Solar News


Solar PV plant at Patriot Place, Massachusetts, to use Evergreen Solar panels

Shopping, dining and entertainment complex Patriot Place
Shopping, dining and entertainment
complex Patriot Place

Evergreen Solar, Inc. (Marlboro, Massachusetts), a U.S. PV producer with a proprietary silicon wafer manufacturing technology, on December 22nd, 2009 announced that its "String Ribbon" solar photovoltaic (PV) panels were chosen for a 525 kilowatt (kW) installation at Patriot Place (Foxborough, Massachusetts), a 1.3-million-square-foot shopping, dining and entertainment complex located adjacent to Gillette Stadium, home of the U.S. football team New England Patriots.  The system is expected to cover approximately 30 % of the power needs of the complex and to supply more than 12 million kilowatt hours (kWh) of solar electricity over 20 years, thereby eliminating an estimated 8,800 metric tons of carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions each year. According to the press release, more than 2,800 of Evergreen Solar's "ES-A" series panels are to be used in the construction, spanning the roofs of seven buildings.

Highly visible solar power project complements environmentally friendly building design

One of the buildings that will house the solar power system is called "The Hall" and panels will be visible to fans who attend games and events at the Gillette Stadium and visitors to Patriot Place's upper retail plaza. "We're thrilled that Patriot Place has chosen Evergreen Solar for this highly-visible solar installation", said Alan King, Director of sales for the Americas. "We feel we align perfectly with the environmental goals of Patriot Place while demonstrating the viability of solar power to the many patrons and fans traveling through this incredible complex." Evergreen Solar reports that Patriot Place was constructed using sustainable design practices, including low-emitting construction materials and white roofs to facilitate heat island reduction. The building complex employs an on-site wastewater re-use system to save water and solar-powered trash receptacles throughout the complex that reduce waste volume and energy consumption. Brian Earley, Patriot Place General Manager, said about the planned solar system: "This project is crucial to Patriot Place's overall sustainability initiatives and we are proud to promote practical and cost-effective commercial applications of solar power." Evergreen Solar reports that the installation is being constructed by Baltimore-based Constellation Energy's Projects & Services Group.

2009-12-31   Courtesy: Evergreen Solar, Inc.   © Heindl Server GmbH
Picture Courtesy:


California labor unions and Bechtel Construction Company reach agreement to build solar thermal facility

Bechtel Construction Company (Frederick, Maryland) and two California labor organizations on December 17th, 2009 announced an agreement for the construction of the "Ivanpah Solar Electricity Generating System" by BrightSource Energy (Oakland, California), a 440 megawatt (MW) solar power facility in southeastern California.   Under the Project Labor Agreement (PLA), the State Building and Construction Trades Council of California (SBCTC) and the Building & Construction Trades Council of the San Bernardino and Riverside Counties will provide qualified, skilled craft workers to BrightSource's Ivanpah project, while Bechtel pledges to provide fair wages, fringe benefits, and working conditions for all craft workers. "This project is a great example of how the new green technology is now providing real jobs for thousands of workers," said Robert Balgenorth, President of the SBCTC. "This PLA ensures that the jobs will provide good wages and benefits for workers, who will provide the highest quality of work, resulting in new, cleaner energy for generations to come."

Solar thermal power plant to provide 150,000 homes with clean, renewable energy

BrightSource's Ivanpah facility is comprised of three solar thermal power plants. Construction is scheduled to begin in 2010 pending final permitting by the California Energy Commission (CEC) and by the U.S. Bureau of Land Management. The project is expected to create approximately 1,000 jobs at the peak of construction, with total construction wages of approximately 250 million US-dollars. The Ivanpah plants are to produce enough clean energy to power 150,000 homes and to displace more than 450,000 tons of CO2 emissions annually. The power generated from these solar plants is to be sold under separate contracts to the utilities Pacific Gas & Electric (PG&E; San Francisco, California) and Southern California Edison (SCE; Rosemead, California). "We're pleased that Bechtel and California labor unions have been able to conclude the PLA for our Ivanpah project," said John Woolard, Chief Executive Officer (CEO) and President of BrightSource Energy. "Ivanpah will be a model clean energy project, setting the bar with its highly-efficient technology and environmentally-responsible design."

Solar thermal tower plant designed to minimize environmental impact, conserve water

The Ivanpah facility is to utilize BrightSource Energy's "Luz Power Tower 550" (LPT 550) technology. According to the press release, the system produces electricity like traditional power plants by creating high temperature steam to turn a turbine. However, instead of using fossil fuels or nuclear power to create the steam, BrightSource uses thousands of mirrors called heliostats to reflect sunlight onto a boiler filled with water that sits atop a tower. When the sunlight hits the boiler, the water inside is heated and creates high temperature steam which is used to run a conventional turbine to generate electricity. The system is also said to be designed to minimize the environmental impact by reducing the need for extensive land grading and concrete pads. In order to conserve precious desert water, the LPT 550 system is to use air-cooling to convert the steam back into water, resulting in a 90 % reduction in water usage compared to conventional wet-cooling.

2009-12-30   Courtesy:   © Heindl Server GmbH


Australian Solar Institute to advance solar energy development through its first round grants

The Australian Solar Institute (ASI; Newcastle, New South Wales, Australia) on December 17th, 2009 announced that it will support a number of innovative solar research and development (R&D) projects to accelerate the development of solar energy and to reinforce Australia's solar research capabilities.   According to the press release, the projects include a 30 % more efficient lower cost photovoltaic (PV) cell, thermionic devices that could generate electricity direct from heat and nanotechnology to capture light. Research is reportedly also being done on organic photovoltaic (OPV) solar cells which can be incorporated into building materials, and solar thermal units to power steam turbines. ASI reports that approximately 11 million Australian dollars will be made available to help fund five R&D projects valued at around 31 million Australian dollars. These projects are under development at several universities around the country and at Australia's Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO).

Additional funding announcements for solar research projects anticipated in 2010

"The ASI is delighted to provide funding support to these 5 excellent projects", said Jenny Goddard, Chair of the ASI. "They offer significant potential to reduce the cost of solar energy by accelerating the development of photovoltaic cells and concentrating solar thermal technologies." According to the press release, the ASI Board authorized further discussions in respect to several other promising projects arising from the first round of applications. Further announcements are anticipated for the first half of 2010, pending the outcome of commercial-in-confidence discussions with the relevant applicants and their collaborative partners. Mark Twidell, Executive Director of ASI, said: "The ASI was very impressed by the high standard of the 87 funding applications received by the October 2009 deadline. Our 3 foundation projects announced in January 2009 aimed to develop key infrastructure for research into solar concentrating and photovoltaic technologies. The projects announced today build on these technologies and also include research in the area of organic solar, where the potential to generate electricity from simple low cost chemical processes has long term potential." The ASI plans to work proactively with potential R&D project proponents to encourage excellence, collaboration and to maximize commercial investment and development.

Research projects to explore various different aspects to advance solar technologies

ASI reports that it will support the University of New South Wales'
research project for the development and commercialization of high efficiency silicon solar cell technology with 3.972 million Australian dollars. The University of Newcastle is to receive 515,000 Australian dollars for the fabrication of thermionic devices using directional solidification / sintering processes for high temperature concentrating solar thermal applications. CSIRO and the Australian National University are to be supported by ASI for the advancement of steam generating receivers for high concentration solar collectors with 4.084 million Australian dollars. The Australian National University is to receive 1.67 million Australian dollars in funding for its research into plasmonics for high efficiency photovoltaic solar cells, using nanotechnology to capture more light. Finally, the University of Queensland was granted 945,000 Australian dollars in funding for its efforts in researching new materials and architectures for OPV cells beyond the Shockley-Queisser efficiency limit.

2009-12-30   Courtesy:   © Heindl Server GmbH


SOLYPAC Technology to distribute OPEL Solar's products in South Korea and other global regions

HCPV tracking systems by OPEL Solar
HCPV tracking systems by OPEL Solar

OPEL Solar, Inc. (Shelton, Connecticut and Toronto, Ontario, Canada), a global developer and supplier of high concentration photovoltaics (HCPV) and other solar products, including ground based and rooftop tracking systems, on December 21st, 2009 announced that it had entered into an "International Dealer Agreement" with SOLYPAC Technology Co., Ltd. based in Seoul, South Korea.   Under the terms of the agreement SOLYPAC will have access to the complete line of OPEL Solar products for the supply of utility scale solar electric plants. According to the press release, the "Mk-I HCPV" panel and the array of single and dual axis trackers are especially important to this agreement. When used in combination, systems are believed to have the potential to increase photovoltaic (PV) yields of solar farms by up to 40 %.

HCPV solar panels and trackers advance into utility scale markets

Frank Middleton, Chief Operating Officer (COO) of OPEL Solar, commented on the Dealer Agreement: "It expands our international reach to supply utility scale solar projects with OPEL's advanced solar technology and the increased efficiency that concentration photovoltaics and tracking provides." OPEL Solar reports that it is able to provide PV panels that can be used with its tracker systems to meet the needs of regions with low solar irradiance. According to the press release, the company's products are able to generate more energy than fixed mounted solar installations. "Our International Dealer Agreement with OPEL Solar is a highlight for SOLYPAC because its full product line opens the door to bring HCPV and PV panels installed on its tracker products to South Korean and other international market places in which we have active business proposals, including the United States", said JK Kim, President and Chief Strategy and Marketing Officer of SOLYPAC Technology. OPEL Solar also pledged to provide technical support for installed projects.

2009-12-30   Courtesy: OPEL Solar, Inc.   © Heindl Server GmbH
Picture Courtesy: OPEL Solar, Inc.


Air Liquide announces new supply agreements in China, confirms strong position in PV market

Air Liquide supplies gases for Chinese PV Producers
Air Liquide supplies gases for
Chinese PV Producers

Air Liquide, a world leader in gases for industry, health and the environment, on December 21st, 2009 announced the recent signature of thirteen new contracts with crystalline-Silicon (c-Si) solar cell manufacturers in China. The company believes that its expanded supply to Chinese market leaders JA Solar and Yingli Green Energy confirms its leading position in the photovoltaic (PV) market.   Air Liquide plans to invest more than 10 million Euros (14.4 million US-dollars) to meet the needs of these customers. The company reports that it is now the carrier gases and specialty gases supplier of China's number two and number three manufacturers, who have a combined capacity of 1,400 megawatt peak (MWp).

Company supplies top three Chinese c-Si PV manufacturers with gases

According to the press release, the company is to supply JA Solar's solar cell production fabs in the Jiangsu and Hebei provinces and Yingli's solar cell and poly-silicon facilities in the Baoding Photovoltaic park in Hebei. The company reports that China is the world's leading manufacturer of solar cells, hosting around 35 % of total world capacity. Recently, the Chinese government announced a target of 20 gigawatt peak (GWp) power installed by 2020. Air Liquide reports that it now partners with China's three main solar cell manufacturers, since it already supplies Suntech Power Holdings Co., Ltd., the largest c-Si producer in China.

Supply agreements confirm PV market position

Air Liquide also reported that it was recently awarded various new long-term contracts for the supply of carrier and specialty gases in Beijing, Shanghai, Jiangsu, Zhejiang and Hebei. The company is to partner with Jinko Solar, Sunflower and DelSolar, as well as with eight other new c-Si fabs under construction, for a total combined new manufacturing capacity of above 1,300 MWp per year. In light of the latest contracts, Air Liquide supplies more than 100 solar cell manufacturing companies around the world, with an overall c-Si capacity above 10 GWp per year. Francisco Martins, Vice-President World Business Line Electronics of the Air Liquide Group, said: "We are pleased to have been chosen to supply the three largest solar cell manufacturers in China. This confirms our ability to supply added-value gases and turnkey solutions to this industry. These recent contracts reinforce our leading position in this fast-changing industry. The photovoltaic activity is at the crossroads of Energy and the Environment, two growth drivers for the Air Liquide Group."

2009-12-30   Courtesy: Air Liquide Group   © Heindl Server GmbH
Picture Courtesy: Air Liquide Group


SCI Engineered Materials receives grant to commercialize PV production technology for the solar industry

SCI Engineered Materials, Inc. (SCI; Columbus, Ohio), a manufacturer of ceramics and metals for advanced applications using physical vapor deposition (PVD), on December 22nd, 2009 announced that the company may be awarded a 775,400 US-dollar grant by the Ohio Department of Development's "Ohio Third Frontier Photovoltaic Program" (OTFPVP), pending approval by the State of Ohio Controlling Board. The grant is to be used in collaboration with Robinson Fin Machines to commercialize the SCI's technology for high power density rotatable ceramic sputtering targets.   According to the press release, these targets can be used in the manufacture of thin film photovoltaic (PV) solar cells. Scott Campbell, Ph.D., Vice President of Technology at SCI, said: "We are pleased to have been selected by Ohio's Third Frontier Photovoltaic Program to help commercialize the high power density ceramic sputtering target attachment technology that SCI has proposed for thin film photovoltaic solar cell manufacturing applications. This technology will enable manufacturers to operate rotatable sputtering targets at higher power densities than current technology. Specific benefits include increased process throughput leading to lower photovoltaic solar cell modular costs in the future."

Technology to improve thin film PV production, lower costs

Dan Rooney, Chairman, President and Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of SCI, stated: "During the past three years we have substantially increased our penetration in the solar market through the development and introduction of new products, expanded international sales and marketing activities, and increased participation in government programs to develop greater manufacturing efficiencies for solar manufacturers." According to Rooney, the OTFPVP award is the third that the company has received from the State of Ohio. "Earlier this month we received a follow-on order of approximately 1 million US-dollars from a solar customer. These products are expected to be manufactured and shipped during the first half of 2010", Rooney said. Other companies that were recommended for funds under the OTFPVP are Xunlight Corporation, Ferro Corporation, Glasstech Inc., Five Star Technologies, Inc. and Replex Plastics.

2009-12-30   Courtesy:   © Heindl Server GmbH


PG&E to purchase electricity from Rice Solar Energy power plant

A rendering of the Rice Solar Energy (RSE) plant
A rendering of the Rice Solar Energy (RSE) plant

The U.S. utility Pacific Gas and Electric Company (PG&E; San Francisco, California), a subsidiary of the PG&E Corporation, in December 2009 disclosed that it had contracted with a subsidiary of Santa Monica-based SolarReserve LLC for a capacity of 150 megawatts (MW) for clean solar power. According to Jonathan Marshall, Chief External Communications at PG&E Corporation and Managing Editor of the company's online publication "", the proposed Rice Solar Energy (RSE) project will be augmented by a proven energy storage system based on molten salt. The plant is expected to be able to produce enough renewable energy for the supply of more than 60,000 average homes, starting in 2013.   A handful of companies in the solar industry are using high-tech versions of thermal storage to stabilize the output of their power plants when clouds pass overhead or when the sun goes down.

Thousands of mirrors to concentrate sun's rays onto tower-mounted receiver

If approved by state regulators, SolarReserve's power plant will be located near the unincorporated community of Rice in San Bernardino County, California. It is to use thousands of large, movable mirrors to focus the sun's rays onto a receiver in a central tower to heat four million gallons of molten salt to more than 1,000 degrees Fahrenheit (500 °C). The hot, liquid salt will flow into a storage tank and is used to heat water for a steam generator to produce electricity. According to Marshall, the stored molten salt can also provide energy during periods when sunlight dims or is not available. The ability to store heat and tap it at any time for power generation is comparable to having a huge battery or backup generator on hand to smooth out peaks and valleys of solar generation. The storage technology has been successfully demonstrated over several years in the 1990s at the U.S. Department of Energy-sponsored "Solar Two" power plant in Southern California.

Molten salt for heat storage proven technology, is being used worldwide

Molten salt is currently being used for thermal storage at the 50 megawatt (MW) capacity "Andasol 1" solar thermal power plant in Spain, the first of three sister plants designed by Solar Millennium. Abengoa Solar also has a molten salt demonstration plant and plans to use the technology in a 280 MW solar thermal power project in Arizona. Marshall reports that other companies have also expressed an interest in molten salt thermal storage, such as the Spanish company Sener and SkyFuel, based in Albuquerque. Sandia National Laboratory in Albuquerque says molten salt is ideal for capturing solar energy in power towers "because it is liquid at atmosphere pressure, it provides an efficient, low-cost medium in which to store thermal energy, its operating temperatures are compatible with todays high-pressure and high-temperature steam turbines, and it is non-flammable and nontoxic." The original commentary may be retrieved under the URL

2009-12-29   Courtesy:   © Heindl Server GmbH
Picture Courtesy: SolarReserve


First Solar and EDF EN to build PV manufacturing plant near Bordeaux

First Solar's production at Frankfurt/Oder, Germany
First Solar's production at Frankfurt/Oder,

First Solar, Inc. (Tempe, Arizona), U.S. manufacturer of photovoltaic (PV) modules, and EDF Energies Nouvelles (EDF EN; Paris, France) recently announced that they are in the final stages of exclusive negotiations with the town of Blanquefort, near the city of Bordeaux, to locate a new solar panel manufacturing plant. The plant is to be co-financed by First Solar and EDF EN. According to the press release, it will be operated by First Solar, which pledges to sell the entire production of thin-film PV panels to EDF EN during the first 10 years of operation.   The construction of the plant is scheduled to begin in the second half of 2010, and full production capacity of more than 100 megawatts (MW) a year is to be reached in early 2012. First Solar reports that the plant represents a total investment of approximately 100 million Euros (144 million US-dollars), and that it is expected to create up to 400 jobs in the region of Aquitaine.

Domestic PV panel production to be key catalyst for French solar market

First Solar and EDF EN believe that France will become a major market for solar electricity in Europe thanks in large part to forward-looking French solar policies. According to the press release, the companies decided to focus on Blanquefort as the site for the manufacturing plant after an extensive review of potential other locations throughout the country. "Blanquefort is the ideal location for our second manufacturing facility in Europe and producing there will bring us closer to the French solar market, which we believe has the potential to become one of Europe's brightest", said Rob Gillette, Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of First Solar. "Aquitaine has impressed us with its passion, excellent infrastructure and highly skilled workforce." The company's first European manufacturing facility is in Frankfurt (Oder), Germany. David Corchia, CEO of EDF EN, said: "We believe that this will be a key catalyst in the development of a strong solar industry in France." First Solar reports that its manufacturing site will also include a facility for the recycling of solar panels, France's first factory of that kind. According to the press release, First Solar operates the solar industry's first comprehensive, pre-funded collection and recycling program to encourage the recovery of its panels and re-use of materials.

2009-12-29   Courtesy: First Solar Inc.   © Heindl Server GmbH
Picture Courtesy: First Solar Inc.


Solar EnerTech receives TUV Certification, expects to expand market share in Europe

Solar cell production at Solar Enertech's facility
Solar cell production at Solar Enertech's facility

The solar photovoltaic (PV) manufacturer Solar EnerTech Corporation (Mountain View, California) in December 2009 announced that the company's PV modules had been awarded the Safety Class II Certification by TUV Rheinland (TUV). This enables the company to sell its products to a wider spectrum of customers, primarily those based in Europe.   Leo Young, Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Solar EnerTech, commented: "This certification offers our current and potential buyers with increased confidence during their purchasing process, as it provides an independent validation of the quality and safety of our module products. The TUV certification will allow us to increase our market share in Europe as we continue to deliver state-of-the-art, high quality products." Solar EnerTech also reports that the company maintains a joint research and development (R&D) lab at Shanghai University to develop higher efficiency PV cells and to put the results of that research to use in its manufacturing processes.

TUV certification facilitates entry into growing European solar markets

The TUV Rheinland Group is a leading provider of technical services worldwide. Founded in 1872 and headquartered in Cologne, Germany, the Group's mission and guiding principle is to achieve sustained development of safety and quality in order to meet the challenges arising from the interaction between man, technology and the environment. Product certifications are issued to manufacturers whose products meet TUV's safety and quality tests. TUV employees also monitor the manufacturer's production facilities at regular intervals and check whether manufactured products correspond with samples tested by TUV to ensure that certified products continue to meet their certification requirements.

2009-12-29   Courtesy: Solar EnerTech Corp.   © Heindl Server GmbH
Picture Courtesy: Solar EnerTech Corp.


New production line for Solarwatt AG: Bürkle supplies largest laminators for PV modules worldwide

"Ypsator" Multi-opening laminationllines by Bürkle

When Solarwatt AG in Dresden (Germany) installs a fully automatic production line for the manufacture of crystalline solar modules at the beginning of next year, one of the technical highlights will be delivered by Robert Bürkle GmbH (Freudenstadt, Germany). Bürkle offers press and surface technologies for different industries worldwide. Two multi-opening lamination lines "Ypsator" will encapsulate the individual module components in the production line which has been planned and designed by the automation specialist Kuka Systems in Augsburg, Germany.   According to Bürkle after a planning and testing phase which took six months, Solarwatt AG and Kuka Systems decided in favour of a globally unique line concept with two simultaneously operated ten-opening laminators delivered by the pioneer of multi-opening lamination Bürkle.

Solarwatt to double current production capacity to 300 MWp

The main advantage of this innovative multi-opening solution: this line configuration makes it possible to laminate a solar module every 28 seconds in a 3-shift operation on a footprint of only 100 m², Bürkle reports in the press release. Such a high throughput on this small footprint is globally unique up to now, the company emphasizes. The multi-opening laminators of a height of 4.20 m each and a weight of approx. 100 tons are currently tested in the production site in Freudenstadt and the lines will be despatched still before Christmas. According to Bürkle this line will double the current production capacity of Solarwatt AG to 300 MWp.

2009-12-29   Courtesy: Robert Bürkle GmbH   © Heindl Server GmbH
Picture Courtesy: Robert Bürkle GmbH


SEIA: Solar energy could meet 15 % of U.S. electricity by 2020

Rhone Resch on climate change:
Rhone Resch on climate change:
"We need to do more and do it quicker"

Leaders representing the U.S. solar energy industry reported the potential of solar energy to meet 15 % of U.S. energy needs by 2020 at an UNFCCC press briefing in the Bella Center, the hub of activity at the United Nations Climate Conference (COP15). The "Expanding Solar Energy in the United States" briefing was hosted by the Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA) and featured U.S. solar industry leaders outlining the "Solar Bill of Rights" legislation, which the organization believes to be mandatory in order to rapidly deploy solar energy, to fight climate change and to create jobs.   "The evidence is clear on the problem of climate change: we need to do more and do it quicker", said Rhone Resch, President and Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of SEIA. "Solar energy is our immediate solution. The solar industry is ready now to do more, do it faster and create jobs. The only things holding solar back are antiquated policies developed over the last century that favor polluting sources of energy."

U.S. solar industry leaders highlight national policies needed to
accelerate solar deployment

Resch called for the establishment of a price on pollution, and said that U.S. policymakers need to enact the provisions set forth in the Solar Bill of Rights to make an immediate difference in addressing climate change. In a report released jointly with solar industry groups representing more than 90 countries around the world, SEIA presented an accelerated solar deployment scenario for the United States to meet 15 % of electricity needs by 2020. Twelve percent would come from solar electric power generated by photovoltaic (PV) solar panels and concentrating solar power (CSP) plants. Another 3 % of electricity would be offset by solar thermal systems. The report also noted the key policies needed for the industry to scale up and compete effectively. These policies are conveyed in the Solar Bill of Rights, which was unveiled by Resch. The platform lays out eight basic rights that are believed to give the solar industry equal access to the electricity marketplace and levels the playing field with the fossil fuel industries. "If you're one of the 92 % of the American public that supports greater use of solar, I encourage you to go to, become a signatory, and let your elected officials know that their constituents want pro-solar policies", Resch said. The industry estimates that by 2020, more than 880,000 new solar jobs would be created in the U.S. while reducing total energy emissions by 10 %.

Solar Bill of Rights:

1. The right to put solar on our homes and businesses
2. The right to connect our solar energy systems to the grid
3. The right to net meter and receive at least full retail rates
4. The right to a fair competitive environment
5. The right to equal access to public lands
6. The right to build and interconnect new transmission lines
7. The right to buy solar electricity from utilities
8. Consumers have the right to the highest ethical treatment from the solar industry

2009-12-29   Courtesy: SEIA   © Heindl Server GmbH
Picture Courtesy: SEIA


DP&L to build largest solar power facility in southwestern Ohio

A rendering of the PV array
A rendering of the PV array

The Dayton Power and Light Company (DP&L; Dayton, Ohio) in December 2009 announced plans to construct a 1.1 megawatt (MW) solar photovoltaic (PV) array near its Yankee substation in Washington Township, Montgomery County, Ohio. The construction of the project is scheduled to begin in December 2009, and is expected to be online in March of 2010.   The 7 acre facility is to consist of 9,000 solar panels which are to generate enough electricity to power nearly 150 homes. The project is expected to cost approximately 5 million US-dollars. According to the press release, a visitor center is also planned as part of the installation to educate the public about solar power. "This is one of our efforts to diversify our generation portfolio and support our compliance with Ohio's renewable energy requirements," said Paul Barbas, President and Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of DP&L. "We will be learning from these installations, testing optimum configurations and studying the long-term impact solar could have in our area." DP&L reports that its Yankee solar facility will be constructed in partnership with a number of regional companies led by Ameridian Specialty Services of Cincinnati.

2009-12-29   Courtesy: Dayton Power and Light Company   © Heindl Server GmbH
Picture Courtesy: Dayton Power and Light Company


iSuppli: Chinese companies ride vertical integration to solar cost leadership

The Chinese solar firms Trina Solar Ltd. and Yingli Green Energy Holding Company Ltd. have capitalized on their vertical structures, combining the sale of photovoltaic (PV) wafers, solar cells, panels and installation to achieve the lowest costs in the industry. Technology value chain research and advisory services supplier iSuppli Corporation (El Segundo, California) recently published an analysis whether the success of these two companies will continue as solar market conditions change.   Dr. Henning Wicht, Senior Director and principal analyst at iSuppli, commented: "Yingli and Trina have capitalized on their capability to quickly reduce margins across the solar value chain. These two companies do not have to renegotiate contracts with wafer and cell suppliers to achieve best-in-class pricing, allowing them to achieve strong growth during what has been a very tough year for the global solar business. By combining multiple segments of the solar supply chain into a single vertically-integrated business model, they have been able to control costs, and even maintain the lowest inventory levels of any supplier worldwide."

Vertically integrated solar manufacturers able to decrease days of inventory in third quarter 2009

iSuppli reports that the third quarter revenue of Trina had exploded to 250 million US-dollars, up from 148 million in the second quarter. The majority of sales during the period derived from Europe. The company even managed to decrease its stockpiles to just 22.7 Days of Inventory (DOI) in the third quarter of 2009, iSuppli reports. In contrast, the DOI for all vertically integrated solar suppliers amounted to about 105 in the same quarter. In addition to overseas sales, Trina and Yingli were also able to benefit from the rise in solar installations in China. iSuppli predicts 200 megawatts (MW) of new solar systems in China in 2009, up from 30 MW in 2008. Researchers expect China's megawatt installations to rise at an 88 % Compound Annual Growth Rate (CAGR) to reach 2,500 MW by 2013.

Successful companies exercise different types of vertical integration

iSuppli stresses that companies benefit from vertical integration, a business strategy which is believed to support solar market penetration and growth. "Yingli and Trina, along with U.S.-based First Solar Inc., represent the most notable success stories in the PV market today", Wicht said. "In the price-driven environment of 2009, vertical integration provides the scale and control needed to contain costs, and to provide a competitive edge." Other companies are also practicing various degrees of vertical integration. For example, Suntech, Sharp, Sanyo, and Sunpower have combined cell and panel production. REC Solar Inc. offers the raw material polysilicon, PV wafers, cells and modules. Aleo, Solon and Phoenix Solar engage in both panel production and solar system installation. According to iSuppli, other companies are taking specialized approaches, focusing on specific nodes of the supply chain. For example, companies including JA Solar, Gintech and NSP perform only cell production, while HSC and Wacker exclusively offer polysilicon.

The wave of the future: specialization

While vertical integration is believed to rule the day in the solar industry, iSupply expects the days of dominance for this business model to be numbered. "The future of the solar industry lies in specialization, similar to what occurred in the semiconductor business", Wicht said. "Chip suppliers once were completely vertically oriented, producing everything from raw silicon and wafers, to manufacturing equipment, to semiconductors, to end equipment. However, over the years, it became unfeasible for chip companies to participate in all these segments, leading to a disaggregation of the industry into distinct segments, including raw materials, fab equipment, foundries and assembly and test. Economics dictate that a similar trend will occur in the solar market." Wicht noted that the vertical integration approach will become untenable for the solar market in the future, and that maintaining investments to remain competitive at all levels of the solar business will not be possible for a single supplier. As the solar market diversifies, companies that focus on specific nodes of the industry are expected to be able to provide specialized products to meet the needs of particular applications. iSupply predicts that companies that successfully develop unique, specialized products will be able to avoid heavy competition. Further information about the study, dubbed "PV System Demand Climbing Up the Valley," is available under

2009-12-28   Courtesy: iSuppli Corporation   © Heindl Server GmbH


SunPower and SolarPower dedicate 50 kW solar power system for HP in Israel

SunPower Corporation (San Jose, California), a manufacturer of high-efficiency solar cells, solar panels and solar energy systems, and SolarPower Ltd. (Pardesia), an Israeli photovoltaic system integrator and project developer, on December 21st, 2009 announced the dedication of a 50 kilowatt (kW) rooftop system at Hewlett Packard's Indigo division facility in Kiryat-Gat, Israel.   According to the press release, SolarPower designed and built the system with its high-efficiency solar panels. "By combining SolarPower's design and construction expertise with SunPower panels, the most efficient solar panels commercially available, HP will maximize the amount of clean solar power generated on the roof", said SolarPower co-Founder and co-CEO Alon Tamari. "We are very pleased to have completed the first solar power installation for the high-technology industry in Israel." Howard Wenger, President, global business units, for SunPower, said: "SolarPower's leadership in Israel was clearly an advantage to SunPower as we entered the market. On four continents, the proven performance of SunPower's technology has achieved a superior return on investment for our residential, commercial and power plant customers." SunPower reports that the company has completed more than 550 large photovoltaic systems worldwide, including the recently inaugurated 24 megawatt (MW) Montalto solar power plant in Italy.

