Solar Light Flashes: SPI 2011 Edition

Select Photovoltaic News Tidbits from Solar Power International 2011 (SPI11).

Well, it has been just over two (2) years since the last Solar Light Flashes post. First, here is a Picasa slideshow from the SPI11 Exhibition.


From Solar Light Flashes: SPI11 Edition

Sharp Corporation (TYO:6753)

In addition to the visible launch of the AC SunSnap Solution System and frameless, glass-on-glass thin film silicon (PV) modules at the booth, Sharp Electronics Corporation’s Solar Energy Solutions Group discussed an ETF (Extended Terms Financing) program to enable solar customers to grow their businesses faster. The program ideally targets 5 MW (MegaWatt) and larger projects but a lite ETF version addresses projects smaller than 500 kW (kiloWatt). Leveraging Sharp’s balance sheet, the ETF program assists projects with offtakers by in effect providing a construction loan for components while reducing the risk profile and lowering transaction costs.

Sharp Solar is hiring with most jobs located in Camas, Washington USA.


From Solar Light Flashes: SPI11 Edition

SunPower Corporation (NASDAQ:SPWRA)

I got access to the SPI11 Exhibition early Tuesday morning, so I headed straight to the SunPower booth after the Sharp preview was completed to check out the SunPower Concentrated Photovoltaic (CPV) C7 Tracker. The SunPower Insights blog post, “C7 Tracker Rocks Solar Power International Show”, includes photos with the modules under illumination. SunPower told me 100 kW has been deployed thus far at Sandia National Laboratory, Albuquerque, New Mexico USA, building on the initial deployment covered in Low Concentration PhotoVoltaic System, SunPower style. Eight (8) months of performance data has been collected for the completed system, validating the performance modeling.

Here is the SunPower C7 Tracker datasheet for as long as the link lasts. The basic C7 tracker has a peak power rating of 14.7 kWp (kiloWatt-peak) using 108 modules rated at 136 Wp (Watt-peak). From the tracker dimensions drawing, it appears eighteen (18) of the nineteen (19) cross strut sections are populated with modules (6 modules x 18 sections = 108) so perhaps the southern most section is unpopulated differing from the EU PVSEC paper which mentioned a half sized blade or module. Though I got a different answer at first, SunPower said they are now pursuing commercial projects for the C7 Tracker.



From Solar Light Flashes: SPI11 Edition

Q-Cells SE (ETR:QCE)

Per “PG&E Plan(t)s New Solar Farms in Central Valley”, Q-Cells trumpeted their selection by PG&E Corporation (NYSE:PCG) to construct two solar plants totaling 30 MW, 10 MW and 20 MW, under 2012’s Year 2 of the UOG (Utility-Owned Generation) program in Fresno County, California USA. Q-Cells authored a white paper, “PREDICTABILITY: The Next Step For Power Plant Owners to Realize a Positive Return On Their Solar Energy Investment” (downloadable here) describing the utility solar plant performance gap, and Q-Cells approach to providing predictable, linear and guaranteed plant performance.

Q-Cells told me the final 10 MW AC Starwood SSM3 phase will be completed for Starwood Energy Group Global, LLC, by 1Q2012 in Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario, Canada.

With spot and overhead lights, it is impossible to take decent module photos at an exhibition as seen above with the 235 to 255 Wp (Watt-peak) monocrystalline Q.PEAK BLK module nicknamed “THE BEAU”.


From Solar Light Flashes: SPI11 Edition


With “Soitec launches fifth generation of concentrator photovoltaic systems designed for large-scale solar power plants”, each tracker now has rated power of 28 kWp from 100 square meters or twelve (12) Concentrix CX-M500 modules. The Concentrix modules have been doubled increased in area just over 22 times versus the prior CX-M400 module to generate about 2.3 kWp each. Soitec has developed a “building block” approach clustering around 48 CPV trackers into a 1.0/1.2 MW AC block coupled with a pair of central inverters to reduce construction and operations and maintenance costs. Soitec is working with an automotive manufacturer to improve the tracker design to lower costs.

Soitec said the site for a 200 MW factory near San Diego, California USA, has been selected, and they are awaiting California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) approval of their CPV contracts with San Diego Gas & Electric (SDG&E), a subsidiary of Sempra Energy (NYSE:SRE), before moving forward. Meanwhile, Soitec has expanded the manufacturing line in Freiburg, Germany, to 50 MW 30 MW annual capacity and has plans to add a second 50 MW 80 MW line.


From Solar Light Flashes: SPI11 Edition

AP Alternatives

AP Alternatives had modular racking solutions on display including an example of the APA GROUND MOUNT (NANO SOLAR) used in the recent 538 kWp Camp Perry Ohio National Guard Base installation in Port Clinton, Ohio. The Nanosolar Utility Panels shown were 200 Wp but with +/- 10% tolerance for rated power in contrast to the +/- 5% tolerance specified in the datasheet though just like the ones at the San José Green Vision Clean Energy Showcase. The Nanosolar ground mount rack has been upgraded by AP Alternatives to three Utility Panels from two and are preloaded before shipment to the PV installation site.

From Solar Light Flashes: SPI11 Edition


From Solar Light Flashes: SPI11 Edition

Energy Conversion Devices, Inc. (NASDAQ:ENER)

Energy Conversion Devices appeared to have the exact same PowerShingle display as SPI10. This will no doubt please one certain ECD Fan.


From Solar Light Flashes: SPI11 Edition


I don’t know why, but Emcore had the failed Soliant rooftop CPV system on display. I thought the concept had died with the $450000 fire sale acquisition of Soliant by Emcore.


From Solar Light Flashes: SPI11 Edition

Gear Solar

I’m not certain, but I believe Gear Solar otherwise known as Greenville Energy & Research, Inc., had the above solar trough on display at SPI11. The only reason I took a photo was because of the No Photos Please sign. In my opinion, anything on the exhibition floor is fair game, and sensitive displays should be in a private area of the booth. I apologize for being so petty at times.

Speaking of which, SPI11 never responded to my question about the official Photography & Video Policy.


  1. ECD Fan says:

    Thanks for the great pictures, as usual! And, yes, it does please that fan, indeed! In fact, it turns out those fake PowerShingles are still not UL fire rated, and thus, they are illegal to sell in the United States. The promised “availability” by mid 2011 has come and gone…

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