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Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Gossip and Rumors from Solar Power 2006

NVIDIA going Solar?
I bumped into a trio of folks from NVIDIA Corporation (NASDAQ:NVDA) at the exhibition on Tuesday. They were doing fact finding on solar. Is NVIDIA just keeping up with the Googles (see the Governator webcast at timestamp 07:30) and market laggard Microsoft or planning to beat Intel and AMD (DAAMIT) to the punch?

Hoku polysilicon plant facing capital equipment crunch
I heard Hoku Scientific, Inc. (NASDAQ:HOKU) can expect lead times of 18 months or longer for key equipment to outfit the planned Hoku Materials' polysilicon production plant.

ErSol seeing the grass is greener with AMAT?
ErSol Solar Energy AG (FRA:ES6) CEO Claus Beneking was observed spending a lot of time at the Applied Materials, Inc. exhibition stand. Perhaps Oerlikon’s one size fits all Thin Film Silicon Solar Modules are a concern.

New Jersey solar module shrinkage
Over a two week period, New Jersey solar system installers were forced by the New Jersey Clean Energy Program to have every customer sign a contract addendum acknowledging the requirement to repay rebates on a prorated basis if they sell or transfer any part of their system outside of New Jersey within 10 years.

Monday, October 30, 2006

22nd European Photovoltaic Solar Energy Conference and Exhibition

I just checked the EU PVSEC website, and I noticed the following on the home page:

We would like to inform you that we are currently in negotiation with the FIERA MILANO - Exhibition & Convention Centre in Milan, Italy to realize the 22nd European Photovoltaic Solar Energy Conference and Exhibition from 3-7 September 2007 in Milan. Further information will be available shortly.

Solarvalue signs deal with HSE to purchase TDR – Metalurgija

Slovenian regulatory approval last hurdle

Solarvalue AG (XETRA:SV7) ( completed another step in their acquisition of a controlling 90.78% stake in TDR – Metalurgija, Ruše, Slovenia through WP Profil Solarvalue Holding d.o.o., a joint venture between Solarvalue AG and a Slovenian partner. For the first time, there is an acknowledgement of the transaction from Holding Slovenske elektrarne (HSE) in a October 27, 2006, Slovenian press release. Solarvalue foresees Slovenian regulatory approval of the transaction in early November. The amount of the transaction remains undisclosed.
“The purchase is the decisive initial step of the journey toward a fundamentally new material supply situation for the solar industry”, said Claudia Boehringer, the CEO of Solarvalue AG. “According to our plans, we will already be able to meet 10 % of the global market demand for high-quality solar silicon in 2008. Our scientists have optimised the process over several years and are convinced that we can produce more rapidly and economically than conventional manufacturers.”
Solarvalue has provided a 5,300 metric ton solar grade silicon production target for 2008. In prior communication, Solarvalue has disclosed plans to produce up to 2,000 metric tons of solar grade silicon from metallurgical grade silicon in 2007.

Solarvalue’s Slovenian partner in the WP Profil Solarvalue Holding d.o.o. joint venture intends to continue production of steel additives at the 22 hectare TDR facility, and the joint venture will employ a staff of 300 people. Up to 70 people will be employed in solar grade silicon production as the facility ramps. Maintaining and growing employment at TDR is no doubt an important factor in obtaining Slovenian regulatory approval.

20 million euros of investment is expected over the next six months to achieve solar grade silicon production. Two unnamed strategic investors will invest the majority of this capital. Solarvalue said on September 19, 2006, an undisclosed European photovoltaic group has signed a letter of intent to acquire a stake in the venture.

Further details are promised in a planned near future press conference.

One step forward and I now look toward Solarvalue obtaining Slovenian regulatory approval. I have developed some ideas about Solarvalue’s strategic partners and customers for solar grade silicon, and I suspect one of them is a new player with no current silicon supply for their idle or in construction solar wafer and cell production lines. Beyond these transaction issues, the next milestone for Solarvalue is the delivery and qualification of sample solar grade silicon material with solar wafer and cell manufacturers.

You can read the Solarvalue press release on the DGAP ad hoc service (English, Deutsch).

