Jump to content
drbubb

The Solar Thread: Energy from the Sun

Recommended Posts

Prices... update ...................................................... : SOLAR- 3 key stocks /Aug.14 : update : ESLR, STP, SIT.L : 3 Solar Shs

moduleprices06-4.gif.bighw6.gif

Solar cell prices are rising because of the shortage of silicon feedstocks (i believe)

 

STOCKS include : Q-Cells Ag, SunPower Corp., and Suntech Power Holdings Co., Ltd.,

 

Opportunity : WHERE is the Sun strong enough...

 

SolarWorld.gif

 

WHERE is the technology employed

The seven world leaders in solar energy production include Japan, Switzerland, Germany, Australia, USA, Canada and the United Kingdom. The percentage of the total world solar production from these seven countries and other facts are shown in the table below.

 

Country- - - MW.total Hr.Sun/yr Elec/kWhr w/cap %world

Japan........ 301-2001 1200-1600 : 24cents : 2.4 : 45%

Switzerland. 15-2000 - - 1700 - - : 12cents : 2.1 : - ? -

Germany... 170-2001 1700-1800 : 15cents : 2.0 :. 6%

Australia..... 29-2000 2500-3000. : 4 cents : 1.5 : - ? -

U.S.A. ..... 139-2000 2000-2500. : 8 cents : 0.5 : 27%

Canada........ 7-2000 1500-2500. : 4 cents : .22 : - 0 -

U.K. ............ 2-2000 1500-1700 : 12 cents: .03 : 0.75%

 

The map above divides the world into four daily solar radiation zones based on daily hours of sunlight and temperature. The amount of available sunlight varies across the globe. The areas with the most hours of daily sunlight are found near the equator.

= = =

 

Solar Technologies

Photovoltaics (PV)

Photovoltaic solar cells, which directly convert sunlight into electricity, are made of semiconducting materials. The simplest cells power watches and calculators and the like, while more complex systems can light houses and provide power to the electric grid.

 

Passive Solar Heating, Cooling and Daylighting

Buildings designed for passive solar and daylighting incorporate design features such as large south-facing windows and building materials that absorb and slowly release the sun's heat. No mechanical means are employed in passive solar heating. Incorporating passive solar designs can reduce heating bills as much as 50 percent. Passive solar designs can also include natural ventilation for cooling.

 

Concentrating Solar Power

Concentrating solar power technologies use reflective materials such as mirrors to concentrate the sun's energy. This concentrated heat energy is then converted into electricity.

 

Solar Hot Water and Space Heating and Cooling

Solar hot water heaters use the sun to heat either water or a heat-transfer fluid in collectors. A typical system will reduce the need for conventional water heating by about two-thirds. High-temperature solar water heaters can provide energy-efficient hot water and hot water heat for large commercial and industrial facilities.

 

Issues

Solar Resources

Solar resource information provides data on how much solar energy is available to a collector and how it might vary from month to month, year to year, and location to location. Collecting this information requires a national network of solar radiation monitoring sites.

 

Solar Access

The availability or access to unobstructed sunlight for use both in passive solar designs and active systems is protected by zoning laws and ordinances in many communities.

 

Green Power

Consumer demand for clean renewable energy and the deregulation of the utilities industry have spurred growth in green power—solar, wind, geothermal steam, biomass, and small-scale hydroelectric sources of power. Small commercial solar power plants have begun serving some energy markets.

 

@: http://www.eere.energy.gov/RE/solar.html

 

= = = = =

LINKS:

Solar Buzz website..... : http://www.solarbuzz.com/

Solar Plaza news........ : http://www.solarplaza.com/content/news.php

Evergreen's Link page : http://academic.evergreen.edu/g/grossmaz/petersj.html

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Concentrating Solar Power

Concentrating solar power technologies use reflective materials such as mirrors to concentrate the sun's energy. This concentrated heat energy is then converted into electricity.

 

 

There is an interesting American company which combines solar concentration with stirling engines.

