Volume 45, Issue 6 - June 2010


industry news

Secretary Chu Announces up to $62 Million for CSP Research
The Department of Energy (DOE) has selected 13 projects for investment of up to $62 million over five years to research, develop and demonstrate concentrating solar power (CSP) systems capable of providing low-cost electrical power. This funding will support improvements in CSP systems, components and thermal energy storage to accelerate the market-readiness of this renewable energy technology.

Among the awards, PPG Industries will receive up to $3.0 million to develop a next-generation, low-cost reflector with increased reflectivity, increased durability and larger dimensions than existing reflectors. Increasing the performance of reflectors while pushing down the cost of materials and manufacturing will serve as an enabling technology for utility-scale CSP power plants. The most significant maintenance cost of a CSP plant is cleaning and replacing the mirrors, and thus this new reflector design could have a significant impact on total plant cost.

In addition, Abengoa Solar Inc. in Lakewood, Colo., will be granted up to $10.6 million to develop a new power tower technology that captures heat in a high-temperature receiver at the top of an elevated tower. The system will focus the sunís rays to the tower using a 360-degree, surround reflector field on the ground. eSolar Inc. in Pasadena, Calif., will receive up to $10.8 million to design, build and test a CSP power plant system with fundamentally new components. Instead of one central tower and receiver, the plant will employ multiple modular towers, using reflective mirrors. Pratt & Whitney Rocketdyne in Canoga Park, Calif., could receive up to $10.2 million to build on and advance the current solar power tower plant design. The project will explore new materials for the central power tower receiver. 


Pythagoras Solar Announces Photovoltaic Glass Unit
Pythagoras Solar, a San Mateo, Calif.-based provider of building integrated photovoltaic products, has announced plans to commercialize the industryís first energy-efficient, transparent and high power density photovoltaic glass unit (PVGU). PVGU products are expected to be available for curtainwall, skylights and windows in the second half of 2010.
Designed to be an easily integrated component of conventional building construction, the products combine the energy efficiency benefits of an insulating glass unit, the shading and lighting benefits of patent-pending optics and solar power generation.
The company also has established formal relationships with Arkema, China Sunergy and Flextronics, all of which will help are expected to help Pythatgoras to scale its operations as it prepares for commercial production.

U.S. Solar Industry Saw Strong Growth in 2009 Despite Recession
The Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA) has released its 2009 U.S. Solar Industry Year in Review report, which says that 2009 was another year of strong growth despite the economic recession.

Overall, U.S. solar electric capacity, including both photovoltaic (PV) and concentrating solar power (CSP) installations, increased by 37 percent over 2008. This was driven primarily by strong demand in the residential and utility-scale markets, state and federal policy advances and declining technology prices. As a result, total solar industry revenue reached $4 billion, a 36 percent increase over 2008.

The solar industry contributed to the overall economy by adding 17,000 new jobs across the country.

Top 10 States in Solar Electric Capacity
Country Capacity (in MW)
California 220
New Jersey
New York
North Carolina 8

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