Solar Energy

Articles related to Solar Energy

April 4, 2011

Pros and Cons of Renewable Energy – A Detailed Explanation

Renewable Energy is one of the most read about and discussed topics in the world however various misconceptions remain about the advantages and disadvantages of renewable energy.Note Renewable Energy is a a very large topic and encompasses many different alternative energy forms which have their own distinct pros and cons.A Better Way to understand and explain Renewable Energy would be to look at each different forms of Clean Energy like Solar,Wind,Nuclear,Hydro,Tidal,Biomass and Geothermal Energy.Renewable Energy itself compared to Fossil Fuel forms of Non-Renewable Energy has substantial advantages and some disadvantages as well the biggest of which is Cost.Also note Fossil Fuel Energy has got a massive established base,industry and lobby.
April 3, 2011

Solar Panel Costs – Understanding Percentage Breakdown of Component,Part Costs for a Solar System

Economically also Solar Panels are starting to approach retail electricity prices in number of places in the world.Large scale solar power plants are already selling power at 10-15c/KwH which is lower than the retail electricity prices in most places.Still competition between solar panel manufacturers,improving technology and scale are making solar panel costs come down at a rapid pace.In fact Solar Panel prices have declined by more than 50% from 2008 end to 2010 and are expected to fall by an average rate of 10% in the coming years as well.However Solar Panels are seldom bought by the customers directly but are rather bought by the solar system installers/contractors.However its a good idea to know about the costs of solar panels and systems that you are paying for and not get fleeced by unscrupulous solar installers.
April 2, 2011

List of Solar Companies By Country (Japan, Korea, China, Germany, India and USA)

Solar Industry is one of the fastest growing industries on the planet and the number of companies in the industry have increased dramatically attracted by the strong growth prospects and low entry barriers.The easy availability of solar producing equipment and low capital requirements for small companies have led to a mushrooming of the number of players in the industry.Its possible to set up a small 30 MW module production factory for as low an investment as $10 million or lower.Though the value add of a pure play solar panel production factory is low and the competetive position quite questionable nonetheless there are hundreds if not thousands of such small module producers in the world right now.Other parts of the crystalline silicon supply chain have also got a number of players though the technology and captial requirements are much higher.Listing out all the solar companies in the world is a difficult task and somewhat useless as well as many of these small scale solar companies will not exist in a few years as competition keeps intensifying.Consolidation in the solar industry will ensue sometime or the other and lead to a much smaller and sustainable industry.
April 1, 2011

Solar Panels Efficiency – Range,Technology Dependence,Companies with Highest Efficient Solar Modules

The Companies that make the Solar Panels with the highest efficiences are Sunpower and Panasonic/Sanyo.Sunpower has the highest efficient solar modules in the market using a properietary process and has solar cells with efficiency reaching a top limit of 24%.Sanyo also has very efficient solar panels under the HIT brand name.These solar panels also approach the 18% range (solar modules not cells).Normal crystalline plain vanilla solar panels come in the range of 13-14%.Note solar modules have lower efficiency than solar cells as some area is left for the frame etc.There are other companies that are fast catching up to Sunpower and Sanyo in the high efficiency solar panels as well.Note higher efficiency solar panels sell at higher prices per watt as the require lesser area.AUO which has a JV with Sunpower has recently claimed to have produced the higher efficiency solar panel .
April 1, 2011

US Exim Bank supports Amercian Solar Companies through cheap vendor financing in a straight fight with Chinese State Banks

One of the major reasons for the Chinese success in the export markets in Asia and Africa have been the massive vendor financing done by state owned Chinese banks.Large orders have been won by Chinese companies like Dongfang Electric and Huawei as Chinese Banks financed the multi billion Indian orders by cheap loans.Note in large project finance cases cheap loans can make a huge difference in project returns and can be the clincher in choosing the equipment supplier.The US Exim Bank too seems to be pulling up its socks in helping American companies win large equipment orders through vendor financing.Note the US Exim Bank had got involved in a huge controversy when it agreed to finance a utlra mega power plant based on coal energy by Reliance Power in India.Despite protests by environmentalists,Exim Bank had gone ahead in financing as it would lead to jobs in America.Note USA is one of the biggest laggards in climate change and the government does not really care much out there.
March 31, 2011