Sunday, October 29, 2006

SUNBROTHERS creates Solar Powered Sculptures

The perfect solar corporate gift

Have you just signed a major solar supply deal or landed a major customer? Or perhaps you are a polysilicon supplier who has just extracted an equity interest from your take or pay customer, and you want to show your appreciation?

SUNBROTHERS ( creates solar powered sculptures from copper, bronze, and hand blown glass. Solar cells and LEDs are designed into the leaves and flowers respectively. By day, sunlight charges batteries inside the sculpture, and, at night, the glass flowers glow and change color.

Kevin Gauna started Sunbrothers in 1995 and teamed with Dennis Baum to create original sculptures of solar powered art inspired by backyard garden plant life. Sunbrothers is now creating:

I'm working on Long Stem Roses for the holidays. I also will be making a few tulips on commission, and developing the next version of my vining sweet pea design.

Long Stem Roses were featured during the Solar Power 2006 Networking Reception at The Tech Museum of Innovation sponsored by PowerLight Corporation. Long Stem Roses can be varied by the LED color and list for a reasonable $250 to $400.

Corporate marketing and marketing communications folks are always on the lookout for unique gifts. Here’s a special gift (think Neiman Marcus) not from the same old, lame marketing gift catalog.

Bonus: two speech video bites (on YouTube) from the PowerLight sponsored reception.

Friday, October 27, 2006

19th NREL Industry Growth Forum revolutionizes Philly

[Philadelphia, Pennsylvania USA]
Financing the Path to a Clean Energy Future

Over 400 entrepreneurs, clean energy investors, and government officials converged four blocks from Philadelphia’s City Hall October 24-26, 2006, for the largest US clean energy venture forum. The U.S. Department of Energy's NREL (National Renewable Energy Laboratory) Industry Growth Forum seeks to commercialize emerging clean energy technologies by bringing early stage clean energy companies together with venture capitalists and investors.

While 106 clean energy companies applied to present their business plans to the 19th NREL Industry Growth Forum, 33 emerging clean energy companies were selected to pitch their business plans to a rotating panel of clean energy venture capitalists and investors. The panelists asked questions about the company presentations and provided immediate feedback and guidance to the companies. Networking receptions, luncheons, and breaks provided opportunities for entrepreneurs and investors to discuss their company business plans, technology, and funding requirements one on one.

Though unscientific, a few trends are clear in the technologies presented this year. Biomass, biofuel, solar thermal, and solar concentrator companies are “hot”, but the number of hydrogen companies has declined.

Plextronics, based in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, won the 2006 Clean Energy Entrepreneur of the Year Award ($15,000 cash and services). Plextronics is developing semi-conductive and conductive polymers and inks for polymer solar cells and solid state polymer-based white lighting applications.

Two companies tied for the first 2006 Outstanding Presentation Award ($3,000 cash and services): Ze-gen, Inc. and Las Alamos Renewable Energy, LLC. Ze-gen is developing and integrating waste gasification technology to convert construction and demolition waste and municipal solid waste into near zero-emissions synthetic natural gas and electricity. Los Alamos Renewable Energy is commercializing patented Solar Reduction of Carbon Dioxide (SOLAREC™) technology to simultaneously produce fuel and electricity from solar energy.

Another local favorite, Franklin Fuel Cells, Inc., based in Malvern, Pennsylvania, claimed the second 2006 Outstanding Presentation Award. Franklin Fuel Cells is developing low cost solid oxide fuel cell technology that operates directly on today's hydrocarbon fossil fuels and future fuels including biofuels and hydrogen.

Pennsylvania’s strong performance in the business case competition is a direct result of small business grant, investment, and loan programs spearheaded by the Pennsylvania Department of Community & Economic Development and the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection Office of Energy and Technology Deployment. The progressive Alternative Energy Portfolio Standard in Pennsylvania requiring 18 percent of all energy be generated from clean, advanced energy sources by 2020 further reinforces the state’s commitment to small clean energy businesses.

On Wednesday, the National Alliance of Clean Energy Business Incubators (NACEBI) expanded NREL's Business Assistance Model to become the Clean Energy Alliance, a not-for-profit organization dedicated to developing clean energy businesses.

This year’s Forum was hosted by NREL, the Clean Energy Alliance, the Pennsylvania Department of Community & Economic Development, and the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection.

