quarta-feira, 30 de novembro de 2011

Winners of the IDTechEx Energy Harvesting and WSN Awards

Energy Harvesting Journal
Nothing to do with PV but a home celebration anyway: David Pera and Pedro Gomes have been awarded the best academic poster award at the IDTechEx in Boston this November.
"Of the academic posters on show at the event, the winning poster was awarded to David Pera and Pedro Gomes of the University of Lisboa, for E-Turbine - Eolic Concentrator for Energy Harvesting in Highways and Urban Environments. One judge commented, Very new and innovative. Lots of applications.
For more information about the next IDTechEx awards on this topic, see www.IDTechEx.com/Boston

terça-feira, 29 de novembro de 2011

Silver-free heterojunction silicon solar cells

Imec news
At the 21st International Photovoltaic Science and Engineering Conference in Fukuoka, Japan, Kaneka and imec present silver-free heterojunction silicon solar cells. The results were obtained by applying copper electroplating technology, which was developed by Kaneka based on imec’s existing copper electroplating technology, A conversion efficiency of more than 21% was achieved in 6-inch silicon substrates with an electroplated copper contact grid on top of the transparent conductive oxide layer.

segunda-feira, 28 de novembro de 2011

SCHOTT announces improved efficiencies with Quasimono wafers, PV cells using low-cost metal contacts 

SCHOTT Solar AG (Mainz, Germany) has reached 19.9% efficiency with wafers made using its Quasimono wafers.
"With Quasimono, SCHOTT Solar has now developed a new technique for manufacturing full-square high-performance wafers that contain a high monocrystalline share that is significantly more cost-effective than the standard processes used in the past," declared SCHOTT in a press statement. (...) SCHOTT notes that the efficiencies that it has reached with PV cells made from Quasimono wafers come close to the record efficiencies that it achieved with monocrystalline PV cells. SCHOTT's development team is currently further refining the process, which is supported by the German government as part of the Quasimono research project.

Las VeGaS project to replace silver contacts with nickel-copper plating
The 18% efficiency that SCHOTT has reached using multicrystalline PV cells with copper contacts is part of its Las VeGaS project, which seeks to largely replace the silver contacts in PV cells with less expensive nickel-copper plating. If successful, this would reduce the manufacturing costs of metallization by more than half.

terça-feira, 22 de novembro de 2011

Latest developments on the solar trade war

According to the NYTimes.com, chinese solar panel makers plan to shift some of their production to South Korea, Taiwan and the United States in hopes of defusing a trade case pending against them in Washington, according to industry executives.

While Greentech Media claims that domestic Chinese manufacturers have asked their Ministry of Commerce to launch a dumping and subsidy investigation into sales of U.S. solar cells in China, according to China Daily. The China Photovoltaic Industry Alliance (CPIA) is finalizing a complaint alleging that U.S. manufacturers are selling their products at prices below cost in China, according to the same article. The Chinese alliance is also preparing another petition regarding an investigation into subsidies allegedly received by U.S. manufacturers. Recall that the SolarWorld claim identifies a number of subsidies that China's government provides to their solar industry, including below-market costs on raw materials and discounts on energy and land. CASE, a U.S. organization comprised of MEMC and a number of downstream players disagrees with the trade action as a strategy.

quinta-feira, 17 de novembro de 2011

China's Solar Loans Still Mostly Untapped

Greentech Media
Five key Chinese solar and wind companies -- Suntech, Yingli Green Energy, Trina Solar, JA Solar and Xinjiang Goldwind Science & Technology -- have only tapped $866 million of the nearly $30 billion available to them in Chinese government credit lines. In other words, China’s biggest (and lowest-priced) solar companies have only tapped about three percent of the credit made available to them from the China Development Bank through 2010, according to a Wednesday report from Bloomberg New Energy Finance.

terça-feira, 15 de novembro de 2011

Chinese government respond to developments in solar trade investigation

In a statement on its website, the [Chinese] Ministry of Commerce alleges that the U.S. government is blaming its loss of competitiveness and the stagnant development of its industry on the relative competitiveness of Chinese PV projects. The Ministry further notes that the rapid development of a "green economy" is bringing hope to an estimated three billion persons living in energy poverty, and states that the efforts of China's PV industry to lower costs promotes the widespread use of renewable energy while bringing tangible benefits to consumers. The Ministry concludes by warning the United States that it is not only damaging the cooperative environment between the two nations in the clean energy sector, as well as its own interests, but that China reserves the right to adopt corresponding measures through the World Trade organization.
[In the meantime]CASE also cites a survey by PV magazine which indicates that 76.4% of solar industry respondents opposed the trade petition by SolarWorld Industries Americas Inc. (Hillsboro, Oregon, U.S.) and six un-named PV companies. While the United States is a net importer of PV modules, in the overall PV value chain the nation remains a net exporter, including to China, with a large export volume in polysilicon and manufacturing equipment. Also, due to the significance of other parts of the industry, including development and installation, U.S. PV module manufacturing represents a small portion of current U.S. PV industry jobs.

