Archive for the ‘Photovoltaics’ category

Heliene will open a PV manufacturing line in Ontario

March 18, 2010

Heliene Canada Inc., a joint manufacturing venture between Canadian entrepreneurs and Helios Energy of Barcelona, Spain, is constructing a 17,500 square-foot plant in Sault-Ste-Marie, Ontario.

In an interview with Photovoltaics International, Heliene´s president Martin Pochtaruk said that “the first modules should go out to Ontario, followed with shipments to the U.S. Midwest, by the end of August or September”.

The Heliene facility will start out with an “initial capacity of 30MWp per year,” he explained. “The plant is modular and can easily be expanded up to 80MW.”

heliene_production2Capabilities for both multi- and monocrystalline silicon-based modules will be in place at the facility, with the cells being supplied by Suniva in the U.S., he said. Initially, 60- and 72-cell modules, with power outputs up to 300W, will come off the production line.

The plant’s manufacturing line will be 80 per cent automated — meaning minimal operational personnel — accessed and managed through a system of touchscreens. The manufacturing line will be constructed and assembled in Europe by SAP, a sister company of Helios Energy. Once the  plant is up and running, the workforce will total about 40 people, based on “eight employees per shift of operation and approximately 10 administrative positions.”

Pochtaruk explains the the decision to locate the plant in Sault-Ste-Marie: “From the logistics point of view, Sault Ste. Marie is centrally located to ship products throughout Canada and the United States,”. “While in Ontario to provide the domestic content required for PV investments made in the province,” [we can] tap into a well-developed workforce, particularly focused on renewable energy.”

Solaria to provide 13.3 MW of PV modules for two solar farms in Spain

February 23, 2010

Spanish module manufacturer Solaria Energía Medio Ambiente, S.A. and Swiss group ABB in consortium have been contracted by GA Solar to build two solar PV plants in La Robla (León, Spain) with a capacity of 13.3 MW for approximately € 40 million ($54 million). Solaria is the exclusive supplier of PV modules for the two plants. The contract will be completed in 2010.

Siemens and Sky Global choose Cantabria, Spain, for their latest renewable energy projects

September 18, 2009

Multinational Siemens is to install a test center for state-of-the-art wind turbines in the region of Cantabria (Northern Spain), the exact location of which is yet to be decided. Work will be carried out with the University of the Autonomous Region and the Regional Government.

The European Chief Executive of Siemens Wind Power, Lars Bondo Krogsgaard, the Cantabria Region Minister for Industry, Juan José Sota, and the Dean of the University of Cantabria, Federico Gutiérrez-Solana, signed an agreement on the 14th of August that will enable the multinational to collaborate in the development of onshore and offshore wind energy in the autonomous region.


apocalyptic sunset
Originally uploaded by Xavier Fargas

The Director of the company in Europe said they were still looking for a site for the test center in Cantabria, and had not ruled out having more than one location. Activities will begin with between ten and fifteen Siemens researchers, who will work closely with other researchers in the University of Cantabria.

Siemens is currently working in sectors such as industry, energy and health, it has companies in 190 countries, a workforce of 430,000 – 10,000 of which are in Spain – and has installed over 8,000 Megawatts of wind capacity around the world through its subsidiary Siemens Wind Power.

It is not the only renewable energy investment planned for the region.  The Chinese company Sky Global with extensive experience in Spain is to install a photovoltaic panel factory in Cantabria as well.

Sky Global, part of Shanghai Electric, is to open a manufacturing plant for modules at the Campoo-Los Valles Eco-park.

That is how it is described in the report on economic prospects for Cantabria, which estimates the forecast investment required to set the project up as amounting to 14.5 million euros and foresees the creation of 465 jobs.

The new  plant will also be joined by the installation of a 9.9 megawatt photovoltaic solar farm with 672 panels from the Chinese firm. The farm will be divided between two plots also located in Valdeolea.

Sky Global Solar S.A. is a company with an international outlook created in 2006 by professionals with wide-ranging experience in the Asian and European photovoltaic markets. Sky Global currently has offices in several Spanish cities and has set up strategic alliances with companies and industrial agents from the sector in Europe and Asia.

MECASOLAR supplies 500 kW of 2-axis trackers for solar photovoltaic project in California

September 13, 2009

The Spanish company MECASOLAR– manufacturer of solar trackers and fixed structures  for solar pv projects – is taking part in a project in California for which they have supplied a total of thirty-four 2-axis trackers (MS-2E TRACKER) which will provide some 500 kW of power.

This is the first in a series of U.S. projects for MECASOLAR.  The company is integrated in the OPDE group, the leading solar developers in Spain.

According to MECASOLAR, the project for which they have already provided their trackers is currently being developed in Reclamation District 108 near the town of Yolo (California) with completion expected in early October. The aim is to reduce energy costs of pumping water from the area. This is common practice in California, and contributes to increasing the price of water for users; hence the interest in lowering the pumping costs.

Besides providing trackers, PROINSO engineering -also part of the OPDE- is responsible for the complete supply of the modules for the project (Trina modules – 230Wp Model TSM Poli) and the logistics of the project. Additionally, the company has worked with a local engineering firm on the configuration and execution of the project.

Continuing its commitment to the U.S. market, MECASOLAR will be exhibiting at Solar International (October 27 to 29,  Anaheim – Stand 111).

Earlier in July, the company exhibited at the Intersolar USA show in San Francisco, with a huge success in visitors and orders. This project in Yolo, is the first to materialize after the show.

Mecasolar's Booth at Intersolar USA

Currently, MECASOLAR has some 30 MW on their order books which they intend to formalize during Solar Power International. The supply will for this projects will take place between late 2009 and early 2010. These projects, of varying sizes and mostly located in California, will be delivered from the manufacturing plant opening soon in the San Francisco area. This plant will start producing  1 and 2 axis solar trackers and fixed structures at full capacity in the first quarter 2010.

