Please visit
for new posts.

Friday, November 30, 2007

23rd European Photovoltaic Solar Energy Conference and Exhibition

1 – 5 September 2008 Feria Valencia

The dates are now set for the 23rd European Photovoltaic Solar Energy Conference and Exhibition (EU PVSEC) at the Feria Valencia Convention and Exhibition Centre in Valencia, Spain. As in the past, next years conference will run all five days while the Exhibition will run the first four days, 1 – 4 September 2008.

The 23rd EU PVSEC has issued a Call for Papers with an outline of the conference program and subject areas along with abstract requirements and review procedures.

Abstract submissions are due by January 23, 2008, and can be submitted by e-mail, online, or, if necessary, by snail mail.

Here is the Exhibition Flyer and Exhibition Reservations page for the 23rd EU EVSEC in Valencia, Spain.

While the Fiero Milano was a beautiful and luxurious exhibition and convention center, the Feria Valencia has been promised to be more compact and practical to maximize time absorbing areas of interest at the Conference, Visual Presentations, and the Exhibition.

Comunitat Valenciana, the Official tourism site of the Region of Valencia, is a resource to jump start your planning for next fall. Valencia looks like an ideal location to plan a pre or post vacation around the 23rd EU PVSEC. Learning Spanish is another option for the industrious.

I hope to learn a bit more Spanish than I did Italian (none) for Milano before visiting Valencia. Why is it that Europeans like to schedule these PV events during US holidays? Labor Day is once again lost. Is this a concerted effort to undermine the few holidays Americans have?


Thursday, November 29, 2007

Solarvalue AG Analyst Conference at the 8. Forum Solarpraxis

[Berlin, Germany]

Sample me this? Production risks are back end loaded.
Sunways CEO Roland Burkhardt’s take on Solarvalue.

First, let’s cover what went well at the Solarvalue AG (XETRA:SV7) Analyst Conference. As you can see in the above photo, the conference had good analyst attendance including man about solar Jesse Pichel, Vice President and Sr. Research Analyst, PiperJaffray. Maximillian Fischer, Solarvalue Investor Relations, provided a short overview and was followed by Solarvalue CTO (Chief Technology Officer) Dr. Julio Bragagnolo. Alas, from here things did not always go up and to the right.

Solar Grade Silicon (SGS) lab samples

Solarvalue should deliver SGS lab sample material on the order of 10’s of kilograms before year end. The SGS sample material will be from a US lab not Ruše. The same physical process is used to make the sample material but it is not identical to the production process flow.

About 250 kilograms of SGS are required to cast a typical multicrystalline silicon (mc-Si) ingot, so 10’s of kilograms of material are insufficient for verification on existing production lines using customer manufacturing process flows. Way back in Secretive solar start-up, Solarvalue AG, reveals solar grade silicon production plans through joint venture bid for TDR-Metalurgija in Ruse, Slovenia, I said:

Solarvalue will need to develop a stable process and deliver sample production SGS material to solar wafer and cell partners for qualification.

These lab samples are preproduction and only an indication of what is possible in production. One analyst asked the key question. How do you know this process will scale in production?

Cross Examination on SGS Material Impurities

Following the presentation, Research Analysts asked Dr. Bragagnolo probing questions about the quality of the SGS material, its usefulness for making solar cells, and the process. Dr. Bragagnolo engaged with the Research Analysts in a round-robin discussion of one-upsmanship regarding the impurity levels in the Solarvalue SGS material.

Mr. Pichel triggered this exchange by citing information about Timminco having 5ppm (parts per million) Boron (B) and Phosphorus (P) impurity levels or better in their Solar Grade Silicon.

First Dr. Bragagnolo clarified the high quality silicon metal (metallurgical silicon) from the arc furnace would have below 1ppm of Boron and Phosphorus and sub 5ppm of other impurities. When pressed if this level of Boron could be used to make a working silicon solar cell, Dr. Bragagnolo claimed the SGS impurity target for Boron was under 1ppm or 0.1ppm.

However, in supporting these targets, Dr. Bragagnolo cited the old work at Solarex and did not have or present Solarvalue lab analysis data for even the lab sample material and admitted Solarvalue has not fully tested the silicon made with the process. In essence, Solarvalue has performed a book calculation regarding material made with their process to date.

Production Equipment Status

Solarvalue is working with a US engineering firm to translate their process and plant concept into the detailed engineering of a number of production components that will be assembled in Ruše, Slovenia. In reviewing the process flow, an iterative collaboration between Solarvalue and their engineering partner has resulted in improving the process to 30% material conversion efficiency from metallurgical silicon (mg-Si) to SGS albeit slipping the engineering schedule.

