Solar Light Flashes: 24th EU PVSEC Edition

Select Photovoltaic News Tidbits from the 24th European Photovoltaic Solar Energy Conference and Exhibition.

It’s been like forever (1 year, 8 months, 10 days) since my last Solar Light Flashes. I’ve always planned to resurrect the haphazard post. Twitter delayed the return but sometimes 140 characters are insufficient.

From 24th EU PVSEC

centrotherm photovoltaics AG (ETR:CTN)

Only the Photovoltaic (PV) Industry plasters roadmaps or manufacturing costs on exhibition stand signage. The last official centrotherm CIGS (copper indium gallium diselenide) news was “Success in the thin film division: centrotherm photovoltaics achieves 13 percent efficiency for mass production”. Tom Cheyney chatted with centrotherm in “EU PVSEC short takes: Talking CIGS turnkey, eyeballing a Nanosolar panel, and more” at PV-tech.org.

I wonder what the latest is on Sunshine PV Corp.’s installation and ramp of a 30 MW (MegaWatt) centrotherm CIGS production line?

From 24th EU PVSEC

German Renewable Energy Sources Act (EEG) 2009: Direct Use

Cornelia Viertl, Senior Advisor for Solar Energy and Geothermal Energy at the German Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation and Nuclear Safety, presented the “Political Framework for the PV market in Germany” at EU PVSEC. The slide on Direct Use shown above attracted my attention.

The EEG Direct Use provision has been painted by a few US Feed-in Tariff (FiT) naysayers as a German step towards California style Performance Based Incentives or even net metering. In reality, the Special tariff option =pays= the consumer €0.2501 per kWh (kiloWatt-hour) for each kWh of electricity consumed over a 20 year period! The Direct Use tariff is in effect a Feed-in Tariff minus a flat residential electricity rate. In practice, a German residential PV installation selecting the Direct Use option can achieve a zero Euro electric bill with less than half the PV system capacity required under California net metering rules.

As I tweeted back then, the silliest thing I heard at Intersolar NA 2009 was said by Prometheus Institute President Travis Bradford during his “State of the Solar Industry” presentation. Mr. Bradford said:

A lot of people that are promoting Feed-in Tariffs in the United States um just know at the same time Germany is trying to move to a California based model. So how are you going to reconcile that?

With German PV Feed-in Tariffs under pressure because of the steep fall in solar module prices and the new conservative CDU FDP coalition government, I expect FiT detractors will disinform during Solar Power International 2009 at every opportunity.

From 24th EU PVSEC

Fraunhofer ISE (Institute for Solar Energy Systems)

At the Fraunhofer ISE stand, a FLATCON® Module with Reflective Secondary Optics was on display hinting at the possible future direction of Concentrix Solar GmbH. Still under development, the modules with reflective secondary optics were said to have achieved efficiencies as high as 29.1% outdoors without citing further details.

From 24th EU PVSEC

Global Solar Energy, Inc.

Is something wrong at Global Solar? When I had an unpleasant question for them, I discovered Global Solar had dropped the PR firm listed on their website, and I never got a response from the company. Global Solar has been mum (perhaps by contract?) throughout The Dow Chemical Company (NYSE:DOW) CIGS solar shingle hoopla, “DOW™ POWERHOUSE™ Solar Shingle Unveiled”, or please see “Dow Unveils Solar Shingles” by Todd Woody for the New York Times Green Inc. Blog. So what happens if a nail is hammered through a CIGS cell by accident?

From 24th EU PVSEC

KCC Polysilicon

After achieving 150 MT (Metric Ton) polysilicon pilot production in 2008, KCC Corporation (SEO:002380) claims to be on schedule to complete the construction of two (2) polysilicon factories with 3000 MT annual capacity each by the end of 2009. One is fully owned by KCC while the second is a joint venture (JV) between KCC and Hyundai Heavy Industries Co., Ltd. (SEO:009540) called Korean Advanced Material (KAM). Phase I mass production is slated to ramp at both factories in the first to second quarter of 2010. KCC will produce the TCS (Trichlorosilane) used for polysilicon production.

From 24th EU PVSEC

Q-Cells SE (ETR:QCE)

Q-Cells CEO Anton Milner made quite the EU PVSEC entrance when he arrived in the solar taxi. OK, I did not witness nor believe that happened, but the concept was made possible by a Q-Cells’ community initiative.

