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Wednesday, June 27, 2007

GreenVolts does it again with 2MW Solar Electric Plant deal with PG&E

GreenVolts GV1 2MW (MEGAWatt) solar plant will be located on eight acres in Tracy, California USA

On the heals of a small trial project, GreenVolts scores Solar Project and Investment from Avista, GreenVolts has landed a deal with PG&E Corporation (NYSE:PCG) per PG&E Adds Utility-Scale Solar Projects to Its Power Mix or see GreenVolts to Deliver Wholesale Distributed Energy to Pacific Gas & Electric Company.

Bob Cart, founder and CEO of GreenVolts, Inc. said:

GreenVolts’ concentrator technology makes the sun a realistic and economical source of renewable energy for utility companies and their customers. By emphasizing efficiency and flexibility, GreenVolts can rapidly deploy solar power plants that deliver more energy per dollar than conventional technology, but with a smaller footprint and that can be located anywhere along the grid - saving utilities more time and money.

Construction of the 2MW GV1 solar plant for Pacific Gas & Electric will occur in two phases. GreenVolts will complete the first phase by the fall of 2008 and the second phase by the fall of 2009. GreenVolts’ 3kW low profile CarouSol platform (see conceptual drawing) will be the primary building block of the solar plant.

Congratulations are in order for Bob Cart and the GreenVolts team and progressive partner PG&E. This is a milestone for High Concentration PhotoVoltaics in the United States. Doesn’t it just figure this would happen first in California!

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Sol3g talks M40 HCPV Solar Modules and Systems at Intersolar

[Freiburg im Breisgau, Germany]

Increasing production capacity to 5MWp (MegaWatt-peak) in 2007

Sol3g, S.L., headquartered in Cerdanyola, SPAIN, was marketing their M40 HCPV (High Concentration PhotoVoltaic) solar modules along with complete HCPV systems and pilot installations per Sol3g Participates in Intersolar 2007.

The M40 HCPV module (Data Sheet) uses a dual optic system to concentrate sunlight with a Fresnel lens onto a secondary non-imaging optic and then a III-V Triple Junction Terrestrial Solar Cell. This design provides optical concentration equivalent to 380 suns.

Each module is a linear array of ten (10) cells, and the solar cells are mounted on receiver substrates with mechanical connectors for series connection and the secondary optic is glued on top of the cell. Please see my grainy, haphazard photo taken from the side of the module for the unclear assembly. A way detailed 36 page technical proposal, Technical Memory, is available for download from the Sol3g website. I suggest getting a copy of this before Sol3g realizes this should be treated as company confidential information.

Sol3g sells complete 1kWp (kiloWatt-peak) and 4kWp HCPV systems with M40 modules bundled with trackers from partner FEiNA SCP. At standard test conditions, the S1000 delivers 1kWp of power mating two arrays of fourteen (14) M40 modules with the FEiNA SC4 tracker. The S4000 delivers 4kWp of power mating four arrays of twenty eight (28) M40 modules with the FEiNA SC16 tracker. Sol3g also sells M40 modules for integration with a customer’s tracker. For this purpose, M40 modules require a 2 axis solar tracker with a precision of +/-0,5°.

Sol3g has pilot installations totaling 4kWp located in Denmark (Braestrup) and Spain (Mont-Ras, Gerona, Cerdanyola del Vallés, Barcelona, and Sevilla). Another 35kWp of pilot installations are reported to be in process for Spain and Europe.

Although Sol3g said:

The company plans for year 2007 aim at increasing its production capacity up to 5MWp / year during the first two quarters of the year…

I hear there is a slight delay with the ramp, but the new production capacity should be in place very soon. To produce 5MWp of M40 modules per year, Sol3g will need to source as many as 156,250 III-V Solar Cells from AZUR SPACE Solar Power GmbH. Prior to the production expansion, Sol3g had capacity of about 50kWp per year beginning production in summer 2006. See the figure below for Sol3g's module cost roadmap through 2009 for the M40 modules.

And thanks to Rob Day at Cleantech Investing ( for a bunch of recent links to GUNTHER Portfolio including Recurrent Energy, EPV and other news.

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Friday, June 22, 2007

Solar Light Flashes: Intersolar 2007

[Freiburg im Breisgau, Germany]

Quick Photovoltaic News and Fun Tidbits from Intersolar 2007

Company News

SunPower (Stand No 10.2.83, NASDAQ:SPWR): SPR-315 delayed again!
Since I posted Where is the SunPower SPR-315 Solar Module?, SPR-315 deliveries have been rescheduled for Fall 2007, almost one year since the product was announced at Solar Power 2006. A company spokesperson indicated the delay may be related to filling backlog for legacy SPR solar modules. I prefer the conspiracy theory that the new Gen 2 solar cells or the larger module form factor is the root cause. SunPower claims to be taking SPR-315 orders now, and there is already a preorder backlog.

