Archive for December 30, 2011

LightWave Solar is creating jobs in Tennessee

LightWave Solar has announced the hiring of several new employees in the
last few weeks. The business has recently expanded its Tri-Cities office in
Johnson City. Paul Sutton has done a wonderful job installing solar projects in
the Tri-Cities area, and the aim is to continue to grow in East Tennessee. To do
so, LightWave Solar has added several new positions to this office. Sutton’s
primary responsibility is business development and sales. His new job title
is Solar Consultant.

Complete article

National News: Reps. Bilbray and Cohen Break Down Barriers to Solar Energy

Today, Congressmen Brian Bilbray (R-CA) and Steve Cohen (D-TN) introduced H.R. 3664, the Solar Energy Regulatory Relief Act of 2011. This bipartisan legislation will promote standardization for local permitting requirements for solar energy and lower the installation costs for solar energy systems. “In Memphis and cities across the nation, families and small businesses are trying to install solar panels on their homes and businesses,” said Congressman Cohen. “However, these individuals’ good faith efforts to reduce their energy costs and carbon footprints are being hindered by burdensome, local regulations and red tape. This targeted, fiscally responsible legislation will incentivize municipalities to eliminate these regulatory hurdles so that more solar systems can be installed across the nation. By easing the transition to solar energy, this legislation would save consumers money on their electricity bills, spur billions of dollars of new investment, and create thousands of jobs.”
The Solar Energy Regulatory Relief Act is the House companion bill to Senator Bernie Sanders (I-VT) and Senator John Boozman’ (R-AR) 10 Million Solar Roofs Act, which was passed out of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee today.

Entire article

Milestone reached at West Tenn. Solar Farm

Chickasaw Electric Cooperative has announced the completion of system improvements between the cooperative’s Dancyville substation and the West Tennessee Solar Farm in Haywood County, according to a news release. The upgraded line was energized on Wednesday and the cooperative is ready to receive power from the 4.5 MW solar farm. The completion comes 11 weeks ahead of schedule, according to the release.

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Learning About Solar Panels at Cleveland State Community College

John Hondulas of Knoxville and Richard Rutledge of Niota were able to take classes as part of a statewide program that allows those 60 or older to audit public higher education courses for free in a class at Cleveland State Community College. Rutledge and Hondulas were classmates for the class on solar panels. Rutledge said he is interested in converting his house to solar energy. He said a TVA reimbursement program would have the program pay for itself in about seven years. Hondulas attended the class in preparation for a trip to the Dominican Republic to install solar panels in a village there.
The complete story can be found here.

Portland TN Company Receives Certification for Multiple 1000VDC Smart Combiner Boxes

Shoals Technologies Group Receives ETL Listing to UL 1741 for Multiple 1000VDC Smart Combiner Boxes with Integrated Disconnects and SNAPShot String Level Monitoring

Portland, TN, December 24, 2011 –(– Shoals Technologies Group, the global leader in photovoltaic balance of systems components proudly announces it has received ETL certification to UL 1741 for multiple 1000VDC smart combiner boxes with SNAPShot™ string-level monitoring and integrated DC disconnects.

“Shoals has been leading the PV balance of systems market for nearly a decade by consistently providing the most innovative, highest quality, BOS components, at prices that have helped move our industry towards grid-parity. Our new 1000VDC smart combiners are another step in that direction and we are very happy to announce their ETL listing and look forward to providing these products to our many commercial and utility scale customers,” said Dean Solon, President and CEO.

The new 1000VDC smart combiners feature:

⁃ 12 to 32 strings inputs
⁃ 250A and 400A DC disconnects
⁃ Reinforced, plated buss bars
⁃ Blown fuse indication
⁃ SNAPShot™ string level monitoring
⁃ NEMA 4X enclosures

For more information regarding Shoals 1000VDC smart combiners, please visit or contact Shoals Technologies at +1-615-451-1400 or at

Solar-powered boat sails around the world

China: Aiming for 15 GW of Solar By 2015

Facing a manufacturing overcapacity and a growing need for clean energy, China announced a plan that could have impacts on both fronts.

China’s National Energy Administration (NEA) last week announced it is aiming for the country’s installed solar power generating capacity to reach 15 GW by 2015. This is a 50 percent increase from its previous plan.

This new target marks a new urgency in China’s attempts to create a domestic solar market.  Right now China’s production capacity is about 30 to 40 GW. Yet, for this year, China’s market size is about 2 GW. Being an exporter of solar modules while their domestic energy needs are so serious has been a sore spot to Beijing for the last five or six years.

Full Article


Reauthorization Update of Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) and Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR)

By Alexander Hecht

On December 14, 2011, Congress passed the FY 2012 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) which included a six-year reauthorization of the Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) and Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) programs. These are three-phase grant programs that direct federal research and development dollars to small firms. This reauthorization represents a major victory for the small business community, which has been working toward a long-term reauthorization. Since September 2008, these programs have survived only through a series of 14 consecutive temporary extensions.

The Final Senate/House Deal

The final SBIR reauthorization passed through the NDAA reauthorizes the program for six years and includes language that permits small firms that are majority-owned by venture capital firms to compete for up to 25% of SBIR funds at the National Institutes of Health, National Science Foundation, and the Department of Energy. For other agencies that participate in these programs, including the Defense Department, the threshold is 15%. The U.S. Small Business Administration is also directed to promulgate a rulemaking, with public notice and comment, within one year to determine eligibility requirements for firms that are majority-owned by venture capital.

other key highlights of the final SBIR reauthorization include:

·         Increasing the annual allocation for the SBIR program within qualifying federal agencies (the final deal increases allocation from 2.5% to 3.2% of federal R&D dollars over the length of the reauthorization, allowing more access for small businesses to compete for R&D funds);

·         Increasing the annual STTR program allocation, from .3% to .45% of federal funds each year;

·         Raising grant award levels, allowing for annual inflation adjustments, and providing waivers for critical research;

·         Increasing small business collaborations with federal laboratories;

·         Shortening the time for final decisions by federal agencies and the amount of time between decision and release of funds; and

·         Increasing congressional oversight to reduce fraud and abuse.


Original article


PV-Tech Newscast – December 16, 2011

Semprius Achieves 41 Percent Efficiency

On December 14, the National Renewable Energy Laboratory, or NREL, announced that it had confirmed an efficiency rating greater than 41 percent for solar cells made by Durham, North Carolina-based Semprius.

This efficiency rating is calculated on the ability of the low-cost lenses incorporated Semprius’s gallium-arsenide (GaAs) cells to concentrate sunlight (to an intensity of 1,000 suns) on solar cells with a sufficiently wide optical angle to maximize solar insulation and reduce tracker costs.

Apparently Semprius’s inexpensive solar cell manufacturing technology was so tempting that global electronics giant Siemens AG (NYSE: SI) took a 16-percent stake in the company in June. The company will begin manufacture from its North Carolina plant in 2012, producing solar panels in a volume that will reportedly be cost competitive with fossil-fuel technology.

Full Article