Solar Energy

Articles related to Solar Energy

March 8, 2011

List of USA Solar Installers/System Integrators/EPC Companies – Massive Growth Ahead

The US is the world's largest electricity producer and consumer with a total electricity capacity of around 1 Terawatt.The share of Solar Energy in the US Electricity Production is negligible compared to around 19% for Nuclear Energy and around 2-3% for Wind Energy.However Solar Energy in the US is set to grow at high double digits over the next 2 decades as the Costs of Solar Energy Decline with prices of other Energy Forms set to rise.In some states like Hawaii and California,solar energy prices are already at grid parity with retail electricity prices.Some states like New Jersey,Colorado,Arizona have seen sharp increases in solar energy adoption over the last 2-3 years boosted by state specific government policies and subsidies.With the US Federal 30% Cash Grant on System Costs and falling systems prices for solar systems,the growth in inevitable.The US Solar Market has seen the rise of a number of innovative and fast growing system integration and installers.Some companies have come up with innovative financial solutions to solve the high initial investment hurdles in solar systems through leasing and financing plans.Here are a list of Top US Installers/System Integrators.Note the list will keep expanding in the coming years as the size of the US Solar Energy Market Grows.
March 6, 2011

Telecom Towers in India (GTL,Indus,Viom) Put Lipstick on the Diesel Pig – How Government can Prod them to move to Renewable Energy

India has around 300,000 Telecom Towers around the country , a large portion of which is not connected to the electricity grid.Another large portion does not have access to reliable electricity implying they have to install backup power systems in order to run without interruptions.Diesel Generators have been the choice of telecom operators despite their high carbon imprint.This is because of the ease of buying and installing diesel generators as well as the lower fuel costs as the government in India heavily subsidizes diesel.Note India's Fossil Fuel Subsidies have led to hundreds of distortions in the economy.Corruption,Pilfering,Adulteration is carried out on a large scale due to government subsidies.In fact a senior government official was burnt alive by the Kerosene Mafia a direct outcome of this subsidy policy.But that is a separate issue.
March 6, 2011

Rooftop Solar Energy in Australia sees a Boom leading to Subsidy Cut Pressure in Spain,Czech Deja Vu

Other states are looking to do so as well.Like other Solar Subsidy Programs elsewhere in Czech,Germany,Spain,Australia too has seen solar energy costs fall much faster than subsidies.This has led to a boom in solar installations as the returns become very high.These costs are ultimately passed on the customer electricity bills drawing howls from the states.Large Wind Energy Producers like Origin Energy have also seen the prices of RECs decrease so that is not feasible to build new wind farm projects.On top of all this confusion,the Australian government can't make up its mind on a Carbon Tax which will help it to meet the 2020 20% Green Energy Target.
March 6, 2011

Tidal Energy in India – Government Better Off Focusing Energy on other Green Sources

India has been trying to build tidal power plants in order to take advantage of around 8 GW of potential tidal wave power capacity potential in India.Note Gujarat has been at the forefront of these efforts with most of the tidal power capacity Gulf of Cambay and Gulf of Kutch.While there have been reports of the go-ahead for these tidal energy plants,nothing concrete has come out of it .Note Tidal Energy is in a very immature stage compared to other forms of Renewable Energy like Solar,Wind and Biomass Energy.Tidal Energy like Wave Energy is still in the demo stage even in developed countries of the West where technology innovation is much higher.
March 5, 2011

Largest Photovoltaic Solar Farms – Are they Advantageous over Distributed Rooftop Solar and Why Utilities Love Them

Solar Farms or Giant Solar Power Projects consisting of thousand of solar panels installed on acres of land are increasing rapidly in the USA.While the European governments are discouraging the use of large installations of solar panels,the US is going the opposite way in installing these power plants.The US government recently approved of a number of Solar Thermal Power Projects worth several gigawatt recently.
March 5, 2011

France Solar Market becomes 7th largest in the world with 224% growth in 2010- To Double again in 2011

France has had a rocky relationship with solar energy.Unlike other European countries France gets a huge amount of electricity from renewable sources namely nuclear energy.Its electricity prices are one of the lowest and it even exports electricity to neighbors.So the driver for increasing solar electricity is quite low in France compared to others like Spain and Italy.However France has seen a massive boom in solar installations in 2010 making it the 7th largest market in the world.France installed over 720 MW of solar in 2010 and faces a massive backlog of applications.The government got overwhelmed and called a sudden stop to all applications.The French government stupidly blamed Chinese solar panels for the solar deluge when it was its faulty solar Feed in Tariff Policy which was too generous.
March 5, 2011

