Saturday, May 30, 2009

LDK Solar Partners with ESPE to Develop PV Plants in Italy

Trading Markets/May 27, 2009

LDK Solar, a manufacturer of multicrystalline solar wafers, has entered into an agreement with ESPE, a system integrator within the photovoltaic sector, to develop photovoltaic plants in the Apulia region of Italy.

Construction has commenced on the first of five plants totaling 5MW. LDK Solar will supply wafers for the photovoltaic (PV) project and ESPE will provide engineering, procurement, and construction services and system integration.

Xiaofeng Peng, chairman and CEO of LDK Solar, said: "We are very excited to expand LDK Solar's presence into Italy. The PV market in Italy is one of the most interesting European markets and is forecast to grow significantly over the next three years."

Tiziano Meneghetti, founder and president of ESPE Group, said: "We are pleased to work with LDK Solar on the development of these PV plants. We believe the PV market in Italy has strong potential and we look forward to working together to capitalize on the growing opportunities."

See the original article here

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

National Semiconductor & Suntech Collaborate on SolarMagic Technology

National Semiconductor Corp. (NYSE:NSM), of Santa Clara, Calif. (USA), and Suntech Power Holdings Co. Ltd. (NYSE:STP), the world’s largest crystalline silicon photovoltaic (PV) module manufacturer, have signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) to evaluate National Semiconductor’s SolarMagicTM technology with the intention of jointly promoting the technology and developing future solutions.

National’s SolarMagic power optimizers use distributed electronics throughout a solar installation to recoup energy lost due to real-world conditions such as shade, debris and panel mismatch.

"We are proud to be working with Suntech, the world's leading manufacturer of crystalline silicon photovoltaic modules, a company that shares our vision for what it will take to increase the adoption of solar," said Michael Polacek, Senior VP of Key Market Segments and Business Development for National Semiconductor. “Our strength in analog and power management lends itself well to solar, enabling us to apply unique innovation to the solar market.”

“Innovation in the solar industry is a collaborative process and we are excited about this opportunity to potentially combine National Semiconductor’s SolarMagic technology with Suntech’s high efficiency solar panels,” said Dr. Cai, VP of Systems R&D for Suntech. “This innovative technology has the potential to improve power harvest for solar owners and thereby increase the affordability of solar systems.”

National developed SolarMagic technology to improve the energy harvest of solar arrays. Because of the characteristics of solar modules, real-world conditions—caused by shading from trees, chimneys or power lines; debris such as leaves or dirt, and panel aging—can lead to disproportionate power losses. SolarMagic compensates for these circumstances, creating a more consistent energy supply to the home or business owner.

About National Semiconductor
National Semiconductor is a leader in analog power management technology. Its products include easy-to-use integrated circuits, PowerWise products that enable more energy-efficient systems, and SolarMagic products which improve the energy output of solar arrays. The company celebrates its 50th anniversary this year. Headquartered in Santa Clara, Calif., National reported sales of $1.89 billion for fiscal 2008. Additional information is available at

About Suntech
Suntech Power Holdings Co., Ltd. (NYSE: STP) is the world's leading solar energy company as measured by production output of crystalline silicon solar modules. Suntech designs, develops, manufactures, and markets premium-quality, high-output, cost-effective and environmentally friendly solar products for electric power applications in the residential, commercial, industrial, and public utility sectors. With regional headquarters in China, Switzerland and the United States and sales offices worldwide, Suntech is passionate about improving the environment we live in and dedicated to developing advanced solar solutions that enable sustainable development. For more information, please visit

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Obama Tours Largest Solar Array in U.S.

May 27, 2009

Today, President Obama toured the largest domestic solar array, located at Nellis Air Force Base in Nevada.

See the full article here

U.S. Announces Money for Green Jobs Program

AP/ Dan Elliot/ May 27, 2009

DENVER (AP) — Vice President Joe Biden and two Cabinet secretaries unveiled a national program Tuesday to train workers for "green jobs" that will make public housing more energy-efficient.

Biden, Housing Secretary Shaun Donovan and Labor Secretary Hilda Solis announced the plan in Denver at a meeting of President Barack Obama's task force on the middle class.

Donovan said some of the $4 billion from Obama's $787 billion economic stimulus plan that was budgeted to renovate public housing will be spent to create jobs for making the dwellings more energy efficient.

Solis, another task force member, said $500 million will be distributed as grants for training workers. That sum includes $50 million for communities battered by job losses and restructuring in the auto industry.

Investing in public housing will improve its quality, reduce energy costs for residents and the government and create jobs for people who live in the units and their neighbors, Donovan said. Some of the stimulus money also will be used for basic repairs and maintenance.

The energy, education and labor departments also announced a partnership to help link the unemployed with jobs, training and education opportunities.

Led by Biden, the task force has been working since January on policies to help America's middle class. A report it released in February said green jobs pay up to 20 percent more than other jobs and can't easily be transferred overseas.

Obama has argued that putting an environmental focus on the economy — reducing dependence on foreign fuel, developing domestic energy alternatives and addressing climate change — can help pull the U.S. out of its worst downturn since the Depression.

