Monday, October 31, 2011

FW: China home to 'Asia's first ISCC demo plant' - Power Engineering International

The most virtuous combo.

By Dr. Heather Johnstone
Chief Editor

Hanas New Energy Group has started constructing its integrated solar
combined-cycle (ISCC) trough solar power plant in Gaoshawo, Ningxia
province, China.

The project is described as the first ISCC solar demonstration project in
Asia, and is expected to be operational by 2013.

Hanas is building the 92.5 MW, $350m plant in collaboration with North China
Power Engineering and Germany's Siemens.
The power station represents an alternative to traditional trough solar
power generation by combining the solar technology with gas turbines to
maximise the utilization of solar power resources.

Hanas claims that this will increase the thermal efficiency of the whole
plant to 80 per cent.

According to the company, the plant's output will be able to follow grid
demand, making it more like a traditional thermal power plant, allowing for
easier grid connection and management.

The ISCC plant will be operated at a daily load of between 30 per cent and
100 per cent, says Hanas.

For more Solar Power news.

For more Gas
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Wow! Go US! First Solar Releases Third Quarter 2011 Results Early | Solarbuzz

Friday, October 28, 2011

OPA projection of capacity to be added in next 18 months



Industry News

October 2011

Stable outlook for power system

The period from September 2011 to February 2013 poses no new reliability or adequacy concerns for Ontario’s power system, said the Independent Electricity System Operator (IESO) in its latest 18-Month Outlook.

Over 2,500 MW of new and refurbished generation is expected to be connected to Ontario’s bulk power system over the next 18 months. This will include the anticipated return of two refurbished Bruce nuclear units, the addition of about 400 MW of gas-fired generation in York Region and the construction of about 600 MW of grid-connected renewable generation.

By February 2013, the IESO expects a combined total of more than 4,000 MW of wind and solar generation to be connected to either the high-voltage transmission grid or the low-voltage distribution system.

Energy demand has been weaker than expected through the first half of 2011. Energy consumption is expected to decline by 0.3 percent in 2011 before rebounding with 2.0 percent growth in 2012, as the economy picks up.

The IESO regularly assesses the adequacy and reliability of Ontario’s power system. The 18-Month Outlook is issued on a quarterly basis and is available here.




Monty Bannerman

ArcStar Energy


Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Solar popping up in the Caribbean

Dominican Republic

German company signs PPA for 30 MW in Dominican Republic

25.10.2011: According to the Dominican Corporation of State-owned Electrical Companies (CDEEE), the German company JRC Electronic will invest $US120 million to build a 30 MW photovoltaic installation in the Dominican Republic. The CDEEE announced that it has signed a 20-year power purchase agreement with JRC Electronic to buy 100 percent of the energy produced by 30 MW installation for 19.96 US$ cents per kWh. The installation, which will be located in the municipality of Monte Plata, is scheduled to come on line in 2012. ... Source: CDEEE; translation and summary: PHOTON



Monty Bannerman

ArcStar Energy


FW: Delaware moves to the head of the class on grid interconnection; Vote Solar Institute cites stateâ(EURO)(TM)s leadership on connecting clean energy - ElectroIQ

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Delaware moves to the head of the class on grid interconnection; Vote Solar
Institute cites stateâ(EURO)(TM)s leadership on connecting clean energy
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October 21, 2011

DOVER -- The Vote Solar Institute has moved Delaware to "the head of the
class" when it comes to connecting renewable resources to the grid in the
2011 edition of its report, . Delaware was one of three states to earn an
"A" grade for both net metering and interconnection policies that support
renewable resources such as wind and solar energy, with the report ranking
its policies "among the strongest in the country."

Under Governor Jack Markell's leadership, Delaware adopted a progressive
net-metering law with strong bipartisan support in 2010 (Senate Bill 267,
sponsored by Senators Harris McDowell and Gary Simpson and Representatives
Dennis Williams and Michael Mulrooney) that makes it easier for utility
customers to sell excess renewable energy to the grid.

Delaware is adopting leading-edge interconnection policies that allow small
renewable resources to connect to the grid without requiring redundant and
restrictive review from PJM Interconnection, the regional grid manager. The
Vote Solar report praised the state's collaboration with local electrical
utilities along with the efforts of the Public Service Commission to
implement model interconnection standards.

The report highlights Delaware's progress, noting that the state moved from
an "F" to an "A" in the category of interconnection policy:

As of mid-2011, Delaware is poised to adopt interconnection procedures that
are among the strongest in the country and have received a score of "A" in
Freeing the Grid 2011. In addition, the adoption of rules for aggregate
metering and community renewables has greatly expanded opportunities for
investment in renewable energy among customer groups who previously would
have been unable to fully utilize the state's solid net metering program.
Most importantly, Delaware's renewable energy policies are finally aligned
to bring significant investment in renewable energy to the state.

DNREC Secretary Collin O'Mara welcomed the news, saying, "Under Governor
Markell's leadership, Delaware is taking significant steps to transition
towards cleaner sources of energy. Through the innovative clean energy
policies recognized in this report, including virtual net-metering,
community aggregation, and interconnection policies, Delaware is emerging as
one of the best places in the U.S. for clean energy investments."

"Integrating more clean energy into the grid puts more people to work,
supports capital investment, and promotes a healthier environment," Gov.
Markell said. "Through strong bipartisan support, Delaware has demonstrated
repeatedly that we can strengthen our economy and improve our environment at
the same time."

Vote Solar cites Delaware's progressive polices including simplified
interconnection procedures, aggregate net metering that allows customers to
link several meters on a farm or college campus, and allowing communities to
link multiple home meters to one jointly-owned renewable resource.

CONTACT: Michael Globetti, DNREC Public Affairs, 302-739-9902

Copyright 2011 Normans Media Limited
All Rights Reserved
Wire News provided by 
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FW: Universal PV Interface Alliance formally launched - ElectroIQ

These kind of initiatives definitely drive costs down for all, if they can
get to a common standard.

Universal PV Interface Alliance formally launched
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The Universal PV Interface Alliance (UPVI) announced its launch as an
industry consortium dedicated to the development of a standard, universal
electrical and mechanical interface between photovoltaic modules and
embedded module-level electronics or cable assemblies
DALLAS, USA: The Universal PV Interface Alliance (UPVI) announced its launch
as an industry consortium dedicated to the development of a standard,
universal electrical and mechanical interface between photovoltaic (PV)
modules and embedded module-level electronics or cable assemblies.
The UPVI Alliance will enable manufacturers to implement a single interface
that is tested and certified to be interoperable with other UPVI-certified
products, said a press release.
The UPVI Alliance unifies several parallel efforts to develop a
non-proprietary interface, and will ultimately reduce costs, complexity, and
technology risk for manufacturers of PV modules, module-level power
electronics, junction boxes, and cable assemblies, the release added.
The founders of the UPVI Alliance include SunPower, SolarBridge
Technologies, SolarEdge, and Tigo Energy.
CyberMedia News

Copyright 2011 CIOL, distributed by
All Rights Reserved
Wire News provided by 

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Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Experts urge Arab countries to exploit solar energy potential | Electric Power News | Energy Central

Regulators agree to let FPL raise rates to pay for possible nuclear plants | Electric Power News | Energy Central

Systematic rape of Florida ratepayers aided and abetted by public employees and political appointees.

theft-proof panel clips

Simrit Unveils Solar Retaining Clip at Solar Power International 2011

20.10.2011: To reduce installation time and number of components, Simrit will debut a theft-proof solar retaining clip for use with frameless photovoltaic thin film modules. The innovative design provides for faster and easier assembly, while also reducing damage typically incurred by movement, installation or environmental conditions. Simrit will showcase the solar retaining clip solution at Solar Power International held at the Dallas Convention Center from Oct. 17 to 20 at booth #6831. ... Source: SIMRIT Division of Freudenberg - NOK



