domingo, 16 de março de 2014

Two Thin-Film Solar Efficiency Records Broken Last Week

Renewable Energy World
First Solar, one of the world’s largest thin-film PV companies, announced that it set a world record for cadmium-telluride (CdTe) PV cells, converting 20.4 percent of the sun’s energy into electricity. The cell was built at the company's Perrysburg, Ohio, factory. (...)
Stion announced that it produced a 23.2 efficient copper indium gallium (di)selenide (CIGS)-based thin-film cell. This technology puts it within striking range of the most-efficient silicon-based PV cells. The company said it’s already scaled this technology at or above 20.0 percent efficiency on a prototype module (20 cm x 20 cm) and anticipates that it will soon be able to scale it to a larger module. (...)
[T]hin-film embraces a variety of technologies, they’re at different levels of efficiency but all are competing to catch up with silicon PV, which is led as of February 2014 by Panasonic, which has produced silicon cells that convert 24.7 percent of the sun’s energy into electricity.

Cheapest Solar Ever? Austin Energy Buys PV From SunEdison at 5 Cents per Kilowatt-Hour

Greentech Media
City-owned Austin Energy is about to sign a 25-year PPA with Sun Edison for 150 megawatts of solar power at "just below" 5 cents per kilowatt-hour. The power will come from two West Texas solar facilities, according to reports in the Austin American-Statesman. According to reports, around 30 proposals were at prices near SunEdison’s. Austin Energy has suggested that the PV deal will slightly lower rates for customers. (...) The 5-cent price falls below Austin Energy's estimates for natural gas at 7 cents, coal at 10 cents and nuclear at 13 cents. The utility points out that it approved a 16.5-cent price for the Webberville solar plant in 2009.

US Solar Market Grew 41%, Had Record Year in 2013

Greentech Media
According to GTM Research and the Solar Energy Industries Association’s Solar Market Insight Year in Review 2013, photovoltaic installations continued to proliferate, increasing 41 percent over 2012 to reach 4,751 megawatts. In addition, 410 megawatts of concentrating solar power came on-line.
Solar was the second-largest source of new electricity generating capacity in the U.S., exceeded only by natural gas. Additionally, the cost to install solar fell throughout the year, ending the year 15 percent below the mark set at the end of 2012. (...) “Perhaps more important than the numbers,” writes Shayle Kann, Senior Vice President at GTM Research, “2013 offered the U.S. solar market the first real glimpse of its path toward mainstream status. The combination of rapid customer adoption, grassroots support for solar, improved financing terms and public market successes displayed clear gains for solar in the eyes of both the general population and the investment community.”

quinta-feira, 13 de março de 2014

Austria follows German lead on solar self-consumption fee

PV Magazine
The Ministry of Finance in Austria has voted to introduce a grid fee for mid-size PV systems installed for self-consumption, similar to the proposed changes outlined in Germany's Renewable Energy Act (EEG).
A levy of €1.5 per kWh will be charged to any PV system installed from March 1, 2014 that generates more than 5,000 kWh of solar power per year.
The move has been met with strong criticism from the Photovoltaic Austria Federal Association, which claims that a grid free will hit the country's commercial PV sector, particularly the nation's SME businesses.