sexta-feira, 27 de dezembro de 2013

Soft costs now largest piece of solar installation total cost

Science Daily
Two detailed reports from the Energy Department's National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) find that solar financing and other non-hardware costs -- often referred to as "soft costs" -- now comprise up to 64% of the total price of residential solar energy systems, reflecting how soft costs are becoming an increasingly larger fraction of the cost of installing solar. (...)
For residential systems, the greatest soft costs were supply chain costs ($0.61/watt), installation labor ($0.55/W), customer acquisition ($0.48/W), and indirect corporate costs ($0.47/W), such as maintaining office management and accounting functions. [Report 1:]
[On the other hand, they] found that third-party ownership added $0.78 per watt for residential systems and $0.67 per watt for commercial projects [Report 2:]. They also noted three of the main benefits of third-party financing arrangements:
  • Third-party financiers offer additional services, such as shopping for systems, maintaining systems, and applying for incentives.
  • Third-party financing may effectively lower the levelized cost of energy over time through economics of scale.
  • Businesses offering third-party ownership of installations have gained approximately 70% of residential market share in the United States, driving much of the PV demand

quarta-feira, 11 de dezembro de 2013

Inovação nas Células Solares - SIC Notícias

SIC Notícias
Um grupo de investigadores da Faculdade de Ciências da Universidade de Lisboa está a trabalhar num projecto que pode vir a revolucionar o preço e uso dos painéis solares. Através de uma forma nova de produzir células solares, estes cientistas desenvolveram uma tecnologia que permite não desperdiçar matéria-prima - o silício -, o que tornará os painéis mais baratos.

terça-feira, 10 de dezembro de 2013

Soitec begins construction of 1.3 MW solar CPV project in Portugal

Solar server
Soitec SA (France) has completed financing and begun construction of a 1.3 MW concentrating photovoltaic (CPV) plant in Southern Portugal which uses its CPV technology.
Project funders include Enovos International SA (Luxembourg) and the Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation (Lisbon). The plant is being installed by Electricidade Industrial Portuguesa SA (EIP, Lisbon), with Luz.On (Portugal) serving as project developer. (...) The plant is being built in Alcoutim, in the Algarve region, which Soitec notes offers some of the best natural solar conditions in Europe. The plant includes 82 Soitec Concentrix CPV systems, including its dual-axis tracking technology.
The project is one of 11 that Portugal has authorized to push the development of CPV in the nation, and will serve as a demonstration of the technology.

quinta-feira, 5 de dezembro de 2013

China's solar power use surges

Xinhua |
China's on-grid solar power capacity will amount to 10GW by the end of 2013, a 200-percent jump from that seen a year ago, the National Energy Administration (NEA) forecast on Wednesday. (...) The share of thermal power generation capacity is predicted to drop to 69.6 percent from the 71.5 percent at the end of 2012, while that of hydropower, on-grid wind power and nuclear power are expected to stand at 22.5 percent, 6.1 percent, 1.2 percent, respectively.

EU-China solar trade wars

EU, China Agree to End Solar Panel Trade Dispute
European Union countries approved an agreement with China to curb imports of Chinese solar panels, ending the EU’s biggest commercial dispute of its kind. EU governments endorsed an accord struck by their trade chief and China in July that sets a minimum price and a volume limit on European imports of Chinese solar panels until the end of 2015. Chinese manufacturers that take part will be spared EU tariffs meant to counter alleged below-cost sales, a practice known as dumping, and subsidies.

EU Hits Chinese Solar-Glass Exporters With Tariffs Up to 42.1%
The European Union imposed tariffs as high as 42.1 percent on solar glass from China to curb import competition for EU producers, heightening trade tensions over renewable energy. The duties punish Chinese exporters such as Zhejiang Jiafu Glass Co. and Xinyi PV Products (Anhui) Holdings Ltd. for allegedly selling solar glass in the EU below cost, a practice known as dumping. The glass is used for the production of solar panels, which are themselves the focus of two European trade probes affecting China.

quarta-feira, 27 de novembro de 2013

24 Percent Efficient n-Type Silicon Solar Cell

Fraunhofer ISE
Fraunhofer ISE [reached a] new record: 24 percent efficiency for a silicon solar cell which uses an n-type base material and a novel concept for the rear contact. The special feature of this cell is a so-called passivated contact covering the entire rear surface.

quinta-feira, 21 de novembro de 2013

Spectrolab sets new solar PV cell efficiency world record of 38.8% without concentration

Spectrolab has produced a solar photovoltaic (PV) cell with a conversion efficiency of 38.8% without concentration of light. (...) This is a new world record, and beats Spectrolab's previous record by 1%. The multijunction PV cell was developed using new bonding technology from Spectrolab's parent company Boeing (Chicago). (...) Boeing notes that the technology can be used to power high-powered spacecraft and unmanned aerial

Nanosolar Reborn as German Silicon Module and BIPV Manufacturer

Greentech Media
Nanosolar was acquired by Smartenergy Renewable and has been rechristened "Smartenergy Renewables Deutschland GmbH." But no CIGS thin-film solar remains in the equation. The new company will now be a crystalline silicon module assembly, a building-integrated PV manufacturer, and an O&M firm, claiming advantage in vertical integration. And manufacturing in Germany. The company will continue to support existing CIGS customers.

For the full story, as seen from the sit of the former Nanosolar CEO can be read here.

sexta-feira, 1 de novembro de 2013

Martifer Solar announces 17.8MW PV plants in Portugal

Martifer Solar
Martifer Solar, a subsidiary of Martifer SGPS, together with Hanwha Q CELLS Korea, the Korean leading company in PV downstream area, completed a utility scale project for Korean investors, with combined capacity of 17.8 MWp. The Korean investors include Hanwha Q CELLS Korea, which is also a consortium member, and the Financial Investment Trusts managed by Shinhan BNP Paribas Asset Management.
The PV cluster, which was inaugurated today, consists of six PV plants constructed in Loures, Montijo and Montemor-o-Novo regions. Martifer Solar will be the operations and maintenance contractor to ensure the optimal generation levels of these six PV plants.

quarta-feira, 30 de outubro de 2013

Myanmar to generate electricity through solar power

The Myanmar electric power authorities will initiate a project to generate electricity through solar power in cooperation with a Thai company in a bid to meet the growing demand of electricity in the country in addition to sources obtained through hydro, gas and coal power, official media reported Monday.
Under a memorandum of understanding signed between Myanmar's Ministry of Electric Power and the Green Earth Power Co Ltd of Thailand, the project of establishing a solar power plant capable of generating 50 MW of electricity will be implemented in Minbu, central Magway region, said the New Light of Myanmar. On its completion, the power plant will go into operation by 2015-16, it added.
Moreover, arrangements are also being made by another company, the ACO Co., to build another solar power plant with a generating capacity of 250 MW in Nabu-aing of Mingyan district of Magway and the project is also expected to be completed by 2015-16. (...) At present, the northern part of the country mainly depends on hydropower while the southern part on gas and coal-fired power. For the development of the country's electric power sector, the Asia Development Bank and the World Bank are providing technical assistance to Myanmar, according to a official report.

Germany Hits 59% Renewable Peak, Grid Does Not Explode

Greentech Media
Wind and solar power peaked at 59.1 percent of German power generation earlier this month. It happened at noon on a very windy and sunny October 3, which is the German holiday commemorating reunification. (Germany also hit peaks of 61 percent, a record, and 59 percent earlier this year.)
Solar and wind provided 36.4 percent of total electricity generation over the entire day, with PV accounting for 11.2 percent.
The electrical grid appears intact but electricity prices took a tumble. According to an analysis by Bernard Chabot of BCCONSULT, low demand from large conventional power plants drove the electricity price index covering Germany, Austria, France and Switzerland to 2.75 cents per kilowatt-hour at 2:00 p.m.

sexta-feira, 25 de outubro de 2013

First-Ever Competitive Auction to Develop Solar Energy on Public Lands

The US Department of the Interior’s Bureau of Land Management (BLM) is hosting its first competitive auction for public lands in designated Solar Energy Zones (SEZs) in Colorado. (...) The company with the winning bid will then submit a project proposal that will be subject to further environmental review and public comment. (...) If fully developed, the two Colorado SEZs could host about 400 MW of solar capacity. (...) These [locations] have access to existing or planned transmission lines and were designed to have minimal impact on biological, cultural and historic resources in the region.
Developers siting projects within these zones will receive a number of incentives, including financial incentives and faster and easier permitting. (...) President Obama has directed Interior to approve 20 GW of renewable energy production on public lands by 2020. Since 2009, Interior has approved 47 solar, wind and geothermal utility-scale projects on public lands. If built, these projects would have an aggregate generating capacity of more that 13.3 GW – this includes 25 solar projects totaling 8 GW.