Lab samples aside, Solarvalue’s approach of going straight to production and bypassing a pilot line results in the process being developed and fine tuned on the production line. Any process issues discovered at this point will be more expensive to correct, resulting in further production start up delays, and idle capital production assets.

If it is Thursday, it must be M1

M1 is the arc furnace being retrofit for metallurgical silicon (mg-Si) production. No schedule was provided. Solarvalue has changed plans from the M5 arc furnace to M6 and now to M1. These changes are related to Solarvalue’s challenging relationship with W&P Profil CEO Alojz Cajnko who now controls M5 and M6. M1 is the largest yet oldest of the three arc furnaces. I also believe it will be more difficult to convert to silicon metal production than M6. No wonder Solarvalue will start production with purchased silicon metal.

As a result, Solarvalue has lost the strategic benefit of using their arc furnace to produce high quality silicon metal for initial SGS production. Analysts were concerned about the old furnace equipment introducing contaminants into the silicon metal. Knowing John Mott, I believe the Solarvalue team will handle this issue during the retrofit.


At the Sunways AG (FRA:SWW) Analyst Conference, an analyst asked CEO Roland Burkhardt about Sunways’ reasons for partnering with Solarvalue and questioned Solarvalue’s competence in silicon production as his take away from the Solarvalue Analyst Conference the previous day.

Translating and paraphrasing Mr. Burkhardt’s response, he visited Slovenia to verify the existence of the arc furnace. It did indeed exist, and he left convinced Solarvalue has the people and expertise to make metallurgical silicon. Whether Solarvalue could produce usable (for solar cells) Solar Grade Silicon via their refinement process was an open question. He summarized by saying the concept was possible given the Solarvalue team’s related experience in particular with a similar process at Solarex. Concluding, Mr. Burkhardt said, We’ll believe it when we see it.

From the Sunways perspective, the Solarvalue relationship (Solarvalue and Sunways to cooperate on solar cell development) is an inexpensive call option on Solarvalue’s ability to deliver Solar Grade Silicon useable for mc-Si solar cells.

There was much more analyst interest in the Sunways LDK deal (Sunways Reactor-Wafer reversal deal with LDK Solar). And Monday’s announcement, Sunways AG enters polysilicon production business (Deutsch), indicates Sunways is developing a portfolio approach to silicon sourcing.

Additional Solarvalue Points

  • The Solarvalue process is targeting 20% initial yield of SGS from mg-Si inputs and expects to improve the yield to 30% although no timeframe was given. The balance of silicon is sold as commodity mg-Si.
  • Solarvalue claims they will have about 2400 metric tons (at 20% yield) of SGS production capacity in place by the end of 2008 and produce less than 1000 metric tons of SGS in 2008. It stuck me the SGS produced in 2008 is very similar to the numbers discussed last year in Solarvalue discusses plans and process representing a one year delay.
  • The final casting of multicrystalline silicon (mc-Si) ingots by the solar wafer customer is the last step of the process.
  • Even though Solarvalue will use hydroelectric power from a nearby power plant, the electricity cost is not low since Slovenia net imports electricity to meet demand.
  • Capex (capital expenditures) was pegged at less than €50 Million.
  • No pro forma financials were presented.

While they may have been honest and forthright, Dr. Bragagnolo made a number of statements that were unsettling in their delivery. For example, Dr. Bragagnolo said:

The process will work, what is unknown and constitutes a risk is when it will work.
It’s a time issue. There’s always risk - that’s life.

Here is the Solarvalue presentation from the Analyst Conference at the 8. Forum Solarpraxis.

In Solar Light Flashes: November 15, 2007, I said I would cover:

International Solar Silicon Production – an Overview
John R. Mott, COO of Solarvalue Proizvodnja d.d., Ruse (Slovenia)

Dr. Bragagnolo substituted for Mr. Mott. I missed the later panel discussions so I may not be writing a post about this.

I don’t expect any Research Analysts to initiate coverage of Solarvalue as a result of this Analyst Conference.

GP Note: In case there was any question after the post, Solarvalue AG: Why has the stock declined?, I do not own any shares of Solarvalue AG stock and have never traded them.

Labels: , ,

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

AE Polysilicon: Preliminary Plan Approved

Construction has not begun yet.
Phase 1 Polysilicon Production still set to start August 2008?

