Photovoltaics (PV) News for December 2011

Photovoltaics (PV) News Archive

European solar PV labs offer free access to R&D teams

Leading European solar photovoltaic (PV) laboratories are offering free access to R&D teams using funding from the European Commission.

SunPower acquires Tenesol SA

SunPower Corp has signed a definitive agreement to acquire French solar provider Tenesol SA, which is owned by Total SA, for US$165.4 million.

Top 5 favourite content 2011

Which content on our website had the most number of hits during 2011?

Solar PV catchup: a perspective from 2011

Missed our 2011 roundup of PV industry insight? Access it quickly here...

Brian Robertson dies in plane crash

The CEO of Amonix, which is based in Seal Beach, CA, passed away in a plane crash in York County, Pennsylvania on 22 December 2011.

Solar Millennium files for insolvency

The move follows difficult negotiations and delays as the company attempts to sell of its U.S. projects, including the 1GW Blythe development in California.

UK High Court rules in favour of solar industry over feed-in tariff cuts UK High Court rules in favour of solar industry over feed-in tariff cuts

A solar industry campaign to slow down Government-planned cuts to solar subsidies in the UK has won a significant legal victory, as the High Court ruled that the Government’s programme of cuts under the feed-in tariff were “legally flawed”.

BP exits solar business

According to media reports, the company is finding it tough to "make money" from solar.

Conergy to sell PV inverter subsidiary to Bosch

The purchase price of voltwerk electronics is being kept confidential "by mutual agreement".

Soitec invests US$150 m in U.S. facility for CPV production

The company has purchased manufacturing premises in Rancho Bernardo, California., from Sony Electronics, to produce CPV modules for the U.S. market.

US solar dispute: war of words continues

Pointing to "damage to America’s burgeoning solar industry that high tariffs on solar cells and panels imported from China could cause", the Coalition for Affordable Solar Energy (CASE) has urged SolarWorld, a German solar cell manufacturer, to withdraw its petition to the International Trade Commission (ITC) and Department of Commerce.

Oerlikon claims new industry record for next gen ThinFab

The company is reporting that Capital Expenditure (Capex) for its end-to-end process has been reduced by 20%, with manufacturing costs at US$0.50/Wp (EUR 0.35/Wp) with 10% stabilised efficiency.

Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao to attend WFES 2012

The 5th annual World Future Energy Summit (WFES) will be held in Abu Dhabi, UAE, from 16-19 January at the Abu Dhabi National Exhibition Centre.

ESA Renewables constructs 1.3 MW rooftop solar in New Bern, NC, USA

ESA Renewables (ESA) has begun construction on a 1.3 MW commercial rooftop solar photovoltaic (PV) project in the city of New Bern in Craven County, North Carolina.

High Court allows challenge over UK solar subsidy cuts

The UK High Court has given permission to Friends of the Earth and the solar companies Solarcentury and HomeSun, to challenge Government plans to slash subsidies for solar electricity in the UK.

Long-term silane supply agreement between Dow and Air Products

Dow Corning and Air Products has entered into a long-term supply agreement for electronic-grade silane for electronics and solar photovoltaics (PV).

SCHOTT Solar reaches 18% efficiency with copper solar cells

SCHOTT Solar AG has achieved an 18% efficiency with a solar cell metalised with copper developed under the research project Las VeGaS.

Rockford Solar builds 20 MW solar array at Chicago airport

Rockford Solar Partners, LLC, a joint venture between Wanxiang America and New Generation Power, has received approval for a 20 MW solar array at the Chicago Rockford International Airport.

First Solar sells 550 MW Topaz Solar farm to MidAmerican

MidAmerican Energy Holdings Company has entered into definitive agreements to acquire the 550 MW Topaz Solar Farm in California, USA, from First Solar Inc.

Oerlikon and CRES cooperate on thin-film solar in China

Oerlikon Solar has entered into a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the International Cooperation Centre for China Renewable Energy Society (CRES) for thin-film solar technology in China.

US solar installations grow 140%

The US solar energy industry saw a record 140% growth in installations in the third quarter (Q3) of 2011, compared to Q3 2010, thanks to utility-scale project completions, a strong residential market, effective policies and the plummeting price of solar panels.

Kaneka and imec develop silver-free heterojunction silicon solar cell

Kaneka has developed a high-efficiency silver-free heterojunction silicon solar cell in collaboration with Belgium's imec.

JCM Capital and Hay Solar build 30 MW of solar in Ontario

JCM Capital has signed an agreement with Hay Solar Holdings ULC to provide development, construction, and long-term equity financing for a 30 MW portfolio of modular 100 kW farm building solar installations located throughout the Province of Ontario, Canada.

