PV News Brief 25 June – 8 July 2014

Trina Solar CEO named new China PV Industry Association President on heels of news that China module prices in US could jump 14%

chief executive officer, Mr. Jifan Gao, has been elected as the first president...

Companies mentioned: Trina Solar, China Photovoltaic Industry Association, Yingli, Canadian Solar, Jinko Solar, GCL, JA Solar, Huanghe Hydropower,  TBEA Sunoasis, China Chamber of Commerce for Import and Export of Machinery and Electronic Products,  European Photovoltaic Industry Association, Solar Energy Institute of America, Semiconductor Equipment and Materials International, Great River Energy,  Kandiyohi Energy Cooperative, IKEA, Inovateus Solar, Heraeus Photovoltaics, American Solar Direct, Applied Energy Technologies, Xinyu Xinwei New Energy

PV News Brief 25 June – 8 July 2014

Trina Solar CEO named new China PV Industry Association President

Trina Solar, a China PV modules, solutions, and services company, has reported that its chairman and chief executive officer, Mr. Jifan Gao, has been elected as the first president of the newly-established China Photovoltaic Industry Association (CPIA) for a term of five years.

CPIA is the first accredited national level solar industry association established in China. It currently consists of 149 PV member companies, including major Chinese PV enterprises such as Yingli, Canadian Solar, Jinko Solar, GCL, JA Solar, and a number of downstream project developers, including Huanghe Hydropower Co., Ltd., GD Solar Co., Ltd., and TBEA Sunoasis Co., Ltd. The members elected Jifan Gao as CPIA's first president on the basis of his strong credentials and long standing dedication to advancing the development of the solar industry in China, according to a press release.

CPIA aims to work closely with the China Chamber of Commerce for Import and Export of Machinery and Electronic Products to establish positive cooperation with other industry organizations including the European Photovoltaic Industry Association, the Solar Energy Institute of America, and the Semiconductor Equipment and Materials International.

Jifan Gao, chairman and CEO of Trina Solar, commented on his new role and the larger role of the Association, “Through the founding of CPIA as the largest non-profit PV association in China committed to the principles of free and fair trade, we will unify PV enterprises across China to achieve  a common goal of bringing affordable solar energy to the world."

The news of the newly established association comes at a time when spot prices for thin film PV modules rise 5.2% in a month as ongoing trade dispute between the US and China depresses prices for polysilicon panels, according to news reports.

"It is very possible that the trade wars have made really low-cost Chinese modules increasingly unusable in many markets," mused Bloomberg New Energy Finance’s solar analyst, Jenny Chase. "That is causing developers to look at thin film."

The DOC is expected to determine the level of duties set against polysilicon modules from China and Taiwan by August 18. Preliminary duties have been levied at 19% and 35% respectively, with the International Trade Commission also poised to issue a ruling on the DOC’s actions within 45 days of that date.

According to a report by GTM Research, the price of Chinese solar modules in the United States is about to rise by an average 14 per cent.

Rural Iran looks to solar in $60m push for PV projects

A rural village in Iran has been supplied government-subsidized solar panels for rooftops will power homes with electricity in a move to cut its dependence on fossil fuels as the Islamic Republic cuts back on gasoline subsidies.

While compared to many country’s Iran’s solar investment is very low, with a reported $12m invested last year compared to a $60m jump for this year, the move towards solar power is a major milestone for the country. The focus will reportedly be in rural areas that are completely dependent on diesel-powered generators. Schools, mosques and government buildings are also installing solar panels, according to news reports.

An Associated Press report and a CTV online article have both stated that President Hassan Rouhani's government has quintupled its spending on solar power projects in the last year, taking advantage of Iran's 300-odd days of sunshine a year that make its vast sunshine an ideal location for solar power plants.

While being good for the environment, the panels also offer rural Iran steady power amid uncertainty over the country's contested nuclear program as it negotiates with world powers, said the CTV news article.

"A big change is in the making in Iran," said Saman Mirhadi, a senior government official in charge of solar projects.

News reports have stated that the country recently passed laws that could encourage domestic and foreign investment into renewable energy projects. A feed-in tariff has reportedly been issued earlier this year, of which funding will be generated through surcharges on electricity bills.