Advantages of Green Clean Renewable Energy – Complete List to Solar,Wind,Biomass Geothermal,Hydro,Nuclear and Tidal Energy Pros

The importance of Clean and Renewable Energy is growing driven by the twin factors of increasing fossil fuel prices and Global Warming.Other factors contributing to the importance and growing use of Alternative Energy is national energy security as geopolitical tensions in major oil and gas countries grows by the day.Also renewable sources of energy like solar energy promote the democratization of energy production which is centralized by power utilities today.There are a number of alternative sources of energy such as solar,wind,geothermal,tidal,hydro and nuclear energy.Some people may not consider nuclear and hydro energy to be green but it is a fact that these 2 energy sources do not produce GHG emissions and cannot be classified as fossil fuels sources.Each clean energy source has its own advantages and many of the pros overlap with each other as well.However each Green Energy source has its unique benefits which define and separate it from the other clean sources.While Renewable Energy advantages over Non-Renewable can be easily be understood as
March 31, 2011

Net Metering – Definition,Guide to this Electricity Policy,Fake Feed in Tariffs,Importance of Solar Net Metering

Net Metering is a very important Electricity Policy for the promotion of Distributed Electricity Production from Renewable Energy Sources especially Solar Energy.All consumer establishments connected to the power grid have an electricity meter installed which measure the amount of power consumed during a month in Kilowatt Hours (KwH) which is known as one unit.The power utility compiles the data for power consumption during 1 month and sends a bill which is usually the number of KwH multiplied by the retail electricity rate which can vary widely from 10c/KwH to around 35c/KwH depending on the geography.
March 31, 2011

How to make Solar Panels – Why its Stupid to Build your own DIY Solar Systems

Solar Panels have become a mass phenomenon as Bloomberg reported a few days ago rivaling in explosive growth the Apple iPad. Falling prices of solar panels […]
March 31, 2011

Green Companies in India – Biomass,Solar,Wind,Geothermal,Hydroelectricity Energy Producers,Alternative Energy Utilities

India's Green Companies are seeing tremendous growth backed by the nation's massive energy demand increase.The 8% Plus Economic Growth coupled with the already massive electricity deficit which makes brownouts of 8 hours a day normal in many places in the country provides the macro background underpinning the growth.India's Green Industry is still in a nascent state compared to the massive solar and wind industries in countries like China and Germany.However attracted by the massive potential a number of companies small and large have entered the fray.Most of India's large energy groups,utilities have already established a small presence or are in process of doing so.While Wind Energy is the largest Renewable Energy Industry in India after HydroElectricity,Geothermal Energy is non-existent without a single large commercial plant.Biomass Energy is quite well developed and Solar Energy is the fastest growing Green Industry.Here is a comprehensive list of the Green Companies in India operating in the different Alternative Energy Sectors.
March 31, 2011

China to boost Solar at expense of Nuclear Energy in Fukushima aftermath

China which has the most ambitious growth planned for nuclear energy is already rethinking its target 3 weeks after the Fukushima plant in Japan started spewing out radioactivity.Note there has been a strong global backlash against nuclear energy around the world and 7 nuclear plants in Germany have been closed all but in name.Other countries like South Korea,Italy,Switzerland are rethinking of what do about their nulcear reactors giving the massive tail risks with nuclear generation.Already 2 earlier nuclear disasters in Chernobyl and Three Mile Island had massively damaged the surrounding ecosystem poisoning humans and animals alike with radiation.Japan too may see its land areas near the reactors be quarantined for many years as TEPCO has failed to control the nuclear plant and government will probably pour concrete.
March 30, 2011

Solar and Wind – Competition and Cooperation between the these Dominant Renewable Energy Sources