Germany blamed for falling solar PV inverter revenues Germany blamed for falling solar PV inverter revenues

The solar photovoltaic (PV) inverter market declined once again in the third quarter (Q3) 2011 with industry revenues in Euros falling by over 20% year-on-year according to IMS Research.

MEMC cuts 20% of workforce

MEMC Electronic Materials Inc will reduce its workforce by 1300 – or 20% – in response to difficult market conditions in the solar and semiconductor sectors.

North American solar PV market to double in Q4’11

The North American solar photovoltaic (PV) market is set to double in the fourth quarter (Q4) of 2011 compared to the same period last year, despite policy uncertainty, according to NPD Solarbuzz.

Germany installs millionth solar power system

Germany has installed its 1 millionth solar photovoltaic (PV) connected to the power grid, says the German Solar Industry Association (BSW-Solar).

Oerlikon reduces thin-film module cost by 5%

Oerlikon says it will be able to reduce the production cost of its Micromorph thin-film silicon solar photovoltaic (PV) modules by 5% from the end of 2012.

High Court application against UK solar incentive cuts

The UK High Court has agreed to hear applications by Friends of the Earth and solar companies Solarcentury and HomeSun for permission to challenge Government plans to slash financial incentives for solar electricity on Thursday 15 December 2011.

NextEnergy establishes €400m fund for African renewable energy

NextEnergy Capital has begun fundraising for ix:Africa, a €400 million private equity impact fund dedicated to ethical investment in renewable energy, environmental business and clean technology projects in Africa.

Suntech appoints Pawel Nowotny as Director of Marketing

Suntech Power Holdings Co Ltd has appointed Pawel Nowotny to head Suntech’s European Marketing team.

US Trade Commission backs solar companies in Chinese dumping case

The United States International Trade Commission (USITC) believes there is a “reasonable indication” that US solar companies face unfair competition from Chinese silicon solar photovoltaic (PV) manufacturers.

CIGS thin-film sets 17.4% efficiency record

Q-Cell's subsidiary, Solibro GmbH, has achieved a 17.4% efficiency with its solar thin-film CIGS module.

Chinese solar PV to surpass US and Japan in 2011 Chinese solar PV to surpass US and Japan in 2011

The Asia Pacific solar photovoltaic (PV) market is forecast to grow 39% quarter-on-quarter and 130% year-on-year in Q4’11 with fourth quarter installations reaching over 2 GW, according to NPD Solarbuzz.

Evergreen Solar assets sold to Chinese company

Following its bankruptcy earlier this year, Evergreen Solar Inc has sold its core assets to China Private Equity Investment Holdings Inc for US$6 million in cash and 7.57m shares in CPEIH.

Growing nanowires on solar cells increases performance

A research team at the University of Illinois has found a way to integrate compound semiconductor nanowires on silicon wafers, potentially enhancing performance and reducing the cost of solar photovoltaic (PV) cells.

Solar powered soup at Campbell

Campbell Soup Company has entered into a power purchase agreement (PPA) and land lease agreement (LLA) with American Capital Energy (ACE) for a 2.3 MW solar photovoltaic (PV) ground mount tracker system on 14 acres of the company's facility in Sacramento, CA, USA.

SolarCity to build US$1bn worth of solar

SolarCity and Bank of America Merrill Lynch have agreed to terms on financing for SolarStrong, SolarCity’s five-year plan to build more than US$1 billion worth of solar power projects for privatised US military housing communities across the country.

UK's Renewable Heat Incentive opens for applications

The UK’s Renewable Heat Incentive (RHI) has now opened to applicants, providing payments for heat generated from renewable technologies including biomass boilers, solar thermal equipment and heat pumps installed since 15 July 2009.

Soitec CPV plant at COP17 climate talks

Soitec has built a Concentrating Photovoltaic (CPV) power plant near Durban, South Africa, as a “flagship project” for the 17th annual Conference of the Parties (COP17) to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), being held during 28 November to 9 December.

ANTARIS solar modules survive 6 months in pigsty ANTARIS solar modules survive 6 months in pigsty

ANTARIS SOLAR's monocrystalline solar photovoltaic (PV) modules, ANTARIS ASM 180 and ASM 185, have had their ammonia resistance tested under realistic conditions – spending 6 months in a pigsty.

Friends of the Earth says UK solar cuts are “illegal”

In response to the solar industry's lobby of the UK Parliament over Government plans to cut solar subsidies, organised by Cut Don't Kill, Friends of the Earth says the plans to downsize the solar feed-in tariff are “illegal”.

SolarWorld powers rooftop solar plant in Africa

Coinciding with the world climate summit in Durban, South Africa, SolarWorld AG is drawing attention to the global importance of solar power with milestone projects in four continents, including what could be the largest rooftop solar plant in Africa.