Kandiyohi ready for 170 panel installation

Kandiyohi Power  plans to install a 170 solar panel solar plant behind its offices, it has been reported by West Central Tribune, a Minnesota news site. Kandiyohi Power Cooperative (KPC) is one of more than 1,000 consumer-owned utilities in the United States.

As an electric cooperative Kandiyohi is part of the largest electric utility network in the nation, providing power to over 30 million consumers in 46 states, and serving more than 75% of the geographic area of the United States.

Great River Energy began the solar project at Kandiyohi Energy Cooperative by proposing a 50-panel solar garden running at 20 kilowatts, said the news report, but KPC now has plans to add approximately 120 panels to the garden running at 40 kilowatts, according to Dan Tepfer, the energy management specialist for Kandiyohi Power Cooperative.

The company’s premises already has a solar installation of ten panels, which has been collecting data to determine the most effective angle to maximize energy collection for the larger array.

The utility is proposing as one option that customers can pay into the solar system by reserving panels and paying an upfront fee. The energy produced will go directly into subsidizing the consumers’ monthly energy bill.

Kandiyohi Power Cooperative and Great River Energy plan to have the solar garden completed by this fall but it is still unknown when the array will be available to begin providing energy for consumers, said the news report.

Inovateus Solar completes IKEA solar array

IKEA, the world’s largest retailer of home furnishings, has completed the second expansion of a solar array on the roof of one of its Perryville, Maryland warehouse, doubling the size of the largest solar rooftop array in the state, according to Maryland newspaper site, Cecil Whig Daily.

Inovateus Solar, LLC, a company that specialises in large-scale installations, completed the two-phase project for IKEA. The 467,618-square-foot solar addition consists of a 2.2-megawatt system, built with 7,337 modules, and will produce 2.7 million kilowatts of electricity each year.

IKEA is big on solar and has now installed solar panels on almost 90 per cent of its facilities in the United States, as part of a $1.8bn renewable energy investment initiative that will be worked out until 2015.

Heraeus makes strategic move  

The Heraeus Photovoltaics Business Unit, a worldwide leading supplier of metallization pastes for solar cells, has decided to relocate their research and development scientists to their facility in West Conshohocken, Pennsylvania, to strengthen the activities of the group, the company has reported.

"The relocation of our worldwide research and development group to our West Conshohocken, Pennsylvania facility is a strategic move for our business," said Dr. Weiming Zhang, Vice President of Technology for the Heraeus Photovoltaics Business Unit.

Zhang said that the company has decided to co-locate all our research and development staff in West Conshohocken.  We believe this action will foster a faster pace of innovation, increasing our speed to market.”

He said that to increase the company’s competitive position, we recognized that we needed to attract additional talented scientists and engineers from around the world.

Dr. Zhang continued, "With a core talent of employees at our corporate location in Hanau, Germany and our targeted market in Asia, we set up R&D centers in Hanau and Singapore.  This has allowed us to obtain outstanding employees who have been instrumental in increasing our technology portfolio to develop advanced paste formulations.”

Chance encounter leads to US veteran solar donation

American Solar Direct has donated a complete solar energy system at the home of Sgt. Odin Ayala, a wounded veteran in Southern California who touched the hearts of ASD employees, it was reported in a press release.

The veteran’s story was heard by an American Solar Direct sales consultant selling solar in a residential El Cajon neighbourhood. When the sales consultant returned to his office and shared Ayala’s war story, employees throughout ASD and upper management soon rallied to contribute to the cause by donating their time and skills, said a news report.

“Sgt. Ayala is a brave and honorable person who paid dearly to defend the United States of America. The least we can do is help protect him from rising energy costs,” said Brennan Mulcahy, ASD’s Chief Executive Officer. “This one came from the heart and soul of our employees. They were all touched by his incredibly positive outlook on life. It is only fitting we are able to install a free solar system for him right before the Fourth of July.”

Ayala was on his third deployment to Afghanistan when on Sept. 14, 2011, he stepped on an improvised explosive device (IED). The blast caused him to lose both legs above the knee and the index finger on his left hand. Ayala underwent years of treatment and rehabilitation in a quest for an independent lifestyle.

Applied Energy Technologies launches inverter mounting kit

Applied Energy Technologies has launched RAYPORT, an innovative Solar Inverter Mounting Kit for string inverters. After identifying a growing need in the solar market for an inverter racking solution, AET built its first-in-kind inverter mounting kit, giving installers a mounting solution for both rooftop and ground-mounted solar arrays.

