Friday, September 30, 2011

National Solar Jobs Census 2011 Finds Solar Companies Hiring Faster Than Rest of Economy | Interstate Renewable Energy Council

Solar energy project closes on financing - Power Engineering

Solar power project breaks ground - Power Engineering

How Samsung became an Ontario election flashpoint - The Globe and Mail

House passes budget extension to avert government shutdown by doing nothing - The Washington Post

Massachusetts Temperatures Rising | RenewablesBiz

Con Edison Green Team Hits New Milestone: 1,500 Commercial and Industrial Applications for Energy Efficiency | EnergyBiz

Thursday, September 29, 2011

FW: Document shows wireless companies hold on to customers' location, texting data - San Jose Mercury News

All the Canadian telecom carriers do the same. They have a record of where you were, who you called, what you texted and which websites you have visited for at least a year back. Law enforcement has ready access to it. It’s mined for many purposes. So you guys should stay out of the strip-barsJ

Fwd: How thin film solar fares vs crystalline silicon - ElectroIQ

Very good data on panel technology COGS projections.

How thin film solar fares vs crystalline silicon

(January 3, 2011) -- Ted Sullivan, senior analyst, Lux Research, discusses the solar market in terms of polysilicon costs and thin film materials' profitability. In the face of renewed pricing pressures, solar device manufacturers have had to refocus on minimizing costs and maximizing performance to maintain profit margins.
Advances in crystalline silicon (cSi) technology, and the falling cost of the polysilicon raw material, have only increased the pressure on manufacturers of emerging thin-film technologies, including thin-film silicon (TF-Si), cadmium telluride (CdTe), and copper indium gallium diselenide (CIGS) -- many of which are under the gun to improve margins or face extinction.
To forecast how module developers would reduce the key components of cost -- capital, materials, utilities, and labor -- a recent Lux Research report constructed cost-of-goods-sold (COGS) models through 2015 for the dominant technology -- multicrystalline silicon (mc-Si) -- as well as its thin-film competitors: TF-Si, CdTe, and CIGS (both glass and flexible substrates).

Figure. Cost-of-goods-sold for various solar cell materials. Source: Lux Research.
The figure sums up the report's findings. Namely, it shows that, as COGS decline across the board, mc-Si remains highly profitable throughout the value chain. Vertically integrated players will drive costs from $1.45/W in 2009 to $0.93/W in 2015, assuming poly pricing at $70/kg. Efficiency will be a key driver of cost reduction, rising from 14.0% in 2009 to 16.1% in 2015.
Oerlikon will give thin-film silicon new legs. Improvements enabled by Oerlikon's new ThinFab line will push thin-film silicon efficiencies from 9.0% to above 11.0%. Significant improvements in output will cut depreciated capex per watt, and help to reduce TF-Si costs from $1.32/W in 2009 to $0.80/W in 2015.
CdTe technology remains the long term leader in terms of COGS. Led by First Solar (FSLR), CdTe has a significantly lower cost structure than mc-Si, and its cost reductions will march onward, keeping it the most profitable solar technology, as COGS falls from $0.80/W in 2009 to $0.54/W in 2015.
Costs for select CIGS technologies drop dramatically. CIGS sputtered on glass -- which is Lux Research's benchmark given its critical mass of developers -- will see COGS plummet from $1.69/W to $0.76/W as efficiency improves from 10.0% to 14.2%, and factory nameplate capacity and yields grow, allowing the top developers to earn gross margins over 30%.
This data came from the Lux Research report "Module Cost Structure Breakdown: Can Thin Film Survive the Crystalline Silicon Onslaught?" to be found online at This article was originally published by ( and was reprinted with permission. The information and views expressed in this article are those of the author and not necessarily those of or the companies that advertise on its Website and other publications.
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Monty Bannerman
ArcStar Energy

FW: Solar Co-Investment or Acquisition

This is where the business will be moving forward. We will need to decide how best to get there in the farm sector.


