Tag Archives: solar

How Solar Panels Do Their Job

Do you have any idea how much energy the sun pours onto this world in just one hour? Enough to power all of humanity for a whole calendar year. Enough to power over 400 quintillion homes!

Just How Do Solar Panels Do Their Job?
A typical solar installation is comprised of a multitude of modules that are aluminum framed. Every module has photovoltaic cells, also known as PV cells. When the sun is shining, each PV cell immediately turns light into electricity. It is the light that matters, as the heat is not used.

PC cells have a top layer of phosphorus-diffused silicon. It carries what are known as free electrons. There is also a thicker layer, a boron-doped bottom that has surface areas free of electrons. Precision manufacturing of such PV cells creates electronic imbalance in between the top and bottom layers. This creates an effect at a molecular level, where photons of light that come into contact with the cell wind up bumping electrons from the semiconductor’s negative layer into the positive layer. That bumping action and activity essential creates an actual electrical current, since the electrons eventually flow into the metal contacts as such. They then flow into a 60-cell module closed loop or circuit through a bottom solid contact layer.

Martifer Solar Connects Self-Consumption Solar PV Rooftop Plant in El Salvador

Martifer Solar, a subsidiary of Martifer SGPS, has completed a new self-consumption solar PV plant located on a commercial rooftop in the Santa Tecla, El Salvador. The plant, with a total installed capacity of 300 kW, was developed by Martifer Solar’s local partner, DESENI, and was built for one of El Salvador’s largest distribution companies of consumer products, DISZASA.

Martifer Solar was responsible for the engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) services for the PV rooftop plant. The 300 kW plant, with approximately 1,000 solar panels, will produce clean energy and will lead to the reduction of the commercial facility’s energy bill by up to 18% on an annual basis. With an area of 2000 m2, the PV plant will produce an estimated 486 MWh/year. With this production capacity, the plant will offset 350 tons of carbon dioxide emissions annually and will provide sufficient energy to power more than 1500 inhabitants per year.

“The Salvadoran photovoltaic market is evolving and solar energy will be highly important in the energy mix of the country. Thanks to high levels of solar radiation and the number of hours of sunshine, El Salvador offers ideal conditions for generating energy from solar photovoltaic systems. There is great potential for the development of solar installations on rooftop, especially in commercial and industrial buildings,” said Ismael García, Head of Business Development for Central America and the Caribbean for Martifer Solar.

Largest Solar Photovoltaic Project in the World Now Fully Operational

Agua Caliente Solar Facility

April 29, 2014 CARLSBAD, Calif. & PHOENIX–(BUSINESS WIRE)–NRG Energy, Inc. (NYSE:NRG), through its wholly-owned subsidiary NRG Solar, along with partner MidAmerican Solar announced they have achieved substantial completion at their Agua Caliente Solar Photovoltaic Facility, a 290 megawatt (MW) photovoltaic facility located on 2,400 acres of land between Yuma and Phoenix, Ariz. The electricity that is generated by the station, which can support 230,000 homes at peak capacity, is being sold to Pacific Gas & Electric Company (PG&E) under a 25-year power purchase agreement.

“It is exciting to see this project become fully operational and begin to realize the full benefit of emissions savings with the clean energy generated at Agua Caliente.”

“Large-scale utility accomplishments, like our Agua Caliente project, raise the bar in terms of our clean-energy technology and production,” said Tom Doyle, president, NRG Solar. “Proving that we can build both the world’s largest solar thermal and now one of the world’s largest solar photovoltaic facilities advance NRG’s mission to reshape the energy landscape that is incredibly beneficial to both the economy and in how we produce and consume energy. Whether it’s partnering, developing or investing, NRG will lead the way in providing a diverse set of solutions and technologies to get the US to the ultimate goal of providing affordable, reliable clean energy for everyone.”