Réglementation du recyclage de panneaux solaires

Swissolar, l'Association suisse des professionnels de l'énergie solaire et SENS eRecycling ont signé un contrat de coopération, entrant en vigueur au 1er janvier 2014, afin de régler les aspects importants de la récupération et de l'élimination des modules photovoltaïques en Suisse.
Grâce à cette collaboration avec SENS eRecycling, Swissolar met à disposition de ses membres, mais aussi des commerces et des consommateurs, une solution de récupération et de recyclage respectueuse de l'environnement pour les modules photovoltaïques ainsi que pour leurs accessoires. Le tout régit par des contrôles stricts.
Communiqué de presse

quinta-feira, 26 de setembro de 2013

Painéis solares em fachadas de prédios duplicam produção de energia

Uma equipa de investigadores portugueses concluiu que a colocação de painéis solares nas fachadas de prédios permite duplicar a produção de energia, apesar das paredes exteriores dos edifícios terem orientações e inclinações menos favoráveis do que os telhados. O trabalho foi realizado por três docentes do Departamento de Engenharia Geográfica, Geofísica e Energia da Faculdade de Ciências da Universidade de Lisboa.
A equipa calculou o potencial de energia solar de fachadas, aplicando a metodologia ao 'campus' universitário da Faculdade de Ciências, e concluiu que, embora as paredes exteriores dos edifícios apresentem inclinações e orientações menos propícias para a colocação de painéis fotovoltaicos do que as coberturas inclinadas a sul, a área disponível permite duplicar a radiação solar recebida anualmente.
Em declarações à agência Lusa, um dos investigadores, Miguel Brito, salientou que, à escala de uma cidade, as fachadas dos prédios têm uma grande potencial energético, uma vez que «cada fachada tem tanta área como um telhado», possibilitando "duplicar a produção de energia fotovoltaica", não havendo obstáculos à instalação de painéis, como antenas e chaminés.

segunda-feira, 23 de setembro de 2013

World record solar cell with 44.7% efficiency

The Fraunhofer Institute for Solar Energy Systems ISE, Soitec, CEA-Leti and the Helmholtz Center Berlin jointly announced today having achieved a new world record for the conversion of sunlight into electricity using a new solar cell structure with four solar subcells. Surpassing competition after only over three years of research, and entering the roadmap at world class level, a new record efficiency of 44.7% was measured at a concentration of 297 suns.

quarta-feira, 7 de agosto de 2013

Câmara de Abrantes desiste do projeto da RPP Solar - Economia - Notícias - RTP

A Câmara de Abrantes desistiu de apoiar a RPP Solar ao aprovar por unanimidade a caducidade das licenças do projeto de execução da fábrica de painéis solares por incumprimento de prazos, disse hoje a presidente da autarquia. (...) No local, na margem sul do Tejo, desde 2008 foram construídas duas fábricas aptas para albergar seis linhas de produção capacitadas para gerar um total de 859 megawatt de eletricidade, escritórios e dois auditórios num espaço de 30 mil metros quadrados, que representavam a primeira fase de um total de 160 mil metros quadrados. Os edifícios nunca chegaram a ser equipados de modo a poderem produzir painéis fotovoltaicos, tendo os mesmos sido alvo de atos de destruição e vandalismo por diversas vezes.
"A RPP Solar nunca chegou a produzir coisa nenhuma e é lamentável que as expectativas criadas em torno da criação de riqueza e de emprego terminem com este elefante branco", afirmou à agência Lusa Maria do Céu Albuquerque (PS). (...) Em meados de 2011, o empresário alegou que o projeto foi "apanhado no turbilhão da crise que causou graves dificuldades de financiamento nacional e internacional", justificando os sucessivos atrasos no início da produção de painéis fotovoltaicos com "a necessidade de procurar financiamentos no estrangeiro, uma vez que em Portugal deixou de haver dinheiro disponível para investimento".

segunda-feira, 29 de julho de 2013

Europe and China Agree to Settle Solar Panel Fight
The European Union’s trade chief said on Saturday that a deal had been reached with China to settle a dispute over exports of low-cost solar panels that had threatened to set off a wider trade war between two of the world’s largest economies.
The settlement essentially involves setting a fairly high minimum price [0.56€/W] for sales of Chinese-made solar panels in the European Union to try to prevent them from undercutting European producers. (...) The deal immediately met with ferocious criticism from the European manufacturers that had filed the complaint. (...) The agreement “is contrary in every respect to European law,” said Milan Nitzschke, the president of EU ProSun, an industry group. A minimum price of 0.55 to 0.57 euros was at the level of “the current dumping price for Chinese modules,” the group said in a statement.
The arrangement would cover exports from 90 of about 140 Chinese exporters that were examined during the investigation, and that represent 60 percent of the panels sold in Europe, the government official said. Those 90 companies would no longer face tariffs that were put in place in June. Chinese exporters that did not agree to the terms will still face tariffs that are set to rise to 47.6 percent on Aug. 6 from the current level of 11.8 percent, the official said.

quarta-feira, 24 de julho de 2013

China’s MOFCOM levies preliminary duties from 2.4% to 57% on US, South Korean polysilicon 

China's Ministry of Commerce (MOFCOM) has imposed preliminary anti-dumping duties on solar-grade polysilicon imports from the United States and South Korea. Importers of polysilicon from the US must post deposits between 53.3% and 57% starting on July 24th, 2013, and importers of Korean polysilicon must pay between 2.4% and 48.7%.
MOFCOM plans to issue a final ruling in late 2013. A separate investigation into EU polysilicon is still pending, as is a countervailing duty (CVD) investigation into imports of US and South Korean polysilicon.

sexta-feira, 19 de julho de 2013

Projeto português leva energia renovável à Guiné Bissau
Banbadinca Sta Claro é o nome do projeto que integra o Programa Comunitário para Acesso a Energias Renováveis, levado a cabo pela ONG TESE. O nome não poderia ser mais adequado. Traduzida para português, a expressão crioula significa Bambadinca tem luz. Até ao final deste ano, a energia deve chegar às casas dos cerca de 6500 habitantes desta vila da Guiné-Bissau. (...) A intervenção deverá estar concluída em março de 2015, ao abrigo do programa Engenheiros Sem Fronteiras da TESE e em parceria com a ONG DIVUTEC, o Instituto Superior Técnico, e com o apoio técnico da Faculdade de Ciências da Universidade de Lisboa e o financiamento da União Europeia e Cooperação Portuguesa.

terça-feira, 16 de julho de 2013

China confirms plan to increase to 35 GW solar target by 2015

China State Council
Chinese government confirmed that the country’s solar target to be reached by 2015 has been increased to 35 GW, according to a statement from China’s State Council. The plan was annouced by the counsellor of China State’s Council and president of the Chinese Renewable Energy Society, Shi Dinghuan, in early February. At the time, Shi Dinghuan said that the Chinese government intended to raise 69% the installed solar capacity target by 2015, in the frame of the national policy to reduce reliance on fossil fuels, without revealing how the government aimed to reach the new target. It yesterday's press release, the State Council said that the new plan will enable the domestic solar market to grow by additional 10 GW annually over the next 3 years and will help the domestic solar industry to face oversupply and reduce its dependence on exports. To that effect, the State Council revealed that the central government will ban local governments from providing financial support to failing solar manufacturers. Instead, the government will actively encourage mergers and acquisitions to ensure a stronger, consolidated Chinese PV industry

sexta-feira, 12 de julho de 2013

China expects to end solar trade spat with EU next month: official

South China Morning Post
China expects to resolve a multibillion-US-dollar solar trade spat with the European Union by next month, a senior mainland industry official said yesterday, after a newspaper reported that Beijing had made a new offer to the EU to settle the dispute. The solar dispute has the potential to affect €21 billion (HK$210 billion) worth of imported Chinese solar panels, cells and wafers from manufacturers such as Trina Solar, Yingli Green Energy and Suntech Power Holdings. (...) [Sun Guangbin, secretary general of the solar department of China's Chamber of Commerce for Import and Export of Machinery and Electronic Products] declined to comment on a report in the Shanghai Securities News yesterday that China had proposed capping the annual volume of its solar panel exports to the EU and setting a minimum price for its products sold there. Under the proposal, China would export no more than 10 gigawatts of photovoltaic modules to the EU a year at a minimum price of 50 euro cents per watt, the paper quoted National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC) researcher Wang Sicheng as saying. Any exports exceeding the limit would be subjected to punitive tariffs, Wang was quoted as saying at a solar industry conference on Thursday. In return, he said, the EU should levy no or low taxes on Chinese solar panels.