Monty Bannerman

ArcStar Energy


Conergy CFO resigns

Conergy CFO resigns

24.10.2011: German solar group Conergy AG has announced that its CFO, Sebastian Biedenkopf, will leave the company, effective Feb. 2012. Speaking with PHOTON, Biedenkopf said that now that he has completed the process of refinancing the company, he feels it is a good time to leave. Conergy has updated its guidance and expects that it will no longer increase its revenues and profits this year. For the first two quarters of 2011, Conergy reported a loss of €40 million (US$55.5 million). ... Source: Conergy AG, PHOTON, summary: PHOTON



Monty Bannerman

ArcStar Energy


Shale Gas Craze Gets Bigger | EnergyBiz

Sunday, October 23, 2011

FW: (BN) GE Capital Loan to Blackstone Said to Be First of Kind Since 2008 Crisis

This will make some waves in the commercial realty sector. Sign of market life or just distressed assets?



GE Capital Said to Lend $800 Million for Blackstone Office Deal

Oct. 22 (Bloomberg) -- General Electric Co.'s lending arm agreed to provide about $800 million to help finance Blackstone Group LP's $1.08 billion purchase of U.S. suburban office buildings, said two people briefed on the transaction.

The loan marks GE Capital's first large commercial real estate financing since the credit crisis following Lehman Brothers Holdings Inc.'s bankruptcy in September 2008, according to the people, who asked not to be identified because the information is private. Blackstone is buying the properties, located mostly in the Midwest and South, from Duke Realty Corp.

The deal with Blackstone, the world's largest private- equity firm, matches GE's strategy of concentrating on debt investments at GE Capital's property unit while lessening the equity portion. GE, based in Fairfield, Connecticut, yesterday reported third-quarter earnings that matched analyst estimates as it recorded narrower-than-expected losses from the real estate division.

"You've seen more liquidity come into the real estate property market," GE Chief Financial Officer Keith Sherin said in a telephone interview yesterday. "There's quite a bit of investment by international funds, strategic funds in the space."

The company is resuming commercial-property financing as some Wall Street lenders pull back from making loans for real estate purchases. Widening spreads in the market for commercial mortgage-backed securities are eroding profits on the deals. The extra yield investors demand to hold the top-ranked portion of bonds backed by commercial mortgages jumped to the highest level since February 2010 earlier this month, according to a Barclays Capital Inc. index.

Narrowed Loss

GE Capital's real estate unit had a third-quarter loss of $82 million, narrowed from $405 million a year earlier and $335 million in the previous three months. The results were better than the estimates of analysts at firms including Credit Suisse Group AG and William Blair & Co.

GE Capital plans to hold the mortgage on the deal with Blackstone, one of the people briefed on the financing said. The rest of the financing will come from the equity in Blackstone's seventh real estate fund, the people said.

GE may choose to eventually syndicate the loan as it has in previous transactions, one of the people said.

John Oliver, a spokesman for GE Capital, declined to comment yesterday, as did Blackstone spokesman Peter Rose.

Blackstone is buying 82 buildings with a combined 10.1 million square feet (938,000 square meters) of space, Indianapolis-based Duke Realty said in a statement Oct. 20. They include properties in the suburbs of Chicago, Minneapolis, Dallas and Atlanta.

Blackstone has invested more than $7 billion in real estate this year, and has raised $4 billion for its latest property fund that the New York-based firm expects to exceed $10 billion, Chairman Stephen Schwarzman said Oct. 20.

To contact the reporters on this story: Hui-yong Yu in Seattle at Rachel Layne in Boston at

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Kara Wetzel at

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Saturday, October 22, 2011

CANDU reactor costs and benefits

Monster overruns, mired in taxpayer-held debt and producing power at $0.077/kWh. Why again do we want to keep doing this?

Transportable Thorium Reactor in development at Lawrence Livermore Labs

10-20 years out, but potentially the source of safe nukes. Thorium can’t produce plutonium.

New Facility to Transform U.S. Energy Infrastructure

Energy Secretary Stephen Chu again proves he is the man for the job.

Spring 2011 | Issue 1, Vol. 1

Energy Systems Integration Facility to Transform U.S. Energy Infrastructure - Spring 2011 | Issue 1, Vol. 1
The nation's electricity infrastructure needs a 21st century overhaul. NREL's newest research facility will lead the way.
Everyone knows that Thomas Edison invented the light bulb. But not many know that one of his greatest inventions was not the invention itself, but the research laboratory from whence it came. Edison's original research and development laboratory in Menlo Park, N.J., was the first of its kind and revolutionized the process of technological research.

ESIF will house a variety of research that aims to overcome challenges related to interconnection and integration of renewable energy onto the electrical grid.
Later, the fusion of business and technology achieved at his West Orange, N.J. facility provided a model for modern corporate and governmental research, development, and testing laboratories. It was there that Edison tested the basis for making the generation and distribution of electricity commercially feasible.

Now, more than a century after the electric age began, our nation's electricity generation, transmission, and distribution infrastructure is poised for a 21st century hi-tech overhaul. Enabling the integration of renewable energy, more efficient utilization of existing production technology, advanced communications and controls, and information technology on our nation's aging grid require unique capabilities that are not found in today's energy infrastructure.

This presents a number of challenges that need to be overcome. To do so will require a dedicated facility that can carry out research, development, and megawatt-scale testing of critical transmission and distribution-level components of future electric supply and demand systems.

Enter the Energy Systems Integration Facility (ESIF).

Nearly four years in the making, ESIF (pronounced ē-sif) will enable complex multi-system research, development, validation and testing by fully integrating advanced simulation and data analysis. Complex system modeling and simulation with hardware validation at megawatt-scale powers is the unique feature of the ESIF. This will provide laboratory assets required to transform the electricity system by collapsing the time from innovation to market and enabling deployment speeds and scales commensurate with national objectives.

Importantly, this partnering facility will provide industry partners the opportunity to work with NREL and insert their individual technologies into a controlled integrated energy system platform to test and optimize the technologies to reduce the risk of early market penetration.

"ESIF will do something different. It will fill research gaps and provide a national focal point for systems-integration R&D. ESIF will be one of a few facilities in the country capable of providing for the fully integrated field-testing of hardware and software technologies, enabling advanced visualization and simulation, establishing a virtual utility operations platform, and providing Smart Grid interoperability testing and validation," said Robert Shapard, chairman of GridWise Alliance.

With ESIF's first-of-its-kind features and capabilities, NREL will be able to fully assess systems as a whole—a system made up of many interacting and interdependent subsystems—and realize the performance and reliability impacts from generation, to transmission, to distribution, and the built environment.

Understanding the vision of the ESIF and recognizing this facility will provide innovative solutions, industry has shown a growing interest in being a part of the ESIF. "No integrated system and component testing capability similar to the ESIF currently exists in the public- or private-sectors, substantiating a clear national need for the level of research and testing the ESIF can accommodate," said Dr. Dave Mooney, director of NREL's Electricity, Resources and Building Systems Integration Center. "Participation from utilities, equipment manufacturers, renewable systems integrators, universities, and other national labs and related industries in fully utilizing ESIF's capabilities will dramatically accelerate the research required to transform the energy system to one that is cleaner, more secure, and more reliable."