2009-12-28   Courtesy: SunPower Corp.   © Heindl Server GmbH


Power to the people: Paul Gipe comments on Ontario's feed-in tariffs

In December 2009, Ontario's new feed-in tariff program got off to an attention-grabbing start, when the Ontario Power Authority (OPA) announced that it had awarded 700 contracts for renewable energy to homeowners under its expedited "microFIT" program. Altogether, OPA received 8,000 megawatts (MW) of applications for wind and solar energy contracts under the province's feed-in tariff (FIT) policy, industry veteran Paul Gipe reported.   According to Gipe, OPA's remarkable announcement was well timed to send a signal to the Canadian delegation in Copenhagen where Canada was singled out as "Fossil of the Year" by climate change activists for its refusal to limit greenhouse gases. Ontario is acting independently of Canada's federal government and plans to close all its coal-fired power plants by 2014. The province, Canada's most populous, is also aggressively developing its renewable energy industry, Gipe reports. OPA's announcement was the first concrete indication of how fast the Ontario market may grow.

Ontario's microFIT program believed to be revolutionary

OPA estimates that the FIT program will stimulate more than 5 billion Canadian dollars (4.7 billion US-dollars) in new manufacturing, design, construction, and engineering investment in the province. Gipe points out that the news that generated the most media buzz in Canada and elsewhere was the microFIT contracts. Saying that the program "literally brings power to the people", Ontario's Minister of Energy and Infrastructure Gerry Phillips sounded to Gipe like a 1960s radical. Phillips said that the microFIT program "allows homeowners, farmers, schools and mom and pop businesses" to generate their own power "and get paid for it." Under Ontario's microFIT program, homeowners generating their own electricity from solar photovoltaic (PV) sources will be paid 0.80 Canadian Dollars per kilowatt hour (kWh) (0.76 US-dollars/kWh) for a period of 20 years.

When approved, microFIT projects are to account for a total of 8.6 MW renewable energy capacity

According to Gipe, Colin Anderson, OPA's Chief Executive Officer (CEO) also sounded revolutionary, when he proudly noted that "we've cut the red tape and made it simpler for ordinary Ontarians to become electricity producers." For Anderson and the OPA this wasn't idle boasting, because according to Gipe they delivered North America's most aggressive renewable energy program in record-breaking time. OPA said that it was continuing to process another 500 micoFIT applications. When awarded, OPA will have issued a total 8.6 MW of contracts, nearly all for rooftop solar PV systems, to generators with projects with a generating capacity of less than 10 kilowatts (kW). These residential solar systems are expected to generate nearly 9 million kWh per year under Ontario conditions. Ontario's microFIT contracts alone are expected to put Ontario close to one of the top ten markets for solar PV in North America, Gipe points out.

Up to 4,000 MW renewable energy capacity deemed possible in Ontario within three to five years

Gipe notes that the microFIT contracts represent just the tip of the iceberg. Of the 8,000 MW of applications for feed-in tariffs, nearly 1,300 MW were for solar PV, and 6,300 MW were for wind energy. Unfortunately, there is only 2,500 MW of grid capacity available in the first phase of OPA's FIT program, Gipe adds. Another 1,500 MW of grid expansion is currently under construction. In the meantime, OPA is reportedly giving preference to projects that are "shovel-ready" to get as much renewable energy in the ground as quickly as possible. Gipe believes that there could be as much as 4,000 MW of new renewable capacity in Ontario within three to five years. Under Ontario conditions this would be roughly 3 % to 5 % of the province's electricity consumption. If achieved, this would be the most rapid growth of renewable energy in North America outside Texas. For comparison, California, formerly the renewable energy leader in North America, currently generates only slightly more than 2 % of its electricity consumption from new renewable sources. Gipe notes that Ontario has clearly put itself on the renewable energy map.

2009-12-28   Courtesy: Paul Gipe   © Heindl Server GmbH


Photovoltaics: Sustainable Energy Technologies provides inverter technology for largest commercial rooftop system in Western Canada

PV installation by Sustainable Energy Technologies
PV installation by Sustainable Energy

Sustainable Energy Technologies Ltd. (Calgary, Alberta, Canada) on December 18th, 2009 announced the grand opening of what it believes to be the largest commercial rooftop solar photovoltaic (PV) system west of Toronto. According to the press release, the solar power plant installed atop the Ridge Professional Building utilizes Sustainable Energy's extra-low voltage "SUNERGY" inverter technology.   The Ridge Professional Building is located in Medicine Hat (Alberta, Canada) and now features a 30 kilowatt (kW) rooftop PV system that is expected to supply approximately 50 % of the building's electrical needs. Using solar PV modules from Day4 Energy of Burnaby (British Columbia, Canada) along with Sustainable Energy's SUNERGY inverter technology, this Western Canadian technology-powered system is expected to produce 40 megawatt hours (MWh) a year for the progressive business center.

Outdoor mounted inverters avoid risks of live DC current voltage inside buildings

"The opening of the Ridge Professional Building's rooftop solar PV system is a huge landmark for Western Canada and is a testament to the growing adoption of renewable energy", said Robert Bucher, President and Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Sustainable Energy Technologies. "We are pleased to provide our safe and efficient inverter technology to this ground-breaking project and expect to see more jurisdictions establish guidelines similar to those in Medicine Hat that will encourage further adoption of renewable energy." The SUNERGY distributed inverters are said to offer cost, performance and safety advantages over high voltage inverters for rooftop solar PV systems. Outdoor mounted inverters are said to avoid the problem of live direct current (DC) voltage from the solar panels remaining inside the building, even after utility power is disconnected. Traditional inverters are mounted indoors and can operate at voltages as high as 600 V, which according to Sustainable Energy presents a safety hazard. According to the press release, the SUNERGY inverters enabled the installation at Medicine Hat to operate below 120V DC, minimizing the risk to firefighters and other personnel accessing the rooftop.

Inverter platform believed to allow for higher yield, easier installation and improved safety

The patented SUNERGY multiple power point tracking (MPPT) and the elimination of module mismatch losses are said to generate power yield improvement of 3 to 5 % over high-voltage products. In congested rooftop applications, energy yield can reportedly be improved as much as 15 %. Roof mounted, low voltage inverters translate to higher system availability throughout the year and simpler, lower cost of maintenance which can be carried out by local trades without relying on manufacturer personnel. "We could not have asked for a smoother installation process", said Rick Dunsmore, President of Goose Creek Renewable Energy, who designed and installed the system. "Sustainable Energy's inverter technology naturally complied with Medicine Hat's interconnection rules and we were able to address the City's safety concerns without sacrificing cost or performance."

2009-12-28   Courtesy: Sustainable Energy Technologies Ltd.   © Heindl Server GmbH
Picture Courtesy: Sustainable Energy Technologies Ltd.


PV Powered inverters selected for large stimulus-funded HUD project in Monterey

Residential PV inverter by PV Powered
Residential PV inverter by
PV Powered

PV Powered, Inc. (Bend, Oregon), a manufacturer of solar photovoltaic (PV) inverters, on December 14th, 2009 announced that its residential inverters had been selected for use in a large solar power project in Monterey, California. The project is being managed under the auspices of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) and the Housing Authority of the County of Monterey, and will use stimulus funds provided by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA).   According to the press release, the project involves multiple locations in the Monterey area, and is to include approximately 600 multi-family units that are to be solar-powered. The initial phase of the project includes units at four different housing complexes. Emard Electric (Emard) of Loomis, California was reportedly selected to install the solar electronics, and had chosen to utilize solar inverters by PV Powered.

'Made in the USA' one of the reasons for the selection of inverter technology

"This was a competitive bid process and Emard was the lowest, most responsive bidder," said Starla Warren, Director of Development, Housing Authority County of Monterey. "We look forward to working with them and to providing 'green' options to our clients and the community." Section 1605 of the ARRA provides that no funds made available may be used for a project involving a public building or public work unless all of the manufactured goods used in the project are produced in the United States. Abe Emard, Project Manager with Emard Electric commented: "It was key for us to select system components that comply with the Buy American Act. PV Powered is one of very few inverter suppliers that are US-based, so that it got our attention immediately. But after we learned more about the products and sampled PV Powered's high level of technical support, we were sold."

Solar power systems to be equipped with online-accessible performance monitoring systems

According to the press release, Emard designed the systems to meet the power production targets specified by the California Solar Initiative (CSI). And although performance monitoring is not required by HUD, Emard is developing a custom performance monitoring system using DECK Monitoring technology so that real-time display of power output will be available at the HUD office. Emard is also said to do pioneering work by setting up virtual metering over the Internet with the California utility Pacific Gas and Electric (PG&E; San Francisco) to enable the establishment of feed-in tariff (FIT) arrangements. "PV Powered residential inverters are designed for highest reliability and maximum energy harvest over the long haul in demanding North American conditions," said Erick Petersen, PV Powered Vice President of Marketing and Sales.

2009-12-28   Courtesy: PV Powered, Inc.   © Heindl Server GmbH
Picture Courtesy: PV Powered, Inc.


Advanced Energy opens new solar inverter production facility, company's products used in CSU's 2 MW solar PV array

Solaron inverter by Advanced Energy
Solaron inverter by Advanced Energy

Advanced Energy Industries, Inc. (Fort Collins, Colorado), a global manufacturer of power and control technologies for thin-film manufacturing and solar-power generation, on December 16th, 2009 announced the grand opening of a new production facility in Fort Collins, Colorado. According to the press release, the 48,000 square-foot facility was designed to meet emerging trends in the solar photovoltaic (PV) industry and includes design and development capabilities focused on next-generation solar inverter technology.   According to the press release, the new production facility is currently configured to produce 250 megawatts (MW) of the company's "Solaron" PV grid-tie inverter products annually. It is said to be expandable to a capacity of more than one gigawatt (GW). Dr. Hans Betz, President and Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Advanced Energy, said: "Our investments in solar technology and operational excellence have resulted in the award-winning Solaron inverter product line, which is already delivering compelling benefits for our customers. This new investment in expanded manufacturing capacity demonstrates our commitment to the renewable energy business and our confidence in future growth."

Company's inverter technology commissioned on Colorado State University's 2 MW solar PV array

Advanced Energy also announced that its Solaron PV inverters had been commissioned on a solar power plant with a generating capacity of 2 MW at the Foothills campus of Colorado State University (CSU). According to the press release, these inverters had been selected for the facility because of their efficiency rating and because of the company's reputation for reliable products, service and support. The 15 acre site is said to be one of the largest solar installations at a U.S. university, and it is projected to produce more than 10 % of the electricity required to power the Foothills campus. Advanced Energy reports that the project is the result of a unique public-private partnership between CSU, Fotowatio Renewable Ventures (FRV; Madrid, Spain), a premier independent power producer, and Xcel Energy (Minneapolis, Minnesota), a leading regional utility supplier. The international engineering and project management company AMEC (London, United Kingdom) is constructing the solar array.

By hosting PV power plant, CSU is believed to set good example for other universities and businesses

According to the press release, the facility started producing power in early December, 2009, and it is expected to be fully commissioned early in 2010. Hans Betz noted: "We are confident that by delivering the highest efficiency available, our Solaron inverters will provide the maximum power harvest and the lowest levelized cost of energy (LCOE). CSU's leadership in renewable energy is a great example for other universities and businesses across the country."

2009-12-27   Courtesy: Advanced Energy Industries, Inc.   © Heindl Server GmbH
Picture Courtesy: Advanced Energy Industries, Inc.


LIPA approves the largest solar energy project in New York State

The President and Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the non-profit municipal electric provider Long Island Power Authority (LIPA), Kevin S. Law, on December 17th, 2009 announced that the LIPA Board of Trustees had approved power purchase agreements (PPAs) with BP Solar International Inc. (BP Solar) and enXco Development Corporation (enXco; Escondido, California), thereby creating the state's largest source of solar power on Long Island.   LIPA's solar photovoltaic (PV) plant is expected to feed clean renewable energy generated on Long Island into LIPA's electric grid with a capacity of approximately 50 megawatts (MW), enough to power 6,500 households and reduce carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions by more than 45,300 tons per year. "Today's approval is great news for Long Island and the entire state of New York", said Law. "LIPA's solar energy project is the largest solar project in New York State. I have kept my commitment to Long Island and LIPA's customers to invest in renewable energy and energy efficiency, to diversify our energy portfolio, to reduce our use and dependence on fossil fuels, to stimulate the local economy, to create clean energy jobs, and to help build the solar industry."

Power authority to enter into PPAs for 49 MW renewable energy capacity

According to the press release, LIPA will enter into PPAs with BP Solar and enXco to provide up to 32 MW and 17 MW respectively of capacity, energy and renewable energy credits (RECs) from their projects. The cost to LIPA under the PPA for BP Solar's ground-mounted solar project at Brookhaven National Laboratory is estimated to amount to approximately 298 million US-dollars over the contracted 20-year term. The PPA for solar projects on car ports within existing parking lots, at railroad stations and other facilities to be realized by enXco is estimated to total approximately 125 million US-dollars over the contracted 20-year term. Both PPAs require the companies to construct, operate and maintain the project and achieve full operation by mid 2011. The effect of the costs of the "Long Island Solar Energy Project" to LIPA customers is estimated to be equivalent to approximately 0.83 US-dollars per month per customer.

Additional funding expected from American Recovery and Reinvestment Act

To defray some of the costs of the solar project, LIPA reports that the company is actively pursuing 15 million US-dollars in funding under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA). According to the press release, LIPA was able to secure federal appropriations from Congressman Steve Israel amounting to 1.75 million US-dollars. "LIPA's 50 megawatt solar project is a giant leap forward for Long Island. It will create solar energy jobs for Long Islanders rather than sending more of our energy jobs overseas to China. This project will create new opportunities for our local clean energy economy. I'm proud to have secured 1.75 million US-dollars in federal funding to support this program", said Rep. Israel. LIPA plans to pursue additional funding opportunities on the state and federal level.

Solar power plant to support New York "State Energy Plan"

New York Governor Paterson recently accepted the final 2009 "State Energy Plan" from the New York State Energy Planning Board, a comprehensive blueprint to continue the transition to a clean energy economy over a 10-year planning horizon. This plan identifies a number of specific policy initiatives, including supporting the development of in-State energy supplies like solar energy and encouraging investment in, and identifying future needs for energy infrastructure. These efforts are expected to create tens of thousands of jobs in New York state. LIPA reports that the company had been named by the New York State Solar Energy Industries Association as a leader in the state and by the Solar Electric Power Association (SEPA) as a leader in the nation for its longstanding commitment to investing in solar energy for residential and commercial customers. In February 2009, LIPA officials had announced the results of a competitive procurement process and the selection of BP Solar and enXco as the top two proposers to provide LIPA with capacity, energy and associated RECs from solar arrays to meet the company's renewable energy goals.

2009-12-27   Courtesy: Long Island Power Authority (LIPA)   © Heindl Server GmbH


Suntech's quality lab certified for PV module VDE Test Data Acceptance Program

PV panel production by Suntech
PV panel production by Suntech

Suntech Power Holdings Co., Ltd. (Wuxi, China), the world's largest crystalline silicon photovoltaic (PV) module manufacturer, on December 21st, 2009 announced that it is the first solar company in Asia to be awarded the VDE Test Data Acceptance Program (TDAP) certificate in accordance with all the requirements of IEC 61215. The award is further recognition of Suntech's strong commitment to implementing world-class quality processes to ensure solar panel performance.   Dr. Qiang Han, General Manager of VDE Shanghai said: "We are impressed by Suntech's comprehensive quality testing processes, a number of which exceed IEC certification requirements. As a leading global solar company, Suntech is setting a fantastic example of how to ensure consistent, high quality production."

As part of the program, VDE will regularly send experienced personnel to witness the implementation of key quality tests and procedures at Suntech. Participation in the TDAP is expected to accelerate Suntech's ongoing IEC certification process from approximately seven months to four months, enabling Suntech to bring the latest solar products to market faster. Dr. Zhengrong Shi, Suntech's Chairman and CEO, added: "We view quality as key to the long-term success of the solar industry. Suntech's commitment to reliability, represented in our industry-leading quality control teams, state-of-the-art product testing infrastructure, and our track record of over 1.5GW of installed solar products, gives customers the confidence and performance they need to generate decades of sustainable and clean energy. We will work closely with VDE and other internationally respected quality organizations to guarantee current and future generations of solar technology."

Suntech's world-class PV module testing facility is the largest in China with 1,400sqm and 7,000sqm of indoor and outdoor testing space, respectively. The cutting-edge test equipment includes a walk-in UV light chamber, a walk-in salt mist chamber, a water vapor test, pulse and continuous solar simulators, walk-in climate chambers, mechanical load and hail testers, electroluminescence testers, and high precision infrared cameras to evaluate module integrity. All the equipment and testing procedures meet or exceed the stringent standards of UL1703, IEC61215 and IEC61730-2. In June 2009, Suntech's PV module testing facility became the first in China to be awarded the Underwriters Laboratories Witness Testing Data Program certificate.

2009-12-24   Courtesy: Suntech Power Holdings Co., Ltd.   © Heindl Server GmbH
Picture Courtesy: Suntech Power Holdings Co., Ltd.


SCHOTT Solar expands U.S. production capacity, hires 60 employees in Albuquerque

PV production at SCHOTT Solar's facility in Albuquerque
PV production at SCHOTT Solar's facility
in Albuquerque

Less than nine months after beginning production at its new Albuquerque (New Mexico) facility, SCHOTT Solar in December 2009 announced the expansion of its photovoltaic (PV) module production line. The company reports that its PV production will double from two shifts to four shifts on a rotating schedule, effectively creating a 24 hour-a-day, 7 days-a-week production capacity at this facility.   In order to meet its increased production schedule, SCHOTT Solar has reportedly hired up to 10 new employees per week since November 1st, 2009. The company more than doubled the ranks of its PV production technicians, and employed new materials handlers and tech services / facilities technicians. The 60 new employees are expected to bring the PV production lines to full capacity of 160 employees by the end of December, 2009.

Company continues to expand its workforce in the U.S., creates jobs despite unfavorable economic environment

"Creating jobs in today's economic environment is a tremendous achievement for any company", said Dr. Gerald Fine, President and Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of SCHOTT Solar. "To be able to almost double our PV workforce in such a short time is a testament to the hard work and dedication of the people who have been with us from the start. They put in the work that allows us to grow." In order to fill a large number of positions in a relatively short amount of time, SCHOTT Solar partnered with the human resources specialist Manpower of Albuquerque. The company reports that it continues to build its sales and marketing team in the United States, that it had recently opened an East Coast sales office in Elmsford (New York), and that it is relocating the West Coast sales office to San Jose (California). At the same time, Tom Hecht was appointed Executive Vice President of sales and marketing, SCHOTT Solar reports.

2009-12-24   Courtesy: SCHOTT Solar   © Heindl Server GmbH
Picture Courtesy: SCHOTT Solar


European Investment Bank provides EDF EN with 500 million Euros for solar photovoltaic program

EDF Energies Nouvelles (EDF EN; Paris, France) and the European Investment Bank (EIB) on December 17th, 2009 announced the signature of a memorandum of understanding (MOU) to set up an innovative financing structure for a solar photovoltaic (PV) portfolio of EDF EN in France and Italy. According to the press release, EIB allocated a total of 500 million Euros for this investment program. It is said to relate to the development of solar PV plants in France and Italy by EDF EN between the years 2010 and 2012. These projects, which are currently under development or under construction, are all to be equipped with the thin-film PV technology by the U.S. manufacturer First Solar (Tempe, Arizona).   The financing framework agreement states that each project will be implemented jointly with several commercial banks, each financing allocation being independent of the others. According to the press release, EIB's contribution will represent up to 50 % of the total financing of each project.

Two pilot projects to be completed in early 2010, financing structure to be replicated for successive PV power plants

Two pilot projects, the Gabardan ground-based solar farm in France with three 12 megawatt peak (MWp) tranches in Les Landes and the Loreo 12.5 MWp ground-based solar farm in the Italian region Veneto are to be financed in early 2010 under the agreement. The financing structure is then to be replicated for each of the subsequent investments carried out under this program. This mechanism is expected to help simplify the implementation of all the other projects as and when their construction starts. "We are very happy with this innovative financing solution put together with the EIB that has been made possible by the volume of our projects' portfolio", said Pâris Mouratoglou, Chairman of the Board of Directors of EDF Energies Nouvelles. "Perfectly suited to photovoltaic projects, which have a smaller average unit size than in wind energy, this financing structure will help EDF EN to step up the pace of completion of its numerous projects under development in France and Italy, and will facilitate achievement of our ambitious objectives." Philippe de Fontaine Vive, Vice-President of the European Investment Bank, added: "The support that we are providing to EDF Energies Nouvelles' projects fits perfectly with the framework of the national and European policies in support of renewable energies and will help to meet the targets of combating global warming and promoting energy independence, while contributing to the development of innovative technologies."

2009-12-23   Courtesy: European Investment Bank   © Heindl Server GmbH


Trina Solar inaugurates large PV rooftop system in Belgium

Solar PV roof at Antwerp, Belgium
Solar PV roof at Antwerp, Belgium

Trina Solar Limited (Changzhou, China), an integrated manufacturer of solar photovoltaic (PV) products, on December 17th, 2009 announced the inauguration of what the company believes to be the largest rooftop solar PV system in Europe with a capacity of 40 megawatts (MW). According to the press release, the solar power plant was built for a global logistics service provider with headquarters in Antwerp, Belgium.   The installation utilizes solar PV modules by Trina Solar under a previously announced sales agreement with the Belgian company Invictus NV (Invictus), partner of the Benelux TEC Servicegroup. The system is expected to be fully operational by the end of 2009 and it is said to represent an investment of 166 million Euros (237 million US-dollars). The solar power plant is expected to offset 17,000 tons of CO2 emissions and to supply the average annual energy consumption of approximately 14,000 households.

Companies cooperate on solar PV projects across Europe

Arturo Herrero, Vice-President of Special Key Accounts with Trina Solar, said: "We are delighted that Trina Solar's modules were selected for this landmark achievement by our customer Invictus, with whom we are working closely in Belgium as well as in other European countries as PV installations continue to expand in the region." Jan Van der Henst, Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Invictus, stated: "Combined with Trina Solar's high quality premium performance modules and excellent customer service, the fulfillment of this project once again demonstrates the knowhow and experience of Invictus in the realization of mega projects in the field of photovoltaic installations."

2009-12-23   Courtesy: Trina Solar Ltd.   © Heindl Server GmbH
Picture Courtesy: Trina Solar Ltd.


India: Minister of New and Renewable Energy announces efforts to reduce the cost of solar power

Dr. Farooq Abdullah announced incentives to reduce the cost of solar power
Dr. Farooq Abdullah announced
incentives to reduce the cost of
solar power

India's Union Minister for New and Renewable Energy, Dr. Farooq Abdullah, announced measures to reduce the cost of solar power. Replying to a question in the Lok Sabha on December 11th, 2009 he said that his Ministry is supporting research and development (R&D) on all aspects of solar energy, starting from polysilicon material and solar thermal coatings to complete solar energy systems.   The Minister said that this effort will be very important to reduce the cost of solar energy. Dr. Abdullah also announced that one company was planning to set up a unit to manufacture polysilicon material in West Bengal. Dr. Abdullah explained that the "Jawaharlal Nehru National Solar Mission" envisages major participation of the private sector by setting up grid connected solar power projects on a "Build Own and Operate" basis. They are to be eligible to receive a preferential tariff for solar power that is fed to the grid. In addition, the private sector is expected to continue setting up manufacturing units in the country.

Incentives to be available for R&D, production and deployment of solar power technologies

The Minister also said that the private sector is expected to be a major user of various types of solar energy systems and devices. He emphasized that the Indian government intends to strengthen some of the existing research institutions in the country and to develop them as "Centers of Excellence." A number of different incentives are to be made available such as nil or concessional customs, excise duty on selected items, 80 % accelerated depreciation, a preferential tariff for feeding solar power to the grid and a capital / interest subsidy for the installation of solar energy systems. Under the Indian "National Solar Mission", three major steps are proposed. They are the creation of volumes to allow domestic manufacture, the support of R&D to reduce material consumption and improve efficiency, and a long term policy regarding the purchase of power. The first phase target of the 'Mission' is 1,100 MW grid solar power capacity by March 2013.

2009-12-23   Courtesy: Ministry of New and Renewable Energy, India   © Heindl Server GmbH
Picture Courtesy: Ministry of New and Renewable Energy, India


SMA America introduces central inverter engineered for optimum medium voltage grid connection

Sunny Central 500HE-US
Sunny Central 500HE-US

SMA America LLC (Rocklin, California), the U.S.-based subsidiary of global solar technology leader SMA Solar Technology AG, on December 15th, 2009 announced that the company had expanded its U.S. line of commercial and utility products with the "Sunny Central 500HE-US". According to the press release, the new 500 kilowatt (kW) solar photovoltaic (PV) inverter provides installers with a utility scale solution that features the industry's best efficiency in the medium voltage category.   The SMA Sunny Central 500HE-US is built on proven technology that is already in use in Europe, but is specially configured to meet U.S. requirements such as the UL 1741/IEEE-1547 standard, SMA America reports. The new central inverter couples to an external medium voltage transformer to accommodate long distance power feeds to distribution substations, making it ideal for utility installations. According to the press release, two units can also be combined in a packaged solution with only one double-winding transformer to provide a true megawatt (MW) station.

New line of inverters support integrators and installers of utility-scale solar PV projects

"By engineering the system to connect to an external transformer, SMA customers will benefit from best-in-class efficiency, resulting in the lowest possible installation costs and improved returns," said Erik Bakke, Senior Sales Manager for commercial projects at SMA America. Integrated grid management features such as grid operator-controlled power limitation and control of reactive power are to be made available based on utility and project requirements. An updated user interface features a large graphic display that provides a view of daily plant production as well as the status of the inverter and utility grid. With a "Modbus Gateway", the high efficiency inverter is said to be compatible with both custom SMA monitoring solutions and third party applications. According to the press release, the new central inverter also features world-class reliability, in part due to its variable speed, forced-air cooling system and NEMA 3R, outdoor rated shell.

2009-12-23   Courtesy: SMA America LLC   © Heindl Server GmbH
Picture Courtesy: SMA America LLC


Prism Solar awarded a 600,000 US-dollar "Jobs Now" grant

Rooftop mounted PV panels by Prism Solar
Rooftop mounted PV panels by Prism Solar

Empire State Development (ESD), New York's chief economic development agency, recently awarded Prism Solar Technologies (Highland, New York), a manufacturer of photovoltaic (PV) modules, a 600,000 US-dollar "Jobs Now" grant. According to Prism Solar, the funds are to be used for a portion of the cost of machinery and equipment purchase, as well as installation and building acquisition expenses.   The company plans to invest 5.8 million US-dollars and to create up to 175 jobs. "Governor Paterson's vision for making New York the global leader of the New Economy includes investing in clean energy companies like Prism Solar”, said Empire State Development Chairman and Chief Executive Officer (CEO) designate Dennis M. Mullen. "Prism Solar will help us meet our energy goals, create manufacturing jobs and continue to turn the Mid-Hudson into a hub for solar innovation."

13 million US-dollars available to retain and create jobs in New York state

Prism Solar's award from Empire State Development Corporation's Board of Directors is part of several awards approved across New York State in November 2009. According to the press release, the awards total more than 13 million US-dollars and are intended to retain 3,052 existing jobs and create over 1,102 new jobs. The grants are also expected to leverage more than 156.1 million US-dollars in private investments across the state. "This funding will enable us to accelerate our staffing plan," said Prism Solar President and CEO Rick Lewandowski. Prism Solar is an early-stage module manufacturer of a unique, proprietary holographic planar concentrator (HPC) technology that uses holograms to concentrate light onto photovoltaic (PV) cells. Compared to standard modules, Prism's new holographic modules are believed to lower costs and increase energy production by up to 40 % (kWh per rated Wp).

2009-12-23   Courtesy: Prism Solar Technologies   © Heindl Server GmbH
Picture Courtesy: Prism Solar Technologies


Photovoltaics: BP Solar and Tauber-Solar agreed on the way forward for rooftop plant in Buerstadt, Germany

Rooftop PV plant
Rooftop PV plant "Sonnenfleck"
in Bürstadt, Germany

Both parties BP Solar and Tauber-Solar Management GmbH on December 21st, 2009 announced the signing of a joint commercial agreement. It enables the reconstruction of all four construction phases of the "Sonnenfleck" solar energy system including the modification of the system design and installation. Dr. Leonhard Haaf, Managing Director and Press Officer of Tauber-Solar Management, states: "As a project developer and system operator of more than 150 solar systems we’ve gained a lot of experience during the last years. Thus and due to our learnings from this incident, we are able to improve the system design, installation and maintenance quality of the solar system in Buerstadt and by this ensure a safe and long-term reliable operation." 

New basis for a longstanding business relationship between BP Solar and the Tauber-Solar Group

Tauber-Solar Management according to the press release is responsible to reconstruct sections 3 and 4 and will commission the installation of a standing seam metal sheet as the new under construction. BP Solar will test the relevant laminates before being reinstalled. The agreement also provides the basis for the new start of a longstanding business relationship between BP Solar and the Tauber-Solar Group including the supply of BP Solar modules with a total installed capacity of 15 MWp for upcoming projects of the Tauber-Solar Group.
Matthijs Bruijnse, Managing Director BP Solar Germany: "This commercial agreement underlines our willingness to help Tauber-Solar to put the system back in operation and to assure functionality and safety of the installation in Buerstadt."
Haaf underlines: "It is of our and our investors’ greatest interest to get the system up and running safely again. We're pleased that BP Solar is partnering with us on this objective and we’ve not only come to a good solution for Buerstadt but also remain business partners for future projects.”

2009-12-22   Courtesy: BP Solar Deutschland GmbH; TAUBER-SOLAR Management GmbH   © Heindl Server GmbH
Picture Courtesy: TAUBER-SOLAR Management GmbH


Applied Materials completes acquisition of Semitool

Applied Materials, Inc. (AMAT, Santa Clara, California) on December 21st, 2009 announced that it has completed its acquisition of Semitool, Inc. (Kalispell, Massachusetts). This acquisition expands Applied’s capability to address emerging opportunities in the high-growth wafer packaging market and provides complementary systems and technology for advanced semiconductor manufacturing, AMAT reports in a press release. On December 21st, 2009, Semitool was merged with a wholly-owned subsidiary of Applied.   As a result of the merger, each outstanding share of Semitool common stock (other than shares owned by Applied or Semitool or by shareholders of Semitool who properly assert dissenters’ rights under Montana law) was automatically converted into the right to receive .00 in cash, without interest thereon and less any required withholding tax.
The merger follows Applied’s announced .00 per share cash tender offer for all outstanding shares of Semitool, which was completed at 12:00 midnight, Eastern Standard Time, on December 17, 2009. Holders of Semitool common stock who did not tender their shares in the tender offer will receive a letter of transmittal that will instruct them on how to receive the merger consideration, as well as a notice and description of dissenters’ rights for any such holder entitled to assert such rights under Montana law.