This initiative reflects the interest of MECASOLAR and the OPDE Group-of which they form part-, in the U.S. market. In fact, the company already has a sales office in San Francisco.

HGCapital acquires 3 Spanish solar plants from AIG Financial Products

March 30, 2009

HgCapital’s Renewable Power Partners Fund has invested in three Spanish solar photovoltaic (PV) plants with a total output of 35.5 MW. HgCapital  is the largest fund for European renewable power projects. It purchased the stake from AIG Financial Products Corp. and from 360 Corporate, a Spanish investment banking firm, for an undisclosed amount.

The Spanish portfolio includes two fixed-axis projects (17.5 MWp) and one project single-axis tracker project (18MWp). All projects qualified for the Spanish PV tariff between May and July 2008. The first two projects were developed by Proener (10 MW),  in Castile-La Mancha, and City SolarAG (7.5 MW), in Murcia. The third plant was developed by SunPower in Extremadura.

These PV projects are HgCapital’s first Spanish and first solar investments, and follows HgCapital’s pan-European and pan-technology renewable energy investment strategy. Spain is one of HgCapital’s current priority markets for renewables investment. Jens Thomassen and Luigi Pettinicchio executed the transaction for HgCapital.

Jens Thomassen said: “This is an important strategic investment for HgCapital in creating our first renewables portfolio. It extends our diversification to solar and into Spain in general, where we expect to make further strategic investments. Tightening credit conditions and falling power prices mean there will be a decline in new renewables installations in Europe so we are pleased to have invested in three plants which are operating and generating income”.

Tom Murley, head of HgCapital’s renewable energy practice said: “This is a continuation of our long-held, consistently applied strategy of investing in high quality projects across Europe. The PV projects in this investment use the best equipment and benefit from excellent solar radiation. I am also pleased at our arrangement with 360 Corporate, which adds local content and presence.”

Spanish solar company Fotowatio Expands in the U.S.

March 4, 2009

Fotowatio, a large Spanish independent power producer has acquired the bulk of MMA Renewable Ventures solar assets and its team for $19.7 million.

San Francisco-based MMA Renewable Ventures develops, finances, owns and operates renewable energy projects including solar and wind but will now focus exclusively on solar projects. Total MMA Renewable Ventures transaction production in 2008 was $115 million, down from $234 million in 2007.

Madrid-based Fotowatio, recently backed by an injection of capital from GE Financial Services and Grupo Landon, has developed nearly 100 megawatts of solar projects in Spain. It has invested more than $880 million in solar projects since 2006 and plans to spend up to $3.2 billion by 2012 on expanding its portfolio in Spain, Italy and the United States, company sources said.

La Magascona pv plant, developed by Fotowatio, EPC by Elecnor

La Magascona 30 MW pv plant, developed by Fotowatio, EPC by Elecnor

MMA Renewable Ventures has developed 40 megawatts of renewable solar projects, including the 14 megawatt solar system at Nellis Air Force base just outside of Las Vegas. When completed in 2007, it was the largest solar project in the United States. Fotowatio is also acquiring the solar array at Denver International Airport, the CIGS thin-film installation in Arizona, solar panels on Colorado parking garages, and a solar project powering a rice farm in California.

With the purchase of MMA, its third in the past seven months, Fotowatio Renewable Ventures is expected to become one of the largest solar development companies in the United States in terms of megawatts in operation. It will own 35 megawatts of solar projects in operation and more than 400 megawatts in development in the United States. The company’s global portfolio will expand to more than 130 megawatts of operating solar projects in the United States and Spain and more than 1,000 megawatts under development across the United States, Spain and Italy.

IKERLAN designs and develops an organic photovoltaic module

February 26, 2009

Researchers from IKERLAN-IK4 have developed a laboratory-scale photovoltaic panel with exclusively organic technology.

Thanks to this semitransparent design, it is possible to have access to the individual components of the module which allows the identification and replacement -if necessary– of singles diodes without modifying the operation of the module.

Its simplicity allows for an easy integration in both outdoor and indoor applications.

The module, entirely fabricated at IKERLAN, is 30×30mm and monolithically connects 16 minicells of 9 mm2. The power conversion efficiency is over 2% and shows an open circuit voltage of around 7 Volts.

Current research about organic materials for photovoltaic cells tries to circumvent the problems with silicon, most of all, its high price. The photoelectric panel made by the research team from the Ikerlan-IK4 technological center in Spain has met expectations. This panel was manufactured with plastic materials – known as organic polymers – the production of which was carried out in chemical laboratories and, thus, their availability practically infinite.

But, without doubt, what has made the most impact is their appearance and design, it being possible to make them in different colors and involving a fine coating of plastic that can be deposited on almost any kind of surface, whether rigid or flexible. The versatility and simplicity of the manufacturing processes and the low cost of this technology make the fields of application limited only by the imagination of the researchers and industrial promoters. The sector benefiting most could be that of construction, given that this technology enables the manufacture of semitransparent windows or photoelectric curtains which allow certain passage of light to the interior and, at the same time, convert part of this solar energy into electricity.

Ikerlan-IK4 launched their activity in this field two years ago and the results are promising. Recently, photoelectric conversion efficiencies were measured as being above 4% in photoelectric cells manufactured at Ikerlan’s own laboratories with solar simulators officially approved at photoelectric panel specification centers unconnected to Ikerlan.

Ikerlan is currently working on alternative designs to produce larger sized panels which can be of use in various applications, from small panels to replace batteries in portable electronic devices to large modules for installing in roofs and walls, without visual impact and respecting the architectural aesthetics of the building and its surroundings.