Schott Solar (Stand No F4.2.09): I caught their press conference when they rounded up press folks from the press room today. Schott Solar has plans to expand silicon solar cell and module production to 450MWp per year capacity by 2010. When I asked about silicon feedstock, Schott Solar had no announcement yet about silicon supply to drive this production level. As mentioned here last year, Schott Solar’s EFG (Edge-defined Film-fed Growth) process requires granular polysilicon.

Izusu Glass Co., LTD. (Stand No 9.3.33): Concentrators are red hot! Izusu Glass has a stand at Intersolar 2007 promoting their Fresnel lenses, Compound Parabolic Concentrators (CPC), molded high accuracy lenses, and Cylinder and Micro Lens Arrays for solar and concentrating photovoltaic applications.

Category leaders
Battle of the Booths (Stands): Oerlikon.
Oerlikon Solar (Stand No 10.2.13) beats Applied Materials (Stand No 10.1.36) without breaking a sweat. In fact, Applied Materials is at the top of my list for most boring booth, an honor I awarded to Conergy AG last year in secret. Here are the photos. You decide.

Best Green Giveaway: Phoenix Solar (Stand No 4.4.27).
Phoenix branded apples in the press room are about as green as swag can be.

Most over used moniker: Solar Valley.
Starting at the Intersolar press conference, numerous regions are claiming this progressive renewable energy tag. BSW (Bundesverbandes Solarwirtschaft, Stand No F4.3.61) claimed the country Germany is one big solar valley. The Investitions- und Marketinggesellschaft Sachsen-Anhalt mbH (Stand No 6.3.22) and SAVOIE - Agence Economique de la Savoie (Stand No 7.2.55) also invoked the Solar Valley name at Intersolar. Ms. Cherpin, Directrice Commerciale, pitched a strong case for SAVOIE as a natural valley worthy of the Solar moniker.

Solar Jewelry: Tie between Solarschmuck Claudia Kohm (Stand No F2.5.02) and SolArt (Stand No F2.4.02). A slight edge goes to Frau Kohm who is working through the show with her husband’s help after an accident involving her mouth and neck. I didn’t pry for details. As an extra, Solarschmuck offers custom lapel pins with company logo treatments. One time setup charges range from €100 to € 300 with € 6 to € 9 per piece pricing.

Best Promotion: SOLON AG (Stand No 4.5.47) partnering with VECTRIX Corp.
I bumped into GAME OVER CO2 walking to Starbucks in Freiburg Altstadt after the PV Industry Forum 2007. Solon set up a demonstrator electric scooter photovoltaic recharging station at Platz der alten Synagoge and offered test drives to licensed motorcycle drivers. The CO2 folks were in character and denied their role in global warming. These mega CO2 molecules are nasty but easy to spot unlike odorless and colorless carbon dioxide gases.

Best advertisement: SOLAR-KABEL GmbH (Stand No F3.1.01).
Yes, there does appear to be an artistic approach to making cables exciting. I have requested the electronic version of this ad. The above is a mediocre photo of the poster. I also noticed this ad in the 00 issue of Photovoltaik. This one reminds me of the Claudia Schiffer post.

There is a bluespot gap at Intersolar 2007. Outside of the press room, I have been using an unknown, unsecured WiFi connection available at Freiburg’s Starbucks to post my articles.

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Photovoltaik magazine launched at Intersolar 2007

[Freiburg im Breisgau, Germany]

Targeting busy industry professionals

Solarpraxis AG (FRA:SPA) and Alfons W. Gentner Verlag GmbH & Co. KG have formed a joint venture and launched the unusual issue 00 (double zero) of Photovoltaik-Magazin für Profis at Intersolar 2007 with a 50,000 copy first run. Neue Fachzeitschrift „Photovoltaik“ geht mit 50.000 Auflage an den Start announced the partnership and goals for this new German language publication back in March 2007. Starting with the September 2007 issue, Photovoltaik will be published every month.