ESIF Snapshot
Cost : $135M
Square feet: 185,000
Occupants: 200
Super computer: teraflop-scale; planned to be expanded to petaflop-scale
State-of-the-art electric systems simulation and visualization in an HPC environment
Component and systems testing and validation at MW-scale powers
Integration of functioning systems with utility system simulations for real-time, real-power evaluation of high penetration scenarios
Construction complete: summer 2013
Research Focus
With the collaboration of industry partners and NREL's more than 30 years of experience, the ESIF will house a variety of research that aims to overcome technical barriers to effectively and reliably operating energy systems with high levels of renewable energy. Integration research will include, but is not limited to:

Building and facility systems,
Community power generation and microgrids,
Utility generation, and
Grids that incorporate renewable energy (solar, wind, hydrogen, advanced vehicles), energy efficiency technologies, electricity system architectures, and grid interoperability.
Labs and Equipment
To support these areas of research, the 185,000-sq. ft. ESIF will house approximately 200 scientists and engineers, more than 14 fully equipped laboratories, the Insight Visualization Center, High Bay Control Room, and several outdoor test beds.

Visualization Capabilities
Planned electricity systems visualization capabilities at the ESIF go beyond what would be found in a typical utility operations center. Fully integrated with hardware-in-the-loop at power capabilities, an experimental distribution bus, and a high-performance computing center, the ESIF visualization center will offer a view of complex systems operations internal to the laboratory, as well as the ability to visualize complex systems simulations and operations in a completely virtual environment. Additionally, the visualization center will offer a view of the impact of systems operating in the laboratory on a simulated system through the hardware- and systems-in-the-loop capability.

Hardware-in-the-Loop at Power
Hardware-in-the-loop simulation is not a new concept, but adding megawatt-scale power takes research to another dimension. Equipped with grid simulators, the ESIF's Smart Power Lab is the test lab for development of the power electronics components and circuits used in clean and sustainable energy integration.

The ESIF will be the place to do hardware-in-the-loop testing with low- to megawatt-scale power capability," said Dr. Bill Kramer, senior engineer at NREL, "bringing research to the forefront of today's technology. It will allow researchers and manufacturers to conduct integration tests at power and actual load levels in real-time simulation, and evaluate component and system performance before going to market." Dr. Kramer provides the ESIF design-build firm with mechanical and electrical lab planning guidance from both a functional and safety perspective.

Distribution Bus Network
The research electrical distribution bus (REDB) is a specialized network capable of connecting multiple sources of energy, interconnecting laboratories, and experiments to test and simulate equipment. It is what connects power electronics, megawatt-scale grid simulators, electrical load banks, smart grid technology evaluation capabilities, and power electronic inverters and converters. Integrated throughout the ESIF, the distribution bus is tied into a SCADA (Supervisory Control and Data Acquisition) system that centrally collects, displays, and stores information from data collection points across all ESIF labs.

The distribution bus electrically connects experiments between labs and will enable the operation and performance characterization of integrated power systems and components using a variety of renewable energy and fossil fuel powered electric generators, coupled with appropriate loads, grid simulators and storage systems.

High-Performance Computing Capability
In addition to the visualization capabilities of the Smart Power Lab, the ESIF will include a high-performance computing and data center that will expand NREL's capabilities in modeling and simulation of renewable energy technologies and their integration into the existing energy infrastructure. The HPC capability will allow large-scale simulation and modeling of fully integrated systems; molecular and nanoscale simulation that evade direct observation; and the integration of resource mapping and forecasting to perform simulated forecasts and risk analysis.

The teraflop-scale (planned to be expanded to petaflop-scale or one quadrillion floating-point operations per second) high-performance computer will enable large-scale modeling and simulation of material properties, processes and fully integrated systems that would be too expensive, too dangerous, or even impossible, to study by direct experimentation and help NREL researchers advance renewable energy and energy efficiency technologies.

The ESIF will achieve a minimum power usage effectiveness rating of 1.06 for the High Performance Computing Center, making the facility one of the most energy efficient in the world.

Sustainable NREL
Edison envisioned the ideal laboratory as a unique and cutting-edge assembly of equipment that would set an unprecedented standard of excellence. Add NREL's expertise—and you have the ESIF.

This showcase facility will not only meet the nation's crucial research objectives for integrating clean and sustainable energy technologies into the grid, but will be built in accordance with the U.S. Green Buildings Council's standards and is expected to achieve at minimum LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) Gold Certification.

Following the lead of NREL's newest campus addition, the Research Support Facility, the ESIF will demonstrate NREL's commitment to a sustainable energy future with its energy-saving workplace environment. The ultra-efficient building design will include energy efficient features such as natural ventilation through operable windows, daylighting, open air cubicles, and radiant heating and cooling.

Meeting the Challenge
Transforming the nation's energy infrastructure is a tall order and arguably the most significant challenge facing our country today. The breakthrough energy technologies and interconnection solutions that NREL and its industry partners will develop and test in this dedicated facility will be critical to transforming the nation's energy infrastructure at an unprecedented rate, bringing with it a secure and sustainable energy future to the United States.

Were Edison alive today and witness to the ESIF, he would probably marvel over the advanced technology and modernized design of one of his greatest inventions, and applaud NREL's efforts in advancing DOE's and our nation's energy goals.

Learn more about NREL's work in energy infrastructure conducted by the Electricity, Resources and Building Systems Integration Center.

Illustrations courtesy of SmithGroup
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A solar roof on every US residence - ElectroIQ

And in the end, all networked, peered and managed precisely like a big
telecom network.

By David Anthony and Tao Zheng

October 17, 2011 -- Who ever thought that every home in America would have a
radio, a television, a phone, a computer, and now a solar rooftop? If it can
be imagined, then it can be done.
As crude oil price fluctuates between $70 and $110 a barrel in the past year
and nuclear power expansion has been restricted after Japan's Fukushima
nuclear disaster, renewable energies such as photovoltaic (PV) could fill
the void. Let's imagine if every residential home in the US had a solar
roof. It is our interest to estimate the maximum potential of rooftop PV
capacity in America, assuming 100% market penetration.
Before the market size estimation, let's review the current trend of the US
solar markets. Recent report from Interstate Renewable Energy Council shows
the solar installed base of PV in 2010 doubled compared to the solar
installed base in 2009, while installed capacity for other solar
technologies such as concentrating solar power (CSP) and solar thermal
collector also increased significantly. Based on a study by Solar Energy
Industries Association, cumulative grid-connected PV in the US has now
reached over 2.3GW, with top seven states (such as California and New
Jersey) having installed 88% of all PV in Q1 2011. However, US solar
penetration falls behind some European countries, most notably Germany. In
2010 alone, Germany installed 7.4GW of PV systems and currently has an
install base of 14.7GW, more than 6x that of the US. Germany's solar market
is traditionally driven by residential installations, supported by generous
government incentives. The primary barrier stopping American homeowners from
PV installation is cost.
Historically, the US PV market has been driven by the non-residential
sector; 42% of total installation in 2010 was commercial, public sector, and
non-profit. However, residential and utility sectors have been gaining
ground steadily with market share of 30% and 28%, respectively. Distributed
rooftop represents the largest segment of the US PV market. It is fueled by
declining PV prices, government incentives, retail electricity rate earning,
and lack of transmission losses.
To simply estimate rooftop PV total available market, start with total roof
space available. Based on data from US Census Bureau, total US housing units
were 127.7 million in 2009. According to the National Association of Home
Builders, the average home size in the US was 2,700 square feet in 2009. If
we assume average number of floors per building is two, the total
residential roof space available is 172.4 billion square feet. In a more
detailed rooftop PV market penetration scenario analysis, Navigant
Consulting Inc. (NCI) used PV access factor and PV power density to estimate
technical rooftop capacity for both residential and commercial buildings.
The PV access factor takes into account shading, building orientation, roof
structural soundness, as well as cooler and warmer climates in different
states. The resulting PV access factors for residential and commercial
buildings are 25% and 60%, respectively. The PV power density is calculated
with a weight-averaged module efficiency using market share for the three
most prevalent PV technologies today: crystalline silicon (c-Si), cadmium
telluride (CdTe), and copper/indium/gallium/selenide (CIGS). The resulting
PV power density is 13.7MW/million ft2, assuming an average module
efficiency of 18.5% in 2015. The total rooftop PV technical potential can be
calculated as:
Rooftop PV technical potential = Total roof space available * PV access
factor * PV power density
Based on the NCI study, the combined US rooftop PV technical potential,
independent of economics, for both residential and commercial building will
reach 712.2GW in 2015. Figure 1 represents the state-by-state results of the
technical potential:

Figure 1. U.S. rooftop PV technical potential in 2015, estimated by Navigant
Consulting Inc.
National Renewable Energy Lab (NREL) applied a different approach, the Solar
Deployment System (SolarDS) model, to estimate that the technical potential
of residential and commercial rooftop PV market are approximately 300GW each
by year 2030. In the NREL model, shaded roofs and obstructed roof space were
eliminated, and customer adoption rate was considered to cover economic
factors, such as PV cost, policy incentive, and financing.
Based on above potential market size analysis, the current cumulative
grid-connected PV installation only represents 0.3% of total U.S. rooftop PV
technical potential, which indicates a huge market potential. In addition,
the rooftop PV system has to be replaced every 15 to 20 years, which
represents another market opportunity. If we use the NCI estimated US
rooftop PV technical potential of 712.2 GW in 2015, assuming 100% market
penetration, we can estimate how much electricity energy can be generated by
such power. If we assume 10 hours/day and 200 days/year with sunshine, the
total rooftop PV-generated electricity energy will be 1,424 billion kWh, or
1,424TWh. Compared to the total US electricity generation of 3,953TWh in
2009, the technical potential of electricity generation from rooftop PV can
take over 1/3 of US electricity demand. As indicated Figure 2, from US
Energy Information Administration (EIA), total solar generated electricity,
from both solar thermal and PV, only represents less than 0.1% of total
electricity generation in 2009. Rooftop PV has a huge market capacity to
grow, and the dramatic installation cost drop will accelerate penetration.
The current crystalline solar module price has dropped to $1.25/watt,
compared to $2.80/watt two years ago.

Figure 2. U.S. electricity generation mix in 2009. (Source: EIA Electric
Power Monthly, October 2010)
There are two ways to assimilate PV arrays with rooftops: either integrated
into them, or mounted on them. Mounting PV panels on rooftop requires more
dangerous labor practices and is not aesthetically pleasing.
Building-integrated photovoltaics (BIPV) are photovoltaic materials used to
replace conventional building materials in roof, skylights, or facades. The
advantage of BIPV over conventional roof-mounted PV panels is that the
initial cost can be offset by reducing the amount spent on building
materials and labor. BIPV also appears unobtrusive on a building structure.
Current innovations have led to increasing diversity of BIPV products on the
market, including rigid BIPV tiles and transparent BIPV glass. Advances in
thin-film PV technologies have led to flexible solar tiles and shingles.
BIPV market competition has shifted from module provider to construction
site. The fight for BIPV leadership in building and construction has begun.
A recent article from Greentech Media points out the only way to realize
BIPV is to be active in the architecture and early design of the building,
consulting on matters as integral as the compass orientation of the
building. For example, OneRoof Energy, a California-based residential BIPV
provider, established strategic alliance with a national network of roofing
contractors. The exclusive integrator relationship, as well as its
innovative financing program to reduce homeowner installation cost, provides
strong competitive advantages for the company to gain market share
nationwide.  Please excuse our shameless self-promotion as David Anthony one
of the authors of this article is an investor and board member of OneRoof

Figure 3. Residential BIPV installation.
By comparing residential and commercial market for BIPV, residential sector
has more advantages using standard-sized BIPV materials. Many commercial
buildings require custom size panel, due to specs from the building
designer. It is impossible for BIPV makers to prepare a variety of
custom-sized modules in a mass production line. In addition, landlords of
commercial building in many cities have no incentive to install BIPV. For
example, in New York City, the electricity bill is paid by the tenant, not
the landlord. Therefore, the real BIPV opportunity stays with residential
sector, not commercial buildings. Residential rooftop PV market has a bright
future with huge market potential, and already shows strong growth in recent
years. The BIPV market could reach $5.8 billion in 2016, based on a report
from Pike Research.
Beside electricity generation, the rooftop PV market could also have
potential to create millions of job opportunities for America. For a typical
0.5 MW solar installation, it will take 6 contractors for installation and
another 3 full-timers for maintenance per year. We assume rooftop PV market
will take 20 years to reach 100% penetration. In the past 10 years, the
average number of annual new home construction is 1.47 million units.
Considering recent housing market slow down, we can assume the new home
construction will be 1 million units per year over the next 20 years, which
is 0.78% growth of US total housing units. Therefore, the total U.S. rooftop
PV technical potential will reach 800GW in 2030. For a simple estimation, we
assume 40 GW/year for the next 20 years. Each year, we assume the rooftop PV
market will create 480,000 jobs for installation. In addition, it will
create 240,000 jobs per year for maintenance service, with total 4.8 million
jobs for the next 20 years. Therefore, the rooftop PV market could generate
more than 5 million jobs domestically, if we assume 100% market penetration
by 2030.  This "back of the envelope" excludes the re-roof market, which
could add to both employment and BIPV installation.
With potential to create over 5 million jobs and one third of US electricity
energy, the rooftop PV system will become more lucrative for investors,
government and US home owners. As PV electric rates are approaching grid
parity, there is no reason for the US to lag so far behind Germany, if
government provides enough inventive and infrastructures for PV market
development. Given the upcoming US presidential elections, now is the time
to be talking about new energy.
David Anthony is the managing director of 21Ventures, LLC, a VC management
firm that has provided seed, growth, and bridge capital to over 40
technology ventures across the globe, mainly in the cleantech arena. Anthony
is an investor and on the board of directors of OneRoof Energy, LLC. He
holds an MBA from The Tuck School of Business at Dartmouth College and a BA
in economics from George Washington University.
Tao Zheng is a material scientist in advanced materials and cleantech
industry. He has 20+ patents and patent applications, and has published many
peer-reviewed papers in scientific journals. Tao Zheng has a BS in polymer
materials sciences from Tsinghua University in China, and a PhD in chemical
engineering from University of Cincinnati. He obtained his MBA degree with
distinction in finance and strategy from New York University, Stern School
of Business.
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FW: Leading Solar Expertise-A Launch Pad to the Future

Basic R&D is the only way we will keep the best jobs in our own economy.
NREL is the biggest US success story since the solar cell was invented by
Bell Labs in 1954.