terça-feira, 2 de julho de 2013

DESERTEC Foundation is leaving the industrial consortium Dii

DESERTEC Press Release
Today, the DESERTEC Foundation announced the termination of its membership with Dii GmbH. (...)
In 2009, Dii GmbH had been founded as a cooperation between many renowned firms and DESERTEC Foundation to create appropriate conditions for the realisation of DESERTEC in Europe, North Africa and the Middle East.
The non-governmental Foundation, which is the main idea- and name-giver for the DESERTEC concept, is taking this step as a result of many irresolvable disputes between the two entities in the area of future strategies, obligations and their communication and last but not least the managerial style of Dii’s top management. DESERTEC Foundation also wants to avoid being dragged into the maelstrom of negative publicity about the management crisis and disorientation of the industrial consortium. The dispute at the management level has already led to resentment among the partners of the DESERTEC Foundation and it negatively affects our reputation and trust. This is what the DESERTEC Foundation intends to avoid.
DESERTEC Foundation explicitly emphasises its understanding for the challenges the industrial consortium has to face. “It was always clear to us that our idea of producing electricity from the deserts on this earth was never an easy task and will always face extreme challenges. The employees of Dii have contributed enormously to the global transition towards renewable energy. However, after many months filled with a lot of discussions we had to conclude that the DESERTEC Foundation needs to preserve its independence. This is why Dii and DESERTEC Foundation will go separate ways which does not exclude future cooperation,” said Thiemo Gropp, Director of the DESERTEC Foundation.

CPV: Amonix Founder Speaks, Blames VCs, Laments Lack of Supply Chain

Greentech Media
It's tough times for concentrated photovoltaic (CPV) solar firms. GreenVolts went under and Amonix went quiet after shuttering its Nevada factory and laying off much of its staff last year. SolFocus is trying to sell itself and finding no buyers. Only Soitec seems to be developing new CPV systems, helped presumably, by a healthier balance sheet. (...) [Amonix's founder] Garboushian described CPV as an impoverished market with 100 megawatts deployed and $500 million invested over the last ten years, compared to the $50 billion received by the silicon industry. Garboushian said that what CPV needs is a supply chain, large-scale manufacturing, consolidation of the technology, and a big corporate backer instead of VCs looking to flip companies in a few years' time. (...) He called CPV bankable technology -- but it's hard to be considered bankable if the vendor is not going to be around in one year, let alone twenty.
A colleague and early employee at a rival CPV firm notes, "The CPV industry remains locked in a battle against declining costs with silicon technologies. The 2012 surge in cost reduction achieved by silicon may ultimately prove to be the death blow to today's commercial CPV providers, though there continue to be innovations in CPV cell efficiency and module design that could keep the technology alive in the highest-DNI environments. The big question is whether silicon will allow some breathing room in 2013 with the price increases that some predict, or whether further cost and price reductions in 2013 make the gap wholly uncrossable."

Obama apoia acesso a energia na África Subsariana com 5,38 mil milhões

Portal das Energias Renováveis
O presidente norte-americano anunciou, este domingo, uma iniciativa para estimular o acesso à energia elétrica, mais limpa e eficiente, na África Subsariana, sublinhando o interesse dos Estados Unidos em que o continente atinja o seu pleno potencial. A parceria "Power Africa" contará com um financiamento dos Estados Unidos na ordem dos 5,38 mil milhões de euros, revelou Barack Obama num discurso na universidade da Cidade do Cabo, na África do Sul, um dos três países visitados pelo chefe de Estado dos EUA (para além do Senegal e Tanzânia) para promover o comércio e o investimento num continente em rápido crescimento.
Este projeto de ajuda pública ao desenvolvimento - que será completado por financiamentos privados na ordem dos 6,91 mil milhões de euros - vai permitir a duplicação do acesso à energia elétrica na África Subsariana, onde mais de dois terços da população não a tem, segundo indicações da Casa Branca..
A General Electric está entre as empresas que contribuirão comprometeu-se a ajudar a levar para a Tanzânia e o Gana 5.000 megawatts de nova energia.
Durante a primeira fase de cinco anos, o projeto deverá traduzir-se na soma de mais de 10.000 megawatts de energia mais limpa e eficiente, que será levada a, pelo menos, mais vinte milhões de lares e empresas, ainda de acordo com a Casa Branca.

sexta-feira, 28 de junho de 2013

New solar cell records

The Energy Department's National Renewable Energy Lab [Myles Steiner] has announced a world record of 31.1% conversion efficiency for a two-junction solar cell under one sun of illumination. (...) The previous record of 30.8% efficiency was held by Alta Devices. The tandem cell was made of a gallium indium phosphide cell atop a gallium arsenide cell, has an area of about 0.25 square centimeters and was measured under the AM1.5 global spectrum at 1,000 W/m2. It was grown inverted, similar to the NREL-developed inverted metamorphic multi-junction (IMM) solar cell -- and flipped during processing. The cell was covered on the front with a bilayer anti-reflection coating, and on the back with a highly reflective gold contact layer.

Sharp Corporation has achieved the world's highest solar cell conversion efficiency of 44.4%, using a concentrator triple-junction compound solar cell. These solar cells are used in a lens-based concentrator system that focuses sunlight on the cells to generate electricity. (...) Sharp's concentrator triple-junction compound solar cells use a proprietary technology that enables the efficient conversion of sunlight into electricity by means of a stack of three photo-absorption layers, the bottommost of which is made from InGaAs (indium gallium arsenide).To achieve a concentrating conversion efficiency of 44.4%, Sharp worked to widen the effective concentrator cell surface and ensure uniformity of width at the interface of the connecting concentrator cell and electrodes.

quinta-feira, 6 de junho de 2013

EU announces provisional duties on Chinese solar products

EC press release
The European Commission announced yesterday that it will impose provisional antidumping duties on wafers, solar cells and modules imported from China. The duties will be valid for a period of six months and will come into force starting on June 6 with no retroactive effect. The Commission decided to introduce the duties according to a »phased approach« starting with an 11.8% tariff for the first 2 months. Following that, the tariff will be raised to 47.6% for the remaining 4 months. The Commission stated that the provisional antidumping duties will counteract unfair trade practices that have harmed the European solar industry. The Commission stressed that the level of the tariffs is significantly lower than the 88% rate at which Chinese manufacturers have been dumping their products on the EU market. Despite the fact that the Commission found that Chinese manufacturers have dumped their products on the market, it also reiterated its commitment to finding an amicable solution to the solar trade dispute through continued negotiations with Chinese companies and the Chinese Chamber of Commerce. To this effect, the Commission said that »provisional duties can be suspended if a negotiated solution is achieved.« The EU will issue a final decision on the antidumping duties on Dec. 5, 2013.

Further news on the subject:

Portugal added only 1.1 MW of PV power in the first quarter

DGEG (Renováveis - Estatísticas Rápidas- Março 2013)
Portugal added just 1.1 of new PV capacity in the first quarter of 2013, according to the latest data from the Portuguese Directorate General for Geology and Energy. The country therefore now has a cumulative installed PV capacity of 226.6 MW. The newly installed capacity in the month of March was of around 900 kW, up from 200 kW installed in the first two months of this year. For comparison, Portugal added 67.8 MW of PV power last year. PV covered 0.7% of the country’s total electricity demand in March, the same value as was registered in February. Portugal currently only grants FITs to PV systems up to 250 kW in size. For 2013, the government has allocated 11 MW of PV capacity for micro-generation systems (up to 3.68 kW). The government has not said how much capacity it will allocate this year for mini-generation installations (up to 250 kW).