From 24th EU PVSEC

RTS Corporation

RTS Corporation President Osamu IKKI presented “PV market of Japan: Rising again with the new support framework”. As the above slide shows, RTS projects the Japanese PV market will grow to 400-500 MW in 2009 and 1.0-1.2 GW by 2012. In the near term, residential and municipal (schools) PV applications dominate. Japanese utilities have announced Distributed Generation PV projects from 1.5 MW to 18 MW in size slated for completion over the next few years.

From 24th EU PVSEC

Schmid Group

When I saw the sign, I just had to take a few photos at the Schmid stand without any particular agenda.

From 24th EU PVSEC

Schmid Silicon Technology GmbH (SST)

Since Schmid Pilot Production Topping Out, “Installation of first equipment has started” (Deutsch) was the news somewhere around September 14, 2009. Per SST, potential customers are waiting for the successful completion of pilot production to prove the Schmid Process.

From 24th EU PVSEC

Skyline Solar, Inc.

Skyline Solar had a stand at EU PVSEC (and will have one at Solar Power International 2009 also known as SPI 09). Why? Exactly. Don’t they need to get their modules certified before their solution has any hope of being bankable?

Judging by the participation of Skyline Solar VP of Marketing Tim Keating in the SPI 09 panel, “Shifting from Installed Costs to Performance Costs: Why $/W is No Longer Relevant to the End Market”, on Tuesday, Oct 27, 2009, from 11:00AM to 12:30PM, accelerating PV’s path to grid parity with High Gain Solar (HGS) lies through price and cost obfuscation.

From 24th EU PVSEC

SolarEdge Technologies Inc.

At EU PVSEC, I learned SolarEdge has some 25 MW (MegaWatts) of backlog with production at about 200 kW (kiloWatts) per week. Since Close to the SolarEdge, SolarEdge has racked up awards (Global Cleantech 100, Frost & Sullivan), partners (HaWi, Isofotón), and investors. I expect further big news around SPI 09 though SolarEdge is forgoing their trademark exhibition edge location for central stand 2438.

From 24th EU PVSEC

Sony Chemicals Europe B.V.

When I saw the SONY stand, I thought it might be for solar modules or a PV powered PSP (PlayStation Portable). Sony Chemical & Information Device Corporation was promoting photovoltaic module materials through its European subsidiary, Sony Chemicals Europe B.V.

Products included a Solar Cell Conductive Film SP102F1 used as a connecting material between metal ribbons and solar cells in crystalline silicon and thin film PV modules and a tentative datasheet for an Encapsulant with backsheet.

From 24th EU PVSEC

Tigo Energy

I met with Tigo just before their announcement on gaining UL compliance, Tigo Energy Achieves Compliance/Certification Landmark”. Tigo also announced the Module Maximizer-ES (MM-ES), perfect for string retrofit installations, had a $56 MSRP (Manufacturer’s Suggested Retail Price). Tigo mentioned the Module Maximizer solution is seeing traction in retrofit applications in Spain and even in Germany with an unnamed commercial sized PV system. Tigo was also awarded the Global Cleantech 100 honor like a competitor mentioned above. Perhaps the tie I declared in Intersolar 2009: My Photovoltaic Top 10 List was prescient?

Is Tigo’s $56 MSRP kryptonite to SolarMagic priced at $199 each and requiring the one $79 blocking diode per string?

From 24th EU PVSEC

Tyco Electronics Ltd. (NYSE:TEL)

Tyco earns my creative promotion award by joining twitter (http://twitter.com/TycoElectronics) and offering a “Twitter Goodie” to those visiting the Tyco stand and uttering the phrase. Now I didn’t know about the chance to win a SOLARLOK Service Kit by dropping off a business card.

From 24th EU PVSEC

And that completes a rather wordy Solar Light Flashes. The End.

2 comments

  1. Alex Moeller says:

    Yes, despite them frequently denying in the past Concentrix does urgently need a secondary provided their present acceptance angle is very low, seems that 0.3º only. This secondary introduction if not done very well, will mean lower optical efficiency so early claims of higher module efficiencies should be handled with care.

    LCOE price/cost obfuscation, as you say, is a common pastime of CPV developers and all that CPV Consortium is about.

    BTW Ed, any news about Solfocus many MWs in Greece…or anywhere else??

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