Continuing market constraints and unattainable cost bases have conspired to force Schott Solar’s management to withdraw from c-Si PV manufacturing completely. Although the company’s thin-film and CSP activities are unaffected by this news, this exit from the c-Si sector will affect around 870 employees as well as its Mainz and Alzenau plants in Germany, Valasske Mezirici in the Czech Republic and Albuquerque in New Mexico.
It appears that the next victim of this most ruthless of competitions – the solar shakeout – is CdTe thin-film manufacturer Abound Solar. Another controversial recipient of a DOE loan guarantee, the company will be closing its doors next week, a claim that has been confirmed on the DOE's website today. According to a GTM Research report, the company will finally cave to cost pressure from CdTe leader First Solar and the general plummeting product costs across the PV manufacturing board.
Electrical connector company Multi-Contact has revealed that its TÜV- and UL-certified MC4 and MC4PLUS photovoltaic connectors have been granted certification for protection class IP68. The IP certification series vouches for the products’ ability to withstand contact and infiltration of water and dirt. This new accolade means that an entire PV installation can be cabled consistently with a single system.
The US’s largest solar and wind project developer, NextEra, has placed the successful bid to purchase the unbuilt 1GW Blythe solar project in Riverside County, California. The plant is another of the projects – both built and unbuilt – being auctioned off from the assets of bankrupt Solar Trust of America. The agreed price of the project was not revealed.
Solar thermal project developer BrightSource Energy has placed the top bid for Palen, a 500MW solar thermal plant, at a Delaware auction of property of Solar Trust of America, which went bankrupt in April this year. The as-yet unbuilt solar thermal plant is said to have been bought by BrightSource for an unconfirmed amount of up to US$30 million.
Distributed Energy Research & Solutions, or EnergySage, has been the recipient of one of 10 Department of Energy (DoE) SunShot Incubator investments worth US$500,000. The funding will be used to develop a web-based PV comparison-shopping platform that aims to deliver pricing transparency and encourage online networking among property owners and solar PV installers.
Molybdenum, commonly used as the back-contact material in CIGS solar cells, has been the subject of an in-depth study by sputtering target manufacturer Plansee, working in collaboration with TU Bergakademie Freiberg. Plansee’s results, presented at the ICMCTF Conference, identified the process errors and defect types present in molybdenum thin films that can have a detrimental effect on electrical conductivity.
The inevitable fall-out from last month’s US Dept. of Commerce ruling against the import of Chinese solar products is now measurable in numbers, as the Coalition for American Solar Manufacturing (CASM) has revealed details of import figures for April. With US Customs and Border protection closely monitoring all imports to prevent companies dodging the anti-subsidy duties, imports in April came to US$70.7 million, down 66% compared to the previous month’s US$206 million.
IBC Solar has signed an agreement with South Korean chemical company LG Chem that will see the development of advanced lithium-ion storage solutions for solar energy. As a result of this collaboration, IBC has added to its power storage systems range with the new IBC SolStore 6.3 Li battery.
Recently adding another 1.2MW module order to its books, Upsolar has announced that its Greek activities have seen the shipment of 33MW of its PV modules to projects in the country since it first entered the market in March 2010. The 1.2MW order comes from RSEnergy Hellas Solartechnik, a Greece-based EPC firm that has several ground-mounted and industrial rooftop projects planned for the country.