Spring 2011 | Issue 1, Vol. 1

Leading Solar Expertise-A Launch Pad to the Future - Spring 2011 | Issue 1,
Vol. 1
NREL is speeding solar devices from the lab to utility-scale operation.
Before a rocket blasts off into the atmosphere, the stratosphere, and
eventually to orbit and payload stage, it must first be earthbound,
supported within a strong framework, and perched on a rock-solid foundation.
When it comes to solar research, NREL's trajectory has had the benefit of a
solid foundation in fundamental science and has followed a successful
"flight plan"-a well-tuned strategy. Consequently, the lab has entered its
own "payload stage" in commercialization and deployment of solar

The solar industry provides tens of thousands of jobs across the country
and is projected to grow for years to come.
NREL's 30-year history and unique leadership make it especially suited to
lead the effort in speeding solar devices from the lab to utility-scale

Since its inception in 1977, NREL has focused on increasing solar
efficiency, reducing the costs of producing those technologies, and helping
to bring them to market. NREL's successes in the solar realm are legion-from
the dozens of times it has broken the record for solar efficiencies, to a
host of patents and licenses on solar devices, to hundreds of U.S. companies
that have collaborated with the lab and adopted the resulting technological

Another stellar achievement is the number of R&D 100 Awards that the NREL
solar research teams have garnered-21 since 1984 (see sidebar). The awards
are given out by R&D Magazine and identify each technology as one of the top
100 technological innovations of the award year.

These accomplishments are the direct results of a strategy that NREL is
using to bring about the vision of creating a national, sustainable energy
system by 2050 that is carbon-neutral, highly efficient, affordable,
reliable, and that supports high-value domestic jobs. At the utility-scale
level, the laboratory has made great progress in two solar technology areas:
photovoltaics (PV) and concentrating solar power (CSP).

The first viable PV cells were developed in 1954 by Bell Laboratories. In
the 1970s the global oil crisis demonstrated the need for alternative
energy. It was then that the Solar Energy Research Institute (which later
became NREL) began managing many research subcontracts involving crystalline
silicon materials. The contracts were for R&D that successfully reduced the
amount of silicon required in PV devices, and hence their cost. These
activities played an instrumental role in helping the solar silicon industry
evolve and led to NREL's leadership in solar cell research.

Since 1996, PV research has been performed at the National Center for
Photovoltaics (NCPV), which is based at NREL and funded by the U.S.
Department of Energy (DOE). The NCPV is charged with accelerating PV as a
viable energy option in the United States. It focuses on innovations in PV
technology that drive industry growth in U.S. PV manufacturing. DOE has
directed the center to use the resources and capabilities of the national
labs and universities to serve the U.S. PV industry. The NCPV enhances
communication and catalyzes strategic partnerships between these entities
and also functions as a source for knowledge and research facilities within
the DOE system.

Bob Hawsey, NREL Associate Lab Director for Renewable Electricity and End
Use Systems, recognizes NREL's unique leadership contributions, "The NCPV is
truly without peer when it comes to PV research and development and is
currently the envy of the wider international PV community," he says. "We
are most recognized for tremendous basic science and technology research
that is enabling photovoltaic systems to make a real difference in the
everyday lives of citizens of our nation, and around the world."

Within the PV research sphere, NREL has concentrated on two areas: thin-film
and high-efficiency solar cells.

Thin-Film Solar Cells
Enlarge image
Before the turn of the century, NREL worked on some of the world's first
solar power towers-Solar One and Solar Two, shown here.

Thin-film solar cells use less than 1% of the raw material of silicon
wafer-based solar cells, leading to significant cost advantages. These cells
can also be applied to flexible materials such as metal foil or even plastic
film, expanding their use.

Thin-film research at NREL gained notice in 1980 by scientists worldwide
when efficiencies passed 10%. NREL collaborated with Boeing in 1984 for the
first solar cell to pass 10% efficiency, using films thinner than a human
hair. The cell was made from copper indium diselenide (CIS). In the early
1990s, the group worked with Golden Photon to create the first large-area
device made from cadmium telluride (CdTe).

NREL made rapid progress in 1994 by surpassing 15% efficiency and then
reaching 17.7% in 1996 for copper indium gallium diselenide (CIGS). One of
the more popular thin-film solar cells to be developed with NREL
participation in the last 30 years is the Uni-Solar triple-junction
amorphous-silicon solar module, which resembles a traditional roof shingle.

In 2003, NREL co-developed, with First Solar, a new method for producing
CdTe modules. In 2004, NREL joined with Global Solar to develop a new
lightweight, flexible, CIGS module. For 16 years, NREL held the world record
for conversion efficiency. Today, CIGS cell efficiencies at NREL are at 20%.

High-Efficiency Solar Cells
In the late 1980s, NREL experimented with a new type of solar cell made by
using multiple solar cell junctions of differing materials: gallium indium
phosphide and gallium arsenide. The resulting "tandem" solar cell led to
record efficiencies. The technology was licensed for space applications in
the early 1990s to Spectrolab and EMCORE corporations and has since become
the industry standard for powering Earth-orbiting satellites.

The technology came back to earth quickly, however, when NREL stimulated
interest in high-efficiency solar cells. In 2002, the lab organized the
first international conference on solar concentrators using high-efficiency
solar cells. Solar concentrators use lenses or mirrors to concentrate the
sun's energy several hundred times, increasing the electricity generated by
super-efficient solar cells by the same factor.

In May 2005, NREL announced that it had confirmed a new solar cell record
efficiency of 37.9%. A month later, Spectrolab, Inc., the lab's industry
research partner, announced an even higher record with a 39%-efficient cell.

NREL built on that success in a partnership with Amonix to develop the
Amonix 7700 Solar Power Generator, which uses Fresnel lenses to focus the
sun's rays onto ultrahigh-efficiency solar cells. This bulk power generator
produces 40% more energy than conventional fixed PV panels and is
well-matched to utility-scale solar energy projects, especially in dry,
sunny climates. In 2010, NREL and Amonix received an R&D 100 Award for this

According to the Solar Energy Industries Association, as of January 2011 a
total of 2.1 GW of PV capacity was installed in the United States with more
than 16 GW under construction or in the development stage.

The DOE Solar Program recently announced the SunShot Initiative (see
sidebar), which is dedicated to expanding the market for solar technologies
by helping solar energy reach cost parity with other baseload electricity
generation sources across the United States

Concentrating Solar Power
Enlarge image
The Amonix 7700 Solar Power Generator is an example of a concentrating PV
system that is well-matched to utility-scale projects. Thirteen of these
generators have been installed at the Solar Technology Acceleration Center
in Aurora, Colorado.

CSP systems produce electricity by using mirrors to concentrate the sun's
energy to heat a working fluid to drive conventional turbines that convert
heat to electricity. By using thermal storage, such as molten salt, or by
supplementing the solar plant with natural gas, CSP systems can deliver
electricity when utilities need it most, which is typically at times of high
demand in late afternoon or early evening. This "dispatchability" adds
significantly to the value of power delivered by utility-scale solar power

NREL's roots in CSP go back to the 1970s with the development of the
High-Flux Solar Furnace. Since the early 1990s, NREL has added many more CSP
research capabilities, including laboratories dedicated to optical materials
and thermal storage. These capabilities have allowed NREL to make solid
gains in developing CSP technology for utility-scale use, including
scientific advances in materials and processes used in parabolic trough
systems and power towers.

Parabolic Trough Systems
A parabolic trough system consists of arrays of parabolic mirrors that
collect heat from the sun and focus it on receiver tubes that contain a
heat-transfer fluid. The hot fluid is sent through a series of heat
exchangers, which release the heat to generate high pressure steam. That
steam is then fed to steam turbines that generate electricity.

In the mid-1980s to early 1990s, nine commercial parabolic trough power
plants were constructed at three locations in the Mojave Desert in
California for a combined capacity of 354 MW-and they are still operating
today. In an effort to make parabolic trough plants cost-effective in
southwest markets and without incentives, NREL established the USA Trough
Initiative, a partnership with U.S. industry. The effort helped expand U.S.
industry involvement and competitiveness in worldwide trough development
activities and helped advance U.S. knowledge of this technology.

