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Friday, September 28, 2007

Solar Power 2007 Expo, Modules, and Webcasts

[Long Beach, California USA]

Expo and Module fun

First, here is a Picasa slideshow of select stands from the Expo.

When I was looking for the “hot” story of Solar Power 2007, I toyed with idea of choosing a noteworthy module like last year in SunPower delivers larger module with 315W Peak Power and establishing my own tradition. Though not the hot story, two modules stood out as I walked through the main Expo in the Long Beach Convention Center and the smaller venues in the Hyatt Regency Ballrooms. These selections are somewhat subjective with technical and aesthetic influences.

The Evergreen Solar, Inc. (NASDAQ:ESLR) Spruce Line(TM) ES-195 Module impressed me as one of the best looking modules Evergreen has ever produced. I have been a fan of Evergreen’s string ribbon technology as a silicon miser, but I always thought the modules were plain ugly looking. Although I first saw this module at Intersolar 2007 and took photos, I never gave them a second glance. The solar cells on this module had reduced blue coloring and a symmetric look.

Mark Farber, an Evergreen Solar cofounder, was at the main desk and addressed my questions about the improved panel appearance. Mark said the string ribbon silicon solar cells are thinner and more uniform than before, and the antireflective coating and texture contribute to the rest of the improvement.

This Spruce Line 195W (Watt) module is guaranteed for 100% rated power with a Power Tolerance specified at -0 / +2.5%. No worries.

Sanyo Electric Co., Ltd. (TYO:6764) subsidiary Sanyo Energy USA Corp. was showing their HIT Double Bifacial Photovoltaic Modules. These modules build upon Sanyo’s HIT technology by converting light striking both sides of the module into electricity. Because power is generated from light passing through the module or reflected from surfaces near or behind the module, these modules are ideal for BIPV (Building Integrated PhotoVoltaic) applications such as awnings, canopies, carports, fences, or trellises.

The HIP-xxxDA3 Modules range from 180W to 200W rated power at STC (Standard Test Conditions) for the front side of the panel =not= including power from the module’s bifacial backside. This module is so advanced; a standard test method does not exist. Sanyo claims the Bifacial Modules may deliver up to 130% of their STC rating depending on the installation and amount of reflected light onto the module’s backside. Here again the Power Tolerance is specified at 100% rated power minimum or a Power Tolerance of -0 / +10.0%.

Sanyo has a Letter Regarding Sept 2007 Photon Article refuting the validity of Photon’s recent HIT PV module test results and a technical paper about their HIT 22.3% Efficiency Announced at PVSEC 09/2007.

SunPower didn't show the SPR-315 Solar Module at their stand. I interpreted this to mean the SPR-315 is not available to mainstream channel partners.

Please don’t forget to view the available webcasts of Plenary Sessions and Keynote speeches. Click on the title link to view each webcast.

Solar Power 2007 Welcome Address
Julia Judd Hamm of SEPA and Rhone Resch of the SEIA.

Solar Power 2007 Keynote Address: Ray Lane
Ray Lane, Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers

Solar Power 2007 Keynote Address: Ted Turner
Ted Turner, Turner Enterprises partnered with Dome-Tech Solar to create DT Solar, a Turner renewable energy company.

CEO Panel Discussion
About the Future of the Solar Industry

Since I missed the last day at Solar Power 2007, and I will be viewing these Closing Plenary webcasts to see what was going on:

Keynote Address: Charles Zimmerman
Closing Plenary: Larry Hagman on Solar Power
Closing Plenary: Q&A with Larry Hagman and Charles Zimmerman

I’m at least one post behind this week, and the critics are posting comments like this one. Ouch!

(Full disclosure: I own some shares of ESLR stock).

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Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Solar Power 2007: It’s all about YOU!

Overwhelming Success driven by the participation of Solar Industry Professionals, Stakeholders, and just regular Folks

The Solar Power 2007 Conference and Expo opened yesterday in Long Beach, California, to record registrations from solar industry professionals, investors, utility managers, builders, policymakers, would be solar entrepreneurs, and citizens. Registration lines sprawled the length of the Long Beach Convention & Entertainment Center until early afternoon.

As of today, there were about 9300 registrations including 500 new Expo Only registrations. About 3000 solar curious local residents packed the Expo Halls for the free Public Night to learn about solar technologies, going solar, and solar career opportunities.

The big story from the first day of Solar Power 2007 wasn’t a product or project announcement, a keynote address, or a celebrity speaker like Ted Turner. The cumulative contribution of individual attendees and local residents to the record attendance and interest in everything solar was the real “hot” story.

SEIA President Rhone Resch’s keynote hit on three early Conference themes. His 2007 Year in Review citied the First new CSP Plant Online and 2500MW under contract as the first bullet point. Photovoltaics was a mere second. Next, the status of the Energy Bill with the ITC (Investment Tax Credit) extensions was reviewed. And last, the Action Alert “We need YOU!” was issued to the Plenary audience to support the ongoing Energy Bill negotiations in the US Congress.