2009-12-22   Courtesy: Applied Materials, Inc.   © Heindl Server GmbH


Photovoltaics: KYOCERA supplies approx. 40 MW at large-scale solar power plants in Spain

Solar power plant Don Quijote (10.5MW), Spain
Solar power plant Don Quijote (10.5MW), Spain

Kyocera Corporation (Kyoto, Japan) on December 17th, 2009 announced that it has supplied roughly 190,000 solar photovoltaic (PV) modules, equivalent to approximately 40 megawatts (MW), for two newly completed large-scale solar power plants in Spain. Kyocera supplies its high-efficiency multicrystalline solar modules to Avanzalia - a renewable energy company and one of the leaders in promoting, constructing and capitalizing on large-scale solar power plants in Spain. Recently, Avanzalia has inaugurated two new solar power plants in the Castile-La Mancha region of central Spain: Dulcinea in Cuenca and Don Quijote in Ciudad Real.   Kyocera modules, equal to 39.3MW, have been installed and are currently operating, providing clean energy from the power of the sun.

Two solar plants to power approximately 17,700 average households in Spain

Kyocera was selected for these projects due to the high conversion efficiency of its multicrystalline cells, the long-term reliability of its modules, and the company’s ability to provide a stable supply in large quantities. The power generated from these two solar plants combined provides enough electricity for approximately 17,700 average households in Spain, with the solar modules covering a total area of 338,581m².

Planta Solar de Dulcinea's total capacity is 31.8 MW, the installation area is approx. 230,324m². The solar electricity generated is equivalent to the residential power use of 11,938 homes. The CO2 reduction amounts to 15,018 tons per year. The 140,426 Kyocera modules have a total nominal capacity of 28.8 MW

Planta Solar de Don Quijote's total capacity is 15.5 M, the installation area is approx. 108,257m². The solar electricity generated is equivalent to the residential power use of 5,741 homes. The CO2 reduction amounts to 7,222 tons per year. The 50,004 Kyocera modules have a total nominal capacity of 10.5MW.

Solar energy to contribute to the development of humankind and society

By taking advantage of the feed-in-tariff system provided by the Spanish government, Avanzalia, in-line with government policies, is aiming to create an ideal environment for solar power use. Kyocera, which started its solar energy business in the wake of the first oil crisis in 1973, has been developing and advancing solar energy technology since 1975; with the strong belief that solar energy will contribute to the development of humankind and society. With a similar business rationale, Avanzalia began installing Kyocera’s modules in 2005. On November 18th, 2009 a commemorative ceremony was held to mark the installation and start of operation of the Dulcinea plant and Don Quijote plant. Kyocera and Avanzalia were both in attendance, pledging that though solar power they would strive to build a green energy society.

Meeting the needs of the market

In order to build the infrastructure to support targets of producing 650MW/year of solar cells by March 2012 Kyocera is planning to start operation of a newly constructed solar cell production plant in Japan in spring of 2010. Furthermore, to meet the needs of the 4 main markets (Japan, Europe, North America and China), Kyocera will continue to expand production capability at its 4 regional solar module assembly plants located in Japan, Czech Republic, Mexico and China. Even with this large global production system, Kyocera maintains reliable manufacturing technology and strict internal inspections to ensure high-quality products.

2009-12-21   Courtesy: Kyocera Corporation   © Heindl Server GmbH
Picture Courtesy: Kyocera Corporation


China: Astronergy Solar awarded six "Golden Sun" projects with a combined capacity of 7.86 MW

PV plant by Astronergy Solar
PV plant by Astronergy Solar

The Ministry of Finance of the People's Republic of China in December 2009 released a list of "Golden Sun Demonstration Projects", which includes 222 on-grid photovoltaic (PV) projects, 18 off-grid PV systems and 35 large-scale PV plants. Astronergy Solar (Hangzhou, China) on December 15th, 2009 announced that the company had been awarded six of these projects, with a combined capacity of 7.86 megawatts (MW). The construction is scheduled to begin soon, and includes the on-grid rooftop PV plant of Sinosteel in the Changxing county, and the off-grid PV system in Nanji, Pingyang county, both in the Zhejiang province.   A PV plant of Wenzhou Medical College, one plant of the Zhejiang Xindi Group and one solar PV plant at Chint Electrical Industry Park, all on-grid, are also to be realized by Astronergy. In addition to that, the company plans to build a PV plant on its own building.

China's solar demonstration projects to advance the country's solar industry

"We already have the broadest photovoltaic product line in China, ranging from monocrystalline and polycrystalline modules to high-efficiency a-Si/μc-Si thin film modules", said Dr. Liyou Yang, Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Astronergy Solar. "The 2 MW rooftop on-grid photovoltaic project in Hangzhou's Energy and Environment Industrial Park, which was completed in September of this year, provides us with valuable experience in the running of such projects." As part of their effort to boost the solar energy sector and expand domestic demand, the Ministries of Finance and Science and Technology, along with the National Energy Administration of China, formally launched the "Golden Sun Demonstration Projects" on July 21st, 2009. The projects cover the entire PV industry chain. Astronergy reports that China plans to support solar power projects with a combined generating capacity of at least 500 MW in the form of government subsidies over the next two to three years.

2009-12-21   Courtesy: Astronergy Solar   © Heindl Server GmbH
Picture Courtesy: Astronergy Solar


First Solar and NRG Energy open largest solar PV power plant in California

First Solar, Inc. (Tempe, Arizona) and NRG Energy, Inc. (Princeton, New Jersey) on December 21st, 2009 announced the start of commercial operation for the largest photovoltaic (PV) solar power plant in California. First Solar developed and built the 21-megawatt (MW) power plant in Blythe, Calif., which was acquired last month by NRG through its wholly owned subsidiary NRG Solar. Electricity generated by the solar facility is being sold to Southern California Edison (SCE) under a 20-year power purchase agreement. Located in Riverside County about 200 miles east of Los Angeles, the Blythe PV plant is the largest thin film PV project in the United States and is five times the size of the next largest PV project in California.  NRG estimates that at peak capacity, the project can supply the power needs of almost 17,000 homes while helping California meet its renewable energy goals. Approximately 175 people built Blythe during its three-month construction and installation period.

Arnold Schwarzenegger: "My Administration has successfully created a climate where green businesses can thrive"

"It is no surprise that America’s largest thin film solar project was built right here in California, where my Administration has successfully created a climate where green businesses can thrive", said California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger. "It is forward-thinking businesses such as First Solar that will help California reach its nation-leading greenhouse gas reduction and Renewable Portfolio Standard goals, as well as create the new green jobs that will help spur our economic recovery."
"Solar is the great untapped resource in California, and we are pleased to be part of this significant milestone for solar development in our state", said Marc Ulrich, SCE vice president, Renewables and Alternative Power. "Bringing this power to the grid helps SCE maintain its position as the nation’s leading utility for renewable energy."

California leading the way in encouraging large-scale clean energy sources

"California, as it has in many arenas, is leading the way in encouraging large-scale clean energy sources", said David Crane, NRG Energy President and CEO. "NRG, through our association with pioneers like First Solar and forward-thinking companies like SCE, seeks to help clean our air while stocking our country’s clean energy economic growth through commercial implementation of solar technology."
First Solar expanded its offerings in California in 2008. The Blythe plant is a model for First Solar’s future large-scale solar developments. "The development, project finance and construction of this solar plant demonstrate First Solar’s capabilities in utility scale projects", said Bruce Sohn, president of First Solar. "With a three-month build-out, we are pleased to be bringing it online ahead of schedule."

Solar electricity generation to avoid approximately 12,000 metric tons of carbon dioxide emissions annually

Using First Solar’s industry-leading thin film PV panels that convert sunlight directly into electricity with no water consumption during operation, the Blythe plant will generate over 45,000 megawatt-hours of clean, affordable, sustainable electricity per year. This solar generation will avoid approximately 12,000 metric tons of carbon dioxide emissions annually -– the equivalent of taking over 2,200 cars off the road. First Solar will provide operations and maintenance services at Blythe under a long-term contract with NRG.

2009-12-21   Courtesy: First Solar Inc.   © Heindl Server GmbH


Solar Thermal Industry demands full recognition of the heating and cooling sector’s contribution to the European Commission's SET-Plan

ESTIF study reveals the potential of solar thermal in Europe
ESTIF study reveals the
potential of solar thermal
in Europe

At its General Assembly, held earlier this month in Brussels, the European Solar Thermal Industry Federation (ESTIF) urged the European Commission to include the renewable heating and cooling sector in the Strategic Energy Technology Plan. As heat accounts for nearly half of Europe’s overall energy demand, major investments are needed in renewable heating and cooling technologies to meet the 20/20/20 targets, to secure energy supply in Europe and to significantly reduce CO2 emissions over the next decades. "Today, Europe is at a critical juncture in defining its strategic energy mix to meet these huge challenges", ESTIF emphasizes in a press release.   On 7 October, the European Commission (EC) published a communication on financing low carbon technologies. It estimates that an additional investment of €50 billion will be needed over the next 10 years for energy technology research. This communication represents an important step towards the implementation of the European Strategic Energy Technology Plan (SET-Plan), which is the mainstay of the EU’s energy and climate policy.

Clear incentives for investors to support R&D development in the European renewable heating and cooling sector required

ESTIF deplores the fact that the current proposal does not so far include renewable heating and cooling. According to Olivier Drücke, President of ESTIF: "Leaving technologies like solar thermal, biomass and geothermal out of the current portfolio is a missed opportunity. In fact, the present version of the SET-Plan leaves out 50% of the energy demand and therefore does not pave the way for a successful EU Climate Policy for 2020 and beyond. The SET-Plan should give clear incentives for investors to support R&D development in the European renewable heating and cooling sector."

EU Industrial Initiative (EII) for the renewable heating and cooling sector to be implemented

In this connection, experts from the Renewable Heating and Cooling Platform (RHC-ETP) are currently working with the European Commission to determine the solar thermal sector’s financial requirements for research and Development and Demonstration (R&D&D). The goal is to implement an EU Industrial Initiative (EII) for the renewable heating and cooling sector that would, within the SET Plan, enhance the scope of technologies avoiding CO2 emissions.

Read the Communication of the European Commission "Investing in the Development of Low Carbon Technologies (SET-Plan)"

Further information:

2009-12-21   Courtesy: ESTIF   © Heindl Server GmbH
Picture Courtesy: ESTIF


SunPower and SunRay complete 24 MW Montalto di Castro PV plant in Italy

PV plant with trackers by SunPower
PV plant with trackers by SunPower

SunRay Renewable Energy (Floriana, Malta), an independent solar power producer, and SunPower Corporation (San Jose, California), a manufacturer of high-efficiency solar cells, solar panels and solar energy systems, on December 16th, 2009 announced that they had completed the Montalto di Castro solar photovoltaic (PV) power plant.   With a generating capacity of 25 megawatts (MW) this grid-tied project is believed to be the largest of its kind in Italy to date. The plant is located in the Viterbro province, Lazio, and was connected to the grid several weeks ahead of schedule. The plant is said to produce enough power for 13,000 homes and to avoid the emission of 22,000 tons of carbon dioxide (CO2) per year. According to the press release, this project is the first phase of a planned 85 MW deployment that is expected to be fully operational in 2010.

Local workforce and companies tapped for construction of solar power plant

SunPower reports that the construction of the PV plant could be completed in eight months, and that the company jointly managed it with SunRay. According to the press release, it involved more than 250 workers and the services of 10 local companies that were employed for civil, mechanical and electrical services. A dedicated 150 MW substation was designed and constructed by the energy transmission grid operator Terna SpA (Rome, Italy). A visitor center to provide education on solar power and other renewable energy sources is to be established at the site. In January, SunRay is planning to start an educational program on renewable energy for students at the local elementary and middle schools, including lessons on solar technology to enhance understanding of the new solar plant.

78,720 PV panels integrated with solar tracking systems

"Completing construction of Italy's largest PV park several weeks ahead of schedule is a testament to the professionalism of the entire installation team", said Yoram Amiga, Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of SunRay Group. "More than 200 local workers were trained in the skills of advanced PV technology, and they have surpassed our expectations and demonstrated creativity and resourcefulness in driving the project forward." The 80-hectare Montalto di Castro plant uses 78,720 high-efficiency SunPower solar panels installed on SunPower "Tracker" systems. The Tracker follows the sun during the day and is said to deliver up to 25 % more energy than fixed-tilt systems, while significantly reducing land use requirements. "The Montalto di Castro project is an important milestone for our industry, confirming solar power plants are financeable today and make good business sense", said Howard Wenger, President of global business units for SunPower.

2009-12-21   Courtesy: Sun Power Corp.   © Heindl Server GmbH
Picture Courtesy: Sun Power Corp.


Award winning solar inverters: Mastervolt wins "iF product design award 2010"

PV inverter MasterSol CS20TL
PV inverter MasterSol CS20TL

The Dutch company Mastervolt, manufacturer of solar inverters and self-sufficient generating systems, has been awarded the renowned seal of quality "iF product design award 2010" by a jury of distinguished experts. The award is only presented to particularly creative, innovative and qualitatively superior products, Mastervolt emphasizes in a press release.  The MasterSol CS 20 TL due to the producer is a highly modern solar inverter which with an efficiency level of 98% achieves exemplary values. Thanks to two MPP Trackers and a wide input voltage range of 200 to 1000 Volts it is able to offer a high degree of flexibility. An IP65 electronic casing protects it optimally from water and dust, the MasterSol CS20TL is therefore perfectly suited for outdoor use, Mastervolt accentuates.

International renowned design prize

Although, it is not only the technical values that are impressive. A jury made up of international jurors has awarded the MasterSol CS20TL the "iF production design award 2010", a design prize that is not only renowned in Germany. The award was presented in the category "Industry/Skilled Trades". Mastervolt is entitled to use the "iF winner logo 2010" immediately. A total of 2486 products were submitted by 1016 participants from 39 countries, 778 entries were awarded a prize. From March 2nd , 2010 until 2nd of August 2010, the "iF product design award exhibition" will exhibit the winning entries. "iF" expects about 250 000 international visitors in Hanover during this period. Also from March onwards, the winners will be exhibited on the "iF" website, which, together with its many millions of page impressions, belongs to one of the most popular internet design platforms. In addition, the MasterSol CS20TL will receive an entry in the "iF production design award yearbook 2010", which, with a pressrun of 5000 copies, is distributed worldwide.

2009-12-21   Courtesy: Mastervolt   © Heindl Server GmbH
Picture Courtesy: Mastervolt


Mendocino College dedicates 929 kW SunPower solar power system

Mendocino College's solar power plant
Mendocino College's solar power plant

Mendocino College (California), Bank of America and SunPower Corporation (San Jose, California) in December 2009 announced the completion of a 929-kilowatt (kW) solar photovoltaic (PV) system on the college's Ukiah campus. According to the press release, PV array was financed by Bank of America and is expected to save the college 14.9 million US-dollars in electricity costs over the next 25 years. Constructed in four months, the system utilizes SunPower solar photovoltaic panels that are integrated with the company's "Tracker" system, which follows the sun's movement during the day.   SunPower reports that this system is able to increase sunlight capture by up to 25 % compared to conventional fixed-tilt systems, while significantly reducing land use requirements. "It makes sense to use the clean, renewable resource of the sun to power our schools sustainably", said Mendocino College's Director of Facilities Planning Mike Adams. "SunPower's high-efficiency technology is maximizing the amount of sunlight that is converted to electricity for our operations and the cost savings that we will achieve as a result."

Solar power plant to offset more than 55 million pounds of CO2 emissions over 30 years

"Colleges and universities in California are seizing the opportunity to help the state meet its growing energy demand and renewable energy goals", said Bill Kelly, Managing Director, at SunPower. "Mendocino College understands the significant return on investment that SunPower systems deliver, and the added value of working with an experienced partner." According to conversion formulas provided by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, the solar system at Mendocino College is expected to displace more than 55 million pounds of carbon dioxide (CO2) over the next 30 years. Mendocino College is to own the renewable energy credits (REC) and all environmental attributes associated with the system.

Bank committed 20 billion US-dollars over 10 years to address climate change

According to the press release, Bank of America has committed 20 billion US-dollars over a 10-year period to address global climate change, and has been very active in financing solar power for California K-12 schools and community colleges. "We have been pleased to work with Mendocino College and SunPower to take another step along the path toward efficient and renewable energy", said Neal Skiver, senior vice president for West Region energy services originations at Banc of America Public Capital Corp. "In addition to the renewable energy generation with its associated environmental attributes, doing these projects with schools and colleges provides the added educational benefit of students being able to see first-hand the use of solar energy to help the environment."

2009-12-20   Courtesy: SunPower Corporation   © Heindl Server GmbH
Picture Courtesy: Mendocino College


Chinese PV producer Solarfun appoints Andreas Liebheit as Vice President and Managing Director for the EMEA region

Andreas Liebheit
Andreas Liebheit

Solarfun Power Holdings Co., Ltd. (Solarfun; Shanghai, China), a vertically integrated manufacturer of silicon ingots and photovoltaic (PV) cells and modules, on December 15th, 2009 announced the appointment of Andreas Liebheit as Vice President and Managing Director of Solarfun, Europe, Middle East and Africa (EMEA), effective January 1st, 2010. Solarfun reports that Liebheit joins the company from Solon SE (Berlin, Germany) where he was head of the Business Unit Solar Modules, and primarily in charge of sales, product development and supply chain management for the past three years.   Liebheit earned a master's degree in physics from Munich University in Germany and a bachelor's degree in physics from Montpellier University in France. Peter Xie, President of Solarfun, commented: "We are delighted to welcome Andreas to lead our EMEA sales team. Andreas will be an important part of our efforts to expand our distribution channels and presence in Europe, the Middle East and Africa."

2009-12-20   Courtesy: Solarfun Power Holdings Co., Ltd.   © Heindl Server GmbH
Picture Courtesy: Solarfun Power Holdings Co., Ltd.


HES and T'Sou-ke Nation receive CanSIA "Solar Project of the Year" award

Home Energy Solutions VP Knaggs and Engineer Chan in front of BC’s largest solar system
Home Energy Solutions VP Knaggs
and Engineer Chan in front of BC’s
largest solar system

"Sum-SHA-Thut", the Sencoten term for 'sunshine', is the name for a solar photovoltaic (PV) installation built by the Canadian solar energy company Home Energy Solutions (HES; Victoria, British Columbia and Barrie, Ontario). The company reports that this PV plant was named 'Solar Project of the Year' at the 2009 Canadian Solar Industries Association (CanSIA) conference. The winning project had been built for Vancouver Island's T'Sou-ke Nation, and it is believed to be British Columbia's (BC) largest solar power installment to date.   "The success of this project and the leadership demonstrated by the T'Sou-ke Nation and Chief Gordon Planes show great promise for solar electric generation in Canada", said Dave Egles, Founder and President of HES. According to the company's website, energy consumption has dropped 30 % since the installation of Sum-SHA-Thut in July of 2009, making T'Sou-ke Nation the most solar-intensive nation per capita on the planet.

Solar electricity believed to become more popular, seen as solution to fight climate change

"The T'Sou-ke Solar Community project is a great example of how BC is a leader in the alternative energy sector, and how solar can play a significant role in our future energy supply", said BC's Energy, Mines and Petroleum Resources Minister Blair Lekstrom. "Communities throughout the Province will benefit from a clean, renewable and climate-friendly source of energy. As the world embraces innovative and sustainable energy solutions, BC is at the forefront with its environmental and economic leadership." The timing of the CanSIA award and conference is believed to be significant for the Canadian solar industry, falling in the midst of the Copenhagen Climate Change Conference and just two months after Ontario introduced its micro feed-in-tariff (FIT) program for renewable energy technologies. "This award could not come at a better time", said Egles. "It shows that people are starting to recognize solar electricity as a real solution for climate change, internationally and at a local level."

2009-12-19   Courtesy: Home Energy Solutions   © Heindl Server GmbH
Picture Courtesy: Home Energy Solutions


SunEdison, SPG Solar to establish solar power systems at 21 IUSD sites

The Board of Education of the Irvine Unified School District (IUSD; Irvine, California) on December 8th, 2009 approved a plan to enter into an agreement with SunEdison (Beltsville, Maryland), a subsidiary of MEMC Electronic materials (St. Peters, Missouri), and SPG Solar to establish solar photovoltaic (PV) power systems at twenty-one sites throughout the district. According to the press release, it will be the largest solar deployment for a public school system in the state of California.   The PV systems are expected to save the district at least 17 million US-dollars in energy expenses over 20 years. Under the terms of a power purchase agreement (PPA), the Irvine Unified School District will incur no upfront capital costs. SunEdison is to finance, build, operate and maintain the solar power systems, while IUSD pledges to purchase the energy with predictable pricing over the long-term.

PV technology to enter students' curricula in California school district

This partnership will also make solar PV part of the district's academic curriculum. Students are to utilize internet-based monitoring of the solar PV system to track solar energy production and consumption in real time, SunEdison reports. In addition, students are to learn how solar panels work and how weather impacts energy production. "We are excited about the opportunity to educate our students with a real world project that conserves both energy and money", said IUSD Board of Education member Michael Parham. "This enables the district to 'practice what we preach' as we lower electricity costs and reduce greenhouse gas emissions." The solar PV systems are expected to generate more than 6.6 million kilowatt hours (kWh) of solar energy in the first year, and more than 120 million kWh over 20 years. The project is expected to offset the emission of approximately 127 million pounds of carbon dioxide (CO2) over 20 years.

Canadian Solar Award for SunEdison and SkyPower

SunEdison also reported that the company and its project partner SkyPower (Toronto, Ontario, Canada) had been awarded the "Solar PV Project of the Year for Ground Mount" award issued by the Canadian Solar Industries Association (CanSIA). According to the press release, the award was presented for the 9.1 megawatt (MW) First Light Solar Energy Park in Stone Mills, Ontario, believed to be the largest solar energy park built to date in Canada. According to SunEdison, the system covers 90 acres of land and started transmitting energy at the end of September 2009. SunEdison and SkyPower expect First Light to generate more than 10 million kWh electricity, enough to power approximately 1,000 homes in its first year of operation.

2009-12-19   Courtesy: SunEdison   © Heindl Server GmbH


Energy Conversion Devices and Endesa announce 3 MW solar roofs in Spain

UNI-SOLAR laminates by ECD
UNI-SOLAR laminates by ECD

Energy Conversion Devices, Inc. (ECD; Rochester Hills, Michigan), a global manufacturer of thin-film flexible solar laminates for the building integrated and commercial rooftop markets, on December 14th, 2009 announced that it had signed an agreement with Endesa S.A. (Madrid, Spain) to install 3.0 MWp of "UNI-SOLAR" photovoltaic (PV) laminates on the rooftops of two Coca-Cola Company buildings in Seville.   According to the press release, ECD will oversee the construction of the rooftop systems through its wholly owned subsidiary United Solar Ovonic. The company's UNI-SOLAR laminates are to be bonded to a waterproofing system and applied directly on the roofs. The completed system is to be owned and managed by Endesa. Construction is scheduled to begin this quarter, with completion expected in the first half of calendar year 2010.

PV-laminates for low-load bearing rooftops

"UNI-SOLAR laminates are the perfect product for the type of low-load bearing rooftops that exist all over Spain", said Andreu Cladera, Product Manager PV of Endesa. "Their ability to generate more electricity per rated watt compared to other types of solar products made it easier for us to secure project financing. Additionally, UNI-SOLAR is easy to install, enabling us to install and activate the system in just a few months, allowing a rapid return on our initial investment." Mark Morelli, ECD's President and Chief Executive Officer (CEO), said: "This agreement is an example of an early success with our approach to developing large projects. Endesa Spain has significant expertise in both electricity generation and distribution in Spain's rapidly evolving solar market."

2009-12-18   Courtesy: Energy Conversion Devices, Inc.   © Heindl Server GmbH
Picture Courtesy: Energy Conversion Devices, Inc.


DSC producer Dyesol expands Japanese operations

Interconnect glass module Dyesol
Interconnect glass module Dyesol

The world leader in commercialising DSC (dye solar cell) technology and products, Dyesol Limited (ASX: DYE) is expanding operations in Japan by establishing a wholly owned subsidiary, Dyesol Japan Co. Ltd., the company reports in a press release. To be known in Japan as Dyesol Japan Kabushiki, it will facilitate more direct communication with the major Japanese corporations and Dyesol’s expanding Japanese customer base, providing Dyesol with greater opportunity to enter into partnerships and alliances that will increase revenue through strong commercial relationships. 

An opportunity to be more fully integrated in the Japanese DSC market

Expected to commence formal operations early in 2010, the locally-based subsidiary is an important step in strengthening Dyesol’s global leadership position in the DSC marketplace. Japan is not only one of the most active solar markets globally, but also a major hub for DSC research and development, Dyesol emphasizes. Dyesol director responsible for Asian operations, Gordon Thompson, commented, "This represents a significant opportunity for Dyesol to be more fully integrated in the Japanese DSC market. The creation of Dyesol Japan, as well as allowing closer relations to be established with major corporations having significant DSC activities, provides Dyesol with better access to new materials and equipment technology, and creates the opportunity to participate in Government programs and access to one of the world’s largest capital markets."

2009-12-18   Courtesy: DYESOL Limited   © Heindl Server GmbH
Picture Courtesy: DYESOL Limited


Abengoa Solar enters thirteen solar plants in the pre-allocation registry for Concentrating Solar Power (CSP) in Spain

CSP plant Solnova I.
CSP plant Solnova I.

The Ministry of Industry, Tourism and Trade of Spain in December 2009 published the pre-allocation registry for compensation of renewable energy projects. According to a press release by Abengoa Solar (Seville, Spain), the official list includes thirteen of the company's concentrated solar power (CSP) plants that comply with all of the legal requirements. According to regulations, registered plants will be able to sell power to the grid under the feed-in tariff (FIT) system over four stages between 2010 and 2013.  Abengoa Solar reports that the company's thirteen solar power plants are to have a power output capacity of 50 megawatts (MW) each. They are grouped into five solar platforms, each consisting of two to three individual power plants. According to the press release all thirteen will have a total output capacity of 650 MW. They are expected to have the capability to supply electricity to 334,000 households, and to avoid the emission of 408,000 tons of carbon dioxide (CO2) each year.

Power output capacity CSP plants to total 681 MW

These 650 MW capacity, together with the 31 MW currently in operation at the PS10 and PS20 solar power towers, are to allow Abengoa Solar to have an output capacity totaling 681 MW in Spain in CSP by mid-2013. The new projects are expected to create around seven thousand direct and indirect jobs during construction, and more than 500 permanent positions associated with plant operation. Santiago Seage, Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Abengoa Solar, underscored the significance of the inclusion of these thirteen plants in the registry, "which will enable us to create five technologically advanced solar platforms in some of the areas with the best conditions in Spain. The experience we are presently acquiring and will continue to acquire over the period between 2010 and 2013 will allow us to continue to invest in improving our technology and reducing generating costs, which will be a key factor in the definitive rollout of Concentrating Solar Power technology in Spain and around the world."

2009-12-18   Courtesy: Abengoa Solar   © Heindl Server GmbH
Picture Courtesy: Abengoa Solar


Unirac racking solution chosen for 949 kW solar facility at Chicago pumping station

PV mounting system by Unirac
PV mounting system by Unirac

Unirac, Inc. (Albuquerque, New Mexico), a manufacturer of solar photovoltaic (PV) racks, in December 2009 announced that the company had been selected by Gexpro Electrical Distribution (Shelton, Connecticut) to supply a "Unirac Large Array" (ULA) for one of the first solar initiatives in the Chicago area. The custom ground mount 949 kilowatt (kW) PV plant is to help power the Lexington Pumping Station, which transports water originating in Lake Michigan throughout Illinois' DuPage County.   Unirac reports that the company's "Commercial and Utility Group" assisted in designing the 4,745-module array, that is expected to cover 25 % of the pumping station's daily energy needs.

Pumping station project to be first of several solar installations

"Our ability to offer custom hardware, as well as dedicated, professional services is what sets us apart in the mounting solutions industry", said Douglas May, Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Unirac. "We are pleased to have been an integral part of the City of Chicago's effort to move into the renewable energy arena, and look forward to working with Gexpro on additional PV opportunities." According to Gexpro's Jim Watson, Unirac designers responded quickly to all modification requests. "Our experience proved to us that Unirac has the ability to contend with many variables such as wind speeds, snow accumulation, location challenges, and City ordinances, while offering outstanding support and service", explained Watson. "We look forward to working with Unirac on a number of upcoming projects." According to the press release, the ULA solution is able to accommodate complex site and environmental conditions. The system's aluminum or steel components merge with Unirac's "SolarMount" rails to form durable, rigid truss structures, the company reports.

2009-12-18   Courtesy: Unirac, Inc.   © Heindl Server GmbH
Picture Courtesy: Unirac, Inc.


Spire Corporation appoints Robert S. Lieberman as Chief Accounting Officer

Spire Corporation (Bedford, Massachusetts), a global solar company providing capital equipment to manufacture photovoltaic (PV) modules, turnkey manufacturing lines and solar PV systems, on December 10th, 2009 announced the appointment of Robert S. Lieberman as Chief Accounting Officer in addition to his current role as Corporate Controller.  Lieberman, age 58, joined Spire Corporation on April 13th, 2009 as the Corporate Controller. In his role as Chief Accounting Officer, he will have the added responsibility for accounting and financial oversight and strategic/governance participation. Lieberman is a graduate of Bernard M. Baruch College in New York and is a member of the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants, the New York State Society of Certified Public Accountants, as well as the Boston Chapter of the Financial Executives International.