I spoke at length with Karl-Heinz Remmers, Solarpraxis AG CEO, to obtain a better understanding of Photovoltaik’s positioning and innovative approach to serve solar electric professionals. Every new publication covering photovoltaics is faced with immediate questions. Are they a direct competitor to industry leader PHOTON? In this case, how are they positioned versus the German language version, PHOTON - das Solarstrom-Magazin? Since Photovoltaik targets active specialists and decision makers of the solar power industry, Photovoltaik is narrower in scope than PHOTON’s A to Z kitchen sink approach to the photovoltaic market for every demographic from consumers to University Professors.

Photovoltaik is centered around two to four page analysis articles covering the prominent issues. Each article will include a one or two sentence executive summary for the ultimate time stressed, multitasking industry professional.

While the 00 issue Editorial describes the style, format, and standard columns of the periodical, two innovative columns stand out. First, active trade electricians and photovoltaic professionals are polled each month to gauge the health and outlook for the market in Germany on a regional basis. Second, the Klagemauer (Western Wall) highlights the top challenges or complaints of professionals in the industry. In the first issue, the modules are too heavy was the number one complaint of installers. I think this will remain a top three gripe for a long time!

Photovoltaik will also leverage the Internet to supplement articles, update content, and even offer an online version of the publication. Online subscriptions hosted by servers powered by renewable energy offer a sustainable alternative to print media.

German photovoltaic industry professionals can sign up for a two month trial of Photovoltaik by going to and completing the online form.

I hear the Solarpraxis Team will be attending (and exhibiting at?) Solar Power 2007 in Long Beach, California USA, and may have something to show. Perhaps a localized version of Photovoltaik for the US market is in the works? Solarpraxis and Gentner have international ambitions to expand their joint venture publications with local partners worldwide.

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Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Solarvalue pulls a Secondary

Neutral event for almost all shareholders

Gartmore Investment Limited, London, has acquired an over 10% stake in Solarvalue AG (XETRA:SV7) from Solarvalue Holding GmbH in a private placement at the going rate. The official press release is New Major Shareholder (Deutsch).

What does this mean for investors and the Solarvalue Balance Sheet? A secondary offering is stock sold by an existing shareholder (or shareholders) not by the company itself. Given that Solarvalue’s total capital stock is 840,000 shares, ten percent (10%) of those shares is 84,000, and if the going rate is about €40 per share, the approximate value of the transaction is at least €3,360,000. The proceeds of the transaction benefit the shareholder, who I presume is Dr. Karoly Horvath, and are a wash for Solarvalue.

Since Gartmore will look at this as a long term investment, shareholders are not impacted, although the investment will be viewed as a validation of Solarvalue’s prospects. Solarvalue continues to demonstrate the ability to monetize their equity story even before delivering their first sample of Solar Grade Silicon.

I missed the recent press release, Solarvalue Business Report 2006 now available, along with English translations from the Annual General Meeting:

Speech by CEO Claudia Boehringer at the Annual General Meeting on 27 April 2007 in Berlin and Summary of the Results of the Ordinary Shareholders' Meeting of Solarvalue AG on 27th April 2007 in Berlin.

I just got out of the Solar Promotion PV Industry Forum 2007 here in Freiburg im Breisgau. Anything and everything Solar is hopping in Freiburg on the eve of Intersolar 2007. I will try to write short posts more often over the next few days.

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Monday, June 18, 2007

GreenVolts scores Solar Project and Investment from Avista

Avista makes strategic investment in GreenVolts

Avista Corporation (NYSE:AVA) has chosen GreenVolts for a demonstration High Concentration PhotoVoltaics (HCPV) project. The official press release is Avista Chooses GreenVolts for Utility Scale Solar Trial. Although this news was tipped in the Business 2.0 Magazine article, Big Solar's day in the sun, the strategic investment by Avista in GreenVolts for an undisclosed amount is new.

This summer, GreenVolts will site their solar electric solution at Avista’s Clean Energy Test Site located in Rathdrum, Idaho per Solar test plant planned for Rathdrum and just across the border from Spokane, Washington. In order to validate long term system performance and economics, this demonstration project will collect actual performance data over a period of two years.

In the same article, Ecolite Manufacturing Co. said it will produce the systems for GreenVolts, and the Avista project will be sized at about 2.4kWp (kiloWatt- peak) perhaps adjusted for Idaho's insolation? Per Ed Caferro, CEO of Ecolite and an investor in GreenVolts:

Bids are out for several megawatts' worth of the systems, and Caferro expects to make about 400 monthly in about a year.

Here are some exclusive photos courtesy of GreenVolts showing a prototype CarouSol and an Off-Axis Microdish power cell.