The 20th NREL Industry Growth Forum will be held next Fall 2007 in Denver, Colorado.

A strong Swedish delegation from government and business was among the few international participants. Fredrik Selander with the Swedish Energy Agency said the Swedes were benchmarking their government funded research and grant programs versus the NREL programs to improve the commercialization of clean energy technologies in Sweden.

Thursday, October 26, 2006

19th NREL Industry Growth Forum Award Winners

[Philadelphia, Pennsylvania USA]

I am working on a comprehensive post about the Forum, but first some spoilers:

2006 Clean Energy Entrepreneur of the Year Award

2006 First Outstanding Presentation Award (tie)
Ze-gen, Inc.
Las Alamos Renewable Energy Company, LLC

2006 Second Outstanding Presentation Award
Franklin Fuel Cells, Inc.

The 20th NREL Industry Growth Forum will be held in Denver, Colorado - Fall 2007.

Sunday, October 22, 2006

California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger addresses Solar Power 2006

Clean Energy is the Future. Clean Energy is our Strength.

Over 7,000 registered participants reconfirmed the Solar Power 2006 Conference and Expo as the largest US business to business solar event.

To a packed, standing room only crowd of over 1000 attendees, Governor Schwarzenegger took less than 9 minutes to review his progressive policies and legislative accomplishments to drive solar energy adoption and reduce greenhouse gas emissions. I suggest you watch the official webcast here (or my amateurish video of the intro on YouTube). Towards the end of his address, Governor Schwarzenegger launched the Go Solar California web site ( with all the information folks need to get involved in the Million Solar Roofs Program of the California Solar Initiative.

Democratic gubernatorial candidate Phil Angelides was also invited to address Solar Power 2006, but Mr. Angelides opted to keep an appointment on the Adam Carolla radio show (see Solar power or hot chicks? Pick one on the Politics BLOG).

After the Governor’s keynote, most Solar Power 2006 attendees grabbed a catered lunch and split for the rest of the conference closing day.

The first post Arnold session, Renewable Energy Prize Finalist Presentations from the California Clean Tech Open, provided insight into the technology and business plans of startups greenvolts, CoolEarth Solar, and Sun Phocus Technologies.

greenvolts has developed an off-axis microdish mirror concentrating sunlight onto a receiver with a III-V terrestrial solar cell, and greenvolts proposes a 3kW array of microdishes arranged in a CarouSOL configuration for high density tracking installations.

CoolEarth Solar has the “out there” proposal for 250 times concentration using material from potato chip bags for disposable concentrator dishes with internal solar cell receivers mounted on low cost, ground mounted rails.

Sun Phocus Technologies plans to use their HoloSun hologram technology to concentrate selective sunlight wavelengths onto solar cell strips sandwiched between glass substrates.

By the way, there are many more Solar Power 2006 keynotes, presentations, and interview webcasts hosted here. I recommend the Keynote Address On Innovation (Vinod Khosla - President, Khosla Ventures) and the Technical Plenary Session Solar Power 2006 (Richard Swanson, Martin Green, and Michael Geyer) for starters. Unfortunately, the Concentrating PV: Ready for Market? session was not recorded for webcast, and about 100 attendees crammed into the small Hilton meeting room or stood outside in the hall to learn about Concentrating PhotoVoltaic technologies and market plans.

The SEIA and SEPA are promising to get conference presentations posted on a password protected website for registered attendees as soon as possible. As I stated for EU PVSEC, presentations should be posted at the end of each conference day.

The Celebrating Solar Innovation Wine and Food Pairing Reception, sponsored and hosted by Applied Materials, Inc. (NASDAQ:AMAT) and co-sponsored by Akeena Solar, Inc. (OTC:AKNS.OB), had the best wine, food, and networking of the Solar Power 2006 party scene. All the featured wines were from California wineries with solar photovoltaic system installations. I nominate the Peju Province Winery 2003 Cabernet Sauvignon Estate Bottled, Napa Valley, as the best wine of the tasting, and I had two servings of the food pairing, Boeuf a la Nicoise.

Thursday, October 19, 2006

German Market for Solar Modules soft

[Solar Power 2006, San Jose, CA USA]

I have confirmed German market softness for solar modules with multiple confidential sources. One confidential source stated the following:
The situation is that potential customers are waiting for price reductions of 10 to 15 % on modules. The storage of suppliers is full. Market slow down significant in the last two months. Industry expects a return of the market beginning next year due to expected price reductions.

