SolarSummary: January 21 – 27, 2003

by Kirsten Elder

Companies in the news

ICP Solar Technologies:
Intersolar Ltd:
Konarka :
Proton Energy Systems:
S.A.G. Solarstrom:
Sanyo Electric Co.:
Sharp Electronics Corp:
Spire Solar Chicago:
Suntechnics Fabrisolar:
Tata BP Solar:
Xantrex Technology:

Emerging Technologies

The chemical manufacturer, Dai-Ichi Kogyo Seiyaku and Mitsui have announced the formation of a Joint Venture to develop a new organic solar cell. The Joint Venture will have an initial capital of two hundred million Yen ($1.5M) and be based in Kyoto. The shareholding will be 65 percent Dai-Ichi Kogyo Seiyaku and 35 percent Mitsui. The goal is to start manufacture of the cells by autumn 2004. (, 22/01/03)

New Products

Xantrex Technology is introducing a new inverter/charger for off-grid homes and backup power systems. The Xantrex Sine Wave Plus Inverter/Charger (SW Plus) is available in 24 and 48-volt versions with a continuous power output of 2.5 kW. It has a suggested list price of US$2,299. (, 22/01/03)


One of the UK’s biggest solar-powered roofs is about to become active at the Gaia Energy centre in Cornwall. The 400,000 roof measures 520 sq m and was funded by the Department of Trade and Industry and the European Union. Any excess energy will be fed back into the national grid. (BBC News online, 20/01/03)

A 1.2 MW solar PV installation has been inaugurated in Spain. The facility, promoted by EHN, is the largest solar power station in the country in terms of installed capacity. Two thirds of the facility corresponds to the central area, with the aim of obtaining the maximum possible energy using BP Solar panels. The rest of the plant corresponds to the distributed generation area, which is designed for experimental purposes. It contains 120 trackers with 2,522 panels of eleven different types. These are produced by nine manufacturers and represent five different PV technologies including polycrystalline, monocrystalline, amorphous silicon, CIS fine film and triple layer. (, 23/01/03)

Suntechnics Fabrisolar has installed three PV systems in the Swiss ski resort of St Moritz. St Moritz benefits from an average of 322 sunny days per year making it an ideal location for solar photovoltaic power. In addition to the sun conditions, the snow reflectivity can increase electricity performance. The electricity generated is being fed in to the St Moritz electricity grid. (Suntechnics via, 27/01/03)

A 15 million-CFA (US$25,000) Solar Energy in Schools project will provide electricity to a dozen educational institutions in rural areas of Senegal. The project is funded by the UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO) and aims to provide a constant supply of electricity, particularly during peak times. The installation
of solar panels could also provide schools with new uses, such as nightly adult literacy classes and other educational, or sports, activities. (IPS News via, 20/01/03)


A “friendly rivalry” between Tucson Electric Power Co. and Phoenix-based APS looks likely to strengthen Arizona’s position as a centre for solar activity. TEP, which owns and operates the world’s second-largest PV solar generating site, is hoping to surpass the current solar leader, an Italian power station, by 2004. However APS is on target to top TEP’s solar efforts in 3 to 5 years, although TEP hopes to regain the lead. Competition between the two Arizona utilities will offer residential consumers and businesses cheaper and more efficient solar panels, and help the solar industry grow due to increased product demand, according to TEP officials. (Arizona Daily Star via CNN Money, 22/01/03)

An association of countries in the Caribbean will hire a consultant to identify renewable energy projects in the region as part of the Caribbean Renewable Energy Development Project. CARICOM will provide expert technical assistance to identify projects and undertake feasibility studies to promote development of more projects. The coalition wants to lever US$4 million of GEF funding over four years, with additional funding from the German GTZ for $2.2 million. (Refocus Weekly, 22/01/03)

Investment and Finance

Gov. Mitt Romney has announced he will tap a public renewable energy trust fund to give $9 million in loans and grants to five Massachusetts-based renewable energy businesses, including one firm he refused to name publicly, citing federal trade regulations. The trust fund has about $150 million in it. Romney plans to take about 10 percent, or $15 million, to create a separate Green Energy Fund to provide capital, loans and management assistance. The four companies named by Romney include: Konarka, a solar technology company ($1.5 million loan); Nuvera, a fuel cell company ($1.5 million grant and loan); Ameresco, a landfill gas facility ($2 million clean energy agreement); and Acumentrics, another fuel cell company ($1.5 million loan). The largest of the grants, $2.5 million, will go to the unnamed company. (WBZ via, 23/01/03)