Today, NREL uses state-of-the-art facilities to characterize collectors and
receivers. The laboratory's work in this area falls primarily within the
following: determining optical efficiency, measuring heat loss, developing
and testing concentrators, and advancing optical characterization. NREL also
enables the CSP industry by developing and testing advanced mirrors and
receiver tube coatings.

One such effort involved collaboration with SkyFuel, Inc., a small company
headquartered in Arvada, Colorado, and earned an R&D 100 Award for the
SkyTrough parabolic trough. The result of more than a dozen years of
collaboration, SkyTrough is unique in that its mirrors are made of
lightweight aluminum sheets covered with ReflecTech mirror film, the
component that NREL helped develop. Lighter and less expensive to
manufacture than glass mirrors, ReflecTech is also much easier to transport
and install, and less prone to break.

These types of scientific advances at NREL have helped bring about
reductions in operation, maintenance, and system costs, which in turn have
led to a significant decrease in the cost of parabolic trough-generated
electricity. The costs have fallen from more than $ 0.28 per kilowatt-hour
(kWh) in the 1980s (in 2009 dollars) to costs approaching $ 0.18/kWh today,
which is approaching current costs in intermediate load markets.

Power Towers
R&D 100 Awards for NREL Solar Program Technologies
1984 - CIS Solar Cell
1991 - Tandem Solar Cell
1991 - CdTe Solar Cell
1992 - Solar Detoxification of Contaminated Groundwater
1993 - Silicon Defect Mapping System
1994 - Transpired Solar Collector
1997 - PV Optics Software
1998 - Solar Roof Shingle
1999 - CIS Solar Module
2001 - Triple-Junction Solar Cell
2002 - PowerViewT Module Smart Glass
2003 - High-Rate Module Process
2004 - Flexible CIGS Module
2005 - Sinton Silicon Evaluation System
2007 - HEMM Concentrator Solar Cell
2008 - IMM Solar Cell
Hybrid CIGS
2009 - SkyTroughT Parabolic Trough
Ultra-Accelerated Weathering System
2010 - Black Silicon Wet-Chemical Etch
Amonix 7700 Solar Power Generator

See a complete list of NREL's R&D 100 Awards.

A power tower system uses a large field of flat, sun-tracking mirrors called
heliostats to focus and concentrate sunlight onto a receiver on the top of a
tower. The receiver contains heat-transfer fluid that becomes hot enough to
convert water into steam, which is then used in a conventional turbine
generator to produce electricity.

In the 1980s and early 1990s, NREL worked with Sandia National Laboratories
on some of the world's first solar power towers-Solar One and Solar Two.
Solar One used water/steam as the heat-transfer fluid. The plant was later
converted into Solar Two, which used molten nitrate salt because of its
superior heat-transfer and energy-storage capabilities.

Today, NREL continues to improve power tower technology by supporting the
U.S. industry with the development of advanced system performance models,
conducting research on advanced thermal energy storage materials and design
concepts, and investigating advanced high-temperature thermodynamic cycles.

NREL is also researching ways to improve the thermal characteristics of
currently available storage materials and developing and characterizing
advanced nanofluids and phase-change materials for future thermal storage

A Proven, Working Technology
According to the Solar Energy Industries Association, as of February 2011,
508 MW of CSP utility-scale projects were operating in the United States,
399 MW were under construction, and 9,146 MW were under development, for a
total of more than 10 GW.

For more information on this technology, view the CSP 101 video on the DOE

Rock-Solid Launch Pad + Well-Aimed Flight Plan = Direct Hit
Using tools such as cooperative research and development agreements,
licensing, and technology partnerships, NREL has helped stimulate the market
for solar technologies and assisted the growth of solar start-ups, such as
Abound Solar, Amonix, First Solar, Global Solar, and SkyFuel.

Companies such as these exist across the country and create jobs as they
grow. The National Solar Jobs Census was compiled in August 2010 by The
Solar Foundation (a nonprofit organization), Green LMI Consulting, Cornell
University, and others. The census identified 93,502 solar workers in the
United States, roughly double the number estimated for 2009. In addition,
employers from all of the studied subsectors expected significant employment
growth well into 2011.

A 30-year history of excellence in solar R&D and a well-honed strategy have
combined to make NREL the pre-eminent laboratory to lead solar technologies
to the utility-scale level. In this way, NREL is enabling solar energy to
help protect the environment, achieve U.S. energy security, reduce petroleum
dependence, create new jobs, and boost the nation's economy.

Learn more about solar energy research at NREL.

Shooting for the Sun
When Energy Secretary Steven Chu announced the SunShot Initiative on
February 15, 2011, it harkened back to President Kennedy's famous "moon
shot" speech delivered to Congress on May 25, 1961. The goals Kennedy
outlined set the United States on a path to regain the lead in the space
race and land an American safely on the moon by the end of that decade.
Similarly, the goal of SunShot is to restore America's once-dominant
position in the global market for solar photovoltaics (PV) and concentrating
solar power (CSP).

Analysis from NREL indicates that at an installed cost for utility-scale
solar electricity of roughly 6 cents per kilowatt hour without subsidies,
solar energy would reach cost parity with other baseload electricity
generation sources across the United States. At this level, rapid,
large-scale adoption of solar electricity across the United States would be

Dana Christensen, NREL's deputy director for science and technology, calls
it a "Herculean challenge" to bring solar energy to the marketplace at grid
parity, but one that would pay enormous dividends. "The organization, the
country that makes it happen first is going to control the market. This is a
big jobs opportunity. It's a technology opportunity that is truly leveraging
what is really good about our country-and that's innovating things into the
marketplace quickly," he said.

The goals of the initiative underscore solar energy's benefits to the United
States and will have multiple benefits for the country: reaching cost parity
with baseload energy rates, increasing solar PV market share, boosting dom
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FW: Utility executives speak up on solar's future - Power Engineering

The ultimate (and inevitable) solution is customer and community-owned
distributed systems, but these guys don't like to go there as it leaves them
out of most of the equation.

Utility executives speak up on solar's future
Oct 20, 2011
By Lindsay Morris
Associate Editor

DALLAS - The year is 2031. An electric utility company becomes the first
utility in U.S. history to receive its primary form of generation from solar
power. This was the scenario presented by Julia Hamm, president and CEO of
the Solar Electric Power Association (SEPA), during a Solar Power
International session on Oct. 19.
But what would need to happen in order for this fictitious scenario to
become a reality? The obvious answer lies in government subsidies, which are
now looking grim in the aftermath of Solyndra's bankruptcy.
Beyond the hopes of tax grants and a national renewable standard, what can
the power industry do to see solar implemented into utilities' portfolios on
a higher scale? Hamm said that collaboration between utilities and solar
businesses is key, introducing six executives of municipal or public
utilities to discuss solar integration at the utility level.
Randall Mehrberg, president of PSEG Energy Holdings, said that financial
decisions to install solar projects have to compete with another price tag
most U.S. utilities are currently facing - the cost required to retire or
retrofit a large percentage of their coal-fired fleets. "Cost, at the end of
the day, is what haunts us all."
While some utilities may turn to solar power as filler to replace
pre-existing coal-fired generation, Mehrberg said that most will turn to
"low cost, prevalent natural gas."
Electricity costs are bound to escalate over the next 20 years, said James
Rogers, chairman, president and CEO of Duke Energy (NYSE: DUK). This will
happen as a result of a large amount of coal generation being turned over
and necessary improvements to grid reliability. However, solar will become
increasingly attractive to utilities as the cost of solar power continues to
descend, Rogers said.
Utilities must be instrumental in educating their customers on the value of
solar - that it's worth paying a few extra cents each bill, said Larry
Weiss, CEO of Austin Energy. "I continue to be dumbfounded by consumers who
want to have their cake and eat it too. They have to be willing to pay more
for renewables."
While the inherent cost of solar can be disconcerting, utilities must
recognize that solar power presents an element of cost avoidance not found
in traditional forms of generation, said Doyle Beneby, president and CEO of
CPS Energy. "For every 1 MW of solar I install, I don't have to worry about
the Clean Air Mercury Rule, or a host of other EPA regulations."
CPS Energy is in the process of retiring 850 MW of unscrubbed coal, Beneby
said, some of that generation will be replaced with solar power.
When looking long-term, utilities should also consider that the U.S. may
eventually implement a carbon tax, said Armando Olivera, president and CEO
of Florida Power & Light Co. "The U.S. is the only major country not
imputing the cost of carbon. It will eventually be taken into
Rogers of Duke Energy echoed his thoughts. "By investing in solar, you're
putting a hedge on against what a lot of us think is inevitable: carbon
For now, the addition of renewable energy into most utilities' portfolios
will be incremental, said Weiss of Austin Energy. "We cannot switch all our
generation overnight to solar and wind. But solar is a small part of the

