News for July 2009

News Archive

Fraunhofer claims 99.3% efficiency inverters for solar PV systems Fraunhofer claims 99.3% efficiency inverters for solar PV systems

Fraunhofer Institute for Solar Energy Systems (ISE) claims a record 99.3% efficiency for inverters used in solar photovoltaic (PV) systems.

Solar power getting stronger with utilities ramping up

Leading solar power project developers are finding themselves in a “much stronger position at the end of the first half of 2009” –due to scaling utility involvement, amongst other things, says Reese Tisdale, Research Director at Emerging Energy Research.

Shallow water tidal device could deliver low-cost renewable energy

UK-based Pulse Tidal says its shallow water tidal device can produce predictable, low cost renewable energy at the same time as reducing the large investments required to install, connect and maintain devices in remote offshore locations.

UK Vestas staff occupy Vestas wind turbine blade factory on Isle of Wight

Staff at the Vestas wind turbine blade factory on the Isle of Wight has started an occupation of the factory in response to Vestas’ plans to cut 1900 jobs in Northern Europe announced in April.

Energy-efficient variable speed pump controller

ITT has launched a variable speed pump controller for HVAC and pressure booster applications.

Wind energy industry weathers the storm Wind energy industry weathers the storm

The second quarter of 2009 presented the expected slowdown in wind energy project activity as banks underwent stress tests, governments reshuffled budgets to deploy stimulus packages, and the industry adjusted capacity accordingly, says Emerging Energy Research’s (EER) Research Director Keith Hays.

Biofuels should replace aviation jet fuel says think tank

UK think tank Policy Exchange recommends wide scale deployment of sustainable biofuel for use in the aviation industry to meet UK’s 2050 emissions cut.

Two-atom lead superconductor thinnest ever Two-atom lead superconductor thinnest ever

Paving the way for smaller and more efficient devices, a superconducting sheet just two atoms thick has been created at The University of Texas at Austin by Dr. Ken Shih and colleagues [Shengyong Qin, et al., DOI: 10.1126/science.1170775].

Compact vacuum pump for solar cells Compact vacuum pump for solar cells

Edwards has introduced iXL500, the first in a line of dry vacuum pumps designed for load lock applications in solar cell and flat panel display manufacturing.

Siemens and Viridity Energy announce strategic alliance for Smart Grid implementations

Siemens Energy and Viridity Energy have entered into a strategic relationship to provide virtual power plant functionality on campus environments and to other large users of electricity.

Energy Conversion Devices adds Solar Integrated Technologies to portfolio

Energy Conversion Devices, Inc. (ECD), a manufacturer of thin-film flexible solar laminate products for the building integrated and commercial rooftop markets (which includes the Uni-Solar brand) is to acquire Solar Integrated Technologies, Inc. (SIT), a provider of building integrated photovoltaic (BIPV) roofing systems.

SFC wins Daimler order for fuel cell onboard power in vans

German-based SFC Smart Fuel Cell has secured an order from the Mercedes-Benz Cologne/Leverkusen unit of Daimler AG, to supply more than 130 EFOY Pro direct methanol fuel cell (DMFC) systems by the end of the year.

Large scale UK biomass plant gets go ahead

The £500m Tees Renewable Energy Plant, located at Teesport, and being developed by British company MGT Power Limited has received consent from the British Government under Section 36 of the Electricity Act.

ENN's SunFab production line underway

ENN Solar Energy Co., Ltd has announced the launch of its new silicon thin film solar products manufactured with Applied Materials' “tandem junction” technology.

Canadian Solar joins ranks of PV Cycle

Canadian Solar Inc. is to become a member of PV CYCLE, an organisation based in Brussels, Belgium that promotes voluntary take-back and recycling of end-of-life PV modules, including seeking to define collection and recycling targets for the PV industry.

EDF and First Solar to partner in French market

EDF Energies Nouvelles and First Solar Inc are to form a joint venture to build France's largest solar panel manufacturing plant.

Report: WWEA conference in Korea

International Solar Energy Society (ISES) member Dieter Holm attended the World Wind Energy Association (WWEA)'s 8th World Wind Energy Conference & Exhibition, which took place on Jeju Island in Korea.

juwi group launches major project in the USA

juwi is to set up its first large-scale wind farm on US soil in south-eastern Nebraska.

SkyTrough parabolic trough solar thermal collector wins R&D 100 Award

R&D Magazine has selected SkyFuel's SkyTrough parabolic trough solar thermal collector as one of the 100 most technologically significant products introduced into the marketplace over the past year.

Switzerland's largest solar PV module manufacturing facility in production

The Pramac Group has begun producing thin film PV modules at its new 30 MWp facility near Locarno, Switzerland.

Companies announce hybrid projects in Canada

Atlantic Wind and Solar (AWSL) and Centripetal Dynamics (CDI) are to collaborate on hybrid wind/solar energy projects in Ontario, Canada.