Monty Bannerman

ArcStar Energy


From: Future Acceptance []
Sent: Thursday, September 29, 2011 10:35 AM
Subject: Solar Co-Investmest or Aquisition


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  News from

Future Acceptance

September 2011 


Solar 4Solar Panel on BarnSolar 1




Peter Duffus

Managing Partner 



We are looking to

Acquire or Co-invest in

your Solar FIT Projects




Future Acceptance can:

  • Buy completed projects at COD
  • Co-invest with solar developers in completed projects at COD
  • Buy rights under FIT contracts and build the project
  • Arrange construction financing for project in which we invest


Buying Completed Projects at COD

We have long-term utility debt and equity to provide a full take-out of completed projects at COD

We will provide commitments that will allow developers to arrange construction financing

We can arrange construction financing if needed


Co-Investing in Completed Projects at COD

If you are developing your own projects to own & operate but need an equity partner, we will provide that equity at COD

We will also provide long-term utility debt at COD if required

We will provide commitments that will allow the developer to arrange construction financing

We can arrange construction financing if needed


Buying Rights under FIT Contracts

If you have valid FIT contracts and are experiencing difficulty completing the development, we will assume the development obligations, complete the development and convey it to our investment group

Compensation will be paid to the existing holder of the FIT contract based upon the circumstances and the obligations being assumed


Contact us today for further details


Visit our website at



390 Bay Street, Suite 1706, Toronto, Ontario M5H 2Y2

P:  905.483.4748     F:  905.248.5051

General Inquiries:

Peter Duffus:  




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Future Acceptance | 390 Bay St., Suite 1706 | Toronto | Ontario | M5H 2Y2 | Canada

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Ontario R&D: Scientists Lay Out Plans for Efficient Harvesting of Solar Energy | Product Design and Development

Ontario Universities including of Toronto (and Waterloo) have invested their
talents heavily in solar research as a result of the FIT. See some of what's

Scientists Lay Out Plans for Efficient Harvesting of Solar Energy
By University College LondonFriday, September 23, 2011
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Solar power could be harvested more efficiently and transported over long
distances using tiny molecular circuits, according to research inspired by
new insights into natural photosynthesis.

Incorporating the latest research into how plants, algae and some bacteria
use quantum mechanics to optimise energy production via photosynthesis,
scientists have set out how to design molecular "circuitry" that is 10 times
smaller than the thinnest electrical wire in computer processors. Published
in Nature Chemistry, the report discusses how tiny molecular energy grids
could capture, direct, regulate and amplify raw solar energy.

Professor Gregory Scholes, lead author from the University of Toronto said:
"Solar fuel production often starts with the energy from light being
absorbed by an assembly of molecules. The energy is stored fleetingly as
vibrating electrons and then transferred to a suitable reactor.

"It is the same in biological systems. In photosynthesis, for example,
antenna complexes comprised of chlorophyll capture sunlight and direct the
energy to special proteins that help make oxygen and sugars. It is like
plugging those proteins (called reaction centres) into a solar power


In natural systems energy from sunlight is captured by 'coloured' molecules
called dyes or pigments, but is only stored for a billionth of a second.
This leaves little time to route the energy from pigments to the molecular
machinery that produces fuel or electricity.

The key to transferring and storing energy very quickly is to harness the
collective quantum properties of antennae, which are made up of just a few
tens of pigments.

Dr Alexadra Olaya-Castro, co-author of the paper from UCL's department of
Physics and Astronomy said: "On a bright sunny day, more than 100 million
billion red and blue "coloured" photons strike a leaf each second.

"Under these conditions plants need to be able to both use the energy that
is required for growth but also to get rid of excess energy that can be
harmful. Transferring energy quickly and in a regulated manner are the two
key features of natural light-harvesting systems.

"By assuring that all relevant energy scales involved in the process of
energy transfer are more or less similar, natural antennae manage to combine
quantum and classical phenomena to guarantee efficient and regulated
capture, distribution and storage of the sun's energy."

