Tag Archives: photovoltaic

energy supply - AZ Business Magazine May/June 2012

First Solar Builds Highest Efficiency Thin Film PV Cell

First Solar, Inc. (Nasdaq: FSLR) today announced it has set a world record for cadmium-telluride (CdTe) photovoltaic (PV) research cell conversion efficiency, achieving 21.0 percent efficiency certified at the Newport Corporation’s Technology and Applications Center (TAC) PV Lab. The record-setting cell was constructed at the company’s Perrysburg, Ohio manufacturing factory and Research & Development Center, using processes and materials designed for commercial-scale manufacturing.

The record has been documented in the U.S. Department of Energy’s National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) “Best Research Cell Efficiencies” reference chart.

This certified result bests the previous CdTe record of 20.4 percent conversion efficiency, which was set by First Solar in February of 2014, and represents the seventh substantial update to CdTe record efficiency since 2011. The achievement also places First Solar’s CdTe research cell efficiency above copper indium gallium diselenide based solar cells (CIGS) at 20.9 percent, and well above multicrystalline silicon (mSi), which peaked at 20.4 percent in 2004.

“We have just begun to reveal the true unrealized potential of CdTe PV,” said Raffi Garabedian, First Solar’s Chief Technology Officer. “Our Advanced Research team continues to deliver extraordinary results by creating practical devices capable of commercial scale production. Not only have we have now demonstrated the highest single junction thin film cell on record, but just as important, our record cells are based on the same scalable manufacturing processes and commodity materials that we have proven through years of volume production.”

Garabedian noted that while competing technologies are using increasingly costly materials and cell processes in order to deliver moderate performance gains, First Solar is establishing a rapid path to industry-leading energy densities, while simultaneously improving manufacturing metrics.

“Our significant investment in development of CdTe thin-film technology has enabled a rapid rate of improvement and gives us tremendous confidence in the future,” said Markus Gloeckler, First Solar Vice President for Advanced Research. “We have made outstanding improvements in all aspects of our thin-film solar cells and are aggressively pursuing the commercialization of these advanced technologies in our product.”

At an analyst briefing last March, First Solar presented a technology roadmap anticipating a 22 percent research cell efficiency milestone in 2015. Today’s announcement indicates First Solar is steadily tracking to achieve that goal ahead of schedule.

First Solar has continued to transfer its success in the R&D lab into its commercially produced modules, increasing its average production module efficiency to 14.0 percent in the second quarter of 2014, up 0.5 percent from the first quarter of the year, and up 0.7 percent from FY2013. The company’s lead line was producing modules with 14.1 percent average efficiency at the end of the second quarter of 2014.

energy supply - AZ Business Magazine May/June 2012

First Solar Sets World Record for CdTe Solar Cell Efficiency

Tempe-based First Solar, Inc. announced it has set a world record for cadmium-telluride (CdTe) photovoltaic (PV) solar cell conversion efficiency, achieving 20.4 percent conversion efficiency certified at the Newport Corporation’s Technology and Applications Center (TAC) PV Lab and confirmed by the U.S. Department of Energy’s National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL). The record-setting cell was constructed at the company’s Perrysburg, Ohio factory and Research & Development Center.

This certified result bests the previous record of 19.6 percent conversion efficiency set by GE Global Research in 2013. Last April, First Solar and GE announced a solar technology partnership in which First Solar acquired GE’s CdTe solar intellectual property and secured a collaborative research partnership with GE’s R&D team. The partnership was formed to accelerate innovation in PV technology and accelerate solar module performance at manufacturing scale.

“This record marks another achievement in our mission to unlock the industry-changing potential of CdTe PV,” said Raffi Garabedian, First Solar’s Chief Technology Officer. “We are demonstrating improvement in CdTe PV performance at a rate that dramatically outstrips the trajectory of conventional silicon technologies, which have already plateaued near their ultimate entitlements. The synergy realized in our partnership with GE also demonstrates the value of our consistent and strong investment in R&D. The advanced technologies and processes we developed for this record-setting cell are already being commercialized and will positively impact performance of our future production modules and power plants.”

First Solar’s new CdTe research cell conversion efficiency matches the research cell efficiency record of multicrystalline silicon, another technology used in the PV solar market.

First Solar has continued to transfer its success in the R&D lab into its commercial modules, increasing its average production module efficiency to 13.4 percent in the fourth quarter of 2013, up 0.6 percent from 12.9 percent in the fourth quarter of 2012. The company’s lead line was producing modules with 13.9 percent average efficiency at the end of 2013.

solar.plant

Mesquite Solar facility ready for business

Arizona Secretary of State Ken Bennett, Maricopa County Supervisor Mary Rose Wilcox and Buckeye Mayor Jackie Meck today joined Sempra U.S. Gas & Power officials and community leaders to dedicate the 150-megawatt (MW) first phase of Sempra U.S. Gas & Power’s Mesquite Solar facility.

Located in Arlington, Ariz., about 40 miles west of Phoenix, Mesquite Solar 1 is part of Sempra U.S. Gas & Power’s massive 4,000-acre Mesquite Solar complex, with the potential to build out up to 700 MW of capacity. The Mesquite Solar Complex is well-positioned to be North America’s largest photovoltaic (PV) solar power installation.

