Power & Energy Solutions

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24. February 2009. Raphael van Hövell is one of the first system operators in Germany to finance their PV installations with the new tariff for private consumers under the German Renewable Energy Sources Act (EEG). With the EEG amendment on 1 January this year the German government introduced the new type of payment for PV installations with a capacity of up to 30 kilowatts. For every kilowatt-hour system operators use themselves they receive 25.01 cents over a period of 20 years. In addition they save the cost of their household electricity.{pagebreak}Van Hövell needs about 30,000 kilowatt-hours of electricity to light and ventilate his feeding pens and feed his 1,200 pigs in the district of Borken. Since the beginning of February he has been generating the electricity himself with his 29.4 kilowatt system. Even at today's electricity prices, van Hövell's total profit will increase by around €10,000 in 20 years because he uses his electricity himself rather than feeding it into the grid. If electricity prices rise, as is expected, he will make an even larger profit. At the moment household electricity costs approximately 20 cents per kilowatt-hour. With the extra tariff this makes a total of 45.01 cents - two

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Developers from DEGERenergie have created a so-called design tool which planners and operators of solar plants can use to safeguard against storm damage - providing a standard of safety that is currently not demanded by legislators or insurance companies. Tracking systems from the company increase the energy yield of photovoltaic systems by up to 45 percent.{pagebreak}When Hurricane Kyrill swept across Europe in January 2007 it left a trail of devastation behind it. The storm reached gusts of up to 225 km/h, took 47 lives and, in Germany alone, it caused damage amounting to Euro 4.3 billion.A 2 megawatt solar plant, valued at around ten million Euros, was destroyed. Artur Deger, founder and managing director of DEGERenergie: "In future we will have to reckon with more and more storms like this. This is why it is so important to actively deal with the subject, rather than just waiting for something bad to happen. After all, there are currently new solar plants being put up everywhere."According to the company spokesman, the problem begins with the legislator: "Up to now there have been no pertinent guidelines for erecting photovoltaic plants. It has not even been decided whether such a plant is to be

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CHANGZHOU, China, Jan. 29 /PRNewswire-Asia-FirstCall/ -- Trina Solar Limited (NYSE: TSL) ("Trina Solar" or the "Company"), a leading integrated manufacturer of solar photovoltaic products from the production of ingots, wafers and cells to the assembly of PV modules, today announced that its subsidiary, Changzhou Trina Solar Energy Co., Ltd.,{pagebreak} entered into a sales agreement with Spanish customer Gestamp Asetym Solar, S.L. ("GA Solar"). The agreement was signed during the recent World Future Energy Summit 2009 in Abu Dhabi, held on January 19-21.Under the terms of this agreement, Trina Solar will supply GA Solar between 20 to 36 MW of PV modules for one year at pre-determined prices. Shipments under this agreement have recently been initiated."We are excited to have entered into this sales agreement which affirms our successful long-term supply partnership with GA Solar in the past," stated Mr. Arturo Herrero, Vice-President of Sales & Marketing of Trina Solar. "GA Solar's plan to implement new solar projects in markets such as Italy, Greece, the United States and the Middle East will be supported by their parent company's presence in over twenty countries, and we believe that our experience in working with PV system integrators can play an important part in

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KUKA innovation at the Photovoltaic Technology Show 2009Solar modules for a perfect frame (of mind)Augsburg, 17 February 2009 (pk) - KUKA Systems is presenting its new ROBO FRAME module (for which a patent application has been filed) at this year's PTS (Photovoltaic Technology Show) trade fair in Munich. Furthermore, KUKA Systems will also be displaying there its entire product range for flexibly automated production systems for solar modules.{pagebreak}ROBO FRAME uses an industrial robot with a high payload capacity for the automatic framing of solar modules. The main advantages of this production process are the prevention of deformation and scratching, improved quality of the end product, and greater throughput of the production system as a result of precision and high availability.In the ROBO FRAME system, the robot grips the prepared laminate on the glass side and guides it precisely into the prepared frame parts. In a sequence of four steps, the long frame parts are joined first, then the short frame parts into which the corner connectors have already been inserted automatically. Addi-tional clips and a level support plate ensure that the forces applied to the lami-nate during assembly of the frame parts are kept to a minimum, thereby pre-venting deformation.The

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3S Industries AG develops new soldering technology to connect the cells for Solar ImpulseEngineers from all fields are working together on the first prototype of the solar airplane planned to fly night and day with no fuel and zero polluting emissions. Important know-how for the solar propulsion system is being supplied by 3S Industries AG and solar module experts from the Swiss group of companies have developed a new, particularly high-value technology for connection of the plane's solar cells. From that technology, a new product has already evolved for the manufacturers of solar modules. {pagebreak}Flying only using solar energy and with a degree of power that would be just about sufficient to illuminate a shop window is a task that can only be achieved if existing technological barriers are pushed back, and pilots Bertrand Piccard and André Borschberg, are both fully behind the project."We are building a type of airplane in which everything is new, from the aerodynamics, through the structure and production methods all the way to the propulsion and flight performance", says André Borschberg. "Various research initiatives and partnerships are helping us to work out the necessary, innovative solutions", says the trained engineer, pilot and management expert Borschberg.The