As Europe's Dominance Wanes, Others Pick Up Solar PV

Renewable Energy World
Europe's role as the main driver for the global solar photovoltaics (PV) market is coming to an end, concludes the European Photovoltaic Industry Association (EPIA) in its latest report.
"The results show clearly" that Europe's dominance is declining, said the trade body in its Global Market Outlook for Photovoltaics 2013-2017. Europe accounted for more than 70 percent of the world's new PV installations in 2011, while in 2012 this number was around 55 percent, the report found. In 2013, said EPIA, it "is almost certain" that the majority of new global PV capacity will be installed outside Europe, and that this trend will continue.

quarta-feira, 29 de maio de 2013

China Divides European Union in Fight Over Tariffs
Adroitly alternating the threat of a trade war with the lure of its huge import market, China appears to have driven a deep wedge between Germany and the rest of the European Union. (...) Ms. Merkel said Germany would lobby against duties on Chinese panels. As Chinese and European trade officials stare each other down over next week’s scheduled imposition of big tariffs on the $27 billion worth of solar panels China sells to Europe each year, Germany has come down on China’s side. Notably, Berlin is backing Beijing, even though Europe’s biggest producer of solar equipment, SolarWorld, is a German company that desperately wants the European Union to impose tariffs on the Chinese equipment. Unless the bloc backs off under German pressure, tariffs averaging nearly 50 percent would go into effect June 6, to punish China for the ostensible “dumping” of solar panels at below cost in Europe.
“Europe cannot succumb to blackmail — dumping is illegal, and the E.U. is obliged to defend itself by applying the international trade law,” said Milan Nitzschke, a spokesman for SolarWorld and the president of ProSun, a lobbying group for the European solar energy industry. But many other German companies, which rely more heavily than other European manufacturers on China as a significant market for their exports — whether Volkswagen cars or Siemens factory equipment or various other goods — fear that the dispute over solar panels could lead to an all-out trade war with China, which would be disastrous for their businesses. So far, the German government appears to agree.

quinta-feira, 23 de maio de 2013

Equipa de estudantes portugueses triunfa nos Ericsson Application Awards
A equipa portuguesa GreenSpark [da Universidade a Madeira] triunfou na categoria de estudantes nos Ericsson Application Awards 2013, com a aplicação Sun Monitor para monitorização de sistemas de energia solar residenciais. (...) Segundo a organização, o Sun Monitor “reduz a complexidade de manter e monitorizar um sistema de energia solar residencial, através de um dispositivo plug-and-play, com recurso a tecnologia de cloud computing”. O júri seleccionou a GreenSpark por “a equipa se ter focado no desempenho das células solares numa altura em que o consumo de energia e a eficiência energética ganham cada vez mais destaque, e de ter desenvolvido uma aplicação com benefícios óbvios para os utilizadores e para todos os stakeholders no ramo da energia”.
Mais informações sobre o projecto aqui.

quarta-feira, 22 de maio de 2013

U.S., EU Said to Be in Talks With China to End Solar Spat

The Obama administration is engaged in preliminary talks with the European Union and China to settle a dispute over trade in solar-energy equipment and avoid a conflict among the world’s largest economies, according to people familiar with the discussions.
The effort is focused on setting a quota on Chinese exports and a minimum price for solar-energy equipment, in exchange for suspending U.S. duties on the goods, according to two people familiar with the U.S. position who asked not to be identified to discuss private deliberations.

Japan Plans Low-Interest Loans for Rooftop Solar

Japan’s Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry plans to provide low-interest loans to companies that borrow residential rooftop space for solar power generation, the Nikkei newspaper reported today.
The ministry plans to make loans available through government financial institutions such as Development Bank of Japan Inc., the newspaper cited Trade Minister Toshimitsu Motegi as saying. Motegi will announce the plan tomorrow in a meeting on industrial competitiveness, according to the paper.
Under the proposal, companies will sell electricity generated from solar panels set up on homeowners’ rooftop spaces, according to the paper. Homeowners will receive 10,000 yen ($97) to 20,000 yen a year for renting out their roofs, it said.

sexta-feira, 17 de maio de 2013

China to delay preliminary decision on polysilicon import duties until after June 5

People's Daily Online
The Chinese government is expected to soon complete its antidumping and antisubsidy investigation into polysilicon imports from the US, the EU and South Korea, according to Chinese news portal People Daily, which cites an internal source from China’s Ministry of Commerce (Mofcom). According to the article, the investigation is almost complete; however, China will delay the announcement of its preliminary decision until after June 5, which is when the EU is due to announce whether it will apply provisional duties to Chinese silicon wafer, cell and module imports.
Mofcom opened the antidumping and countervailing duty investigations into US and South Korean polysilicon imports in mid-July 2012. In early November of the same year, Mofcom launched similar investigations into EU polysilicon imports.

quarta-feira, 15 de maio de 2013

SMA announces job cuts of over 1,000

The world’s biggest photovoltaic inverter manufacturer has said that due to reduced solar support in Europe, it forecasts plummeting sales in 2013 of between €0.9 billion to €1.3 billion, compared to the predicted €1.3 billion to €1.5 billion expected to be achieved this year. "The growth impulses of the non-European photovoltaic markets are not sufficient to compensate for the expected decrease in European demand," stated Pierre-Pascal Urbon, speaker of SMA’s Managing Board.
(...) [T]he company has said it will gradually cut 450 of its worldwide workforce and terminate 600 of its temporary workers. It did not indicate which regions would be affected, however.
SMA has said it will not cut any jobs in its development business, and plans to invest over €100 million in R&D in the next year. "Developing completely new product platforms should reduce production costs significantly by 2014, while at the same time setting new standards for energy management," said the company in a statement released.

Germany urges diplomatic resolution to EU trade case against China

Germany is continuing to strive for a diplomatic resolution to the European Union's ongoing investigation into the alleged dumping of Chinese solar modules in Europe. Last week, it emerged that the European Commission’s is planning an average of 47% tariffs on Chinese solar module manufacturers, but at a press conference yesterday government spokesman Steffen Seibert said Germany was still working with China to reach a mutually beneficial solution. Seibert said the German chancellor Angela Merkel has always believed the best course of action was an “amicable solution" with China. (...) A spokesman for Germany's economy ministry named the European Commission's position "hard" and said his ministry was urging the commission and China to continue the political dialogue to try and still ultimately reach an amicable solution.

quarta-feira, 8 de maio de 2013

EU to Slap Tariffs on Chinese Solar Panels

Wall Street Journal
The European Union is poised to slap import duties on solar-panel equipment made in China, likely sparking one of the largest trade battles of recent decades. The duties are intended to protect European solar companies reeling from a flood of imported Chinese solar panels. Dozens of European manufacturers have shut production or gone out of business as solar-panel prices have plummeted; the industry says unfairly priced imports from China are the cause.
The import duties will average about 46%, according to people familiar with the matter, though different Chinese manufacturers will face different individual tariffs. The tariffs will cover panels and their main components, solar cells and silicon wafers.
(...) Solar-panel importers claim that duties of just 15% would cut European demand for solar panels by 85%. "If prices are artificially increased by punitive tariffs, the European solar market would simply come to a standstill with disastrous effects on green jobs," said Wouter Vermeersch, chief executive of Cleantec Trade, a Belgian importer of renewable-energy products.

terça-feira, 7 de maio de 2013

Canada loses appeal over Ontario's FIT program

Trade - European Commission
Canada lost the appeal filed at the World Trade Organization (WTO) in a ruling that the local content requirement embedded within Ontario’s feed-in-tariff (FIT) program violates global trade rules.
The appeal was filed by the Canadian authorities at the WTO on February 5. The original ruling, published in December, supported claims made by Japan and the EU that the FIT program’s local content requirement unfairly discriminates against foreign companies.
After the ruling was published, Japan filed a cross appeal in the dispute involving “Canada – Renewable Energy” (WT/DS412), while the EU filed a cross appeal in the dispute involving “Canada – Feed-in Tariff Program” (WT/DS426). The Appellate Body report will have now to be adopted by the WTO Dispute Settlement Body within 30 days. Canada will have to present its plan to implement the ruling in the following months.
(...) Ontario’s local content requirement ensures that renewable energy installations built in Ontario only receive a FIT if 50 to 60 percent of the project’s equipment and services come from Ontario-based companies.

sexta-feira, 3 de maio de 2013

Tour Tecnologias Solar em Lisboa

No âmbito dos Dias Europeus do Sol, projecto co-financiados pelo programa Intelligent Energy Europe, a Lisboa E-Nova, Agência Municipal de Energia e Ambiente, e a APISOLAR, Associação Portuguesa da Indústria Solar estão a organizar, no dia 17 de Maio, um Tour Tecnologias Solares em Lisboa. Inscreva-se aqui, as vagas são limitadas!

