Archive for March 28, 2012

Alstom goes solar, unveils $480,000 solar installation

Robert Hicks, project manager at Alstom, speaks Tuesday about the newly installed solar panel array in the parking lot at Alstom in Chattanooga.

Robert Hicks, project manager at Alstom, speaks Tuesday about the newly installed solar panel array in the parking lot at Alstom in Chattanooga. The solar panels were turned on Feb. 9 and there will be a dedication ceremony on Wednesday.
Alstom, a company known in Chattanooga for making nuclear, steam and natural gas power plant components, is going solar in the Scenic City.
Today, the Paris-based company will unveil a $480,000 solar installation constructed on its Riverfront Parkway parking lot.


Soldiers get solar training before heading to war

For the first time, U.S. Army soldiers are receiving specialized training on how to use generators with solar-power capability before heading to Afghanistan. The Army says these generators save lives by reducing the amount of fuel that needs to be trucked to troops over dangerous roadways. For more about this please click here.

U.S. Commerce Imposes Tariffs on Chinese Solar Panels

In a highly anticipated announcement, the Department of Commerce has imposed tariffs in a case that has underscored deep divisions within the American solar industry. American solar manufacturers got the validation they were seeking, but much of the solar industry walked away from Tuesday’s announcement with a general sense of relief and a continued sense of caution for what could come next.To read more on this click here

PV Tech Newscast March 23, 2012

East Tenn. PBS solar panel system now up and running

Roof of the PBS station

East Tennessee PBS is taking a big sustainable step as the station’s new solar energy system is now up and running.
162 rooftop solar panels will generate enough energy to power more than four average homes for at least 40 years.
The project does not cost PBS anything, and the panels will provide free power to the station’s studio lights.
Several crews from East Tennessee worked on the installation and engineering for this solar project.
“Terra Shares is providing all the equipment, all we do is provide the roof,” said Tony Poole with East Tennessee PBS. “So it’s a win-win for us, and for the environment and for Knoxville.”
When the solar panels are not powering the PBS studio, the energy generated from the 38 kilowatt system will go to the TVA power grid

China’s Solar, DC-Powered Microgrid, Courtesy of Intel, Nextek, LBNL and People Power

Xiamen University

Solar panels generate direct current (DC) power, and computers, printers, telephones, lights, and pretty much every other typical office power load use DC power. Why waste energy converting all that power to alternating current (AC) and back again, just to satisfy a century-old convention for how we electrify buildings?
That’s the premise behind a fascinating project underway at China’s Xiamen University that’s using DC power to connect rooftop solar panels to lights, HVAC systems, data centers and plug-in vehicle chargers. Nextek Power Systems is providing the solar-to-building DC power technology, China-based Canadian Solar provides the solar panels, and Palo Alto, Calif.-based startup People Power will provide the cloud-based software platform to connect it to people in the building.


West Tennessee Solar Success

West Tennessee has seemed to lag behind East and Central Tennessee in the number of interconnected solar photovoltaic systems. While wind energy seems to be confined to the central and eastern areas of the state, the same is not true for solar collection energy. Despite the lack of interest by local media sources, there are dozens of Tennesseans who own private pv systems in the West Tn area as of recently. With the scenic view of our “solar farm” on I40, there is a “solar buzz” in the air….

A local resident of the Jackson area named Ernie Williams,  is responsible for the integration of several of the successfully interconnected pv systems under the TVA footprint here in West Tennessee. He is a shinning example of how Tennesseans can use good ole’ American Free Enterprise and Technology to create revenue for Tennessee, by Tennessee. Since Tennessee has proven solar manufacturing leadership, there should be no reason that Tennessee shouldn’t lead the nation in developing energy independence through implementation of the same green & renewable products we manufacture.

To take a look at some of the local installations, click on the word document media link below, as provided by Mr Williams.


Installed Systems Mar 2012 basic info

World Solar Photovoltaic Market Grew to 27.4 Gigawatts in 2011, Up 40% Y/Y

Overall market growth in 2011 was boosted by strong second half demand ahead of further deep cuts in solar incentives. This followed a period of over-production in the first half that triggered the sustained price decline through the PV chain that came to characterize 2011. The dominance of Chinese manufacturers in crystalline silicon wafers, cells and modules grew, the share of thin film declined, and demand in Asian markets grew rapidly.

The PV industry generated $93 billion in global revenues in 2011, up 12% Y/Y, while the industry successfully raised more than $8 billion in corporate equity and debt.

Major PV Country Markets (GW):

Of the more than 100 countries worldwide covered in Marketbuzz, the top five PV markets were Germany, Italy, China, the United States, and France—74% of global demand in 2011. China soared 470% Y/Y, rising from to third place from seventh in 2010.

Over the next five years, factory-gate module prices are projected to drop between 43% and 53% from 2011 levels. Average c-Si factory-gate prices in 2012 will be at least 29% lower than the 2011 average.

Full Article

VW eyeing largest solar park in state

Staff Photo by John Rawlston/Chattanooga Times Free Press

Construction is to start soon on a solar park estimated to cost about $30 million that will supply a big chunk of power to Chattanooga’s Volkswagen plant.

The solar park, believed to be the state’s biggest at 9.5 megawatts, will go on a tract adjacent to the factory, said Patrik Mayer, executive vice president of finance and information technology for VW in Chattanooga.

“It will be one of the largest in the Southeast that’s privately run,” said Mayer.

When up and running late this year, the park will provide up to 12.5 percent of the 2 million-square-foot plant’s power, he said.

Two companies will build and run the plant — Phoenix Solar, a German business with U.S. headquarters in California, and Silicon Ranch Corp., which is based in Nashville, Mayer said.

Full Article


* 50 — Acres for the solar park

* 1,200 — Number of homes the solar park could power for a year

* 33,600 — Solar panels to be installed


Team claims highest efficiency for quantum dot photovoltaic battery

A research group at the University of Tokyo and Sharp Corp developed a quantum dot-type photovoltaic (PV cell with a high efficiency.

Its cell conversion efficiency is 18.7% without light condensing and 19.4% at the time of 2x light condensing. The research group is led by Yasuhiko Arakawa and Katsuaki Tanabe, who are professor and specially-appointed associate professor, respectively, at the Institute for Nano Quantum Information Electronics, the University of Tokyo.

The 18.7% efficiency is the industry’s highest efficiency for a quantum dot-type PV battery that is not concentrating light, Arakawa said. Before the achievement was made, the highest efficiency had been 18.3% achieved by a research group at the Russian Academy of Sciences.

The latest quantum dot-type PV battery was developed by using the “intermediate band method,” in which conversion efficiency is improved by forming a superlattice structure (in which quantum dots are three-dimensionally arranged) and a miniband (intermediate band) that absorbs infrared light.