GreenVolts has excelled at refining their message and positioning since last year’s California Clean Tech Open (CCTO) and the 19th NREL Industry Growth Forum:

GreenVolts is a solar power company providing affordable, clean energy alternatives for utility companies. The company's patent-pending technology produces a superior photovoltaic collector that, when coupled with a tracking mechanism, is expected to deliver energy at a cost that is competitive with peak natural gas alternatives. The size and flexibility of the company's system allow it to be placed nearer to the demand than other alternatives, helping utility companies avoid constructing costly transmission lines or having to upgrade existing power grids.

You can tap into my daisy chain of posts about GreenVolts by visiting the last one, GreenVolts CEO Bob Cart addresses California Clean Tech Open 2007 Kick-off Event, or by using the search label, GreenVolts.

This post is brought to you by the free unsecured Wifi network MICHANDY accessible from Haus Hiltl located here in Zürich, Switzerland. Hiltl just happens to be a cool place to hang out after finishing work or shopping. Finding free Wifi access in Zürich is no easy task, and I am looking forward to using the bluespot service (see bluespot offers free WiFi Internet access in Freiburg im Breisgau, Germany) again this year at Intersolar 2007.

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Sunday, June 17, 2007

Cool Earth Solar emerges from Stealth Mode

Announces financing and Board of Directors

Cool Earth Solar (CES) has completed first round financing raising almost $1 million in capital. Part of this was first reported in VentureBeat as Cool Earth Solar raises $750,000 for solar power concentration technology. I cite them even though VentureBeat does not cite my posting firsts.

In addition, Mr. Rob Lamkin, Mr. Jon Bonanno, and Dr. Eric Cummings, the CES founder, have been appointed to the Cool Earth Solar Board of Directors.

CES is implementing their business plan and developing project proposals for a variety of utility company renewable energy solicitations or RFOs (Request For Offers). The first utility scale power plants using CES technology are expected to begin construction in early 2008 with renewable solar electricity production slated for year end.

In an informal comment, Dr. Eric Cummings said:

Things are hopping around here.

Cool Earth Solar was the 2006 runner up in the California Clean Tech Open (CCTO) Renewables Prize category. I first wrote a short blurb about Cool Earth Solar in California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger addresses Solar Power 2006, when they presented their CCTO business plan to the Solar Power 2006 Conference after the Governor.

I noticed a spike in search hits for Cool Earth Solar back in late February, and l guessed this activity was related to venture investor interest. Since then, I have had a patient dialog with Dr. Cummings hoping to land an exclusive story or interview at the appropriate time.

GUNTHER Portfolio may have helped Mr. Lamkin in the initial discovery process with Cool Earth Solar. Thanks again to CES for this announcement prequel.


Monday, June 11, 2007

Solar Light Flashes: June 11, 2007

Quick Photovoltaic News Tidbits

I decided to revive the Light Flashes from last September and prefix Solar to satisfy the search engines. Solar Light Flashes will provide an ad hoc channel for the various factoids and observation pairs I stumble upon during my research for posts. Most of these factoids do not justify a complete post; combined I expect them to be informative.

This post is arranged in alphabetical order, and the company name or topic links back to my last significant related post.

Blue Square Energy (BSE):
BSE has been busy rounding out the team by hiring a CFO, Janis Studer Joins Blue Square Energy as Chief Financial Officer. And president and CEO Jeffrey Barnett was the presenter for Blue Square Energy to Present at the Jefferies 3rd Annual Global Clean Technology Conference although his presentation was not webcast. These moves would seem to indicate preparation for raising private equity capital or for an IPO.

GreenVolts launched a new home landing page in conjunction with the Business 2.0 Magazine article, Big Solar's day in the sun by Todd Woody. This article generated a maelstrom of search hits on the Blog looking for background on GreenVolts.

Moser Baer Photo Voltaic Limited (MBPV):
MBPV announces commercial shipment of solar photovoltaic cells and claims firm customer orders and MoUs exceeding US$100 million. In addition, MBPV expects their photovoltaic solar cells to have conversion efficiencies up to 15.5%. I guess that means at least one cell has achieved this conversion efficiency?

In Nanosolar loses chief scientist, Michael Kanellos blogs that Chris Eberspacher has left the firm. Does this mean there are problems with Nanosolar’s technology, disagreements with Nanosolar CEO Martin Roscheisen, or a transition from research and development to mass production and operations? Per Mr. Roscheisen:

Chris decided to leave, basically realizing that we now have a ton of really talented and passionate engineers on our team who know their respective areas so well that there's really not much for Chris to contribute. We remain on friendly terms with Chris and appreciate his pioneering a lot of the early science in CIGS.