Ted Turner didn’t disappoint a receptive Opening Plenary session with quotable sound bites. See Turner: 'Drop Solar Panels, Not Bombs' by Jennifer Kho at Greentech Media for Mr. Turner’s insights and comments.

While Ted charmed the crowd, the earlier keynote by Ray Lane, Managing Partner, Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers (KPCB), highlighted the keynotes and underscored a shift from Solar Power 2006. Concentrating Solar Power (CSP) and KPCB’s recent investment in Ausra, Inc. have stolen the utility scale spotlight from High Concentration PhotoVoltaics (HCPV) this year.

Sorry for this late initial post. I was sidetracked by an exceptional party last night at the Sky Room Bar hosted by MMA Renewable Ventures and the Antenna Group.

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Monday, September 24, 2007

Sunways Reactor-Wafer reversal deal with LDK Solar

Sunways parlays two Siemens Reactors into 10 year, 1GW wafer contract

Continuing to go its very own way, Sunways AG (FRA:SWW) has reversed course and leveraged the two:

Siemens-reactors and associated equipment for a polysilicon production plant including substantial support services

into a multicrystalline silicon solar wafer contract with LDK Solar Co., Ltd. (NYSE:LDK). Wafer deliveries for the total 1GW (Giga-Watt) contract are set to begin in 2008 and cover a period of ten years. See Sunways AG: Strategic agreement for raw material supply with LDK Solar Co., Ltd. signed for the official press release.

With polysilicon still in tight supply, it is no surprise that polysilicon production equipment and consulting services are also oversubscribed. Did CEO Roland Burkhardt always plan to flip his nascent silicon plant or was this deal brokered by key services partner, SolMic GmbH? For LDK Solar, this was a straightforward time to market issue. I speculate (unconfirmed at post time) Sunways’ option to buy five additional reactors is part of this deal.

No contract terms and conditions were disclosed but the following was mentioned: Down-payments have been agreed specifically according to the overall project volume.

I have to feel I was hood winked a bit by a fox on this one. Or did Herr Burkhardt take my advice and decide to look for trichlorosilane (TCS) and a plant location outside of Germany to the extreme of going to China?

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Sunday, September 23, 2007

ISFOC 1.3MW CPV Power Plant tenders made public

GreenVolts, Sol3g, and SolFocus among the Concentrator PhotoVoltaic power plant bidders

Back on September 10, 2007, ISFOC, Instituto de Sistemas Fotovoltaicos de Concentración S.A. or Institute of Concentration Photovoltaics Systems, disclosed the companies and their bids for the installation of 1.3MW (Mega-Watts) of CPV (Concentrator PhotoVoltaic) pilot power plants in Call for tenders. These plants will be installed as part of the infrastructure of ISFOC in Castilla La Mancha – Spain as a national and international reference in the concentration photovoltaics field.





Concentración Solar La Mancha S.L. (ES)

300 6000 8000


400 5960 7750

Menova Energy (Canada)

400 6000 8000

Arima Eco (Taiwan)

400 5998 8000

Greenvolts (US)

200 6000 8000

Electricidad Alsanbo S.L. (ES)

- 6000 7500

Infopyme Solar (ES)

- 5950 7800

Solfocus (US)

200 5850 8000

Sol3G (ES)

400 5980 7900

The final selection process is slated for completion by the first week of November 2007, and the successful bidders will install their pilot plants in 2008 per the requirements articulated in the call for tenders.

This 1.3MW tender is the second phase of a 3MW CPV pilot plant program. The first 1.7MW phase of CPV pilot plants have been awarded to Isofoton (700kW), SolFocus (500kW), and Concentrix (500kW). Installation of these is underway and should be operational in the first half of 2008. 800kW of this capacity will be installed near ISFOC in Puertollano, Castilla La Mancha – Spain: SolFocus and Concentrix with 200kW each and Isofoton with 400kW. The balance of the pilot plants from the first phase are single company pilot plants located in rural areas of Castilla La Mancha each with differing microclimates and solar radiation.

Isofoton will install 300kW in Talavera de la Reina near Toledo, and SolFocus will install 300kW in Almoguera near Guadalajara, the coldest area in Castilla La Mancha. Meanwhile, Concentrix is installing 300kW in Sotos, located north of Cuenca.

One reference on the ISFOC website appears to show participation by GUASCOR FOTON in the first phase, but this is not in the ISFOC paper or poster cited below.

ISFOC was started by a Government of Castilla La Mancha initiative commissioning the Institute of Solar Energy - UPM (Universidad Politécnica de Madrid) to develop a CPV R&D plan. Professors Antonio Luque and Gabriel Sala formulated the plans for the implementation of ISFOC and the Scientific International Committee (SIC) supervising the technical management.

Spain’s national Ministry of Education funded ISFOC’s first phase with €20 Million covering infrastructure, personnel, and a new headquarters and lab facility.