The new kit has been “rigorously tested” and can withstand the most challenging environmental conditions. It fits most string inverters on the market, can mount at a 15 or 30 degree tilt and can be used in both rooftop and ground mount systems.

Made of stainless steel, it is corrosion resistant and offers superior durability. At 13 lbs, the kit is considered lightweight and compact, reducing shipping costs and enabling easier handling on the job site.

John Harberts, VP of Product Development at AET, said, "In the past, solar rooftop system designers were often hampered by space constraints and would have to develop their own ad-hoc custom solution for the inverter placement. It is often time-consuming and challenging to find a suitable and easy place to put the inverter in roof mount systems."

AET has supplied over 160 MW of mounting systems in the United States.

Xinyu Xinwei New Energy signs deal with Fenyi County

Xinyu Xinwei New Energy has signed an agreement with the government of Fenyi County (Jiangxi Province, People’s Republic of China) to build and develop a 50MW photovoltaic project in Yangqiao, Fenyi County. Once completed, the 50 MW project is expected to be one of the largest utility-scale PV projects in Jiangxi Province.

Under the terms of the agreement, according to a press release, the government of Fenyi County will provide certain guarantees and support to Xinwei for the project’s construction and development phases, in addition to offering certain incentives and other services for the project’s later phases leading up to grid connection.

The Fenyi County officials have signalled its intent to participate actively in coordinating all relevant local and provincial departments to facilitate and expedite construction of the project.

Xiaofeng Peng, Chairman of SPI, said China is one of SPI’s key global focus markets in which to develop utility-scale PV projects, and while still in the early stages of growth, he believes China’s installed PV market will mature into one of the largest globally within the foreseeable future.

“We are proud that SPI is taking a leading role in helping China’s economy transition toward a greener future,” said the Chairman.

EDF Renewable Energy Lancaster project now commercial

EDF Renewable Energy has reported that the 5.86 MWp Lancaster Solar Project has reached commercial operation. EDF Renewable Energy and Urban Green Technologies, a utility-scale solar developer, signed the Membership Interest Purchase and Sale Agreement (MIPSA) in October 2013 and subsequently started the construction phase in December 2013.

The ground-mount fixed tilt solar photovoltaic project, located on approximately 30 acres of privately owned land at the former Shirley Airport, 50 miles northwest of Boston, Massachusetts, is comprised of 19,000 Canadian Solar modules. The electricity generated is supplied to the Town of Billerica, Massachusetts under a long-term Power Purchase Agreement, pursuant to the State’s Virtual Net Metering Credits Programme.

EDF Renewable Services will provide long-term operations and maintenance for the facility, balance of plant, project oversight, and 24/7 remote monitoring from its NERC compliant Operations Control Center.

PSEG Solar to acquire 13 MW project from juwi

PSEG Solar Source will acquire a 13 megawatt (MWdc) solar energy facility near El Paso, TX from juwi solar (JSI).  The project was originally developed by JSI and has a 30-year power purchase agreement (PPA) with El Paso Electric Company.

The plant, to be called the PSEG El Paso Solar Energy Center is located 14 miles north of El Paso, adjacent to the existing El Paso Electric Newman Generating Station. The $22m acquisition will increase PSEG's Solar Source's portfolio capacity to 106 MWdc.

"We are actively evaluating solar projects throughout North America and are pleased to be making our first solar investment in Texas," said Diana Drysdale, president of PSEG Solar Source. "In addition to continuing our expansion into more states, this project will increase our solar capacity to more than 100 megawatts, which is a great milestone as we build our business."

JSI is the engineering, procurement and construction contractor for the project and will operate the project for PSEG Solar Source upon completion. Construction has already commenced and is expected to be completed by year's end. The project will use JA solar panels.

"We are pleased to be back in Texas and building another solar project," said Mike Martin, JSI's President and CEO. "This project makes sense economically and environmentally, and we are encouraged that PSEG Solar Source and El Paso Electric continue to dedicate significant resources and efforts to the renewable energy industry."

This is the 8th solar project in seven states for PSEG Solar Source. PSEG Solar Source also owns solar projects in California, Arizona, Delaware, Ohio, Florida and New Jersey.