PV installation pace to slow in the EU as support wanes
The EU connected over 16.5 GW of new PV capacity in 2012 – down sharply from 22 GW in 2011 – bringing the region’s total installed PV capacity to 68.6 GW as of the end of last year. Global installed PV capacity, meanwhile, topped 101 GW.
According to the EurObserv’ER Baromoter, which is supported by the European Commission, Germany (7,604 MW) and Italy (3,577 MW) accounted for more than two thirds of all PV capacity installed in the EU last year. Last year’s other strong markets include France (1,079 MW), Greece (912 MW), Bulgaria (721 MW), the UK (679 MW) and Belgium (599 MW).
In terms of cumulative installed grid-connected PV capacity, Germany and Italy, of course, lead Europe with 32.6 and 16.3 GW, respectively, as of the end of last year. Spain (4,492 MW), France (4,003 MW), Belgium (2,650 MW), the Czech Republic (2,022 MW), the UK (1,655 MW) and Greece (1,536 MW) also had more than 1 GW of installed PV capacity as of Dec. 31, 2013.
Solar now covers more than 2% of EU electricity consumption. (...) [However,] public opinion and European governments are becoming increasingly reluctant to make further investments in PV as the payoffs, economic growth and employment, have not materialized as expected. In the short term, this will inevitably lead to a slower installation pace in many European markets. While PV development in the EU will slacken this year, development in China, the US and Japan is expected to take off. China will replace Germany as the world’s top solar market this year. In the coming years, EurObserv’ER predicts, India, South America and Africa will power future growth.

quinta-feira, 2 de maio de 2013

EU initiates anti-dumping investigation on solar glass from China

Press Release 
The European Commission today launched an anti-dumping investigation into imports of solar glass from China. The initiation is based on a complaint lodged by the association EU ProSun Glass, which claims solar glass from China is being dumped in the EU at prices below market value and causing material injury to the EU solar glass industry.
The investigation could take up to 15 months, although under trade defence rules the EU could impose provisional anti-dumping duties within nine months if it considers these necessary.
Solar glass is a special glass used mainly, but not exclusively, for the production of solar panels. It is an essential component not just of solar panels, but of many solar energy products. This investigation has, however, no direct link with the probe related to the imports of solar panels launched by the European Commission last September (MEMO/12/647): it is a stand-alone investigation concerning a clearly distinct product. The EU solar glass market is valued at less than €200m.

segunda-feira, 29 de abril de 2013

Westlands offers plan to retire 24,000 acres for solar power
The Westlands Water District is forging ahead with efforts to plan a solar energy park on thousands of acres of poor farmland in Kings County. The water district is partnering with Westside Holdings LLC to prepare a detailed environmental impact report and master plan for the proposed 24,000-acre Westlands Solar Park. The environmental work sets the stage for private solar companies to build individual projects to generate electricity on farmland the district has earmarked for retirement because of poor drainage and high levels of salt in the groundwater and the soil. (...) A notice filed by Westlands to notify the state and other agencies of the plans indicates that development is anticipated in 200-megawatt increments over 12 years. At total buildout, the power-generating capacity of the solar park would be about 2,400 megawatts of electricity.

sexta-feira, 26 de abril de 2013

Dia Internacional do Sol na Faculdade de Ciências

Para assinalar o Dia Internacional do Sol, dia 3 de Maio, a APREN e a Faculdade de Ciências da Universidade de Lisboa organizam uma mesa redonda subordinada ao tema “O Aproveitamento energético do Sol”.
Esta iniciativa insere-se no Ciclo de Mesas Redondas, A APREN e as Universidades – Celebração dos dias temáticos, promovido pela APREN, que decorrerá em diversas universidades do país, com o objectivo de promover o debate em torno das questões relacionadas com as diversas energias renováveis: biomassa, solar, eólica e hídrica.
A sessão terá lugar no Anfiteatro da Fundação da FCUL, da Faculdade de Ciências da Universidade de Lisboa, com o seguinte programa:

10:30 – 10:45 António Sá da Costa, APREN – Associação Portuguesa de Energias Renováveis
10:45 – 11:00 António Vallera, Faculdade de Ciências da Universidade de Lisboa
11:00 – 11:15 Helder Serranho, APREN – Associação Portuguesa de Energias Renováveis e Generg
11:15 – 11:30 Cláudio Monteiro, APISOLAR - Associação Portuguesa da Indústria Solar
11:30 – 11:45 Carlos Sampaio, APESF - Associação Portuguesa das Empresas do Sector Fotovoltaico
11:45 – 12:50 Debate
12:50 – 13:00 Conclusões

As inscrições são gratuitas e devem ser realizadas através do e-mail

quarta-feira, 17 de abril de 2013

Germany to start subsidies for solar power storage systems in May 2013

The German solar industry welcomes the federal government's announcement that it will support battery systems to accompany solar photovoltaic (PV) generation beginning in May 2013. Germany will subsidize the purchase of new battery storage systems with up to EUR 660 (USD 870) per kWp. In the first year the KfW banking group will provide EUR 25 million (USD 33 million) in funding. (...) The new subsidies also specify that solar energy systems combined with subsidized storage must reduce their output to 60% for the entire payment period. This will allow plant operators to help avoiding production peaks.

sexta-feira, 5 de abril de 2013

Renewable Energy Database - The World Bank

The World Bank
This website collects data on private participation in renewable energy in developing countries. It is part of the PPI Database and applies the same research methdology. The renewable energy section provides researchers with detailed, renewable-specific information on over 900 projects that were implemented between 1993 and 2011. The PPI Database is a flagship World Bank knowledge product widely used in research and analyses of infrastructure development. The purpose is to inform stakeholders on key trends regarding private in the renewable energy sector.

Japan to Become Largest Solar Market After China, BNEF Says

Bloomberg New Energy Finance
Japan will probably become the largest solar market in the world after China this year, boosted by an incentive program that offers above-market rates for energy from renewable sources. Commercial and utility-scale projects will boost solar installations to a range of 6.1 gigawatts to 9.4 gigawatts in 2013, exceeding an earlier forecast of 3.2 gigawatts to 4 gigawatts, Bloomberg New Energy Finance said in a research note. (...) The forecast reflects the push by Japan to find alternative sources of energy following the Fukushima earthquake and tsunami in March 2011, which prompted the closure of all but two of the nation’s nuclear reactors. Japan in July began offering incentives through feed-in tariffs to encourage investments in energy sources such as wind and solar.

quinta-feira, 21 de março de 2013

World's 'Most Attractive' Incentives Will Bump Japan's Solar Status
The Japanese photovoltaic market is set to grow by 120% this year, with more than 5 GW of new capacity expected, according to a new report from IMS Research (part of IHS Inc.). Benefiting from the world's most attractive PV incentive policy, Japan's solar market is currently booming, with installations expected to exceed 1 GW in the first quarter alone, causing it to become the second largest market in 2013.
Japan's PV market currently benefits from a feed-in tariff (FIT) paying up to 42 yen/kWh [0.42€/kWh at today's exchange rate], even though this rate is likely to be reduced by approximately 10% beginning April 1.
"At 42 yen, Japan's FIT is by far the most attractive globally - overly generous, perhaps, which could lead to overheating of the market," explains Ash Sharma, senior director of solar research at IHS.
"And while a 10 percent reduction in tariffs is widely expected by industry players, this will have little effect on both internal rates of return and market demand," Sharma continues. "Furthermore, many systems that have already applied for the higher FIT are able to benefit from this rate of 42 yen, even if they are installed after April 1."
The report reveals that installations are estimated at over 1 GW in the first quarter of 2013 - the final quarter of Japan's fiscal year - and forecast to exceed 5 GW for the whole of 2013. This would see Japan leapfrog ahead of Germany, Italy and the U.S. to become the world's second largest PV market.