The NEW Market Managers have cranked out updated CORE Queue > 10kw June 7, 2007 (greater than 10kW) and CORE Queue <= 10kw June 8, 2007 (less than or equal to 10kW) almost every month. Debuting for the first time is the Public Non K-12 Schools CORE Queue May 31, 2007.

After five trilingual posts in NEWS FROM RUSE - THE BLOG (Deutsch, Slovensko), John Mott hasn’t updated the Blog since April 30, 2007. I guess John is too busy preparing TDR Ruse for Solar Grade Silicon production, but I am still jealous of his trilingual writing skills.

My accreditations have been approved and my travel arrangements are set for the Solar Promotion PV Industry Forum 2007 and Intersolar 2007. Thin films, Concentrating PhotoVoltaics (CPV), and Rural Electrification are the focus of the 3rd PV Industry Forum program this year in Freiburg im Breisgau.

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Friday, June 08, 2007

ersol and NITOL Group sign Polysilicon supply Letter of Intent

Polysilicon back from Siberia beginning in 2008

Earlier this week at ersol's Annual General Meeting on June 5, 2007, ersol Solar Energy AG (FRA:ES6) announced the signing of a Letter of Intent (LOI) with the NITOL Group for an undisclosed amount of Polysilicon through 2012. ersol purports this polysilicon supply is sufficient for incremental production growth of about 140MWp over the four (4) year term. See ersol wins further cooperation partner for silicon supply (Deutsch) for the official press release.

Per Jürgen Pressl, the Management Board member responsible for the ersol Silicon and Wafers divisions, the polysilicon produced by NITOL will undergo comprehensive material testing in 2008 before approval for production subject to the LOI terms.

As I wrote in From Siberia with Polysilicon, NITOL Silicon will leverage internal trichlorosilane production to produce polysilicon using the good, old Siemens process. I suspect NITOL may be planning to provide polysilicon in the form of Czochralski monocrystalline silicon ingots.

My gross estimates indicate the projected polysilicon production represented by this deal averages to at most 350 Metric Tons of polysilicon per year. A widened deal with ersol or additional contracts with new strategic partners may be under discussion or pending proven polysilicon production material.

This is the first major polysilicon supply deal announced with Russian firms to my knowledge since I blogged about NITOL’s Siberian polysilicon and the SiPro Silicon Program in From Russia with Polysilicon.

The presentation from ersol’s Annual General Meeting is available in German (Deutsch) now along with the Präsentation zur Rede des Vorstands. This Speech of the Management Board should be released in English during work week 25 (June 18 to 22, 2007).

And kudos to ersol for having both English and German versions of their tagline:

Right from the start.
Von Anfang an.

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Monday, June 04, 2007

California Solar Initiative: No solar home installations “completed” yet in 2007

CSI should examine the Evidence of problems beyond Time of Use Rates

In The Monterey County Herald Guest commentary, Dale Julin reports STATE SOLAR PROJECT SHADY: Stalled initiative squeezing smaller companies.

As recent as May 21, 2007, the CSI & SGIP Statewide Average Systems Costs (May 2007) (downloadable Excel file) proves no CSI Residential or Commercial system installations have been completed in 2007. Don’t be deceived by the Statistics sheet; this includes prior year data despite the title.

Beyond the publicized Time of Use issue I mentioned at the end of California Clean Tech Open 2007 Kick-off Event Wrap up, solar installers are finding the new rebate application process novel like compared to the previous single page rebate form. For example, there are now two 2-Step instruction forms, 2-Step Application Process and 2-Step Forms and Documentation Requirements, describing the general procedure to apply and obtain solar rebates or Expected Performance Based Buydown (EPBB) incentives for residential and business installations smaller than 10kWp (kilowatt – peak).

The EPBB incentive for a particular project is determined by a complex set of rules evaluating the system components, design, and the installation implementation. Although these rules are intended to guarantee customers robust and optimal performance systems, strict adherence to these rules can maximize the EPBB incentive while the solar electric system is setup for maximum summer electricity generation at the expense of higher annual production.

The myriad of paperwork required for an incentive application can be viewed on the PG&E Corporation site at 2007 CSI Handbook and Forms CSI Forms or take a look at the CSI Handbook.

I noticed Mr. Julin’s article today courtesy of Google Alerts (Google Account not required) I have set up for the keywords Solar and Photovoltaic. If you thought this post was about that other CSI, you can visit the Official CSI:WIKI instead.

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