Summary of lessons from nature about concentrating and distributing solar
power with nanoscopic antennae:

1. The basic components of the antenna are efficient light absorbing
molecules. These photo-energy absorbers should be appropriately distributed
to guarantee that there is an even probability of converting sun energy into
vibrating electrons across the whole antennae.

2. Take advantage of the collective properties of light-absorbing molecules
by grouping them close together. This will make them exploit quantum
mechanical principles so that the antenna can: i) absorb different colours
ii) create energy gradients to favour unidirectional transfer and iii)
possibly exploit quantum coherence for energy distribution -several energy
transfer pathways can be exploited at once.

3. Make sure that the relevant energy scales involved in the energy transfer
process are more or less resonant. This will guarantee that both classical
and quantum transfer mechanisms are combined to create regulated and
efficient distribution of energy across short and long-range distances when
many antennae are connected.

4. An antenna should transfer energy not as fast as possible but as fast as
necessary. This means that regulatory mechanisms need to be integrated in
the antenna. For instance, if necessary, combine light-absorbing molecules
with a few local "sinks" that dissipate excess of damaging energy.

For more infor
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ArcStar Announcement (For the record)

September 23, 2011, Toronto: ArcStar Energy is pleased to announce that the company has executed a definitive agreement with Green Lake Capital, a solar equity fund owned by major Taiwanese conglomerate Walsin Lihwa ( ),to finance, construct and jointly own 6.5 Megawatts of advanced solar energy systems in Ontario, Canada . The projects were developed entirely by ArcStar under the Ontario Power Authority Feed in Tariff (FIT) program. The projects will require up to $40M in capital investment, will produce over 8 Million kilowatt hours of clean solar energy per year over their 30-year life and will contribute to Ontario’s plan for energy independence. Once constructed, the solar electricity generated by the projects will be purchased under a 20-year power purchase agreement with the Ontario grid operator and will produce over C$110 Million in revenues over the life of the contract.


ArcStar’s purpose is to acquire, develop and manage only the very best solar energy investments on behalf of our investors.


Go Solar!



Monty Bannerman

ArcStar Energy


Thursday, September 22, 2011

Solar pricing: China vs. US - ElectroIQ

This guy is one of the best journalists in the industry. And he is right on
in the analysis below.

Solar pricing: China vs. US Share
By Stephen Lacey
Climate Progress

September 15, 2011 -- Armed with tens of billions in loans from the Chinese
government, Chinese solar companies have scaled at a rate unthinkable only a
few years ago. At the end of this year, there will likely be 50,000MW of
solar manufacturing capacity in place around the world, with much of that
new capacity being developed in China and other Asian countries. (In the
year 2000, there was only 100 MW of production capacity world-wide.)

In four years, the solar manufacturing sector shifted from being led by a
geographically dispersed number of companies to one dominated by Chinese
companies. In 2006, there were two companies from China in the list of
top-ten cell producers.  In 2010, there were six, according to Bloomberg New
Energy Finance. There are currently only two non-Asian manufacturers in the
top ten, and those companies -- First Solar and Q-Cells -- have shifted a
lot of their production to Asia.

So what happened? How did the Chinese come to completely dominate the solar
industry in such a short period of time?

Bryan Ashley, the Chief Marketing Officer for Suniva, an American company
that produces high-efficiency solar cells in Georgia, doesn't mince words.

"The Chinese strategy is very clear. They are engaging in predatory
financing and they're trying to drive everybody else out of the market. When
you've got free money you can out-dump everybody below cost," Ashley said in
an interview with Climate Progress.

That "free money" Ashley refers to is the cheap debt provided by the Chinese
Development Bank (CDB).  Here's how the CDB works its magic:

The CDB was originally set up as a "policy bank," to operate as an arm of
the Chinese central government, doling out public funding to support central
government development programs.  Now it is a "joint stock company with
limited liability" that often reports to China's national cabinet on certain
policy issues. This allows the Chinese government to get involved in CDB
activities and direct loans toward projects officials want to support.