This post includes supplementary information regarding AE Polysilicon Corporation ( and complements the article, Silicon Setback, by Jennifer Kho at Greentech Media.

Where is AE Polysilicon located?

First, I wanted to provide closure to my quest In Search of AE Polysilicon. The facts indicate AE Polysilicon’s 32 acres were subdivided from the Keystone Industrial Port Complex (KIPC) Phase 4, Lot 5 even though the AE Polysilicon location is not shown on the KIPC Current Tenant List or Map. This area was circled in a presentation by Motech Solar CEO Dr. Yuan-Huai Simon Tsuo at the 4th Renewable Energy Finance Forum - Wall Street on June 20, 2007. Falls Township approved a subdivision plan earlier this summer, and AE Polysilicon has now purchased the 32 acre parcel per NAI GLOBAL NYC TEAM ARRANGES SALE OF 2 PROPERTIES AT KEYSTONE INDUSTRIAL.

Preliminary Land Development Plan

The above Preliminary Land Development Plan was presented at the October 16, 2007, meeting of the Falls Township Board of Supervisors. My annotations reflect the details disclosed by the Showalter & Associates engineer. Further information was provided by AE Polysilicon representative Chris Chang while addressing questions from the Supervisors and interested citizens.

Cell #1 will be constructed in Phase 1, and Mr. Chang said:

We plan to start commissioning in June 2008 and start the production in August … 2008.

We plan for the First phase for 1500 metric tons of Polysilicon, and then gradually we are going to move to Phase 2 and our ultimate goal will be 12000 tons.

Mr. Chang stated the capital investment for the facility has grown to more than $100 Million from the previous $70 Million.

Given that the plan calls for four identical cells to achieve the full plant build out goal of 12000 metric tons of annual production capacity, quick math indicates Cell #1 will either be operated at a lower initial throughput pending advancement along the learning curve or only half its capacity will be built in Phase 1.

After the AE Polysilicon presentation, supervisor questions, and public comment, the Falls Township Board of Supervisors voted to approve resolution #07-32, the AE POLYSILICON - PRELIMINARY LAND DEVELOPMENT plan. Although AE Polysilicon’s attorney mentioned they would seek the final land development plan approval in November 2007, the online supervisor agenda does not appear to include this topic delaying the process another two (2) weeks to one month.

An online video of AE Polysilicon’s presentation and discussion is available at the Falls Township Board Of Supervisors Meeting - October 16, 2007 (click on Part 2 of 5 - 8:31pm to 9:28pm (timestamp range 8:33:30 to 8:55:20).

The AE Polysilicon Announcement - Full Press Conference Video with Pennsylvania Governor Edward G. Rendell from April 14, 2007, can be viewed here: Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4, Part 5.

Jonathan Snipes, Chairman of the Falls Township Board of Supervisors, and Gerard J. McHugh, Corporate Services Director NAI Global, did not respond to my emails or voice messages with questions regarding AE Polysilicon.

Labels: ,

In Search of AE Polysilicon

[Fairless Hills, Pennsylvania USA]

My impromptu visit to the Keystone Industrial Port Complex (KIPC)

I’ve noticed the ongoing international interest of Blog readers in my AE Polysilicon posts. Since my last post, AE Polysilicon moves to Pennsylvania, I was at an impasse trying to contact the company through Motech Solar to obtain an update on their progress.

On a trip back east to New Jersey in late October 2007, I visited the KIPC direct from the Philadelphia International Airport.

All I expected was to snap a few photos of an FBR (Fluidized Bed Reactor) polysilicon plant under construction and a cliché sign indicating this was the future home of AE Polysilicon ( AE Polysilicon plant construction photos would be a coup for the Blog even if I couldn’t interview anyone from the company.

After gaining access via the main KIPC gate, I was greeted at the first crossroads by 50 some odd arrow signs stacked in totem pole fashion for the companies located in the complex. Parsing through the names, I was surprised AE Polysilicon was not among them. Continuing to believe it would be easy to find the AE Polysilicon site, I decided to drive about the KIPC and look for them.

I was unprepared for the sprawling 2,400 acre (971 hectares) area of the KIPC. Failing to find AE Polysilicon in the southern portion of the complex, I stopped to review the public facts regarding their chosen location. AE Polysilicon was reported to be purchasing about 20 acres of land with an existing building. Looking at the KIPC Current Tenant Map, I narrowed my search to available lots of this approximate size.