SkyFuel gets a CSP Contract in the highly protected Chinese Solar Market;Other Winners First Solar,eSolar yet to begin construction

Note China's Solar Market is a highly competitive and protected one with outside solar companies hardly having any presence similar to Japan's market.First Solar which signed a massive gigawatt contract to build a plant in Ordos has seen only delays as Chinese solar manufacturers opposed the plant.First Solar is still trying to build the plant signing a new JV with one of China's 5 big utilities.eSolar another CSP company got a contract to build a plant with China but till date construction does not seem to have begun there also.The Chinese government seems mostly interested in high-tech technology (First Solar,eSolar) rather than run of the mill players.Even these technology companies have failed to make much headway.Remains to be seen whether SkyFuel Succeeds.
March 5, 2011

More Evidence about Advantages of Solar PV vs Solar Thermal

I have been consistently writing that Solar PV has leapfrogged far ahead of Solar Thermal Technology in the last couple of years.The entry of the low cost Chinese with huge scale and the fall in polysilicon costs have suddenly made the future survival of Solar Thermal Technology suspect.The Solar Thermal Advantages of energy storage is also overrated because it is cheaper to add energy storage to Solar PV as the following article shows.Note Solar PV has many other advantages of Solar Thermal anyway.The Rapidly Declining Costs of Solar PV in fact pose a massive threat to all other forms of Solar Technology including Thin Film which has recently seen a number of players gone bankrupt.The recent conversion of Solar Thermal Plants by Tessera,the losses being made by Solar Millenium due to delays are further evidence of the decline and possible obsolescence of Solar Thermal Technology.
March 4, 2011

India Solar Subsidy JNNSM Guide – What you needed to know

The Indian Government’s launch of the ambitious Jawaharlal Nehru National Solar Mission(JNNSM) was done with much fanfare with a target of reaching 20 GW of Solar Capacity by 2022 under 3 phases from the 81 MW currently.While the government had the best intentions and had laid down a well defined 10 year plan with subsidy support for both Solar Thermal and Solar PV Technology,it has already run into problems.Due to high interest the government went in for bidding of projects which led to irrationally low bidding from unknown firms.This has put the entire exercise in question with the the biggest private utility saying JNNSM is a failure.Without extensions of deadlines it looks highly unlikely whether the 37 winners will actually put up the plants.
March 4, 2011

List of Major Solar Inverter Manufacturers – Competition Rising

Solar Inverters are a crucial component of the overall solar system accounting for around 10% of the overall costs.Solar inverters connect the solar panels to the grid converting the DC to AC which is used by the grid.Solar inverters have become highly sophisticated with features like optimization and monitoring etc.The efficiency of solar inverters are a major factor in their purchase as well as the quality and reliability.Inverters comes in various sizes and can be as large as 1 MW for utility applications.Unlike Solar Panels,the Solar Inverter Market is much less crowded though competition is growing as the size of the market increases rapidly.The ~$2.1 billion market in 2009 with 7 GW of installations has increased by more than 130% to around $5 billion in 2010 as the solar panel demand globally increased to around 17 GW.Note Solar Inverter Companies have done much better as competition is much lower and the annual price declines in solar inverters has been much lower at around 10% compared to the 50% decline in solar panel in the last 2-3 years.Here is a list of the major solar power inverter companies
March 3, 2011

German Development Bank Kfw joins ADB,World Bank in funding Clean Energy in India

German Development Bank Kfw which is owned by the German government is planning to invest 800 million Euros in Indian Renewable Energy Sector.Note Kfw is one of the biggest funding institutions in Germany for renewable energy projects giving concessional interest rates.The Bank will use its extensive expertise in the alternative energy and energy efficiency areas to extend its business in India as well.Renewable Energy in India is expected to see a massive expansion in the next decade and will require massive amounts of debt and equity.Kfw alongwith other developmental institutions like ADB and World Bank have a big role to play.Note Debt is quite expensive in India and these institutions provide loans at a much cheaper rate making renewable energy projects viable.ADB has already formed a JV with NTPC and is looking to rescue JNNSM as well.IFC is funding numerous clean projects in India following its developmental mandate as well.
March 3, 2011

Solar Inverters in India to be domestically produced by Delta Electronics in Chennai

India is set to see a massive growth in solar energy in the next decade with the 81 MW of Solar Capacity expected to reach at least 20000 MW by 2022 if not more.India's JNNSM Policy and push for renewable energy by states like Gujarat,Maharashtra and Rajasthan should see massive investments in solar PV installation.While there are already solar cell and panel production,India lacks a strong base for manufacture of solar inverters which can cost upto 10% of the total cost of a solar project.
March 3, 2011

