Archive for March 21, 2012

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.