First Solar and GE’s Power Conversion business are utilizing their recently established technology and commercial partnership to develop a more cost effective and productive utility-scale PV power plant design that combines First Solar’s thin-film CdTe modules with GE’s new ProSolar 1500 Volt inverter/transformer system, which is claimed to be the largest inverter in the industry capable of accommodating 1,500 volt DC solar arrays.
GT Advanced Technologies (GTAT) has announced an innovative cell metallisation and interconnect technology, dubbed ‘Merlin’ that is expected to provide substantial savings in both the manufacture and installation of solar modules. A key component of the new technology includes a flexible grid that replaces conventional two and three silver bus bars, while significantly reducing solver paste consumption.
JA Solar is rolling-out globally a new series of high performance solar cells and modules in 2014. Highlights included the launch of its monocrystalline silicon (mono-Si) solar cell (156x156 mm2), ‘PERCIUM’ with 20%-plus conversion efficiency.
SMA Solar Technology has launched a next-generation microinverter that claims to have 50% less component content than competitor versions. The ‘Sunny Boy 240’ microinverter is billed to be easy-to-install and provides an expandable modular solution for PV systems.
Isovoltaic’s recently introduced PV module backsheet combines both ‘Tedlar’ and ‘Polyamide’ materials to provide improved characteristics for field durability and module efficiency increase, especially in challenging conditions.
Locus Energy has introduced its next-generation of smart meters designed to allow solar installers and asset managers to more easily collect, monitor and analyse performance data from both residential and light commercial solar PV systems. The LGate 120 and 320 are the first cellular smart meters designed specifically to measure the performance of PV installations.
Skytron energy has made considerable performance upgrades to its monitoring, control and supervision solutions for PV power plants. The ‘PVGuard’ Supervision Platform has been enhanced with improved SCADA software capabilities for energy production planning, performance analysis and system integration.
Eyelit has started the general availability of version 5.1 of its ‘Eyelit Manufacturing’ suite of MES (Manufacturing Execution System) software with key enhancements that enable engineers to quickly configure special instructions and processing that enforce special work requests (SWRs) for research and development projects.
Enphase Energy has introduced new hardware and software products that are claimed to lower solar system installation and operations costs for solar professionals.
Panasonic has launched the ‘HIT-N245’ and ‘HIT-N240’ PV modules. The HIT-N245 module has a conversion efficiency of 19.4% and comes with several upgraded features intended to provide overall improved operational performance, notably for residential rooftop markets.
Dow Corning’s silicone-based, next-generation Electrically Conductive Adhesive (ECA) ‘PV-5802’ will be used in Tianwei New Energy’s Metal Wrap Through (MWT) module production line, developed by ECN of the Netherlands. PV-5802 is said to provide improved electrical properties and stability, which will greatly enhance the electrical performance, reliability and durability of MWT modules.
GCL-Poly Energy Holdings has started commercial mass production for its second-generation quasi-monocrystalline silicon wafer product. The GCL ‘Monocrystalline G2’ wafer is claimed to be comparable in conversion efficiencies with that of conventional Czochralski-based monocrystalline wafers.
FLEXcon has expanded its solar module backsheet ‘multiGUARD’ offering with the addition of Black/White and Black/Black products. The new, more aesthetically pleasing black backsheet products appeal to the high-end commercial market and a much greater portion of the residential market.
3D-Micromac has developed a novel, highly productive laser system for opening the rear sides of PERC cells. Innovative on-the-fly technology makes it possible to achieve an improved cost-benefit ratio. The system is modular, combinable with different laser-source technologies, and achieves a typical efficiency increase up to one percentage point.
AEG Power Solutions (AEG PS), a global provider of power electronics for renewable energies, introduces two new members of its broad inverter line for the Americas market.
Scorpius Trackers claims to be the first company to have pioneered a frictionless pivot system that does not require bearings for free movement in solar tracking systems. The Vader-xFP tracking system is claimed to have zero wear and tear of mechanical parts with less than 0.1% of the generated power being consumed for tracking a >1MW PV power plant.
US start-up, Scifiniti is developing a low-cost ‘SmartWafer’ that is claimed to enhance the performance and significantly lower the cost of silicon-based products.
BELECTRIC’s new 3.0 MegaWattBlock is claimed to set new standards in solar power production. The power plant unit is designed to create electricity at the lowest possible levelized costs of electricity (LCOE). On a par with the functionality of large conventional power plants, the grid-stabilizing plant technology is designed to intelligently integrate renewable energy sources in existing power grids.
IBM has introduced an advanced power and weather modeling technology that will help utilities increase the reliability of renewable energy resources. The solution combines weather prediction and analytics to accurately forecast the availability solar PV energy. The Hybrid Renewable Energy Forecasting” (HyRef) technology uses weather modeling capabilities, advanced cloud imaging technology and sky-facing cameras to track cloud movements, while sensors on the turbines monitor wind speed, temperature and direction.
The SolarMax 360 TS-SV central inverter from Sputnik Engineering AG and the TS-SV Compact Station, with a rated output power of 720kW, are designed as a cost effective solution for large PV power plants. The 360TS-SV has a European efficiency of 97.4%.
Meyer Burger and LayTec have collaborated to produce the world’s first fully integrated EVA cross-linking metrology solution for PV module production lines.
Designed for solar modules with cells for rear-side contacting, ‘AKACON BCF’ PV backsheet is being offered by the KREMPEL Group and is ready for volume production. The backsheet comes with a copper layer and is structured according to customer’s design for back-contact cells.
VINSPEC solar VCOFLC1 camera system from VITRONIC enables exact and reliable front print and color inspection.
Virtual Industries, a supplier of manual vacuum handling solutions, has made available its new general-purpose wafer vacuum handling tool, ‘WAFER-VAC’ system with 8” molded wafer tip (WV-9000-MW8).
Texas Instruments has introduced the industry’s first fully programmable DC arc detect reference solution. The RD-195 makes it faster and easier for designers to address a growing need to safeguard high-power DC systems against the catastrophic damage that can result from arc faults.