New set of responsibilities for financial expert

Before joining Spire Corporation, Lieberman had served as Senior Vice President and Chief Financial Officer (CFO) for Millbrook Distribution Services, Inc., a division of United Natural Foods, where he was responsible for the development and oversight of the finance area. Previously, from April 1999 to December 2003, he was also Chief Financial Officer (CFO) and Treasurer for Saleslink Corporation, a global supply chain management and eCommerce subsidiary of CMGI. Roger Little, Chairman and Chief Executiver Officer (CEO) at Spire, said: "Mr. Lieberman brings a combination of financial, operational and business experience to the Executive Team. I am pleased that he has accepted the additional responsibilities of Chief Accounting Officer as he continues to expand his financial role. He is an accomplished financial executive with more than two decades of experience in both manufacturing and distribution business segments. Robert will provide leadership and oversight for all aspects of the organization's overall financial function at Spire."

2009-12-18   Courtesy: Spire Corporation   © Heindl Server GmbH


Plug-and-play solar panels by Akeena Solar available off the shelf

Installation of
Installation of "Andalay AC" panels

For the first time, homeowners can purchase high-performing, easy-to-install solar panels off the shelves from a major retailer, Akeena Solar Inc. (Los Gatos, California) announced on December 10th, 2009. The company's "Andalay AC" panels are to be available at 21 Lowe's home-improvement stores throughout California. The panels, which the company reports were recently honored with a "2009 Popular Mechanics Breakthrough Product" award, are to be featured as part of Lowe's 'Energy Center' at the stores.   "The PC revolution in the computer industry occurred when new technology made PCs easy to use and affordable", said Barry Cinnamon, Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Akeena Solar. "Likewise, with panels becoming plug-and-play appliances, the solar revolution has started. The availability of solar panels in Lowe's stores makes it easy for homeowners to go solar and is a big step toward getting solar on every sunny rooftop."

AC solar PV panels believed to be safer, more reliable and easier to install

According to the press release, the Andalay AC panels have integrated racking, wiring and grounding and feature built-in inverters that produce household alternating current (AC) power. Unlike 'conventional' PV systems that utilize direct current (DC) PV modules, the Anadalay solution does not require high-voltage DC wiring. Akeena reports that these panels are able to produce 5 to 25 % more energy compared to ordinary DC solar panels. Because of the modular design, homeowners can start by installing a few panels, and add to them at a later point in time without having to completely redesign their systems. Akeena Solar reports that its Andalay system delivers simplicity and safety so that for the first time electricians, HVAC contractors and experienced do-it-yourselfers are able to install a solar power system without specialized training.

One-stop-shop offers solutions to measure, conserve and produce energy

According to the press release, the Lowe's Energy Center will have an information kiosk with a touch-screen display to help customers evaluate their homes' solar and wind power potential. The Energy Center also features products that help customers measure their energy use, reduce their energy consumption and generate clean energy. Lowe's is said to be the first major retailer to offer many of these products in one place. "Buying panels off the shelf at Lowe's offers solar options to homeowners that they didn't have", said Cinnamon. "Homeowners now can get a system as small as one panel. With Andalay's safe household AC power design, they are the only real choice for do-it-yourselfers." According to the press release, participating Lowe's stores will also stock the accessories required for the installation.

2009-12-17   Courtesy: Akeena Solar Inc.   © Heindl Server GmbH
Picture Courtesy: Akeena Solar Inc.


juwi solar embarks on further large-scale PV projects in the USA

PV plant located near the Mars Snackfood headquarters in Hackettstown, NJ
PV plant located near the Mars Snackfood
headquarters in Hackettstown, NJ

After completing the construction and grid connection of a solar photovoltaic (PV) power plant in New Jersey that supplies clean and safe solar energy to the Mars Snackfood headquarters, juwi solar Inc. (JSI), the US subsidiary of the German juwi Group (Wörrstadt), has now begun construction of two larger free-field photovoltaic installations in Ohio and Florida. JSI has several additional PV projects in its pipeline and has claimed a leading role in the North American market for free-field PV installations, the company reports in a press release.   JSI has commenced construction of a 12 megawatt (MW) solar power plant in Upper Sandusky, Ohio. When completed, the Wyandot Solar Energy Generation Facility is expected to generate approximately 15.8 million kilowatt hours of electrical energy per year. In June 2009 AEP Ohio executed an agreement to purchase all renewable energy and associated renewable energy certificates generated from the facility over a 20-year period.

PV projects in Ohio and Florida

JSI has also begun construction of another solar power plant located in Jacksonville, Florida. This facility is rated at 15 MW and when completed is expected to generate approximately 22.4 million kilowatt hours of electricity per year, thereby avoiding an annual output of over 16,000 metric tons of carbon dioxide. In May 2009 the municipally-owned utility JEA agreed to purchase all renewable energy and RECs generated from the facility over a 30-year period. Work at both sites is proceeding well, and both projects should achieve commercial operation by the summer of next year. In September of 2009, affiliates of PSEG Solar Source LLC acquired JSI’s ownership rights in the Ohio and Florida project companies, including its rights under the power purchase agreements with AEP in Ohio and JEA in Florida.

An affiliate of PSEG Solar Source LLC also owns the PV project located near the Mars Snackfood headquarters in Hackettstown, New Jersey. The 2.15 MW solar power plant, which was designed and built by JSI, is one of the largest free-field PV installations in New Jersey and is expected to produce 2.6 million kilowatt hours of clean electricity per year, thereby meeting approximately 20% of the Mars plant’s peak power consumption.

2009-12-17   Courtesy: juwi solar Inc.   © Heindl Server GmbH
Picture Courtesy: juwi solar Inc.


PV producer First Solar announces 2010 guidance and capacity expansion plans

First Solar's production facility in Kulim (Malaysia).
First Solar's production facility in Kulim (Malaysia).

First Solar Inc. (Tempe, Arizona) on December 16th, 2009 announced 2010 financial guidance and plans for the addition of eight production lines at its manufacturing center in Kulim, Malaysia starting production in first half 2011. Fiscal year 2010 net sales are projected to be .7 to .9 billion, with EPS of .05 to .85. The Company plans to invest 5 million of capital to add two production plants, consisting of four manufacturing lines each. This expansion is expected to increase First Solar's annual capacity by 424 megawatts (MW), assuming the third quarter 2009 reported annual line run rate of 53 MW.  

Production capacity to increase to approximately 1.8 GW

"First Solar is expanding capacity to satisfy a global contracted and advanced pipeline of over six gigawatts (GW) from 2010-2012", said Rob Gillette, First Solar chief executive officer. "In 2009 we increased our contracted North American pipeline by approximately 1.5GW, expanding our penetration in transition markets. This drives further capacity needs around a demand pool that is less volatile and more predictable than the traditional feed in tariff-based markets."

With the announced expansion in Malaysia and the previously announced two-line factory in France, First Solar expects to add 10 production lines during 2010 and 2011, increasing capacity by over 48% from current levels, bringing First Solar's annual or announced production capacity to approximately 1.8GW based on current production levels.

In 2010, First Solar forecasts net sales of .7 to .9 billion. Consolidated gross margins are expected to be 38% with operating margins at 23-24%, influenced by a mix shift to the systems business, which includes ${CONTENT}.6-0.8 billion of EPC/project development. Start-up expenses associated with the Malaysian expansion are projected to be approximately million, and stock-based compensation is projected to be to 5 million. Other assumptions include a tax rate of 15%, annual blended euro exchange rate of .38 (based on a 2010 spot rate of .40/Euro), and diluted shares outstanding of 86 to 87 million. EPS is projected in the range of .05 to .85. Total capital spending is projected to range from 0 to 0 million, including the Malaysian expansion. As a result, the Company expects to generate 0 to 0 million of operating cash flow and 0 to 0 million of free cash flow.

The Company has posted a presentation describing this guidance, including additional details regarding the key assumptions relating to this guidance, on the Investor section of its website.

2009-12-17   Courtesy: First Solar Inc.   © Heindl Server GmbH
Picture Courtesy: First Solar Inc.


Amtech announces 9 million US-dollars in solar orders

Amtech Systems, Inc. (Tempe, Arizona), a global supplier of production and automation systems and related operating materials for the manufacture of solar cells, semiconductors, and silicon wafers, on December 10th, 2009 announced that its solar subsidiary, Tempress Systems, Inc., had received approximately 9 million US-dollars in solar orders for its diffusion processing systems from several new and existing customers from the solar industry in Asia.   According to the press release, the orders are expected to ship within the next six to nine months. J.S. Whang, President and Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Amtech, commented: "These latest orders represent both new customers and significant follow-on orders from recent new customers for our market-leading solar diffusion systems. They demonstrate the growing solar manufacturing market in Asia and the significant presence that Tempress has developed in the region in a very short period of time through superior diffusion technology. We continue to see excellent quotation activity and remain confident in our ability to execute our solar growth strategy."

2009-12-17   Courtesy: Amtech Systems, Inc.   © Heindl Server GmbH


SolarTech symposium on permitting process for solar power systems

Solar permitting symposium in San Francisco
Solar permitting symposium in San Francisco

The non-profit consortium SolarTech (San Jose, California), a collaborative organization based on an initiative by the Silicon Valley Leadership Group (SVLG; San Jose, California), on December 3rd, 2009 convened in San Francisco for a "Permitting and Installation Symposium."   The event, titled "Prepare for the Upturn: A Systems Approach to Solar PV Permitting & Installation" brought together solar photovoltaic (PV) system installers and integrators as well as decision makers and building department representatives to discuss best practices for solar permitting and inspection processes. The symposium aimed to drive the standardization and quality of PV installation and to move the industry forward in broad adoption of streamlined permitting practices.

Discussions to identify solar permitting best practices and to find ways to broadly implement them

The objective of the SolarTech symposium was to collaboratively identify which challenges the industry is facing and to drive best practices adoption. The development and adoption of standards and best practices is believed to be essential for the economic turnaround and continued expansion of the industry.
Doug Payne, Executive Director with SolarTech, started the day with a welcoming speech, followed by the Chief Building Inspector for the City of San Francisco Lawrence Kornfield. Tom Bottorff, Senior Vice President of Regulatory Relations with Pacific Gas & Electric (San Francisco, California), outlined this California utility's commitment to solar energy. According to Bottorff, PG&E has requested the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) to expand the net metering cap from currently 2.5 % to 3.5 %. Also, he elaborated on AB 920, a regulation that would allow distributed electricity generators to get paid for power they produce in excess of their own consumption.

Panel discussions address different aspects of solar system installation, permitting procedures and costs

Bob Hines, Vice President & Energy Director SVLG, concluded the introductory remarks with a brief overview of his organization and the Bay Area Climate Collaborative (BACC), a cross-sector, regional collaboration to promote energy efficiency, renewable energy, and other best practices. Finally, the Principal of Brooks Engineering Bill Brooks elaborated on how the permitting process of solar PV systems could be expedited while reducing cost. Brooks was also part of the first panel, along with Kareem Dabbagh, Engineering Manager with SolarCity and Molly Sterkel, Program and Project Supervisor, CPUC. Sterkel pointed out that the data collected by CPUC pointed to shockingly random permitting costs across the state. Dabbagh noted that the permitting process is hard to predict in different jurisdictions, and that it can take up to 5-6 weeks in some cases. All agreed that a streamlined process, preferably online would be beneficial to everyone involved.

Collaboration between financiers, installers, building inspectors and other parties seen as key to speed up process, lower costs

The second panel was held under the title "A systems Approach to Installation & Inspection." Panelists were Vlad Gorshtein, Vice President with All Seasons Roofing & Solar, Blake Gleason, Engineering Manager with Sun Light & Power and David Green, Senior Electrical Inspector, San Francisco Department of Building Inspection. Gorshtein elaborated on roofing-related issues of solar PV systems, Gleason reported on the commissioning process, and Green walked attendees through a recent inspection of a solar power system in San Francisco by means of pictures. Panel 3 was held under the title "Off the Shelf Solutions: Streamlined Best Practices for Installation & Permitting for Residential Systems." Panelists were Francisco DeVries, Program Director for Renewable Funding, California First, Jeanine Cotter, Chief Executive Officer (CEO) with Luminalt, and Roger Rushing, Sr. Green Building Inspector of the City of Berkeley. One of the points of discussion was the issue of solar system performance monitoring under the California Solar Initiative (CSI). So far, small systems could and did take advantage of an exemption from the monitoring requirement, which in the future may no longer be possible.

While discussions were fruitful, more needs to be done

Panel 4 dealt with the topic “Best In Class: Leading Practices within the Commercial PV Environment,” with panelists Craig Stager, Senior Lead Project Designer for Commercial Operations with SPG Solar, Andrew Yip, Supervisor for Solar and Customer Generation with PG&E, Jonathan Eastwood, Director of Design, Engineering and Technology with Solar Power Partners and Tyson Grul, Director Commercial Business, Real Goods Solar. Finally, all of the discussions were summarized by naming three key takeaways from each panel, followed by a vote on which of those three were most important to the attendees. While the discussions that day were very fruitful, everyone agreed that a lot still has to be done and more entities have to get involved to facilitate, streamline and speed up the solar permitting process.

2009-12-17   Courtesy: SolarTech   © Heindl Server GmbH
Picture Courtesy: SolarTech


Malaysia to introduce comprehensive FITs in 2011

Paul Gipe
Paul Gipe

According to a presentation by solar energy advocate Ahmad Hadri Haris at a national solar photovoltaic (PV) conference in Malaysia in November 2009, the government of Malaysia is considering a comprehensive feed-in tariff (FIT) program. The proposal is to be introduced into parliament in 2010 to become part of Malaysia's 10th energy plan covering the period from 2011 to 2015. If passed by parliament, the tariffs will go into effect in early 2011. According to an analysis published on December 10th, 2009 by FIT-expert Paul Gipe, the policy described by Haris in his presentation can be called a true feed-in tariff, or what is called a "gross" feed-in tariff in south Asia.   Gipe explains that a gross feed-in tariff pays for all the electricity generated as in Germany, France, Spain, Ontario, and Vermont.

Project size and generating technology to determine feed-in tariffs in Malaysia

Gipe points out that the Malaysian proposal includes all renewables, differentiates the tariffs by technology, and derives the tariffs based on the cost of generation, just like successful policies elsewhere. Returns projected by Haris based on the proposed tariffs are 5.1 % for building integrated photovoltaics (BIPV), 8.7 % for PV installation on commercial rooftops, and 10.9 % for solar PV plants, likely ground-mounted. According to Gipe, solar yields in Malaysia range from 1,100 kWh/kWDC/yr to 1,500 kWh/kWDC/yr. Haris' presentation suggested that the FIT program would add 2 % to the average electricity tariff in the country. Final tariffs have yet to be determined and will be differentiated by technology and project size, Gipe explains. Eligible projects would utilize energy sources such as wind, solar PV, solid waste and sewage gas, biomass, biogas, geothermal and mini-hydro generating technologies.

2009-12-16   Courtesy: Paul Gipe   © Heindl Server GmbH
Picture Courtesy: Paul Gipe


GE's solar inverter to tackle challenges of integrating to today's grid

GE's solar photovoltaic inverter
GE's solar photovoltaic inverter

In December 2009, General Electric Company (GE; Schenectady, New York) announced a new line of solar photovoltaic (PV) inverters for large-scale installations. Building on a platform of power electronics, monitoring and controls that the company had integrated in its wind turbines to enhance wind energy grid integration, GE announces that it had developed a 600 kilowatt (kW) solar inverter which includes grid-friendly features to deliver performance similar to conventional power plants.   Based on the design of the power converters that GE manufactures for its fleet of 12,000+ 1.5 megawatt (MW) wind turbines, the new solar inverter is said to be suited for use in multi-megawatt solar projects. "We believe that there will be significant growth in large-scale projects as the United States and the world strive to meet renewable energy targets", said Victor Abate, Vice President renewables for GE Power & Water. "The challenge will be integrating these larger solar projects, which are also powered by a variable fuel source, in a reliable way."

Expertise from wind business to make solar power more reliable

Because the energy output of a solar power plant is directly related to the availability of the sun, anticipating the load that the solar power plant will provide can present a challenge for the utility grid, causing the plant to trip off-line. In order to ensure that solar power plants stay online, the variability needs to be managed so that it is more predictable, even during disturbances such as intermittent cloud cover. GE reports that its wind converters include control functions that enhance integration, a requirement to meet grid codes. According to the press release, the company's suite of solar plant monitoring and controls, called "SunIQ", can manage voltage in a similar way. "As variable energy such as wind and solar continues to come online, there will be ongoing challenges with integrating into the grid", said Abate. "Solar integration will need to be managed in order to ensure that it operates as a 'good citizen' on today's grid."

2009-12-16   Courtesy: General Electric Company   © Heindl Server GmbH
Picture Courtesy: GE


Yingli Green Energy to supply 130 MW of PV modules to German IBC SOLAR AG in 2010

Yingli Green Energy Holding Company Limited (Boading, China) one of the world's leading vertically integrated photovoltaic (PV) manufacturers, on December 15th, 2009 announced it has signed a sales agreement with IBC SOLAR AG, one of the leading specialists in PV systems worldwide. Under the terms of the agreement, Yingli Green Energy has agreed to supply 130 MW of PV modules to IBC SOLAR from the first quarter through the fourth quarter of 2010.   "We are pleased to announce the largest contract in the history of Yingli Green Energy's cooperation with IBC SOLAR, which is a testament to the strength of the relationships we maintain with our customers", said Liansheng Miao, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Yingli Green Energy. "This cooperation with IBC SOLAR, one of the world's largest suppliers of ready-to-use PV systems and all of the individual components for producing solar electricity, will further enhance our representation in major solar markets worldwide. In addition, this agreement represents our ongoing commitment to work with our customers to make it possible for clean, green and renewable energy from the sun to power businesses, homes and machines throughout the world." Miao noted that the agreement with IBC SOLAR also provides additional visibility into Yingli Green Energy's expected sales for 2010.

Udo Mohrstedt, Chief Executive Officer of IBC SOLAR, commented: "We have always held that it is important for leading solar players to work together in order to supply our customers all over the world with state-of-the-art PV systems, so undoubtedly we are very confident to bring our cooperation with Yingli Green Energy to the next level."

2009-12-16   Courtesy: Yingli Green Energy Holding Company Limited; IBC SOLAR AG   © Heindl Server GmbH


Hawaii: Sopogy inaugurates the world's first MicroCSP plant

Holaniku at Keahole Point solar field
Holaniku at Keahole Point solar field

Sopogy, Inc. (Honolulu, Hawaii), manufacturer of micro-concentrating solar power technologies ("MicroCSP"), on December 10th, 2009 inaugurated what the company reports is the world's first MicroCSP solar thermal plant at the Natural Energy Laboratory of Hawaii (Kona, Hawaii). The 2 megawatt (MW) plant, which spans across 3.8 acres in the hot Kona desert, utilizes 1,000 "MicroCSP" solar thermal collectors by Sopogy. Through the use of mirrors and optics and an integrated sun tracker, these thermal collectors achieve higher efficiencies than conventional solar panels, Sopogy emphasizes.   According to the press release, the system also uses a thermal buffer storage that allows energy to be produced during cloudy periods and to shift energy produced from the day to evening periods. Darren T. Kimura, President and Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Sopogy, commented: "MicroCSP is an achievement in rugged, modular and cost effective solar thermal technology. The completion and demonstration of this 2 megawatt solar thermal project is an important first step in bringing the solution to the world." Sopogy reports that the company now has 8 solar thermal energy facilities operating around the world. The company's MicroCSP technologies are used in diverse applications, for process heat, solar air conditioning, on rooftops and, most recently, for power generation. Sopogy plans to bring 30 MW of MicroCSP power to the state by 2015 with its local solar project development partner Keahole Solar Power.

2009-12-16   Courtesy: Sopogy, Inc.   © Heindl Server GmbH
Picture Courtesy: Sopogy and Keahole Solar Power


Study: Southern European PV markets will help global industry back to growth

Southern Europe forecasted PV grid-connected capacity additions
Southern Europe forecasted PV
grid-connected capacity additions

With the Spanish market limited by regulatory hurdles, Italy and France are moving the European photovoltaic (PV) industry forward by contributing significant growth in the near term. Meanwhile, southern Europe's long-term growth prospects, with 38 gigawatts (GW) of installed PV capacity expected by 2020, could help pull the global PV industry out of its current slump, according to a study by Emerging Energy Research (EER; Cambridge, Massachusetts and Barcelona, Spain), a provider of clean and renewable energy market analyses.   Southern Europe is expected to account for approximately 25 % of PV additions in Europe in 2009 behind Germany, the leading European PV market at 67 %. Researchers predict PV development to scale across southern Europe in Domino-like fashion, with 47 GW of capacity forecasted through 2020, a significant growth from the 9 GW installed to date. Central to the surge will be an increased regulatory clarity regarding feed-in tariffs (FITs), long-term national targets dedicated to PV, and volatile electricity prices, EER believes.

Italy to lead southern European PV market, good potential seen for France

According to EER, the new interest in PV by established European utilities and independent power producers is lending greater credibility to southern Europe's PV sector. Italy is projected to be the strongest of the southern European markets in the near term, due to its robust FIT scheme. Clear regulatory initiatives and a stable and transparent incentive system are believed to lay ground for France to become one of the more stable markets. EER expects a transition from the relatively inactive French market, with 128 megawatts (MW) of installed capacity as of June 2009, to a PV market that may surpass 800 MW per year by 2012. Spain, which was globally the largest PV market in 2008 with 2.8 GW installed, is expected to fall back to 125 MW in 2009, due to the government's September 2008 revisions of the PV FIT regime. EER notes that opportunities still exist on a broader level in Spain for larger players to pick up projects already permitted, but whose permit holders are unable to finish their development.

Solid FIT regimes and overcoming permitting hurdles believed to be crucial for broader PV deployment

"The solar PV industry's success in Europe hinges on FIT regimes and developers' visibility into tariff changes going forward", said EER Solar Research Director Reese Tisdale. "As seen in the mercurial Spanish market, and more positively, in France and Italy, sudden FIT rate changes by regulators have significant impact on PV development activity." According to the study, Greece is still struggling to get past its permitting constraints, but may be on the cusp of joining other growing southern European countries. Because Greek legislators are exploring a number of strategies to encourage the sector's growth without repeating the mistakes of Spain, the long-stagnating PV market in this country may scale rapidly in 2010. According to EER, this will depend on the government's ability to sort through 3.7 GW of permits currently in the queue. "The Greek market is at a pivotal juncture, it will either open up for more aggressive development in 2010 or remain hobbled by the Greek bureaucracy", said Tisdale. The study, dubbed "Southern Europe Solar PV Markets and Strategies: 2009-2020", was announced on December 10th, 2009, and is available immediately from EER.

2009-12-15   Courtesy: Emerging Energy Research   © Heindl Server GmbH
Picture Courtesy: Emerging Energy Research


First Solar becomes first photovoltaic company to produce 1GW in a single year

First Solar's production facility at Frankfurt/Oder, Germany
First Solar's production facility
at Frankfurt/Oder, Germany

First Solar Inc. (Tempe, Arizona) on December 15th, 2009 announced it has manufactured and shipped more than 1 gigawatt (GW) of its photovoltaic (PV) solar modules in 2009, becoming the first PV company to attain this production volume in a single year. One gigawatt of solar modules due to First solar produces enough electricity to serve the needs of approximately 145,000 average American homes and saves roughly 1 million metric tons of carbon dioxide emissions annually.   First Solar has increased its manufacturing capacity from approximately 75 megawatts (MW) per year at the beginning of 2007 to more than 1 GW today, the company reports in a press release.

Lowering the cost of PV: per watt barrier broken earlier this year

"This proof that the solar industry can achieve the manufacturing scale necessary to fight climate change is especially timely in light of the Copenhagen conference that began last week", said Bruce Sohn, First Solar president. "Our efforts in scaling our technology are critical to creating a more sustainable energy infrastructure and reducing greenhouse gas emissions." First Solar has continually lowered the cost of manufacturing solar modules, breaking the per watt barrier earlier this year.

2009-12-15   Courtesy: First Solar Inc.   © Heindl Server GmbH
Picture Courtesy: First Solar Inc.


Yingli Green Energy announces major business milestones: 1 GW accumulated output of PV modules

Yingli's Solar cell production
Yingli's Solar cell production

Yingli Green Energy Holding Company Limited (Boading, China) one of the world's leading vertically integrated photovoltaic (PV) manufacturers, on December 15th, 2009 announced that it has successfully commenced trial production and reached certain key technology and operating milestones at Fine Silicon Co., Ltd., its in-house polysilicon manufacturing facility with an annual production capacity of 3,000 metric tons (MT). The Company also announced that its total output of PV modules has reached 1 GW since the Company began commercial production in 2002.   Trial Production of in-house polysilicon manufacturing facility

Fine Silicon, designed to have an annual production capacity of 3,000 MT, is expected to reach full production volume in late 2010, Yingli reports in a press release. With state-of-the-art facilities and advanced monosilane-based polysilicon manufacturing technology, Fine Silicon is expected to be capable of producing high quality solar-grade and electronic-grade polysilicon through energy-efficient and environmentally-friendly manufacturing processes. Compared with the trichlorosilane (TCS)-based polysilicon manufacturing technology, the advantages of the technology that Fine Silicon has adopted include significant electricity savings and low environmental impact, Yingli emphasizes. Fine Silicon's process utilizes no chlorides or TCS, and sulfate, its by-product, is easily treated.
"With Fine Silicon on-line, Yingli Green Energy will join a limited number of global PV manufacturers with fully vertically integrated business models covering the manufacturing process from polysilicon to PV modules", Liansheng Miao, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Yingli Green Energy, commented.

Accumulated output of PV modules hits 1 GW

Yingli Green Energy in addition announced that since the Company began commercial production in 2002, it has produced a total of 1 GW of PV modules under the "Yingli Solar" brand. Through a series of expansions, the Company has increased its annual production capacity for each of polysilicon ingots and wafers, PV cells and PV modules to 600 MW as of September 2009, up from an initial 3 MW in 2002. Annual shipments of PV modules due to the company increased from 4.7 MW in 2004 to 282 MW in 2008, and are expected to be between 490 MW and 500 MW for 2009, resulting from high product quality, extensive international sales channels and a well-recognized brand. In addition, Yingli Green Energy has created nearly 6,000 jobs across various areas of its business.

2009-12-15   Courtesy: Yingli Green Energy Holding Company Limited   © Heindl Server GmbH
Picture Courtesy: Yingli Green Energy Holding Company Limited


Photovoltaics: SOLON and GASAG build solar power plant in Berlin-Mariendorf

SOLON-Movers at Berlin-Mariendorf
SOLON-Movers at Berlin-Mariendorf

In the presence of Dr. Jens-Peter Heuer, state secretary at the Berlin Senate Department for Economics, Technology and Women, Andreas Prohl, member of the executive board, GASAG and Thomas Krupke, member of the executive board, SOLON SE officially opened a pilot solar photovoltaic (PV) power system at Berlin-Mariendorf on December 11th, 2009. The PV array with an initial capacity of 100 kilowatts was installed on the site of the former Mariendorf gas works. SOLON and GASAG are looking at expanding this system to become Berlin’s largest solar power plant with a capacity of up to 2 megawatts (MW) the companies announced in a press release.   The photovoltaic plant comprises ten units known as "movers". There could be as many as 200 later on, SOLON and GASAG emphasize. In the starting phase, the plant is set to generate 110,000 kilowatt hours of solar electricity, which will be fed into the grid. Subsequently it would be possible to generate up to 2,200 megawatt hours (MWh) annually. This would be equivalent to a reduction in CO2 of 2,200 metric tons compared to electricity from fossil power stations in Germany.

Two-axis tracking systems ensuring low sealed surface area and guaranteeing maximum solar power

GASAG and SOLON SE are partners in the Berlin Climate Alliance. The jointly planned project is a symbol of the companies’ commitment to climate protection in the capital city region and for the further expansion and use of renewable energy sources. The ground-mounted photovoltaic system represents a sustainable and ecologically sound use for the former gas works site. The two-axis tracking solar PV modules ensure a very low sealed surface area and hence the conservation of green biotopes, while also guaranteeing the maximum utilization of available solar energy for generating solar power.

"We wanted to find an environmentally friendly and non-invasive solution for the use of this industrial site to the south of the Mariendorf docks", explains GASAG executive director Andreas Prohl. The project in Mariendorf is also part of the GASAG program "Committed to Berlin - decentralized energy supply as an opportunity", via which GASAG intends to save one million metric tons of CO2 annually by 2015. "We are pleased to be in partnership with SOLON, who support us with their knowledge and expertise so that together we can make a contribution to supplying environmentally friendly electricity to homes in Berlin", Prohl continues.

SOLON executive director Thomas Krupke adds: "Following this year’s inauguration of the new energy-efficient, resource-saving SOLON Corporate Headquarters building in Berlin-Adlersdorf, this is a step further in project realization for the Berlin Climate Alliance." The strategic partnership between the utility company GASAG and SOLON also serves as an example of how the goals of international climate policy can be implemented at the regional level.

2009-12-15   Courtesy: SOLON SE   © Heindl Server GmbH
Picture Courtesy: SOLON SE


Solar Energy: Key Solution to CO2 Challenges in the Developing World

Potential of On-Grid Photovoltaic Solar Energy in Sunbelt Countries
Potential of On-Grid Photovoltaic
Solar Energy in Sunbelt Countries

Intense debate at COP15 centres on the challenge of reducing CO2 emissions in developing countries without limiting their economic growth and ability to make life better for their citizens. EPIA (the European Photovoltaic Industry Association) is in Copenhagen to make the case that solar provides the opportunity for developing countries to leapfrog traditional energy dependence on fossil fuel to producing clean energy. "Solar energy offers a decentralised solution, easily adapted to poor infrastructures and ready for an expanded energy access to meet fast growing demand", says EPIA’s Vice-president, Murray Cameron.   "Our recent study 'Potential of On-Grid Photovoltaic Solar Energy in Sunbelt Countries' shows the enormous potential of photovoltaic energy (PV) in 'Sunbelt' regions where many of the developing countries are located."

PV is an environmentally-friendly solution for the Sunbelt that is feasible now with existing and readily available technology

As the name implies, Sunbelt countries have intense sunlight. Most are experiencing a sharp increase in demand for electricity due to their growing economies and population such as China, India, Pakistan, Brazil, Indonesia and South Africa. "PV is an environmentally-friendly solution for the Sunbelt that is feasible now with existing and readily available technology", EPIA?s Secretary General, Adel El Gammal, explains. "One of the main obstacles - and one that needs attention at COP15 - is the definition of a sound process for appropriate technology transfer."