segunda-feira, 14 de novembro de 2011

New JRC report highlights risk of rare earth metal shortages

JRC - European Commission
A shortage of five rare metals could slow down the development of the renewable energy market and of photovoltaics, according to a report published by the EU research institute Joint Research Centre (JRC). The Critical Metals in Strategic Energy Technologies report found that large-scale deployment of solar power technologies alone would require 50 percent of the current world supply of tellurium and 25 percent of the world supply of indium. Tellurium is used in cadmium telluride (CdTe) thin-film solar cells, while indium and gallium are used in the manufacture of copper indium gallium selenide (CIGS) thin-film solar cells. Aside from the inherent scarcity of these metals, the risk of a shortage in these elements in Europe is primarily due to the continent’s dependency on imports, the increasing global demand, the fact that most of the supply comes from only a few geographical areas and geopolitical issues.

quarta-feira, 9 de novembro de 2011

US-China solar trade war ! new developments

Solar server: The Coalition for American Solar Manufacturing (CASM) announced that more than 75 U.S. employers have registered their support for anti-dumping and countervailing duty cases filed against the nation of China, by joining the coalition as associate members. The U.S. steelworkers union has also registered its support for the cases.

Solar industry: The Coalition for Affordable Solar Energy (CASE), which the group says initially represents 25 organizations and more than 9,200 jobs in the U.S. solar sector, has formally launched. CASE was formed in response to the October anti-dumping complaint and countervailing-duty petition filed by SolarWorld and its partners in the Coalition for Solar Manufacturing (CASM). According to CASE, this trade case poses a threat to the entire U.S. solar market.

Greentech media: Jigar Shah, CEO of Carbon War Room and founder of SunEdison, said in a CASE press release that "Despite the remarkable progress, the U.S. still represents only 5 percent to 10 percent of the global solar marketplace. Placing protectionist barriers against more efficient and affordable solar cells -- whatever their origin -- discourages innovation and investment. Now is the time to move forward, not backward, on our clean energy goals. We must not walk away from one of the greatest opportunities of the 21st century. [Furthermore,] more than half the solar employment picture [in the US] is in the installation and downstream portion of the value chain -- not in cell or module manufacturing."
[The other side claims] Gordon Brinser, the President of SolarWorld Industries America (headquartered in Hillsboro, Oregon): "China is cheating on global trade rules." Brinser also said that "China’s state-sponsored solar industry is receiving massive illegal subsidies and is illegally dumping crystalline silicon solar products into the U.S. market." Brinser continues, "China’s illegal actions are undercutting fair market value and threatening to eliminate America’s solar manufacturing. [...] As long as China is allowed to continue cheating, there is no way America can expect to compete in the solar energy race."

China Times: Cao Huabin of CECEP Solar Energy Technology [a unit of the state-run giant China Energy Conservation and Environmental Protection Group] said that his company has put a planned US$500 million US project on hold amid uncertainty over US anti-dumping policy. "If the solar panel prices increase by, say 30%, in the United States, following the move, then we would certainly drop the plan because there's no profit to be made," Cao said.

quarta-feira, 2 de novembro de 2011

India plans 'safer' nuclear plant powered by thorium

Use of relatively low-carbon, low-radioactivity thorium instead of uranium may be breakthrough in energy generation.

India has announced plans for a prototype nuclear power plant that uses an innovative "safer" fuel.

Officials are currently selecting a site for the reactor, which would be the first of its kind, using thorium for the bulk of its fuel instead of uranium – the fuel for conventional reactors. They plan to have the plant up and running by the end of the decade.

The development of workable and large-scale thorium reactors has for decades been a dream for nuclear engineers, while for environmentalists it has become a major hope as an alternative to fossil fuels. Proponents say the fuel has considerable advantages over uranium. Thorium is more abundant and exploiting it does not involve release of large quantities of carbon dioxide, making it less dangerous for the climate than fossil fuels like coal and oil.

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DESERTEC - Morocco to host first solar farm in €400bn renewables network

The vast solar and windfarm project across North Africa and the Middle East may provide 15% of Europe's electricity by 2050.
Morocco has been chosen as the first location for a German-led, €400bn project to build a vast network of solar and windfarms across North Africa and the Middle East to provide 15% of Europe's electricity supply by 2050.