The Global Solar Power Revolution

Countries all over the world are leading the way towards a green economy. Unfortunately lobbying by the oil, gas, coal and nuclear industries are hindering progress. Very soon, perhaps even now depending on the cost of electricity in your area, solar technology will be more economically cost effective than traditional forms of electrical production.

Georgia Companies Join Forces on One of State’s Largest Rooftop Solar Installations

Rooftop Solar Array

ATLANTA, GA—June 19, 2012—Renusol America, headquartered in Atlanta, Georgia, has announced that its American-engineered and manufactured mounting system—the Renusol CS60—has been installed at the Aquafil Headquarters in Cartersville as part of one of the state of Georgia’s largest solar PV energy systems. The 400 kWh system will generate 525-thousand KWh of power annually.

The project includes 1,572 Renusol CS60 mounting units and 1,572 of Suniva’s Optimus 250 W panels. Suniva is headquartered in Norcross, Georgia. Radiance Solar, a Georgia owned and operated solar contracting company, installed the system, which is interconnected to the Cartersville Electric System.

Aquafil, a chemical and textile firm and leader in carpet fiber technology, is known for producing fibers made from 100-percent recycled materials. The company takes its commitment to sustainability one step further with the installation of this solar system on top of its 234,000-square-foot manufacturing facility in Cartersville.

The Renusol CS60 represents the latest in American technology and is the first-ever ‘one unit per one PV panel’ mounting system, which is changing how solar arrays are deployed on flat rooftops in America by eliminating the layout restrictions inherent to traditional, rigid aluminum racking rails. Manufactured in the Midwest, the Renusol CS60 offers several solutions developed specifically for the US solar market.

The Renusol CS60 innovation also incorporates the latest groundbreaking American-based wind tunnel study results showing how wind forces vary across a roof, making the flexible rooftop panel placement solution of the Renusol CS60 even more valuable.

“The Aquafil USA solar rooftop installation is emblematic of how the deployment of solar energy creating and keeping jobs right here in Georgia and across America , said Renusol America CEO Bart Leusink.

About Renusol America
Renusol America is a leading innovator in flat-roof and pitch-roofed mounting systems for Solar PV modules in the US solar industry. A U.S. company with systems installed in 18 states, Renusol America provides sales, service, and customer support from its headquarters in Atlanta , Georgia and operates full-scale warehouse and distribution facilities across the country. Building upon its heritage of excellence in German engineering with American innovation, in 2011 Renusol America introduced the groundbreaking, American-made Renusol CS60—the first one piece mounting system for PV panels. The company is part of the Centrosolar Group, a publicly traded company on the German stock exchange, and is a wholly owned subsidiary of Renusol GmbH, a market leader in Europe with more than 500MW of solar power mounted on Renusol systems. More information at www.renusolamerica.com

China’s State Grid and BYD Launch World’s Largest Battery Energy Storage Station

BYD and the State Grid Corporation of China (SGCC) have finished construction on what may be the world’s largest battery energy storage station. This large utility-scale project, located in Zhangbei, Hebei Province, combines 140 Mega-Watts of renewable energy generation (both wind & solar), 36 Mega-Watt-Hours (MWh) of energy storage and a smart power transmission system. While there are renewable generation systems of this scale in service today, there are no battery systems of this size. The State Grid system is demonstrating a stable solution for transferring vast amounts of renewable electricity safely to the grid on an unprecedented scale. Although BYD manufactures 1GW of solar panels annually, their role in this project was primarily providing energy storage batteries in arrays larger than a football field.

“This State Grid project demonstrates a solution and will be the model of development for China’s new energy resources.”

SGCC chose BYD’s Iron-Phosphate battery technology because of its superior service life (over 20 years) and also used BYD’s “peak shaving & load leveling” charge and discharge methodologies. BYD’s announcement September 30th, 2011, “China’s Largest and First Environmentally-friendly Battery Storage Station,” was the first of many MegaWatt-level cooperative projects with China’s Southern Power Grid (CSG). This new project with the State Grid has outpaced other grid projects in China and, though independently designed by SGCC, is part of the national “Golden Sun” program. The first phase investment with 100MW of Wind, 40MW of Solar and 36MWh of Battery is worth over $500M USD (~3.3 Billion RMB).

