service Pattern Energy Group Inc.'s 283-megawatt (MW) Gulf Wind energy project in Armstrong, Texas.

Duke Energy Renewable Services will supply operations and maintenance services for three years, beginning in November, with an option for a two-year extension. Duke Energy Renewable Services has also provided service and maintenance work at Pattern Energy's Hatchet Ridge wind site in Burney, Calif., since 2012.

"We have been pleased with Duke's service and maintenance work at our Hatchet Ridge Wind farm, where they have helped us deliver consistently safe and reliable operations," said Chris Shugart, senior VP of operations at Pattern Energy. "We look forward to extending this relationship to our Gulf Wind project."

The fully operational wind project is comprised of 118 2.4-MW Mitsubishi MWT95 turbines and sits on 9,600 acres. The project began operations in 2009.

"We're pleased to expand our relationship with a successful, independent wind power company," said Greg Wolf, president of Duke Energy Renewables. "Pattern Energy shares our commitment to safe and efficient operations, the environment and the communities in which we operate. This partnership will continue to deliver benefits to both parties."

Duke Energy Renewable Services, an organization resulting from Duke Energy's 2012 acquisition of Minnesota-based Outland Energy Services, has deep experience operating wind assets and increasing customer's energy yield during times of high electricity demand.

"We are looking forward to ensuring another successful project for Pattern Energy," said Jeff Wehner, VP of Duke Energy Renewables. "Our ability to leverage our operational experience and buying power for component parts allows us to provide cost-effective maintenance that will optimize the performance of the Gulf Wind Project, resulting in greater service value."

Monday, September 15, 2014

48MW solar farm in Duke Energy territory receives RFP PPA

ASHEVILLE, USA: IS 41 was one of the Duke Energy's qualifying RFP projects and after months of negotiations the purchase power agreement (PPA) was executed by ISS representatives just this week.

The PPA received from Duke Energy on this 48MW Solar Farm project is for fifteen years and should facilitate partnerships with owner operators that wish to partner with ISS to actually own this one of a kind project in Bladen County.

The project itself will be constructed on a tract of approximately 300 acres and ISS claims that this is one of the company's most buildable sites to date. This solar energy plant will produce enough energy in the county to provide electricity to about 10,000 homes.

ISS is currently accepting bids from panel manufacturers for the 200,000 solar panels that will be mounted to collect energy on this site. Companies like Canadian Solar, Talesun, ET Solar and other tier one vendors will be involved in the bid process to assure a cost effective approach and also to assure that the project reaches the targeted on line date of October 2015.

Solar farms like IS 41 are vital to this country for many reasons and provide many benefits including lower cost for energy, increased tax revenue for the counties in which they are built, added jobs here in the U.S. and of course the overall lessening of the carbon footprint on the planet. Both hard and soft costs to construct solar farms have come down dramatically in the last five years making these types of investments very attractive for many reasons.