Dutch cooperative Rabobank has signed an agreement with the government to become a financial intermediary for projects aimed at reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 10 million tonnes. Over the next two years, Rabo will close contracts in developing countries on behalf of the Dutch government for sustainable energy projects. Rabo said it would use its international network to trace Clean Development Mechanism (CDM) projects such as wind parks, biomass powered energy plants and solar energy projects in the developing countries. No financial details of Rabo’s agreement with the Dutch state were disclosed. (Planet Ark [Reuters], 23/01/03)

Policy and Incentives

ComEd has partnered with Spire Solar Chicago to encourage Chicago City residents to take advantage of the rebates offered as part of the Photovoltaic Incentive Program (PIP). Through PIP, individuals and organisations will be eligible for ComEd rebates on grid-tied solar electric systems purchased from Spire Solar Chicago. Systems must be 1 to 50 kW of direct current nameplate capacity and installed within the City. The rebates are offered through 2004 or while funds are available. Rebates are $1,250 per kW in 2003 and $1,000 per kW in 2004. (, 24/01/03)

Industry Reports and Events

Both Uni-Solar and Sharp Electronics Corp are showcasing their solar energy products at the Las Vegas Convention Centre during the 2003 International Builders’ Show. Uni-Solar will have on display its SmartRoof solar energy systems, whilst Sharp Electronics will showcase a range of one-of-a-kind products in the home entertainment, appliance and solar energy categories. (, 22/01/03)

Elsewhere in Solar

The State University College of Technology at Delhi is to receive a $143,000 grant from the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority after posting information regarding a photovoltaic installer course for students on the Delhi Tech website. Delhi is one of only three recipients chosen by NYSERDA to become an accredited institution for photovoltaic training by the Institute for Sustainable Power, the only accredited agency for photovoltaic installation. (The Daily Star via, 27/01/03)

Corporate News

ICP Solar Technologies Inc. has acquired the assets of Intersolar Ltd, the only PV manufacturer in the UK. The acquisition includes a 3MW thin-film amorphous solar cell manufacturing plant as well as the Electra-slate roof tile technology and all other patents previously held by Intersolar. ICP Solar Technologies Inc is the parent company of a group of companies including ICP Global Technologies, which develops, manufactures and markets advanced solar powered products for non-distributed residential, portable and mobile consumer markets. ICP Group is a privately owned holding and is headquartered in Montreal, Canada. (, 23/01/03)

S.A.G. Solarstrom AG, the large German solar electricity generator, and K & S Unternehmensgruppe, a solar project developer, have announced that they are moving ahead with plans to create a total of 10 MW of installations in Germany in March 2003. The seven projects, each of 1.5MW, will be located in a group of villages in the Neumarkt region of Northern Bavaria. Private financing of 45 million for the total project is being finalised over the forthcoming months and product supply to the first projects has now been selected. The installations will all be on open land, rather than the roofs of buildings. (, 21/01/03)

Sanyo Electric Co., Ltd. has announced it will establish a new factory for the production of photovoltaic cells and modules. The new factory to be built in Osaka is scheduled to begin production of HIT 1 (Heterojunction with Intrinsic Thin layer) photovoltaic cells and HIT photovoltaic modules beginning January 2004. Sanyo’s new PV cell plant will increase production capacity by two times over current production levels enabling the company to better meet future market needs of the continually expanding photovoltaic market. (, 27/01/03)

Tata BP S
olar, a joint solar-powered equipment venture between India’s leading Tata group and US-based BP Solar, has said it aims to triple its exports revenues in two years. “Two years ago the plant capacity to make solar-powered equipment was 12 MW and this year we aim to increase it to 25 MW and in another two years to 38 MW,” A K Vora, managing director of Tata BP Solar India Ltd, told reporters. “The exports are planned to increase from 1.3 billion rupees ($27 million) last year to 5bn rupees within two years” , Vora said. In the last fiscal year, the company exported 55 percent of its sales mainly to Europe and the US. (Gulf Daily News via, 21/01/03)

Proton Energy Systems, Inc., a leader in hydrogen generation and fuel cell technology and products, has announced the award of a $375,000 contract to develop a 1 kW regenerative solar/Proton Exchange Membrane (PEM) fuel cell demonstration system. The contract, with Jacobs Sverdrup Technology, Inc., a subcontractor to the US Navy, is to support testing at the Naval Air Weapons Station at China Lake, California. ( via, 24/01/03)


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Contact: Kirsten Elder
Delphi International Ltd.
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