Upon review of these candidate locations and driving down almost every road in the KIPC, I failed to find AE Polysilicon. Although I was nagged by the possibility I had missed something, I began to suspect the construction of the AE Polysilicon plant had not yet begun. The missing signage was a huge tell. Construction workers, contractors, and drivers delivering materials would need signs to find the work site.

For more on this AE Polysilicon series, please see:
Silicon Setback by Jennifer Kho at Greentech Media
AE Polysilicon: Preliminary Plan Approved

Labels: ,

Thursday, November 22, 2007

Schmid Silicon Technology: From East Germany with Polysilicon

[Berlin, Germany]

Invest in Germany Fast Track has the Thanksgiving Day scoop

Gebr. Schmid GmbH + Co. (Deutsch), the photovoltaics (flat panel display and printed circuit board) equipment manufacturer specializing in wet chemistry and headquartered in Freudenstadt, Germany, is expanding into polysilicon production by establishing Schmid Silicon Technology GmbH in the Schwarze Pumpe Industrial Park (Industriepark) located between Spremberg and Spreewitz, Germany. Schmid Silicon plans to build 5000 MT (metric tons) of polysilicon capacity on a 30 hectare (74 acre) plot ramping in 2010 and creating up to 400 new jobs including a technology (research) center.

While I first saw this reported in the Fast Track Winter 07/08 News from Germany - Photovoltaics by Invest in Germany, the local newspaper, Lausitzer Rundschau, published the first report in German titled Silizium-Hersteller siedelt sich in Schwarze Pumpe an, Schmid Silicon Technology schafft neue Jobs.

In recent years, the private and family owned Schmid Group has been expanding like gang busters driven by the high growth rates of the photovoltaic and flat panel display industries. I hear the Schmid Group has been working with unnamed Russian partners for the past few years to enter the Polysilicon production business. It is almost certain they will use a Siemens process for Polysilicon production requiring about $750 Million (USD) of capital investment to construct this capacity. The Schmid Group will no doubt use cash and prepaid Polysilicon contracts to finance this ambitious upstream integration plan. Founded in 1864, the Schmid Group has developed a strong aversion to banks and financial markets over their 143 years of operation.

I have two great things to report from the first day of the 8. Forum Solarpraxis. The coffee breaks are smoke free this year, and this evening’s dinner featured turkey albeit without all the trimmings (stuffing, turkey gravy, and cranberries were absent). However, I noticed SOLON AG CEO Thomas Krupke (see SOLON AG CEO Kicks PV Blogger Out of Analyst Conference) contributing to greenhouse gases by smoking a large stogie (cigar) after dinner. What sort of carbon footprint is that?

Labels: , ,

Monday, November 19, 2007

ISFOC Awards 1.3MW of Concentrator PhotoVoltaic power plants

Concentración Solar La Mancha S.L., EMCORE Corp., Arima Eco, and Sol3g submitted the winning bids.

The ISFOC, Instituto de Sistemas Fotovoltaicos de Concentración S.A. or Institute of Concentration Photovoltaics Systems, Board of Directors awarded the 13 Concentrator PhotoVoltaic (CPV) pilot power plants at their last meeting. These awards complete the tender for the second phase of ISFOC’s 3MW (MegaWatt) CPV pilot plant program detailed in the previous post, ISFOC 1.3MW CPV Power Plant tenders made public. The terse ISFOC announcement is here.

Including two (2) Spanish firms, here are the 1.3MW award details:

Concentración Solar La Mancha S.L. (ES) 300kW
EMCORE Corp. (US) 300kW
Arima Eco (Taiwan) 300kW
Sol3g (ES) 400kW

The unsuccessful bidders included: Menova Energy (Canada), GreenVolts (US), Electricidad Alsanbo S.L. (ES), Infopyme Solar (ES), and SolFocus (US). The failure of the GreenVolts bid for a 200kW (kiloWatt) pilot power plant is notable. Perhaps the capacity was too small and the price per kilowatt was too high? SolFocus was awarded 500kW of CPV pilot power plants in the first phase.

Thanks to the folks at Sol3g, S.L. for bringing this ISFOC award to my attention. Earlier this month, Sol3g joined ASIF (, Asociación de la Industria Fotovoltaica or Spanish Photovoltaic Industry Association, per the press release Sol3g becomes member of Asif.

Labels: , , , ,

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Solar Light Flashes: November 15, 2007

Select Photovoltaic News Tidbits

The Solar Light Flashes format allows me to address news or observations that don’t require a full post.