Unlike most regular commercial banks, CDB raises most of its money via
long-term bonds. Funders cannot take that money back out until the term is
up, so the bank can make longer-term loans to Chinese companies. CDB also
gives borrowers very low interest rates, and, if the borrower cannot pay
back the loan, it may be back-stopped by the Chinese government.

This makes it easier, cheaper and a lot less risky for solar companies to
obtain financing.

In 2010 alone, the bank handed out $30 billion in low-cost loans to the top
five manufacturers in the country.  [See chart above.]  This has enabled
China's solar producers to grow to GW-scale in a very short period of time,
turning the country into a leading exporter of solar and pushing down prices

From a project development perspective, those steep price drops are a very
good thing. But manufacturers trying to make product outside of China and
other Asian countries are getting hit hard.

"Free money is impossible to compete with," said Ashley. "Even when global
demand went down they were able to keep producing, producing, producing,"
said Ashley. "And now they're dumping. If something isn't done, there will
be no American product left on the market."

Allegations of solar panel dumping have been made before in Europe and the
U.S., but they have never been proven. In 2009, Suntech CEO Shi Zengrong
explained in a conference call that his company was selling panels below
marginal costs. But he reversed his statement shortly after, saying he
misunderstood the reporter's question.

With Chinese producers in a far more dominant position than in 2009 and a
slew of solar manufacturing facility closures announced in the U.S. in
recent months, concerns about dumping have resurfaced. Oregon Senator Ron
Wyden recently sent a letter to President Obama asking him to investigate
whether or not Chinese companies are selling product below cost in order to
push American producers out of the market. He also called on the
administration to implement a trade tariff on Chinese modules:

Letting that happen is unacceptable. Please know that if your administration
is unwilling to take the appropriate steps, with haste, I will advance a
legislative effort, as provided by the U.S. trade remedy laws, to ensure
that the American solar industry is not harmed by unfair trade.  

Wyden's letter comes after the high-profile bankruptcies of American solar
manufacturers Solyndra and Evergreen. While a variety of technological and
market-based factors contributed to the demise of these companies, the
Chinese competition — driven by cheap, easy debt — played a central role.

Remarkably, even with all the pressure from China, the U.S. is a net
exporter of solar products to the country. A new report issued by GTM
Research and the Solar Energy Industries Association shows that America had
a $247 million solar trade surplus with China in 2010, mostly because of
polysilicon and equipment shipments.

"Yeah, that's great. But we're just sending the raw materials and buying
back the finished goods," explained Suniva's Bryan Ashley. "That's a
going-out-of-business strategy. Pretty soon they'll figure out how to
produce quality polysilicon and they'll be doing it all themselves. We need
to re-learn how to make things in this country."

Ashley would like to see a Buy America provision for certain installation
programs and investigation into the dumping issue.

But rather than engage in trade battles, GTM Research's Director of Solar
Shayle Kann believes that America needs to put its focus on technological
innovation. Testifying in front of the House Natural Resources Committee
yesterday, Kann explained the strategy:

It will be difficult for the U.S. to compete with China at its own game --
namely, high-volume manufacturing of a commoditized product -- given the
cost advantages available for Chinese manufacturing. However, the U.S. can
and should continue to develop and commercialize innovative technologies
that offer lower costs than traditional panels. These new technologies are
generally proprietary, require a more skilled labor force, and are difficult
to duplicate.

Suniva could be considered part of this category. Using a unique cell
design, the company has created a high-efficiency mono-crystalline solar
cell that could compete with SunPower. But with all the cheap debt that the
Chinese government is throwing at domestic companies, Suniva is finding it
increasingly tough to stay in the U.S.

"If something isn't done, no one will be making solar PV in the U.S.," said

The situation is a difficult one. China's domestic efforts are helping drop
the price of solar at an astonishing pace — something that everyone in the
solar industry wants. But it's also making it extraordinarily difficult for
American solar manufacturers to compete.

The United States invented the modern solar cell over a half century ago. 
As China continues to boost domestic solar companies, the American solar
industry will be asking some hard questions about how -- and if -- solar
manufacturing can ever make it in a big way in the U.S.