Second hand from an interviewee, I heard that the ErSol Solar Energy AG (FRA:ES6) CEO, Claus Beneking, addressed this issue at the Solar Energy: Driving the Cost Down event hosted by the German American Business Association, Northern California chapter.

In Germany, new customers are reluctant to commit to solar photovoltaic system installations if solar module price reductions are imminent. Also, as interest rates have climbed, the financial return from grid-tied residential solar installations has become unattractive to homeowners. Most German homeowners going solar finance their systems with long term bank loans paid for with guaranteed feed-in tariffs over the operating life of the solar electric system.

Some German solar system integrators with solar module take or pay contracts may be building solar module inventories during the market slowdown, and this could impact their finances and revenues. As a result, restructuring, shakeout, and consolidation may occur among solar system integrators and solar module manufacturers in 2007. Solar system integrators need to improve and streamline their marketing, sales, installation, and support processes after a period of high growth encouraging operating inefficiencies.

German market softness may represent a slow quarter or two in the longer term photovoltaic market growth trend. German solar manufacturers believe market growth will return in early 2007 as price reductions are implemented.

Regional differences between solar module markets may be driving a disconnect between solar module prices and inventories. Certain individual companies may be less impacted by the slowdown in the German market than peer competitors depending on the operating strengths of their system integration partners.

If you speak to most of the major solar photovoltaic module (“solar panel”) manufacturers about product availability here at Solar Power 2006, the standard reply is they have sold out their production. I have tried asking manufacturers about their lead time (how long it takes from order placement to shipment), but the manufacturers are unwilling to provide such estimates. In their shoes, I would not divulge or guesstimate lead time information either.

Although US based solar installers were promised solar module price reductions for October 2006, solar module manufacturers instead decided to raise prices about ten cents ($0.10) per Watt. At least one major top 10 solar module manufacturer bucked the price increase trend and decided to reduce solar module prices by twenty-five cents ($0.25) per Watt in a bid to increase market share and perhaps maintain lean inventories.

Please share your first hand knowledge on this issue by leaving a comment.

GP Note: Given the confidential sources, I would exercise extreme care before drawing conclusions or taking actions with this information. There are many factors to consider before determining how this development might impact specific solar photovoltaic companies. New growth markets such as Spain, Italy, and the United States may compensate for reduced growth rates in Germany.

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Quick Solar Power 2006 Update

California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger will address Solar Power 2006 at (high) Noon on Thursday, October 19, 2006. Equal time will be given to his Democratic gubernatorial opponent, Phil Angelides.

Here is a photo of the
PHOTON International stand in full swing. Unfortunately, complimentary copies of the magazine did not clear customs and get delivered before the exhibition closed Wednesday afternoon.

Khosla Keynote Highlights Solar Power 2006 Opening Session

The Governator (California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger) will speak at Solar Power 2006 on Thursday, October 19, 2006

Vinod Khosla's Keynote Address on Innovation was the highlight of the Opening Session on Tuesday, October 17, 2006. In his first public presentation, Mr. Khosla, President of Khosla Ventures, provided a venture capitalist’s overview of climate change and the business opportunities created by the need to address this challenge. His PowerPoint presentation was completed early the same morning at 2:00AM!

Mr. Khosla expressed concern that reducing solar cell cost may be the wrong focus while balance of system components represented an increasing percentage of system installation costs. Mr. Khosla shared his interests in energy storage for time shifting and tipped Thermal CSP (concentrated solar power) as the technology he believes will turn off electricity generation from coal.

At the end of his presentation, Mr. Khosla spent a few minutes discussing the Proposition 87 initiative. I found his arguments and rationale sound, and I have decided to research and write a position post for or against Proposition 87 before the vote.

Here is a Vinod Khosla video bite (on YouTube) from the press conference when he answers a question about major corporations getting involved in renewable energy technologies.

The PHOTON International folks got their exhibit stand setup today. PHOTON boycotted their exhibit space on Monday and Tuesday because their stand and marketing materials were delayed in customs. Perhaps they have been observed laughing too much at the photovoltaic staple of President George W. Bush jokes? Now I can score that complimentary copy of PHOTON International magazine.