Cool Earth Solar
Cool Earth Solar (CES, has revamped their website and is reshaping solar energy. I heard from CEO Rob Lamkin that CES Senior Team member, Dr. Aurelius Prochazka, co-author of RailsSpace: Building a Social Networking Website with Ruby on Rails, was involved with the implementation. Back on August 24, 2007, the press release, COOL EARTH SOLAR FILES PATENTS FOR SOLAR TECHNOLOGY, demonstrates CSE efforts to protect their Intellectual Property (IP). And Cool Earth Solar in the News was nice enough to link to my post, Cool Earth Solar emerges from Stealth Mode.

GreenVolts Inc.
On Tuesday, November 27, 2007, Kevin Fine, Director of Product Development, GreenVolts, will present Solar Energy Technologies: Emphasis on Concentrating Photovoltaic Technologies, at the California PUC (CPUC) Building, Golden Gate Room, 505 Van Ness Ave., San Francisco, California USA, from Noon - 1:00 PM PST (Pacific Standard Time). This event is sponsored by the San Francisco Power Engineering Chapter of the IEEE (Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers, Inc.). Non-member cost and RSVP details are here.
As the Photovoltaic Blogger, reporting on the media is one of my easiest tasks. With rare exception, media never reports on the competition. While I jumped on the news of Intersolar North America 2008, chose not to report on this significant new event but passed on this Industry Press Release, Record Early Sales of Solar Power 2008 Reflects Growth Trajectory of U.S. Solar Industry, post haste. Could it be because Solar Power 2008 is an advertiser and Media Partner?

RSI Silicon
I noticed RSI (Reaction Sciences Inc.) Silicon Products won the ICE 2007 Ignite Clean Energy Business Presentation Competition during my research into Wakonda Technologies. Per the RSI Silicon website:

Dr. Steve Amendola, along with his experienced team, has commenced building the first plant. It is envisaged that production at the 5,000 metric tonne per annum plant based in Northampton County, Pennsylvania, will commence Q2 2008.

Also notable here is:

RSI will be using low cost raw materials for processing solar grade silicon and not the Metallurgical Grade Si

even though Northampton is in rust belt steel country. I can only presume they will use a precursor with Silicon as a component unless they have developed a Silicon Replicator technology?

Here is the RSI Silicon ICE 2007 PowerPoint presentation and top Ten Finalist video by Newfangler Productions.

SunPower Corporation
On October 22, 2007, SunPower announced SunPower Names Brad Davis as Chief Marketing Officer. Towards the end of this press release, SunPower CEO Tom Werner said:

I am also pleased to announce that Peter Aschenbrenner will be assuming a new role as vice president, corporate strategy, continued Werner. In this position Peter will have responsibility for strategy, business development, and management of SunPower's product portfolio. Peter has been the primary architect of SunPower's strategy since 2003, and with three decades of solar industry experience he is uniquely qualified to help us capitalize on emerging global opportunities.

To date, I have not seen an official resolution of Peter Aschenbrenner under SEC investigation in AstroPower Saga. Could this move be a second step towards a quiet exit for Mr. Aschenbrenner from SunPower?

8. Forum Solarpraxis
I am looking forward to covering this Solarpraxis AG (FRA:SPA) event again next week on November 22-23, 2007, in Berlin, Germany. Here is the program (Deutsch). I am keen to checkout and report on this presentation:

International Solar Silicon Production – an Overview
John R. Mott, COO of Solarvalue Proizvodnja d.d., Ruse (Slovenia)

on Friday, November 23, 2007, at 14:30. I have requested access to select closed Analyst Conferences in advance to avoid a repeat of SOLON AG CEO Kicks PV Blogger Out of Analyst Conference. SOLON is not on my list.

Try entering the URL and see where it takes you. I wonder what purpose this could serve?

Labels: , , , , , ,

Monday, November 12, 2007

Wakonda Technologies wins at the 20th NREL Industry Growth Forum

Bandgap Engineering and AlbEO Technologies Inc. honored with Outstanding Presentation Awards.


Source: NREL

At the 20th NREL Industry Growth Forum on Nov. 8, 2007, (left to right) Riley Hill of Xcel Energy; Marcie Black of Bandgap Engineering, Outstanding Presentation Award Winner; Les Fritzemeier of Wakonda Technologies, Clean Energy Entrepreneur of the Year Award Winner; J. Bisberg of AlbEO Technologies, Outstanding Presentation Award Winner; and L. Marty Murphy of NREL stand together after the awards ceremony.

