Thursday, January 29, 2009

First Solar Rolls Out FS Series 2 PV Modules

PV-Tech/Sile McMahon/January 28, 2009

Product Briefing Outline:
First Solar’s FS Series 2 PV Modules are designed for use in grid-connected, commercial power plants and are sold to leading system integrators, independent power project developers and utility companies worldwide. The modules are CdTe thin film in construction that will generally produce more electricity under real-world conditions than conventional solar modules with similar power ratings and the lowest cost per watt overall.

Problem: Cadmium Telluride is a direct bandgap semiconductor, which enables it to convert solar energy into electricity more efficiently (i.e., more watts per kg of material) than the indirect bandgap semiconductor materials used historically. As a result, it is capable of converting solar energy into electricity at an efficiency level comparable to historical technologies, but uses only about 1% of the semiconductor material required by traditional PV technologies.

Solution: Solar cells become less efficient at converting solar energy into electricity as their cell temperatures increase. However, the efficiency of Cadmium Telluride is less susceptible to cell temperature increases than traditional semiconductors, enabling First Solar thin film modules to generate relatively more electricity under high ambient (and therefore high cell) temperatures. The semiconductor material also converts low and diffuse light to electricity more efficiently than conventional cells under cloudy weather and dawn and dusk conditions. CdTe permits simple device structures and manufacturing processes, leading to low cost production.

Applications: Free Field Power Plants: Multi-megawatt grid-tied free field applications
Commercial Rooftop Systems: Large grid-tied, commercial rooftop applications

Platform: Front (substrate) and back (cover) laminated glass sheets are heat-strengthened to withstand handling and thermally induced stresses, while avoiding breakage over the 25+ year module life. Manufactured in highly automated state-of-the-art facilities certified to ISO9001:2000 quality and ISO14001:2004 environmental management standards. Tested by leading US and European institutes and certified for reliability and safety: Safety Class II; IEC 61646; CE Mark & UL 1703.

Availability: Currently available.

See the orginal post here

Saturday, January 24, 2009

World’s 13 Biggest Solar Energy Plants

Eco Wordly/Gavin Hudson/March 5, 2008

International demand for solar energy has been steadily growing by 20-25% a year for the past two decades. In the United states, solar energy growth is about 60% a year. Looking at how fast solar energy plants are growing and how large they’re becoming year by year is reveals that the future for solar is shining bright.

deming-new-mexico-usa.jpgBy 2011, Deming, New Mexico, USA will be the home of the world’s largest solar power plant. This 300 Megawatt solar facility will be 15 times the size of the current largest solar plant on the planet. New Solar Ventures and Solar Torx are the companies behind the project. The solar energy plant will cover as many as 1,300 hectares and employ between 300 and 400 people. The project’s planners estimate that the plant will supply enough energy to power 240,000 homes. (Photo: Flickr. Source: Reuters.)

solana-arizona-usa.jpg The Solana solar plant, 70 miles from Pheonix, near Gila Bend, Arizona, USA, will compliment the Deming plant when both begin operations in 2011. It will produce 280 megawatts of energy, provide 1,500 jobs, and cover an area of 769 hectares. The solar power facility will be the child of Abengoa Solar and Arizona Public Service Company. However, the project depends on the United States Congress to renew clean energy tax credits, which would otherwise expire at the end of 2008. (Photo: APS. Source: Newlaunches via EcoFuss.)

mildura-australia.jpgAustralia may briefly capture the prize for biggest solar with a plant near Mildura, Victoria, Australia. It will go into operation in 2010 and continue to grow in size until its completion in 2013. A project of TRUenergy and Solar Systems, the plant will generate 154 Megawatts of solar energy. With the Mildura plant complete, Solar Systems will continue to expand in Australia with the goal of 270,000 megawatts of output from a number of plants. Australia’s renewable energy goal is 20% by 2020. (Photo: Wikimedia. Source: Herald Tribune.)

fresno-california-usa.jpgAn 80 megawatt solar farm in Fresno, California, USA will be completed by 2011. Cleantech, together with the California Construction Authority, will be responsible for construction. When finished, the plant will occupy about 260 hectares. It will be called the Kings River Conservation District Community Choice Solar Farm. In addition to this solar farm, Cleantech is in the preparing to develop several other facilities of a similar size also in California. In addition to these centralized solar energy plants, California’s Governor Scharzenegger pushed through legislation by the name of SB 1 with which California will add solar panels to one million roofs throughout the state by 2018. (Photo: Wikimedia. Source: Reuters.)