Indian Alternative Energy in 2010 sees strong 50% growth led by Wind Energy

Alternative Energy in India saw significant growth in 2010 with the last 9 months of the year seeing capacity additions of 1800 MW which is almost 10% of the total installed capacity of 18500 MW.The growth in renewable energy was led by Wind Energy which forms almost 70% of the total renewable energy capacity in the country at around 13500 MW.The strong incentives given by both state and central government has led to the sharp growth of wind energy.Note Wind Energy is quite close to Gas based electricity price.India Needs at least 68 GW of Renewable Energy Capacity by 2020 to meet its RPS target of 15% set by CERC (note this is capacity only not hours of electricity).
March 3, 2011

Renewable Energy EPC Company Juwi sets up Solar Energy Base in India

Juwi,the German Renewable Energy EPC Company is setting up base in India following on the footsteps of other major Europeans companies Scott and Abengoa.Juwi is one of the largest solar EPC companies in the world with 800 million Euros in Revenues in 2010 and with operations in 15 countries.Note India's solar energy opportunity is one of the biggest in the 21st century and the number of solar companies has exploded.Other International Solar EPC Companies and Solar System Integrators like SunEdison have made major commitments to the Indian market.Juwi is looking at both setting up turnkey plants as well as O&M.Indian domestic companies suffer from a lack of experience in the solar development sector and entry of international companies should help disseminate best practices in solar project development and execution.
March 3, 2011

Advantages of Solar Energy – Declining Cost the Biggest One

Solar Energy is the only form of Energy whose costs are continuously declining compared to other forms of Energy.This is one of the biggest advantages of Solar Power over other renewable and non-renewable forms of energy.Solar Energy costs have declined by over 50% in the last 2-3 years even as Coal,Oil,Gas and other Energy costs have gone up.While Wind Energy costs have declined in the last year the overall trend is increasing as the costs of copper and steel go up.This is one of the main reasons why solar energy demand has gone up by 150% in 2010.With solar costs going down by another 10% each year over the next few years,expect Solar Energy to grow at a further fast rate in the future as well after growing at 50% CAGR over the last decade.Here are some of the advantages of Solar Energy over other non-renewable energy forms
March 3, 2011

Solar ETF Analysis and Review- Guide to Buying (TAN,KWT)

There are only 2 Solar Energy ETFs in the Market right now - TAN and KWT.Note buying solar ETF provides a less risky way of investing in solar energy as some stocks can dramatically underperform in this fast growing industry.However Solar ETFs will on the other hand perform much worse than the best performing stocks in the solar universe.This is because their holdings are also concentrated on some of the lesser quality companies.KWT and TAN are better investments for the less informed and less sophisticated investors.Amongst the 2 ETFs,KWT is the better option than TAN for a number of reasons which are described below.
March 2, 2011

List of Top MNC Conglomerates (Toshiba,LG,TSMC,GE) getting into Solar Energy- Growing Continuously

While the major solar energy companies are expanding rapidly as the solar industry grew by almost 150% in 2010,a number of non-solar MNCs have gotten into this sector.The massive growth of solar industry which has been vastly underestimated by policymaker and analysts have not been hidden from these giant companies.While a number of these companies have been present since a long time,some are entering the growing solar energy field for the first time.Some like BP have lost the plot and become minor players despite being top companies a few years ago.Shell has totally left the solar energy field selling its plant to Motech.Asian conglomerates and semiconductor companies have been the most aggressive in entering this area.Chemical companies too have shown interest in building polysilicon plants which build on their core competence.Others have entered the Solar Thermal Energy Field which reinforces their traditional strengths in building power plants and EPC work.Here is list of the top non-solar companies entering the solar sector.
March 2, 2011

List of World's Top (Solar,Semi) 8 Polysilicon Companies – Asia Rising as Big get Bigger

Polysilicon or refined silicon is the raw material behind most of the world's consumer electronics.Polysilicon is used to make both solar and semiconductor silicon wafers.Silicon wafers are used in making chips which are used by the Intels and Samsungs of the world while Solar Wafers are used in making solar crystalline panels used in generating electricity from the sun.Most of the world's major solar energy companies used c-Si Technology in making solar panels.Polysilicon is an energy intensive process which requires cheap electricity.The polysilicon is produced mostly in the western countries like Japan,USA and Germany now.However the rise of solar panel producers in Asia has given rise to large volume Asian producers of polysilicon as well.Note Polysilicon production is concentrated in the hands of 8-9 companies unlike solar panel production which is done by hundreds of companies.This is a capital intensive process and requires around 2 years to complete a single plant.Semiconductors require higher purity levels of Polysilicon than the solar industry.The massive increase in demand from the solar industry has led to massive growth in poly production.Here are a list of the main polysilicon companies in the world
March 1, 2011