Chinese Subsidiary of Suntech Power Declares Bankruptcy
The main subsidiary of Suntech Power, one of the world’s largest makers of solar panels, collapsed into bankruptcy in a remarkable reversal for what had been part of a huge Chinese government effort to dominate renewable energy industries.
Suntech, a centerpiece of the country’s efforts, had grown to 10,000 employees in its hometown, Wuxi, on China’s east coast, and even set up a small factory in Arizona to assemble panels. But a tenfold expansion of Chinese solar panel manufacturing capacity from 2008 to 2012 pushed down the price of solar panels about 75 percent, undermining the economics of the business. (...) The rapid expansion of natural gas production in the United States and a curtailment of subsidies in the European Union also hurt prices, as did the United States’s imposition of import tariffs totaling about 40 percent after an antidumping and antisubsidy investigation last year. The European Union is completing its own trade investigation of Chinese solar panel shipments that could lead to steep tariffs there as well.
After Suntech grew spectacularly, with production that soared year after year on heavy investment, and after Western investors bought up its New York-traded shares and its international debt issues, the company was battered by plummeting prices as the overall manufacturing industry sank.(...) Chinese banks quietly asked a court in Wuxi on Monday to declare the operating subsidiary, Wuxi Suntech, insolvent and begin reorganizing it. The subsidiary notified the court on Wednesday that it did not object to the insolvency petition. Suntech Power, the parent, said that it was not filing for bankruptcy and would continue to honor warranties on the company’s solar panels. The bankruptcy filing is widely expected to lead to a takeover of the Wuxi operations by Wuxi Guolian Development Group, a financial conglomerate controlled by the city government of Wuxi.

More details:
Suntech Defaults On 3% Convertible Notes, Signaling Further Financial Trouble
Chinese Government Considers Reducing Subsidies For Large Solar Projects

quarta-feira, 20 de março de 2013

Masdar launches world’s largest concentrated solar power plant

Saudi Gazette
Abu Dhabi officially opened Sunday the world’s largest concentrated solar power (CSP) plant covering 2.5 square kilometers (285 football fields) in Madinat Zayed in the Western Region, which cost $600 million to build and will provide electricity to 20,000 homes. The 100-megawatt capacity Shams 1 is “the world’s largest concentrated solar power plant in operation” said Sultan Al-Jaber, the head of Abu Dhabi’s Masdar, which oversees the emirate’s plan to generate seven percent of its energy needs from renewable sources by 2020. (...) Masdar now produces 10 percent of the world’s concentrated solar power, Seage said during the official inauguration. The company’s energy portfolio represents 68 percent of renewable energy produced in the Gulf region, where clean energy remains at an infancy stage.
The solar park features long lines of parabolic mirrors spread over an area equivalent to 285 football pitches in the desert of the Western Region, some 120 kilometers (75 miles) southwest of Abu Dhabi. The 192 rows of loops collect heat that drives turbines to generate power that would save 175,000 tons of carbon dioxide every year, equivalent to taking 15,000 cars off the road. Automatic trucks are deployed to dust the mirrors in this desert location where sand poses a serious challenge to the efficiency of heat collectors. Masdar owns 60 percent of the project, while France’s Total and Spain’s Abengoa Solar own 20 percent each.

segunda-feira, 11 de março de 2013

Universidade de Lisboa vai produzir energia solar

A Universidade de Lisboa (UL) vai começar a produzir energia através do sol. A instituição de ensino superior prepara-se para inaugurar, esta terça-feira, as suas primeiras centrais fotovoltaicas e prevê ter mais de 10.000 painéis solares instalados já em Outubro, o suficiente para abastecer 1.600 famílias.

Em declarações à Lusa, Márcia Vila, diretora do serviço de sustentabilidade do campus universitário, revelou que os painéis já estão instalados nas coberturas dos edifícios abrangidos pela primeira parte do projeto e em fase de ligação.
Na terça-feira será feita uma apresentação pública do projeto de minigeração de energia e da eficiência energética dos edifícios da UL, sendo que esta iniciativa está a ser desenvolvida em parceria com a Galp, sem custos para a universidade e com partilha das receitas obtidas com a venda de energia elétrica à rede.
A universidade conta com mais de 30 edifícios e o objetivo do projeto é abranger o máximo possível, para que todas as unidades orgânicas (faculdades e refeitórios) tenham uma central fotovoltaica instalada, referiu Márcia Vila.

Atualmente, está a ser efetuada a ligação de quatro unidades de produção de eletricidade. Os painéis fotovoltaicos (os primeiros 2.627) estão a ser colocados nas coberturas dos edifícios, nos parques de estacionamento e nas áreas de lazer.
Os equipamentos, instalados nos edifícios da Faculdade de Ciências, na Faculdade de Psicologia e Instituto de Educação e no Refeitório 1 vão produzir cerca de 1.028 Gwh de energia renovável por ano, "evitando assim a emissão anual de 12.106 toneladas de dióxido de carbono (CO2)", pode ler-se num documento divulgado pela UL e citado pela Lusa.
O projeto beneficia da "excelente orientação de alguns edifícios" a Sul e de outros já construídos para este fim, nomeadamente na Faculdade de Ciências. "Foram fatores decisivos para a existência de painéis solares fotovoltaicos, facilitando o melhor aproveitamento das coberturas", explica ainda a UL, que reclama o desenvolvimento de um projeto pioneiro a nível universitário em Portugal.
Segundo a instituição universitária, trata-se de um dos maiores projetos de energia elétrica a partir de fontes renováveis na cidade e nas instituições de ensino superior em Portugal. Além disso, o facto de ser instalado na própria universidade permite que o projeto seja estudado no local por recursos existentes na Academia.

First Solar offers to recycle Abound's abandoned panels

The Denver Post
[First Solar, the] competitor to bankrupt Abound Solar says it would gladly recycle about 100,000 of the company's discarded panels. Colorado officials recently ordered Abound to clean up the waste. First Solar in Tempe, Ariz., said it has approached its one-time opponent and the trustee overseeing Abound's bankruptcy case with the offer to recover materials from the solar panels. "We've reached out to see if our recycling facilities can get their modules," said Alan Bernheimer, public relations director for First Solar's Americas division.
The offer as-yet has no parameters or money attached, details Bernheimer said are still being worked out.
Colorado health and environment officials in January ordered Loveland-based Abound to clean up hazardous waste at four Front Range locations, citing thousands of "unsellable" solar panels and thousands of gallons of toxic liquids. The panels contain cadmium telluride, of which cadmium is considered a toxic substance and a known carcinogen by federal health agencies. U.S. Bankruptcy Court trustee Adam Singer estimated the cost of the whole cleanup to be $2.2 million.

China Drives Record Solar Growth Becoming Biggest Market

The $77 billion solar-energy industry is forecast to expand the most since 2011, as China becomes the biggest market for the first time and drives annual global installations to a record.
New generation capacity will rise about 14 percent this year to 34.1 gigawatts, equal to about eight atomic reactors, according to the average estimate of seven analysts surveyed by Bloomberg. That would beat the 4.4 percent growth in 2012, when demand shrank in Italy and France after subsidies were cut.
China, after building scores of factories that helped cut panel prices 20 percent in the past year, is poised to become the biggest consumer of the devices after doubling its 2013 target for new projects in January.

Update on EU-China solar trade war

EU orders registration of solar PV imports from China
On March 5th, 2013 the European Commission ordered registration of imported Chinese solar photovoltaic (PV) products, in anticipation of potential anti-dumping and countervailing duties.
This order applies to silicon wafers and PV cells and modules, which must be registered at customs. A preliminary decision on the anti-dumping case will be made in June 2013, and may be retroactive to March 2013.

EC opens anti-dumping investigation of solar glass imports from ChinaOn February 28th, 2013 the European Commission launched an anti-dumping investigation into imports of solar glass from China, prompted by a complaint from trade group EU ProSun Glass.
The investigation could take up to 15 months, however the EC could impose provisional anti-dumping duties as soon as December 2013 if it finds them necessary. The EC notes that this is a separate investigation from its anti-dumping and CVD investigations of Chinese PV exports.