Solar and Wind Energy are the two most widely used forms of Renewable Energy amongst others like Geothermal,Tidal,Biomass etc.While Hydro and Nuclear Energy are also considered by some to be Alternative forms of Energy,most governments do not count these two in their renewable targets.Wind Energy has been the dominant amongst the 2 in the last 2 decades as falling prices of Wind Power has made it more widely used.However the rapidly declining costs of Solar Energy has made it the faster growing of the two with 50% annual growth being seen in the last decade.Solar Energy also has a much larger potential than any other form of Energy.However its higher costs have inhibited its growth till now,however the entry of low cost Asian producers and fast technology innovation has already brought solar power on parity with fossil fuels in some places like Italy,Turkey,Hawai etc.
March 30, 2011

Solar Roof – What does it Mean (Solar Tiles,BIPV),Solar Shingle Companies,Advantages

Solar Roofs are a niche area but is growing in popularity with the entry of more and more companies selling products tailormade for this area.What are Solar Roofs exactly - does it mean a Roof with Solar Panels installed on it or something else.Solar Roofs are not roofs where solar electricity is generated by putting in solar mounting/racking systems and mainstream solar panels,rather they are roofs where specialized solar products called solar shingles are installed.Solar Roofs can also mean a roof where Building Integrated Photovoltaic products are installed.Some companies make BIPV products like flexible solar panels or organic/dye solar cell panels ( these are niche companies).
March 30, 2011

Sharp Solar – Why its Dumb to Buy Expensive Sharp Solar Panels

Sharp is the biggest company in the world in terms of making revenues from sales of solar panels so it seems counterintuitive for someone to recommend not buying Sharp Solar Panels.However this Japanese Conglomerate has been losing marketshare rapidly to cheaper Asian competitors.Sharp due to its factories in high cost locations makes solar panels at a much higher cost and sells them at much higher prices as well.The reason is that they manage to sell so many solar panels is that consumers are not educated about other better options and the other solar panel companies don't have the distribution networks.Note Sharp has been trying to diversify away from crystalline solar panels to thin film solar panels.The reason is that they are losing the competitive advantage to Chinese companies like Trina Solar and others.
March 29, 2011

Solar Panel Manufacturers – Guide to the Biggest and Best

Solar Panel Manufacturers globally have kept on increasing due to the fast growing nature of the industry and low entry barriers.However most of the solar panel manufacturers have high costs and low quality.Most of these producers have little growth prospects and are a bad choice to buy from as they might go bellyup.This would lead to a void of the 25 year warranty of the solar panels.So it makes sense only to buy from the biggest and best solar manufacturers in the world.Solar Panel Manufacturers are present in most parts of the world with Korea,China,Taiwan,USA,Japan and Germany dominating.However small solar panel producers are also present in most countries like Spain,Greece,India etc.Solar Panels are of mainly 2 type - crystalline and thin film.Most of the solar panels produced today are of the crystalline type and are mostly used in residential rooftops.Thin film panels are mostly used in large ground solar power plants.Thin film solar panels are of lower efficiency and are lower priced as well.However falling costs of crystalline solar panels has led to their increasing dominance.
March 29, 2011

Cheap Solar Panels – Five Most Affordable Solar Panel Brands

Cheap Solar Panels are widely available with the entry of a multitude of Korean,Chinese and Taiwanese companies.Most of these solar panel manufacturers are fighting on price and have decent quality.With little to differentiate between solar panels made by different firms,cheapness has become the main selling point for these solar panels.Cheap Solar Panels can be bought by an informed customers as expensive Western and Japanese brands still hold a large marketshare.But buying these brands might not make sense economically or environmentally.You can easily avoid buying solar panels from BP Solar because they outsource manufacturing of their solar panels to cheaper locations.It is common sense to buy cheaper solar panels from the companies located in those low cost locations.
March 28, 2011

Disadvantages of Solar Power – Overpowered by the Pros of Solar Energy

Solar Power has been the fastest growing energy source in the last decade showing a compounded annual growth of over 50%.In 2010 alone,solar energy demand grew by almost 150% beating the most optimistic forecasts as costs kept on declining for this renewable energy source.While Solar Power continues to be one of the most expensive forms of energy,it is also the energy source where the costs are declining rapidly.However detractors of this alternative energy source keep pointing to its drawbacks.Note the Disadvantages of Solar Power are far overpowered by the Pros of Solar Energy.However the drawbacks of Solar Power do exist.Here are the Disadvantages of Solar Power .
March 28, 2011