Here are two quotes about ISFOC’s main objective and goal from the Flash enabled and unlinkable website:

ISFOC’s main objective is to promote CPV Systems implementation, helping so its industrialization and commercialization. Companies are invited to joint efforts towards the acceleration of development and starting up of concentration plants, and ISFOC will deliver technical reports on their operation.

One of ISFOC’s main goals is to generate international R&D projects on CPV installations.

For reference, here is the Visual (Poster) Presentation and paper with further detail on the formation and governance of ISFOC from the 22nd EU PVSEC.

Solar Cells, Modules and PV Systems for Space Applications
Terrestrial Concentrator Systems
1DV.3.47 F. Rubio & P. Banda
ISFOC, Ciudad Real, Spain
Establishment of the Institute of Concentration Photovoltaics Systems - ISFOC

Given this is La Mancha, I refuse to make veiled references to Don Quixote tilting at two-axis CPV trackers.

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Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Solar Power 2007 Preview

Long Beach hosts America's largest Solar Energy event next week

The Solar Power 2007 Conference and Expo kicks off next week in Long Beach, California, from September 24 to 27, 2007, at the Long Beach Convention & Entertainment Center, a Solar Powered Venue. Created in 2004 via a partnership between the Solar Electric Power Association (SEPA) and the Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA), this year’s business to business Solar Power Conference and Expo features over 200 exhibitors, 125 speakers, and expects a record 10,000 attendees.

While there are Training and Workshops over the weekend, Solar Power 2007 activities begin to ramp Monday morning, September 24, 2007, with more workshops and a sold out Local Solar Installations Tour followed by the Opening Reception. The Conference and Expo run from Tuesday through Thursday afternoon. The Opening Plenary Session features keynotes delivered by Ted Turner, Turner Enterprises, and Ray Lane, Managing Partner, Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers.

Here are the one page Solar Power 2007 Schedule-at-a-Glance and the complete Detailed Agenda.

This year’s Agenda indulges the Solar side with two sessions on Concentrating Solar Power (CSP) and a session on Solar Hot Water Technology, but there are plenty of Solar Electric or Photovoltaic sessions. Vinod Khosla is not a scheduled speaker at this year’s event though he must be pleased with the CSP exposure.

Where in the world is Jesse Pichel you may ask? Jesse Pichel, Sr. Research Analyst, PiperJaffray, will present as part of the panel in the Investing in Solar Stocks: What You Need to Know session on Wednesday, September 26, 2007, from 2:00PM - 3:30PM in Room 202 at the Long Beach Convention Center.

Here is the Expo Exhibitor List and the Expo Hall floor plans:

Long Beach Convention Center Hall B
Hyatt Regency Beacon and Regency Ballrooms

but the Expo is not as daunting at this event – yet.

The Expo Halls are open to the public for free Tuesday evening, September 25, 2007, from 5:30PM to 8:30PM without preregistration, and three free seminars will be also held for the public:

Solar Electricity 101
How to Find a Qualified Solar Installer
How to Find Your Dream Job in Solar

A list of the participating companies is also available for review.

Interested in attending? You can still register by Sunday, September 23, 2007, and save $100 on your conference registration (see Registration Information).

If you cannot attend, a webcast of keynote speeches and interviews from the show floor of Solar Power 2007 is available courtesy of sponsor Fat Spaniel Technologies Inc. Last year’s Solar Power 2006 keynote speakers and industry interviews can still be viewed in this Webcast Archive.

I’ll see you at V2O - The Ten Million Dollar Nightclub (81 Aquarium Way, Long Beach, CA USA) for the Opening Reception on Monday, September 24, 2007, from 7:00PM to 9:00PM. Let’s do some serious Solar Power networking.

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Sunday, September 16, 2007

Media developments during the 22nd EU PVSEC

Greentech Media, Photovoltaik, and PHOTON

Although Greentech Media Launches Independent News and Analysis Website occurred on September 4, 2007, I bumped into Greentech Journalist Rachel Barron at the official 22nd EU PVSEC press conference on Monday after the Opening Session. Greentech Editor Jennifer Kho and Ms. Barron are both Red Herring alumni. I was an avid reader of Ms. Kho’s solar articles last fall and even linked to one.

Greentech Media, Inc., was founded by Scott Clavenna and Rick Thompson last of Light Reading, an online publication with the tagline: NETWORKING THE TELECOM INDUSTRY. Greentech Media’s President and CEO Clavenna introduces the website in Welcome to Greentech Media. Greentech has established partnerships with the Prometheus Institute and Rob Day of @Ventures as the exclusive host of his Cleantech Investing Blog. Greentech Media secured $1 Million in Series A funding back on May 21, 2007, in a round led by Northport Private Equity and Lightspeed Venture Partners.

I think I need to purge my broken RED HERRING Energy link and replace it with Greentech Media.