"How could we possibly lead in the 21st century without a fundamental change in our energy policy?" Biden said Tuesday.

"It necessitates the jobs that will get us there," he added. "Green jobs are good jobs."

See the original article here

Monday, May 18, 2009

SunPower Releases First Solar Monitoring iPhone App

Fast Company/May 18, 2009

SunPower's new iPhone application makes it easy to monitor solar panel performance on the go. The application is just one part of the SunPower Monitoring System, which keeps track of SunPower solar panel performance with an in-home wall-mounted LCD display and an Internet-based program.

The iPhone app keeps track of a number of statistics, including current solar panel generating capacity, lifetime panel production, today's production, today's usage, and today's net difference between production and usage.

SunPower's iPhone app will likely have a limited appeal--it only works with SunPower solar panels--but it's part of an increasing push by alternative energy and smart grid companies to increase the remote capabilities available for their products. GainSpan is developing iPhone applications to monitor and control home temperature, water heaters, HVAC, and lighting, and Visible Energy's UFO Power Strip is controlled by an iPhone app.

See the original article here

New York Plans 100 MW Solar Project


New York Governor David Paterson has announced a 100 MW solar photovoltaic project in New York. The initiative follows on the heels of a recently announced 50 MW solar photovoltaic project. Together, these projects totaling 150 MW would position New York as the state with the second highest installed PV capacity.

The new installations will help New York reach its aggressive renewable energy goals - by 2015, the state wants to receive 45 percent of its electricity through energy efficiency and clean renewable energy.

The New York Power Authority will issue a Request for Expressions of Interest for the purpose of exploring a public-private partnership for the installation of up to 100 megawatts of solar photovoltaic systems, including roof-mounted and ground-mounted PV arrays at municipal facilities, public and private schools, businesses and state agencies throughout New York. The deadline for receipt of RFEI proposals is July 7, 2009.

Specifically, NYPA is seeking proposals that would promote “potential regional economic development opportunities for local component manufacturing and assembly.”

If the RFP is issued, it would likely result in a 2010 project start date.

In an attempt to be more environmentally friendly, New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg proposed that wind turbines be installed on top of the city’s skyscrapers and bridges.

The city has also issued an RFP last year for private solar developers to purchase, install, own and maintain solar panels on city-owned buildings in all five boroughs as part of PlaNYC.

See the original article here

Solar Market to Reach $70 Billion by 2013

According to SRI Consulting's latest report, the global solar market will double in 2013, reaching 70 billion U.S. dollars. Due to the volatility of oil prices in recent years and the effects of global warming, renewable energy development has been increasingly widespread support, the company explained. The first and second generation of photovoltaic cells require different forms of silicon, very little of the transition metal elements, as well as non-metallic elements. Thereby increasing the price of silicon material. The third and fourth generation of technology to focus on organic polymer and nano-materials, thereby reducing production costs.

"Organic photovoltaic cells research in recent years has made tremendous progress. The conversion efficiency has been more than 5%. Of course, commercial silicon cells are still the main market, because its conversion efficiency has exceeded 25%."

SRIC's report examined the photovoltaic industry in new equipment. From raw materials to final production, the field of solar energy has a very great opportunity, and is increasing at an alarming pace. Organic battery manufacturers are now actively seeking cooperation with the electronics companies.

See the original article here

Friday, May 8, 2009

San Francisco Approves Major Solar Project

The New York Times, May 8, 2009

San Francisco’s Board of Supervisors has approved a plan to build what would be the largest solar photovoltaic array in California. With 5 megawatts of capability spread over 25,000 panels, it will, if completed, also be the largest municipal solar project in the United States.

(Larger, non-municipal arrays exist, including a 14-megawatt, 70,000 panel array at Nellis Air Force Base in Nevada.)

San Francisco’s proposed system — which would produce roughly the amount of energy used by 1,000 households, the developers said — would bring the city’s total solar capacity to 7 megawatts. It will be used to power municipal properties such as schools and government offices.

“Earlier this week, San Francisco took another major step towards achieving our commitments to reduce greenhouse gases and grow our green economy,” said San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom in an e-mail message. “With this single project, we will more than triple San Francisco’s solar energy production, build California’s largest photovoltaic system, and help lead the state towards a future of clean, renewable energy.”

Under the deal, Recurrent Energy, a local solar company, will assume the initial financial responsibility for the panels, as well as pay for ongoing operating and maintenance costs. In return, the city incurs no up-front expenses, but is obliged to purchase energy directly from Recurrent Energy at a cost of 23.5 cents per kWh, plus 3 percent per year.

In years 7, 15 or 25 of operation, the city has the option to purchase the array outright at fair market value or $33 million — whichever is higher.

The project had seen some controversy. Four of the eleven San Francisco supervisors voted against the project, most of them citing concerns that the deal does not allow the the board to review the contract terms each year. Other opponents thought the city would end up wasting money over the 25-year life of the agreement, should solar panel prices drop significantly in the short term.