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

SunPower delivers larger module with 315W Peak Power

Solar Power 2006 begins with Opening Reception in Expo Hall at San Jose McEnery Convention Center

When I first read about the new SunPower Corporation (NASDAQ:SPWR) SPR-315 module on (SunPower boosts solar panel output), I was a bit confused. I didn’t understand how the new module could have more high efficiency cells, higher power, and the same cost per watt all in the same module form factor. Well, a quick stop by the SunPower booth cleared up this contradiction. The SPR-315 module is 248mm (millimeters) wider than the SunPower SPR-220 module. The increased size is driven by the use of 96 series connected solar cells in the SPR-315 versus the 72 solar cells used in the SPR-220.

The SPR-315 panel uses Gen2 back contact solar cells with 22% conversion efficiency and made from larger monocrystalline silicon ingots so they are more square. There is less spacing between the cells in the module, and module efficiency has increased to 19.3% from 17.7% for the SPR-220. The SunPower press release, SunPower Announces High Power, Higher Efficiency Solar Panel, states the new modules will be available in the second quarter of 2007. Instead of highlighting the new, larger module form factor as an innovation, the press release fails to mention the SPR-315 module is 1559 x 1046mm in size. The SPR-315 delivers over 43% more power than the SPR-220 with 31% larger module area.

After attending EU PVSEC and Intersolar 2006 in Germany, it’s refreshing to be at a US trade show in San Jose, California. While free WiFi is common place here, the problem WiFi + Free is almost impossible to solve in Germany.

Friday, October 13, 2006

GUNTHER Portfolio debuts on Top50-Solar®

Initial rank 96 on Top50-Solar English version and climbing

Top50-Solar® ( is an activity driven web catalog ranking registered solar and renewable energy websites based on their average number of visitors over the past 5 days. German, English, Spanish, and Portuguese websites are tracked and ranked in separate lists. Internationalized websites appear to be traffic ranked on a cumulative basis across their supported languages.

The Top50-Solar® was founded by Martin Staffhorst in July 2000 to provide objective and reliable traffic rankings of solar websites. Mr. Staffhorst has a Masters degree in Industrial Engineering (Dipl.-Wi.-Ing.) and is now working on his PhD.

Top50-Solar first tracked German solar websites and ranks 600 unique German language websites today including manufacturers, installers, e-stores, magazines, consultants, and organizations. SolarWorld AG (FRA:SWV) is ranked number three (3) on the Top50-Solar German list. PHOTON’s German website, PHOTON das Solarstrom-Magazin online, and English website, PHOTON International, are notably absent from the Top50-Solar rankings.

While Top50-Solar has a strong presence among German solar and renewable energy websites, Mr. Staffhorst is looking to expand the Top50-Solar’s global reach and expects the English version to rival the German version in the future.

I recommend the two top US solar and renewable energy websites, SolarBuzz and, join the Top50-Solar web catalog. Both sites would debut at the top of the rankings. Photovoltaic companies such as Evergreen Solar Inc. (NASDAQ:ESLR), First Solar LLC, and SunPower Corporation (NASDAQ:SPWR) would also benefit from listing with Top50-Solar.

Smaller solar and renewable websites and blogs will gain traffic and international exposure by registering with Top50-Solar. Put on your marketing hat and register right away.

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

SolFocus signs Triple Play Deal with Moser Baer India for Manufacturing, Distribution, and Strategic Investment

SolFocus, Inc. announced a deal with Moser Baer India Limited (BOM:517140), New Delhi, India, on Tuesday, October 10, 2006, for the volume manufacturing of SolFocus Gen1 Concentrator PhotoVoltaic modules. Moser Baer India (MBI) has invested $7 Million to close out the $32 Million Series A funding of SolFocus and will be the exclusive distributor of SolFocus modules in India and unspecified subcontinent countries.

SolFocus has begun pilot production in a Sunnyvale, California, facility with 2MWp (Megawatt-peak) annual capacity. Over 4,000 250Wp SolFocus Gen1 modules totaling 1MWp will be produced at the Sunnyvale facility for performance, reliability, and field testing. SolFocus is considering other US sites for a major manufacturing facility to supply North American customers.