EPIA Secretary General Adel El Gammal: Time to push an agreement to support existing renewable energy and energy efficiency technologies

Discussions about technology transfer have been going on for many years without any specific action. "There is some indication that this might be changing", continues Adel El Gammal. "Global climate change negotiations will shape the future and trigger massive funding opportunities for low carbon technologies, such as PV. It’s the best time to push an agreement to support the rapid and widest possible diffusion of existing renewable energy and energy efficiency technologies."
Download of the executive summary "Potential of On-Grid Photovoltaic Solar Energy in Sunbelt Countries" at

Concentrix Solar's industrial production
line for CPV modules

The Soitec Group (Euronext Paris; France), supplier of engineered substrates for the microelectronics industry, on December 11th, 2009 announced that it has signed an agreement to acquire privately held Concentrix Solar GmbH (Freiburg, Germany), a leading provider of concentrated photovoltaic systems (CPV). With this acquisition, and in line with its strategy, Soitec is entering the fast-growing solar industry; capturing value through the system level; and expanding its revenue base as worldwide demand for CPV systems is anticipated to ramp up strongly in the coming years.   Soitec’s technologies in engineered substrates are key to improving solar cell performance and therefore strongly complement Concentrix’s expertise in high-efficiency CPV systems for solar power plants, Soitec’s emphasizes. This combination will deliver an even more attractive and competitive value proposition to satisfy the growing needs of renewable energy. Additionally, the transaction includes access to the high-efficiency concentrator solar cell technologies from the Fraunhofer Institute for Solar Energy Systems ISE (Fraunhofer ISE, Freiburg). Simultaneously, Soitec has signed a strategic technology alliance with both the Fraunhofer ISE and the CEA-Leti.

A breakthrough and competitive solution for large PV power plants in high irradiation countries

Based in Freiburg, Germany, Concentrix was founded in 2005 as a spin-off company of the Fraunhofer ISE. Soitec has acquired circa 80 percent of the shares, valuing 100 percent of Concentrix at € 55 million. The remaining 20 percent of the shares continue to be owned by the Fraunhofer ISE and the company’s founders and senior management. Upon closing of the transaction, Concentrix will retain its staff and will operate within a new photovoltaic business unit of the Soitec Group, which is expected to be significantly accretive to the total Soitec Group’s growth.

CPV is a very promising technology in a rapidly expanding global market for solar energy, offering a breakthrough and competitive solution for large power plants in high irradiation countries. Concentrix’s patented solution, which is proven in various power plants and demo installations in Spain, Italy, Korea and the United States, concentrates sunlight onto a small area of high-efficiency solar cells, reducing the need for costly materials and increasing system efficiency.

Soitec to become an active player in Freiburg both through Concentrix industrial activities and long term partnership with Fraunhofer ISE

"The Concentrix solution, which we believe is the best for solar farms and therefore industrial production of solar-sourced electricity, has exceptional synergy with Soitec technologies", said André-Jacques Auberton-Hervé, President and CEO of Soitec. "This acquisition represents an exciting and natural expansion for Soitec into the fast-growing solar market, allowing us to leverage our technology and process knowledge in the development of high-performance and cost-competitive photovoltaic solutions up to the system level. We plan to become an active player in the city of Freiburg both through Concentrix industrial activities and through the long term partnership between Soitec and the Fraunhofer ISE. Like other Soitec core businesses, the CPV business aligns with our mission to innovate and create new, energy-efficient materials for high-volume markets serving sustainable development."

Developing the next generation of very high efficiency CPV solar cells

As part of the transaction, the Fraunhofer ISE, the largest solar energy research institute in Europe with more than 20 years of experience in III-V solar cell development, has entered into a long term license agreement with Soitec regarding the know-how and technology related to the manufacturing of concentrator cells. Both partners are going to develop the next generation of very high efficiency CPV solar cells based on Soitec’s proprietary technologies, strongly to boost CPV system performance. The collaboration includes CEA-Leti, Soitec’s long-time partner within the Grenoble R&D cluster.

"We are very excited at the prospect of Soitec and Concentrix combining forces, and look forward to maintaining and strengthening our long-standing partnership with Concentrix through Soitec", said Prof. Eicke Weber, Director of the Fraunhofer ISE. "Soitec will provide remarkable resources for advanced technical development of our III-V solar cell technology and will increase efficiency of existing Concentrix products and technologies."

"We are very pleased to further expand our long-standing collaboration with Soitec, and to reinforce our relationship with the Fraunhofer Institute", said Laurent Malier, CEO of the CEA-Leti. "Combining our R&D efforts in Europe is key to supporting European industrial leadership in the critical field of renewable energy."

"We are looking forward to the strategic and technical opportunities arising from the combination of our skills and technologies and the acceleration of our cost reduction and system efficiency roadmaps", said Hansjörg Lerchenmüller, CEO of Concentrix. "This is a wonderful opportunity for our company. With Soitec’s experience and financial strengths, we are going to be able to boost our growth further and move faster in the industrial phase."

2009-12-15   Courtesy: Soitec Group; Concentrix Solar GmbH   © Heindl Server GmbH
Picture Courtesy: Concentrix Solar GmbH


Industry leaders: Solar energy can ramp up quickly to help meet global CO2 challenges reducing CO2 emissions by nearly 1 billion tons annually

Global solar industry leaders have come to COP15 (Copenhagen) to showcase the immediate capability of solar power to deliver clean energy and reduce harmful carbon dioxide emissions (CO2). The European Photovoltaic Industry Association (EPIA) and the U.S.-based Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA) are spearheading the "SolarCOP15" initiative in Copenhagen, supported by over 40 solar trade associations from around the world. According to a new report released by the group on December 11th, 2009, photovoltaics (PV) alone could cover up to 12 percent of the European Union (EU) electricity demand by 2020. In the United States, the combination of PV and Concentrated Solar Power (CSP) could deliver 15 percent of electricity by the same year. Together, this would reduce CO2 emissions by nearly 1 billion tons annually and create 6.3 million jobs, EPIA and SEIA emphasize.   Accelerated and baseline projections are presented in the report, including China, India, and Sunbelt countries among others.

"Solar energy has significant potential to fight global climate change", said EPIA President Winfried Hoffman. "For example, in Europe alone, meeting the 12 percent PV industry target would imply an avoidance of 220 million tons of CO2 annually by 2020. That is the equivalent to Germany?s CO2 emissions in 2006."

"Solar technologies are available now and ready to deliver clean energy while creating economic opportunities around the world", said SEIA President and CEO Rhone Resch. "While nations negotiate details of a climate treaty, we need to be sure policies are in place so that solar can get to work now.

SolarCOP15’s Policy Imperatives in Copenhagen include the adoption of binding targets for CO2 emission reductions that entail the uptake of solar power, the establishment of technology transfer mechanisms and the commitment to finance strategies for solar technology deployment. SolarCOP15 brings together solar industry groups representing over 40 different nations worldwide. To learn more about events in Copenhagen Dec. 14 – 16 or to download the Report "Seizing the Solar Solution: combating climate change through accelerated deployment" [Link:] , its Executive Summary and other publications, please visit

2009-12-14   Courtesy: EPIA; SEIA   © Heindl Server GmbH


Dye solar cell producer Dyesol named 2009 Sustainable Small Company of the Year

Dye solar cell by Dyesol Limited
Dye solar cell by Dyesol Limited

Dyesol Limited (Queanbeyan, New South Wales, Australia), manufacturer and supplier of dye solar cell (DSC) technology and products on December 9th, 2009 announced that the company had won the prestigious 2009 "Sustainable Small Company of the Year Award" for developing innovative technology, which when commercialized is expected to give homeowners and businesses access to cheaper solar electricity.   According to the company's press release, the awards recognize best practice in corporate sustainability across Australian Stock Exchange-listed companies. "To be nominated for and to win this highly coveted award is deeply gratifying for Dyesol. We are honored to receive independent recognition of our efforts", commented Richard Caldwell, Dyesol's Executive Chairman. Dyesol reports that it had also won the ACT Chief Minister's 2009 Export Award in the "Small to Medium Manufacturer's Category" in October 2009.

Successful year to lay ground for future development

Among the highlights that Dyesol was able to achieve in 2009 was the publication of the company's first sustainability report, the joining of the All Ordinaries Index, having lead delegate representation at the G8 Renewable Energy Summit and having achieved a Prime Rating from OEKOM Research Munich for corporate responsibility. "Dyesol is in the sweet spot of the solar value chain", said Caldwell. "Not only do we expect to make significant steps with our existing partners, including Corus, Merck, Timo Technology and Permasteelisa, we also expect to announce other key product partnerships with major global companies."

2009-12-14   Courtesy: Dyesol Ltd.   © Heindl Server GmbH
Picture Courtesy: Dyesol Ltd.


TK Kallenbach joins First Solar as Executive Vice President of marketing and product management

TK Kallenbach, First Solar's Executive VP of marketing and product management
TK Kallenbach, First Solar's
Executive VP of marketing
and product management

First Solar Inc. (Tempe, Arizona), a global manufacturer of photovoltaic (PV) modules, on December 9th, 2009 announced that TK Kallenbach had been appointed Executive Vice President of marketing and product management. According to the press release, Kallenbach comes to First Solar from Honeywell Aerospace, where he led numerous areas including Aerospace's strategic planning, product management and marketing communications.   Kallenbach had joined Honeywell in 1979, serving in a variety of senior leadership positions before taking on his most recent role, Vice President of marketing and product management. "TK's extensive experience makes him ideally suited to lead First Solar's product management and marketing initiatives", said Rob Gillette, First Solar's Chief Executive Officer (CEO). "I look forward to the contributions he will make to First Solar's senior management team."

2009-12-14   Courtesy: First Solar Inc.   © Heindl Server GmbH
Picture Courtesy: First Solar Inc.


ATS establishes Photowatt Ontario to serve rapidly-developing solar market

ATS produces solar cell sorters, tabbers, stringers, lamination modules and solar simulators
ATS produces solar cell sorters,
tabbers, stringers, lamination modules
and solar simulators

ATS Automation Tooling Systems Inc. (ATS; Cambridge, Ontario, Canada) on December 7th, 2009 announced that it had established "Photowatt Ontario Inc." as part of its plan to lead the Ontario solar energy market. According to the press release, ATS and Photowatt have rapidly advanced their presence in this market by participating in a number of photovoltaic (PV) development projects. The companies anticipate being able to manufacture PV modules starting in the first half of 2010 in Cambridge as well as through a contract manufacturing arrangement with an Ontario-based partner.   Photowatt Ontario offers turn-key solar project development, installation and solar products. The operation is to manufacture solar modules and to provide complete solutions to installers and developers including modules, balance of system (BOS), technical support, project management, financing and site maintenance. As such, Photowatt Ontario is said to have the ability to meet and exceed content requirements under Ontario's Green Energy Act.

Project development opportunities submitted as Ontario Feed-In Tariff applications

"Demand for solar energy is rapidly developing in Ontario and our established team has been actively applying their many years of technical, manufacturing and managerial expertise in integrated project development and installation to serve that demand", said Anthony Caputo, ATS Chief Executive Officer (CEO). "Photowatt Ontario has a number of project development opportunities in the pipeline, many of which have now been submitted as Feed-In Tariff applications to the Ontario Power Authority." Over the past seven years, ATS and Photowatt have reportedly been involved in the development of more than 10 solar PV projects in Ontario. Photowatt Ontario is expected to directly benefit from more than 30 years of solar cell and module design and manufacturing experience resident in the Photowatt group. ATS is said to be uniquely positioned with substantial automation and project expertise and extensive global solar capabilities and experience to be a domestic solar market leader. The company reports that it is currently speaking with a number of upstream producers regarding potential co-location in its production facility, which it envisions will become a center of solar energy innovation.

2009-12-14   Courtesy: ATS Automation Tooling Systems Inc.   © Heindl Server GmbH
Picture Courtesy: ATS Automation Tooling Systems Inc.


Isofoton connects photovoltaic greenhouse to the grid

Photovoltaic greenhouse in Recanati, Italy
Photovoltaic greenhouse in
Recanati, Italy

The Spanish PV producer Isofoton (Madrid) has connected a photovoltaic greenhouse to the grid, with 246.16 kilowatts of power. Subsidiary Isofoton Italia has carried out the project and the turnkey installation, which will access the maximum "Conto Energia" rate for total building integrated photovoltaics (BIPV). The greenhouse is located in Recanati, in the Marche Region, and has 1,455 transparent, frameless Isofoton IS-170/24 modules, made to measure for total roof integration, substituting the greenhouse glass roof.   During the project, the distance between the cells was analysed in order to optimize the installation and permit increased light capturing, thus guaranteeing maximum production from the installation and the greenhouse crops. Likewise, the inverters are located on the metal structures in order to gain the greatest aesthetic impact for the project. The installation has been awarded two prizes as an excellent renewable energy project: one prize was adjudicated by Legambiente (one of the main environmental associations in Italy) and the other by BCC (Banca Credito Cooperativo).

2009-12-14   Courtesy: Isofoton S.A.   © Heindl Server GmbH
Picture Courtesy: Isofoton S.A.


CPUC approves PG&E contract for space-based solar project

Space-based solar power systems are an attempt to convert in space, outside the atmosphere, to avoid losses
Space-based solar power systems
are an attempt to convert in space,
outside the atmosphere, to avoid losses

The California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC; San Francisco, California) in December 2009 approved a renewable energy contract for Pacific Gas and Electric Company (PG&E; San Francisco, California), furthering the state's progress towards its renewable energy goals. Through the anticipated power purchase agreement (PPA) with Solaren Corporation (Manhattan Beach, California), PG&E is entitled to the power generated by a first-of-a-kind space-based solar project.   The experimental technology is to use orbiting satellites equipped with solar cells to convert the sun's energy into electricity, which is then converted into radio frequency (RF) energy that can be transmitted to a local receiver station. According to the announcement, space-based solar power has been researched in the U.S. for several decades, and the Japanese government had recently also announced plans to pursue a space-based solar program.

1,700 GWh to be transmitted to California from satellites on geosynchronous orbit annually

Solaren Corporation anticipates the solar generating capacity of this space based power plant to amount to 200 megawatts (MW), which is expected to generate 1,700 gigawatt-hours (GWh) of electricity per year. The 15-year term of the contract is to begin in 2016 at a facility in Fresno County. The company plans to launch "Space Solar Power" (SSP) satellites equipped with solar photovoltaic cells to convert the sun's energy into electricity. A high-efficiency generator device is to convert the electricity into RF energy, which is then to be transmitted from the satellite's antenna to a receiver on the ground, where the RF power is directly transformed to electricity. According to the announcement by CPUC, Solaren will need to address several significant technological and regulatory barriers such as permitting before commercialization of this technology.

First experimental solar power project approved by public utility regulators

While an experimental project is unique for the California's Renewables Portfolio Standard (RPS) program, CPUC reports it approved the agreement because it is consistent with the state's objective of increasing its reliance on a diverse supply of renewable energy resources and of supporting renewable technologies at reasonable costs and risks to ratepayers. So far, California regulators had only approved RPS contracts for projects that utilize commercialized or pre-commercialized technology, not technologies that are still in the research and development stage.

2009-12-14   Courtesy: Pacific Gas and Electric Company   © Heindl Server GmbH
Picture Courtesy: Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia


PV Trackers to supply Granite Bay Energy with 2 MW of solar tracking systems

Solar tracking systems by PV Trackers
Solar tracking systems by PV Trackers

PV Trackers (Bend, Oregon), provider of solar tracking systems, on December 9th, 2009 announced that the company had expanded its contracts with Granite Bay Energy (Roseville, California) to supply an additional megawatt (MW) of their "6.0DX" solar trackers to be deployed in the first quarter 2010. According to the press release, this contractual expansion increases the company's photovoltaic (PV) installation capacity with Granite Bay to more than 2 MW in the greater Sacramento area.   "We are pleased to expand our relationship with Granite Bay Energy with this latest project", said Bill Taylor, Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of PV Trackers. "Granite Bay has been impressed with the ease of installation and reduced time to start generating solar electricity. The installations of our dual-axis tracker have generated a great deal of interest in our technology, and we look forward to a very busy 2010." PV Trackers reports that its team works closely with project developers and integrators to maximize the energy output and minimize costs of ground-mounted commercial and utility-scale solar projects.

2009-12-13   Courtesy: PV Trackers   © Heindl Server GmbH
Picture Courtesy: PV Trackers


U.S. Department of Energy issues final rule on loan guarantees

U.S. Energy Secretary Steven Chu on December 7th, 2009 announced the issue of a final rule amending the Department of Energy's (DOE) regulations for its "Loan Guarantee Program". The revised rule is designed to allow for increased participation in the program by financial institutions and other investors, and to enable the support of more innovative energy technologies in the United States. Under the rule change, the Loan Guarantee Program will be able to consider financing projects together with other lenders and will be able to provide loan guarantees to projects with multiple participants.   "This much needed change will provide greater flexibility to the Loan Guarantee Program and help us to support more projects at a better value to taxpayers," said Secretary Chu. "This is part of our commitment to ensuring businesses are able to access the support they need to create jobs and contribute to a clean energy economy." The DOE's Loan Guarantee Program was implemented to pave the way for federal support of clean energy projects that use innovative technologies. It is aimed at spurring further investment in these advanced technologies.

2009-12-13   Courtesy: US DOE   © Heindl Server GmbH


Evolution Solar to distribute solar thin-film photovoltaic panels from Chinese producer AmpleSun

PV modules by AmpleSun Solar
PV modules by AmpleSun Solar

Evolution Solar Corporation (Tempe, Arizona) on December 7th, 2009 announced that the company had signed a distribution agreement with Hangzhou Amplesun Solar Technology Co., Ltd., (AmpleSun Solar; Hangzhou City, China), which allows Evolution to immediately begin offering that company's complete line of cutting-edge thin-film solar technologies and solutions to its domestic and international customers. Under the terms of the agreement, Evolution will act as a preferred provider of AmpleSun's solutions in North America, South America, Africa and the Caribbean.   According to the press release, AmpleSun is an emerging leader in the burgeoning field of thin-film solar. Founded in 2008 AmpleSun expects to reach a production capacity of 120 megawatts (MW) in 2010, making it one of the largest producers of thin-film solar panels. "We are thrilled to be one of the first to offer AmpleSun's top quality thin film solar panels; these panels offer the highest performance and cost efficiency for our clients", said Robert Hines, President of Evolution Solar. "Product diversification is key and this relationship now allows us to offer additional solutions to our clients."

2009-12-12   Courtesy: Evolution Solar Corp.   © Heindl Server GmbH
Picture Courtesy: Amplesun Power Holdings Co., Ltd.


USA: Energy Secretary Chu announces 100 million US-dollars for advanced research projects

U.S. Secretary of Energy Steven Chu on December 7th, 2009 announced a second round of funding opportunities for transformational energy research projects. According to the press release, the Department of Energy's (DOE) "Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy" (ARPA-E) is to make these funds available. Secretary Chu announced 100 million US-dollars in Recovery Act funding aimed at accelerating innovation in green technology, increasing America's competitiveness and to create jobs.   "I am pleased to announce ARPA-E's second funding opportunity because it demonstrates our commitment to lead the next Industrial Revolution in clean energy technologies, creating thousands of new jobs while helping cut carbon pollution," said Secretary Chu. "This solicitation focuses on three cutting-edge technology areas which could have a transformational impact."

Biofuels, carbon capture and battery technologies primary focus of new round of funding opportunity

ARPA-E's first solicitation had been announced earlier in 2009. It was reportedly highly competitive and resulted in funding 37 projects aimed at transformational innovations in energy storage, biofuels, carbon capture, renewable power, building efficiency, vehicles, and other areas. The new funding is focused specifically on three areas of technology, representing new approaches for biofuels, carbon capture, and batteries for electric vehicles (EVs). ARPA-E is to seek new ways to make liquid transportation fuels by using microorganisms to harness chemical or electrical energy to convert carbon dioxide (CO2) into liquid fuels. The agency also seeks to complement existing DOE efforts in the field of carbon capture by accelerating promising ideas from the basic research stage towards large-scale demonstrations and ultimately, commercialization. Finally, ARPA-E seeks to develop a new generation of ultra-high energy density, low-cost battery technologies for long electric range plug in hybrid electric vehicles and electric vehicles.

2009-12-12   Courtesy: US Department of Energy   © Heindl Server GmbH


REC and ECN announce new efficiency world record with multicrystalline solar panels

Solar wafer production at REC's facility in Norway
Solar wafer production at REC's
facility in Norway

The solar corporation REC ASA (Sandvika, Norway) and the Energy research Center of the Netherlands (ECN) have together made the world's first multicrystalline solar panels with 17.0 percent efficiency. The previous world record at 16.5 percent was beaten in the innovation race where the solar industry takes frequent leaps in technology development to make solar power a mainstream energy source in the near future. The world record was a result of a joint effort.   REC produced the highest quality multicrystalline solar wafers from the latest wafer production lines in Norway (these wafers are characterized by very low level of impurities and dislocation densities achieved by using REC's latest generation wafer furnaces). ECN produced the cells and assembled the world record solar panel.

Martin Green: enormous progress made in solar energy technology

"Reaching the 17 percent milestone has been a challenge to researchers for many years. The fact that ECN and REC now break this shows the enormous progress made in solar energy technology over the last few years and by REC and ECN in particular. I am glad to report this new world record in the solar cell efficiency tables in January, 2010", says Chief Editor of Progress in Photovoltaics Martin Green.

REC's CTO Erik Sauar: world record shows enormous potential

"We are pleased that our efforts in wafer technology development have allowed us to achieve this world record. Our previous joint REC/ECN record measurement was at 16.4 percent efficiency, and significant effort has gone in to reaching the 17 percent milestone", says SVP and CTO Erik Sauar. "For ECN, it is most important to show our progress in industrially viable technology. The world record shows the enormous potential and we are certain that soon the first products will be available through our partners", added Ton Hoff, Managing Director of ECN.

The performance measurement result was recently officially confirmed by European Solar Test Installation (ESTI). The measurements were done under Standard Test Conditions and represent aperture area efficiency.

2009-12-11   Courtesy: REC ASA   © Heindl Server GmbH
Picture Courtesy: REC


Two Bay Area leaders receive SolarTech "Solar Heroes" award, organization launches new 501c3 fund

Left to right: San Jose Mayor Reed, Carl Guardino and Doug Payne (SolarTech), Tom MCalmont
Left to right: San Jose Mayor Reed,
Carl Guardino and Doug Payne
(SolarTech), Tom MCalmont

The non-profit consortium SolarTech (San Jose, California) on December 7th, 2009 honored San Jose Mayor Chuck Reed and Tom McCalmont, Chief Executive Officer (CEO) at McCalmont Engineering, for their continuous commitment and work to promote clean energy business, new technologies, and the jobs that come with them. The awards ceremony was also used for the launch of the company's 501c(3), SolarTech "Clean Energy Fund".   This fund is to operate as the philanthropic arm of the organization, whose goals are to address key issues faced across the entire solar industry that reduce cost, save money and support innovation. As part of the forward-looking theme of the awards ceremony, SolarTech hosted a panel discussion to debate the importance and business implications of the Copenhagen Climate Change Conference. Moderated by Dana Hull of the San Jose Mercury News, panelists were Kevin Surace of Serious Materials, Dirk Michels of KLGates, Jeff Anderson of Clean Economy Network and Doug Henton of Collaborative Economics. The audience participating in the debate included thought leaders, policy makers, business leaders and clean energy advocates.

"Solar Heroes" recognized for proven track record of advancing clean energy industry

"Today, when we have the opportunity to build a new economy that maintains the United States' position as world's innovation leader, Solar Tech is leading the way for solar to come together and collectively succeed”, said Carl Guardino, SolarTech Vice Chair and CEO of the Silicon Valley Leadership Group (SVLG). "Mayor Reed and Tom McCalmont have both championed for a better economy where clean energy technology becomes the norm and accessible to all." According to the press release, recipients of the Solar Hero awards have a proven record of supporting the clean energy industry. Mayor Reed has reportedly been a strong advocate for clean energy in San Jose, and has pushed Congress for greater funding in the clean tech industry. Tom McCalmont, co-founder and SolarTech Chair was honored for his commitment to developing technology solutions that address today's energy crisis. An engineer and physicist, McCalmont founded Regrid Power in 2002, leading the firm to its 2008 acquisition by Real Goods Solar, one of California's largest solar companies.

2009-12-11   Courtesy: SolarTech   © Heindl Server GmbH
Picture Courtesy: SolarTech


Marco Garcia joins solar manufacturer Suniva as new Chief Commercial Officer

Suniva's CCO Marco Garcia
Suniva's CCO Marco Garcia

Suniva Inc. (Norcross, Georgia), a U.S. manufacturer of high-efficiency monocrystalline silicon solar cells and photovoltaic (PV) modules, on December 8th, 2009 announced a key addition to its executive management team. Marco Garcia joined the Suniva team as Chief Commercial Offer (CCO) from Suntech America, where he had served as Vice President of Commercial/Utility Division sales.   Before Suntech, Garcia was Director of Sales, Europe, for PowerLight Systems SA. In his new role, Garcia is to lead the worldwide sales for Suniva. "As a seasoned veteran of the PV industry, Marco brings invaluable experience to lead our sales growth throughout the United States, Europe and Asia", said Suniva Chief Executive Officer (CEO) John Baumstark. "With the recent and planned expansions of our sales team, Suniva is well primed to continue its worldwide delivery of high-efficiency solar cells and high power-density modules at an affordable cost."

New CCO brings international industry experience to company's sales team

Marco Garcia brings seven years of solar PV project development and sales experience to Suniva. The company reports that he had developed and closed more than 130 megawatts (MW) of PV projects in the United States and Europe, including some of the largest public and private sector systems in the United States. He has 18 years of sales leadership and operations experience residing in Latin America, Europe and the United States. "I'm thrilled to be joining one of the world's most qualified solar teams during its next stage of expansion, and I am certain that the global PV market will welcome a high-efficiency, low-cost American product", said Garcia.

2009-12-11   Courtesy: Suniva Inc.   © Heindl Server GmbH
Picture Courtesy: Suniva Inc.


Prism Solar and TSEC agree on .6 million contract to optimize solar cell technology

PV modules by Prism Solar
PV modules by Prism Solar

Prism Solar Technologies, Inc. (Highland, News York) and The Solar Energy Consortium (TSEC; Kingston, New York) on December 7th, 2009 announced an agreement on a 3.6 million US-dollar federal grant secured by Congressman Maurice Hinchey's Office for Prism Solar. Prism Solar is to receive 3,240,000 US-dollars to manage a project to commercialize a unique solar bifacial ribbon cell technology that can be utilized with the company's "Holographic Planar Concentrator" (HPC) technology.   According to the press release, the parties have reached agreement that the funds will be provided to TSEC for Prism, which is expected to purchase equipment and engage in research and development of a new photovoltaic (PV) bifacial ribbon cell through partnerships with universities and other industry partners.

New technology to allow for lightweight, foldable, rugged, portable and efficient PV modules

The first 12 - 18 months of this new initiative is to entail research and development (R&D) and the production of the new solar ribbon product. Prism Solar announced that it intends to use the product in its second generation of modules. The military and other companies are also expected to have a deep seated interest in the product. According to the press release, this solar cell technology is a process for growing long thin ribbon crystals of silicon that can be used for photovoltaic electricity generation. The resulting products are said to be lightweight, foldable, rugged, portable and efficient. "This agreement between Prism and TSEC will support Prism's development of a high efficiency, bifacial cell technology that complements Prism's holographic planar concentrator which concentrates light onto solar cells", said Rick Lewandowski, Prism's President and Chief Executive Officer (CEO). "The project will enable an innovative cell technology that is light-weight and conformable, and therefore useful in off-grid applications such as those needed by the Department of Defense."

Startup receives "Top Innovator" award as a cutting edge company that drives the future of innovation

Prism Solar was recently selected as a winner of the annual New England Venture Summit "Top Innovator" award by young Startup Ventures. The group of privately held companies recognized those that play a leading role in innovation for the Technology, Life Sciences and Clean-tech sectors. As one of the winners, Jessica Barry, Director of Business Development for Prism Solar, presented the company at the exclusive 2009 New England Venture Summit, where a select group of 450 entrepreneurs, investors, and corporate developers gathered to be the first to meet this next wave of leading edge companies. These were given the opportunity to share their insights on the future of innovation, and their respective entrepreneurial journeys.

2009-12-11   Courtesy: Prism Solar Technologies, Inc.   © Heindl Server GmbH
Picture Courtesy: Prism Solar Technologies, Inc.


German aleo solar AG supplies modules for two megawatt solar farms in the Czech Republic

aleo solar AG (Oldenburg/Prenzlau, Germany) on December 10th, 2009 announced that it has delivered modules for two solar farms in the Czech Republic. Installed on greenfield sites, the power plants have a maximum rated output of around one megawatt each. Grid connection is planned for December. All in all, more than 4,500 aleo S_18 solar modules (rated at 220 and 225 watts) have been installed in Velká nad Veličkou (South Moravian Region) by aleo's partner EkoSolar, s.r.o.   The investor for this greenfield solar power plant is E-in, s.r.o. Jan Halla, CEO of E-in, comments: "We chose aleo modules for our first major photovoltaic installation due to their superior product and service quality."

Solar farm with single-axle tracking in Horní Moštěnice

The second greenfield solar facility has been installed in Horní Moštěnice (Přerov District, Olomouc Region) by our aleo partner Profistav Litomyšl, a.s. The system uses around 5,400 aleo S_16 solar modules (rated at 185 and 190 watts), half of which are mounted on a single-axle tracking system. Profistav Litomyšl, a.s. and investors Manisa, a.s. chose aleo modules for reasons of quality: "We selected the German manufacturer aleo solar because aleo modules deliver superior long-term yield when compared to competing products", comments Petr Tesař from Manisa, a.s. Profistav Litomyšl, a.s. was formed in 1992 and installs turnkey building and photovoltaic systems using modules from aleo solar. By April next year, Profistav Litomyšl, a.s. will have installed a further 1.4 megawatts of aleo modules.