China urges EU to properly handle solar panel friction
Chinese Commerce Minister Chen Deming Friday urged politicians and entrepreneurs of the European Union to properly handle the solar panel friction with China to avoid greater losses for both sides.
"We hope to address the dispute through negotiations between Chinese and European companies and boost our industrial cooperation and seek third-party markets," Chen told a press conference on the sidelines of the annual session of the National People's Congress.
"We are still negotiating a solution and should join our hands to tide through the difficult times for exploring greater market shares," Chen said.

quinta-feira, 28 de fevereiro de 2013

Colorado orders Abound Solar to clean up hazardous waste at four sites

The Denver Post
Colorado health and environment officials have ordered Loveland-based Abound Solar, the bankrupt solar-panel maker, to clean up hazardous waste at four Front Range locations.The Abound facilities are storing thousands of "unsellable" solar panels and thousands of gallons of toxic liquids, according to Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment reports.
"The Department views these 2,000 pallets of solar panels as a characteristic hazardous waste for cadmium," a report on a Denver warehouse said. (...) The cost of the cleanup is estimated by the trustee to be $2.2 million.
(...) Abound stopped shipping nonfunctioning panels to a recycler in Wisconsin in February 2012 "due to cost constraints," according the bankruptcy trustee. Health-department inspectors found 3,600 pallets of Abound panels in a Denver warehouse and said a little more than half of them were not sellable. At Abound's former Longmont factory, inspectors found 30 55-gallon drums of cadmium-contaminated fluids and two large tanks with a total of 2,500 gallons of cadmium-contaminated water. At a Longmont warehouse, 500 pallets of defective panels were found by inspectors. And at a research-and-development facility, additional cadmium waste was found, Schieffelin said. "At both manufacturing facilities, there is a probability of cadmium contamination throughout the buildings," Schieffelin said.

First Solar reports record sales in 4Q 2012, unveils 18.7% efficient solar PV cell

First Solar Inc. has released financial results for the fourth quarter and full year 2012, reporting record revenues of USD 1.08 billion at a 16% operating margin in the fourth quarter. First Solar has also unveiled an 18.7% efficient solar photovoltaic (PV) cell, a world record for cadmium telluride thin-film technology. Based on this new efficiency, the company will be updating its efficiency and cost reduction road maps. (...) The record has been verified by the US Department of Energy's National Renewable Energy Laboratories (NREL, Golden, Colorado, US). First Solar notes that the cell was constructed on a glass substrate using processes and materials that are designed for commercial-scale manufacturing.
First Solar states that during 2012 it completed its restructuring efforts to orient the company towards “sustainable” markets which are not based on subsidies. As part of these changes, it expanded its geographical reach, with new subsidiaries in the Middle East, South Africa, Thailand and India in 2012 [and has] also acquired Solar Chile and the company's project pipeline. However, the majority of large projects the company is currently constructing are in the United States, including the 550 MW Topaz Project and the 290 MW Agua Caliente project.
The company's restructuring came at a cost of USD 469 million in 2012. Over the full year, First Solar achieved USD 3.37 billion in revenues, but an operating margin of -1.1% and a net loss of USD 96.3 million. However, the worst appears to be over, and First Solar expects to report only USD 10 million in expenses from this restructuring in 2013.

quarta-feira, 27 de fevereiro de 2013

c-Si solar PV module prices fell 50% in 2012

NPD Solarbuzz reports that crystalline silicon (c-Si) solar photovoltaic (PV) average selling prices fell an average of 50% year-over-year in 2012, the steepest decline in four years of annual declines. (...) “Amongst other things, 2012 will be remembered as a particularly difficult year for producers of c-Si PV modules,” notes Barker. “Average sales prices (ASPs) declined at a fast pace during the year, despite frequent announcements from module suppliers that pricing was about to stabilize and then rebound.”(...) [According to Solarbuzz] c-Si PV module prices have fallen over 80% in the last four years. He notes that in 2013 overcapacity still exists, with a 30 GW end-market being supplied by a 45 GW manufacturing capacity.

quinta-feira, 21 de fevereiro de 2013

Punitive tariffs on Chinese PV imports will lead to significant job losses in Europe, according to a new study

Alliance for Affordable Solar Energy
Antidumping and/or countervailing duties at any level on Chinese solar products imported into the EU would lead to an overall decrease in demand for solar products [and] to significant job losses in Europe and less value added along the whole European PV value chain, reports Prognos. (...) A punitive tariff of 20% would cost 115,600 jobs in the EU during the first year after implementation. This would rise to a total of 175,500 job losses within the first three years after implementation. The value added lost in Europe could reach €4.74 billion in the first year and up to €18.4 billion during three years with a tariff of 20%.

Layoffs at Nanosolar

Nanosolar, the solar manufacturer located in South San Jose’s Edenvale clean-technology zone, had layoffs on Friday. An anonymous caller to the San Jose Mercury News said Monday that Nanosolar laid off 75 percent of its workforce Friday. I have not been able to confirm that figure, and don’t know how many full-time employees Nanosolar had on the payroll. But it seems clear from the company’s statement that the reduction-in-force was significant. “Nanosolar did experience a workforce reduction last week,” wrote Susan Lehman, a public relations person who works with the company, in an email Monday. “At this time, the company is in a quiet period and will not be issuing any formal statements. Once we have more information to share, we will provide additional details.”

segunda-feira, 18 de fevereiro de 2013

Italian authorities investigate alleged illegal waste disposal at SunEdison PV power plant

Italian authorities have launched an investigation to determine whether an 11 MW PV power plant in the central Italian region of Lazio was used as an illegal dump site. According to newspaper Il Messaggero, local police and environmental authorities suspect the power plant site hosts illegal waste after they found non-compliant materials during an initial site survey.
The power plant in question, located in the municipality of Montalto di Castro, is owned by SunEdison Italia Srl, a subsidiary of US solar developer SunEdison. A press officer for SunEdison told PHOTON that the company was unaware of any wrongdoing, but she said if violations had occurred during construction, it would be the responsibility of Spanish construction company Montealto, whom SunEdison contracted to build the power plant: Until today, SunEdison was not aware of any violation of any environmental or other law in connection with the construction of the plant. SunEdison will do everything in its power to promptly correct any violations that may be identified. SunEdison will explore legal action against its former contractor or any of the subcontractors that may have breached any law during the construction of the plant.

quinta-feira, 14 de fevereiro de 2013

100 GW of Solar PV Now Installed in the World Today

Renewable Energy News Article
Cumulative global installed [grid connected] solar PV capacity has topped the 100-gigawatt (GW) milestone, according to preliminary numbers from the European Photovoltaic Industry Association (EPIA). (...) Europe's 69 GW of total installed capacity is enough to produce roughly 2.6% of the region's electricity demand this year, and about 5.2% of peak electricity demand, according to the EPIA.
There's another important milestone in the EPIA's tally of solar PV. Countries outside of Europe connected 13 GW, up from 8 GW in 2011 and just 3 GW in 2010; at the same time Europe's PV installations fell from 23 GW in 2011 to 17 GW in 2012, its first decline since 2006. (...) Eight nations added at least a gigawatt of grid-connected capacity in 2012: Germany, China, Italy, the U.S., Japan, France, the U.K., and India. Thirteen nations (up from 8 in 2011) are in the gigawatt-club of cumulative solar installations: Germany, Italy, the U.S., China, Japan, Spain, France, Belgium, Australia, the Czech Republic, the U.K., Greece, and India.

Photovoltaic Production in China's Jiangsu Province Falls 30% in 2012

Renewable Energy News Article
Total output value of the PV industry in Jiangsu province [where Suntech is located], China amounted to 180 billion yuan (approx US$28.9 billion) for the first 10 months of 2012, a year-over-year decrease of 28 percent, according to recently released data.(...) Over half of the province’s PV manufacturers are struggling, and at the same time find themselves saddled with heavy debts – over 50 percent of the firms have ceased production. (...) An industry insider said in an interview that the depression in the province’s PV industry was mainly attributed to the significantly decreased prices for PV components, the high liability ratio among certain firms, in addition to the above mentioned “exit” of more than half of the producers. The insider also suggested that the province expand PV applications across the country and accelerate a restructuring of the sector through consolidation and by shutting down the makers that don’t have the wherewithal to upgrade their technologies.

segunda-feira, 11 de fevereiro de 2013

United States Challenges India’s Restrictions on U.S. Solar Exports

EQ International
United States Trade Representative Ron Kirk announced today that the United States has requested World Trade Organization (WTO) dispute settlement consultations with the Government of India concerning domestic content requirements in India’s national solar program. India’s program appears to discriminate against U.S. solar equipment by requiring solar energy producers to use Indian-manufactured solar cells and modules and by offering subsidies to those developers for using domestic equipment instead of imports. These forced localization requirements of India’s national solar program restrict India’s market to U.S. imports.