Proponents of the deal, however, argued that the project wouldn’t be possible without the public-private partnership. By farming out construction to a private company, the project becomes eligible for major federal tax incentives worth 30 percent of total project costs. (Although Recurrent Energy is not releasing its estimates, the city estimated it would cost $40 in initial construction costs alone.)

Had the city undertaken the project itself, it would not be eligible for those same tax credits, raising the price tag, according to some estimates, to over $85 million.

Construction on the project is slated to begin this summer and should be completed by 2010.

See the original article here

Thursday, May 7, 2009

China's Installed Photovoltaic Capacity to Rise

China's solar PV installed capacity is likely to reach 10,000-20,000 megawatts by 2020, with the implementation of its solar photovoltaic (PV) roof plan and other supportive measures, China Securities Journal quoted Wang Zhongying, head of the Renewable Energy Development Center of the Energy Research Institute (ERI) as saying.

The predicted capacity is far higher than the government's original plan, which targets at 1,800 MW of solar PV installed capacity by 2020.

China has announced a plan to build the country's largest solar PV project in Dunhuang, Gansu, with a primary installed capacity set at 10 MW.

Bidding for the project, enterprises have offered an average power price of 1.5 yuan/kwh.

Although the price is still far higher than the 0.6 yuan kwh price of wind-generating electricity selling to grids and the 0.3 yuan/kwh price of on-grid thermal power, it can reflect the sharp decline in the solar PV costs, said Wang.

Calculated on the basis of current solar PV cost and on-grid thermal power price, the Chinese government needs to give one yuan of subsidy to each kwh of electricity generated from solar power, Wang noted.

Wang also stated that the Chinese government was likely to draw up more favorable measures to encourage investment in solar power projects.

China announced a solar PV roof plan in March, promising to grant a 20 yuan/watt-peak subsidy to solar PV projects whose single installed capacity exceeds 50 kWp.

Now, China-based solar PV product makers like SunTech Power Holdings Co., Ltd. (STP.NYSE), Solarfun Power Holdings Co., Ltd. (SOLF.Nasdaq) and the China Technology Development Group Corporation (CTDC.Nasdaq), are suffering significant losses due to foreign market shrinkage and a large number of provisions against price drops.

See the original article here

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

China Plans Massive Increase of Solar Capacity

Rujun Shen and Jacqueline Wong, Reuters, May 5, 2009

China is set to smash its target for a roll-out of solar power by 2020 more than fivefold and possibly even tenfold, a researcher with the National Development and Reform Commission, the economic planning ministry, said on Tuesday.

Under the NDRC's renewable energy plan set out in 2007, China would have 1,800 megawatts of installed solar capacity by 2020.

But Wang Zhongying, assistant director at the NDRC's Energy Research Institute and head of its Renewable Energy Development Centre, said the country was likely to far exceed that.

"The goal that we made originally is probably too low," he said at a solar energy conference in Shanghai. "By 2020, we can reach 10,000 MW or more."

He cited an international aspiration for countries to get 1 percent of electricity from solar by 2020, which would mean a target of 40,000 MW for China, which he said was too high.

"China could reach 10,000 MW or higher, maybe 20,000 MW."

He stressed that the forecast was his own opinion and not an official target.

At the end of 2008, solar power capacity attached to the grid was less than 100 MW, or 0.01 percent of China's entire installed capacity.

China is massively dependent on coal, used to generate around 80 percent of its power, but hopes to lessen coal's dominance by using more hydro, wind, nuclear and biomass.

The government is expected to unveil an economic stimulus package for renewable energy within the next few months.

Shi Dinghuan, president of the Chinese Renewable Energy Society, said the 2020 goal for renewable energy would be revised under the new stimulus plan to more than double the 2007 plan.

Even with a tenfold increase in its 2020 target, solar would play a much smaller part in China's overall power mix than those other energy sources. Under the original plan, biomass and wind were set to reach 30,000 MW by 2020, with nuclear at 40,000 MW.

China has already more than tripled the 2020 target for wind to 100,000 MW and is expected to easily surpass its nuclear target. [ID:nPEK336151]

The revised target for wind could be 100-150 GW, Xinhua news agency quoted sources close to the plan as saying on Tuesday.

Firms with exposure to China's solar sector include Suntech Power (STP.N), Trina Solar (TSL.N), ReneSola (SOLA.L), China Sunergy (CSUN.O), LDK Solar (LDK.N), Yingli Green Energy (YGE.N), and Solarfun (SOLF.O).


China announced the plan to grant subsidy to pilot solar power projects attached to buildings in March. Industry officials applauded the effort, but also said the subsidy plan has its own problems.

"It's a great policy, a positive sign that the government wants to support the development of the solar industry. But it's difficult to implement the policy," said Wang from the NDRC's Energy Research Institute.

Beijing said it would provide 20 yuan per Watt-peak (Wp) of subsidy for solar power projects attached to buildings that, in addition to other requirements, have capacity of more than 50 kiloWatt-peak (KWp).

Wang said the central government was studying detailed guidance on the policy, which potentially could push for a big stride in the solar industry's development.

Industry officials said many companies have already shown enormous interest in the subsidy, including solar companies and real estate developers.

See the original article here