SolarSummary: November 19-25, 2002

by Kirsten Elder

Companies in the news

BP Solar:
Carmanah Technologies:
Gamesa Solar:
Spire Solar Chicago:
Sunteg Energy AG:
ThyssenKrupp Stahl:
Yunnan Semiconductor:

Emerging Technologies

Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory has reported a discovery that it claims could dramatically improve the efficiency of electricity generating solar panels. The research lab, based in California, has been working with crystal-growing teams at Cornell University and Japan’s Ritsumeikan University. Together they claim their research has led to a single system of alloys incorporating indium, gallium and nitrogen that can convert virtually the full spectrum of sunlight from the near infrared to the far ultraviolet to electrical current. If this is the case, then solar cells made with this alloy will be strong, relatively inexpensive and the most efficient ever produced. (, 18/11/02)

New Products

Heliotronics, a designer and developer of educational electronics and software for the PV industry, has introduced a new 600V current/voltage transducer. The new transducer addresses the industry trend toward higher voltage PV systems. (, 21/11/02)


The English city of Bristol is installing approximately 150 solar powered LED school crossing flashers worth $125,000. The Dual Flash IQ units were purchased from Carmanah Technologies Corporation of Canada through its UK-based distribution partner, Solagen, and represent the first larger scale purchase of this product. Carmanah has deliberately directed its R&D towards the European highways and public transportation sectors to take advantage of a market occupied by few suppliers. (, 20/11/02)

ThyssenKrupp Stahl has had a solar faade installed at one of its German facilities. The 50 kWp Solartec system using nanocrystalline silicon has been integrated into the green shades of the sheet metal in an attractive violet-coloured, wave-like pattern. “Despite the fact that the angle to the sun is not ideal, the systems [nanocrystalline silicon] modules achieve high performance values, says Ullrich Finger, Managing Director of ThyssenKrupp Bausysteme, Dinslaken, the company that makes the solar modules and a subsidiary of ThyssenKrupp Stahl. According to Finger, this technology can generate on average 20 percent more power than conventional crystalline module technology, which additionally have to be erected on the roof or front of the faade. (, 19/11/02)

San Francisco has announced the first of many solar projects as part of the $100 million voter-approved solar strategy to make the city a national leader in the utilisation of solar energy. The $7.4 million project to install solar panels on the roof of San Franciscos immense Moscone Convention Centre will cut the citys power bill by $639,000 annually, according to the Public Utilities Commission. Many other similar projects, on varying scales, are planned as the city aims towards a target to generate more than 10 MW of solar power each year.

Spire Solar Chicago has been contracted to supply solar PV electric systems to twelve new homes being constructed in the Chicago metropolitan area as part of the citys affordable housing development. Each system of 1,200 watts is expected to provide about one quarter of the electricity for each energy efficient house. (CNN Money, 21/11/02)

The remote region of Ladakh, situated in the Himalayas on the Indo-Tibetan border, received a major solar boost this summer. Under the first phase of a 3-phase, Rs 344-crore ($70 million) programme, subsidised by the Planning Commission and MNES (the Indian Ministry of Non-conventional Energy Sources), un
-electrified villages are being installed with 10,000 Solar Home Lighting Systems (SHLS). An additional 6,000 solar lanterns have been distributed to nomadic herdsman. However, unlike other similar projects carried out in Ladakh which have not been a huge success due to poor maintenance of the systems, this programme will see the end-user not only being charged a nominal fee for installation costs, but also having to pay towards maintenance and battery replacement. Effectively the systems are being rented to the end-user, rather than given for free and allowed to fall into a state of disrepair. This is also known as the fee-for-service concept, which has already been tried successfully in countries like Honduras, Morocco and South Africa. So far the programme has been well received, and the 10,000 SHLS are being installed in record time. (Auroville Renewable Energy via Delphi, 20/11/02)


The Association of the Photovoltaic Industry (ASIF) has warned the Spanish Federal Government that the current incentive rates are not enough and need to change if the Spanish national Plan of Promotion of Renewable Energy (PFER) is to succeed. In absence of any changes, ASIF say that only 30 MW of solar photovoltaics will be installed by 2010 instead of the 110 MW predicted levels. The president of ASIF even went so far as to express his doubts that the government really wants to fulfill the PFER. At the moment there is very little assistance for individuals wanting to install systems of less than 5 kW and the Spanish PV industry has already expressed its concern at the application process for grants saying it to be too complex and slow. (, 25/11/02)

Investments and Finance

Carmanah Technologies, in partnership with BC Hydro and British Columbia Institute of Technology, is one of eight recipients that will benefit from a grant from Sustainable Development Technology Canada (SDTC) to develop solar-powered LED edge-lit signs. SDTC is a federal program created in November 2001 as part of the Canadian governments commitment to support clean technology companies. Carmanah will receive CAN$500,000 from the SDTC grant, that contributes approximately 33 percent of the total cost of the project. (, 19/11/02)

Enersol Associates, a non-profit group based in Massachusetts has been exploring the idea of using small solar arrays to bring computers to rural schools in Latin American countries through their EduSol program. Enersol has said it has received many requests by communities, such as Sabana al Medio in the Dominican Republic, for EduSol projects and is currently seeking funding to meet the needs of these communities expressing interest in the EduSol Program. (, 19/11/02)