Melanie Hart, Policy Analyst for Chinese Energy and Climate Policy at the
Center for American Progress contributed to this report.

This article was originally published by Climate Progress and was reprinted
with permission.

Stephen Lacey is a reporter with, a blog published by
the Center for American Progress. He is a former editor and producer for, where this column appears. Visit his author page

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>>> Gartner's Bold Prediction:  85% of 2012 Semiconductor Growth from just
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Solar plus: Hybrid Plants Inch Ahead | RenewablesBiz

FW: DOE Report: U.S. Solar Industry Achieved Record Cost Reductions in 2010 - ElectroIQ

DOE Report: U.S. Solar Industry Achieved Record Cost Reductions in 2010

The average cost of going solar in the U.S. decreased significantly in 2010
and through the first half of 2011, according to a report released by the
Department of Energy's (DOE) Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory.
According to a Sept. 15 release, solar advocates applaud the report as the
latest indicator that solar is ready to power America's new energy economy.
"The solar power industry is the fastest growing industry in America. We are
delivering strong economic returns and good jobs at increasingly competitive
prices, as this National Lab report shows. This report is further proof of
what Americans from across the country already know: smart solar policy
creates jobs and economic growth for communities hit hard by the recession,"
said Rhone Resch, president and CEO of the Solar Energy Industries
Association (SEIA).
"Solar is ready to play a significant role in our nation's energy economy.
It's reliable, it's scalable, it's safe, and now we're seeing that it's
cost-competitive with conventional electricity resources in many parts of
the country. The American solar industry has achieved these tremendous cost
reductions and economic benefits while still supplying less than 1 percent
of our national energy mix. Just imagine what the coming years could have in
store if the U.S. solar market is allowed to continue its robust growth,"
said Carrie Hitt, President of the Solar Alliance, a state-focused alliance
of solar manufacturers, integrators and financiers.
Adam Browning, Executive Director of the Vote Solar Initiative, a grassroots
organization working to make solar power a mainstream energy resource across
the U.S. noted: "The impressive cost reductions highlighted in this report
did not happen by accident. It took business innovation and market-building
policies at all levels of government to achieve the necessary economies of
scale. There has never been a better time for customers or utilities to
harness the sun for power. It's time to double down on our nation's
investment in this job-creating, homegrown energy resource."
Report highlights include:
The latest edition of Lawrence Berkeley National Lab's "Tracking the Sun,"
an annual report on solar photovoltaic (PV) costs in the U.S., examined more
than 115,000 PV systems installed between 1998 and 2010 across 42 states.
Key findings include:
The cost of going solar fell significantly for consumers over the past 18
months. The average pre-incentive cost of residential and commercial solar
PV systems decreased 17 percent in 2010, the most significant annual
reductions since Lawrence Berkeley National Lab began tracking data. Costs
declined another 11 percent in the first half of 2011.
Market-building policies are effectively driving costs down. Reductions in
the costs of installation labor, balance of systems, overhead and other
non-module costs fell 18 percent from 2009 to 2010. This is significant
because, unlike module costs, which are largely determined by the global
market, non-module costs are most readily impacted by state and federal
policies that accelerate deployment and remove market barriers.
U.S. solar incentives are delivering an increasing return on investment. As
a result of lower per watt costs, the average size of direct cash incentives
from states and utilities as well as dollar-per-watt value of the federal
tax incentive have both steadily decreased since their peak.
Increased market scale would likely achieve additional near-term cost
reductions. The average installed cost of small residential PV installations
in 2010 was significantly lower in Germany ($4.2/W) than in the United
States ($6.9/W), where cumulative grid-connected PV capacity in the two
countries through 2010 totaled roughly 17,000 MW and 2,100 MW, respectively.
Tracking the Sun is one of many reports from industry groups and independent
consultants indicating that solar is ready and able to meet a larger portion
of America's power needs and strengthen the U.S. economy. The quarterly U.S.
Solar Market Insight report from GTM Research and SEIA showed continued
record-breaking growth in the first part of 2011.
The report found that year-over-year, the amount of new solar PV installed
grew 66 percent, domestic solar manufacturing grew 31 percent, and another
1.1 GW of utility-scale solar is currently under construction. The National
Solar Jobs Census from the Solar Foundation found that the growing U.S.
solar industry supported 93,500 jobs in 2010 with more than half of all
solar employers planning to expand their workforce in 2011.
Vote Solar is a non-profit grassroots organization working to fight climate
change and foster economic opportunity by bringing solar energy into the
mainstream. Since 2002 Vote Solar has engaged in state, local and federal
advocacy campaigns to remove regulatory barriers and implement the key
policies needed to bring solar to scale.
The Solar Energy Industries Association is the national trade association of
the U.S. solar energy industry. As the voice of the industry, SEIA works
with its 1,000 member companies to make solar a mainstream and significant
energy source by expanding markets, removing market barriers, strengthening
the industry and educating the public on the benefits of solar energy.
The Solar Alliance is a state-focused association of solar equipment
manufacturers, integrators, integrators, and financiers specifically working
with state administrators, legislators and utilities to establish solar
policies and programs.
Report info
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FW: New Report Shows U.S. Solar Outpaces Global Market: Industry Grows 69 Percent Year-Over-Year as Prices Drop - ElectroIQ