Since Intersolar 2007, the folks who launched Photovoltaik - Das Magazin für Profis, Solarpraxis AG (FRA:SPA) and Alfons W. Gentner Verlag GmbH & Co. KG, have been busy developing a Special 2007 International/American oriented English edition of Photovoltaik – The Professional’s Magazine. The cover story is Ewing Oil Turns Solar interviewing Larry Hagman, Actor and Renewable Energy Supporter. Mr. Hagman is presenting at the Closing Plenary Session of Solar Power 2007.

Solarpraxis was providing gratis sample copies of the Special 2007 edition from a shared stand with pvXchange at the 22nd EU PVSEC Exhibition. I had a chance to chat with Solarpraxis AG CEO Karl-Heinz Remmers on the Metro back from the FIERA MILANO RHO, and the Solarpraxis team will be in attendance at Solar Power 2007, and I believe (almost 100% certain) Solar Power 2007 attendees can expect copies of the Special 2007 edition to be available.

I can’t confirm if this is new news, but Solar Verlag GmbH, the publisher of PHOTON magazines, will launch an Italian version, PHOTON – il Mensile del Fotovoltaico (link points to PHOTON International at post time), starting with the January 2008 edition (see PHOTON 9/2007, p. 27). The magazine has a cover price of €4.20. If I am reading the italiano right, a 12 month annual subscription costs €44 per year (€36 for students) and €84 for subscriptions outside the European Union.

This pricing is similar to German and Spanish PHOTON versions, but, for some reason, a 12 month subscription to the PHOTON International English version costs €214 per year! PHOTON International does not even have a price printed on the cover. PHOTON International claims the regular newsstand price for 12 issues is €321 or an eye popping €26.75 per issue. PHOTON International sells back issues since February 2002 for €25 (PI 9/2007, p. 47) versus the 22nd EU PVSEC Special Conference Price of €15.

While, in fairness, PHOTON International subscribers have more perks than even PHOTON - das Solarstrom-Magazin subscribers, do these perks justify an almost five (5) times higher subscription price?

This pricing discrepancy could make spot market Polysilicon look cheap.

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Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Oerlikon solar (almost) at work: ersol Thin Film delays production

Oerlikon Solar introduces CEO, micromorph tandem, and new customer
ersol skips amorphous silicon module production to convert to micromorph
FT rumors Oerlikon is open to selling the Solar Division

On Monday, September 3, 2007, during an afternoon press conference at the 22nd EU PVSEC, Oerlikon Solar had a trio of announcements. First, with Oerlikon names Jeannine Sargent CEO of Oerlikon Solar to further expand enterprise, Ms. Sargent became the first Oerlikon Solar CEO in charge of all solar related businesses within Oerlikon. Detlev Koch-Ospelt remains the Head of Thin Film product solutions.

Next, Oerlikon Solar introduces production solutions for technologically advanced micromorph tandem modules was the formal introduction of micromorph technology by Oerlikon Solar CEO Ms. Sargent. By adding a 1.5um microcrystalline silicon bottom cell below the amorphous silicon top cell, the micromorph tandem module delivers up to 10% module efficiency at costs of less than $0.70 per Watt-peak with 100+ MWp (MegaWatt-peak) scale Fabs all by 2010.

Inventux Technologies AG was announced as the latest customer for a 33MWp micromorph tandem module production line from Oerlikon Solar. Inventux presented plans to ramp the 33MWp Phase 1 line in 2008 and expand capacity to 100MWp in 2009. Inventux will locate the new facility in southeastern Berlin near Berlin – Adlershof, Germany, very close to the new Berlin Brandenburg International (BBI) Airport.

A few days before the Oerlikon Solar press conference, ersol Solar Energy AG (FRA:ES6) issued a stealth press release, ersol prepares for the next generation of thin-film technology (Deutsch) late Friday afternoon, August 31, 2007. Translating the PR speak, this should have been titled “ersol cancels amorphous silicon (A-Si) module production and accelerates production of micromorph tandem modules”.

Now I only stumbled upon the ersol news a few days later when I was checking into the Financial Times report about Oerlikon Solar discussed in the following segment. A quick visit to the ersol stand at the 22nd EU PVSEC Exhibition began the clarification process. While I was able to check the basic facts with Dr. Christian Koitzsch, Group Manger Silicon Material, he didn’t shed much light on the root motivation for the decision. The 40MWp ersol Thin Film factory was categorized as a prototype factory and the move to micromorph was explained as a necessary step to develop a competitive copy exact platform for further capacity expansions. Dr. Koitzsch did confirm recent management turnover at ersol Thin Film.

So what are the real motivations for ersol to delay production until 2008 after investing €80 Million in a new facility?

  • I have to believe customers have balked at 6% efficiency modules for large scale solar power plant applications because of price per Watt and balance of system (BOS) costs. First Solar CdTe Thin Film modules have established a price per Watt cost leadership position in the large scale, grid connected, solar power plant application segment.
  • Oerlikon Solar has pulled in delivery of micromorph tandem equipment creating an opportunity for new turnkey customers to start production with micromorph and placing ersol Thin Film at a disadvantage.
  • Management changes at ersol Thin Film brought the usual review and reevaluation of the business unit’s strategy. It is unclear if the management turnover correlates to this decision or is an asynchronous event.