Policy and Incentives

Dr. Alan Whitehead MP, has told a Parliamentary debate that the development of Solar PV and CHP (combined heat & power) as urban sources [of energy] is essential if the UK is to increase security of its future energy supply and reduce its CO2 emissions. He argued that the UK is not taking full advantage of the opportunities available for utilising BIPV (building integrated photovoltaics) and CHP, considering the UK is one of the most urbanised countries in the western world, and offered suggestions for non-market mechanisms to develop these technologies. However, he has commended the government on its current mechanisms to stimulate the UK PV industry calling it good progress. Responding to Mr Whiteheads comments, the government said that if the first phase of the 3-year PV Major Demonstration Programme is successful in bringing down costs and building a UK industry, it is expected to be expanded into a full 10-year, 150 million programme, with a target of 70,000 to 100,000 roofs. (Greenpeace UK via Delphi, 21/11/02)

Industry Reports & Events

A report commissioned by Germanys leading solar industry association, UVS, has shown that the countrys solar energy equipment industry will have received private sector investment totaling $1 billion in 1998-2004, raising sales in the industry five times from 2001 levels. The extensive investments are mainly a result of the German government subsidy programmes that have created a significant sales market. The study showed that sales in the photovoltaics industry should rise to $1.6 billion by 2004 from about $320 million in 2001. (Planet Ark [Reuters], 25/11/02)

In the US, shipments of solar PV cells and modules expanded 11 percent to nearly 98,000 kWp in 2001, according to the Energy Information Administrations report, Renewable Energy Annual 2001. An 80 percent surge in domestic shipments to a record 36,310 kWp led this growth, but was tempered by the first decrease in PV exports in more than a decade. However, while solar shipments have increased, total renewable energy consumption dropped to the lowest level in over 12 years. (EarthVision Environmental News via Clean Edge News, 20/11/02)

Elsewhere in Solar

The southern Spanish region of Andaluca is to consider bringing into force legislation that would make it compulsory for all newly constructed buildings to be installed with solar thermal panels. It is anticipated that the new law may be approved by the Council of Government before summer 2003. If passed, Andaluca could see the installation of an additional million square metres of solar thermal panels. (, 18/11/02)

Corporate News

BP Solar has completed the expansion of its Australian solar PV plant, making it the largest solar manufacturing facility in the Southern Hemisphere. New automated machinery equipment worth US$12 million is expected to result in production increasing by 40 percent to an annual output of 35MW. BP Solar can foresee further expansion, though this is dependent on Australias residential and commercial grid-connected market really taking off. (BP Solar, 18/11/02)

As part of its strategic growth program, BP Solar has announced that it has ceased production of its thin film solar modules, and will instead concentrate solely on the manufacture of its crystalline-based products. In a statement, the companys CEO, Harry Shrimp said that it will now focus its resources on those markets and technologies that will offer the best probability of success. BP Solars two thin film manufacturing plants in California and Virginia have ceased production with the former being converted to serve as a warehouse, sales and distribution centre. It is not yet known what will happen to the Virginia plant. (BP Solar, 21/11/02)

Responding to news that BP Solar is shutting down its thin film manufacturing plants, PV marketer Sunteg Energy AG of Switzerland, which has focused exclusively on the sales of BP Solar’s thin film technologies, is evaluating closure or repositioning of its product and service offering. The company said that it has been surprised by the decision made by BP Solar, and for the year 2003 had expected sales of about 2 MW based on BP 850 thin film modules. Sunteg Energy AG will now evaluate the closure of its activities in the PV sector or try to identify a new strategic partner in the field. (Sunteg Energy via Solarbuzz, 25/11/02)

Gamesa of Spain has invested 4.78 million, through its subsidiary Gamesa Solar, in a 3 MW module assembly plant in Aznalcllar, Seville. The initial production capacity is expected to double by 2004 through a further investment of 4.78 million. Gamesa first announced its intention to enter the solar PV industry September last year, when it stated that it intended to work with Isofoton to secure its supply of solar cells. The activities of Gamesa Solar will span from the manufacture of solar modules to the execution of turnkey projects. (, 20/11/02)

Yunnan Semiconductor has won a contract under the Chinese National Brightness Program to construct solar PV installations, with a total capacity of 1,065 kW, in 50 villages in the Changdu District of Tibet. The programme aims to carry out major electrification projects to provide 8 million people with power by 2005. The Yunnan contract is worth RMB 100.27 million ($12.5 million) and is the largest project won by Yunnan’s high-tech companies outside the Yunnan province. (, 22/11/02)


Delphi International Ltd. is recognised for its role in helping establish and support the investment case for sustainable development in both OECD countries and emerging markets. Our experience of venture capital and early stage financing, together with considerable combined knowledge of the Water, Waste Management and Renewable Energy sectors, enable us to provide relevant strategic and business development advice to owners of ‘breakthrough’ technologies seeking expansion capital.

Understanding the expectation and requirements of Socially Responsible Investors, Delphi also works with both private institutions and multinationals to develop and advise innovative “green” funds or financing mechanisms. Our weekly SolarSummary, is an extract from our extensive research data base, aimed at the busy executive needing to keep track of the fast growing PV sector.

Contact: Kirsten Elder
Delphi International Ltd.
118 Piccadilly
London W1V 9FJ
Tel: +44 (0) 207 569 6831
Fax: +44 (0) 207 569 6832

(Visited 28 times, 1 visits today)

Post Your Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *