The newly activated photovoltaic power plant run by Acciona Energy in Portugal, with its 46 MWp capacity, sets the bar higher than ever for ground-based solar farms. With more than 262,000 crystalline-silicon-based modules deployed on some 2500 tracker arrays spread out over 250 hectares (that’s alot of soccer pitches), the installation is physically very impressive—a heady holiday gift for the entire renewables community. But one of the numbers cited in the company’s press release strains credulity, because it’s flat-out wrong. Unfortunately, most of the media reports about the project just picked up the erroneous info without blinking—or thinking.
A news story in the Los Angeles Times reports that a consultant’s study casts doubt on the economics of upcoming local ballot Measure B, a key component of the Solar L.A. initiative. On the brighter side, EuPD Research and Applied Materials both show their charitable sides during the holiday season.
The state of Ohio loves solar and renewable energy manufacturing and has recently put its development money where its mouth is in support of several up-and-coming PV players in the state. Millions of dollars in grants and loans have been doled out to the likes of Xunlight, SCI Engineered Materials, Tremco, Solsil, and Willard & Kelsey Solar Group. Move over, First Solar!
The world economy may be teetering on the precipice of a deep, prolonged recession, and parts of the solar manufacturing value chain are starting to feel the pinch too. But you wouldn’t know things were that bad based on the calvacade of investments announced in the solar PV and renewable energy space on Monday.
Wal-Mart may not be synonymous with solar and other greentech power solutions, but the international retail behemoth—with its sustainability initiative’s goal of going 100% renewable—has jumped to the forefront of companies moving toward a more environmentally operating stance. The corporation is well on its way to installing 22 solar power systems on some of its California and Hawaiian commercial rooftops. But another intriguing project is its joint initiative with the Environmental Defense Fund to seek out and encourage thin-film/building-integrated PV.
The Oregonian blogosphere reports that Intel plans to turn on a relatively small, but symbolically potent solar photovoltaic power system this Monday at its Jones Farm campus in Hillsboro, outside of Portland. The story says the 100-KW array—which cost around 800 grand—is “the first step in what the company says could be an ‘aggressive’ plan to employ solar energy. Other projects include PV-powered data centers in New Mexico and a solar thermal hot-water system in India.
Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger used OptiSolar’s Sacramento module-manufacturing factory as the scene for his recent announcement of an executive order streamlining California’s renewables project approval process and increasing the California’s renewable energy standard to 33% by 2020, an ironic backdrop given the company’s semistealthy reticence to talk much about its manufacturing processes and capabilities. A speculative run of a few numbers may—or may not—reveal details about the tight-lipped amorphous-silicon thin-film firm’s panels and production.
Global Solar Energy is rightly proud of the rows of gleaming panels that make up the new 750-KW solar photovoltaic electric power system sitting on a little more than seven acres of desert across the parking lot and alongside its headquarters production facility in south Tucson, AZ. The copper-indium-gallium-(di)selenide thin-film PV purveyor’s own strings of flexible CIGS cells reside in each of the 6600 ground-mounted modules, which were assembled nearby at Solon’s 60-MW North American manufacturing site. The company says it’s the biggest TFPV array of its kind, but is it?
The news that Sharp and Enel are to build the world’s first 1GW thin-film manufacturing plant in Europe (Italy) at a cost of over $1 billion, is a significant move by Sharp to remain a major force within the PV industry. From any angle the move is impressive and bold and reinforces the direction the industry is going, even if that trend is only in its infancy.
A story from JLM Pacific Epoch has put the Chip Shots hyperbole detector into overdrive. The report says that Taiwan-based Asia Solar Ltd. and Hong Kong’s Jianqiao Solar have signed government contracts to invest $45 million and $90 million, respectively, thin-film photovoltaic projects in Zhenjiang, Jiangsu province, China. Even in today’s challenging financial environment, a $135 million TFPV play merits attention but does not stretch credulity. But then the numbers, at least those reported, get a bit dicey.