List of World's Top Solar Wafer Companies – Growing Bigger

Solar Wafer Companies are mainly concentrated in Asia specifically China and Taiwan.Cheap labour,lower land and capital costs as well as presence of major customers has made China the No.1 Solar Wafer Producer in the world.Despite most of the polysilicon being produced in Europe and USA,China leads the way in wafer production.Note semiconductor wafers in contrast are mainly produced in the developed countries like Japan,USA and Germany.The structural forces of the crystalline silicon industry is forcing vertical integration with cell producers making wafers and wafer production companies making cells.However there are a few companies which predominantly concentrate on supply solar wafers to solar cell manufacturers.Here is the list of the main solar wafer producers which have shown stunning growth in the last few years.
March 1, 2011

List of Top Solar Thermal/Concentrated Solar Power(CSP) Companies – Under Threat from Solar PV

Solar Thermal Technology has been facing tough competition from its sister Solar PV Technology in recent times.Despite strong government subsidies and support,numerous drawbacks have contributed to this Technology losing out to Solar PV in a number of projects in the US notably by Tessera.However a number of startups and big conglomerates continue to make huge investments in this technology.Spain and US are leaders in implementation of this Solar Technology type,however others like India and China are to building CSP plants as their energy needs continue to grow.Note like Solar PV,there are a number of different technology types for CSP like Power Tower,Parabolic Troughs,linear fresnel technology and Stirling Engines.Here is a list of the most important Solar Thermal Companies (Technology Providers cum Project Developers)
February 28, 2011

List of Top Global Solar Cell Suppliers – A Disappearing Breed

Crystalline Solar Cell Suppliers are fast disappearing due to the changing dynamics of the global c-Si Solar Panel Industry.With vertical integration becoming imperative as margins and prices get squeezed,independent solar cell suppliers are having a tough time.Increasing raw material costs in terms of higher polysilicon and solar wafer prices and competition from numerous players has decreased the number of pure play solar cell suppliers.However a few of the top solar cell producers continue to grow and flourish though they are also entering into other segment of the PV solar supply chain.Most of the independent solar cell suppliers are from Taiwan and some from China.European solar cell producers have mostly disappeared due to the high cost base of the European factories.Note this list is mostly composed of solar cell producers who don't have big module making operations.You can find a list of the top solar energy companies most of which make solar cells as well.
February 21, 2011

World's Largest Solar Wafer Maker GCL Poly Set to Grow Even Bigger

China based GCL Poly is the biggest solar wafer producer in the world wresting the crown from LDK Solar in 2010.GCL Poly is now set to grow even bigger in 2011 raising its wafer capacity almost 85% making it No.1 by far.Note solar wafers are made up of polysilicon and used as raw materials for making solar cells which generate electricity from the sun.They are very similar to semiconductor wafers which are used to make the basic building blocks for electronics.GCL Poly has seen a massive rise from 2010 when it started to producer solar wafers.The company's strategy of setting up plants near its major customers have landed it major deals and lower the cost in the supply chain.
February 20, 2011

List of Top Global Solar Thin Film Companies – Who will Survive and Who Won't

Solar Thin Film Technology has been growing rapidly despite falling costs of the mainstream Photovoltaic Crystalline Silicon Technology.While a number of Weaker Hands in Thin Film have downed shutters,Thin Film Producers continue to grow and expand.The massive growth potential of Solar Energy makes it possible for both of these PV technologies to flourish.Thin Film Technology unlike c-Si has a number of variants.Amorphous Silicon (a-Si),Copper Indium Gallium Sulphide (CIGs) and Cadmium Tellurium (Cd-Te) are the 3 main types of Thin Film Technology.There are a number of manufacturers of all of these 3 types of Technology.CIGs Technology is said to have the most potential in improving efficiency and competing with c-Si,however Cd-Te is currently the top dog as the world's biggest solar producer First Solar currently uses this technology.a-Si Technology is not that hot with low efficiencies however Oerlikon and Sharp are pushing ahead with developing this technology.Here is a list of the world's top Thin Film Companies.
February 18, 2011