NexTech Materials unveils largest solid oxide fuel cell technology platform

Ohio-based NexTech Materials recently completed scale-up of its FlexCell™ solid oxide fuel cell technology to a nominal area of 1200 sq cm and power output of 400 W per cell – believed to be the largest production planar SOFCs yet. This development represents a significant accomplishment in the advancement of the firm’s planar SOFC technology, and together with the many advanced features of the FlexCell technology, is an enabling step for large-scale power applications.

Nordex begins construction of its first US wind turbine plant

German wind turbine maker Nordex has begun construction of a US$100 million manufacturing facility in Jonesboro, Arkansas, USA. It is expected to start production in 2010.

Neah successfully tests anaerobic direct methanol fuel cell prototype

US-based Neah Power Systems has demonstrated a new type of liquid electrolyte-based direct methanol fuel cell (DMFC), which does not require air to operate. The reliable, non-PEM-based fuel cell system has been proven in sustained operation. The silicon-based DMFC approach is claimed to promise low cost with high reliability and power.

Renewable energy in Asia - a roundup

Renewable Energy Focus' Asian correspondent, Azam Mahmood, provides an overview over renewable energy projects and politics in Asia.

Solar-powered ‘Fun Pump’ provides clean water

Mono NOV develops a water system using an electric pump powered by a solar panel and a children’s merry-go-round.

China to be number one on wind power

China could become a major player in wind energy – not just in instalment, but also in producing wind turbines and components, according to a report from analyst McIlvaine Company.

DoE invests in community renewables, CSP and wind

The US Department of Energy (DoE) has announced several funding opportunities over the last week including up to US$22 million for community renewable energy deployment, up to US$52.2m for concentrating solar power (CSP) and almost US$14m for wind energy projects.

Q-Cells hit by weak market development in Q2

Q-Cells has been hit by the continued weak development of the global solar photovoltaics (PV) markets in the second quarter (Q2).

European solar thermal market worth €3bn

According to the latest statistics from the European Solar Thermal Industry Federation (ESTIF), the European solar thermal market is worth €3 billion and provides over 40,000 full time jobs in Europe, where the industry has forged a "clear technological lead in generating solar heating and cooling".

Vestas to supply 75 MW of wind turbines to China

Vestas will supply a total of 75 MW of wind turbines to a large Chinese Independent Power Producer (IPP).

Swedish investment in Volvo’s PowerCell PEM fuel cell unit

Swedish automaker Volvo, through its subsidiary Volvo Technology Transfer, is to receive a total of SEK200 million (US$25m) from the Swedish Energy Agency and two international investors. The joint funding will be in the PEM fuel cell developer PowerCell Sweden AB, based in Gothenburg. PowerCell is developing auxiliary power units utilising PEM fuel cells, for use in trucks.

Rhyl Flats Offshore Wind Farm starts producing power Rhyl Flats Offshore Wind Farm starts producing power

RWE npower renewables' Rhyl Flats Offshore Wind Farm started generating renewable wind energy at the North Wales coast, UK, early July.

US grant programme for utility integration of solar power

The US Department of the Treasury has released guidance documents for the federal cash grant programme for solar electric projects, something the Solar Electric Power Association (SEPA) says it is pleased to hear.

England behind on 2010 renewable energy targets

England is behind on meeting its 2010 target of generating 10% of electricity from renewable sources, according to a report from the British Wind Energy Association (BWEA), ‘England’s Regional Renewable Energy Targets: Progress Report’.

UK to cut emissions by 34% by 2020 – investing £450m in renewable and clean energy

The white paper released on July 15 by the UK Government, The UK Low Carbon Transition Plan, gives details of how the UK will meet the cut in emissions set out in the budget of 34% on 1990 levels by 2020 – and £450 million of investment for renewable and clean energy technologies.

Renewable energy industry – reactions to The UK Low Carbon Transition Plan

The UK renewable energy industry has largely welcomed the UK Government’s launch of The UK Low Carbon Transition Plan pledging a 34% cut in emissions by 2020 and £450 million spending on renewable and clean energy.

North Africa’s deserts could provide 15% of Europe’s electricity North Africa’s deserts could provide 15% of Europe’s electricity

A large number of networked solar thermal power plants in the Middle East and North Africa could produce sufficient renewable power to meet around 15% of Europe’s electricity needs and large parts of the power needs of the producer countries.

Suntech to develop multi-GW solar power projects in China

Crystalline silicon photovoltaic (PV) module manufacturer, Suntech Power Holdings, has entered into a number of strategic agreements to develop 1.8 GW worth of solar power projects in China.

Enfinity will develop 10 MWp solar PV power station in China

Enfinity together with a joint bidding team including China Guangdong Nuclear Power Holding (CGNPC) and LDK Solar, have won the first 10 MWp solar concession project in China.

European Commission: template for national renewable energy roadmaps

The National Renewable Energy Action Plan (NREAP) template, published late June by the European Commission, gives governments a binding framework for drawing up the steps they will take to meet binding national renewable energy targets set out in the 2009 Renewable Energy Directive (Directive 2009/28/EC).

PG&E and NRG Energy collaborate on 92 MW solar thermal power

Pacific Gas and Electric Company (PG&E) has entered into an agreement with Alpine SunTower, LLC, a subsidiary of NRG Energy Inc for 92 megawatts (MW) of renewable, solar thermal power.

