Briefly Noted … Solar Energy

Ten thousand PV panels shipped; German PV plant to produce 12 MW; Spain commissions largest PV site; Sharp receives UL certification for PV panels.

– PV manufacturer, Evergreen Solar, has shipped its 10,000th panel using String Ribbon™ technology, to Kawasaki Heavy Industries for installation in Japan early next year. The technique continuously produces a flat crystalline silicon substrate directly from molten silicon, and avoids the waste and slicing of solid blocks of silicon. The 110 watt panels shipped to Kawasaki, feature 3.25″ ribbon with conversion efficiency of 12.7 percent. – The first multi-crystalline solar cell factory in eastern Germany, which began construction in January and started producing cells in June, has almost completed installation of equipment for automated production. The capacity of the Q-Cells plant will be 12 MWp and investment reached Euro 11 million this year. – The largest solar PV station is planned for Villarrubia de los Ojos in Spain, at a cost of US$35 million. Promoters are seeking funds from the European Union, the Spanish government and energy companies Gamesa and Isofoton, and Greenpeace says citizens could invest directly as small shareholders. – Sharp Corp of Japan has received Underwriters Laboratories certification in the U.S. for three solar panels of 80, 125 and 165 watts. The UL 1703 certification standard for the polycrystalline cells will be promoted in marketing to government and public agencies when the product starts selling next month. The panels have already received similar independent approvals from Technischer Uberwachungs-Verein in Germany. – Three thousand small communities in Brazil’s Bahia’s Sertao region may benefit from a multi-million-dollar plan to bring solar-powered water systems to isolated off-grid settlements. The U.S. Trade & Development Agency approved a US$400,000 grant to help Bahia develop a sustainable program to replace diesel generators with small-scale potable water supply systems. TDA expects U.S. exports to reach $20 million if the project proceeds. – A team of students at Colorado University have produced their preliminary design for small solar homes for the U.S. solar home decathlon. Richard King of the DOE suggested the solar home contest as a way to increase national interest and expertise in smart living. In October, 14 student teams from Boulder to Puerto Rico will build solar-powered homes on the National Mall in Washington, DC, to be evaluated in ten categories, from energy production to aesthetics. For the decathlon, students have 800 square feet to design and their house must generate power for an electric car, dishwasher, heating and cooling systems, and other necessities. – Two thousand payphones have been installed in 150 towns across Uganda through the use of solar technology and wireless developments. Only 3 percent of Ugandans have access to grid power. – Sanyo Electric has strengthened its position in the Japanese pre-fabricated housing market in order to boost its integrated solar power systems, home appliance and ventilation products. Sanyo will take over Kubota House next April to develop the next generation of top end ‘electrified home’ market, gaining synergies by building its products into houses and evolving an integrated residential business. – The Department of Energy’s High-Performance Photovoltaic Project, initiated earlier this year, has launched an internet site to cover research in solar PV technologies. The project encourages research to improve the performance of existing technologies, with the aim of doubling conversion efficiency, to make solar technologies more cost competitive. Participants in the project include DOE’s National Renewable Energy Laboratory, several universities and photovoltaic manufacturers.
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