 

 

http://www.stirlingenergy.com/default.asp

 

RJM54s.jpg

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Another company with the Chips that transform the Solar into electricity is called OPEL

 

They were in London last week taking about a pre-IPO fundraising.

I am considering whether to invest. And I may organise a group to meet them, when they are next

in London

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Raw material for photovoltaics:

 

If you're following solar technology, then you may already know that solar panels raw materials are crystalline silicon and polysilicon. Semiconductors are also built from the same materials.

 

So if solar power takes off there will be a rapid rise in demand for poly- and crystalline silicon, such companies to invest in are for example MEMC Electronic Materials (NYSE: WFR).

http://finance.google.com/finance?cid=658274

 

The share price of WFR has doubled twice in the last two years.

 

So I'm interested in any views on where the demand for silicon might go in the next few years. Will producers meet demand, resulting in an easing of silicon prices? Or is there a bottleneck somewhere in the production process that will support another doubling or two? Are there other ways to profit from the race for silicon?

 

Another interesting point is that Photovoltaics don't require semiconductor-grade silicon. So PV manufacturers have historically bought only the byproducts of the IC industry: those wafers that had to be rejected. But now PV demands are exceeding the supply of IC wafer rejects, so PVs are being made from IC-grade silicon, too.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The shares in this sector have taken quite a pounding.

 

Main ones: Comparison chart

+ Evergreen Solar (ESLR)

+ Suntech (STP)

+ Solar Integrated Technologies (SIT.L)

 

more to watch:

+ GiraSolar (OTC:GRSR.PK)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Solar cells change electricity distribution

We approach this news as current and former public electric utility executives, sympathetic with consumer and environmental concerns. South Africa and California technologies rely on the same alloy -- called CIGS (for copper-indium-gallium-selenide) -- deposited in an extremely thin layer on a flexible surface. Both companies claim that the technology reduces solar cell production costs by a factor of 4-5. That would bring the cost to or below that of delivered electricity in a large fraction of the world.

 

This looks very promising surely?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

YES- THE BREAKTHROUGH

 

 

Solar cells change electricity distribution

by Dave Freeman and Jim Harding

 

In separate announcements over the past few months, researchers at the University of Johannesburg and at Nanosolar, a private company in Palo Alto, have announced major breakthroughs in reducing the cost of solar electric cells. While trade journals are abuzz with the news, analysis of the potential implications has been sparse.

 

We approach this news as current and former public electric utility executives, sympathetic with consumer and environmental concerns. South Africa and California technologies rely on the same alloy -- called CIGS (for copper-indium-gallium-selenide) -- deposited in an extremely thin layer on a flexible surface. Both companies claim that the technology reduces solar cell production costs by a factor of 4-5. That would bring the cost to or below that of delivered electricity in a large fraction of the world.

 

The California team is backed by a powerful team of private investors, including Google's two founders and the insurance giant Swiss Re, among others. It has announced plans to build a $100 million production facility in the San Francisco Bay area that is slated to be operational at 215 megawatts next year, and soon thereafter capable of producing 430 megawatts of cells annually.

 

What makes this particular news stand out? Cost, scale and financial strength. The cost of the facility is about one-tenth that of recently completed silicon cell facilities.

 

Second, Nanosolar is scaling up rapidly from pilot production to 430 megawatts, using a technology it equates to printing newspapers. That implies both technical success and development of a highly automated production process that captures important economies of scale. No one builds that sort of industrial production facility in the Bay Area -- with expensive labor, real estate and electricity costs -- without confidence.

 

....MORE: http://www.energybulletin.net/19262.html

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

IT'S HAMMER-CITY, in the Solar Sector, as Sheep Get Slaughtered

 

Look at this Chart

bighw6.gif

And look at these Results

 

 

Now read these comments

 

 

THESE IS EXACTLY why there is a role for GEI.