Exceptionally attractive conditions for solar power plants

The Czech Republic is one of several European countries showing strong growth in installed photovoltaic capacity. aleo solar has maintained a sales office in the country since early 2009. "The Czech Republic offers exceptionally attractive conditions for operators of solar power plants", comments Norbert Schlesiger, director Sales at aleo solar AG. "The feed-in subsidy was reduced by only five percent. Therefore we expect strong growth to continue next year.“

2009-12-11   Courtesy: aleo solar AG   © Heindl Server GmbH


Tom Tiller named CEO of Abound Solar

Abound Solar's production at Loveland, Colorado
Abound Solar's production at Loveland, Colorado

Abound Solar Inc. (Loveland, Colorado), on December 9th, 2009 appointed Thomas Tiller Chief Executive Officer, effective January 18th, 2010. Mr. Tiller comes to the photovoltaics (PV) company from Polaris Industries where he served as CEO for 9 years. Following Mr. Tiller's arrival, current interim CEO, Doug Schatz, will assume the role of Chairman of the Board of Directors. "In the last year, Abound Solar has reached several key milestones, including commercial production of modules and achieving product certification", said Doug Schatz, interim CEO and member of the Board of Directors of Abound Solar.   "With Tom’s strong track record of delivering outstanding results – both at Polaris and General Electric - the Abound Solar Board of Directors is confident he is the best person to capitalize on that progress and build the next leading solar module manufacturer.

Tiller: A company at the cutting edge of solar energy innovation

"I am very excited and thankful to be given the opportunity to lead a company at the cutting edge of solar energy innovation", said Tom Tiller, appointed CEO of Abound Solar. "Abound is uniquely positioned to leverage its proprietary manufacturing technology in reducing the cost of solar power, and I look forward to playing a significant role in the company’s continued growth."

2009-12-11   Courtesy: Abound Solar Inc.   © Heindl Server GmbH
Picture Courtesy: Abound Solar Inc.


World Bank approves over .5 billion investment for Concentrated Solar Power (CSP) in the Middle East and North Africa

Parabolic through collectors (CSP)
Parabolic through collectors

The Clean Technology Fund (CTF) approved financing of 0 million on December 2nd, 2009, which will mobilize an additional .85 billion from other sources, to accelerate global deployment of Concentrated Solar Power (CSP). It will do so by investing in the CSP programs of five countries in the Middle East and North Africa: Algeria, Egypt, Jordan, Morocco, and Tunisia. The CTF is a multi-donor trust fund to facilitate deployment of low-carbon technologies at scale. Specifically, the CTF approved an investment plan which will enable MENA to contribute the benefit of its unique geography to global climate change mitigation; no other region has such a favorable combination of physical and market advantages for CSP.   In addition CTF will support the deployment of about one gigawatt of CSP generation capacity, amounting to a tripling of worldwide CSP capacity. CTF also will support associated transmission infrastructure in the Maghreb and Mashreq for domestic supply and exports, as part of Mediterranean grid enhancement. This will enable the scale up of CSP through market integration in the region.

11 commercial-scale CPV plants to be deployed

Another goal of CTF is to leverage public and private investments for CSP power plants, thereby almost tripling current global investments in CSP; and support MENA countries to achieve their development goals of energy security, industrial growth and diversification, and regional integration. The proposed gigawatt-scale deployment through 11 commercial-scale power plants over a 3 - 5 year time-frame would provide the critical mass of investments necessary to attract significant private sector interest, benefit from economies of scale to reduce cost, result in learning in diverse operating conditions, and manage risk.

Shamshad Akhtar: Exploiting one of the major untapped sources of energy

Shamshad Akhtar, World Bank Regional Vice President of the Middle East and North Africa, said: "This is a most strategic and significant initiative for MENA countries. The initiative would leverage energy diversification, while promoting Euro-Mediterranean integration to the benefit of MENA countries that will be able to exploit one of the major untapped sources of energy. This endeavor is far-reaching with global objectives, implications, and potential impact. It will facilitate faster and greater diffusion of this technology"

More information on the World Bank at: For more information on the Climate Investment Funds (CIF), please visit

2009-12-10   Courtesy: World Bank   © Heindl Server GmbH
Picture Courtesy: Solar Millennium AG


Enbridge and First Solar to expand Sarnia Solar Project by 60 MW, initial 20 MW achieve commercial operations

Aerial view of the
Aerial view of the "Sarnia Solar Project"
in November 2009

Enbridge Inc. (Toronto, Ontario, Canada) and solar photovoltaic (PV) manufacturer First Solar, Inc. (Tempe, Arizona) on December 8th, 2009 announced that they had entered into an agreement to expand the "Sarnia Solar Project" from 20 to 80 megawatts (MW) capacity. The total cost for the expansion is estimated to amount to 300 million Canadian dollars (284 million US-dollars). When completed in the second half of 2010, the project is expected to be the largest photovoltaic (PV) solar energy facility in North America.   In October 2009, Enbridge and First Solar had announced an agreement for Enbridge to acquire the initial 20 MW solar energy project that First Solar developed at the Sarnia site. "We're delighted to further strengthen our relationship with First Solar", said Patrick D. Daniel, President and Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Enbridge, Inc. "Enbridge has made significant strides in growing its green energy business in 2009. With this investment, we will have interests in more than 470 megawatts of green power capacity."

Solar power plant to become largest in North America, expected to provide electricity to over 12,800 homes

Subject to the satisfaction of certain conditions precedent, First Solar is expected to construct the solar project for Enbridge under a fixed price engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) contract, utilizing its thin film photovoltaic (PV) technology. The 60 MW phase of the project is scheduled to begin construction this month and to be completed by December 2010. At 80 MW, Enbridge expects the Sarnia Solar Project to generate approximately 120 million kilowatt hours (kWh) solar electricity per year, enough to meet the needs of over 12,800 homes. The plant would thus help offset approximately 39,000 tons of CO2 emissions annually. According to the press release, First Solar also agreed to provide operations and maintenance services to Enbridge under a long-term contract. The power output of the 80 MW facility is to be sold to the Ontario Power Authority pursuant to 20-year Power Purchase Agreements (PPA) under the terms of the Ontario Government's Renewable Energy Standard Offer Program.

2009-12-10   Courtesy: Enbridge Inc.   © Heindl Server GmbH


Photovoltaics: German technology provider Manz acquires new orders with a total volume of more than EUR 15 million

Wafer inspection system by Manz Automation AG
Wafer inspection
system by Manz
Automation AG

Manz Automation AG (Reutlingen, Germany), one of the world’s leading technology providers for the photovoltaic and LCD industries, has acquired several orders with a total volume of more than EUR 15 million over the past few weeks, the company reports in a press release. The largest orders which the Reutlingen-based engineering company received were from several Chinese key solar cell manufacturers. These orders comprise automation systems as well as complete back-end lines for the production of crystalline solar cells and several latest generation wafer testers.   The back-end production lines include Manz AG’s newly developed "HAP 2400 high accuracy printers". These printers according to Manz have a throughput of 2,400 solar cells per hour and are the fastest and most accurate high-precision printers on the market to create front side contacts for selective emitter cells. In addition, the use of double-printing technology once again increases the effectiveness of the solar cells.

Follow-on order from a major Taiwanese PV manufacturer

The company emphasizes that the orders were conditional upon the successful research and development activities in the past few months, together with end-to-end test series in the company’s own technology and training center, which verified that the newly developed systems both work reliably and increase efficiency. A key factor behind the issue of this order was also Manz AG’s local presence thanks to its production and service facilities in Asia. At the same time, the company was also able to acquire a follow-on order from a major Taiwanese PV manufacturer for the supply of automation equipment. This order is from a long-standing customer, which continues to attach great importance to Manz AG’s equipment for the further expansion of its production capacity. The orders will be shipped in the first half of 2010.

Given the appreciable difficulties in the thin film solar industry, a key customer of Manz Automation has agreed to restructure an existing order, having the following effects: Manz will deliver the laser scribing machines that are already manufactured, resulting in a positive impact on revenues and income. The company will therefore realize a slight positive one-off effect, which will be recognized in fiscal year 2009. Taking the new orders and the agreements with the long-standing key account into consideration, the order book currently totals EUR 65.3 million, Manz announced. Additional key orders in the solar and LCD sectors are currently being negotiated and are expected for the first few months of the coming year.

CEO Manz: Innovations significantly increase the effectiveness of solar cells

Dieter Manz, Manz Automation’s CEO, believes that the new orders confirm the R&D strategy and is looking to the future with confidence: "We have set new standards with our highly efficient, highly integrated machines. Our back-end in particular is characterized by several innovations, which significantly increase the effectiveness of the solar cells and optimize the production process. This means that we are living up to our role as an innovation driver, and offer the industry the technologies it needs to be able to act successfully and profitably on the market after the crisis is over." He added: "The new orders we have acquired revitalize our business and confirm our corporate strategy of investing in research and development in particular."

2009-12-10   Courtesy: Manz Automation AG   © Heindl Server GmbH
Picture Courtesy: Manz Automation AG


SMA Solar Technology AG enhances manufacturing capacity, plans expansion at new commercial area

The world’s largest solar inverter factory.
The world’s largest solar inverter factory.

In order to serve the current high demand for solar photovoltaic (PV) inverters and to become even more flexible in responding to the future developments of the solar markets, SMA Solar Technology AG (SMA; Niestetal, Germany) will enhance its production capacities through interim solutions over the next six months. In the medium term, SMA is planning to develop additional solar inverter production facilities as well at the new commercial area Sandershaeuser Berg near Niestetal, the company reports in a press release.   Through the establishment of the world’s largest solar inverter factory, SMA was already able to substantially amplify its production capacities to up to five gigawatts (GW) this year. Over the last couple of weeks, the output figures were increased again.

Exclusively order-related production, without storage facilities for final products

In the medium term, the interim solutions will be replaced by the establishment of additional production facilities at the new commercial area "Sandershaeuser Berg" east of the Autobahn 7. These new facilities will enable SMA to serve the growing photovoltaic market and to react even more flexibly to market volatility and demand surges. In the new commercial area of the City of Niestetal, SMA is planning to firstly build a new service center. Additional production facilities as well as a central storage facility for the components of the inverters will follow. As SMA will continue to exclusively produce order-related, there will be no storage facilities for the company’s final products.

SMA will also enhance the infrastructure at the company headquarters through the creation of further office space. The investment for all building activities planned so far from 2010 to 2012 would be at EUR 80 to 120 million per year, financed through own capital resources.

CEO Günther Cramer to advance proven flexibility strategy

"The solar sector is a highly dynamic market characterized by strong volatility. Therefore, a lot of flexibility is required in order to quickly adapt to the different market developments", explains Günther Cramer, Chief Executive Officer of SMA Solar Technology AG. "With the extension of our capacities at Sandershaeuser Berg, we will advance our proven flexibility strategy, which prepares us for the further market developments. Furthermore, the commercial area Sandershaeuser Berg gives us the possibility for additional enhancements of our production facilities. This will make interim solutions unnecessary in the future." The exact timing and construction planning for the individual building phases of the new SMA site Sandershaeuser Berg are not yet completed, SMA reports.

2009-12-10   Courtesy: SMA Solar Technology AG   © Heindl Server GmbH
Picture Courtesy: SMA Solar Technology AG


PV producer Suntech signs long-term supply agreements for up to 490 MW in Europe

David Hogg announces new product roll-outs and enhancements
David Hogg announces new
product roll-outs and

Suntech Power Holdings Co., Ltd. (Wuxi, China), the world's leading manufacturer of crystalline silicon photovoltaic (PV) modules, on December 9th, 2009 announced it has signed three long-term supply agreements for up to 490 MW of high performance solar modules to be delivered over the next three years. Three of Suntech's strategic long-term partners in Europe including a value-added reseller, an EPC (engineering, procurement and construction) company, and a project developer, signed the agreements to secure access to Suntech's market leading solar modules and to develop closer collaboration on market information, shipment planning, and new product roll-outs, Suntech reports in a press release. 

Solar market expected to resume strong annual growth in 2010 and beyond

"Customers choose to partner with Suntech because of our proven commitment to quality, reliability and performance, which is backed up by over 1.5 GW of installations", said Jerry Stokes, Suntech's VP of Strategy and Business Development. "With the solar market expected to resume strong annual growth in 2010 and beyond, it is essential for both our partners and Suntech to gain a clearer understanding of future market drivers and project pipelines. This will enable us to align product specifications, performance and market demand with capacity expansion and to differentiate our products and the solutions offered by our partners."
Under the terms of the agreements, 115 MW are planned to be supplied in 2010, 155MW in 2011 and 220MW in 2012, with the option to increase volumes. Suntech anticipates concluding additional long-term supply agreements during the next few months reflecting a "flight to quality" regarding solar companies that have bankable products, and the capability and credibility to support long-term growth.

HiPerforma module holds world record conversion efficiency for polycrystalline PV modules

David Hogg, Head Suntech Europe, added, "Suntech is a continually innovating, technology driven company. One example of this is our recently launched HiPerforma module incorporating Pluto cell technology, which holds the world record conversion efficiency for a polycrystalline PV module. Advance knowledge of such new product roll-outs and enhancements will enable our partners to specify Suntech products early in the design process, leading to superior system performance and stronger financial returns. This is especially important for large-scale project development that may take over 12 months from initial design through permitting and construction."

2009-12-10   Courtesy: Suntech Power Holdings Co., Ltd.   © Heindl Server GmbH
Picture Courtesy: Suntech Power Holdings Co., Ltd.


New Energy Systems and Scheuten Solar realise solar energy plant in the Netherlands

New Energy Systems, a photovoltaic system design and installation company, and Scheuten Solar, a global photovoltaic (PV) module designer, manufacturer and installer, have been commissioned to build one of the Netherlands’ biggest PV facilities at 's-Hertogenbosch, Scheuten Solar reports in a press release. In 2010 the city of 's-Hertogenbosch will be putting up an entirely new waste processing centre at the Treurenburg in 's-Hertogenbosch. The city’s greatest ambition is to build the country’s most sustainable waste processing centre. In winter, delivered tree pruning waste will be burnt for building heating purposes and much of the electricity requirements will be generated by a dedicated solar energy plant on the roofs of the premises.   The 1,500 solar panels with a total capacity of 300 kilowatts (kWp) due to Scheuten Solar will provide some 280,000 kWh of sustainable electricity every year. "On our own we would not have been able to land a project of this size", says Peter Debije, co-proprietor of New Energy Systems. "Since industrial solar energy plants on this scale are rarely constructed in the Netherlands, few Dutch suppliers have the necessary experience in this area, so that the opportunity for us to work with Scheuten Solar is something very special for us".

A big project by Dutch standards

"Scheuten Solar and New Energy Systems have been working constructively together for some time now. Up until now our joint activity has been limited to small-scale projects. This project is big by Dutch standards and proves that we are also able to undertake industrial projects in our own country. We are very proud of the result achieved and trust that this will lead to more initiatives of this type in the Netherlands", stated Rob Beckers, Scheuten Solar’s Sales Manager for the Netherlands.

2009-12-10   Courtesy: Scheuten Solar   © Heindl Server GmbH


GILDEMEISTER strengthens solar technology and market presence in Italy; a+f receives another "SunCarrier" order worth millions

"SunCarrier" by a+f

a+f GmbH (Bielefeld, Germany) has concluded another solar order. The project has a total value of € 43.2 million and continues the successful establishment in the Italian solar market, GILDEMEISTER AG reports in a press release. In Apulia (Italy), eight "SunCarrier" solar photovoltaic (PV) parks will be constructed by a+f on an area of 40 hectares. The output installed allows supplying 4,100 four-person households with electricity annually.   "This further major order consolidates the strong position of a+f in the Italian solar market", says Thomas Petsch, managing director of a+f GmbH.

SunCarriers for the U.S.

In the future a+f wants to participate in the growing solar market in the USA. In September a+f USA LLC with registered office in Denver was founded to reinforce its activities. According to Petsch, "with the Opening of the first American office, we consequently follow our plans to expand". Reference units are currently installed in the states of California and Nebraska. First contract signings are set to be closed, the company reports. In implementing its international "SunCarrier" solar market strategy, a+f GmbH is able to take advantage of GILDEMEISTER’s worldwide comprehensive sales and service network.

2009-12-10   Courtesy: GILDEMEISTER Aktiengesellschaft   © Heindl Server GmbH
Picture Courtesy: GILDEMEISTER Aktiengesellschaft


Solar Millennium meets forecast for 2008/2009 fiscal year in terms of sales and earnings; most successful year in company history

Solar power plants
Solar power plants "Andasol"

In the 2008/2009 fiscal year Solar Millennium AG (Erlangen; Germany) generated the best result in company history. According to its preliminary figures pursuant to IFRS the company achieved consolidated sales of about € 201 million (previous year: € 32.0 million) and earnings before interest and taxes (EBIT) of roughly € 43 million (previous year: € 11.3 million). The figures include the announced extraordinary effect of € 48 million (sales) and € 12 million (EBIT) mainly from the sale of power plant stakes that had originally been planned for the 2007/2008 fiscal year, the company reports in a press release.   Christian Beltle, CEO of Solar Millennium: "We have impressively shown that Solar Millennium's business strategy leads to success, even in difficult general economic conditions. Our first solar power plant projects, Andasol 1 and Andasol 2, are producing electricity. We have successfully sold the stakes in these projects. The preregistration for Andasol 3 and Ibersol announced by the Spanish Minister of Economy in November, which is the precondition for being granted the guaranteed feed-in tariffs, has established a sound basis for the realization of our business targets in the next two years."

Major investors as partners for implementing solar thermal power plants

Thomas Mayer, CFO of Solar Millennium, is also extremely pleased with the preliminary result: "Our new strategic alignment for project financing in autumn last year as a consequence of the financial market crisis has proven correct. By attracting major investors with a long-term strategy and equity, we have gained important partners for implementing our solar thermal power plants. We will continue to pursue this approach with future projects as well. On this basis we will be able to consistently continue our growth path in the ongoing fiscal year. For the ongoing fiscal year we are expecting growth in sales and earnings by over 50 percent."

Closed-end fund for solar thermal power plants

Since December Solar Millennium has for the first time been offering interested private investors the opportunity to acquire an interest in the profit of a solar thermal power plant via closed-end funds. Thomas Mayer says: "This is another product that demonstrates Solar Millennium's innovative power. The offer is unique in the whole world and has, particularly due to its inflation protection, been received with great interest by both private and institutional investors in the first days after being published. This product will form a key element for our company and project financing activities in the future".

US DOE included Californian projects on the fast-track list

With regard to the successful business operations during the last months, Christian Beltle adds: "The early involvement in the US market was worthwhile: The US Department of Energy has included all our Californian projects on the so called fast-track list, meaning we should be able to receive all final permissions by the end of 2010. By converting to dry cooling, the chances of success for our projects in Nevada have increased significantly. Our strategy of getting an early foothold in the markets by means of pioneering spirit and innovative power has paid off already. Therefore we will also pursue this strategy in future markets and continue to grow accordingly." The final result for the 2008/2009 fiscal year will be published at the annual press conference on 23 February 2010.

2009-12-09   Courtesy: Solar Millennium AG   © Heindl Server GmbH
Picture Courtesy: Solar Millennium AG


PV supplier Centrosolar establishes branch in Benelux

CENTROSOLAR Group AG (Munich; Germany), supplier of photovoltaic (PV) systems for roofs and related key components, has opened an international branch in the Netherlands. In taking this step, the specialist for photovoltaic systems is intensifying its existing activities in Benelux. Managing Director Michiel van Schalkwijk brings over 15 years of experience in the solar industry to his new post. The new office is based in Tiel (Netherlands), 30 kilometres south of Utrecht.   Centrosolar is able to build on an existing network of customers in Belgium and the Netherlands. Until now, its activities there have been managed from Germany. Thanks to its local presence and the new opportunity for a local to provide support for customers, the company expects to see an increase in revenue in the important Belgian and Dutch PV markets. The focal areas are solar modules for private households and larger systems for industrial roofs. Centrosolar Benelux will be able to call on the support and technical expertise of the German parent company in serving the new markets.

60 percent of revenues generated internationally

The Dutch subsidiary will supply crystalline solar modules, systems for roof integration and thin-film systems. In view of the attractive subsidies available, the company anticipates that the sales volume will ultimately reach the double-digit megawatt range. Centrosolar is taking its international expansion one step further in opening the new branch. In 2008, the solar specialist generated over 60 percent of its revenue internationally. It has other branches in Spain, France, Italy, Switzerland, Greece and the USA.

2009-12-09   Courtesy: CENTROSOLAR Group AG   © Heindl Server GmbH


Advanced Energy and SunEdison announce commercial agreement for Solaron inverter solutions

Solaron's grid-tie photovoltaic inverter
Solaron's grid-tie
photovoltaic inverter

Advanced Energy Industries, Inc. (AE; Fort Collins, Colorado) on December 3rd, 2009 announced that it had entered into a commercial agreement with SunEdison (Beltsville, Maryland), a leading solar energy services provider. The agreement is said to include Solaron's grid-tie photovoltaic (PV) inverters, as well as complete product life-cycle services.   "AE is honored to work with a premier solar-energy company such as SunEdison", noted Dr. Hans Betz, President and Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Advanced Energy. "This commercial agreement is another important milestone for our PV inverter solutions, and demonstrates the value that our expertise brings to leading, utility-scale customers in the solar-energy marketplace." SunEdison's Vice President of engineering procurement and construction, Jason Stevens, commented: "Advanced Energy has an outstanding reputation with their high efficiency Solaron PV inverter line and we look forward to working with them under this new supply agreement."

2009-12-09   Courtesy: Advanced Energy Industries, Inc.   © Heindl Server GmbH
Picture Courtesy: Advanced Energy Industries, Inc.


PV producer Energy Conversion Devices announces restructuring plan, will cut workforce by 400

Rooftop system with photovoltaic laminates by ECD
Rooftop system with photovoltaic
laminates by ECD

Energy Conversion Devices, Inc. (ECD; Rochester Hills, Michigan), a global manufacturer of light weight, thin-film flexible solar photovoltaic laminates for the building-integrated and commercial PV rooftop markets, on December 3rd, 2009 announced that it had initiated a restructuring plan. According to the press release, the company intends to better align its operating expenses with near-term revenue expectations while laying the groundwork to more efficiently leverage future growth opportunities.   The specific restructuring actions are to include additional workforce reductions and the previously announced restructuring related to ECD's acquisition of Solar Integrated Technologies. In connection with all restructurings, the company intends to reduce its workforce by approximately 400 people, representing a cut of approximately 20 %.

Lower operating costs to allow for growth opportunities in rooftop solar market

The announced actions are expected to create annualized savings of approximately 17 million US-dollars, with half to be realized in fiscal year 2010. ECD expects to record related charges of approximately 9 million US-dollars in fiscal year 2010, including the previously announced restructuring costs related to ECD's acquisition of Solar Integrated Technologies. The restructuring plan is scheduled for completion in fiscal year 2010. "We are committed to reducing our cost structure, while still satisfying the increasing demand for our products in the marketplace", said Mark Morelli, ECD's President and Chief Executive Officer (CEO). "We expect our business will strengthen in the second half of our fiscal year, and these steps should lower our overall operating costs for both the near and long terms, and position our company to better capitalize on growth opportunities in our rooftop solar markets."

2009-12-09   Courtesy: Energy Conversion Devices, Inc.   © Heindl Server GmbH
Picture Courtesy: Energy Conversion Devices, Inc.


Gartner analysis: Phoenix Solar's November results point to the rebirth of the German PV market

Phoenix Solar (Sulzemoos, Germany) on December 3rd, 2009, announced that the company was experiencing a strong year-end rally. The information technology research and advisory company Gartner, Inc. (Stamford, Connecticut) believes that the German manufacturer's results are a promising indication of which direction the solar market is heading.   Key details of Phoenix Solar's announcement include that the company's "Components and System" segment generated 65 million Euros in November 2009 and that it is building 16 solar parks in its "Power Plants" segment. According to the announcement, three of these 16 solar power plants with an energy generation capacity of 14 megawatts (MW) are being built for KG Allgemeine Leasing (Grünwald, Germany). Finally, Phoenix Solar announces a positive outlook for 2010. Preparations are reportedly under way for solar parks with a total peak output of more than 30 MW of electricity generation capacity.

Improved demand seen in German PV market

The announcement by Phoenix Solar follows guidance during its third quarter financial results call that it was in a solar panel sold-out situation, with a concomitant corollary that its gross margins were improving. The firm had also provided midpoint guidance for 2009 revenue of 455 million Euros. Gartner stresses that the "Components and System" segment's sales in November were almost equal to its sales of 76 million Euros in the third quarter of 2009. According to the analysis, Phoenix's results point to improved demand in Germany. Based on the data from the German Electricity Regulator (Bundesnetzagentur), as well as inputs from German engineering, procurement and construction firms, Gartner expects the German PV market to install PV solar power plants with 2.5 gigawatts (GW) of energy generation capacity in 2009.

Market researchers stress importance of supply chain management

According to the market analysis, a variety of public sources have already corroborated that the increased demand not only has emptied out inventory in warehouses, but also has led to a firming up of prices and the push out of delivery times for critical items, such as inverters. Gartner continues to believe that the PV solar industry is in an oversupply situation in the market, especially from a PV module manufacturing capacity perspective. The current market shortage is believed to reflect the increasing importance that supply chain management represents for the industry. During the past year, PV vendors have become very conservative because of the lackluster sales situation. PV companies with large inventories had moved to a just in time (JIT) approach for their inventory and their manufacturing to minimize costs. Most parts of the solar value chain are seen to have moved to this JIT approach. Gartner points out that so many of those companies are in this JIT mode that they have not been able to ramp up quickly enough to take advantage of this temporary increase in demand. And this "temporary" situation is believed to lie at the center of the conundrum of the PV industry. The conundrum centers on increasing demand, even as the industry faces a market with increasing uncertainty. Gartner expects demand to increase in all geographies.

Uncertainty seen as potential for strong business cycles

Gartner cautions that the solar market is highly dependent on fickle government incentives. Nowhere is this more apparent than in Germany, where market uncertainty is currently believed to be highest because it is not clear how the feed-in tariff (FIT) will be changed in mid-2010. The normal business variability, along with the uncertainty that is driven by either incentives in Germany or the varying implementation of renewable portfolio standards (RPSs) by electric utilities in the United States, creates a recipe for strong business cycles that is expected to hurt all but the strongest firms. Thus, Gartner predicts this PV market to be a growth market. However, Gartner suggests PV value chain firms to hire the most competent supply chain experts they can.

2009-12-09   Courtesy: Gartner, Inc.   © Heindl Server GmbH


Market researcher Gartner: Five predictions for solar PV reflect a changing industry

The nascent photovoltaics (PV) industry is in the midst of its first major market downturn, according to a recent analysis by James Hines, Research Director Semiconductors and Solar of the U.S. information technology research and advisory company Gartner, Inc. (Stamford, Connecticut). While long-term prospects remain positive, short-term challenges are expected to abound according to this study. One of the challenges is the severe oversupply of PV products and materials for existing markets and way too many vendors chasing too few opportunities.   Also, the industry is critically dependent on government subsidies. While Germany remains the largest PV market, the United States and China are seen to be growing in importance. Hines notes that vendors need to employ specific strategies to be successful in these markets. The PV industry is expected to emerge from this period looking very different from what it is today.

Predictions for global solar PV market need to be considered by vendors, users and investors

Gartner has developed five predictions for the future of the PV solar energy industry, covering such topics as consolidation, the role of electric utilities in the United States, evolving business models, emerging markets and enterprise adoption of PV solar energy. The company forecasts a consolidation throughout the PV value chain that is to accelerate through 2010. Of the major solar PV companies, 50 % are expected to adopt a vertically integrated business model by 2013. Gartner further expects U.S. electric utilities to restrict the use of private distributed PV solar generation systems by the year 2013. Power purchase agreements (PPA) are to be the dominant acquisition model for PV solar energy in North America through 2012. Finally, nearly 40 % of India's solar PV production is expected to serve the domestic market by 2013. Understanding the implications of these predictions is believed to be critical for vendors, users and investors in the PV solar energy industry. The study, dubbed "Predicts 2010: Photovoltaic Solar Energy Industry Transitions to New Growth Phase", is available immediately from Gartner.

2009-12-08   Courtesy: Gartner, Inc.   © Heindl Server GmbH


Mitsubishi Electric to sell new line of IGBT modules

Mitsubishi Electric Corporation (Tokyo, Japan) on December 3rd, 2009 announced the launch of its new "MPD (Mega Power Dual)" Series of insulated gate bipolar transistor (IGBT) modules. According to the press release, these products are suitable for all applications requiring high power density. They are reportedly mainly designed for use in power converters for large capacity wind power and photovoltaic (PV) systems. The focus of power generation systems has recently shifted on natural energy sources such as wind power or solar power in order to limit carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions.   Mitsubishi reports that the company is reacting to the recent trend towards large-scale, megawatt-class power generation systems. The power conversion equipment used in such systems requires higher power than before, which is why the company had released its original MPD series in 2002, featuring 2-element, 1,400 A / 1,200 V IGBT modules that could handle megawatt-class power generation.

IGBT chips boast improved features and extended current rating

The company released the new MPD Series to accommodate the expanded volumes handled by power generation systems. The current rating was reportedly extended to 2,500 A by using a dedicated package and sixth generation IGBT chips. An optimum chip layout with adequate surrounding margin is said to improve cooling efficiency in liquid-cooled applications. The New-MPD Series due to Mitsubishi Electric is compliant with the "Restriction of the use of certain Hazardous Substances" (RoHS) directive for electrical and electronic equipment. According to the press release, the New-MPD Series products can also be utilized in large capacity inverters and uninterruptible power supply (UPS) systems for industrial equipment. Shipments of the new products are to begin in January, 2010.

2009-12-08   Courtesy: Mitsubishi Electric Corporation   © Heindl Server GmbH


Oerlikon Systems and Meyer Burger enter strategic cooperation

"SOLARIS" thin-film coating equipment
by Oerlikon Systems

Oerlikon Systems (Balzers, Liechtenstein) and Meyer Burger Technology Ltd. (Thun, Switzerland) on December 3rd, 2009 announced a strategic distribution and cooperation agreement for the "SOLARIS" thin-film coating equipment. As part of the agreement, Meyer Burger's sales and service organization is to represent the SOLARIS for crystalline silicon (c Si) photovoltaic (PV) applications in China, Taiwan, Europe, the Middle East, India and the Americas. Furthermore, the two high tech companies announced that they intend to work together to further develop anti-reflective coatings and other innovative process steps within the manufacturing process of crystalline solar cells. 

