Tuesday, January 26, 2010

1st International Conference on PV Module Recycling

More than 200 experts in photovoltaic (PV) energy, waste management and recycling participated today in the 1st International Conference on PV module recycling organized by PV CYCLE and EPIA in collaboration with the European Commission’s Joint Research Centre. Attendees had the opportunity to learn first-hand from different industry associations and companies what is currently being done to implement recycling mechanisms and to minimise the environmental impact of end-of-life solar panels.

“Since the early years of photovoltaics, in the 1990s, customers and industry alike have shown their dedication for protecting the environment and finding a reliable solution for the adequate disposal of modules,” explained Eleni Despotou, EPIA deputy secretary general. “An increasing number of manufacturers are working on the development of new and more effective recycling processes. However, the quantities of PV modules available for recycling are still too low to make any private scheme 100% commercially viable. This is why initiatives such as PV CYCLE can really make a difference for the industry.”

According to the forecast presented in a study commissioned by EPIA and the founding members of PV CYCLE, approximately 3,000 tonnes of PV modules will be disposed of in Germany during 2010, which represent close to 50% of all the PV waste that will be generated in Europe this year. Although this figure will remain relatively stable for the next two decades, the study shows that by 2030 about 130,000 tonnes of end-of-life PV modules will be disposed of in Europe.

“Because solar panels have a very long life span, the volumes of end-of-life PV modules will not start growing considerably for at least another 20 to 25 years from now. However, the industry has proactively begun to prepare. The take-back and recycling scheme that is being set up by PV CYCLE, which this month has become operational in Germany, will be fully operational by the time that significant quantities of modules start being disposed of. This scheme will be implemented gradually across the European Union and EFTA countries,” stated Jan Clyncke, managing director of PV CYCLE.

Representatives from related industry sectors also shared their experiences regarding the processes their companies have successfully implemented for TV monitors, electronic appliances, as well as glass recycling. The last part of the conference was dedicated to learning about recycling and collection activities in the USA as well as to discussing issues regarding the Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) of photovoltaics and the mathematical model of PV recycling infrastructures.

About EPIA www.epia.org: With over 200 members active along the whole value chain, the European Photovoltaic Industry Association (EPIA) is the world’s largest industry association devoted to the solar photovoltaic electricity market. For more information on how photovoltaics can become a mainstream energy supplier in Europe please consult ‘SET For 2020’, a study commissioned by EPIA to the strategic management consultancy A.T. Kearney.

About PV CYCLE www.pvcycle.org: PV CYCLE was founded in July 2007 to implement a voluntary take-back and recycling programme for end-of-life PV modules. The members of PV CYCLE currently represent more than 85% of the European photovoltaic market. Their goal is to provide clean and renewable energy as well as to embrace the principle of producer responsibility and thereby make the photovoltaic industry DoubleGreen.

See the original article here

Monday, January 25, 2010

Intel Plans Massive Solar Installations

Intel Corp. on Monday said it will install 2.5 megawatts of solar electric systems at its campuses in four states, including its 5,500-employee campus in Folsom.

The Santa Clara-based chip-maker (Nasdaq: INTC) said the new installations will be completed over the next seven months and will be used to help power Intel campuses in California, Oregon, Arizona and New Mexico.

Intel expects to break ground on the 1.1-megawatt solar project in Folsom at the end of March and have the project producing power by the end of June, Intel spokesman Mark Pettinger said. The design has been approved internally and the project awaits permit approval from the city of Folsom.

The solar arrays would cover almost six acres on the southwest portion of the Intel Folsom campus, next to a concrete pad Intel poured nine years ago for what was to be its fifth building. When the tech bubble popped in 2001, Intel halted construction of the building.

Pettinger said the solar-power system may be partly visible from Highway 50 once it's built. Solar City would build the solar-panel system at the Folsom campus, which would produce about 40 percent of Intel's solar power, Pettinger said.

To put the investment in perspective, a megawatt of solar energy can power between 150 and 200 homes, according to the Solar Energy Industries Association. That means Intel's 2.5 megawatts could power between 375 and 500 average-size homes.

Intel also said it would increase its purchase of renewable energy credits by 10 percent to 1.43 billion kilowatt hours, or the equivalent of 51 percent of its 2010 electricity use.

Renewable energy credits are tradeable commodities that represent 1 megawatt of renewable energy placed on the power grid. Acquiring RECs, as they’re called, is a way for corporations to certify that they are acquiring energy on the market from renewable resources.

Intel ranked at the top of the federal Environmental Protection Agency’s latest “Green Power Partners” list released Monday. The list, released quarterly, ranks the top 50 organizations for acquiring green power resources.

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Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Solar Demand Picking Up in China

China's solar panel demand is zooming up in the last quarter of 2009 as the nation embraces for greener energy for the next 5 years. According to the xinhua newsnet report, 2009 PV demand more than doubled compared to 2008.

This week, Suntech (STP) reportedly broke ground on a $100 million 100,000-square-meter extension to its solar cell factory based on rising demand in China and Asia. $454B green energy investment was announced in late 2009 to promote renewable energy in the nation. Solar energy has been the topic of the 2010 World EXPO in Shanghai. Suntech Power, Solarfun (SOLF) and other Chinese solar PV makers have installed solar systems to cover the electricity demand for the whole EXPO. Many westerners do not recognize how serious the government is. Renewable energy has been regarded as the next strategy for the nation to become a world leader in the clean energy industry in the new century.

Recently another Chinese solar maker, Solarfun Power also announced it will increase its production capacity of photovoltaic (PV) modules from 550MW to 700MW by April 2010 and its PV cell production capacity from 360MW to 480MW by July 2010; the company sees strong demand in 2010 from many markets worldwide.

The German market may grow slowly in 2010 while the Chinese and Japanese markets catch up faster than expected. Under the new administration, Japan is providing financial incentives for consumers to install solar panels on their properties, helping it meet its goal to significantly cut carbon emissions by 2020. As a result, companies who have more exposure to the Asian market will benefit the most. To name a few, Suntech Power, Solarfun, Trina Solar (TSL) and Yingli Green (YGE). First Solar (FSLR) is also investing heavily in Asia; the company has set up a factory in Malaysia.

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PG&E to Help fund SolarCity Installations

David R. Baker, Chronicle Staff Writer

January 20, 2010

In an unusual financing arrangement, PG&E Corp. will spend $60 million to help a Foster City company install solar panels on homes and businesses.

The deal, to be announced today, places PG&E in a role typically filled by banks. Last year's financial meltdown made banks hesitant to lend, forcing many young green-tech companies to either place projects on hold or find other sources of financing.

A PG&E subsidiary will finance solar installations by SolarCity Corp. Unlike most solar installation firms, SolarCity continues to own and operate the rooftop systems it places on homes and businesses. Customers buy only the electricity, not the panels.

The financing from PG&E will enable SolarCity to build about 1,000 installations on homes and businesses, most of them in California.

"The biggest constraint to our growth is the lack of financing, and this will support our growth," said Lyndon Rive, SolarCity's chief executive officer.

The money will come from Pacific Venture Capital, a subsidiary of PG&E Corp., which is also the parent company of Pacific Gas and Electric Co.

In return, Pacific Venture Capital will get a cut of the revenue SolarCity receives from the solar arrays it installs, as well as federal investment tax credits from those projects. PG&E will recoup its $60 million investment and make a profit, although the companies on Tuesday declined to say how large that profit would be.

"We think this is going to broaden access to renewable energy, both inside and outside our service territory," said Rand Rosenberg, senior vice president of corporate strategy and development at PG&E Corp.