The media and the big brokers treat private investors like sheep, victims to be sheared of their income.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
IT'S HAMMER-CITY, in the Solar Sector, as Sheep Get Slaughtered

 

Look at this Chart

bighw6.gif

And look at these Results

Now read these comments

THESE IS EXACTLY why there is a role for GEI.

The media and the big brokers treat private investors like sheep, victims to be sheared of their income.

 

 

erm, there is no link to results or comments...

 

I've been following this thread with interest. Especially now there seems to be a method of producing these cells at a much lower cost.

 

Going to have a close look into these companies.

 

Why do you think they're getting pounded?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

...i'm still writing it...

 

Solar got over-hyped, the inevitable reaction is occurring

 

UPDATED:

Symbol Company====== Peak/when Low : Recent chg

ESLR : Evergreen Solar.... $17.50/Mar $ 8.00 : $ 9.31 , -46.8%

STP-- : Suntech Power..... $45.95/Feb. $19.00: $32.65, -38.9%

SIT.L : Solar Integrated.... £3.700/Mar £0.150: £0.515, -86.1%

=====: Compare:

PBW- : Pwrshs.CleanEgy $24.08/May $16.51 : $17.52 -27.2%

 

 

Was even worse until recently:

Suntech has had a great bounce (+52%) in recent days, from amid-July low

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

GERMANS AHEAD...

 

The German PV Market 2006 was launched on May 2, 2006.

 

This is Solarbuzz's first comprehensive look at the all important German PV Grid Connect market. Now representing, 57% of the world PV market, the performance of the German market will impact virtually every other major country market.

 

The report analyzes the five main market segments, highlights the major PV projects of 2005, describes the business chain (including volumes), the status of political and funding programs, market prices and also manufacturing base. The main focus of the report is on 2005 market outcomes together with a forecast by market segment to 2010.

 

 

@: http://www.solarbuzz.com/Services-Reports.htm

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

SOLAR COMMENTS - thnx to Hornet Renewables Fund

=====

 

Nearly all the leading solar companies in the US, China and Germany have by now all posted their quarterly numbers. The major points to takeaway from these numbers are:

 

1. Demand is robust worldwide but supply growth is only limited by polysilicon availability;

2. Those companies that do not have contracts in place for polysilicon are paying up to $2.80 a watt for wafers up from $0.60 a watt 16 months ago;

3. Those who have access to silicon have huge market power and those who don’t have, are and will remain under pressure;

 

4. Any technology that does not use silicon (e.g. thinfilm) or reduces the amount used (e..g String Ribbon from Evergreen Solar) will continue to gain momentum;

5. We expect announcements from several semiconductor companies in the coming months with regards their plans to enter the solar space;

6. We believe that a version of Moore’s Law will apply to the PV market as technology and production improvements drive solar energy towards cost parity with fossil fuels;

 

7. We anticipate that the industry will begin to consolidate over the next 18 months;

8. We see the solar market being broken into the haves and have nots and thus best of the best stock selection will become increasingly important for optimal portfolio performance.

 

These points are already starting to influence the share price performance and results of listed companies. As an example, both Sunways and SAG produced very weak results for H1 whilst Solarworld and QCells published strong results. In terms of share performance both SAG and Sunways are down over 30% during the last three months whilst QCells is up 20% and Solarworld down a mere 3%.

 

And why the difference?

Both Solarworld and QCells have access to supplies whilst SAG and Sunways need to purchase their supplies on the spot market.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

A better balance will come eventually- bringing prices back down

 

And new solar cell technologies using less or no silicon are being developed

 

TOUR TO CHINA

====

 

PV Business Tour China 2006

 

Date: 26 November - 1 December 2006

 

Summary: The purpose of this second international trade mission to China is to give private-sector delegates the chance to assess and explore business opportunities and to promote their company and products in China. Participants will be able to establish relationships and facilitate closer commercial ties in the booming Chinese solar industry. More specific objectives of the Trade Mission include:

 

To enhance knowledge of Chinese market conditions and business opportunities

To enable business delegates to become familiar with production opportunities and to make individual contacts

To develop and expand relationships between the participating companies and the business, government and multiplier organisations in China

 

@: http://www.solarplaza.com/content/pagina/T...CFTpREAodNRkAHw

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Could somebody explain to me the concept of warrants and their affect on share price.....