Per Wakonda Technologies, Inc. (

Wakonda Technologies is commercializing a Virtual Single Crystal (VSC) photovoltaic technology that can be aesthetically integrated into buildings, infrastructure and personal power applications. The technology promises to bring lower costs because of its higher efficiency, lighter weight and flexibility. Photovoltaics, or PV, convert sunlight directly into electricity.

What is this technology? Wakonda is developing high efficiency thin film solar cells using III-V semiconductors on flexible metal foils about 2 mils (0.0508 millimeters) thick. This technology is related to III-V Triple Junction Terrestrial Solar Cells built on Germanium (Ge) substrates. Wakonda has developed a method to produce a Ge film on a flexible metal substrate to replace the expensive Ge crystal wafer substrate.

Perhaps it is better to allow Wakonda Founder and CEO Les Fritzemeier explain the company’s technology and business plans in this top Ten Finalist video by Newfangler Productions from the ICE 2007 Ignite Clean Energy Business Presentation Competition on May 1, 2007.

Here is the official press release, Wakonda Technologies is the Clean Energy Entrepreneur of the Year, from the 20th NREL Industry Growth Forum of the U.S. Department of Energy's (DOE) National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL).

Wakonda Technologies is located in Fairport, New York USA, near Rochester and earned a top prize of $10,000 as the 2007 Clean Energy Entrepreneur of the Year.

On the same day, November 8, 2007, Wakonda Technologies was awarded $892,735 as part of the Department of Energy to Invest More than $21 Million for Next Generation Solar Energy Projects for a $2.1 million project to apply low cost conventional thin film manufacturing techniques to the production of large area, high efficiency multi-junction PV.

Here is an oral presentation and paper Wakonda contributed to at the 22nd EU PVSEC:

13:30 – 15:00 Solar Cells, Modules and PV Systems for Space
1BO.4.3 R.P. Raffaelle, S. Hubbard & J. McCarty
Rochester Institute of Technology, USA
L. Fritzemeier
Wakonda Technologies, Fairport, USA
D.M. Wilt & S.G. Bailey
NASA Glenn Research Center, Cleveland, USA
Thin Film Poly III-V Space Solar Cells

Wakonda visited Denver earlier this year from April 17-19, 2007, for the DOE Solar Energy Technologies Program Review Meeting and Peer Review to present the paper, Progress Toward High Efficiency Thin Film Photovoltaics, updating their DOE funded research. NASA has also been an active funder of Wakonda's research for space applications.

In addition, I found the following Wakonda patent published by the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO):


Outstanding Presentation Awards winners Bandgap Engineering and AlbEO Technologies Inc. each received $5,000 in cash.

Marcie R. Black, Bandgap Engineering's founding scientist, accepted the Outstanding Presentation Award on behalf her Westwood, Massachusetts USA, company developing solar cells with high efficiencies above 50 percent based on nano-scaled silicon material per the 2006 MRS (Materials Research Society) Fall Meeting Symposium CC: Solar Energy Conversion paper:

Intentional Interface Defects as a Means of Band Gap Engineering and the Applications to Photovoltaics Marcie R Black1 and James Maxwell2; 1LANL, Newton, Massachusetts; 2Los Alamos National Laboratory, Los Alamos, New Mexico.

Here is an advanced look at the topic of Band Gap Engineering or see this Band gap introduction.

Based in Boulder, Colorado USA, AlbEO Technologies, Inc. develops and markets intelligent Solid State Lighting (SSL) systems combining art, design, and technology while reducing energy consumption. Jeff Bisberg, AlbEO founder and CEO, accepted the Outstanding Presentation Award for his company.

The 20th NREL Industry Growth Forum was held this year in Denver, Colorado USA, from November 6-8, 2007. Additional solar firms among this year’s thirty one (31) presenters included:

CaliSolar, Inc.
GreenVolts, Inc.
Gamma Solar Corp.
Prism Solar Technologies, Inc.
Ribbon Technology International (reference)
Soliant Energy, Inc.
SoloPower, Inc.
SunFund Corporation
SV Solar, Inc.

Both Denver’s Mayor John Hickenlooper and Colorado Governor Bill Ritter addressed the 20th NREL Industry Growth Forum. Neither Philadelphia Major John F. Street or Pennsylvania Governor Ed Rendell took the time to address last year’s 19th NREL Industry Growth Forum in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania USA.

Here are the Proceedings from last year’s 19th NREL Industry Growth Forum or see my previous coverage of the 19th NREL Industry Growth Forum and follow up posts.