brandis-rhineland-palatinate-germany.jpgThe Waldpolenz Solar Park in Brandis, Rhineland-Palatinate, Germany, near Leipzig. It’s located on the site of a former military airfield. Talk about swords to plowshares. Now that the PV plant has received building approval, its construction is underway. Juwi Solar, the company spearheading the construction, has set a goal of completion of the plant for 2009. At that time, the facility will be able to generate 40 megawatts. (Photo, source: Juwi Solar, PDF, via PV Resources)

jumilla-murcia-spain.jpgThe solar power plant in Jumilla, Murcia, Spain is currently one of the two largest solar energy plant in the world. It produces 20 megawatts with 120,000 PV panels. The panels are spread over an area of 100 hectares and provide enough electricity for the equivalent of about 20,000 houses. With construction recently finished, the plant is expected to generate $28 million USD. The project was completed by Luzentia Group with help from Elecnor’s solar industry Atersa. The solar plant was built over 11 months with 400 people in an area that locals say is perfect since it receives about 300 days of sun a year. (Photo, source: Technology for Life via EcoFuss.)

beneixama-alicante-spain.jpg The other record holder for large PV plants is in the same country, in Beneixama, Alicante, Spain. The plant opened in the summer of 2007. It produces 20 megawatts with 100,000 polycrystalline City-Solar-Modules, City Solar’s own version of PV panels. (Photo: City Solar. Source City Solar via PV Resources.)

jeollanam-do-south-korea.jpgBy late 2008, Sinan, Jeollanam-do, South Korea plans to match Spain’s solar energy output of 20 megawatts. 109,000 solar panels are expected to by installed. Working with SunTechnics, the solar project is part of South Korea’s Act on Climate Change. The country currently generates electricity with about 50% Middle Eastern oil, 25% coal, 22% nuclear, natural gas, and hydroelectric, and just 2.3% renewable. The goal is 9% by 2030. News of the solar farm coincides with South Koreas announcement that they will also be building one of the world’s largest tidal energy plants by 2014. (Photo: Flickr. Source: Herald Tribune.)

las-vegas-nevada-usa.jpgThis 14.2 megawatt solar park in Las Vegas, Nevada, USA is operated by SunPower. It’s located at the Nellis Air Force Base, which it powers. This saves the Air Force base an estimated $1 million USD annually in energy costs. The solar array covers an area of over 56 hectares and comprises 70,000 PV panels. (Photo: SunPower. Source: SunPower, PDF, via PV Resources.)

salamanca-salamanca-spain.jpgAnother accolade for big solar in Spain goes to the plant 12 miles outside of Salamanca, Salamanca, Spain. The solar field incorporates 70,000 PV panels from the Japanese Kyocera Corporation into three separate 36-hectare arrays. The total energy output is 13.8 megawatts. The plant opened in September, 2007, with a grand inauguration in Salamanca. It’s been powering roughly 5,000 homes ever since. (Photo: Kyocera. Source: Kyocera via PV Resources.)

lobosillo-murcia-spain.jpgSunny Spain captures another solar opportunity in the PV plant at Lobosillo, Murcia, Spain. The PV plant has a 12.7 megawatt output. The solar project is currently in operation, and is also being expanded from 80,000 PV panels to 80,808. The plant uses PV panels from Ecostream. (Photo: Ecostream. Source Ecostream via PV Resources.)


The “solar park” in Arnstein, Bavaria, Germany went into full scale operation in 2006. It features over 1,400 PV solar panels that can move with the angle of the sun to capture maximum light energy. This design allows the panels to capture up to 35% more energy. The plant, which took 14 months to build, currently produces 12 megawatts of energy. The solar power company involved with this plant is Solon AG. Germany is also a leader in renewable energy. The country increased its stock in renewables from 6.3% in 2000 to 12% in 2006. With this in mind, some predict 40% renewables by 2020. (Photo: Ubergizmo. Source: The Raw Story.)

serpa-alentejo-portugal.jpgThe solar energy farm on the hills outside Serpa, Alentejo, Portugal, on the sunny southern coast, helps make Portugal the renewable energy leader it is. The location is ideal as the area receives 3,300 hours of sunlight a year. The 11 megawatt power plant opened in March of 2007. Its 52,000 PV modules span over 60 hectares. They produce enough energy for about 8,000 homes. PowerLight, the company that operates the solar farm, estimate that energy produced by their panels prevents 30,000 tons of greenhouse gas emissions each year from burning fossil fuels for energy. In addition to this plant, Portugal will invest $10.8 billion USD in renewable energy. (Photo: Flickr. Source: Electrical Contractor.)