I planned to take Oerlikon Solar to task for failing to mention the ersol news. However, I have heard they were also caught off guard by the timing of this development just before the press conference.

On Wednesday, September 5, 2007, Financial Times (FT) reported:

Oerlikon would consider approaches for solar division, company source says

I received this Google alerts shocker along with the Advent Solar layoff news. In consulting with Oerlikon Solar folks at their EU PVSEC stand, they were as surprised by this one as I was.

Reading this article, could the company source here even be the same company spokesperson prodded to answer a series of leading questions? Although I have to assume FT has a credible source for such a hyped assertion, I believe FT took their cue from the organization of solar related business under Ms. Sargent in the new role of CEO Oerlikon Solar. This move telegraphs a first step to make the Oerlikon Solar business unit self contained and separable. Further speculation in the article about potential buyers demonstrates a clear lack of insight into the Photovoltaic Industry and value chain.

I see OC Oerlikon Corporation AG (VTX:OERL) committed to and making long term oriented investments in Oerlikon Solar and the solar production equipment space with great individual enthusiasm. Solar represents a lucrative, high growth business segment Oerlikon needs to drive their future growth. For corporate purposes, it could make sense for Oerlikon to monetize the value of the Oerlikon Solar business in a market receptive to solar IPOs. Oerlikon could IPO the Oerlikon Solar business while maintaining majority share ownership and control a la Cypress Semiconductor and SunPower. This IPO approach would drive more value for Oerlikon shareholders than a simple direct sale =unless= boardroom intrigues impose a different calculus near term.

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Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Select Videos from the 22nd EU PVSEC

Mr. Scanio, Oral Presentations, and the Q-Cells Band

Here is one for Italian speaking readers. Alfonso Pecoraro Scanio, Italian Minister for the Environment, Land, and Sea, answers a press question about Italian Photovoltaic market development in Italiano.

The following presentations made by Dr. Barnett and Dr. Hesse were included in Dr. Ossenbrink’s 22nd EU PVSEC Technical Highlights.

Dr. Allen Barnett presented “Milestones Toward 50% Efficient Solar Cells” on Monday, September 3, 2007. I decided to video this presentation after the first few minutes.

Here is the paper citation:

1AO.6.7 A. Barnett, C.B. Honsberg, K. Goossen & F. Kiamilev
University of Delaware, Newark, USA
D. Kirkpatrick
DARPA, Arlington, USA
S.R. Kurtz, M.W. Wanlass, K. Emery & L. Kazmerski
NREL, Golden, USA
D. Moore
University of Rochester, United Kingdom
R. Schwartz
Purdue University, USA
D.J. Aiken
Emcore, Albuquerque, USA
Milestones Toward 50% Efficient Solar Cells

Dr. Karl Hesse, Wacker Chemie AG, Polysilicon Division, presented "An Overview on Silicon Feedstock" on Thursday, September 6, 2007.

2DP.1.5 K. Hesse
Wacker-Chemie, Burghausen, Germany
An Overview on Silicon Feedstock
I believe Dr. Hesse is trying to create FUD (Fear, Uncertainty, and Doubt) regarding refined metallurgical silicon or solar grade silicon.

The Q-Cells Party has developed a reputation as the best party at EU PVSEC. Last year at the 21st EU PVSEC in Dresden, I didn’t even hear about the Q-Cells Party until afterwards. This year, the Q-Cells Party took place at Karma in southeast Milan, Italy, on Tuesday night.

Here are my video bootlegs of the Q-Cells Band. My Canon Powershot SD800 IS digital camera only records in mono, so the Band is much better than these soundtracks. If you have viewed my videos before, the infernal audio clicks are a bug with this camera and occur every time the zoom is adjusted while recording a video.

Q-Cells AG CEO Anton Milner joins the Band towards the end of the set for "(I Can't Get No) Satisfaction".

"I Love Rock 'n' Roll"

I think I have heard this song, but I don't know the name of das Lied.

"Should I Stay or Should I Go" by The Clash from a distance.

Any idea which of the Band's three front women was my fav? I am not telling.
I have a bunch more EU PVSEC videos to screen for post worthiness.

And when I see a Visual presentation like this:

3AV.1.4 A. Barnett, C.B. Honsberg & D. Prather
University of Delaware, Newark, USA
J. Culik, D. Ford, K. Allison & J. Barnett
Blue Square Energy, North East, USA
High Performance Thin Silicon Solar Cells

I cannot help but wonder if Dr. Barnett working this close with his son’s company, Blue Square Energy, and AstroPower alumni doesn’t represent one huge conflict of interest?