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Inspired by the beauty industry, scientists have devised a way to make solar panels cheaper and more efficient - by spraying them on. Researchers from the Australian National University (ANU), solar company Spark Solar Australia, and Finnish materials company Braggone Oy are collaborating on a three-year project that could transform the production of solar cells.{pagebreak}"I think it has a big chance of success," says Keith McIntosh, lead researcher from the ANU, "It's an exciting possibility."Solar cells are typically made of silicon coated with a thin layer of silicon nitrate (which is used as an antireflective agent to increase cell efficiency). However, these types cells are costly to produce because they are made in a vacuum. Furthermore, the plasma form of hydrogen, another costly material used in solar cell production, is used to capture the energy from the sun's rays.However, the pioneering method developed by Braggone Oy uses a spray-on hydrogen film and spray-on anti-reflective film. Instead of the need for plasma and a vacuum, the cells are simply conveyed along a conveyor belt where the films are sprayed on."The cells will be the same quality, but much cheaper," McIntosh said. Testing of the process is now taking place at the

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Technological advances are driving down photovoltaic panel prices by as much as 10% each year, Dutch sustainable energy provider Econcern recently announced. The company claimed that system prices are decreasing by 7% to 10% a year as a result of technological innovation and increased production capacity.{pagebreak}According to Econcern board member Kees van der Leun, the development of solar power in the Middle East looks set to exceed growth of solar power globally. He predicted that solar energy will be one of the most important sources of energy within 10 years. Van der Leun commented: "As the oil markets continue to experience volatile times, solar power provides a great opportunity for the Middle East, with its high aspirations, ample supply of sunlight and investment power."He also said that present predictions for solar energy are too conservative. "The World Energy Outlook 2008, recently presented by the International Energy Agency, underestimates the growth of solar by far. Its market estimate for 2020 will already be achieved by 2010. In the Middle East, solar power could even grow faster." 

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According to research done by The Solar Electric Power Association (SEPA), in 2008, over 5,000 megawatts of new photovoltaic and concentrating solar power projects were announced, and with the eight-year extension of the US federal investment tax credit (ITC), the market is expected to grow significantly. {pagebreak}Along with the tax credit extension, the revised ITC also allows electric utilities to utilise the credit for the first time, by both owning or investing in solar projects, potentially creating a critical source of new projects and capital financing during the current economic downturn. The effect of the ITC extension combined with the expansion of global solar manufacturing, rapidly declining costs and price curves, and federal and state environmental policies, lays a foundation for utility solar innovation at unparalleled scales. In addition, the potential effect of the new administration's stimulus package with an emphasis on renewable energy is anticipated to be very dramatic as well."This is one of those times when we separate the wheat from the shaft and differentiate which solar companies are making the appropriate adjustments to move forward and thrive," stated Robert Kaapke CEO of Evolution Solar Corp. "We made a strong commitment to provide product procurement to our clients

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Chinese solar panel maker, Suntech Power Holdings, has crossed the all-important milestone of being able to produce 1 gigawatt of solar panels a year. The company celebrated the accomplishment last week, along with the opening of a new headquarters in the city of Wuxi that comes with 1-megawatt solar panels built into building's facade in addition to a host of energy-efficiency features. {pagebreak}Reaching 1 gigawatt is worth boasting, although investors will be more concerned with what the company does now that it has that capacity - and how it weathers the economic downturn. Suntech's CEO Zhengrong Shi said an oversupply of panels in the world market would likely lead to a 25 percent to 30 percent drop in Suntech panel prices in 2009. A growing supply of polysilicon, the key ingredient for making solar panels, along with the battered global economy will take the blame, analysts have noted.Last November, the company cut its 2008 sales and shipment forecast after its customers had delayed orders. Suntech expected to ship 490 megawatts instead of 550 megawatts worth of panels by the end of 2008. For 2009, it anticipated shipping more than 800 megawatts worth of panels (see Weak Euro Prompts Suntech to

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A consortium of manufacturers is to invest almost $3 billion in Italian solar power ventures.Japan's Sharp Corp, Italy's Enel SpA and a third manufacturer hope to tap growing demand for cleaner energy.{pagebreak}Sharp, the world's second largest maker of solar cells, said it and Italy's largest power company Enel planned to spend about 100 billion yen ($1.05 billion) to set up solar power generating plants in Italy with a total generating capacity of 189 megawatts by the end of 2012.They also plan to build a factory in Italy to produce thin-film solar cells, aiming for initial output of 480 megawatts in 2010 and ultimately raise output to about 1 gigawatts. Sharp said total initial investment is likely to be at least 72 billion yen, and analysts expect that investment to more than double to more than 150 billion yen when the factory reaches full capacity.The Japanese consumer electronics maker is stepping up investment in an effort to retake market share from number one solar cell maker Q-Cells of Germany, whose aggressive capital spending plans outstrip those of its rivals.The venture's solar power plants are to be built mainly in southern Italy, and the two firms will also consider power generating business

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