 

 

Solar Integrated Obtains Waiver and Amendment of Credit Facility With GE

 

 

London, UK, and Los Angeles, California, August 29, 2006 - Solar Integrated

Technologies, Inc. (AIM: SIT.LN), a leading provider of building integrated

photovoltaic (BIPV) roofing systems, announced today that it has obtained a

waiver of its breach of covenants under its revolving line of credit with an

affiliate of GE Energy Financial Services. The Company also reported that the

credit facility has been amended to provide access to more capital under the

borrowing base eligibility criteria and to provide the Company with more

flexibility relating to the facility's financial covenants.

 

The interest rate remains unchanged under the amended asset-based lending

agreement. As partial consideration for GE Energy Financial Services agreeing to

the waiver and amendment, the Company has agreed to adjust the strike price of

the 2,000,000 warrants previously issued to GE Energy Financial Services to a

strike price of US$1.122 per share (currently equivalent to £0.60 per share),

representing a 29% premium to the last closing price of the Company's stock, and

a 20% premium to the trailing 10-day average closing price, subject to

adjustment in certain circumstances.

 

On August 8, 2006, the Company announced that it had received funding of $4.7

million from GE Energy Financial Services in connection with the installation of

BIPV roofing systems on three additional schools in San Diego, California.

 

"GE Energy Financial Services has been constructive, professional and supportive

during this waiver review and amendment process," stated R. Randall MacEwen,

Interim Chief Executive Officer of Solar Integrated. "Under the revised

borrowing base eligibility criteria, the Company currently has access to

additional borrowing. We expect the additional borrowing base availability -

which will fluctuate up and down based on our eligible receivables and inventory

positions from time to time - coupled with our recent $4.7 million funding from

GE Energy Financial Services, to support our near-term working capital

requirements."

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Price of Silicon has soard by 50% over the past year. Curbing the growth of the solar industry and driving up costs.

http://news.independent.co.uk/business/new...icle1220390.ece

 

I suspect this is a factor...

 

Another interesting point is that Photovoltaics don't require semiconductor-grade silicon. So PV manufacturers have historically bought only the byproducts of the IC industry: those wafers that had to be rejected. But now PV demands are exceeding the supply of IC wafer rejects, so PVs are being made from IC-grade silicon, too.

 

Historically PV input costs have been artificially depressed because they've been able to make use of the semiconductor industry castoffs... in this situation, increasing demand for PV devices should not have had a feedthrough to front end silicon prices and would not have had an effect on the price of the reject silicon (since the PV manufacturers are effectively bidding against the scrapheap). If the PV industry demand for non-IC grade silicon now exceeds supply, good old price elasticity will start to assert itself on the non-IC grade stuff, and the PV manufacturers will also have to compete with the IC manufacturers for their excess requirements - a double whammy.

 

I'm not a fan of PV - a lot of the assumptions about its cost effectiveness have been based on the artifically depressed prices of the input costs (junk silicon). This has severely biassed cost comparisons against competing thermal solar solutions in favour of PV, when in reality thermal solar should be the most cost effective and carbon neutral solution.

 

C J

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

"I'm not a fan of PV - a lot of the assumptions about its cost effectiveness have been based on the artifically depressed prices of the input costs (junk silicon). This has severely biassed cost comparisons against competing thermal solar solutions in favour of PV, when in reality thermal solar should be the most cost effective and carbon neutral solution."