New Report Shows U.S. Solar Outpaces Global Market: Industry Grows 69
Percent Year-Over-Year as Prices Drop

The U.S. solar energy market continued its rapid growth during the second
quarter of 2011, according to the latest release of GTM Research and the
Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA)'s quarterly U.S. Solar Market
Insight report.
Solar photovoltaics (PV) led the way with 314 megawatts installed across the
U.S. in the second quarter, 69 percent more than during the same period last
"Even in this tough economy the U.S. solar industry continues to be one of
the fastest growing in America," said SEIA president and CEO Rhone Resch.
"There are now more than 100,000 Americans working in the solar industry,
twice as many as there were in 2009. They work at 5,000 companies - mostly
small businesses - across all 50 states."
The utility and commercial solar market segments grew 37 percent and 22
percent, respectively. The residential PV segment slowed, installing 60
megawatts, a 5.7 percent drop over last quarter. Still, the industry's
overall growth means it is powering the equivalent of 630,000 homes.
The industry faces challenges in 2012 that could slow its torrid pace from
the past year and a half.
"The potential expiration of the 1603 Treasury program, along with current
malaise in major markets, such as New Jersey and Pennsylvania, threaten to
slow growth in 2012," said Shayle Kann, Managing Director of Solar at GTM
Research. "Still, with increasing market diversity and the continued
emergence of the utility-scale solar market, we anticipate that the U.S.
market share of global installations will triple over the next four years."
"The dynamic second quarter growth is a result of increased competition in
the solar market, competition that drove down the price of solar panels by
30 percent since the beginning of 2010," added Resch. "This is good news for
residential and business customers as solar becomes more affordable every
Full statement:
Free executive summary (or purchase full re
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FW: Bill seeks to repeal stimulus loans by WAPA, bailouts for failed renewable energy projects

A few bad apples.

Monty Bannerman
ArcStar Energy

Bill seeks to repeal stimulus loans by WAPA, bailouts for failed renewable
energy projects

September 16, 2011
Source: US House of Representatives Natural Resources Committee

House Natural Resources Water and Power Subcommittee Chairman Tom McClintock
recently introduced H.R. 2915, the American Taxpayer and Western Area Power
Administration Customer Protection Act of 2011. The legislation repeals the
2009 Stimulus Act's new $3.25 billion Western Area Power Administration
(WAPA) loan authority, including the taxpayer bailout provision for failed
renewable energy transmission projects.

"Recent events make it clear that billions of dollars of taxpayer funds have
been placed in jeopardy to support wind and solar companies that obviously
lack the merit to attract private investments," said McClintock. "These
dubious interests rely instead on political connections with government
officials to access taxpayer funds. As they collapse, the taxpayers end up
holding the bag. It is time to require every sector of the energy industry
to raise its own capital through its own merit rather than to perpetuate the
crony capitalism that is now running rampant through this government."