See the full article here

Sunday, January 18, 2009

LDK Solar Celebrates Major Milestones

Reueters/Xinyu City, China/January 16, 2009

LDK Solar Co., Ltd. (NYSE:LDK), a manufacturer of multicrystalline solar wafers, today announced that a ceremony was held to recognize important company milestones that were reached in early January.

LDK Solar has continued to make significant progress with the construction of its polysilicon plants and is pleased to announce that the 1,000 metric ton (MT) annualized capacity polysilicon plant recently completed its first successful polysilicon production run. The company also announced that it has achieved a major milestone on the 15,000 MT annualized capacity polysilicon plant by completing 15 million safe work hours.

Government dignitaries including the Governor of Jiangxi, Mr. Wu Xinxiong, celebrated reaching these milestones with the LDK Solar management team and Fluor representatives at the ceremony. The entire construction workforce was also in attendance and received an award for its commendable achievement and ongoing commitment to safety.

“We are pleased to report that initial tests from the production run at our 1,000 MT plant indicate that the polysilicon produced is very high quality.The speed of execution that we demonstrated with our wafer plant has been replicated in the construction of our polysilicon plants, and reaching these milestones is truly a commendable achievement and a testament to LDK Solar’s drive and commitment to growth,” stated Xiaofeng Peng, Chairman and CEO of LDK Solar.

“LDK Solar’s growth has been impressive and the Jiangxi government remains committed to supporting LDK Solar as well as the entire local solar industry with their expansion plans. The government will be supporting the construction of a local solar plant to further facilitate business growth in the area,” commented Mr. Wu Xinxiong, Governor of Jiangxi.

LDK Solar will provide its next update on the progress of its polysilicon plant construction during its upcoming fourth quarter and fiscal 2008 earnings call.

See the original article here

Monday, January 5, 2009

A Brief History of Photovoltaics...

If this isn't the sexiest thing you've ever read...


Nineteen-year-old Edmund Becquerel, a French experimental physicist, discovered the photovoltaic effect while experimenting with an electrolytic cell made up of two metal electrodes. 1873: Willoughby Smith discovered the photoconductivity of selenium.

Adams and Day observed the photovoltaic effect in solid selenium.

Charles Fritts, an American inventor, described the first solar cells made from selenium wafers.

Heinrich Hertz discovered that ultraviolet light altered the lowest voltage capable of causing a spark to jump between two metal electrodes.

Hallwachs discovered that a combination of copper and cuprous oxide was photosensitive. Einstein published his paper on the photoelectric effect.

The existence of a barrier layer in PV devices was reported.

Millikan provided experimental proof of the photoelectric effect.

Polish scientist Czochralski developed a way to grow single-crystal silicon.

Albert Einstein received the Nobel Prize for his theories explaining the photoelectric effect.

A grown p-n junction enabled the production of a single-crystal cell of germanium.

The PV effect in Cd was reported; primary work was performed by Rappaport, Loferski and Jenny at RCA. Bell Labs researchers Pearson, Chapin, and Fuller reported their discovery of 4.5% efficient silicon solar cells; this was raised to 6% only a few months later (by a work team including Mort Prince). Chapin, Fuller, Pearson (AT&T) submitted their results to the Journal of Applied Physics. AT&T demonstrated solar cells in Murray Hill, New Jersey, then at the National Academy of Science Meeting in Washington, DC.

Western Electric began to sell commercial licenses for silicon PV technologies; early successful products included PV-powered dollar bill changers and devices that decoded computer punch cards and tape. Bell System's demonstration of the type P rural carrier system began in Americus, Georgia. Hoffman Electronics's Semiconductor Division announced a commercial PV product at 2% efficiency; priced at $25/cell and at 14 mW each, the cost of energy was $1500/W.

Bell System's demonstration of the type P rural carrier system was terminated after five months.

Hoffman Electronics achieved 8% efficient cells. "Solar Energy Converting Apparatus," patent #2,780,765, was issued to Chapin, Fuller, and Pearson, AT&T.