List of World's Major Solar Energy Companies

Solar Energy is the fastest growing renewable energy source in the world and has shown tremendous growth in the last 2-3 years.This has been driven by a more than 50% decline in Solar PV costs which continues to decline further.With further increase in energy prices,Solar Power is becoming closer and closer to retail electricity price.Not only is the price declining,solar power is clean energy a most valuable feature in these days of accelerating climate change.Solar Energy has already reached grid parity in places like Italy and Hawaii and will do so in more places in the coming 2-3 years.The industry is a dynamic one and the list of top solar companies can change quickly.Rapid Technology Change and Fast Declining Costs have pushed out most of the Top 10 companies of 5 years ago and brought in new ones mainly Chinese.Here is a list of the Top Solar Panel Producers in the World.
February 18, 2011

Leading GHG emitter and Biggest Coal Exporter Australia Kills Most Green Program using Floods Excuse

Australia is the biggest exporter of coal in the world and one of the leading emitter of GHG emissions.Its huge mining industry generate tons of carbon and earns billions for the Australian Treasury.However despite its leading role in global warming,Australia has almost no subsidies for green energy.The federal government has conveniently used the recent Queensland Floods to cut off a number of Green Programs such as Green Car Innovation Fund, Cleaner Car Rebate Scheme, the Carbon Capture and Storage Flagships and Solar Flagships, the Solar Hot Water Rebate, Green Start Program, Solar Homes and Communities Plan.The Solar Flagships Program which was supposed to generate around 1 GW of Solar Energy has also been killed.Note Australia generate 92% of its electricity from Fossil Fuel which is quite high compared to other developed countries.
February 17, 2011

List of Current and Future Solar Photovoltaic Energy and Solar Thermal Plants/Projects in India

Solar Energy in India has a tremendous growth potential and is currently seeing massive interest.The government support in the form of JNNSM with a target of 20 GW by 2022 has given a sold impetus to solar power in the country.A small number of solar energy plants have already been completed by different developers in a small number of states.The migration projects of JNNSM are the first ones that are going to be completed followed by the ones which were won in the auction.Here is a list of current and potential future solar energy plants in India.
February 17, 2011

Another Win for Solar PV over Solar Thermal as Tessera sells Imperial Valley Project to AES

Solar Thermal Projects are getting converted into Solar PV ones as the fast declining costs of Solar PV make CSP uncompetitive.With Solar Panel prices expected to […]
February 16, 2011

Samsung enters Polysilicon in JV with MEMC similar to LCD Glass JV with Corning and nd Wafers JV with Wacker

Semiconductor and Electronics Giant Samsung is entering into production of polysilicon setting up a 10,000 ton plant in an equal JV with US Poly Producer MEMC.The plant will be set up in South Korea and will go onstream by 2013 as it takes around 2 years to set up a plant.Note Samsung had recently started production solar crystalline silicon solar panels which uses polysilicon as raw material.Samsung has a strategy for manufacturing crucial raw materials inhouse for its different product lines.For example Samsung has a multi billion dollar JV with Corning to manufacture LCD glass in South Korea and a JV to make wafers for semiconductors with Wacker.It uses the expertise and technology of its JV partners to get into raw material production.The JV partners get a huge customer for their products and are happy to go along with Samsung in these Joint Ventures.
February 15, 2011

Will Solar Thermal Startup Brightsource Energy after raising $420 million go down like Solyndra

Solyndra is one of the most hyped solar starups which has managed to raise $1 billion in funding and coming out with surprisingly little for the money.Not only did it postpone its IPO but also shut down its first factory as pricess keep diving faster than it can cut costs.Brightsource Energy on the other hand seems to have a brighter future with its unique CSP technology.Also with backers like Alstom and Bechtel,it has the heavy engineering support to construct the massive 392 MW plant.Note other Solar Thermal startups like Ausra and Soliel Systems were bought up by giant engineering conglomerartes Areva and Siemens.Brightsource along with eSolar remain the only pureplay CSP companies still surviving.
February 14, 2011

Moser Baer to use its competitor First Solar Thin Film Panels

Moser Bear,the Indian Solar Company was one of the first customers for the now extinct Applied Materials a-Si SunFab Technology.The company had invested in a number of solar technologies quite early on,but has not managed to succeed in a single one much like the Abu Dhabi promoted Masdar.The Jack of all Trades strategy has come undone for both of these companies.While Chinese and some US companies have prospered despite stiff competition,most of the others have sunk.While most of AMAT customers have written off their investment in thin film equipment and factories,Moser Baer has not done so.But from its current action it seems to have given up at least in its thin film ambitions.Moser Bear has contracted for 25 MW of First Solar thin film modules.Note First Solar is the biggest thin film producer of solar panels and a direct competitor to Moser Baer.So it seems that Moser Baer has pretty much abandoned its thin film panels since if it itself does not use its own panels,don't think a 3rd party would do so.