Japan energy dispute with Canada

A World Trade Organization panel (...) released a report supporting arguments made by Japan and the European Union over a Canadian province's preferential treatment for local firms in promoting renewable energy. (...) The government of Ontario required a certain percentage of components for solar and wind power generation systems to be procured in the province when it introduced a feed-in tariff system in 2009, the report said. Japan and the European Union argued the move violated WTO rules. (...) According to the Japanese Economy, Trade and Industry Ministry, it is the first judgment reached in a WTO trade dispute over renewable energy. Japan filed a complaint with the WTO in September 2010 over the requirement that would disadvantage Japanese and other foreign companies. Japan asked the WTO in June 2011 to have the dispute settlement panel resolve the issue after the Canadian province raised the percentage of local components required in solar projects to 60% from 40%-50%.

On 5 February 2013, Canada filed a notice of appeal in dispute cases “Canada – Certain Measures Affecting the Renewable Energy Generation Sector”, complaint by Japan (WT/DS412/R) and “Canada – Measures Relating to the Feed in Tariff Program”, complaint by the European Union (WT/DS426/R).

Sonae e EDP juntam-se no maior projecto de minigeração solar do país

Por cima de 46 lojas Modelo Continente – 40 neste momento, restando seis para breve –, espalhados por todo o país, 15.867 painéis solares fotovoltaicos irão produzir 125 GWh de energia ao longo de 25 anos, o equivalente à electricidade necessária para abastecer 40 mil casas durante um ano. O investimento é da EDP. “Seis milhões de euros”, anunciou nesta quinta-feira António Mexia, presidente da empresa eléctrica, durante a apresentação do projecto, em Torres Vedras. A EDP foi responsável pelo desenho, engenharia e instalação dos sistemas, detendo a propriedade destas centrais de minigeração durante 15 anos. “A EDP vende a energia à rede e paga à Sonae uma parte da totalidade das receitas obtidas como contrapartida pela utilização do espaço”, explicam as empresas. Após os 15 anos do contrato, a propriedade dos sistemas passa para a Sonae, que passa a comercializar a electricidade.

terça-feira, 5 de fevereiro de 2013

US: Thin film solar energy sells cheaper than coal fired

According to the terms of the proposed PPA for the 50 MW Macho Springs solar park in New Mexico, First Solar would be selling the energy generated by its thin film modules for a record low price for the technology.
News agency Bloomberg cites a New Mexico Public Regulation Commission document relating to the yet-to-be-agreed PPA in which El Paso Electric Company agrees to pay just US$57.90/MWh generated at Macho Springs.
 The resulting $0.0579, or six cents, per kWh is less than half the average price of energy generated by new coal-fired power stations (12.8c/kWh) and significantly less than the typical price of thin film generated power (16.3c/kWh, both according to figures from Bloomberg New Energy Finance).

Solar trade war: update

CASM appeals scope of US tariffs on Chinese solar PV products
Coalition for American Solar Manufacturing (CASM) filed appeals against the scope of the US trade cases regarding imports of solar photovoltaic (PV) products from China. CASM argues that Chinese-made PV modules should be included in the cases, whether or not the PV cells that comprise them were made in China. In addition to this challenge to the scope, the appeals challenge decisions not to investigate Chinese subsidies on aluminum and rolled glass, and separate duty rates for several large Chinese PV companies.

Trade complaint filed at the European Commission over solar glass imports
A new coalition of glass manufacturers for solar photovoltaic (PV) modules has filed an anti-dumping complaint with the European Commission regarding imports of glass from China. EU ProSun Glass is supported by EU ProSun, the coalition whose filings initiated European trade investigations of imported PV products from China. The coalition claims that 90% of the solar glass that the EU imports comes from China.

China drags wine into EU trade war
The China Alcoholic Drinks Industry, which represents the country’s wineries, is concerned that European winemakers are being subsidised to flood China with poor quality wines.In an interview with China Daily, Wang Zuming, secretary general of the CADA’s wine sub-branch, said: “We have noticed a clear intention to sell European wines in the Chinese market at below cost price.”

terça-feira, 29 de janeiro de 2013

German government to introduce new subsidies for solar energy storage

The German Federal Ministry of the Environment has announced that new incentives for energy storage systems for solar photovoltaic (PV) installations will begin in February 2013.
The three-year subsidy program will have a EUR 50 million (USD 67 million) budget and will be available for PV systems with a capacity smaller than 30 kW, providing a grant of EUR 800 (USD 1,080) per kWh of storage. No additional certification will be needed, and self-consumed solar power will not be eligible for participation in the nation's feed-in tariff.

quinta-feira, 24 de janeiro de 2013

PV, CSP supply 4.3% of Spanish electricity generation in 2012

The Electricity Network of Spain (REE) reports that solar photovoltaic (PV) technology supplied 3.0% of electricity generated in the nation over the course of 2012, with an additional 1.3% supplied by concentrating solar power (CSP).
This is the highest percentage of CSP generation in any nation to date. Together, solar electric technologies supplied a total of 4.3% of Spanish electricity in 2012, second only to Germany and Italy.
When wind, renewable thermal, and hydroelectricity are added, renewable energy rises to almost 32% of Spain's generation in 2012, higher than either Germany or Italy.

sexta-feira, 18 de janeiro de 2013

Empa reaches 20.4% efficiency with flexible CIGS solar PV cell 

On January 17th, 2013 Swiss Federal Laboratories for Materials Science and Technology (Empa, Zürich, Switzerland) announced that it has achieved a world record 20.4% efficiency with a copper indium gallium diselenide (CIGS) solar photovoltaic (PV) cell on a flexible substrate.
The new record was verified by the Fraunhofer Institute for Solar Energy Systems ISE (Freiburg, Germany), and also exceeds the current 20.3% world record for CIGS PV cells.

terça-feira, 8 de janeiro de 2013

France launches rescue plan for solar power industry

France has doubled its capacity target for photovoltaic power generation and offered more financial support to small solar power farms that use European-made panels in a bid to rescue the country's ailing solar industry. Energy Minister Delphine Batho announced the measures, which are expected to spur investments worth more than 2 billion euros ($2.6 billion), during a visit to a solar panel factory in Western France.
The Socialist government is seeking to rescue an industry which has lost about 15,000 jobs in the last two years, after the previous conservative government tried to dampen a speculative bubble in new solar power installations. In 2012 the industry employed 18,000 people, down from 32,500 in 2010.
(...) France will also add a bonus of up to 10 percent on the subsidy for feed-in-tariffs paid to generators of solar power through consumers' power bills for small solar farms using panels made in the 30 countries of the European Economic Area (EEA). (...) Batho acknowledged the government was taking the risk of having its "Made in Europe" bonus challenged by foreign competitors in international trade courts. "In terms of legal risk, I don't think there is one at the European level. But at the World Trade Organisation (WTO) level, it would take years (to challenge it), so the government did well," Bal said.

Germany Added Record Solar Panels in 2012 Even as Subsidies Cut

Renewable-energy developers in Germany, the world’s biggest solar market, added a record number of panels last year even after subsidies were cut back. Solar installations climbed to 7,634 megawatts, up 2 percent from 7,485 megawatts in 2011, according to figures from the Bundesnetzagentur grid regulator and the Environment Ministry. That was more than double the government’s maximum target of 3,500 megawatts. (...) “More than 80 percent of installations came in the first nine months,” he said today by phone. Environment Minister Peter Altmaier expects developers to add 4,000 megawatts to 4,500 megawatts this year, Strube said.
Chancellor Angela Merkel has cut solar-power subsidies to reduce the burden on consumer electricity bills of Germany’s renewable-energy expansion. Still, the above-market tariffs remain at levels that allow developers to profit, while component prices have continued to drop amid an oversupply.