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Saturday, September 08, 2007

22nd EU PVSEC Closing Session

[Milan, Italy]

And Visual Presentation (“Poster”) Winners

Dr. Wolfgang Palz delivered an upbeat Closing Session Keynote Speech following the Quo Vadis PV thread begun by Conference Chairman Prof. Dr. Gerhard Willeke who is the Manager Photovoltaics at the Fraunhofer Institute für Solar Energy Systems ISE. Dr. Palz noted Photovoltaics continue to decrease in price per Watt while conventional electricity increases because of rising fossil fuel prices as supplies approach or reach extraction peaks for oil, natural gas, uranium, and, yes, even coal. On the debit side, Dr. Palz observed PV could not achieve 100% market share (barring a breakthrough in storage technology) because of lack of solar resource or winters or both in certain regions around the globe.

However, Dr. Palz opined one third of global electricity demand or several hundred GigaWatts could be addressed by PV over the next 50 to 100 hundred years. What at Challenge! Indeed (regards to Teal’c)!

While he warned 40-50% compound annual growth rates for PV could not continue without bumps in the road or bubbles, Dr. Palz concluded:

The trend is upward. Photovoltaics will be a winner.

Next up, the Robert Hill Award was presented to Dr. Wang Sicheng. It is difficult to find online English references to Dr. Sicheng, so here are two articles/studies Current Status and Future Expectation of PV in China and Mongolia: Taking a Steppe Forward. The Award was accepted in absentia by Steve Zhu of Trina Solar. Here is my video of the initial introduction:

Dr. Heinz Ossenbrink, the Technical Programme Chairman, European Commission, DG Joint Research Centre, Ispra, Italy, presented the 22nd EU PVSEC Technical Highlights which I posted yesterday.

Peter Helm, the Executive Conference Director, discussed the selection of Valencia, Spain, for the 23rd EU PVSEC in 2008, and the issues with distance between venues will be resolved. This was my only complaint about the 22nd EU PVSEC. It was much easier to dash between the Conference, Visual Presentations, the Exhibition, and the Press room in Dresden even considering the bratwurst gap. Did I mention Valencia has a beach?

The Visual (Poster) Presentation winners are as follows. Busy categories have both a winner and a runner up. All the poster awardees showed up for the Closing Session. Go figure!

Topic 1 (T1) Advanced Photovoltaics

Solar Cells, Modules and PV Systems for Space Applications
Terrestrial Concentrator Systems

1DV.3.38 B. Browne, J.P. Connolly, I.M. Ballard, K.W.J. Barnham, D.B. Bushnell, D.C. Johnson, M.C. Lynch & R. Ginige
Imperial College London, United Kingdom
G. Hill, C. Calder & J.S. Roberts
University of Sheffield, United Kingdom

Deep Strain Balanced Quantum Well Solar Cells Under Concentrator

Fundamental Studies

1CV.1.47 E. Pink, T. Trupke, R.A. Bardos, M.D. Abbott & Y. Augarten
University of NSW, Sydney, Australia

Fast Series Resistance Imaging Using Photoluminescence

Topic 2 (T2) Wafer-Based Silicon Solar Cells and Materials Technology

Mono-and Multicrystalline Silicon Cells, Materials, Processing Technology of Wafers, Sheets and Ribbons
Handling Issues and Manufacturing Automation

2DV.2.24 H. Nordmark, M. Di Sabatino & R. Holmestad
Norwegian University of Science and Technology, Trondheim, Norway
E.J. Øvrelid & J.C. Walmsley
SINTEF, Trondheim, Norway

TEM Characterization of a Multicrystalline Si Material for PV

2DV.2.14 S. Olibet, E. Vallat-Sauvain, C. Ballif, L. Fesquet & F. Freitas
University of Neuchâtel, Switzerland

High Quality Surface Passivation and Heterojunction Fabrication by
VHF-PECVD Deposition of Amorphous Silicon on Crystalline Si: Theory
and Experiments

Topic 3 (T3) Thin Films

Thin Film Crystalline Silicon
Amorphous and Microcrystalline Silicon

3AV.1.15 V. Depauw, I. Gordon, G. Beaucarne, J. Poortmans & R. Mertens
IMEC, Leuven, Belgium
J.P. Celis
Catholic University of Leuven, Belgium

Anodic Bonding and Heterojunction-Emitter for Thin-Film Silicon Solar
Cell: Two Steps Towards an Epitaxy-Free Lift-Off Cell

Amorphous and Microcrystalline Silicon

3AV.2.23 Y. Huang, A. Gordijn, F. Finger, A. Dasgupta, J. Hüpkes & R. Carius
Forschungszentrum Jülich, Germany

N-Side Illuminated Nip Microcrystalline Silicon Solar Cells With
Microcrystalline Silicon Carbide Window Layers Grown Via HWCVD at
Low Temperature

Topic 4 (T4) Components for PV Systems

PV Modules

4AV.3.50 J. P. Silva, F. Chenlo & J.L. Balenzategui
CIEMAT, Madrid, Spain

Experimental Measurement of Working Temperature of PV Modules
Considering Electrical Performance and Proposal of a New Indoor
NOCT Determination

Topic 5 (T5) PV Systems

PV Systems in Grid-connected Applications
PV Applications in the Built Environment