Free Solar Panels – They don't Exist and Why you should not Confuse Free with Government Subsidies

Free Solar Panels don't exist just as Free iPads don't exist.Some websites and companies advertize free solar power or free solar panels based on government subsidies.Note even these free solar power offers are not completely free as they have a payback periods depending on how much government subsidies are given.Nobody is going to give you a free solar panel or a free iPad without a catch.
March 28, 2011

BP Solar Panels – Why you Should Avoid Buying Them (Environment,Pricing)

British Petroleum (BP) the multi billion dollar Oil and Gas Conglomerate is a strange player in the Renewable Energy Sector of Solar Energy.BP was a dominant company amongst the top 10 global manufacturers of solar panels till a few years ago.However the lack of interest on the part of management,low investment,lack of R&D has made it a bit player in the fast growing solar panel market.Companies which did not exist till a few years ago have outpaced BP to become top solar panel producers.However BP Solar Panels continue to sell in a number of market because of existing sales relationships and brand name.However it is only uneducated and uninformed consumers who are buying BP Solar Panels in my opinion.BP Solar Panels should be avoided both from an economic point of view and from the environment perspective.
March 19, 2011

Another Chinese Conglomerate Linuo decides to build a massive gigawatt scale Solar Panel factory

While Chinese pure play solar panels companies have already captured a majority of the global solar module market,the entry of newer Chinese players into the solar energy market refused to stop.China's 5 largest state owned utilities have already made their presence felt in the Chinese domestic solar installation market by bidding extremely low to win projects under the Chinese Solar Subsidy program.Automotive companies like BYD have also announced a big investment into solar panel manufacturing while Hanlong and Bluestar Groups have decided to invest in the CPV and Polysilicon sectors respectively.
March 19, 2011

Germany Solar Energy Market World's Biggest – Green Subsidies fuel growth German Photovoltaic Panel,Cell,Inverter Manufacturers

German's Solar Energy Market is the biggest in the world by a fair margin.Germany installed almost 6 gigawatts of solar panels in 2010 taking the total installed capacity to almost 16 GW which is 40% of the world's total installed solar capacity.Note Germany's Photovoltaic Solar Electricity now forms almost 10-15% of the total electricity production in the country at peak time.Note Germany's solar industry got a renewed boost when 7 old nuclear plants were shutdown following Japan's Fukushima Nuclear Disaster recently.Previously Germany had decided to extend the operating life of its Nuclear Plants despite stiff opposition.Germany Solar Subsidy which is framed under the Renewable Energy EEG law has made Germany one of the world's leaders in Wind,Solar and Biomass Energy.Germany's Manufacturing Industry has benefited from the strong domestic market with many of the world's top solar panel companies located there.Solar equipment,inverters and cell companies are also present in large numbers.Recently Germany amended its Feed in Tariff Law to slowdown the exponential growth in solar panel installations.This is over and above the regular reduction in solar subsidies done each year.
March 17, 2011

China Solar Booming – Chinese Solar Panels Prices, Cost, Review, Types, Best Manufacturers

China's Solar Industry is the biggest in the world with 5 of the biggest Solar Panel Manufacturers being Chinese.The low costs of Chinese Solar Panels have made them capture almost 40% of the world's market in 2010 up from almost 0% in 2005.The remarkable growth in the Chinese Solar Panel Industry has been due to the supportive government,low labour and capital costs and aggressive competition.This has made the higher cost solar panel manufactures cut their prices in order to retain their marketshare.Trina Solar has shown the best growth amongst the solar panel producers and it now competes with Suntech which is the world's biggest solar panel producer.China has also got a number of Tier 2 and Tier 3 producers of solar panels.These small solar panel companies sell mostly in the spot market and quote very low prices.The quality of the solar panels of smaller companies is also suspect.Due diligence and Review of Solar Panels is necessary in order to Buy Solar Panels from China.
March 15, 2011