Labels: , ,

Friday, November 09, 2007

1-Solar: 2007 CCTO Renewables Award Winner Profile

Founder and CEO Mr. Tranh Nguyen talks about 1-Solar Inverter technology

1-Solar, Inc. ( CEO Tranh Nguyen was able to take a few minutes out of his busy schedule meeting with Venture Capitalists (VCs), investors, and customers to discuss his 2007 California Clean Tech Open (CCTO) Renewables Award winning company.

First, Mr. Nguyen said the following about the 1-Solar inverter design:

The main reason for the small size, reduced weight, and long life of our 1-Solar inverter design is our patent-pending Push-Push™ inverter topology. This Push-Push topology converts DC (Direct Current) to AC (Alternating Current) in a single step compared to the two steps required in conventional High Frequency (HF) inverters.

Current flows from the input to the output through only three (3) semiconductor devices instead of the six (6) devices used in conventional HF inverters. We modulate the voltage according to a sine wave at high frequency by using a small transformer size with very low modulation losses. Our design eliminates the need for an intermediate high voltage DC bus and its associated storage capacitors thus increasing reliability.

The control circuit for the inverter uses a small Field Programmable Gate Array (FPGA) yet it is re-usable for Push-Push inverters designed for various power ratings.

Here is Mr. Nguyen’s Bio from the 1-Solar business plan submitted for the 2007 CCTO:

Tranh Nguyen, Founder and CEO. Mr. Nguyen has been involved in power systems, power supplies, and general power electronics for the last 25 years. Prior to 1-Solar, he founded Nphysics/NuForce Inc., of which he was Chairman/CTO. His NuForce Reference 9 amplifier received the 2006 “Amplifier of the Year” and “Product of the Year” awards from audiophile magazines. Mr. Nguyen received his MSEE (Master of Science in Electrical Engineering) from Faculty Polytechnic of Mons Belgium (Faculté Polytechnique de Mons), and his MBA (Master of Business Administration) from Golden Gate University. He holds 7 US patents, and many more pending.

  • Chief Electronics Engineer of an aerospace company, [chief designer of the power system for the Tomahawk Cruise Missile]
  • Engineering manager of Power Supply Dept of a division of Harris Corp.

When asked about 1-Solar funding requirements, Mr. Nguyen said:

Our funding is coming along as usual. Our aerospace background helps us design long life inverters but our new topology is the key factor to their long life.

Tranh Nguyen (seated) with Casey Ng and Jason Lim

By googling the keywords Tranh amplifier, many reviews of Mr. Nguyen’s award-winning audiophile Class-D amplifiers will be found. Mr. Nguyen mentioned that Class-D amplifiers and inverters are cousins.

Based in Rohnert Park, California USA, the 1-Solar website landing page features a pair of high impact videos from the 2007 California Clean Tech Open Final Awards Event Gala by a certain progressive Photovoltaic Blogger.

Labels: ,

Thursday, November 08, 2007

Intersolar North America 2008

Intersolar joins SEMICON West next year in San Francisco

Intersolar North America 2008 ( will be co-hosted by SEMICON West 2008 from July 15-17, 2008, at the Moscone Center West Hall, Level 3, in San Francisco, California USA.

Solar Promotion GmbH and the Freiburg Wirtschaft Touristik und Messe GmbH & Co (FWTM), the organizers of Intersolar, and SEMI, the organizer of SEMICON said:

The new exposition will be the largest trade event serving the full solar energy supply chain in the United States.

Intersolar North America is expecting about 10,000 visitors for over 200 photovoltaic (PV) and solar thermal exhibitors covering 100,000 square feet (9290 square meters) of exhibition space or more.

Exhibit sales for Intersolar North America 2008 will open Thursday, November 15.

SEMICON West photovoltaic alumni exhibitors should note:

SEMICON West remains the venue for exhibitors focused on manufacturing equipment, materials and services.

Here are the respective press releases: Intersolar and SEMICON West to form largest solar technology exposition in North America and SEMI® Partners to Co-host Intersolar North America in Conjunction With SEMICON West.

Visitors registered for SEMICON West or Intersolar will be able to attend both exhibitions without paying extra fees or separate badging. Intersolar North America plans to hold a day and a half PV technology conference during the event at additional cost. I expect to see a North American version of the PV Industry Forum on the conference program.

It looks like Solar Power 2008 will have some competition starting next year. I first heard about efforts to organize an American version of Intersolar following the opening day press conference at the 22nd EU PVSEC in Milan. Intersolar 2008 Europe will be held a month earlier from June 12-14, 2008, in Munich, Germany, at the New Munich Trade Fair Centre after making the move from Freiburg im Breisgau.

