Power & Energy Solutions

The premier renewable energy publication

A global supplier of gases and chemicals, Air Products supplies customers in technology, energy, healthcare, and industrial markets. Crucially, it has adapted to serve the PV sector and boasts a massive portfolio of clients worldwide. PES asked Jeff Handelman, General Manager, Photovoltaics, for his global perspective on the industry.PES: PV seems to be developing differently in different regions of the world. What is your outlook for North America?Jeff Handelman: In North America, and especially the US, we are seeing a strong interest in PV, as people continue to investigate alternative energy projects. However, we have not seen the same level of investment as we have in Asia and Europe. I would expect that as credit markets loosen and more of the government stimulus funds make their way into the market; capital investment will pick up. Some recent evidence that points to a strong US market can be seen by the recent announcements by leading crystalline manufacturers about building module assembly facilities. Further upstream manufacturing is sure to follow as the US materialises as a top installation market.As the leading provider of electronic gases and chemicals in the US, Air Products is uniquely positioned to supply the burgeoning US PV industry.

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The EU was marginalised at Copenhagen. As a consequence, the Copenhagen Accord neither conceptually nor substantively reflected the EU's original negotiating position. Joseph Curtin of the IIEA believes that this failure must lead to a re-evaluation of its modus operandi in international negotiations if Europe wishes to match its rhetoric of leadership on climate protection with real influence. After all, the countdown to the Mexico COP in 2011 has already begun

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Applied Materials is a US company that focuses on its 40-year equipment manufacturing competency to unlock cost reductions and accelerate the march towards peak and grid parity. Robert DeLine, Applied's Managing Director of Channel Development, talks PES through the process.PES: Grid parity is the buzz word of 2010. How does your company aid cost competitiveness and how far away do you believe we are from true grid parity?Robert DeLine: Applied Materials has been making the manufacturing equipment that enables industries to scale and lower costs for over 40 years. For the solar industry, our solar PV capital equipment increases the amount of photons that get converted to electrons, maximises a factory's output, and lowers the amount of raw materials needed to manufacture solar panels. All these factors reduce the cost of solar, moving the industry forward to the goal of grid parity. However, we need to rethink this concept of grid parity with the notion of peak parity. This makes sense because peak load which occurs in the afternoon hours when the most electricity is consumed and when it is the most expensive to produce, are the same hours when solar PV is most efficient. During this peak time,

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PES talks exclusively to Adel El Gammal, Secretary General of the European Photovoltaic Industry Association, to hear his views on PV market perspectives and challenges, and how can solar PV become a mainstream energy supplier in Europe by 2020.PES: Welcome. It's good to have the EPIA back in the magazine again, how has the association progressed over the past year?Adel El Gammal: 2009 has been a milestone for EPIA and the PV Industry. In September 2008, on the occasion of the 1st EPIA CEO roundtable during the 24th EU PVSEC in Valencia, the industry unanimously decided to explore the future potential of PV and set ambitious targets. The SET For 2020 study (www.setfor2020.eu) was launched at the very end of 2008 and was carried out throughout June 2009. EPIA led this essential study, performed with the support of the strategic consulting firm A.T. Kearney and based on more than 100 interviews across Europe with the industry, research community, utilities, regulators and policy makers.The study demonstrates that PV could supply up to 12 per cent of the EU electricity demand by 2020, should specific framework conditions be established. A fundamental repositioning of PV on the energy map, transforming it from a

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Canadian Solar Inc. is one of the world's largest solar module producers. In this interview, Gregory Spanoudakis, President of European Operations, shares his thoughts on the company's ever-growing success and the outlook for 2010.PES: Welcome back to PES magazine. What have been the challenges and the successes that your company has faced since we spoke last year?Gregory Spanoudakis: In February this year we announced that five of our solar module series, CS6P- 220P, 225P, 230P, CS5P-240M and CS5A- 180M, rank amongst the highest performing in last month's PV USA (PTC) ratings. PTC ratings are quickly becoming universally accepted standards for measuring real-world module power and performance.The PTC measurement, a mandatory test in the State of California, measures a PV system's power output at atmospheric conditions that closely resemble true solar and climatic variable conditions. A higher PV rating indicates higher actual production on-site per-watt installed, which translates directly into higher rebates for system owners.We also entered into a sales contract with Fire Energy Group in January. Under terms of the contract, shipments started in January, with Canadian Solar expected to supply 60MW of PV modules to Fire Energy in 2010.We announced that we were commencing the site selection and approvals