Prototype solar powered aircraft unveiled Prototype solar powered aircraft unveiled

The prototype Solar Impulse HB-SIA aircraft was recently unveiled. This carbon composite, solar powered craft is believed to be the first aircraft that will have the capability to be flown both during the day and night without using fossil fuel or emitting any pollutants.

Intermittency of wind power – just a myth?

Three reports published over the last month dismiss the variability of wind as an obstacle to large scale deployment of wind energy, says the British Wind Energy Association (BWEA).

Q-Cells takes over Solibro GmbH

German solar cell producer Q-Cells SE has increased its interest in Solibro GmbH from 67.5% to 100% by acquiring the Swedish joint venture partner Solibro AB.

DoE announces up to US$32m to expand hydropower

The US Department of Energy (DoE) has announced up to US$32 million in Recovery Act funding to modernise the existing hydropower infrastructure in the USA, increase efficiency and reduce environmental impact.

Pickens scraps mega windfarm

T. Boone Pickens is scrapping plans for his 1000 MW windfarm in Pampa, Texas, USA, due to lack of transmission lines, and is instead planning three to four smaller windfarms.

Solar energy house status on Twitter, the crowd-source based developer of renewable energy technologies, is publishing performance data from theEnergyCrowd's experimental domestic passive solar energy and heat storage system on Twitter.

Off-grid PV back on the map with developing countries

Off-grid solar photovoltaic (PV) power has taken a back-seat in talk about solar power in recent years despite once holding 90% of the total installed capacity worldwide. However, as the thirst for energy increases in regions like Africa, Asia or Latin America, off-grid solar PV energy is experiencing a come-back.

SeaGen tidal power system gets ROCs accreditation

UK-based Marine Current Turbine’s SeaGen tidal power system has been accredited by the UK energy regulator OFGEM for Renewable Energy Certificates (ROCs) meaning SeaGen will receive payment for the power it is generating.

European governments help Egypt to build Zafarana windfarm European governments help Egypt to build Zafarana windfarm

The Danish, German and Spanish governments have helped Egypt set up the 360 MW Zafarana windfarm near the Gulf of Suez.

WWEA predicts 25% wind energy growth in 2009 WWEA predicts 25% wind energy growth in 2009

The World Wind Energy Association (WWEA) has published an updated forecast for worldwide wind installations in the year 2009 predicting a 25% growth in wind energy.

USA and South Korea cooperate on Smart Grid

The US smart grid organisation GridWise® Alliance and the Korea Smart Grid Association (KGSA) will share best practices regarding modernisation of the electric system, strengthening the organisations’ ability to help make Smart Grid a reality in their respective countries.

DuPont and DoE plan US$9m solar research programme DuPont and DoE plan US$9m solar research programme

DuPont and the US Department of Energy (DoE) have announced plans for a US$9 million solar research programme, in line with DuPont’s aim to provide more mainstream solar photovoltaic (PV) products for commercial and residential applications.

Nordex wins 90 MW wind turbine contract for Turkey Nordex wins 90 MW wind turbine contract for Turkey

German wind turbine manufacturer Nordex has won a 80 MW contract to supply turbines for a wind farm in Turkey.

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Renewable energy and financial leaders share perspectives on industry growth potential

The core message coming out of the REFF-Wall Street conference session was a call for the US Government to clarify the parameters of the Department of Energy’s grant and loan programs, in order to free up private capital and stimulate the flow of financing in the industry.

REEEP develops innovative financing for the developing world

The Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency Partnership (REEEP) has provided €667,500 in seed funding for 8 new finance projects to accelerate the clean energy market in the developing world.

Tessera Solar expands into Texas with CSP

NTR’s solar project development company, Tessera Solar North America, has signed a 20-year Power Purchase Agreement (PPA) with CPS Energy to develop a 27MW solar project in West Texas, USA.

The US House approves the Waxman-Markey American Clean Energy and Security Act (H.R. 2454) legislation.

Some – most notably Al Gore - are hailing the decision as the most important legislation Congress will ever pass. It sees the US pledging to cut emissions by 17% (below 2005 levels) by 2020, and 83% by 2050.

Google launches "PowerMeter"

Google presented its new venture at the Next Generation Utilities Summit - visited by over 50 European Utility leaders.

REpower and Valorem agree to supply 21 wind turbines to France

The REpower MM92 wind power plants, each with a rated power of 2.05 megawatts (MW) and a hub height of 80 metres, are intended for five wind farms projects in the Vendée and Loire Atlantique regions in the West of France.

VC investment in green technologies "rebounds" with US$1.2 billion in Q2 2009

Greentech Media Inc., the online media company covering green technology news and analysis, has released the most recent quarterly data showing that venture capital (VC) investment in green technologies totalled US$1.2 bn in 85 deals in the second quarter of 2009.

Wells Fargo and SunPower Corp to partner on SunPower commercial-scale solar systems.

A new collaborative effort will result in funding of up to US$100 million in SunPower commercial-scale solar systems.

June's top 5 stories

What were the top 5 stories at during June?