Labels: , , ,

Monday, November 05, 2007

Solarvalue and Sunways to cooperate on solar cell development

Aim to produce marketable solar cells from solar grade silicon

With many years of accumulated expertise in monocrystalline and multicrystalline silicon solar cell development and processing, Sunways AG (FRA:SWW) is a stronger research and development partner for Solarvalue AG (XETRA:SV7) than Moser Baer Photo Voltaic Limited (MBPV). MBPV is focused on bringing up turnkey silicon solar cell production lines at the current time.

Here are the dueling company press releases: Sunways and Solarvalue enter into cooperation agreement for the production and processing of solar silicon (Deutsch) or Cooperation between Solarvalue and Sunways (Deutsch).

Sunways said the following:

If the development cooperation can be successfully implemented, both partners will enter into a supply contract.

Since both Sunways and Solarvalue are synergistic companies without overlap, a successful cooperation could lead to even closer ties. Sunways is involved with every step of the solar value chain besides silicon production after Sunways Reactor-Wafer reversal deal with LDK Solar. Almost a year ago, Sunways was on the short list of companies rumored to be interested in investing in Solarvalue.

Check out this Interview with John R. Mott, COO of Solarvalue Proizvodnja d.d., on the status of development in Ruse (Deutsch) on the Solarvalue home page. There is scarce new information here, but the verb tense (see bold I added to the text) of this section is interesting:

We will be producing solar grade silicon samples within the next few weeks. Afterwards, the final fine tuning of the production process will be carried out. Production will then start up within the first half of 2008. This gradual “ramp- up” will minimize risk and keep the rejection quota low. We intend to produce several thousand metric tons of high-purity solar grade silicon in 2008.

Labels: ,

Friday, November 02, 2007

ersol Thin Film: solar (back) at work

ersol amorphous silicon thin film module production back on!

ersol expects the first micromorphous (micromorph tandem) thin film module samples to be available from mid 2008

On the heals of New experts join ersol management team (Deutsch) released earlier this week, ersol “Nova-T” thin-film module fulfils Protection Class II requirements (Deutsch) was an odd press release issued Thursday, November 1, 2007.

Why was Nova-T thin film module certification significant? In Oerlikon solar (almost) at work: ersol Thin Film delays production and reiterated by ersol Solar Energy AG (FRA:ES6) CEO Dr. Claus Beneking at Solar Power 2007 (see Solar Light Flashes: October 22, 2007), amorphous silicon (a-Si) thin film module production by ersol Thin Film was supposed to be cancelled in favor of accelerating micromorph tandem module production.

Per the ersol “Nova-T” press release:

Since the planned switch from amorphous to micromorphous product generation will take a fairly long time, even just because of the delivery times for key components, ersol is now planning to launch amorphous modules, as an interim step towards micromorphous production, in spring 2008.

As a result, ersol has reversed course and plans to begin a-Si module sales starting in Spring 2008. The ersol Thin Film production line has produced a-Si modules with 78Wp (Watt-peak) average stabilized capacity after the impact of the Staebler-Wronski effect.

Dr. Christian Koitzsch, Technical Director of ersol Thin Film GmbH, said:

We are already preparing for the field deployment of the Nova-T modules with the first key customers and we are looking forward to the anticipated grid connection of the first demonstration and test plants during Q1 2008. However, we have not yet decided on our production plan for 2008 as a whole.

So what is the reason for this production decision flip flop? Here are some ideas to consider.

  • Successful Protection Class II verification and obtaining the CE label was a critical gating item.
  • 6% module efficiency is not so bad after all.
  • A brand new idle €80 Million factory does not sit well with ersol investors.
  • The new management team at ersol Thin Film has had time to reevaluate the situation and changed the decision.

In any event, this development does not appear to be related to the schedule for Oerlikon’s KAI 1200M2 micromorph deposition systems. By all accounts, KAI 1200M2 shipments are on track per committed delivery schedules. Perhaps ersol did not get their KAI 1200M2 orders placed early enough to be at the front of the queue?

Please click the Topic label ersol for related posts.

Here is more than you ever wanted to know about how IBM Pioneers Process to Turn Waste into Solar Energy. I am all for efficient recycling, but this news has gotten more press than justified. 13.5MWp (MegaWatt-peak) solar cell production from 3 million recycled semiconductor wafers represents a drop in the existing multi GigaWatt Photovoltaic market.

Labels: ,