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Solar rural electrification: module market convergence and the supply chain - ElectroIQ

The future of solar?



Srinivasamohan Narayanan, Hanwha SolarOne, Shanghai, China
While grid-parity garners most of the attention, the breakthrough of
residential solar and mini-grid systems in the developing world may prove a
more transformative event for the future of solar PV. Solar manufacturers
should be prepared for surges in stand-alone system demand, independent of
existing grid-tied demand, as the push for clean electric power increases in
the developing world.
Solar is proven to deliver consistent, cost-effective power to villagers and
residents in developing markets, particularly in rural settings. There are
success stories everywhere. For example, with just a 10% subsidy and the use
of pre-existing microfinance institutions, families in Bangladesh can
currently enjoy electric light and cell phone charging via off-grid, 50W
solar PV and battery systems.
The current market segmentation between off-grid solar modules and grid-tied
modules is divided by module wattage. The question becomes when and how will
increased demand for power and electrical services boost demand for higher
wattage panels in the developing world.
In solar rural electrification programs, 50-100W panels will continue to
remain a viable market niche to power stand-alone, battery-module products
like solar lanterns and cell-phone chargers. However, as solar module costs
decrease, and families and businesses wish to use higher-powered devices,
the need for higher wattage solar solutions is inevitable (see Figure).
A 300W or a 12,000W society?
Back in 1998, the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology proposed that a
comfortable but sustainable level of development is possible if the entire
world could achieve an overall power consumption of the equivalent of 2,000W
per person, inclusive of all services that a society produces and consumes.
These forecasts fall short of current reality. In Western Europe, society
now "runs at" approximately 6,000W/person with the U.S. and Canada at
12,000W/person. India is now, on average, at 1,000W/person with Bangladesh
at 300W/person. These averages level inequalities between rich and poor,
urban and rural, and industry, government, and home consumption.
At present, a successful program in Bangladesh offers a $360 USD
micro-credit scheme (with a $40 USD subsidy) for families to purchase a 50W
solar panel, a battery, three compact fluorescent light bulbs, plus a cell
phone charge adapter. At current prices and for current needs in Bangladeshi
villages, this supply of electricity is a great step forward, even though
the per-capita energy use of these villagers is far less than is considered
"normal" in countries that are members of the Organization for Economic
Co-operation and Development (OECD). Every noticeable energy advance for
local residents provokes interest and desire to enjoy at least some of the
benefits of the wealthier world.
However, at some point, decisions must be made at an individual, local,
national, and international level to advance to the next stage of
electricity-enabled convenience. Are laptop computers with satellite
Internet access a top priority? Or television? Refrigeration is a less
glamorous, but highly useful electrical device. Air conditioning is likely
not a top priority at subsistence level but residents of the urban periphery
might very well favor room and house cooling. Saving scarce firewood by
using electric cookers can be highly beneficial but requires a fairly high
power output. Each technology requires an increment in wattage and battery
storage capacity over the basic 50W system that enables small, low-wattage
electronic devices.
The next increment in power demand for developing nations will have a
profound impact on the convergence between off-grid and grid-tied solar
markets. If, instead of 50W or lesser sized panels, 100, 150, or 200W panels
become the norm in the developing world, more electrical services can be
Home electric systems or mini-grids
One of the primary questions impacting development of the solar rural
electrification market is whether this market will grow primarily via: 1)
the sale of family-sized, consumer-managed home systems (single modules with
attached battery storage), or 2) 1MW to 5MW mini-grids with professional
management of arrays and storage.
In the consumer electricity market in the developed world, a
professionally-managed electricity system has been the norm. Even a simple
home solar-plus-battery system requires maintenance and a bit of technical
skill. While solar modules are usually reliable and long-lived, batteries
degrade in capacity and require maintenance. Given current technology,
batteries need to be swapped out periodically to continue to deliver
adequate amounts of electricity. Furthermore, in tropical and sub-tropical
climates, conditions are harsh for metallic and electrical devices, with
often high humidity levels, monsoon rainfall, and abundant insect life.
By contrast, a utility-scale array with a multi-megawatt-hour battery bank
would offer, in most cases, more reliable, consistent power for a number of
A mini-power-plant will require one or more full-time technicians whose job
it is to ensure the smooth functioning of the mini-grid and reliable
delivery of power.
Economies of scale will continue to enable substantial savings on a per-watt
basis in capital costs, more than compensating for the increased maintenance
budget required to pay professional staff.
Various large-scale energy storage technologies have advantages now and may
in the future have additional advantages over household-size battery banks.

