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.”