Taiwan Solar Energy Challenging China – Taiwanese Solar Cell,Wafer,Panel,Inverter Manufacturers following the Semi Success Path

The Taiwanese Solar Industry has become the 2nd largest in the world following in the footsteps of China.Taiwanese Solar Industry has a longer history than the Chinese with Solar Cell Makers Motech and E-Ton establishing themselves globally way back in 2006.However the steep fall in solar panel prices following the Lehman crisis had led to losses for these companies as the Chinese companies surged ahead using their low cost manufacturing.The crisis also led to the emergence of newer Taiwanese companies like Gintech,Neo Solar which are growing at extremely fast rates.Note Taiwan is a hub of semiconductor manufacturing with leading companies like TSMC,AUO,UMC,HTC etc.Solar Industry uses many of the same technologies,raw materials and techniques common to semiconductor and Display Panels Production giving Taiwanese firms a natural advantage.Taiwan has been predominantly present in the crystalline Solar Cell part of the supply chain and lacks a big manufacturer of polysilicon ( though a facility has been started).The lack of vertical integration has also made the costs of the Taiwanese industry higher.The entry of large companies like AUO,TSMC has further increased the competition in the Taiwanese market.Note Taiwan's government has also promoted the use of solar energy in the country through the use of a Feed in Tariff program.
March 15, 2011

Why the Japanese Nuclear Accident should result in Huge Boost to Solar Energy

This Nuclear Energy Disaster in the Age of Twitter and Facebook will vehemently increase the opposition to the setting up of big Nuclear Plants.The Radiation Leak and subsequent health hazards will make it impossible for a Nuclear Reactor to be located except in very remote areas like the Sahara Desert.NIMBY protests are going to almost kill the Nuclear Industry in the next decade at least in democracies.The Nuclear Industry will take a long time in establishing its trust amongst the citizens.Without Nuclear Energy,the other major forms of Renewable Energy ,Solar and Wind Energy have to gain.Already Switzerland and Germany are deferring the planning and extension of Nuclear Energy.Other countries are putting safety reviews.Note the costs of environment regulation and nuclear waste disposal are already quite high.This will make new nuclear plants uneconomical as they are already facing huge cost overruns . Ask Areva in Finland and Constellation in the US.
March 15, 2011

Uses of Tidal Energy – Tidal Electricity the Biggest One

Tidal Energy is one of the many forms of Renewable Energy like Solar,Wind and Geothermal Energy.Tidal Energy is derived from the movement of Waves or Tides due to the Gravitational Attraction of the Earth and the Moon.Tidal Energy is a form of Gravitational Energy which can be used to do Work or be converted in other forms of Energy.Tidal Energy is still an immature technology with advancements in Tidal Energy not as rapid as other forms of Renewable Energy.While esoteric and path breaking approaches are being developed to harness the freely available renewable wave and tidaly energy,the full commercial development is still some way away.On the other hand,Tidal Barrages is a mature technology though its development too has been slow because of high investment and long building time.Here are the uses of Tidal Energy.
March 14, 2011

Korean Solar Energy Set to Explode due to the Greenest Government and Chaebols Hanwha,Hyundai,Posco,Samsung,LG

The South Korean Government is the Greenest government in the world without a doubt.The Korean government not only implement the biggest green stimulus but has also heavily promoted the use of Green Industry in Korea and amongst its industries.As a result South Korean Chaebols like Samsung,LG,Hanwha,Hyundai are making massive investments into Wind,Solar,Tidal,Nuclear Energy and Elective Vehicles,Batteries etc.A common theme running across these companies is their strong investments into the crystalline silicon solar supply chain.Hanwha has already become one of the biggest manufacturers of solar panels in the world by acquiring Chinese producer Solarfun while OCI Chemicals is set to become the biggest producer of polysilicon in the world.South Korea has also one of the most generous Solar Feed in Tariff Programs in the world to encourage solar panel installation in the country.While the subsidy ran into a hiccup,Korean Solar Energy is set to grow again as the government pushes Solar Energy Strongly.Here are a list of the major Korean Solar Companies.
March 13, 2011

