Volume 43, Issue 12 - December 2008

Solar Watch

SCHOTT Solar Unveils New PV Module for U.S. Market

SCHOTT Solar has unveiled a new 225-watt polycrystalline photovoltaic module. The new product shall be manufactured at the company’s North American flagship solar manufacturing facility, currently under construction in Albuquerque. Solar Poly 225 will complement the 310-watt module currently manufactured at the Billerica, Mass., facility. It was designed to deliver reliable, high-performance output over the life of the module. 

The new module is expected to begin shipping in the spring of 2009. 

Solar Milestone Reached

The University of South Wales’ (UNSW) ARC Photovoltaic Centre of Excellence has reported the first silicon solar cell to achieve the milestone of 25 percent efficiency.

The center already held the world record of 24.7 percent for silicon solar cell efficiency; now a revision of the international standard by which solar cells are measured has delivered the 25 percent record to a team led by Professors Martin Green and Stuart Wenham.

Green, executive research director, said the jump in performance resulted from new knowledge about the composition of sunlight. 

The new record also inches the UNSW team closer to the 29 percent theoretical maximum efficiency possible for first-generation silicon photovoltaic cells.

“These light-trapping features make our cells act as if they were much thicker than they are,” Green added. “This already has had an important spin-off in allowing us to work with CSG Solar to develop commercial ‘thin-film’ silicon-on-glass solar cells that are over 100 times thinner than conventional silicon cells.”

Wenham, center director, says the focus now will be on improving mainstream production.

California’s Academy of Sciences 
Topped by Massive Solar Canopy

When it opened on September 27, the new California Academy of Sciences in Golden Gate Park, San Francisco, sported one of the largest photovoltaic (PV) glass canopies in the country. Designed especially for the academy by Open Energy Corp. and manufactured by Suntech Power Holdings Co. Ltd., the project features 720 4- by 6-foot glass panels embedded with PV cells arranged in a solar canopy around the academy’s 197,000-square-foot roof. The solar installation is a key factor in the academy’s attempt to achieve LEED Platinum certification. 

PPG Industries provided the Starphire® Ultra Clear Glass for the project and Permasteelisa installed the solar solution. The solar cells will generate 213,000 kilowatt-hours of energy per year, providing up to 10 percent of the academy’s electricity. 


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