5BV.3.1 M. Zehner, G. Becker & G. Wirth
University of Applied Sciences, Munich, Germany
M. Schroedter-Homscheidt
DLR, Wessling, Germany
C. Vodermayer & G. Wotruba
BEC-Engineering, Poing, Germany

The Identification of Snow Through the Analysis of Satellight Data and
Its Impact on the Operation of Grid Connected PV Systems

Topic 6 (T6) PV Deployment

PV in the Developing World

S. Bechis, D. Ricauda Aimonino & A. Vilianis

DEIAFA, Grugliasco, Italy

Set Up and Monitoring of a Mini-Grid PV System in a Nigerian Village

Winning a Visual Presentation Award is a great honor and a number of the winners this year were younger researchers representing the next generation of Photovoltaic experts. The only downside was having to lug the framed award certificate and a bottle of sparkling wine back from the FIERA MILANO / Rho to one’s hotel and home.

Presentations were made regarding the upcoming PVSEC-17 in Fukuoka, Japan, from December 3-7, 2007, and 33rd IEEE Photovoltaic Specialists Conference (PVSC 33) in San Diego, California, USA, May 11-16, 2008.

At the final closing, Dr. Palz interrupted Prof. Dr. Willeke, to congratulate him on a well run, record attendance conference.

The sad thing about the EU PVSEC is when the Conference Closes, it is over until next year.


Friday, September 07, 2007

22nd EU PVSEC Technical Highlights

[Milan, Italy]

Over 3,000 22nd European Photovoltaic Solar Energy Conference and Exhibition attendees this year.

Here is Dr. Heinz Ossenbrink’s presentation of the highlights from his perspective of the 22nd EU PVSEC. This is based on presentations he himself attended. This is a very cool approach in my opinion.

Either review the Picasa screen capture slideshow or read on.

Some Highlights of the 22nd European Photovoltaic Conference and Exhibition

Milan, Italy

3-7 September 2007

Dr. Heinz Ossenbrink
Technical Programme Chairman
European Commission, DG Joint Research Centre
Ispra, Italy

Advanced Photovoltaics
•M. Green: 74% Limiting Efficiency for Si-Tandem Quantum Dot Cells
–Dot/Matrix Combinations (SiO2;Si3N4;SiC)
–Modelling with a 240 GFlop Cluster
–Demonstrator 2008?
–GaInP/GaInAs/Ge: 40.7% achieved
–Average in Production 37%; 43% by 2015
•DARPA Towards 50% efficiency
–hollow Pyramids 42.9%, Spectrally Selective Mirrors, 6-j cell 42.2% achieved

Advanced Photovoltaics (2)
•Uni Eindhoven: Dye Luminiscent Solar Concentrators
–Alignment of Dye molecules improves Coupling
•FhG-ISE: Organic Dye Cells, 5.7% on 30x30
–Cost Potential 46€/m2; Toxicity of Ruthenium?
•Uni Stuttgart:
–Theoretical Model for Charge Separation (Bipolar,Exitonic and Bulk Solar Cells)
–Excellent presentation of a rather dry & theoretical content!
•Konarka: flexible polymer cells in pilot scale
~3%, cost target <30€/m2

Wafer-Based Silicon Solar Cells and Materials
•Sanyo (JP): HIT cell
–number of improvements yield record 22.3% on 100 cm2

Sunpower US): 165 µm/ interdigitated Backcontact
–Very clear loss analysis, fine improvement 20.1% Module Efficiency for a 328W module. Announced 250 MW/yr 2008
•ECN (NL): Rear emitter cell with n-type Si
–17.4% achieved on Cz-Si
–14.4% on mc-Si

Wafer-Based Si Solar Cells and Materials (2)
•Burger (CH) Wafer slicing
–down to 160 um pitch, 80 µm wafers, 10 wafers/min Slurry viscosity studied
•FhG-ISE (DE): Back-contact early analysis
–Using commercial photoflash
–good, simple, reproducible, theoretical background well presented
•Uni Konstanz (DE): RGS horizontal Ribbon
–12% on 10x10 cm2 screen printed
–Si-Consumption: <3g/Wp (130m/10.6%)

Wafer-Based Si Solar Cells and Materials (3)
•Utrecht (NL): LCA on recent Si technologies
–EPbT: <1.7 yrs; CO2 emissions can be reduced to 15 g/kWh (Ambiente Italia: <33 g/kWh)
•Wacker (DE): Si Feedstock overview
–Global supply/demand 100..200 kt by 2010
–TriChloroSilane process
–2006 6.5 by 2010 22 kt
–Energy from Si: 2005: 3 GWh/t Si; 2010: 7.5 GWh/t
–Costs down from 2000: -46%
–Missing information: Prices 2010?