"The recent bankruptcy of Solyndra, a recipient of a $535 million stimulus
loan guarantee from the Department of Energy under the Stimulus Act, is a
stunning and alarming example of why taxpayers should not be on the hook for
billions of dollars of risky WAPA loan projects," said House Natural
Resources Committee Chairman Doc Hastings. "Taxpayers should not be stuck
footing the bill for expensive renewable energy transmission projects that
turned out to be bad investments by the federal government. Repealing this
WAPA provision will protect scarce taxpayer dollars and end several billion
dollars of unspent Stimulus Act funds."

The 2009 Stimulus Act states that, "If, at the end of the useful life of a
project, there is a remaining balance owed to the Treasury under this
section, the balance shall be forgiven." During appearances before the
Natural Resources Committee, the current WAPA Administrator could not
guarantee that such a bailout would never occur. This is in stark contrast
to the borrowing authority of the Bonneville Power Administration (BPA) and
the Tennessee Valley Authority, which are both fully responsible for
repaying their debt.

McClintock's bill would specifically repeal Section 301 of the Hoover Power
Plant Act of 1984, which was amended by the Stimulus Act to suddenly create
the new borrowing authority. It would not apply to any projects already
approved before September 15, 2011.


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Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Producing Flexible CIGS Solar Cells with Record Efficiency | Product Design and Development

Producing Flexible CIGS Solar Cells with Record Efficiency
By EmpaWednesday, September 21, 2011
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Flexible CIGS solar cells developed at Empa.

The technology yielding flexible solar cells with an 18.7% world record
efficiency developed by scientists at Empa, the Swiss Federal Laboratories
for Materials Science and Technology, has now been published in "Nature
Materials". Key to the breakthrough is the control of the energy band gap
grading in the copper indium gallium (di)selenide semiconductor, also known
as CIGS, the layer that absorbs light and converts it into electricity.

High-performance flexible and lightweight solar cells, say, on plastic
foils, have excellent potential to lower the manufacturing costs through
roll-to-roll processing and the so called "balance-of-system" cost, thus
enabling affordable solar electricity in the near future. Thus far, however,
flexible solar cells on polymer films have been lacking behind in
performance compared to rigid cells, primarily because polymer films require
much lower temperatures during deposition of the absorber layer, generally
resulting in much lower efficiencies.

Record-breaking team
The research team at Empa's Laboratory for Thin Film and Photovoltaics, led
by Ayodhya N. Tiwari, has been involved in the development of
high-efficiency CIGS solar cells on both glass and flexible substrates with
a special focus on reducing the deposition temperature of the CIGS layer.
The group has repeatedly increased efficiency of flexible CIGS solar cells
over the past years – first at ETH Zurich and now since three years at Empa.
With their current record value of 18.7% Tiwari and his team nearly closed
the efficiency gap to cells based on multi-crystalline silicon (Si) wafers
or CIGS cells on glass. The scientific details of their novel
low-temperature deposition technology and the multi-layered device have
recently been published in "Nature Materials".

"To achieve such high efficiency values, we had to reduce the recombination
losses of photo-generated charge carriers", said Tiwari. CIGS layers grown
by co-evaporation at temperature of around 450 °C have a strong composition
grading because of inadequate inter-diffusion of intermediate phases and
preferential diffusion of gallium (Ga) towards the electrical back contact
To overcome this problem doctoral students Adrian Chirilã and Patrick
Bloesch developed novel processes for optimizing the solar cell performance.
To achieve an appropriate composition profile in the CIGS layer –  for
enabling more efficient charge carrier collection and reduced interface
recombination – Chirilã and colleagues developed an innovative growth
process by carefully controlling the Ga and indium (In) evaporation flux
during different stages of the evaporation process.            
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FW: Solar Market Doubling | RenewablesBiz

Sunday, September 18, 2011

test blog 2

Monty Bannerman
ArcStar Energy

test blog

Monty Bannerman
ArcStar Energy