Current per capita energy consumption is among lowest in the world, but
growth is expected to add 280 GW by 2022. Alternate energy sources are
needed to meet the demand. Source: Key World Energy Statistics, 2009; IEA
Mini-grid development is still a fraction of the solar rural electrification
market, confined mostly to demonstration projects. Industry representatives,
government leaders, and development banks will have to make a concerted
effort to add mini-grids to the already burgeoning small home-system market
in order for the market to progress.
End-use applications will change the game
Another factor that may favor larger scale solar development is the use of
solar electricity to build businesses and support community development.
Some small businesses run by individuals or families will benefit from
simply using single or multiple home systems to illuminate their work,
charge their cell phones, or even power their laptop computers. However,
other businesses will require powered machinery like refrigerators, electric
sewing machines, electric drills and saws to grow beyond a bare subsistence
level. Use of modern, highly-efficient electric tools in business on a daily
basis, will quickly outstrip the power output of a 50-watt solar panel,
requiring large-scale solar development.
Furthermore, on a community level, it may make sense to pool certain
resources, even though this has not been the norm in the developed world.
For instance, an underground, large refrigeration unit shared by the
community may make more sense than a less efficient home refrigeration unit.
Such community resources would require a larger power array than typical
home systems.
Both business and community-scale power use will depend on the development
of reliable metering or other fair means of enabling payment for electrical
services or the services enabled by electricity.
Converging trajectories: energy storage and PV supply
While current battery technologies are adequate for lower power systems,
advancements in the cost and manufacturing efficiency of batteries will be
required for a full-scale explosion in the rural electrification market.
Currently, lower technology lead-acid batteries can be built in many
countries of the world. For the time being, such battery systems will have
to suffice. In the future, more capacious and longer-lasting battery and
energy storage systems will need to be developed to handle larger scale
Alternatively, for certain commercial uses, direct use of solar electricity
by businesses during daytime hours may reduce the demand for battery
capacity, decoupling battery demand from demand for solar modules. In these
cases, batteries can be used as energy buffers and power conditioners rather
than as a full-scale storage system.
Aligning solar electrification stakeholders
Most of the world has a stake in helping the developing world transition out
of poverty and conditions of distorted economic development and
environmental destruction via the use of clean power. Electric power is also
one of the measures of, and tools for, achieving greater prosperity in all
parts of the world. Few should have objections to using solar solutions to
replace fossil fuels, as well as to power new enterprises in the developing
world. Furthermore, the developed world has an interest in reducing present
and future carbon emissions.
As it currently stands, the home solar electrification market, aided by
microfinance institutions as well as the development of small, affordable
solar appliances, will continue without substantial increases in
international support. As Rafael Wiese, a leading solar electrification
consultant with PSE AG, counsels, the current market division between
off-grid systems and larger, on-grid systems will remain for the next two to
three years. Wiese sees the off-grid market remaining, in terms of worldwide
solar capacity, at the level of 1-2% in the near term.
Given these factors, the status quo in terms of power demand is not likely
to hold. People, in general, want to use electrical power to make their
lives better and just a bit easier. Luckily, there exist substantial
opportunities to "leapfrog" the development path of the developed countries
via the use of high-efficiency end-use devices like LED lights, ever more
efficient laptop computers, and cell phones; without a doubt people in
developing countries will enjoy more services per electric watt than their
forerunners in the developed world.
With so many diverse stakeholders who can benefit from more rapid
implementation of solar rural electrification, it would make sense for the
solar industry, the electrical storage industry, governments, the World Bank
and other development banks, and non-profit development agencies to create
more larger scale demonstration projects that will create more tangible
models of how solar rural electrification can happen. A Solar Rural
Electrification interest group or coalition could help locate areas where,
on a technical and business level, solar energy solutions can make the most
Solar rural electrification also offers a partial solution to one of the
most troubling demographic trends in the world throughout the last hundred
years: the depopulation of rural areas and migration to megacities and their
peripheries that do not have the social and physical infrastructure to serve
these new residents. With more opportunity to enjoy conveniences and to
start small businesses in rural areas with electric service, solar rural
electrification can help slow this trend.
Srinivasamohan (Mohan) Narayanan received a diploma in industrial management
from the Indian Institute of Science, a BE in metallurgical engineering from
the U. of Madras, an MS in material science from Case Western Reserve U.,
and a PhD in electrical engineering and computer science from the U. of New
South Wales. He is VP of Technology at Hanwha SolarOne, 1199 Minsheng Road,
Bldg., 1, Room 1801, Shanghai, China 200135; ph.: +86 213 852 1666; email

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Friday, October 21, 2011

Report: 1603 Grant extension could result in 2,000 MW solar growth - Power Engineering

Good luck with that, boys.

Report: 1603 extension could result in 2,000 MW solar growth
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A report released by the Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA) says
that a one-year extension of the Section 1603 Treasury Program would result
in nearly 2,000 additional MW of solar installations by 2016.
The report, "Economic Impact of Extending the Section 1603 Treasury
Program," conducted by global energy analysis firm EuPD Research, examines
projected job growth and solar deployment associated with a one-year
extension of the Section 1603 Treasury Program. 
According to the report, a one-year extension would result in the solar
industry supporting an additional 37,394 jobs in 2012. The report also
analyzed scenarios for two and five-year extensions of the program.
The program was created in 2009 in the wake of the financial crisis, which
reduced the availability of tax equity financing for energy projects. The
Section 1603 Treasury Program allows energy developers to receive a federal
grant in lieu of claiming an existing energy tax credit. The program does
not create any new incentives, but instead accelerates the timing of
existing credit. The program is set to expire on Dec. 31, 2011.
Read more solar energy news

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Thursday, October 20, 2011

evolution of the feed-in tariff

Here is a next step out of the UK that looks like an evolution rather than the capitulation to the utilities that is taking place in the US. Scheduled to replace the current  UK FIT in 2014.




Monty Bannerman

ArcStar Energy


Chinese Trade Practices Ripped | RenewablesBiz

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

BBC News - Australia parliament passes divisive carbon tax

Think about this. Big coal is the among the most powerful lobbies in Australia and is among its biggest export earners.

Thursday, October 6, 2011

FW: Reality check: The changing world of PV manufacturing - ElectroIQ

By Paula Mints
principal analyst, PV Services Program

October 3, 2011 - Emily Dickinson wrote, "Fame is a fickle food upon a
shifting plate." Just a few short months ago solar was big news globally,
sometimes touted as the hope for a planet suffering from climate change,
offering an industry filled with shiny new factories, perhaps even the new
job creation engine for the US. From 2005-2010 the global PV industry grew
by a compound annual rate of 65%, and in 2010 shipments of technology to the
first point of sale grew by 120% over the previous year. What a wild ride it
was -- and then, three US bankruptcies (including a very loud one)
coinciding with an upcoming election year in the US ... well, what a
difference a few weeks make. Solar is *the* topic currently, and not in a
good way -- the present rush to demonize the PV industry is simplistic and
threatens to stall progress.

Warning: this is not an article about any company in particular -- it is
about the leadership in PV manufacturing shifting from the US to Japan to
Europe to China and Taiwan. All of the data used are primary (hard market
data) and the analysis is independent and original. This is also a reality
check on the nature of industry margins -- bluntly, for most of its ~40 year
history, technology manufacturing has operated on negative margins.
Traditionally, solar has been a buyer's market.

The PV industry still needs incentives and subsidies, and to keep these
incentives and subsidies it has promised to wean itself off of them while
remaining profitable. Frankly, these two topics are currently mutually
exclusive, and unfortunately, the industry has promised itself into a corner
from which it cannot emerge with higher prices lest it be seen as breaking
its promises.

The solar industry is filled with true believers, who can sometimes be blind
to market and technological realities. The daunting task ahead of all solar
technology manufacturers is to develop a technology that will operate
efficiently for at least 25 years in the sun (meaning, sometimes very hot
sun and very bad weather), and become ever cheaper to manufacture. (A
personal observation: I have seen many a technology roadmap promising that
solar will cost ~25 cents/Wp to manufacture, despite the industry's lack of
control over its raw materials over and above the cost of polysilicon and
rare earth metals and including the cost of aluminum, steel, glass,
consumables, silver, etc. Nothing is free and everyone is taking margin from
the raw material manufacturer to the system installer -- though these days
cell and module manufacturers are taking very little margin indeed.)

The promise of ever-lower prices ignores the cost of hiring and supporting a
highly trained staff, the cost of continuing R&D, and often ignores any
discussion of margins. This promise of ever-lower costs ignores the
subsidized cost of other energy technologies. Moreover, it keeps the
discussion focused on cost -- instead of focusing on the other attributes of
solar. These other attributes include (among others): long running,
relatively low maintenance (O&M), and the creation of direct and indirect
jobs. Currently there are myriad of articles all filled with facts and the
dissection of these facts about the solar industry, particularly PV. Maya
Angelou said, "There's a world of difference between the truth and facts.
Facts can obscure the truth."

Prices down, down, down...

Currently a number of factors are holding prices down: high capacity, high
levels of inventory, softer demand, a myriad of module assemblers (not the
same thing as technology manufacturers), and the continuation of a degree of
aggressive pricing. Third-tier manufacturers are pricing product at
<$1/wp,>Figure 1 presents prices to the first point of sale. In some cases,
these prices are not passed on to the consumer, nor, frankly, should these
prices be passed on to the end user, because all along the chain
participants need to take margin in order to stay in business.

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