“Mesquite Solar 1 represents a major step forward for the state of Arizona as we continue down the path toward our goal of establishing ourselves as the nation’s leader

in solar generation,” said Bennett.  “Sempra U.S. Gas and Power has demonstrated

remarkable leadership with this project, and we look to continue working together to fully build-out the Mesquite Solar Complex.”

“This is a shining moment for the state of Arizona as it continues to establish itself as a renewable energy leader,” said Kevin C. Sagara, vice president of renewables for Sempra U.S. Gas & Power. “There is so much to be proud of here.  Our project would not have been possible without all the tremendous support we received at the federal, state and local level.”

Construction on Mesquite Solar 1 began in June 2011.  The solar project provided a boost to the local economy by creating more than 500 local construction jobs at peak along with 10 long-term positions. The landmark solar plant was completed in December 2012 and now generates enough emission-free electricity for about 56,000 homes.

The renewable power from Mesquite Solar 1 is sold to Pacific Gas & Electric under a 20-year contract.

Completion of Mesquite Solar 1 brings Sempra U.S. Gas & Power’s operating solar portfolio up to 300 MW. The company has another 308 MW under construction at its Copper Mountain Solar 2 and Copper Mountain Solar 3 facilities in Boulder City, Nev.

Sempra U.S. Gas & Power, LLC is a leading developer of renewable energy and natural gas solutions.  The company operates solar, wind and natural gas power plants that generate enough electricity for nearly 1 million homes, along with natural gas storage, pipelines and distribution utilities. The company is a subsidiary of Sempra Energy (NYSE: SRE), a Fortune 500 energy services holding company with 2012 revenues of approximately $10 billion.  The Sempra Energy companies’ nearly 17,000 employees serve more than 31 million consumers worldwide.  For more information, visit www.SempraUSGP.com.

solon wins intersolar award

SOLON Rooftop System Wins Intersolar AWARD

SOLON Corporation, one of the largest providers of turnkey solar power plants and photovoltaic (PV) products in the U.S., announced it has been selected as the winner of the prestigious Intersolar AWARD 2012 in the Photovoltaic category, recognizing SOLON’s patent pending SOLquickTM commercial rooftop system as one of the most pioneering technologies and innovations of 2012.

The SOLquick system, a versatile new plug-and-play commercial rooftop solution, successfully integrates a frameless module and racking into a unitary product to bring tremendous cost savings, simplicity and design value far above standard module installation practices.

Developed to reduce overall system cost by targeting installation labor, the SOLquick system is designed to ship directly to the work site, fully assembled with no staging or tools required. The product can be installed in 10 units per man hour and initial SOLquick flat roof installation has proven to reduce mechanical installation time by over 85 percent and electrical installation time by 50 percent.

Featuring Fibrex material from Andersen Corporation, an innovative wood and thermoplastic composite material for the racking, the SOLquick system is significantly lighter than traditional roof-mounted systems, at 2.8psf (80lbs). In addition, the system requires no additional ground wire, which further minimizes labor and cost.

“It is an honor to be recognized by our peers as an innovation leader in the solar industry”, said Daniel Alcombright, SOLON Corporation’s President and CEO. “Winning the Intersolar AWARD for the SOLquick system highlights the importance of developing innovative products to attack overall system and installation efficiencies and costs, saving both time and money and allowing installers to increase the number of installations in their portfolio.”

The industry-renowned Intersolar AWARD is given out annually by an independent panel of judges in the award categories of photovoltaics, solar thermal technologies and PV production technologies (in cooperation with SEMI PV Group). Over 3,500 exhibitors from Intersolar Europe, Intersolar North America, Intersolar India and Intersolar China are all eligible to compete for the Intersolar AWARD. Nominees are judged on their innovation compared to other products currently on the market as well as their technological and economic benefits and their contribution to the industry, environment and society.

For more information on SOLON Corporation and the Intersolar AWARD, visit SOLON Corporation’s website at solon.com/us.

Taliesin West

Successfully Energized Solar Power System To Sustain Taliesin West

Desert masterpiece Taliesin West is pursuing the dreams of a mastermind. With a mission to honor its founder, The Frank Lloyd Wright Foundation inaugurated a new 250 kw solar photovoltaic (PV) power system donated by First Solar, which will help power the 75-year-old Taliesin West campus.

Energy efficiency consultant Big Green Zero has also joined forces with the foundation to turn Frank Lloyd Wright’s imagination into a manifestation.

“We are excited to have partnered with Big Green Zero and First Solar to complete the first phase of Energizing Taliesin West and are on track to making a world-famous National Historic Landmark site entirely self-sustaining,” said Sean Malone, CEO of the Frank Lloyd Wright Foundation.

An architectural game changer of the 20th century, Frank Lloyd Wright left behind a legacy of sustainability that sparked the interest to revamp Taliesin West’s campus.

“As we continue to move forward with this endeavor we remain consistent with the values of Taliesin West and advancing the Foundation’s mission to preserve and expand the heritage of Frank Lloyd Wright,” Malone said.

