PV News Brief 2 – 16 September, 2014

Aleo Solar launches new high-power module at revived Prenzlau plant

Since being acquired by the Taiwanese solar company Sunrise Global Energy in...


Companies mentioned include Aleo Solar, Sunrise Global Energy, Google, SunEdison, Regulus Solar Project, Kuwait Oil Company, Gestamp Asetym Solar, OCI Solar Power, Good Energy, AllEarth Renewables, Bangladesh Export Processing Zones Authority, Innotech Solar, Navana Renewable Energy, Clenergy International, TBEA SunOasis

PV News Brief 2 – 16 September, 2014

Aleo Solar launches new high-power module at revived Prenzlau plant

Aleo Solar has launched a new high-power module that generates yields of around ten percent higher than those produced by conventional PV modules, the German company has reported.

Since being acquired by the Taiwanese solar company Sunrise Global Energy in the spring of this year, Aleo has reopened its production plant in Prenzlau under German-Taiwanese management and has now released its monocrystalline 300 watt high-power module. The module has an efficiency value of more than 18.3 per cent.

In addition to the cell connectors, the module houses anti-reflection coated front glass and a highly transparent EVA film that allows more light to reach the cells.

“We have improved our module and cell technology even more and brought together our best components to create the new aleo high-power PV module,” said Günter Schulze, Managing Director of aleo solar GmbH.

“For example, we have successfully integrated a cell connector capable of reflecting light in such a way that a higher proportion reaches each cell. In doing so, we have been able to solve a technical problem that many manufacturers are currently striving to overcome and have used this solution to boost our module’s performance,” he said.

The qualified mechanical engineer previously held the position of CTO at aleo solar AG, before which he had set up plants for a number of other companies. He and Taiwanese Managing Director William Chen, who had formerly been Assistant Vice President of Sunrise Global Energy, have been at the helm of aleo solar GmbH since May 2014.

“Before being taken over, we only bought our cells from Sunrise. However, joining forces has enabled us to develop cells and products together, which is excellent news for us and the quality of our modules. The collaboration has also resulted in aleo being able to cover the entire production chain,” according to Schulze.

The aleo production plant in Prenzlau has been manufacturing modules again since the end of May and currently has a production capacity of 120MW. The company now employs around 190 members of staff in sales and production.

Google to build 82MW solar plant atop old oil and gas field

Google has recently finalized an investment that will put a 82MW solar power plant on top of an old oil and gas field in Kern County, California. The new deal with SunEdison will generate enough energy to power 10,000 homes, according to a Google’s Nick Coons, Renewable Energy Principal. 

“Our investment in the Regulus solar project will give new life to a long-valued piece of land, and there's something a little poetic about creating a renewable resource on land that once creaked with oil wells,” wrote Coons on his Google Blog.

“Over the years, this particular site in California has gone from 30 oil wells to five as it was exhausted of profitable fossil fuel reserves. The land sat for some time and today we’re ready to spiff things up. With the help of our $145m equity commitment, SunEdison is draping it in high-tech, sleek panels that collect energy from the sun, while bringing 650 jobs to the Kern County area and 82MW of clean energy to the grid,” said Coons.

The project marks Google’s 17th renewable energy investment since 2010, five of which are based in California.

“The more than $1.5bn we’ve brought to these projects to date not only helps provide renewable energy to the grid and to the public, but as they perform, they allow us to invest in more renewable energy projects,” said Coons.

Kuwait Oil awards $37m PV project

Kuwait Oil Company (KOC) has awarded a KD7.9m ($37.7m) contract to Italy’s Gestamp Asetym Solar to build and install a 5MW photovoltaic (PV) solar project at one of its upstream facilities. The 5MW solar PV off-grid system will provide power solely for the facility, and reduce reliance on the grid’s temporary generators. The project is the latest of several pilot solar projects planned in Kuwait.

In March, the Central Tenders Committee (CTC) approved the award of a KD139.1m contract to Spain’s Cobra to build the planned 50MW concentrated solar power (CSP)plant for Kuwait Institute for Scientific Research (Kisr). The CSP plant will be located at Shagaya Renewable Energy Park, which is being developed by Kisr with assistance from the Ministry of Electricity & Water (MEW). Kisr is also planning to develop a 10MW photovoltaic (PV) solar plant and a 10MW wind farm at the development.

OCI Solar adds 145MW over 3 Texas solar projects

OCI Solar Power is adding 145MW of solar power to Texas' energy mix this year that will generate power for approximately 25,000 homes annually. 

"The progress we're making with the opening and construction of new projects means more than half of our Texas projects are now complete or underway," said OCI Solar Power President and CEO Tony Dorazio. "This also means the number of solar jobs in the state is increasing."

The newly operational Alamo 4 project in Brackettville, Texas, generates 39 MW for CPS Energy, San Antonio's community-owned utility. The solar farm features more than 150,000 solar panels and covers 600 acres of privately-owned land. Alamo 4 is OCI Solar Power's first Texas project outside of metropolitan San Antonio and employed approximately 550 people during construction.