Disadvantages of Wind Power – A Rebuttal as the Selfish Delay Wind Farms to Death

Wind Power has come under attack in the USA focused around the Cape Wind Project off the eastern shore.The project which was conceived over 10 years ago has not managed to still build the Wind Farm due to countless number of lawsuits filed for myriad reasons most of which are quite groundless.However some of the reasons have some solid facts behind the opposition to Wind Energy.Note Wind Energy unlike other forms of fossil fuel energy should have much less opposition however it is not so.Unlike Coal,Gas and Oil Energy it does not lead to increase in Greenhouse Gas Emissions and contribute to pollution.It does not lead to deaths of hundreds of miners each year nor has the danger of a catastrophic nuclear meltdown leading to death and disability of thousands.It also does not have the drawback of massive ocean pollution leading to an ecological disaster.However there are still protests against building of Wind Power Capacity and this article examines them in details.At the outset let me mention that advantages of Wind Power far outweighs the Disadvantages.
March 10, 2011

Solar Stocks 2011 (First Solar Stock,Chinese Solar Energy Stocks,Solar ETFs) List in US,Europe,Asia Stock Markets – Good time to Buy

Solar Companies have proliferated in the last decade as the Solar Energy Industry has seen a 50% CAGR in the past 10 years exploding by almost […]
March 10, 2011

Soitec to build world's biggest solar power CPV plant in Imperial County

CPV companies have recently started winning some utility scale power plant projects in recent times with Amonix wining a deal to supply 30 MW for a project being built for Xcel Energy.Now speciality wafer French company Soitec subsidiary Concentrix has won a massive 150 MW solar plant order from Tenaska Solar Ventures to produce 150 MW which will be supplied to Californian utility San Diego Gas & Electric under a PPA signed earlier.Note California has a RPS to generate 33% of its electricity from Renewable Energy Sources.Soitec will also build a new factory in the San Diego region to manufacture its proprietary CPV modules with 200 MW capacity.Note this will be the largest CPV plant in the world when built by 2015 much bigger than any CPV plant on the drawing board right now.This also pushes Soitec ahead of the other US CPV companies like Amonix,Solfocus
March 10, 2011

Indian Green News – Gujarat sees Solar Delays,Gamesa to increase investment,Leitner Shriram to sell 3 MW in Europe

Interest in India's Renewable Sector is growing by the day with massive potential in Wind,Solar,Biomass and Nuclear Energy.Renewable Energy in India is going to more than quadruple in capacity over the next decade providing amply growth and profit opportunities.Foreign and domestic makers are already making a beeline to the Indian market to get a first mover advantage.Here are some of the main news in the Green Industry Space in India
March 8, 2011

Japan Solar Energy – Future Growth driven by METI and 7 Zaibatsus (Sharp,Panasonic,Mitsubishi,Honda,Mitsui,Toshiba,Kyocera)

Solar Energy in Japan has a long future dating back to 1994 when the government introduced capital subsidies to boost solar energy installations on rooftops.Till 2004,Japan was the largest solar market in the world after which it was overtaken by Germany.After 2004,the growth in the solar industry tapered off as the government reduced the subsidies for solar panels to almost zero.The huge domestic market gave rise to Japanese companies like Sharp,Mitsubishi,Kyocera,Panasonic-Sanyo become top solar panel producers in the world.However the low cost Chinese solar module producers have pushed back most of the Japanese companies.Since the last year,the Japanese government has again started giving generous solar subsidies and feed in tariff to boost the renewable energy production in the country which remains far off targets.This has led Japan to become the top non-European market after USA and the growth seems set to continue in the future as well.Japan has relatively low installations costs and is much nearer to grid parity.Also lack of wind energy makes solar energy more attractive as a renewable energy choice.While large scale solar installations in Japan are almsot absent,there remain large numbers of rooftop solar installations.