Day 3: Solar Power International news summary


The Solar Power International (SPI) conference and exhibition is the largest solar industry event in the U.S. The 2008 event is being held this week in San Diego, California, coming straight after the solar investment tax credit (ITC) bill was passed in Congress, extending incentives for domestic and commercial installations that could now see the U.S become the largest market for solar energy in the years to come. Our intrepid reporter, Tom Cheyney was impressed with the Solar Block Party(s) last night in the Gaslamp Quarter of San Diego. However, this daily review covers breaking news from the show rather than elsewhere, in an easy to digest summary.

Global Solar Energy is showing off its Copper Indium Gallium diSelenide (CIGS) thin-film modules at booth 1339 after recently obtaining IEC (International Electrochemical Commission) certification. The company’s CIGS solar modules have been subjected to the IEC battery of tests and passed the first time, the company said. Certification was delivered by the Arizona State University Photovoltaic Testing Laboratory (ASU-PTL), which confirms via the IEC 61646 certification that Global Solar’s modules adhere to the commission’s stringent requirements for functional and mechanical capabilities for long-term operation and open-air environments.

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Five Star Technologies, has introduced for the first time at SPI its new ElectroSperse S-series solar inks for use in crystalline silicon photovoltaic cells, which the company said, allow solar cell makers to lay out front side grid lines as narrow as 80-100 microns—much thinner than the 120-175-micron width of conventional contacts. The company believes its S-600 product range maintains consistent electrical contact with emitter layers.

REC has launched its SCM Series solar module in the U.S. this week, highlighting that the product features a 10-year limited warranty of 90 percent power output and 25-year limited warranty of 80 percent power output. The module is also backed up by a 63-month limited warranty on materials and workmanship. Also of interest is that REC noted that located most of its production facilities in areas that use hydroelectric power, significantly reducing its carbon footprint.
Owens Design has completed its ninth collaborative design and build project in time for SPI with a solar manufacturing company since entering that market in 2006. Owens Design’s expertise is in solar manufacturing tool development that spans both crystalline -silicon and thin-film-based manufacturing approaches. The company has developed photovoltaic cell solutions for handling, inspection, magazine and carrier handling and factory automation. Its thin-film-based solar manufacturing solutions have targeted custom automation for glass, flexible substrate, vacuum and atmospheric systems; material handling and factory integration. With a growing based of equipment suppliers for both types of technology in the U.S. the company is exhibiting at booth 1726.

Konarka’s low cost organic flexible thin film technology offers a cost-effective renewable power solution. The company recently announced the opening of the world’s largest roll-to-roll flexible thin film solar manufacturing facility in New Bedford, Massachusetts, preparing for the mass production of its Power Plastic products that are being displayed at booth 922. The company’s build-out of capacity is impressive and so should the cost per watt reductions. 

CH2M HILL said it has been selected by the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) to help 25 American cities accelerate the adoption of solar energy. This is a strategic component of The Solar America Initiative, a U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) effort to make solar electricity from photovoltaics cost competitive with conventional forms of electricity from the utility grid by 2015. The contract is worth $5.5 million to CH2M HILL. CH2M HILL’s Solar Portals combine aerial imagery with advanced 3-D modeling, allowing entire cities to be mapped rooftop by rooftop in a matter of weeks. Once CH2M HILL and the city host the solar map of the city on a Solar Portal, residents can easily log on, view their rooftops, calculate the available square footage for panels, mock up solar panel placement, estimate how much money they will save and choose from a listing of available installers. You can check out whether you are hot or not at booth 446.

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