OCI Solar Power is again partnering with the San Antonio River Authority to lease land for the 5.5 MW Alamo 3 project near Loop 1604 and IH10 on the northeast side of town. Alamo 3 will be the first Alamo project to feature locally made solar panels from manufacturing partner Mission Solar Energy and a new dual axis tracker technology from Sun Action Trackers. Construction is expected to be completed by the end of the year.

Alamo 5 is OCI Solar Power's largest solar project at 100 MW. Located 80 miles west of San Antonio in Uvalde, Texas, Alamo 5 will cover more than 1,000 acres of privately-owned land. The project will feature equipment from OCI Solar Power's San Antonio-based manufacturing partners KACO new energy, Mission Solar Energy and Sun Action Trackers. Construction is expected to be complete in early 2016.

Good Energy looks to raise £1m at celebrity solar party

Good Energy, the 100% renewable electricity supplier in the UK, hopes to attract £1m to invest in renewable energy projects after a star-studded crowdfunding solar party organised by Trillion Fund.

Good Energy was one of four projects that bid for investment at a recent special event, which was hosted by the renewable energy crowdfunding platform Trillion Fund, of which Vivienne Westwood is a major backer an ambassador. Investors and celebrities attended the bash, which was powered purely from solar energy. Guests were invited to pledge an interest in investing in Good Energy’s solar farms in the South West of England.

Juliet Davenport, founder and CEO of Good Energy, said:“Crowdfunding has revolutionised the way we think about raising funds for renewables projects and is something that is new to us at Good Energy. The beauty of renewable energy is that, because of the size of the projects, they lend themselves well to crowdfunding - it’s not likely you’ll see any crowd funding for fossil projects! It gives ordinary people and investors the chance to get a financial return whilst helping the UK to generate more cleaner, greener renewable energy.”

Good Energy aims to produce 50% of its own power from renewable sites by 2016. This investment will help the firm provide clean 100% renewable power to the grid, helping to tackle climate change and will go towards financing solar farms around the UK.

Good Energy supplies renewable electricity to Vivienne Westwood retail stores and office buildings in the UK.

AllEarth Renewables starts 5MW Vermont project

AllEarth Renewables today announced that it has initiated construction on nearly 5MW of projects using its dual-axis solar tracker systems to provide power to 12 state government facilities in Vermont.

The facilities include each of the state's correctional facilities and several state office buildings, including the office of Vermont Governor Peter Shumlin.

The ground-mounted solar systems will provide emissions-free, net metered solar electricity for each facility at below market rates through long-term energy contracts, and represents the state's largest public solar initiative to date.

Each of the 500-kilowatt (ac) solar projects will be constructed utilizing AllSun Trackers, which track the sun throughout the day to maximize energy production.  They are manufactured in Williston, Vt. by AllEarth Renewables.

The initial three, 500-kilowatt (ac) projects, which are scheduled to be completed in 2014, will each feature 1,560 SunPower 345-watt solar panels manufactured by SunPower Corporation.

The initiative will produce more than 7 million kilowatt hours of energy for state buildings each year.

Bangladesh government delegation procure European PV

A four member delegation from BEPZA (Bangladesh Export Processing Zones Authority) recently visited the solar module production site of Scandinavian-German manufacturer Innotech Solar (ITS) in the Swedish town of Glava.

The reason behind the visit was to conduct pre-shipment inspection for procurement of photovoltaic installations in Bangladeshi industrial parks/ Export Processing Zones. The intention is for solar energy to help reduce the risk of power outages and thus increase the security of power supply within the country.

Navana Renewable Energy Ltd, a subsidiary of the Navana Group which is one of the largest companies in Bangladesh, has had two successful bids employing solar modules from Innotech Solar.

The solar projects and tendering process were initiated by the Bangladesh Government, whose goal is to attract new investors to the country by ensuring a more reliable power supply. All tender bids must employ European solar modules in order to guarantee high plant quality.

In Glava, the four-man delegation was able to gain a good first hand impression of fully-automated solar module production. The module factory has an annual capacity of 150 megawatts (MW).

According to a study conducted by the International Renewable Energy Agency IRENA, as many as 80,000 solar power systems are installed in Bangladesh each month. The number of jobs in the country’s solar sector has also risen in recent years and now totals 114,000.

Jerry Stokes, CEO of Innotech Solar said of the supply opportunity: “As a result of this highly successful visit and close co-operation between Innotech Solar and Navana Renewable Energy we look forward to continuing to contribute to improving energy security and energy access in Bangladesh.”

Clenergy bags Malaysia, Pakistan deals

China’s mounting and inverter system supplier, Clenergy International, has won a contract to supply two Asia projects in recent weeks. It wll supply its mounting structures to what is claimed to be the largest solar power project in Pakistan as well as a new project in Sabah, Malaysia, the company reported.

Clenergy International is working with TBEA SunOasis to supply mounting structures for 40 MW of solar PV modules at the Quaid e-Azam Solar Park in Pakistan, a project which when fully installed will have a capacity of 1000MW. Construction is anticipated to be completd in 2016.

Clenergy also reported that it will supply 1MW of anodized aluminium mounting structures to a project in Malaysia, which it feels is a “strong start” to its expansion into Southeast Asia’s solar market.

Clenergy also has operations in Australia.