The commissioning marks the successful completion of the first phase of the Energizing Taliesin West initiative, a pioneering effort to transform the entire National Historic Landmark Taliesin West site into a net-zero energy customer, producing as much energy as it consumes annually.

An energy audit conducted by Big Green Zero found that Taliesin West’s nearly $200,000 energy bill could be eliminated through improving its lighting, insulation and climate controls and also generating renewable on-site energy, which is the focus of the comprehensive project.

Many local companies have donated materials and labor to make the project possible. Tempe-based First Solar designed the system and donated approximately 4,000 of its advanced thin-film solar panels as well as Engineering, Procurement and Construction (EPC) services.

Power-One donated an Aurora PVI-Central-250 kw inverter and the associated performance-monitoring equipment for the project, and Klondyke Construction donated electrical construction services.

Other local companies that contributed include Buesing Corp. (structural post installation), OMCO Solar (panel mounting structural materials), CLP Resources (structural and modular installation labor), Rummel Construction (site grading), Rapid (electrical equipment), Syntech (surveying), and Oldcastle (precast inverter pad). Other donors included Highway Safety Corp. (structural steel posts) and Olson Motor and Control Co. (electrical equipment).

The entire solar power system is engineered to provide maximum renewable energy with minimal impact. The ground-mounted First Solar PV system is expected to generate more than 500 megawatt-hours per year of emission-free electricity with no water or waste, displacing more than 300 tons of carbon dioxide annually, the equivalent of taking more than 50 cars off the road.

“We are very proud to be a part of this historic landmark, and we are confident the integration of clean solar power into Taliesin West will help advance the legacy of Frank Lloyd Wright and educate visitors from around the world about renewable energy,” said Jim Lamon, First Solar’s Senior Vice President of Engineering, Procurement and Construction and Operations and Maintenance.

Native cacti and other plant species, which were removed during construction, will be transplanted throughout the project site. Visible portions of the mounting system have been painted for blending into the desert environment. In addition, the solar modules at the site are covered by First Solar’s industry-leading, prefunded module and recycling program, under which the company will collect and recycle its modules at no additional charge.

“In the pursuit of energy efficiency, this is just the beginning,” said Bob Roth, CEO of Big Green Zero. “Our goal is to make Frank Lloyd Wright’s Taliesin West a Big Green Zero.”

Arizona Solar Center, Solar Lecture Series and Building Tour

Arizona Solar Center Hosts Solar Lecture Series

Making your home energy efficient and sustainable will help the environment and your pocketbook in the long run. But, knowing how and where to begin can be a daunting task with the different types of green technology. You may ask, what is the difference between passive solar and active solar? Should I build or remodel with earthen plaster or straw bales? How much can I save by using these sustainable adaptations in my home? To help you out, the Arizona Solar Center is hosting a solar lecture series on home improvement that is free and open to the public.

These questions will be answered during the Arizona Solar Center’s Solar Lecture Series: Solar and Sustainability on October 20 and the Solar and Sustainable Buildings Tours October 22 & 23.

Arizona Solar Center Solar Lecture Series and Building Tour

President of the Arizona Solar Center, Dan Aiello, is excited to have Mick Dalrymple, from the Global Institute of Sustainability at Arizona State University, host the Solar and Sustainability lecture on October 20. Dalrymple will discuss sustainable modifications and renovations that he implemented on his own home, such as the incorporating green building materials, equipment and lighting. Dalrymple’s goal is to attain zero energy dependency, Aiello says.

“[Dalrymple] has a bunch of examples that people can relate to because we all live in something,” Aiello says. “His presentation will be, ‘this is what I did, this is why I did this, and this worked and this didn’t work.’ [The lecture] is something people can come to and take information away on what’s appropriate for the desert, energy efficient and environmentally appropriate.”

The lecture will lead into the Solar and Sustainable Buildings Tours that weekend. The tour’s downloadable guide will be available on the Arizona Solar Center website. The sites on the tour will include:

  • An artist’s studio/residence in Mesa created from recycled materials,
  • The upper part of the loft is constructed from an old Volkswagen bus,
  • Scottsdale homes that include passive/active solar technologies,
  • Water catchment,
  • Straw bale constructions, and
  • Green architecture, as well as homes in Mesa, Chandler and Tempe.

“If we plan our buildings right we get enough sun [in Arizona], even in the winter, to warm our houses,” Aiello says. “We can use the sun to heat water; generate electricity or any number of things.”

[stextbox id="grey" caption="If You Go:"]

Solar Lecture Series: Solar and Sustainability – My Way – with Mick Dalrymple

Thursday, October 20, 2011
7 p.m. – 8:30 p.m.

2011 Valley of the Sun – Tour of Solar and Sustainable Buildings

Saturday & Sunday, October 22 & 23, 2011
8 a.m.

Location:
City of Scottsdale Granite Reef Facility
Granite Reef Rd., just north of the intersection of Granite Reef and McDowell roads

Free and open to the public.

[/stextbox]

Check out the Arizona Solar Center events calendar for more information on the upcoming solar lecture series and solar tour as well as other events.