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Solar energy : Seeing red

To make solar cells more efficient, sprinkle them with silver
Source: The Economist, Jan 8th 2009

MAKERS of solar cells face a dilemma. Purified silicon, the basic material of such cells, is expensive. The temptation, therefore, is to use less of it. As a result, the makers have developed a generation of cells whose silicon layers are only a micron or two deep, as opposed to the usual thickness of 200-300 microns. The thinner the cell, however, the less efficient it is. In particular, thin cells fail to capture much light at the red end of the spectrum. That means they produce up to 20% less electricity than standard cells of equivalent area. And that negates some of the advantage of their initial cheapness. (more…)

Portable power: Tiny solar cells show promise

By Julie Steenhuysen, Chicago, Nov 6, 2008
Source: Reuters

Researchers have developed some of the tiniest solar cells ever made and said on Thursday the organic material could potentially be painted on to surfaces.  So far, they have managed to pull 11 volts of electricity from a small array of the cells, which are each just a quarter of the size of a grain of white rice, said Xiaomei Jiang of the University of South Florida, who led the research.

KYOCERA Announces Construction of New Solar Cell Manufacturing Plant

New Facility to Increase KYOCERA’s Global Output to 650 Megawatts Per Year by March 2012
KYOTO, Japan, Nov 14, 2008
Source: Kyocera Corp, press release/BUSINESS WIRE

Kyocera Corporation (President: Makoto Kawamura) today announced plans to build a new large-scale solar cell manufacturing facility. The new plant, located in Yasu City, Shiga Prefecture, Japan, will be the Kyocera Group’s largest manufacturing facility in Japan.  Construction of the plant is planned to start in early 2009 and be completed by year’s end, with production scheduled to begin in the spring of 2010. Combined with Kyocera’s existing Yohkaichi plant, the new facility will permit the company to more than double its annual production of solar cells aEUR- from this year’s projected output of 300 megawatts (MW) to 650MW by March 2012. The new plant will manufacture Kyocera’s new back-contact cell, which yields 18.5% energy conversion efficiency. (more…)

Solar cell economics improve with novel nanomanufactured polymer film

Source: Nanowerk News, November 25, 2008

You never know where basic research may lead. For decades materials scientists have been experimenting with a corkscrew-like polymer structure called a gyroid. Now an international team of researchers has shown that the gyroid structure can be used to “self-assemble” a low-cost photovoltaic cell. The idea could lead to more economical solar collectors and more efficient fuel cells. (more…)

Sharp, Italy’s Enel discussing solar venture

By MARI YAMAGUCHI, 26 Nov 2008
Source: Associated Press /

Sharp said Thursday it’s in talks with Italian utility company Enel to set up a European joint venture to produce solar panels – a move that highlights the Japanese electronics company’s ambitions in this key green business.  “We are considering cooperation with Enel SpA to jointly produce solar cells,” Sharp Corp. (other-otc: SHCAY.PK – news – people ) spokeswoman Miyuki Nakayama said, while declining to elaborate. Sharp will give details at a news conference later in the day, she said.

Asia’s First Mobile Solar Power Supply release

Taipei, Oct. 07, 2008
Source: Everphoton press release

As the awareness of environmentally-friendly concepts increases, Everphoton Energy Corporation has taken a further step in designing a Mobile Solar Power Supply (MSPS -1) to replace the conventional use of diesel generators.

The MSPS – 1 model of portable energy supply features zero pollution, noise free operations to commercial, industrial and even emergency applications. It took 6 month for the company to design and build and it was first appeared in Taiwan International Photovoltaic Forum & Exhibition from Oct. 7-8, 2008.

Being the very first prototype, the MSPS – 1 has the output power of the 1KW (CPV modules) to supply 110V A.C or 24V D.C, with battery capacity of 12V  400 Ah. Combining excellent engineering, high efficient components and the construction, Everphoton has once again set another example of its dedication in utilizing renewable energies and providing alternative solutions to save the environment. The company not only provides designs for costume-made specification, but the consultancy in regards to the mechanical work. The patent for MSPS – 1 has been filed in Asia, USA and Europe.

EVERPHOTON was founded in 2007 with investments from global top five LED packaging house Everlight Electronics and electronic material producer Yee Fong Chemical. Everlight is one of the major shareholders of EVERPHOTON and Epistar.

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Taiwan thin-film solar cell maker CompSolar to focus on flexible GaAs HCPVs

by Grace Lee, Taipei; Adam Hwang
Source: DIGITIMES, 20 October 2008

Compound Solar Technology (CompSolar), the first Taiwan-based producer of glass-based high-concentration photovoltaic (HCPV) thin-film solar cells made from Gallium arsenide (GaAs), has been developing flexible GaAs HCPVs based on various kinds of flexible substrates which will form the basis for the company’s business operation in 2009, according to company president Jeffery Lin. (more…)

Binghamton Univ. researchers focus on solar power technology

By Vanessa Ebbeling, Staff Writer, October 23, 2008

Binghamton University researchers will use $4 million in federal money to develop cheap solar power technology that’s capable of producing and storing large amounts of energy.  The initiative — made possible by funds secured by U.S. Sen. Charles E. Schumer and U.S. Rep. Maurice Hinchey — will propel BU to the forefront of solar-energy research and could attract businesses to the area, officials said at a news conference Wednesday. (more…)

HelioVolt, NREL Win R&D 100 Award for Thin Film Solar Printing Process

HelioVolt’s FASST® Manufactures High Quality CIGS Using Both Vacuum and
Non-Vacuum Deposition Techniques
Austin, Texas, July 24, 2008
Source. HelioVolt Corp press release

HelioVolt Corporation, a producer of highly-efficient thin film solar energy products, today announced that it has garnered an R&D 100 Award from Research & Development (R&D) Magazine for work performed in partnership with the U.S. Department of Energy’s National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL). Known as the “Oscars of Invention,” the R&D 100 Awards celebrate the year’s most significant commercial innovations from around the world. HelioVolt and NREL received the award for demonstrating a simpler, faster end-to-end process for printing high quality thin film photovoltaic (PV) systems. (more…)

HelioVolt Opens First Solar Thin Film Factory in Austin, Texas

Flagship Manufacturing Facility to Provide 160 New Green Jobs
Austin, Texas, Oct 24, 2008
Source: HelioVolt Corp. press release

Today HelioVolt Corporation will cut the ribbon on its first factory for manufacturing high-performance thin film solar energy products. The 122,400 square foot sustainable facility in Austin, Texas is expected to create approximately 160 new jobs for the U.S.’s growing renewable energy sector. City officials, state and federal representatives, and energy industry leaders will join HelioVolt executives and staff in dedicating the new solar factory. (more…)

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