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Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Solarvalue produces Solar Grade Silicon sample material

The sample material is about four to five months later than expected.

In Solarvalue Achieves Important Milestone for Silicon Feedstock Production (Deutsch), Solarvalue AG (FRA:SV7) claimed:

its Silicon Feedstock Pilot Facility located in the United States is now fully operational and that silicon has successfully been processed and purified. Initial analysis show that the innovative process using tailor made equipment is able to reduce impurities by using unidirectional solidification.

This milestone was achieved about two months after the “Small scale production laboratory”, morphed into the “Silicon Feedstock Pilot Facility”, began operations as described in the previous post, Solarvalue AG Solar Grade Silicon sample Lab “Oratory”.

Here are some key points to consider regarding this milestone:

  • The “Pilot Facility” capacity remains on the order of 10’s of kilograms scale.
  • The sample material was tested at an unnamed “well known independent materials characterization laboratory in the United States”.
  • The sample material has not been used to make silicon solar cells.

Solarvalue concludes:

These encouraging results complete the requirements for the upcoming milestone of Solarvalue to transfer its innovative production process to the company-owned industrial scale production plant in Ruse, Slovenia, in the second half of 2008.

Are circumstances unfolding for a 2008 repeat of Ruše Surprise: Solarvalue delays Solar Grade Silicon production?

Optimistic, speculative Solarvalue shareholders sent the stock up about €10 on this delayed milestone. Contrast this stock action to Timminco Limited (TSE:TIM) which is under siege by the financial press and short sellers.

And Clean Edge editorial picks has named GUNTHER Portfolio as a Top 10 Blog in the clean-tech space. Muchas gracias!


Friday, April 25, 2008

Photovoltaic Conference and Exhibition Preview 2008 – Part 2

Incremental updates to photovoltaic conferences and events in 2008

This update supplements the original post, Photovoltaic Conference and Exhibition Preview 2008.

Intersolar 2008
June 12-14, 2008 (PV Industry Forum 2008 June 10-11, 2008)
Munich (München), Germany

The detailed two day program for the PV Industry Forum is now available. In addition, Solar Promotion has added the 1st Solar Thermal Industry Forum ( on June 11, 2008, although the afternoon program is still being flushed out.

SEMICON West 2008 / Intersolar North America 2008
July 15-17, 2008 Exhibition
San Francisco, California USA

Intersolar North America Draws International Participation cites the success of the exhibition in attracting international exhibitors. In order to free up additional exhibition space, the comprehensive conference program has been moved to the InterContinental Hotel adjacent to the Moscone West Convention Center. Besides the “very special symposium session”, "Solar Gigawatts for Europe – Status Perspectives European Solar Markets and Industries", the conference program includes the following topic areas:

PV Technology
Solar Thermal Technology
Building Integrated Technologies

External partners will also cover additional topic areas. The conference program is being finalized by Solar Promotion and should be rolled out on the Intersolar North America 2008 website in early May.

21st NREL Industry Growth Forum
October 21-23, 2008
Denver, Colorado USA

Per the NREL Public Affairs team, the dates for the 21st NREL Industry Growth Forum have been set for October 21-23, 2008, at the Renaissance Hotel in Denver. Further information and details will be posted to the website in the near future.

9. Forum Solarpraxis
November 20-21, 2008
Berlin, Germany

The dates have also been set for the 9th Forum Solarpraxis (Deutsch), and this year it is one week before the Thanksgiving Day holiday in the United States. Here is the announcement (Deutsch).

I plan to attend the 33rd IEEE Photovoltaic Specialists Conference (PVSC 33) from May 11-16, 2008, in San Diego, California USA, even though I will be hobbling or wheeling to get around.

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Monday, April 21, 2008

AB 1920: California bill goes beyond Net Metering

Requires California Utilities to pay for excess solar electric (and wind) power generation.

Under the California Solar Initiative (CSI), net metering limits your electric bill to near zero even if your photovoltaic system generates more power than you consume. AB 1920 corrects this situation by forcing utilities to compensate photovoltaic system owners for any excess solar electric power generated. In effect, the electric bill can go negative with a credit for the system owner.

AB 1920 is a bill authored by California Assembly member Jared Huffman (D-San Rafael) as a result of entries by his constituents in the 2008 “There Oughta to be a Law” contest (see Huffman Watch: Our Assemblyman at Work). AB 1920 can be summarized as follows:

AB 1920 (Huffman): Renewable Energy Incentives – Net Metering
Enables residents who produce renewable energy for their homes, small businesses or farms to get paid by their utility company for any excess electricity they produce that goes back on the grid. Level of compensation to be determined by the Public Utilities Commission. Provides utilities with Renewable Portfolio Standard (RPS) credits for purchasing the renewable energy from their customers. Removes the “size to load” restriction in state law that limits energy customers’ ability to “supersize” their solar electricity systems.

Here are the key reasons why AB 1920 is needed to again patch the excessive complexity and loopholes of the CSI:

  • Net metering discourages electricity conservation and encourages California consumers to waste their solar electricity until their negative accounts hit zero.
  • The “size to load” restriction rewards electricity wasters with a history of high electric consumption while valuable roof area and lower per watt installation costs are forgone at frugal electricity consumers.
  • Investor-Owned Utilities (IOUs) can claim California Renewable Portfolio Standard (RPS) credits for purchasing excess solar electric power from system owners.

However, AB 1920 should be amended to apply to municipal utilities as well as IOUs like PG&E Corporation.

The compensation rate for excess power under AB 1920 will be determined by the California Public Utilities Commission.

Per Assembly member Huffman’s staff, AB 1920 passed out of the Assembly Committee on Utilities and Commerce (10-2 vote or see Two Huffman Renewable Energy Bills Approved in Committee) and the Assembly Committee on Natural Resources (7-2 vote). AB 1920 next moves to the Assembly Committee on Appropriations where it is expected to “be heard in May”.

Here is the latest amended version of Assembly Bill No. 1920. Further background is available in Cashing in on your solar savings by Matt Nauman with The Mercury News.

Thanks to all the folks who expressed concern and wished me a swift recovery per my previous post, GUNTHER Portfolio Hiatus.

What will you do for Earth Day '08? (credit to

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