Bioenergy, Geothermal, Hydropower, Monitoring, Solar, Wind Power

Briefly Noted … Solar Energy

Large PV system to be installed in California; Sharp to increase solar cell production by 50 percent this year; Portland to replace parking meters with solar-powered pay stations; new guides produced in Britain to assist solar PV and solar thermal exports; Germany’s first automated PV line to increase output by 350 percent; Canadian government wants to monitor solar hot water systems; Australian state receives funding for hybrid solar thermal power system.

– The largest privately-owned solar system in California’s Silicon Valley will be installed by Cypress Semiconductor at its San Jose campus. The US$2.1 million, 335 kW array will power a new three-story administration building, scheduled to open this month. The system was subsidized 50 percent by the California Energy Commission, and Cypress president T.J. Rodgers says he bought it as an insurance policy against future blackouts or increases in power costs. The project is expected to pay for itself in seven years, and Rodgers says the company may retrofit existing buildings with solar. – PV manufacturer, Sharp, will increase solar cell production this year by 50 percent. Sharp increased its capacity to 100 MW last year and will add a new facility to its Nara plant to reach 150 MW. It will adjust production to demand, including exports to the U.S. and Europe. Last month, Sharp said it expects global PV cell output to jump by 50 percent over the next few years, with Japan accounting for half of global production by 2003. – The city of Portland, Oregon, will replace 6,000 parking meters with 900 solar-powered pay stations within four years. Finance officials say the increased parking revenues offset the cost of the US$5.4 million conversion. – Two new guides have been produced under the Sustainable Energy Programme of Britain’s Department of Trade & Industry, to assist trade promotion overseas. ‘Solar Power: Photovoltaic Products & Services from Britain’ and ‘Active Solar Heating: Products & Services From Britain’ provide an overview of British capabilities, with details of activities by key British companies, including company project information and experience. – In Germany, the first fully automated production line for PV solar modules will increase current output of 1,000 modules a week to 3,500 this year. Solar GmbH’s US$32 million plant uses thin-film technology to produce PV cells composed of glass plates coated with cadmium telurite and cadmium sulphate, which allows more automation than silicon plates. Conversion efficiency is 7 percent, but the company plans to match the 14 percent level of silicon cells within five years. – A new solar resources map of Minnesota shows that Minneapolis and the Florida city of Jacksonville are equal in the sunlight they receive over a year but, in summer when power is needed for air conditioners, satellite data show that Minneapolis has higher solar energy than Jacksonville due to the haze in Florida. – The Canadian government wants to monitor solar hot water systems installed under its Renewable Energy Deployment Initiative, a six-year C$24 million program to stimulate market demand for renewable energy heating and cooling technologies. Natural Resources Canada is supporting several pilot projects to promote the installation and purchase of solar DHW systems in the residential sector, and wants two years of quality control, monitoring and repair for systems installed in Peterborough and Toronto. The deadline for bids is January 15. – The government of the Australian Capital Territory has received Aus$168,000 for an insulation project to reduce GHG emissions. The grant, part of Australia’s $650,000 Emissions Reduction Incentive Program, will fund a subsidy scheme for residential wall insulation and an upgrade of government heating and ventilation systems. The Adelaide City Council received $175,000 to revamp traffic signals with energy-efficient lights, and the Hornsby Shire Council (New South Wales) received $100,000 for a hybrid solar thermal power system for a library.