 

THAT IS a very good point about depressed Silicon Prices

 

Howeverm, I am aware that there are various research efforts to create PV cells that make use of other cheaper replacements for Silicon, so PV may regain its cost advantage

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Howeverm, I am aware that there are various research efforts to create PV cells that make use of other cheaper replacements for Silicon, so PV may regain its cost advantage

 

I can't see there being any cost advantages from moving to conventional PV cells with bulk substrates other than Silicon, since the manufacturing process will be pretty much the same as for bulk Silicon but with something slightly more esoteric (and expensive) than sand at the input. My expectation is that the cost breakthrough will occur once a suitable thin film technology is in place. The interesting thing about this is that the people best placed to benefit are unlikely to be the incumbent PV manufacturers - it will be the people who're currently experts in manufacturing LCD panels!

 

The technical reason I still prefer thermal solar is that in principle a thermal solar solution can be designed which converts all incident light (regardless of wavelength) into energy. With PV cells, you're only ever going to convert the incident light whose wavelength matches the energy bandgap of the material you're using. I know that research is ongoing to develop cells with multiple bandgaps, but I can't see how anyone is going to be able to develop a cell which can absorb all wavelengths from infra-red to ultra-violet the way a black box thermal collector can.

 

The catch with the black box collector thermal solar solution is that you then need an ultra-efficient (ie, approaching Carnot cycle efficiency) low temperature differential heat engine to make use of the collected heat... and these don't exist (yet).

 

C J

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Interesting points, CJ

 

- -

 

"Could somebody explain to me the concept of warrants and their affect on share price.....

 

As partial consideration for GE Energy Financial Services agreeing to

the waiver and amendment, the Company has agreed to adjust the strike price of

the 2,000,000 warrants previously issued to GE Energy Financial Services to a

strike price of US$1.122 per share (currently equivalent to £0.60 per share),

-

 

Warrants are the right, but not the responsibilit, to force the company to issue new stock at the wt strike price. Adjusting the strike downwards, as GE has obtained, means the warrants are more likely to have value, and be exercised. That would be dillutive, since it would mean more stock being issued at a lower price. But 2million shares is nothing to get too woreried about, I would say

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Interesting points, CJ

 

- -

 

"Could somebody explain to me the concept of warrants and their affect on share price.....

 

As partial consideration for GE Energy Financial Services agreeing to

the waiver and amendment, the Company has agreed to adjust the strike price of

the 2,000,000 warrants previously issued to GE Energy Financial Services to a

strike price of US$1.122 per share (currently equivalent to £0.60 per share),

-

 

Warrants are the right, but not the responsibilit, to force the company to issue new stock at the wt strike price. Adjusting the strike downwards, as GE has obtained, means the warrants are more likely to have value, and be exercised. That would be dillutive, since it would mean more stock being issued at a lower price. But 2million shares is nothing to get too woreried about, I would say

 

Thanks Doc

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
I can't see there being any cost advantages from moving to conventional PV cells with bulk substrates other than Silicon, since the manufacturing process will be pretty much the same as for bulk Silicon but with something slightly more esoteric (and expensive) than sand at the input. My expectation is that the cost breakthrough will occur once a suitable thin film technology is in place. The interesting thing about this is that the people best placed to benefit are unlikely to be the incumbent PV manufacturers - it will be the people who're currently experts in manufacturing LCD panels!
Not necessarily, technologies such as nanoparticulate Si and (even though still in early stages) polymer PV will have an increasing role to play (efficiencies at >5% and so cheap you can cover fields with them for pennies, just need to improve lifetimes).
The technical reason I still prefer thermal solar is that in principle a thermal solar solution can be designed which converts all incident light (regardless of wavelength) into energy. With PV cells, you're only ever going to convert the incident light whose wavelength matches the energy bandgap of the material you're using. I know that research is ongoing to develop cells with multiple bandgaps, but I can't see how anyone is going to be able to develop a cell which can absorb all wavelengths from infra-red to ultra-violet the way a black box thermal collector can.

Again, not entirely correct, as Silicons indirect bandgap (and all other SC bandgaps are, in reality, spread over a wavelength range) it generally aborbs a range of wavelengths below the intrinsic bandgap (peak about 1000 - 1100nm as far as I can remember) and most of the solar spectrum lies between about 400 and 1200nm.

