Thursday, August 27, 2015

Semprius Awarded $2.9M from ARPA-E to Develop High Efficiency, Low-Cost CPV-PV Hybrid Solar Technology

DURHAM, NC.--(eSolarEnergyNews)--Semprius, Inc., an innovator in high concentration photovoltaic (HCPV) solar modules, was awarded a competitive $2.9 million grant from the U.S. Department of Energy’s Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy (ARPA-E). The funding will be used to develop technologies that lower the cost of solar-generated electricity while dramatically increasing system efficiencies and energy yields.

Semprius, in partnership with the U.S. Naval Research Laboratory, the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, The George Washington University and Veeco, received its competitive award from ARPA-E’s Micro-scale Optimized Solar-cell Arrays with Integrated Concentration (MOSAIC) program, which will fund the development of a new class of cost-effective, high-performance photovoltaic (PV) solar modules based upon the use of very small lenses and micro-solar cells.

Critical to driving down the cost of solar energy is increasing module conversion efficiency as well as overall system energy harvest. This project addresses both imperatives, while also emphasizing a module design that will keep system costs low. First, building off of Semprius’ technology breakthrough last year, the team will demonstrate the highest efficiency solar cells ever produced, with efficiencies projected to exceed 50 percent. Second, Semprius will redesign its standard concentrated PV (CPV) module to incorporate both ultra-high-efficiency CPV cells and medium-efficiency, low-cost, un-concentrated silicon cells.

The CPV cells will capture the direct sunlight that is mostly available on sunny days while the silicon cells will capture the scattered light that is mostly available on cloudy days. This combination will increase the system-level energy harvest to the highest levels ever achieved while expanding the geographic footprint for high-efficiency CPV to include both very sunny areas like the Southwest US as well as regions with significant amounts of diffuse solar radiation like the Northeast US.

“By combining record efficiencies and energy harvest with a low-cost module design, we intend to drive down the cost of solar-generated electricity well below that of current solar- and fossil fuel-generated electricity,” said Scott Burroughs, executive vice president of Manufacturing and Technology Development at Semprius. “This funding is critical to helping us advance our technology to achieve these goals.”

Semprius has been at the forefront of micro-solar cell and high-efficiency CPV solar module development for the past eight years. Semprius is a graduate of the U.S. Department of Energy’s SunShot Incubator Program, and in 2012 the company announced the first mass-produced photovoltaic module that exceeded 33 percent efficiency. In September 2013, Semprius increased this record to 35.5 percent, as confirmed by the Fraunhofer Institute for Solar Energy Systems ISE in Germany.

“We would like to thank our collaborators at the U.S. Naval Research Laboratory, the University of Illinois, The George Washington University and Veeco for their participation in this project,” said Scott Burroughs. “We look forward to working together to develop this potentially transformational technology.”

Friday, August 14, 2015

Suniva to Increase U.S. Manufacturing Capacity to Over 400MW

NORCROSS, GA.--(eSolarEnergyNews)--Suniva, Inc., a U.S. manufacturer of high-efficiency crystalline silicon solar cells and modules, today announced that it has initiated expansion of its U.S. manufacturing capacity, bringing its U.S. total to over 400MW. This expansion is facilitated by the acquisition of a 63.13% share of Suniva by leading global integrated clean energy provider, Shunfeng International Clean Energy (“SFCE”, Hong Kong-listed (stock code: 1165)).

“High demand for our products continues to validate that as the U.S. solar market matures, sophisticated buyers are increasingly valuing power density and quality,” said John Baumstark, chairman and chief executive officer of Suniva. “This expansion was encouraged by the U.S. market’s interest in high-quality, high-value American-made solar products.”

Suniva’s continued growth further strengthens its position as the leading American solar manufacturer. As a U.S.-born, U.S.-operated company, Suniva prides itself on its role of American job creation. Suniva employs the highest percentage of American workers among all other major solar module manufacturers. The new expansion will bring an additional 300 jobs to the U.S. solar manufacturing landscape.

SFCE with technology and manufacturing assets and subsidiaries in the United States, Europe, and Asia, joins a roster of shareholders, including New Enterprise Associates (NEA), Goldman Sachs, Warburg-Pincus, and Prelude Ventures. These shareholders represent one of the most financially-strong ownership teams in the renewable energy industry.

“Developing cost-effective, high-efficiency solar solutions is an essential step in solving the world's energy challenges," said Mr. Eric Luo, chief executive officer of SFCE. “Suniva manufactures the best of American solar innovation, technology, and quality. We are excited to welcome Suniva into the SFCE family, along with its high quality investor group and management team, and work with Suniva to achieve its full potential in serving the U.S. solar market.”