MBI is expected to begin pilot production and field tests in 2007 and mass production in 2008. This is the second solar Concentrator PhotoVoltaic funding deal for MBI in the past month. Moser Baer India also invested in the $22 Million Series B Financing of Solaria Corporation along with Sigma Partners, NGEN Partners (a SolFocus investor as well), and Q-Cells AG (FRA:QCE). MBI’s wholly owned subsidiary, Moser Baer Photo Voltaic Limited, is establishing an 80 MW silicon PV manufacturing facility near New Delhi.

Most of the SolFocus Team and trackers with nine Gen1 modules each at PARC (Palo Alto Research Center). Photos courtesy of SolFocus, Inc.

Monday, October 09, 2006

Blue Square Energy: Mystery Solar Start-up founded by AstroPower Alumni

Blue Square Energy, Inc., is a solar startup founded in August 2004 and a self proclaimed “leader in the research, development, and production of high performance silicon solar cells utilizing cost-effective materials.” Located in North East, Maryland USA, Blue Square Energy has a 24,000 square foot (2230 square meters) facility and boasts of (potential?) annual capacity to produce over 20MWp (Megawatt-peak) of solar cells.

Jeffrey A. Barnett is the President and CEO of Blue Square Energy, and the core Blue Square Energy team includes former AstroPower technical staff. In addition, Jeff Barnett is Dr. Allen Barnett’s son as reported by Steven Church for delawareonline: The News Journal, UD lands $52.9 million solar power grant.
Several private companies, businesspeople and other universities are expected to be subcontractors on the project, including the DuPont Co. and Blue Square Energy, a small startup company operated by Barnett's son, and some former employees of AstroPower, a defunct solar power company that Barnett founded. AstroPower went bankrupt last year, leaving many investors with worthless stock. At least two shareholder lawsuits are pending against Barnett because of AstroPower's financial problems.
I first noticed Blue Square Energy in this press release announcing the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) Very High Efficiency Solar Cell (VHESC) program. Despite Steven Church’s story, I didn’t discover the Dr. Allen Barnett to Jeff Barnett familial connection until the 21st EU PVSEC while I was reviewing the List of Participants.

After researching Blue Square Energy, I contacted the company and offered to write a feature story about the start-up. The company responded, “At this time we are not releasing any information about the company to the public.” Although Blue Square Energy confirmed Jeff Barnett was the President and CEO, the company was unwilling to provide Mr. Barnett’s bio, stating their website would be updated with more detailed information later this month. Of course, as a private company, Blue Square Energy has no obligation to release any information. I appealed the decision to Blue Square Energy’s PR firm, Braithwaite Communications, without result.

However, Blue Square Energy seems to have two faces with regard to public relations. Back in June 2006, Jeff Barnett agreed to an interview with Tech Talk with Craig Peterson, a radio talk show and Podcast (TTWCP-363-07-barnett-solar_power) focused on technology issues in daily life.
Craig interviews Jeff Barnett the President and CEO of Blue Square Energy will discuss how they research, develop, and produce high performance silicon solar cells utilizing cost-effective materials.
I was able to find evidence supporting a hint from Braithwaite Communications; “we (Blue Square Energy) recycle silicon and use very common techniques to do so.” On June 7, 2005, the Board of County Commissioners for Cecil County (Maryland) approved Blue Square Energy’s INDUSTRIAL DISCHARGE PERMIT for the receiving and procession of off-spec silicone wafers to the Northeast River Advanced Wastewater Treatment Plant. Recycling silicon is a technique AstroPower pioneered for low cost solar cell production. GE Solar Technologies ended this practice as I blogged in this post.

While silicon recycling might be an early stage of the Blue Square Energy business plan, longer term, I believe the company is focused on developing VHESC technology with funding from DARPA’s VHESC program and the Department of Energy’s Solar America Initiative. However, in the near term, I speculate Blue Square Energy is developing high efficiency multi-crystalline silicon solar cells with mainstream PV processing technology, hence the “blue square” company name. My guess is Blue Square Energy will not try to reinvent Silicon-Film(TM).