Partnership to unleash synergies by leveraging mutual capabilities and expertise

"Meyer Burger's focus, strength and experience in the crystalline silicon PV market will enable us to reach out to cell manufacturers faster and more efficiently", said Andreas Dill, Head of Oerlikon Systems. "Furthermore, we see significant synergies by leveraging Meyer Burger's capabilities in automation, wafer and cell measurement tools and, last but not least, with Meyer Burger's expertise in wafer surface design." Peter Pauli, Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Meyer Burger, added: "This agreement is in line with our growth strategy to expand our successful model of providing core technologies in photovoltaics." The "SOLARIS" system is a high speed single wafer sputter system for optical discs and semiconductors. According to the press release, the system is very flexible in its possible configurations, such as for anti-reflective coatings and back-side passivation and metallization for crystalline solar cells.

Small-footprint coating system features throughput of approximately 1,200 wafers per hour

The SOLARIS system allows for an application of very thin layers of silicon nitride on the front of the solar PV cells. Oerlikon Systems reports that SOLARIS offers the flexibility of also coating the backside with various materials. With six coating chambers, a special carrier transport mechanism and a wide range of potential layer material, the SOLARIS system is said to offer unmatched productivity. According to the press release, the machine is able to treat standard wafer formats from 125 to 156 square millimeters, with an average throughput of up to 1,200 wafers per hour. "With SOLARIS, we for the first time apply advanced nanotechnology in the production of crystalline solar cells with enormous advantages for solar cell manufacturing," said Dill. "Firstly, with a size of 2.0 x 3.3 meters, SOLARIS requires 80 % less floor space than competitive solutions. Secondly, the fully automated solution requires minimal maintenance. Thirdly, SOLARIS needs significantly less power. Last, but not least, lower maintenance requirements result in a significantly higher uptime."

2009-12-08   Courtesy: Oerlikon Systems   © Heindl Server GmbH
Picture Courtesy: Oerlikon Systems


Ameren launches solar initiative in Illinois and Missouri

Ameren evaluates effectiveness and efficiencies of specific types of solar systems
Ameren evaluates effectiveness
and efficiencies of specific types
of solar systems

Ameren Corporation (St. Louis, Missouri) and its utility companies in Illinois and Missouri on December 1st, 2009 launched a solar energy initiative which is to span both states. As a first step, the corporation is installing solar energy systems at its downtown St. Louis headquarters campus while Ameren Illinois Utilities will install solar systems at one of its facilities in Illinois. According to the press release, the engineering company Burns & McDonnell (Chesterfield, Missouri) will develop a conceptual design for these solar photovoltaic (PV) demonstration projects, which are to include the latest in solar system technologies.   "At these sites, we will be able to evaluate the effectiveness and efficiencies of specific types of solar systems in this region", said Thomas R. Voss, Ameren President and Chief Executive Officer (CEO). "After the systems become operational, we will begin offering a range of online information about our findings from the project, information that should help customers in their own evaluations of different types of solar systems." The generating capacities for Ameren's solar installations are expected to range between 25 and 550 kilowatts (kW).

Rebate program for residential solar power generation available in 2010

For customers considering solar energy, the electric utility AmerenUE is to offer a rebate of 2 US-dollars per watt up to 25 kW or a maximum of 50,000 US-dollars for qualified new solar electric system installation capacities installed after Jan. 1st, 2010. According to the press release, only solar systems on residential and commercial properties are eligible for this rebate. AmerenUE reports that it also offers a program for customers who are interested in supporting additional development of renewable energy resources, dubbed "AmerenUE Pure Power," which was launched in 2007. This award-winning, voluntary program for Missouri residential and business customers allows customers to voluntarily pay slightly more on their energy bills to purchase renewable energy credits (RECs) to encourage development of renewable resources. AmerenUE also recently agreed to buy 102 megawatts (MW) of wind power for its Missouri customers, the company reports.

2009-12-08   Courtesy: Ameren Corporation   © Heindl Server GmbH
Picture Courtesy: Ameren Corporation


California: SPG Solar completes 1 MW photovoltaic array for Novartis Corporation in Vacaville

SPG Solar, based in Novato (California), on December 4th, 2009 announced that the company had completed the construction of a one megawatt (MW) solar electric system for one of the world's leading pharmaceuticals firms, Novartis Pharmaceuticals Corporation (Basel, Switzerland). The solar photovoltaic (PV) array at Novartis' Vacaville facility is the company's largest of six PV installations worldwide.   SPG Solar reports that it installed over 4,100 solar panels, combining a 970 kilowatt (kW) single axis tracking system with a 30 kW solar parking canopy that the company had constructed in 2008. The PV system is expected to produce approximately 2 million kilowatt hours (kWh) of sustainable solar electric power, demonstrating Novartis' commitment to minimizing the environmental impact of its business activities. "SPG Solar is dedicated to helping our clients meet their environmental and energy goals by providing them with the most effective solution possible", said Thomas Rooney, Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of SPG Solar. "The Novartis solar system provides unique benefits, from the carport shading employee vehicles to the tracker providing enhanced energy production compared to fixed tilt systems."

2009-12-08   Courtesy: SPG Solar   © Heindl Server GmbH


Canada: Opsun Panels to build 50 MW solar module production line in Ontario

Opsun Panels Inc. (Toronto, Ontario, Canada), a subsidiary of Opsun Technologies Inc. (Saint-Augustin-de-Desmaures, Quebec, Canada), on December 3rd, 2009 announced that the company had decided to set up a 50 megawatt (MW) solar panel production line in Ontario to meet the feed in tariff's (FIT) "domestic content" requirement. Opsun reports that it is already manufacturing its "SunRail" mounting system and "StructuralPV" commercial solution in Ontario.   Opsun Panels plans to start its Ontario production in the third quarter of 2010. Until then, Opsun plans to supply the Ontario market with solar photovoltaic (PV) panels laminated according to the company's specifications by a highly qualified partner. According to the press release, Opsun's PV panels are built using high-efficiency SE solar cells by the Chinese manufacturer CSUN. Those panels, as well as the SunRail mounting system and StructuralPV are available immediately, the company reports. Opsun Panels announced that the company will demonstrate the technology at the Canadian Solar Industries Association's (CanSEIA) annual conference on December 7th-8th at the Westin Harbour Castle in Toronto.

2009-12-08   Courtesy: Opsun Panels Inc.   © Heindl Server GmbH


EER study highlights significant utility role in U.S. photovoltaics market

At a time when most energy investments have been curtailed by a weak economy, the U.S. utilities photovoltaic (PV) activity has spiked over the last 18 months. With only 77 megawatts (MW) of utility-driven PV projects currently operating, U.S. utilities have announced a pipeline of more than 4.8 gigawatts (GW) of large, utility-scale PV projects. This explosion of activity highlights the PV sector's changing landscape and the key role utilities are expected to play going forward, according to a new study from Emerging Energy Research (Cambridge, Massachusetts and Barcelona, Spain), a provider of clean and renewable energy market analysis.   "At this early stage of PV adoption in the U.S., utilities are under significant regulatory and planning pressure to address their solar procurement strategies going forward", said EER Solar Research Director Reese Tisdale. "Unlike other larger, centralized power generation technologies such as natural gas, wind, concentrated solar power, and geothermal, PV offers scale and unique siting versatility. These key differentiators allow PV to be deployed in a wide range of geographies."

12 GW of installed PV capacity expected by 2015

According to EER's study the scaling adoption and newfound acceptance of PV technology by utilities has been catalyzed by four primary factors. They are regulatory pressures at the state and national levels, widespread cost reductions in the PV sector, fossil fuel price volatility and overarching carbon concerns. The siting flexibility of PV power plants is believed to allow utilities to leverage multi-pronged strategies. EER forecasts that utilities will add 21.5 gigawatts (GW) of solar PV to their generation portfolios between 2009 and 2020. Led by utility involvement, the US PV market is expected to accelerate between 2011 and 2015, growing from 2 GW in 2011 to 12 GW in 2015, a more than 460 % increase. Furthermore, PV's versatility potentially circumvents transmission build-out bottlenecks that pose significant hurdles in the path of centralized renewables deployment, according to Tisdale.

Renewable portfolio standards believed to be primary driver for PV utility deployment

EER believes that the primary driver for PV utility deployment in the immediate term is state-level renewable portfolio standards (RPSs). Of the top 20 states in which utilities have signed PV agreements, 18 have an RPS in place. Already facing a shortfall to meet the state's 20 % renewables by 2010 target and its recently formalized 33 % 2020 target, California utilities have begun adding PV to their pipelines at scale, accounting for approximately 75 % of the U.S. solar PV pipeline. California utilities have announced a 2.3 GW PV pipeline, or 48 % of announced utility projects, according to EER. In the wake of California activity, a wave of utilities in Florida, North Carolina, Illinois, Ohio, and New Jersey are seen to follow suit. The largest plant in the US totaling 25 MW has been commissioned by Florida Power & Light in November, with another 10 MW expected to go online in 2010.

PV not yet cost-competitive with other renewable energy sources

According to EER's analysis, cost remains the most significant barrier to widespread utility PV penetration. While costs are rapidly declining through improved manufacturing, technology improvements and supply and demand imbalance, the cost of energy for PV in most cases remains far from competitive prices in the wholesale market, according to EER. "Because of the high costs, utility PV adoption, particularly where other renewables such as wind, biomass, and geothermal are available, makes PV less compelling for meeting general RPS mandates," said Tisdale. "However, if PV's declining economic forecasts come to fruition to foster more widespread demand - centralized, commercial, and residential - utilities will want to be at the industry's forefront to shape the market in their favor." The study "U.S. Utility Solar PV Markets and Strategies 2009-2020," can be ordered at EER's website.

2009-12-07   Courtesy: Emerging Energy Research   © Heindl Server GmbH


Canadian Solar to build solar panel manufacturing facility in Ontario

Canadian Solar Inc. (Kitchener, Canada), a vertically integrated provider of solar cells, solar modules, custom-designed solar application products and turnkey solutions for the residential, commercial and solar farm markets, on December 3rd, 2009 announced that it is commencing the site selection and approvals process to establish a module manufacturing facility with a production capacity of 200 megawatt (MW) in Ontario. Canadian Solar reports that the company has recently submitted a significant number of feed-in tariff (FIT) applications to Ontario Power Authority and has also received considerable customer interest for "Made in Ontario" solar systems.   The new manufacturing facility is expected to help drive Ontario's emerging solar industry, which is growing rapidly as a result of the provincial government's recently launched FIT program. Canadian Solar announced definite decisions about the plant site, cost and ultimate size in the first quarter of 2010.

24 million Canadian dollar investment expected to result in 500 direct manufacturing jobs

The new facility is expected to result in 500 new direct manufacturing jobs in Ontario, and sufficient capacity to supply an electricity production capacity for the supply of 60,000 homes per year. The estimated cost of the plant will be 24 million Canadian dollars (22.7 million US-dollars), and it is expected to become one of the largest solar panel manufacturing facilities in North America upon completion. The first phase of operations is scheduled to commence in 2010. "Our new facility will help expand "green" skilled jobs and investment in Ontario as well as the rest of Canada", said Dr. Shawn Qu, Chairman and CEO of Canadian Solar Inc. "Additionally, with this facility, our leading-edge photovoltaic technology will be manufactured and readily available in Ontario for those who are ready to take advantage of the FIT programs."

2009-12-07   Courtesy: Canadian Solar Inc.   © Heindl Server GmbH


Sustainable Energy Technologies to deliver up to 240 MW of SUNERGY solar power inverters for Ontario market

SUNERGY inverter by Sustainable Energy Technologies
SUNERGY inverter by Sustainable
Energy Technologies

Sustainable Energy Technologies Ltd. (STG; Toronto, Canada) on December 3rd, 2009 announced that it had begun taking orders for its "SUNERGY" line of inverters, to be manufactured in the Province of Ontario. The company reports that the manufacture of the second generation version of its patented inverters will meet the Ontario domestic requirements for solar photovoltaic (PV) systems.   Because of the Province's recently enacted feed-in tariff (FIT) scheme and its commitment to build a sustainable Canadian solar technology and manufacturing infrastructure, Ontario is believed to hold a leadership position in the North American solar PV market. "Sustainable Energy's inverters incorporate patented technologies that are Canada's most significant contribution yet to expanding the use of solar power around the world", said Robert Bucher, President and Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of STG.

Inverters rated to withstand harsh Canadian climate

In rooftop applications, the extra low operating voltage of the SUNERGY platform is said to enable a system architecture that is inherently safe and can be installed and maintained by most building trades without the need for photovoltaic (PV) specialists. In ground based applications, STG reports that multiple SUNERGY inverters can offer a higher system yield, less downtime and easier installation and maintenance than larger central inverters. According to the press release, SUNERGY inverters are the only outdoor-rated product for Canada's extreme climate, and they are said to deliver full power all day with ambient temperatures ranging from minus 40° C to plus 60 ° C, eliminating the need for enclosures or indoor mounting. STG targets to start with a production capacity of 40 megawatts (MW), which is to expand to 240 MW to meet the anticipated North American demand.

Made-in-Ontario inverters to be on display at CanSIA Solar Showcase

STG reports that it will be demonstrating its made-in-Ontario inverters at the CanSIA Solar Showcase, taking place from December 7th - 8th in Toronto, Ontario. On December 9th, Sustainable Energy is to host a workshop to review commercial rooftop solar economics in the Ontario market. "For the first time, the superior performance, intrinsic safety, and design flexibility of parallel system architecture is available at a competitive price", said Bucher. "With high conversion efficiencies, the SUNERGY technology is what the industry needs to lower costs and propel solar power into the mainstream."

2009-12-07   Courtesy: Sustainable Energy Technologies Ltd.   © Heindl Server GmbH
Picture Courtesy: Sustainable Energy Technologies Ltd.


Yingli to supply 51 MW of PV modules to German Payom Solar AG in 2010

Producer Yingli supplies Payom Solar with 51 MW of PV modules.
Producer Yingli supplies Payom Solar with
51 MW of PV modules.

Yingli Green Energy Holding Company Limited (Boading, China), one of the world's leading vertically integrated photovoltaic (PV) product manufacturers, on December 7th, 2009 announced it has signed a sales agreement with Payom Solar AG, a PV rooftop system specialist based in Germany. Under the terms of the Agreement, Yingli Green Energy is expected to supply 51 MW of PV modules to Payom from the first quarter through the fourth quarter of 2010, Yingli reports in a press release. "This agreement extends the successful cooperation with Payom that we have enjoyed over a number of years, and also provides more visibility into the demand in major PV markets and our customer portfolio for 2010", said Liansheng Miao, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Yingli Green Energy.   "Thanks to our strong track record, which we have built on our high quality products, excellent after-sales service and continuous brand promotion efforts, our 'Yingli Solar' branded modules are recognized as bankable, reliable products by customers, investors and commercial banks in major PV markets. We are committed to sustaining our customers' loyalty and confidence by continuing to deliver reliable products and run an ethical, socially responsible business."

The largest PV module purchase agreement in Payom Solar's history

Jorg Truelsen, Chief Executive Officer of Payom Solar AG, commented: "We have had many good experiences during our years of partnership with Yingli Green Energy, whose high quality products have helped us consistently deliver great solutions to our customers. This 51 MW sales contract is the largest PV module purchase agreement in our history, and demonstrates our confidence both in Yingli Green Energy and in the market outlook for 2010. We expect to continue our solid growth in the coming year with the help of Yingli Green Energy's reputable, reliable products, which we believe will enable us to generate additional value for our customers."

2009-12-07   Courtesy: Yingli Green Energy Holding Company Limited   © Heindl Server GmbH
Picture Courtesy: Yingli Green Energy Holding Company Ltd.


New statistics: photovoltaic power installed in Germany strongly exceeds expectations; almost 2 GW installed in 2008, as much as 4 GW expected in 2009

PV system at Cologne/Bonn airport
PV system at Cologne/Bonn airport

At least 1,933 megawatt (MW) of new PV system power was installed in Germany last year (2007: 1,244 MW). Thus growth was much stronger than originally projected, is the conclusion to be drawn from an annual survey of the 850 German grid operators by "PHOTON - das Solarstrom Magazin", the country's premier publication on solar electricity. In 2009, PHOTON magazine estimates that new installations will weigh in between 3,000 and 4,000 MW - this far exceeds the estimates presented by Germany's Federal Network Agency.   PHOTON magazine's estimates are much higher than other, previous predictions. For instance, Germany's Federal Environment Ministry estimated new installations in 2008 at 1,250 MW as part of its "Lead Study 2008." The estimate for new installations in 2009 was 1,300 MW. This estimate is far too low, as was demonstrated by the figures drawn from the so-called system registry, and published by the Federal Network Agency in October: according to these figures, already 1,500 MW had been connected to the grid in Germany between January and September 2009.

Based on a sample of 119 grid operators, as well as information from inverter manufacturers, PHOTON magazine assumes that these statistics also fail to represent real conditions. The PV magazine estimates that total amount of new PV power installed in Germany between January and December 2009 was closer to between 3,000 and 4,000 MW.

Almost 2 percent of Germany's electricity demand to be covered by solar electricity next year

Thus, total installed power in Germany could reach the 10 GW mark by the end of the year. Electricity production from these systems - around 10 terawatt-hours (TWh) - would equal that of a nuclear power plant on the scale of Biblis A. Solar electricity could already cover almost 2 percent of Germany's electricity demand next year.

Statistics proving the extent to which PV is underestimated

Anne Kreutzmann, editor-in-chief of PHOTON Germany, says: "The high growth statistics are proof of the extent to which PV is underestimated. But because solar electricity makes a considerable contribution to halting climate change, this growth should be accelerated, more along the lines of 10 GW per year in Germany. To make such a high rate of growth possible, the German feed-in tariff for solar electricity must be decreased to a greater degree than originally planned. "In the meantime, mass production has led to very low production costs for solar modules. In light of the climate catastrophe, we shouldn't keep solar electricity artificially more expensive than it needs to be, since this would damage solar's social acceptance if we are to achieve the growth levels we need."

Every year, "PHOTON - das Solarstrom Magazin" surveys operators of local electricity grids in Germany to find out how much new solar electricity power was connected in their area the previous year. In 2008, PHOTON magazine's grid operator statistics included almost all of Germany's 850 grid operators, only 12 companies did not provide data.

2009-12-07   Courtesy: PHOTON Europe GmbH   © Heindl Server GmbH
Picture Courtesy: Energiebau Solarstromsysteme GmbH


Mitsubishi Plastics launches high gas barrier back sheet for PV modules

"BACK-BARRIER" films by Mitsubishi Plastics

Mitsubishi Plastics, Inc. (MPI; Tokyo, Japan) launched a high gas barrier photovoltaic (PV) back sheet, dubbed "BACK-BARRIER." According to the press release, this product is MPI's latest development in a series of high gas barrier films, featuring what is believed to be the world's highest level of water vapor barrier. Solar cell manufacturers to whom MPI has provided samples of the new product confirmed its excellent performance, MPI reports in a press release.   According to MPI the BACK-BARRIER is based on four key concepts, namely a high humidity barrier to ensure both consistent generating efficiency and mechanical strength, easy bonding features to encapsulation material like ethylene-vinyl acetate (EVA), while abstaining from the use of halogens and metals.

Back sheet also being developed for DSC and organic thin film solar cells

As a result, the product is said to avoid the lowering of electric generation efficiency and strength of the back sheet, thereby contributing to an improved durability of solar cells with consideration to the environment. MPI offers two types of back sheets, one for crystalline silicon (cSi) solar PV modules, requiring 0.2g/m2/day humidity barrier, and one for thin PV cells, requiring 0.02g/m2/day. The BACK-BARRIER product is also being developed for use in dye sensitized (DSC) and organic thin film solar cells with a much higher humidity barrier.

2009-12-07   Courtesy: Mitsubishi Plastics, Inc.   © Heindl Server GmbH
Picture Courtesy: Mitsubishi Plastics, Inc.


Comtec Solar and Neo Solar Power commence to supply "Perfect Wafer" embedded in "Perfect Cell"

Comtec Solar Systems Group Limited (Comtec Solar; Shanghai, China), a PRC-based manufacturer of monocrystalline solar wafers, and Neo Solar Power Corporation (NSP), a solar cell manufacturer based in Hsinchu, Taiwan, at the End of November 2009 announced a joint development and the launch of new "Perfect Wafer" products that are to be embedded in photovoltaic (PV) cells dubbed "Perfect Cell".   The companies report that NSP had demonstrated solar modules made of these cells during the Solar Power International exhibition in Anaheim, California. Comtec Solar reports that the company is pioneering the commercially launch of large-sized "Perfect Wafers."

Large-size solar wafers said to increase power density, conversion efficiency

According to the press release, NSP's newly launched "Perfect Cell" which utilizes these wafers demonstrated panel-makers the ability to increase power density by more than 3 %, featuring an average conversion efficiency of 17.8 %. Traditionally 156 mm mono-crystalline solar wafers are "pseudo-square" with the corners being cut off, resulting in a smaller area from which solar cells and panels can capture sunlight. Comtec Solar's "Perfect Wafer" is believed to enable cell and panel-makers to increase the active area and hence the amount of electricity generated.

Framework supply agreement based on R&D, enhanced production knowhow

With NSP’s technology advancement, the Perfect Cell is said to offer extremely low light induced degradation with superior output that can exceed 250 W. Comtec Solar's Chairman and Chief Executive Officer (CEO) John Zhang said: "We are pleased to join hands with international leading solar cell manufacturers and support them in producing cells and panels of enhanced efficiency. The framework supply agreements are recognition of our efforts in strengthening R&D and enhancing production knowhow in producing high quality, large sized wafers that offer superior conversion efficiencies."

2009-12-07   Courtesy: Comtec Solar Systems Group Ltd.   © Heindl Server GmbH


Southern California Edison's service center awarded highest LEED certification for energy efficiency and sustainability

PV roof of SCE's service center
PV roof of SCE's service center

The new service center of the U.S. electric utility Southern California Edison (SCE; Rosemead, California) in Wildomar was awarded Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) platinum certification, the highest designation for buildings that demonstrate energy efficiency and sustainability.   SCE reports that its new service center is the first California investor-owned utility facility to achieve this certification by the U.S. Green Building Council, a U.S. organization that certifies green buildings. "This certification demonstrates SCE's commitment to sustainability and to the communities it serves", said Cecil House, SCE Senior Vice President, Operations Support, and Chief Procurement Officer. "The building complex is a model of energy efficiency, is environmentally friendly and is vital to providing optimum service to our customers in southern Riverside County."

Building materials, design, energy efficiency and lighting system in accordance with green building standards

SCE reports that its Wildomar service center had received 53 LEED points for energy efficiency and renewable energy. Points were awarded for optimizing energy performance, using low-emitting materials for carpeting, paint and sealants and water efficient landscaping. In addition, points were awarded for recycled content, using materials from the region in construction and alternative transportation options for employees. According to the press release, the 19-acre complex will be home to nearly 300 employees, and it is believed to be 39 % more energy efficient than similar buildings. The sustainable building is powered by solar panels and was built to stringent LEED standards, SCE reports. It incorporates novel lighting solutions and water conservation features that lower the water demand and safe both water and electricity.

2009-12-06   Courtesy: Southern California Edison   © Heindl Server GmbH
Picture Courtesy: Southern California Edison


SMA solar inverters took top honors at Solar Decathlon

Team Germany's Winning Solar Home
Team Germany's Winning Solar Home

The future of solar technology was on display at the U.S. Department of Energy's (DOE) Solar Decathlon. Four of the top five spots of this competition were taken by teams that utilized inverter technology by the international manufacturer SMA, the company on December 1st, 2009 reported in a press release. The 2009 Solar Decathlon was held in October at the National Mall in Washington, D.C., and consisted of 20 college and university teams who competed to design, build, and operate the most attractive, effective, and energy-efficient solar powered house.   The competition also provided the public with an opportunity to see solar power up close and to witness how it could work in concert with energy efficiency and premium home design. SMA reports that "Team Germany", two-time overall winner and defending champion from the Technische Universität Darmstadt, were using the company's inverter technology. The team notably took first place in the "Net Metering Contest," which measured the competing houses' energy balance and energy surplus. According to the press release, Team Germany used SMA's "Sunny Boy" and "Sunny Mini Central" solar photovoltaic (PV) inverters in their design. It was reportedly the only team to receive all 150 possible points in the Net Metering Contest.

Four of overall top five teams in Solar Decathlon used SMA inverter technology

According to the press release, the SMA inverter technology was also used by seven of the top 12 finishers in the Net Metering Contest and seven of the top 15 overall. "SMA is incredibly proud of all the teams competing in the Solar Decathlon and we are pleased our technology assisted so many of the top finishers", said Jeffrey Philpott, Director of Marketing for SMA America (Rocklin, California). "SMA considers education, and events like the Solar Decathlon which elevate the public's awareness of solar power as critical components of a future that will be powered by clean, renewable energy."

2009-12-06   Courtesy: SMA America   © Heindl Server GmbH
Picture Courtesy: Thomas Ott/TU Darmstadt, Germany


Photovoltaics: CPV REC announces Maryland's largest solar farm

Competitive Power Ventures Renewable Energy Company (CPV REC; Silver Spring, Maryland) on November 30th, 2009 announced plans for a 10 megawatt (MW) solar farm in southern Maryland to be co-located with the proposed natural gas combined-cycle CPV St. Charles Energy Center.   Due to CPV REC the permitting process for the "CPV Piney Reach Solar Farm" is to begin immediately, and the PV plant is expected to be in service by 2012. The project is believed to be the largest of its kind announced in the state. According to the press release, co-locating the solar farm with a natural gas generator represents a new "hybrid" approach to electricity generation that is being developed by CPV REC. This approach is said to combine the environmental attributes of renewable electricity production with the controllability and low emissions rates of natural gas generation.

"The wave of the future"

"We are extremely excited to be bringing this solar project to the people of Maryland in conjunction with our CPV St. Charles Energy Center", said CPV Chairman and Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Doug Egan. "We believe this combination of renewable generation with natural gas generation will be the wave of the future, and Maryland is on the cutting edge." The company reports that this project will also start Maryland on its way toward achieving its aggressive renewable portfolio standard goal of installing 1,500 MW of solar by 2022. According to the press release, CPV REC is currently developing several major solar projects nationwide and has more than 5,000 MW of wind projects under development. 1,000 MWs of these projects are currently in negotiations for their output and are expected to be online by 2012.

2009-12-05   Courtesy: Competitive Power Ventures Renewable Energy Company   © Heindl Server GmbH


REC Solar to build 1.7 MW of solar power systems for U.S. Veterans Affairs hospitals

REC Solar Inc. (San Luis Obispo, California) on November 30th, 2009 announced an agreement to build 1.7 megawatts (MW) of solar photovoltaic (PV) systems on federal facilities in California, Arizona and Nevada. When completed at the end of spring in 2010, the PV systems are to be the largest solar power systems in the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA).   "We are pleased and honored to work with the VA Hospitals in their effort to increase the use of renewable energy in achieving their agency-wide goals", said Angiolo Laviziano, Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of REC Solar.

Solar power plants on VA buildings to generate 2.1 MWh clean, renewable energy annually

REC Solar reports that the PV systems are to be installed at four VA Medical Centers in California, as well as at the VA Medical Centers in Tucson (Arizona) and Reno (Nevada). All systems are scheduled for completion in early 2010, and are expected to save the combined hospitals well over 175,000 US-dollars in avoided electricity costs annually. The systems are to utilize over 7,000 REC Group "AE-US" PV modules mounted on a combination of roof, carport and ground mount applications. REC Solar projects the projects to generate approximately 2.1 megawatt hours (MWh) of solar electricity per year, the equivalent of what would be used by 3,600 average households. According to REC Solar, the systems are to use a range of inverters by Satcon (Boston, Massachusetts) and are to be performance monitored by Energy Recommerce Inc. (San Francisco, California). The project is expected to create over 60 jobs during construction.

2009-12-05   Courtesy: REC Solar Inc.   © Heindl Server GmbH


PV powered airplane Solar Impulse takes off for the first time

Initial "flea hop" of Solar Impulse HB-SIA

At 13:11 on December 3rd, 2009 Solar Impulse HB-SIA, the first airplane designed to fly day and night without fuel, left the ground for the first time. The results of the ground tests conducted these last few weeks to verify numerous parameters (the prototype’s controllability, acceleration, braking paths and engine power) had been overwhelmingly positive, thereby leading the team to give the go-ahead to Markus Scherdel, the test pilot, to take the prototype up to its take-off speed. As the aircraft gently took up speed, the huge wing of the Solar Impulse gradually rose into the air under intense admiration of the project promoters, Bertrand Piccard and André Borschberg. After some 350 metres of flight at an altitude of one meter, the prototype graciously landed on the centre of the runway, triggering a frenzied applause from the team. 

Solar aircraft dream comes true

"On the one hand I find it terrific to see a dream come true. For over ten years now, I have dreamt of a solar aircraft capable of flying day and night without fuel - and promoting renewable energy. Today, our plane took off and was airborne for the very first time. This is an unbelievable and unforgettable moment! On the other hand, I remain humble in the face of the difficult journey still to be accomplished - it’s a long way between these initial tests and a circumnavigation of the world", commented Bertrand Piccard, initiator and President of Solar Impulse.

"This is the culmination of 6 years of intense work by a very experienced team of professionals! This first “flea hop” successfully completes the first phase of Solar Impulse, confirming our technical choices. We are now ready to start the next phase – the actual flight tests", said Andre Borschberg, co-founder and CEO of Solar Impulse.

First solar test flights in early 2010

At this stage the solar photovoltaic (PV) panels have not yet been connected. With the positive conclusion of this initial "flea hop", the Solar Impulse HB-SIA will now be dismantled and transported to the airfield at Payerne (VD). Starting in early 2010 onwards, the aircraft will be making its first solar test flights, gradually increasing flight duration until it makes its first night flight using solar energy.

2009-12-05   Courtesy: Solar Impulse   © Heindl Server GmbH
Picture Courtesy: Solar Impulse


"SolarMagic" power optimizer recognized for renewable energy design at 2009 Elektra Awards

SolarMagic wins Elektra Award
SolarMagic wins Elektra Award

The National Semiconductor Corporation (Santa Clara, California) on December 2nd, 2009 announced that the company's "SolarMagic" power optimizer received the "Renewable Energy Design" award at the 7th annual Elektra Awards. According to the press release, Electronics Weekly (London), the UK's leading website for electronics professionals and a panel of industry experts recognized National's innovative design for its achievement in increasing the energy output and system effectiveness of solar photovoltaic (PV) arrays when challenged with real-world conditions.   The performance potential of an array substantially decreases when affected by mismatch caused by problems such as installation variation, asymmetrical degradation and shading from tall structures and debris. These conditions lead to an overall reduction in effectiveness and energy production. Based on National's analog and power management circuitry, SolarMagic power optimizers are said to recoup up to 71 % of the power lost.