I also have colleagues working on intermediate band PV with interesting initial results, although again at early stages and with a few phonon bottleneck problems to overcome. The quantum dot approach can also absorb at multiple wavelengths with theoretical efficiencies near 50%. So far I think about 36% has been shown.

 

PS I really like thermal solar, and I cannot understand why more use of it isnt made.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

thermal solar is great,

but suffers from being somewhat boring, and in need of alot of messy plumbing

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Dow Corning has been working on a new “solar grade Silicon” production technique and has just reported that it has started shipping the new media with properties that are equivalent to poly-Si. Details are a bit sketchy still, but the PV 1101 is produced in a different way and lends itself to mass production, unlike trad poly Si.

 

http://optics.org/articles/news/12/9/3/1

 

Another milestone reached :unsure:

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Not necessarily, technologies such as nanoparticulate Si and (even though still in early stages) polymer PV will have an increasing role to play (efficiencies at >5% and so cheap you can cover fields with them for pennies, just need to improve lifetimes).

The point I was trying to make was that I think conventional bulk substrate PV cells are a dead end, and we need the kind of techologies you describe to reach the market ASAP. I should probably have qualified my earlier post by saying I'm not a fan of _current_ PV technology!

Again, not entirely correct, as Silicons indirect bandgap (and all other SC bandgaps are, in reality, spread over a wavelength range) it generally aborbs a range of wavelengths below the intrinsic bandgap (peak about 1000 - 1100nm as far as I can remember) and most of the solar spectrum lies between about 400 and 1200nm.

I also have colleagues working on intermediate band PV with interesting initial results, although again at early stages and with a few phonon bottleneck problems to overcome. The quantum dot approach can also absorb at multiple wavelengths with theoretical efficiencies near 50%. So far I think about 36% has been shown.

It's over ten years since I did any device physics, so I'll admit to being a bit vague there. The fact remains, though, that the currently available technology leaves a lot to be desired in terms of efficiency. Hopefully your colleagues will come up with a solution.

PS I really like thermal solar, and I cannot understand why more use of it isnt made.

Like the good Doctor said, it suffers from being somewhat boring. Unfortunately, the VCs and funding agencies like their technology new, shiny, high risk and exciting (and preferably either nano-this or quantum-that). Leaves no place in the portfolio for ideas which rely on good old thermodynamics and control theory (and plumbing!).

 

C J

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
The point I was trying to make was that I think conventional bulk substrate PV cells are a dead end, and we need the kind of techologies you describe to reach the market ASAP. I should probably have qualified my earlier post by saying I'm not a fan of _current_ PV technology!

Perhaps it is me that should qualify as I wasn’t actually disagreeing and didn’t mean it to come across like that. The PV cells that use bulk Si substrates (single crystal Si) have indeed reached their best performance and any further cost reduction will only come about from mass production.

The use of poly Si, however, should be able to take advantage of the progress made in the LCD TV market, where it is deposited using SiH4 (silane gas) producing polycrystalline Si on Glass. (In conjunction with ITO a transparent Oxide). I'm not sure what stage this research is at but will check.

 

As for solar thermal I really am amazed how unpopular it is and can only believe it is down to a lack of understanding. It and geothermal (garden variety where a good mile or so of piping is buried a foot or two deep in you garden) used in conjunction with a heat pump offers huge potential for heating etc.

 

Perhaps it is because when people hear there is only a 5 degree difference (before the heat pump) they think it’s not worth it. Either way, I think that with the correct advertising (and possibly grants, planning concessions) that they could really become popular.

 

As for trendy names for it, I'm sure that with a little thought we could come up with a new "added value business speak" name for it, together with an equally important TLA (three latter acronym). Perhaps something like “Photonic Energy Exchanger” otherwise known as Pee :o , or perhaps not :unsure: .

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now


×