A quick look at the Blue Square Energy website ( reveals a clean design and uninformative content. There is no information about the company founders, management team, or investors. I have been unable to find any record of venture capital investment in Blue Square Energy. Therefore, my conclusion is Blue Square Energy has been financed by the company founders, angel investors, or both. Blue Square Energy appears to have sufficient financing if their law firm, Gunderson Dettmer Stough Villeneuve Franklin & Hachigian, LLP, is a good indicator. But Blue Square Energy may be overdue for a major round of venture capital investment.

At EU PVSEC, I heard a rumor that Blue Square Energy has been recruiting former AstroPower employees from GE Solar Technologies, a General Electric Company (NYSE:GE) business. GE Solar is certain to keep a wary eye on technology and products developed and launched by Blue Square Energy.

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

Proceedings 3rd PV Industry Forum

“New strategies for the booming PV Market”
6 September 2006 – Dresden

An event in the frame of the 21st European Photovoltaic Conference and Exhibition

WOW! The European Photovoltaic Industry Association (EPIA) delivers a virtual Proceedings tour de force online experience of the 3rd PV Industry Forum with presentations, pictures, and videos.

Here are quick links to each session:
PV Market Development
Industry Competitiveness
John Bonda Award
Launch of the Solar Generation
Environmental Impact of PV and check out the dedicated PV CYCLE page.
Global Market Aspects of PV
PV Industry Solutions Towards Cost Competitiveness

I’ve written an article and a blog post about the 3rd PV Industry Forum. Here’s your chance to review the material and grade my coverage. I wish I had already written posts about Solar Generation and Rural Electrification.

In addition, here is your chance for a quick view of the Exhibition.

You can also check out the evening activities at EU PVSEC.
While the Gala Dinner looks fun, the Solar Comes Out at Night (byline J. Kho) Q-Cells Party pictures (2, 3, 4, 5) at the Red Herring rock.

Now for a word from the sponsors…
Sharp Corporation (TYO:6753) is the Gold Sponsor of the PV Industry Forum and Q-Cells AG (FRA:QCE) is the Sponsor of the PV Industry Forum's "Proceedings"

Monday, October 02, 2006

GE Solar Technologies: Molded Wafer technology investments continue

Silicon-Film(TM) - By any other name.

I have confirmed GE Solar Technologies is still working on the renamed Molded Wafer technology. But GE Solar would not disclose Molded Wafer production capacity or any expansion plans. GE Solar Technologies is a part of the Renewables unit of GE Energy, which belongs to GE Infrastructure, a primary business unit of General Electric Company (NYSE:GE).

Here is a link to a recent, public PHOTON International article where they have the facts but nothing on the name change from Silicon-Film to Molded Wafer.

Armed with the new name, I was able to find a presentation, Overview of Solar Photovoltaic Markets and Technology, from Charles Korman, Chief Technologist, Solar Energy, GE Global Research Center (GRC). This was presented on March 28, 2006, as Lecture 9 to the MSE 542 Flexible Electronics class at Cornell University and provides a thoughtful overview of PV technology. There is one slide on Molded Silicon Wafer with no new information, but the presentation tips GRC interest in Nanostructured Solar Cells, Fluorescent Concentrator, Bifacial sliver solar cells, and PV Building Integrated Technology. On the Building Integrated Photovoltaic (BIPV) front, the presentation cites the Solar Integrated Technologies, Inc. (SEA:SIT) SR2001 Solar Electric Roofing System as an example of flexible roofing.

I also found this 2006 Senior Design Sponsor Project Description at the University of Delaware, Department of Mechanical Engineering. GE Energy is the sponsor of this Wafer Inspection Tool project: Develop an inspection tool for mapping thickness, warp, taper and flatness variations of molded polycrystalline silicon wafers used in photovoltaic solar cells.

There are now photovoltaic posts at the GE Global Research Blog, From Edison's Desk: Shining Light on Alternative Energy Technologies at Edison's Desk and Update from Wired NextFest as part of GE’s presenting sponsor participation at WIRED NextFest 2006.

Back on June 21, 2006, GE Solar introduced the Brilliance™ All-In-One Residential Solar System Package sized from 1kWp (1,000 Watt peak) to 10kWp with new BIPV 66Wp solar modules for roof-integrated new home construction or 200Wp solar modules for retrofit applications.

By the way, GE Solar is hiring. Check the Renewable Energy Jobs at for example.