Monday, August 10, 2015

SkyPower and Grupo Uribe Partner to Development Solar Energy in Mexico

MEXICO CITY, MEXICO --(eSolarEnergyNews)--SkyPower, the largest developer of solar PV energy projects in the world, is pleased to announce the formation of a joint venture with Grupo Uribe, a leading energy company based in Mexico with over 50 years of experience serving households, businesses and industries. The joint venture will form the single largest solar development company in Mexico and will focus on the development of an integrated pipeline of utility-scale solar PV projects across the country. Mexico has one of the fastest growing economies in the Americas and is committed to diversifying its energy supply mix in order to rapidly move forward with energy reform.

SkyPower and Grupo Uribe are committed to providing renewable energy solutions that will support the Government of Mexico's ambitious goals to increase energy accessibility for Mexicans and feed its growing manufacturing sector. The combined strength of SkyPower's wealth of global experience in developing utility-scale solar parks and Grupo Uribe's long-standing credible presence in the Mexican energy sector enables the joint venture to rapidly deploy its capital and resources in order to immediately execute on large-scale solar development opportunities to align with Mexico's demand for solar.

"SkyPower is truly excited to be a part of this historical change in the energy sector for Mexico, which will undoubtedly create new jobs and stimulate economic growth and development in both rural and urban communities around the country," said Kerry Adler, President and Chief Executive Officer of SkyPower.

"Grupo Uribe looks forward to this strategic partnership with SkyPower, a truly global company that is committed to deploying renewable energy solutions for Mexico," said Fabian Uribe of Grupo Uribe. "Our collective strengths will allow us to harness the vast solar energy potential in Mexico with agility and speed."

Charles Cohen, Executive Vice President and Global Head of Development said, "This is another remarkable moment in the history of SkyPower and it makes me proud to see this joint venture between two incredible companies who are committed to making a positive difference in addressing issues related to climate change and providing access to electricity for those who need it the most."

SunPower and Freedom Solar Bring Clean Energy to Sustainable Food Center in Austin, TX

AUSTIN, TX --(eSolarEnergyNews)-- SunPower and SunPower Elite Dealer Freedom Solar announced today the completion of a 14 kilowatt solar power system for Austin's Sustainable Food Center at a ribbon cutting ceremony attended by Mayor Steve Adler.

Sustainable Food Center cultivates a healthy community by strengthening the local food system and improving access to nutritious, affordable food. The nonprofit organization hosts four farmers markets, provides organic food gardening classes, interactive cooking classes and nutrition education, and supports area farmers', all in the Austin area.

"Through our programs we work to get local, sustainably grown food into the hands of more people every day, which improves individual, environmental and economic health, and provides critical support for local family farms," said Ronda Rutledge, executive director of Sustainable Food Center. "We're grateful to SunPower and Freedom Solar for their generous donation, and expect the system to offset about 25 percent of our electrical usage and reduce our electricity costs by 40 percent or more. This will allow us to use those savings to enhance programs that the community has come to rely on for access to healthy and affordable food."

The donated solar power system is composed of 36 high-efficiency SunPower® solar panels, the most efficient and reliable solar panels available on the market today. Freedom Solar employees volunteered their time to design and install the system. Operating since 2007, Freedom Solar, a SunPower Elite Dealer, has installed over 11 megawatts of solar panels for residential and corporate customers in the Austin area including Whole Foods, Office Depot and the University of Texas.

"We believe in providing a healthy environment across Texas," said Adrian Buck of Freedom Solar. "We're proud to partner with SunPower to give back to the community and provide a healthy, clean environment across Central Texas."  

"SunPower leads the industry in environmental sustainability, and we're pleased to help the Sustainable Food Center continue cultivating a healthy community and supporting sustainable farming here in our own backyard," said Mike Kienitz, vice president supply chain operations at SunPower. "We look forward to this donation having a long-lasting impact in Austin, which more than 250 SunPower employees are proud to live and work."

SunPower, a global solar technology and services company, has had offices in Austin since 20

SolarCity to Offer Service in Vermont

BURLINGTON, VT --(eSolarEnergyNews)--  SolarCity, America is making its popular solar service available to Vermont homeowners for the first time. SolarCity will make it possible for many Vermont residents to install solar with no upfront cost and pay less for solar electricity than they pay for utility power, even without local incentives. Customers can go solar for as little as $30 per month, with design, installation, financing, insurance, monitoring and a performance guarantee included.

SolarCity began taking orders from Vermont residents today, and expects to begin installing before the end of summer. The company's services will initially be available to customers of Burlington Electric and Green Mountain Power.

SolarCity plans to open an operations center in the Burlington area soon and has already begun to hire for local positions in installation and sales. Vermont is the 19th state where SolarCity offers service and the fifth in New England, joining Connecticut, Massachusetts, New Hampshire and Rhode Island. SolarCity employs over 1,000 people in New England.

Candidates interested in employment opportunities in Vermont can review available positions and contact SolarCity directly via its online jobs form at www.solarcity.com/jobs.

Area homeowners interested in SolarCity's services can contact the company directly at 1-888-SOL-CITY (1-888-765-2489) for a free, no-obligation solar consultation or visit SolarCity online.