Maximizing the real-world performance efficiency and energy output of solar arrays

The Elektra Awards, founded by Electronics Weekly in 2003, recognize people, companies and products that demonstrate leadership in the electronics community. The winner of the Renewable Energy Design category was selected from among a pool of five nominees and awarded based on the performance, flexibility and suitability of their design technology. "Mitigating power loss, increasing system stability and providing both users and installers with installation flexibility, SolarMagic provides an unparalleled solution to the issues affecting the performance of solar arrays", said Ralf Münster, Director Renewable Energy Segment at National Semiconductor. "We are honored that SolarMagic is being recognized for the transformative nature of its design."

2009-12-04   Courtesy: National Semiconductor Corp.   © Heindl Server GmbH
Picture Courtesy: National Semiconductor Corp.


Solarfun signs agreement to build 100 MW solar power plant in Jiayuguan City, Gansu Province

Solarfun Power Holdings Co., Ltd. (Shanghai, China), a vertically integrated manufacturer of silicon ingots, photovoltaic cells and modules in China, on December 4th, 2009 announced that Jiangsu Linyang Solarfun Co., Ltd., a wholly owned subsidiary of Solarfun, has signed an agreement with the government of Jiayuguan City, Gansu Province, under which Solarfun agreed to build a 100 MW solar power plant. To support this project, Solarfun agreed to construct a module production facility in Jiayuguan City, the company reports in a press release.   Jingchang Zhang, Vice Mayor of Jiayuguan City, commented: "Jiayuguan is a famous tourist attraction in western China. Its abundant sunshine makes it an attractive location for solar projects. We have interviewed many solar module suppliers in China and are confident that Solarfun will be a good partner for our development."

Peter Xie, President of Solarfun, added: "We continue to make progress in building a meaningful presence in the rapidly developing China market. We appreciate the opportunity to partner with Jiayuguan City towards their firm commitment to renewable energy development." The commencement of this project is subject to feasibility studies, financing and further government approval.

2009-12-04   Courtesy: Solarfun Power Holdings Co., Ltd.   © Heindl Server GmbH


Q-Cells and LDK Solar announce continuation of supply contract for solar wafers


Q-Cells SE (Bitterfeld-Wolfen, Germany),and LDK Solar Co., Ltd. (Xinyu City, China) on December4th, 2009 announced that the two companies have reached an agreement to continue their supply contract for solar wafers from 2009 to 2018. During recent amicable negotiations, the two companies resolved all differences of opinion over the interpretation of the agreement and neither side will pursue legal action, Q-Cells reports in a press release.  Q-Cells also agreed to no longer pursue measures to collect the bank guarantee. Joint business activities between the two companies remain unchanged.

Cooperation on solar cell and module processing to be expanded

Q-Cells and LDK Solar have agreed to increase the flexibility of delivery schedule. Flexible pricing based on market levels and Q-Cells’ preferred customer status will apply for the entire remainder of the contract term. A portion of shipments scheduled in the years 2009 to 2011 have been postponed to the period 2012 to 2018. Q-Cells will therefore receive around 20 % in the current year and at least one third of the originally agreed volumes in 2010 and 2011. Q-Cells also has the option to increase these volumes if needed. The total delivery volume for the entire ten-year term remains unchanged at around 6 GWp. In addition to the amendment, the parties have finalized an agreement to expand their cooperation in the areas of cell and module processing. Q-Cells will supply solar cells to LDK Solar on a tolling basis and LDK Solar will supply modules to Q-Cells on the same basis.

2009-12-04   Courtesy: Q-Cells SE   © Heindl Server GmbH
Picture Courtesy: Q-Cells


Organic photovoltaics: Solarmer achieves 7.9 % NREL-certified efficiency

Organic photovoltaic cells by Solarmer
Organic photovoltaic cells by Solarmer

Solarmer Energy, Inc. (El Monte, California) on December 1st, 2009 announced that the company's latest plastic solar photovoltaic (OPV) cells had achieved an efficiency of 7.9 %. This performance was certified by the independent National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) of the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE), Solarmer reports in a press release. This success was in line with several accomplishments the company was able to make during 2009. These included achievements in manufacturing, plastic solar cell and module efficiency records, and being recognized with awards from organizations such as the FlexTech Alliance, the Office of Naval Research, and the DOE. 

Solarmer to launch a competitive product based on plastic solar panels

Solarmer was launched in 2006 to participate in the emerging organic photovoltaics (OPV) industry. Solarmer's Founder and President Woolas Hsieh commented on the efficiency announcement: "This achievement firmly establishes Solarmer's leadership in the OPV industry. Our efforts in R&D have now put us in a great position to launch a competitive product based on plastic solar panels."

2009-12-04   Courtesy: Solarmer Energy, Inc.   © Heindl Server GmbH
Picture Courtesy: Solarmer Energy, Inc.


NREL and DLR confirm Alanod-Solar's metal mirrors are well suited for CSP applications

Australian NEP Solar uses material by Alanod-Solar in its parabolic trough system
Australian NEP Solar uses material
by Alanod-Solar in its parabolic trough system

Recently released measurement and accelerated weather testing data from both the U.S. Department of Energy's National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) and the German Aerospace Center (DLR) prove that metal-based mirrors by Alanod-Solar (Ennepetal, Germany) are well suited for concentrating solar power applications (CSP) because of their durability and sustained level of specular reflection.   According to a press release issued by the company on December 1st, 2009, NREL subjected the metal mirrors to accelerated weather testing over a period of three years, where they reportedly maintained most of their initial reflectance. The company reports that DLR testing showed that its mirrors are well suited for CSP applications due to a documented direct reflectivity of between 0.868 and 0.883 within an acceptance angle >25 milliradiant (mrad).

Accelerated weather tests

Alanod-Solar reports that NREL had tested the company's metal-based mirror samples of "MIRO-SUN" outdoors at three separate facilities in Golden (Colorado), Phoenix (Arizona) and Miami (Florida) over a period of three years. During that time, the mirrors showed an average drop of between less than one and one percent in specular reflectance measured within a 25-mrad cone angle. According to the press release, these samples were also exposed to NREL accelerated weather tests that simulate 7.5 years of light exposure during the 15-month test. Over that time, the mirror performance declined between less than one and 2.3 % in specular reflectance, Alanod Solar reports. Overall, the test results reportedly demonstrated an outstanding degree of consistency and high-level performance during rigorous real world and accelerated weathering tests.

Mirrors based on metal to outperform foil products and other alternatives

DLR also measured Alanod-Solar metal mirrors for spectral specular reflectance. According to the DLR report the analyzed materials can be used in CSP applications. "Taken together, these tests set new benchmarks for levels of specular solar reflection over time", said Andrew Sabel, North American Market Manager for Alanod-Solar. "Our proprietary production process results in a superior mirrored surface that can outlast foil products and other alternatives." Alanod-Solar is a globally active manufacturer of advanced flexible reflecting and absorbing surfaces on aluminum.

2009-12-03   Courtesy: Alanod-Solar   © Heindl Server GmbH
Picture Courtesy: Alanod-Solar


Photovoltaics: Oerlikon Systems reports large order for crystalline PV manufacturing solution

SOLARIS coating system for crystalline solar cells
SOLARIS coating system for crystalline solar

A leading European crystalline photovoltaic (PV) cell manufacturer for the first time placed a large order for multiple "SOLARIS" coating technology systems, OC Oerlikon Management AG (Pfäffikon, Switzerland) announced in a press release. SOLARIS was only recently introduced into the market, and is said to offer various advantages with its revolutionary coating technology. According to the press release, the undisclosed customer is to use the SOLARIS systems to increase its crystalline solar cells manufacturing capacity in North America.   Oerlikon believes that the company has been able to establish itself as pivotal in the PV industry as a technology and equipment manufacturer, with Oerlikon Solar for the thin-film technology and with Oerlikon Systems for the crystalline technology. "Both processes complement one another with their respective fields of application. For the Oerlikon Group the advantage and benefit is to be represented in both growth markets with its leading technology", said Thomas Babacan, Chief Operating Officer (COO) at Oerlikon.

Inline manufacturing systems feature multi-layer coating capabilities

According to the press release SOLARIS was designed for front and backside coating of crystalline silicon solar cells using clean physical vapor disposition (PVD) sputtering technology. Its multi-layer capability allows for passivation and SiN coating on the front side as well as coating of the backside with various materials. With a fairly small footprint of 3.3 x 2.2 meters, the system can easily be integrated into existing production lines, Oerlikon reports. "Our original strategy of offering a compact, cost-effective platform with single wafer handling is proving to be a very popular solution with photovoltaic manufacturers", said Andreas Dill, Head of Oerlikon Systems. "For this client, the SOLARIS production solution provides a big step toward cost-effective production of solar cells."

Counting on innovation

The SOLARIS order was preceded by thorough evaluation tests, where the system's flexibility and reliably high output compared favorably with industry standard SiN coating solutions. "In going from concept to fully functional systems in only 24 months, our development and assembly teams drew from the innovative talent across the Oerlikon Group to get the new SOLARIS system to market quickly", adds Oerlikon COO Thomas Babacan. "The current success in the PV market is only the start for SOLARIS. In fact, the Oerlikon development teams are finalizing further mass-production solutions for touch screen panels, thermoelectric devices, and generators or thin film batteries (for the newest energy storage solutions)."

2009-12-03   Courtesy: Oerlikon Systems   © Heindl Server GmbH
Picture Courtesy: Oerlikon Systems


Photovoltaics in Japan: Toshiba awarded order for utility-scale solar power plant by Tokyo Electric Power Company

A rendering of the
A rendering of the "Ukishima Solar Power Plant"

Toshiba Corporation (Tokyo, Japan) on November 30th, 2009 announced that it had won a major contract to develop a large photovoltaic power plant (PV) for the utility Tokyo Electric Power Company, Inc. (TEPCO; Tokyo, Japan), under which Toshiba's PV systems will be installed in a solar power plant in Kawasaki, Kanagawa prefecture. The plant, tentatively named "Ukishima Solar Power Plant", is to be built on 11 hectares of city land and expected to have a generating capacity of approximately 7 megawatts (MW).   According to the press release, this is the second order for a multi-MW PV plant that the Toshiba was able to secure. In August 2009, Toshiba had announced that it was awarded a contract for the equipment of a 7.5 MW PV project at Taketoyo Thermal Power Station in Taketoyo, Aichi prefecture.

PV panels by Sharp, power conditioners developed by Toshiba

The Ukishima Solar Power Plant, which is to be located in the Waterfront District in Kawasaki, is expected to produce approximately 7.4 million kilowatt hours (kWh) of clean solar electricity. This would offset approximately 3,100 tons of CO2 emissions. According to the press release, the plant will be the first solar power generator operated by TEPCO, and it is scheduled to go online in fiscal year 2011. Toshiba reports that the company is to develop the plant, and that it will be responsible for all engineering work prior to the start of construction, procurement of major equipment and components, and the actual plant construction. The variable output of the PV cells is to be converted to alternating current (AC) by integrated power conditioners developed by the Toshiba Group, with a conversion efficiency of 97.5 %. The plant is to be equipped with polycrystalline solar PV panels by Sharp Corporation (Tokyo, Japan).

Company expects massive growth in utility scale solar market, expands business endeavors accordingly

Driven by a growing awareness of the need to counteract global warming, the global solar PV systems market for utilities and industrial plants is expected to reach 2.2 trillion Yen (25.4 billion U.S. dollars) in fiscal year 2015. Due to this market environment, Toshiba reports it made its full-scale entry into the solar PV systems business on January 1st, 2009, when its Transmission Distribution & Industrial Systems Company established the Photovoltaic Systems Division as a measure to accelerate expansion of the PV system business. According to the press release, this in-house company is charged with drawing on its extensive experience in system integration, particularly in system technology for high efficiency photovoltaic inverters and microgrids, and in deploying large plant system engineering capabilities to promote the growth of the PV systems business.

2009-12-03   Courtesy: Toshiba Corporation   © Heindl Server GmbH
Picture Courtesy:


Ferrostaal inaugurates the first Palestinian solar thermal plant

On December 2nd, 2009, the first solar thermal plant for warm water supply and central heating on Palestinian territory has gone into operation near Beit Jala. The solar plant has been realized by MAN Ferrostaal AG and the Deutsche Energie-Agentur GmbH (dena) - the German Energy Agency - within the framework of the "dena Solar Roofs Programme for Foreign Market Development" with support of the German Federal Ministry of Economics and Technology (BMWi). The solar plant has a total collector surface of over 200 square meters and was a donation made by MAN Ferrostaal to a Palestinian school with an excellent regional reputation for its multi-religious pupil body and the equal opportunity education of girls and boys.   In the past, high utility costs of about 80,000 EUR per year have put a great burden on the budget of the institution, which relies on financial contributions. The utility expenses will now be decreased by the new solar plant to a large extent. About 21,000 liters of diesel fuel, which were required before, are about to be saved. This lowers CO2 emissions by 57,000 kilograms every year, roughly equal to the emissions of 24 middle-class passenger cars with an annual mileage of 15,000 kilometres each.

With the donation, MAN Ferrostaal is presenting its solar power business in a social context in the Middle East. The construction of large-scale industrial solar thermal power plants belongs to the core businesses of the company. The plant in Palestine is meant to symbolically serve as a demonstration and encourage further solar projects in the region. Aside from the immediate support for the school, the project underlines the industrial potentials for solar energy generation in the whole MENA region.

2009-12-03   Courtesy: MAN Ferrostaal AG   © Heindl Server GmbH


Trina Solar announces China market sales updates

Trina Solar's Chairman and CEO Jifan Gao
Trina Solar's Chairman and CEO Jifan Gao

Trina Solar Limited (Changzhou, China), a leading integrated manufacturer of solar photovoltaic (PV) products from the production of ingots, wafers and solar cells to the assembly of PV modules, on December 1st, 2009 announced the recent progress of its PV module sales in the Chinese domestic PV market. In the current fourth quarter of 2009, Trina Solar entered into a new sales agreement to supply approximately 8 MW of PV modules products at predetermined prices to the Chinese domestic market, the company reports in a press release. Shipments commenced in November and are scheduled to continue through to the end of December 2009. 

Trina Solar monitoring opportunities to participate in utility-scale domestic projects

Trina Solar also recently received government approval for a project of approximately 2 MW under the Golden Sun program, which aims to install approximately 20 MW of solar power capacity in every province. The Company continues to monitor opportunities to participate in utility-scale domestic projects, and believes its strong brand recognition, leading cost platform and system integration experience will allow it to capture a growing share of China's PV market.
"We look forward to playing an increasingly active role in China's expanding solar market", said Jifan Gao, Trina Solar's Chairman and CEO. "Trina has a strong background in system integration, a capability that is backed by solid experience. We are committed to promoting the adoption of clean, reliable solar power in the domestic market and helping China to achieve its 2020 renewable energy targets."

2009-12-02   Courtesy: Trina Solar Limited   © Heindl Server GmbH
Picture Courtesy: Trina Solar Limited


SINGULUS TECHNOLOGIES announces delivery of first coating machine for silicon solar cells

SINGULAR coating machine for silicon solar cells
SINGULAR coating machine for silicon solar cells

SINGULUS TECHNOLOGIES (Kahl; Germany) delivered the first inline coating machine for anti-reflective coating of silicon solar cells dubbed " SINGULAR" to a European manufacturer of silicon solar cells, the company reports in a press release. In 2008 SINGULUS developed the trend-setting concept for a coating machine for silicon solar cells with the product name SINGULAR. The machine integration know how, which SINGULUS TECHNOLOGIES has proven in the automation of CD, DVD and Blu-ray Disc production machines, was an optimum starting point for the development of the new SINGULAR plant, the producer emphasizes. 

Integration and connection of wet-chemical cleaning and etching

With the SINGULAR coating machine the production of the anti-reflective layer on solar wafers is automated. With a particularly high quality of the anti-reflective layer measuring nanometers only, the light transmission and passivation properties are improved and therefore the energy efficiency of the produced cells enhanced, SINGULUS reports. The AR-coating with the SINGULAR machine is an important component in the production process of solar cells and ties directly to the value-added chain of the wet-chemical cleaning with LINEA machines. LINEA is STANGL’s new inline machine for wet-chemical cleaning and etching of crystalline solar wafers with horizontal product transport. SINGULUS developed a proprietary, fully-automated wafer handling system for the integration and connection of the wet-chemical cleaning and etching steps. The wafer handling system is built in modules and automates the transport of the silicon wafer, e.g. from the cleaning process in a LINEA machine to the AR-coating in the SINGULAR machine.
SINGULUS TECHNOLOGIES together with STANGL will systematically expand the Solar activities. STANGL is one of the well-known providers of wet-chemical machines for both the crystalline silicon solar technology as well as for the thin-film solar technology. Combined with STANGL’s machines SINGULUS TECHNOLOGIES offers the key-technology for a crystalline silicon solar cell production line with wet-chemical, vacuum coating and wafer handling technology. The goal is to strengthen the position for production equipment for solar cells over the next few years.

2009-12-02   Courtesy: SINGULUS TECHNOLOGIES AG   © Heindl Server GmbH


PV producer Suntech Signs 17 MW Memorandum of Understanding with Pure energies, expanding its footprint in Ontario solar market

PV integration by Pure energies.
PV integration by Pure energies.

Suntech Power Holdings Co., Ltd. (Wuxi; China), the world's leading manufacturer of crystalline silicon photovoltaic (PV) modules, on December 1st, 2009 announced it has signed a memorandum of understanding ("MOU") with Ontario, Canada's Pure energies to supply up to 17 MW in 2010. The MOU, which also provides a framework for module supply from Suntech to Pure energies through 2011, is focused on bringing affordable, high-quality solar systems to Ontario's rapidly growing residential solar market, Suntech reports in a press release.   Pure energies, while meeting the domestic content requirement for 2010, will deploy Suntech's industry-leading panels for its unique offering to the Ontario residential market, enabling the development of 'eco friendly' homes. Pure energies installs, leases and operates the solar systems for its customers. Pure energies' offering is bolstered by the Ontario Power Authority's (OPA) microFIT Program, designed to encourage the development of sub 10kW renewable energy projects across the province.

"Our agreement with Suntech is yet another win in establishing Pure energies' brand name for the booming Ontario solar market", said Ryan McCalley, Vice President and Co-Founder. "By securing Suntech's high quality panels and reliable supply our customers can trust the quality and value they're getting when they decide to take advantage of our unique offering."

"The Ontario solar market is on an exciting trajectory, due to recent policy decisions and an eager customer base", said Leonard May, Managing Director, North America Sales, Suntech. "We are confident in the innovative, focused approach of Pure energies and are looking forward to seeing the installations of Suntech panels spread across Ontario homeowner roofs next year." Pure energies will begin marketing Suntech panels immediately for installations beginning in 2010.

2009-12-02   Courtesy: Suntech Power Holdings Co., Ltd.   © Heindl Server GmbH
Picture Courtesy: Pure energies Inc.


Sustainable Energy supplies parallel inverter solution to interconnect 1.8 MW thin-film solar power plant

Sunergy inverter by Sustainable Energy Technologies
Sunergy inverter by Sustainable
Energy Technologies

Sustainable Energy Technologies Ltd. (Calgary, Canada) in November 2009 announced that it had begun deliveries of its solar power inverters to Tejados Industriales de Fotovoltaica, S.L. (TIF; Benissa, Spain), a leading Spanish engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) company, affiliated with the PV producer Signet Solar GmbH (Mochau, Germany), for a 1.8 megawatt (MW) solar power photovoltaic (PV) plant located in the Blížkovice, Czech Republic.   The PV plant, which is being jointly developed by Signet and BSC-Solar group, a solar project developer based in the Czech Republic, is scheduled for grid connection before the end of this year. The thin-film modules by Signet Solar are to be wired in parallel using Sustainable Energy's patented PARALEX solution. According to the press release, this would make it the world's first MW scale power plant using this parallel system architecture.

System architecture allows for large-scale parallel module interconnection

According to Sustainable Energy, PARALEX is an operating system architecture that enables thin-film solar modules to be wired in a massively parallel array. This architecture is said to enable each solar module to operate independently of any other module in the system, ensuring every module delivers its maximum power potential while reducing the impact of shading, soiling and other real world factors. "This order is a testament to the growing appreciation for the value of the PARALEX operating system in Europe, not only for rooftop solar PV systems but also for ground based solar plants", said Robert Bucher, President and Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Sustainable Energy. "We are also pleased with our new relationship with the TIF Group to whom we are supplying inverters for this and other projects."

Optimizing power output and reaping the benefits of parallel architectures

Klaus Mueller, Managing Director of TIF, commented: "We are very pleased to see the PARALEX solution in the marketplace and optimized for Signet Solar modules. We believe our PARALEX/Signet Solar system will provide a superior performance ratio to any other solution available today." According to Mueller, a parallel system architecture is a concept that the PV industry has long been waiting for, but developments have only focused on standard crystalline type modules until now. "In our opinion, PARALEX is the most economic way to optimize the power output and reap the benefits of parallel architectures", Mueller concluded.

2009-12-02   Courtesy: Sustainable Energy Technologies Ltd.   © Heindl Server GmbH
Picture Courtesy: Sustainable Energy Technologies Ltd.


Nanostructures on optical fiber produce "hidden" photovoltaic cells

A close-up of the Georgia Institute of Technology's solar cell
A close-up of the Georgia Institute
of Technology's solar cell

Converting sunlight to electricity might no longer mean large panels of photovoltaic cells atop flat surfaces like roofs, the Georgia Institute of Technology reports in a press release. Using zinc oxide nanostructures grown on optical fibers and coated with dye-sensitized solar cell materials, researchers at the Georgia Institute of Technology have developed a new type of three-dimensional photovoltaic system. The approach could allow PV systems to be hidden from view and located away from traditional locations such as rooftops. "Using this technology, we can make photovoltaic generators that are foldable, concealed and mobile", said Zhong Lin Wang, a Regents professor in the Georgia Tech School of Materials Science and Engineering. "Optical fiber could conduct sunlight into a building’s walls where the nanostructures would convert it to electricity. This is truly a three dimensional solar cell."   Details of the research were published in the early view of the journal Angewandte Chemie International on October 22nd. The work was sponsored by the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA), the KAUST Global Research Partnership and the National Science Foundation (NSF).

Incorporating PV into buildings and vehicles

Dye-sensitized solar cells use a photochemical system to generate electricity. They are inexpensive to manufacture, flexible and mechanically robust, but their tradeoff for lower cost is conversion efficiency lower than that of silicon-based cells. But using nanostructure arrays to increase the surface area available to convert light could help reduce the efficiency disadvantage, while giving architects and designers new options for incorporating PV into buildings, vehicles and even military equipment, the Georgia Institute of Technology explains.

Hybrid nanowire/optical fiber can be up to six times as efficient as planar zinc oxide cells

Fabrication of the new Georgia Tech PV system begins with optical fiber of the type used by the telecommunications industry to transport data. First, the researchers remove the cladding layer, then apply a conductive coating to the surface of the fiber before seeding the surface with zinc oxide. Next, they use established solution-based techniques to grow aligned zinc oxide nanowires around the fiber much like the bristles of a bottle brush. The nanowires are then coated with the dye-sensitized materials that convert light to electricity.

Sunlight entering the optical fiber passes into the nanowires, where it interacts with the dye molecules to produce electrical current. A liquid electrolyte between the nanowires collects the electrical charges. The result is a hybrid nanowire/optical fiber system that can be up to six times as efficient as planar zinc oxide cells with the same surface area. "In each reflection within the fiber, the light has the opportunity to interact with the nanostructures that are coated with the dye molecules", Wang explained. “You have multiple light reflections within the fiber, and multiple reflections within the nanostructures. These interactions increase the likelihood that the light will interact with the dye molecules, and that increases the efficiency.” Wang and his research team have reached an efficiency of 3.3 percent and hope to reach 7 to 8 percent after surface modification. While lower than silicon solar cells, this efficiency would be useful for practical energy harvesting.

"By providing a larger area for gathering light, the technique would maximize the amount of energy produced from strong sunlight, as well as generate respectable power levels even in weak light. The amount of light entering the optical fiber could be increased by using lenses to focus the incoming light, and the fiber-based solar cell has a very high saturation intensity, Wang said. He believes this new structure will offer architects and product designers an alternative PV format for incorporating into other applications.

Solar generators on optical fiber: "the longer the better"

"This will really provide some new options for photovoltaic systems", Wang emphasized. "We could eliminate the aesthetic issues of PV arrays on building. We can also envision PV systems for providing energy to parked vehicles, and for charging mobile military equipment where traditional arrays aren’t practical or you wouldn’t want to use them." Wang and his research team, which includes Benjamin Weintraub and Yaguang Wei, have produced generators on optical fiber up to 20 centimeters in length. "The longer the better", said Wang, “because longer the light can travel along the fiber, the more bounces it will make and more it will be absorbed.”

Traditional quartz optical fiber has been used so far, but Wang would like to use less expensive polymer fiber to reduce the cost. He is also considering other improvements, such as a better method for collecting the charges and a titanium oxide surface coating that could further boost efficiency. Though it could be used for large PV systems, Wang doesn’t expect his solar cells to replace silicon devices any time soon. But he does believe they will broaden the potential applications for photovoltaic energy. "This is a different way to gather power from the sun", Wang said. "To meet our energy needs, we need all the approaches we can get."

2009-12-01   Courtesy: Georgia Institute of Technology   © Heindl Server GmbH
Picture Courtesy: Georgia Institute of Technology


Silicon producer Hoku reduces and delays first shipment to Chinese PV manufacturer Jinko

Hoku slim rod puller manufacturing its first polysilicon starter rod
Hoku slim rod puller manufacturing
its first polysilicon starter rod

Hoku Materials, Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Hoku Scientific, Inc. (Hoku; Honolulu, Hawaii) established to manufacture and sell polysilicon for the solar market, and Jinko Solar Co., Ltd. (Jinko; Jiangxi Province, China), a vertically-integrated manufacturer of silicon ingots, silicon wafers, solar cells and solar modules, on November 25th, 2009 announced an amendment to the polysilicon supply agreement that is in effect between the two companies. According to the terms of the amendment, both companies have agreed to reduce the term of the sales agreement by one year, and to delay the first shipment date from December 2009 to December 2010.   Hoku reports that this will result in a ten percent reduction of the total volume of polysilicon to be sold to Jinko. The pricing and other commercial terms of shipment for the remaining nine years are to remain unchanged. "This amendment provides clear benefits to both parties by adjusting our agreement to account for the financing-related delays experienced by Hoku during the past year and the realities of the polysilicon market today", said Dustin Shindo, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Hoku Scientific.

2009-12-01   Courtesy: Hoku Materials, Inc.   © Heindl Server GmbH
Picture Courtesy: Hoku Materials, Inc.


Alpha Energy inaugurates solar PV system with novel mounting solution on Arizona Game & Fish headquarters

PV system atop the Arizona Game & Fish headquarters, Phoenix
PV system atop the
Arizona Game & Fish
headquarters, Phoenix

Alpha Energy (Phoenix, Arizona), a member of worldwide power systems provider The Alpha Group, on November 23rd, 2009 announced that the company had incorporated the latest innovations into a solar photovoltaic (PV) power system atop the Arizona Game & Fish headquarters in Phoenix. With ballasted roof-mounted racking, web-based weather and performance monitoring, and power purchase agreement (PPA) financing, this new 191 kilowatt (kW) grid-tied solar system is believed to be an ideal example of complete cooperation among the PV integrator, financer and customer. The system is expected to generate more than 297,500 kilowatt hours (kWh) per year, thereby offsetting 358,282 pounds of CO2 emissions.  

Novel solar mounting solution required no roof penetration, system features 24 / 7 online monitoring capabilities

According to the press release, the roof-mounted ballasted approach of the PV system required no roof penetration at all, thereby maximizing longevity and reducing lifecycle roofing costs. Alpha Energy reports that the system's web-interface for weather and performance monitoring features auto-alerts to help ensure optimal performance at all times. Through a power purchase agreement (PPA), the Arizona Agency was able to take advantage of the power generated from the sun without the cost or burden of purchasing the system outright.

Building qualifies for Platinum LEED certification

"The Arizona Game & Fish department knew they wanted to achieve the highest level of LEED certification, and with this solar power system providing 17 % of their annual power needs Alpha helped them reach Platinum LEED status", said Drew Zogby, President and Chief Operating Officer (COO) of Alpha Technologies. "This is a great example of facilities and system integrators working together to make large-scale solar power a reality." Fred Bloom, Chief Engineer for Arizona Game & Fish, added: "We were just awarded platinum, which is the highest LEED certification available. A large part of that was our commitment to the environment, and the solar power system is a big part of that."

2009-12-01   Courtesy: Alpha Energy   © Heindl Server GmbH
Picture Courtesy: Arizona Game & Fish


PV producer Yingli Green Energy receives multiple business awards

Yingli Green Energy Holding Company Limited (Baoding, China), one of the world's leading vertically integrated photovoltaics (PV) manufacturers, on November 25th, 2009 announced that it had recently received awards recognizing the company's growth, business prospects and competitiveness from Deloitte, The Asset magazine and the Institute of Industrial Economics of the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences. "These awards are recognition of our leading position in the fast growing China market", said Liansheng Miao, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Yingli Green Energy.  Green Energy.

Company recognized for revenue growth, potential future performance and international competitiveness

According to the press release, Yingli received a ranking by Deloitte among its "Technology Fast 50 China" companies as one of the countries' leading companies in the technology, media and telecommunications sectors based on their average revenue growth rates over the last three years. Yingli reports that it was also named one of the most promising companies in the energy sector as part of "The Asset China's Most Promising Companies 2009" award by The Asset magazine, an Asia-based financial publication delivering authoritative coverage and independent research of Asia's financial industry. Finally, the company was ranked among "2009 Top 10 Most Competitive Overseas Listed Companies of China" by the Institute of Industrial Economics, a branch of The Chinese Academy of Social Sciences (CASS) and China Business, one of the leading economic and management newspapers in China.

2009-12-01   Courtesy: Yingli Green Energy Holding Company Limited   © Heindl Server GmbH

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