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Just over 60 years ago, on March 26, 1949, the Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft was founded in the large conference hall of the Bavarian Ministry of the Economy. At the time, the idea was to develop new structures for research after the war's destruction, and to spur reconstruction of the economy. Today, the globally-respected institute analyses current macro trends and identifies fields of research that will play a particularly important role in the future in meeting challenges such as climate change, dwindling resources and preventive healthcare. Solar/PV energy is firmly on the agenda. PES presents an exclusive Fraunhofer research paper.Solar energy has a bright future. It is renewable, available in unlimited quantities and produces no environmentally hazardous gases. Its only drawback right now is the price. But thanks to new production technologies, even that may be about to change.Cell phones, computers, MP3 players, kitchen stoves and irons all have one thing in common - the need for electricity. In the future we will also see increasing numbers of electric cars on our roads. If the most recent forecast by the World Energy Council is to be believed, global demand for electricity is set to double over the next 40 years. At the same

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Don Buchalski, senior marketing specialist, Dow Corning Solar Solutions, talks to PES about the advantages silicon-based materials bring to the PV industry and the specific solutions offered by Dow Corning.PES: Stephanie Burns, Dow Corning's CEO, has stated that making solar energy economically competitive with traditional energy sources is a corporate priority for your company. Why do you feel Dow Corning is well-suited to help the solar industry reach grid parity?Don Buchalski: It's really the combination of two things, technology and focus. Firstly, silicon-based materials have inherent qualities that bring many advantages to the PV industry, and we have built a deep expertise in silicon chemistry over the past 65 years. Secondly, all our efforts are focused on meeting the most critical needs facing the industry: reducing total cost per kilowatt hour, providing a reliable supply of materials to support the industry's continued growth and improving the durability and performance of photovoltaic modules.PES: What do you mean by the advantages silicones bring to photovoltaics?DB: Compared to the incumbent materials used for PV modules, silicones are inherently UV-stable, leading to more durability under extreme weather conditions. Additionally, PV module producers also can eliminate costly UV blockers which in turn leads to silicone

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Grid parity for solar power - competitiveness with electricity prices - has for some years been known as the 'Holy Grail' of the PV industry, with many speculating on when and where it is likely to be achieved. PES investigates.Obviously, much depends on the amount of sunshine in the skies above. The west coast of the United States and parts of southern Europe are already very close to achieving grid parity (i.e. within five years or less) and emerging markets like India and China are investing heavily to obtain a firm foothold in the market. Northern European countries where the duration and strength of sunlight is much weaker have some way to go but the will seems to be there.A considerable advantage of solar electricity is that it is mainly produced around midday when conventional electricity is particularly expensive, so solar electricity largely replaces expensive peak-load electricity at preferential customer prices.Grid parity (competitiveness with retail electricity prices) will be reached progressively in several European markets. Countries with the highest solar irradiation and higher electricity prices, such as Italy and Spain have the potential to reach grid parity starting this year and 2012, respectively. Grid parity is expected to be reached

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PES is proud to welcome back Egbert Wenninger, Vice President, Sales Glass Technology of Grenzebach Maschinenbau GmbH (Grenzebach). We pressed him on recent business partnerships, product development and more.PES: We note that Grenzebach has formed a recent partnership with Algoscan. Can you explain a little about this business and what you intend to offer clients?Egbert Wenninger: Top quality of the finished product is a pre-requisite to the success of any company. Inspection systems that discover defaults or production faults at an early stage ensure optimum machine and material usage and help to avoid unnecessary waste of material and costs. Algoscan is a recognised expert in the field of optical surface inspection designed for optical quality measurement, and process inspection in the production of glass, solar modules and veneer products.As you will know, Grenzebach is one of the leading manufacturers of lines and equipment for the production of flat and float glass, PV Thin film modules and - through our affiliate in Bad Hersfeld - also for drying and slicing machinery for top quality veneer.So our new partner's technology perfectly complements our production programme of handling, processing and automation technology. The new member of the Grenzebach family will operate under the

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California-based Paula Mints is widely recognised as one of the foremost experts in the PV industry. For many years she has provided clients with objective, comprehensive industry analysis based on extensive primary research, including her forward-looking understanding of market and technology trends. Her strong background in primary research qualifies her to provide insight into the dynamic PV industry and its emerging trends. She has a decade of experience providing research products and insight about the PV industry. PES talks to her about the state of the industry.PES: Welcome to PES magazine, for the benefit of our readers who might not be familiar with your area of expertise, can you outline your role within the PV industry? Paula Mints: I am a market researcher focused entirely on PV - this is all I have done since 1998. My work is entirely based on primary research (contact with one or the other side of the market). I am very lucky to have inherited, so to speak, the practice from my former boss and mentor - lucky because this practice began in 1974, and my database dates back to this point.PES: Can you explain a little about double counting and how this skews

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