DOE loan recipient Alamosa gets visit from Republican congressman Mentioned: Cogentrix, AT4 Wireless, ENAC, ABB, Lux Research, IQE, Solar Junction, SolFocus
CPV Intelligence Brief 5 – 17 July 2012
Alamosa gets visit from Republican congressman
On a two-day tour of his district, U.S. Representative Scott Tipton met with Cogentrix Vice President of Development Jef Freeman at the largest CPV project worldwide, the Alamosa Solar Generating Project in southern Colorado.
The Alamosa Solar Generating Project was completed and began generating power in April after being one of the final recipients of solar loan guarantees through the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) last September. The $90.6 million loan guarantee to Cogentrix for the $135 million project was completed just before the program was curtailed.
The Alamosa Solar Generating Project now supplies 6,500 homes with clean power annually through an contract with Public Service Company of Colorado, a subsidiary of Excel Energy, and will generate $150,000 in property taxes a year on agricultural land that previously generated only $8,000 to $10,000 in taxes.
Alamosa County Commissioner Darius Allen told Tipton that the growing number of solar facilities in the county now have the commissioners encouraging local community colleges to create and offer solar technician programmes.
The project by Cogentrix generates 40% efficient power, double the efficiency of PV, through a CPV technology that utilizes concentrating optics and multi-junction solar cell panels and a dual-axis tracking system.
Freeman explained the importance of their DOE solar loan guarantee, a program that is not popular within Tipton’s party in congress.“With an unproven technology, we couldn’t get a loan from a bank,” Freeman told the congressman. “This has made it a bit uncomfortable for us, but it is a poster project for success.”
“I think it is impressive,” Tipton said after learning about the technology and standing under one of the 28,000 square foot arrays Friday afternoon. “Here in the third district, in Alamosa County, we have the world’s largest solar facility and just look at the technology.”
ENAC accredits AT4 Wireless for testing CPV
AT4 Wireless, a global leader in testing and certification facilities, has been accredited by ENAC (Entidad Nacional de Acreditación in Spain) to perform testing of solar modules using CPV technologies.
The rapid growth of CPV; a nascent form of solar power, has led to a number of different technologies for comparison as module manufacturers try new and innovative technologies and materials to reduce costs and increase effectiveness. There is a need for standardized testing to compare across this array of approaches.
The accreditation certifies AT4 Wireless to perform testing according to the Standard IEC 62108. CPV technologies are characterized by high energy yield (kWh/installed kW); higher efficiency, allowing smaller module area; lower product costs, because of the reduction of semiconductor material; lower installation costs, and excellent performance in late afternoon.
As a laboratory with more than 20 years of experience in testing and certification,AT4 Wireless tested modules will be able to obtain certifications for TÜV Nord Certification, ETL for USA, and CEC (California Energy Commission). The company, founded in 1991, and headquartered in Spain, has more than 350 employees worldwide. It provides a one-stop service for the certification of electronic and telecommunication devices.
Energy giant ABB debuts a CPV line
At the Intersolar trade show in San Francisco, the leading electricity and grid engineering company ABB introduced a complete turnkey CPV system that includes the modules, trackers, inverters and the monitoring system.
ABB’s energy management software ISIS (Intelligent Solar Information System) provides easy, remote monitoring and control of a virtually unlimited number of sites from anywhere on the Internet.
ABB, with operations in 100 countries and 147,000 employees, manufactures a full line of equipment for electric power and control, grid interconnection, engineering, procurement and construction services.
The company provides complete electric power generation plant service to utilities. ABB says it has also begun work on CPV projects in the US Southwest, Mexico, Peru, Chile, the Mediterranean, Africa, Australia, and the Middle East.
“For utility-scale projects, customers are asking for a fully integrated solution and the long-term stability and support that ABB can provide,” said Bob Stojanovic, ABB director of Solar Power solutions, North America. “With this turnkey CPV system and our power generation experience, we believe ABB has the most complete and compelling solar power solution in the industry.”
HCPV to see 31% growth by 2017 says Lux
According to a report from Lux Research; “Putting High-Concentrating Photovoltaics into Focus”, high-concentrating photovoltaics (HCPV) will have 31% compound annual growth rate by 2017.
Driven mostly by emerging markets with high solar resources, like the Middle East, China and India, the market for HCPV will grow to 697 MW in 2017, creating a $1.6 billion industry with a module market worth $700 million, which is large enough, Lux estimates, to bring prices down to $2.33 a watt.
"To date HCPV has had very little success installing commercial systems," said Ed Cahill, Lux Research Associate and the lead author of the report. He added, "However, as markets shift due to subsidy cuts from distributed installations in low-DNI [direct normal irradiance] environments such as Germany, to large installations in high-DNI environments such as India, we expect HCPV to grow at a faster rate than competing technologies."
Among the points made in the report, costs are beginning to come down, and Lux expects they will be competitive with PV by 2017. Well funded emerging players like Soitec, SunCore, and SolFocus are expected to lead the pack, and the investment in R&D in even higher efficiency should deliver efficiencies of 50% in ten years.
Solar Junction orders CPV wafers from IQE
US-based Solar Junction has placed the first order for $1.95m worth of concentrating photovoltaic (CPV) wafers from Welsh wafer supplier IQE, who had signed an exclusive wafer supply agreement covering the next seven years, with Solar Junction in February.
The orders are for $1 million for first production wafers and another $950,000 for development wafers for improving yet further the efficiency of Solar Junction's CPV products.
“Our large scale manufacturing capacity now in place following our deal to acquire RFMD’s in-house MBE production capacity, position IQE to be a major wafer supplier to the rapidly emerging CPV industry," said Dr Drew Nelson, IQE president and CEO.
The order is to fulfill Solar Junction’s first 5 MW order of modules from SolFocus who will supply the CPV systems for the 450 MW project in Baja, Mexico, by far the largest CPV project announced to date.
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