“The large-scale implementation of clean and green energy, such as wind and solar power, can only be realized when the technical difficulties of this new energy application in the utility system are resolved,” said Xiu Binglin, Deputy Director of the National Energy Administration. “This State Grid project demonstrates a solution and will be the model of development for China’s new energy resources.”

BYD’s battery energy storage system provides a solution for the realization of energy storage in the smart grid that improves renewable energy efficiency by 5%-10%.

He Long, Vice President of BYD, said, “BYD is honored to cooperate with China and SGCC to build this large energy storage station and to make a contribution in the utilization of renewable energy resources.”

For more information, visit BYD at www.facebook.com/bydcompany and www.byd.com

Solar’s Unlikely Hero: Rush Limbaugh

by Dan Auld

Will Rush Limbaugh save the solar industry?

Looks that way for Toni Lynch in Allentown, Pennsylvania. And Spiro Basho in Hicksville, New York.

Like lots of other solar installers, the financial tsunami of 2008 wiped out a lot of customers of both Lynch and Basho. And like a lot of other electrical contractors, through no fault of their own, they not only lost business, they lost their credit.

“When you see people on TV talking about green jobs or any kind of jobs, here’s what they usually do not know: That small contractors need a bond,” said Lynch. “And a bond is really a line of credit. And a lot of contractors just don’t have the cash or the credit score to do that any more because of the crash of 2008.”

So they lose work, especially government work where bonds are required. And most people do not know that, Lynch said.

“I was bidding on a solar installation job, part of the stimulus program, and I knew I needed a bond,” Lynch said. “Seven companies turned me down. I had just about given up when I was driving around listening to Rush Limbaugh. The commercial talked about how contractors could not get bonds anymore, but this company could do it.”

“I told my wife wouldn’t that be good if they were telling the truth. They were.”

Sprio Basho had a similar experience in New York. This electrical contractor lost a lot of work in 2008, but he did what he had to to hold on.

“I might have been listening to the same commercial because I had the same problem,” Basho said. “I had been in business a long time. Did good work. But all of a sudden the bonding disappeared. I thought my business was going to disappear too because we were counting on installing solar to stay alive.”

And they did. Both of them. As a result, Basho’s company won a contract installing solar panels in a school district; and Lynch’s company was awarded a $1.8 million contract for several solar installations in Pennsylvania and New Jersey.

All because of Rush. And because of what happened at Robert Berman’s kitchen table when he was a teenager.

“I listened to an insurance broker tell my dad he could not accept a bigger job because he did not qualify for a bond,” said Robert Berman, co-founder of Ox Bonding. “My dad was a building contractor who did great work and had great references, but that was not enough for that insurance company.That’s why I started a bonding company for small contractors: There are a lot of good companies out there that do good work, with good records, and their customers love them. So we write their bonds and make sure they get working capital too.”

Berman is not running a non-profit agency. He knows his company takes a risk every time it provides working capital. Every time it writes a bond for a contractor.

(For the non-initiated, a bond guarantees the contractor will finish the job and pay the subcontractors. If not, the job owner gets relief from the bonding company, which in turn can try to get its money back from the contractor.)

“That’s why we look under the hood, check the books, call the customers, and really take a hard look if the company can do the job,” Berman said. “Our underwriters are experienced contractors, not just accountants. So they have a good idea of who is able to do what, and what the risk really is.”

To reduce its risk even further, Ox Bonding controls the distribution of funds for the job.

And if the contractor chooses, Ox Bonding can also issue working capital, pay the taxes, take care of payroll, negotiate with suppliers, and free up the contractors for what they really want to do: Build solar installations.

“They are more of a partner than a bonding company,” said Bashos. “But without them, I would not have been able to survive.”