Hoffman Electronics achieved 9% efficient PV cells. Vanguard I, the first PV-powered satellite, was launched in cooperation with the U.S. Signal Corp. The satellite power system operated for 8 years.

Hoffman Electronics achieved 10% efficient, commercially available PV cells and demonstrated the use of a grid contact to significantly reduce series resistance. Explorer-6 was launched with a PV array of 9600 cells, each only 1 cm x 2 cm.

Hoffman Electronics achieved 14% efficient PV cells.

The UN conference on Solar Energy in the Developing World was held. The precursor to the PV Specialists Conference, the Meeting of the Solar Working Group (SWG) of the Interservice Group for Flight Vehicle Power, was held in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. The first PV Specialists Conference was held in Washington, DC.

Japan installed a 242-W PV array on a lighthouse, the world's largest array at that time.

The Nimbus spacecraft was launched with a 470-W PV array.

Peter Glaser, A.D. Little, conceived the idea of a satellite solar power station. Tyco Labs developed the edge-defined, film-fed growth (EFG) process, first to grow crystal sapphire ribbons and then silicon.

The Orbiting Astronomical Observatory was launched with a 1-kW PV array.

The OVI-13 satellite was launched with two CdS panels.

The French install a CdS PV system in a village school in Niger to run an educational TV.

The Cherry Hill Conference was held in Cherry Hill, New Jersey.

Japan formulated Project Sunshine. Tyco Labs grew the first EFG, 1-inch-wide ribbon by an endless-belt process.

The U.S. government began a terrestrial PV research and development project, assigned to the Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL), as a result of recommendations of the Cherry Hill Conference. Bill Yerkes opened Solar Technology International. Exxon opened Solar Power Corporation. JPL instituted the Block I procurement by the U.S. government.

The Solar Energy Research Institute (SERI), later to become the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL), opened in Golden, Colorado. Total PV manufacturing production exceeded 500 kW.

Solenergy was founded. NASA's Lewis Research Center (LeRC) completed a 3.5-kW system on the Papago Indian Reservation in Schuchuli, Arizona; this was the world's first village PV system. NASA's LeRC completed an 1.8-kW array for AID, in Tangaye, Upper Volta, and later increased power output to 3.6 kW.

The first William R. Cherry Award was given to Paul Rappaport, SERI's founding director. New Mexico State University, Las Cruces, was selected to establish and operate the Southwest Residential Experimental Station (SW RES). A 105.6-kW system was dedicated at Natural Bridges National Monument in Utah; the system used Motorola, ARCO Solar, and Spectrolab PV modules.

A 90.4-kW PV system was dedicated at Lovington Square Shopping Center (New Mexico) using Solar Power Corp. modules. A 97.6-kW PV system was dedicated at Beverly High School in Beverly, Massachusetts, using Solar Power Corp. modules. An 8-kW PV-powered (Mobil Solar), reverse-osmosis desalination facility was dedicated in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia.

Worldwide PV production exceeded 9.3 MW. Solarex dedicated its 'PV Breeder' production facility in Frederick, Maryland, with its roof-integrated 200-kW array. ARCO Solar's Hisperia, California, 1-MW PV plant went on line with modules on 108 dual-axis trackers.

The JPL Block V procurement was begun. Solar Power Corporation completed the design and installation of four stand-alone PV village power systems in Hammam Biadha, Tunesia (a 29-kW village power system, a 1.5-kW residential system, and two 1.5-kW irrigation/pumping systems). Solar Design Associates completed the stand-alone, 4-kW (Mobil Solar), Hudson River Valley home. Worldwide PV production exceeded 21.3 MW, and sales exceeded $250 million.

The IEEE Morris N. Liebmann Award was presented to Drs. David Carlson and Christopher Wronski at the 17th Photovoltaic Specialists Conference, "for crucial contributions to the use of amorphous silicon in low-cost, high-performance photovoltaic solar cells."

The Solar Energy Research Institute was redesignated as the U.S. Department of Energy's National Renewable Energy Laboratory by President George Bush.

The National Renewable Energy Laboratory's Solar Energy Research Facility (SERF), opened in Golden, Colorado.

The U.S. Department of Energy announces the National Center for Photovoltaics, headquartered in Golden, Colorado.

Spectrolab unveiled a triple-junction terrestrial concentrator solar cell, achieving a world-record conversion efficiency of 34 percent in laboratory tests.