Thin Films
•Applied Materials (US&DE)
–Single-j, 1cm2 : a-Si 9.7%; µc-Si 7.7%
–Reactor in operation, 10.4% avg on µc-Si/a-Si tandem 1.4 m2
–Upscale to 5.7 m2 (!) for a stabilised 460 W module
•Oerlikon (CH/AT)
–best 1.4 m2 a-Si: 9.6%, stabilised -20%
–Production system with 20 reactors
–micromorph: 1.4 m2 : 9.46% last Monday, exp. stable 10..15% less

Thin Films (2)
•HMI (DE) EU ATHLET project,
–a row of Thin Film technologies
–flexible CIGS: 15% on 27 cm2, 12.4 on 100 cm2 (Avancis), polymer foil comes next
•Wuerth (DE), CIS
–Production on 15MW capacity, almost 13% on 0.6x1.2 m2; EPbT 1.5 y; Rates better than x-Si
•Sulfurcell (DE), CIS
–start-up with ~8%, 0.65x1.25 m2 module, cycle time <5 min
–see currently investments for 3700 MW Thin-Film Capacity by 2010/11

Components for PV Systems
•European PERFORM Project
–wide and efficient collaboration to harmonise assessment of TRUE PV performance
•Ben Gurion (IL)
–New, simple and practical Algorithm for Module Temperature Estimation
•SLIVER (AU) Sliced & Stacked Solar Cells
–Module Fillfactor of >80% (!)
•Deutsche Solar (DE) PV CYCLE Association
–Take-back system, for Waste Streams, Module Collection & Recycling

PV Systems
•BSW (DE): Analysis of German PV Systems:
–Roof-top dominates
–Large Ground-based Systems coming
•(40 MW; <3.25 €/W)
–BIPV disappointing small, but not in France!
•Freiburg (DE) Good Architecture (Disch),
–Urban Apartment blocks, 500 kW distributed
–Thorough analysis of Generation and Load Profiles
•Sunpower (US): Performance of 70 MW installed
–yield 1500 kWh/kWp
–Effect of soiling studied, ~5% gain if washed

PV Deployment
•Soleco (SE) Largest Village Electrification
–Sri Lanka, 500 out of 11000 villages electrified
Greece: Feed-in-Tariff 0.40..0.50 €/kWh
–4300 Aplication since last year, more than 4 times more than planned!
–Eased approval procedure: (almost) none for <150 kW
Italy: Feed-in-Tariff ~0.40 €/kWh
–32 MW operational, 200 MW in construction
–objective 3000 MW in 2016
–remarkable combination with Electricity efficiency: FiT+30%

Even More Condensed Matter...
•Production Capacity is growing rapidly
•Thin-Film production is growing even faster
•Technology Competition to Si-Feedstock
•Short Laboratory to Production Cycles
•PV assessments more reliable:
–Grid interface
–Environmental Impact
•More Countries create Installation and Production boom through adoption of Feed-In Laws; create high-value jobs

We hope you have enjoyed the programme!

Thank you for coming to Milan

See you again next year at the 23rd!

in (this was a tease before Peter Helm announced the location to attendees).

[As disclosed here yesterday, the 23rd EU PVSEC will be in Valencia, Spain.]

Thanks to Dr.Ossenbrink who provided a copy of his overview on the spot. Last year in Dresden, I typed this in from the highlights handout myself. In fact, I liked and sometimes video taped the presentations mentioned above. For example, I also found the Luminiscent concentrator and SLIVER solar cell presentations of particular interest.

A complete overview of the 22nd EU PVSEC Closing Session including poster winners will be the next post. I am very tired and have tasted sufficient Italiano Vino for today. Grazie!


Thursday, September 06, 2007

Advent Solar retooling for larger wafers

[Milano, Italia]

Production and manufacturing layoffs temporary?

When I checked my Google alerts this morning, the headline Advent Solar announces layoffs by Jeff Maher caught my immediate attention. I was planning to include photos of their back contact, Emitter Wrap-Through (EWT) solar cells and modules (Italiano) in my Exhibition roundup.

Since Advent Solar is exhibiting here at the 22nd EU PVSEC, it was easy enough to walk over to their stand and get the straight scoop. Per a company spokesperson, the layoff is related to Advent’s decision to retool their 25MWp (MegaWatt-peak) solar cell production line from 125mm to 156mm silicon wafers. Per Rob Day in Advent Solar, SV Solar, TrafficCast, Cyber-Rain and other news, the recent $70 Million in Series D Funding will also be used to expand capacity to about 70MWp. I presume this implies additional lines will be installed while the first line is retooled for 156mm wafers?

It appears Advent started with 125mm wafers because that was what they were able to procure in this rough polysilicon and silicon wafer sourcing environment. And it sounds like the 25MWp capacity was not fully ramped with 125mm wafers anyway.

Even though I saw the Advent solar modules last year in Dresden, I am finding the multicrystalline blue solar cells striking without the front side metal contacts. An Advent spokesperson claimed Italian customers and exhibition visitors are giving the modules rave reviews for aesthetics.

The 23rd EU PVSEC and Exhibition will be held next year, 2008, in Valencia, Spain. No date has been set yet, but late September has been tipped because of various European vacations and holidays. Perhaps I will get to celebrate Labor Day next year.

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