Ikea Buys 42.4MW Project in Finland

By: David Weston

FINLAND: Furniture retailer Ikea has acquired a 42MW repowering project on Finland’s west coast from developer OX2.

Eight of the ten current turbines are installed on man-made islands in Ajos harbour

The acquisition agreement allows OX2 to commence construction of the project before handing it to Ikea once it is completed in 2017.

The site in Ajos harbour currently has ten WinWind 3MW turbines. Eight of the turbines are installed on man-made islands, with two on the mainland.

OX2’s repowered project will comprise 13 Siemens turbines. Eight of the manufacturer’s 3.2MW turbines with 113-metre rotors will replace the machines on the artificial islands in the harbour.

The two onshore turbines will be replaced by five Siemens 3.3MW turbines with 130-metre rotors.

Following the completion of the project, OX2 will continue to operate it for Ikea.

“The new wind farm will mean we produce more renewable energy than all the energy we use in our buildings in Finland,” said IKEA Finland Country manager Lars Midttun.

It is Ikea’s first wind investment in Finland but it has previously acquired projects in Germany, Poland, Ireland, Canada and the US.

In June 2015, the retailer pledged to invest a further €500 million in wind projects by 2020, adding to the €1.5 billion it had already spent on renewable energy since 2009.

It is aiming to become “energy independent” by owning as much renewable energy capacity as it consumes.

Courtesy: http://www.windpowermonthly.com/

Solar To Be Used in Trial to Find ‘Desalination Plant of the Future’

image: Alexander Ritschel.

By: Kelvin Ross

A French engineering company will use solar panels to power an innovative desalination demonstration project in Abu Dhabi operated by clean energy group Masdar.

Mascara is a company headed by Marc Vergnet, founder of Vergnet Hydro, and it will utilize off-grid rooftop solar to power the project in Ghantoot.

Vergnet said this week that he is expecting the project to consume 2.8 kWh per cubic meter of water.

The trial – which is expected to start in two months – will be the fifth located at Ghantoot, alongside grid-connected projects from Abengoa, Suez Environnement, Sidem/Veolia and Trevi Systems.

If the Mascara project is successful, Masdar says the technology will be ideal for use in remote locations and especially on islands.

Speaking to journalists at Ghantoot yesterday, Dr. Alexander Ritschel, Masdar senior manager, said that desalination plants in the UAE currently “are mainly thermal and aged. There needs to be a transition to membrane-based desalination technology, which is more efficient than thermal processes installed sometimes up to 40 years ago.”

Ritschel said the five trial plants will run until 2017, with the aim to find out “how the desalination plant of the future will operate.”

Courtesy: http://www.renewableenergyworld.com/

LG to Triple N-Type Mono Solar Cell Capacity by 2020

By: Liam Stoker

LG Electronics has announced a US$435 million investment designed to treble its N-type monocrystalline cell production by 2020.

The South Korean electronics giant has entered into a memorandum of understanding with the city of Gumi to ramp up its existing cell manufacturing lines.

LG noted that it would add six cell production lines to its existing eight lines in a phased expansion, taking capacity to 1.8GW by 2018 and reaching 3GW by 2020.

Lee Sang-bong, president and head of LG’s energy business center, said that the investment would place LG’s solar business “in a much stronger position” and allow it to be a “dynamic engine for growth” for the company.

“LG has been actively involved in the solar energy business for two decades and we believe that mainstream consumers are more than ready to give solar more serious consideration,” he said.

The capacity expansion of n-type monocrystalline cell production by LG would potentially make it the largest such producer of the high performance solar cells, surpassing SunPower, the leading n-type mono cell producer at the moment.

SunPower had around 1.5GW of nameplate capacity at the end of 2015, while recently announcing plans to achieve around 2.5GW of capacity by the end of 2020.

In recent years advanced solar cell production expansions using n-type mono cells has lagged mainstream multicrystalline technology, due to higher production costs and processing complexity.

However, new entrants such as SolarCity and its planned ramp of a 1GW fab in the US, deploying Silevo’s n-type mono cell technology, demonstrates that advanced cell technology has a future.

Finlay Colville, head of market intelligence at Solar Media Ltd, highlighted in his latest blog for PV Tech that n-type cell manufacturing issues were a major requested topic for the upcoming inaugural PVCellTech conference, taking place in Kuala Lumper in Malaysia on 16-17 March 2016.

SunPower, Panasonic and First Solar (TetraSun) are already confirmed speakers on the advanced cell technology at the event.

Additional reporting by Mark Osborne.

Courtesy: http://www.pv-tech.org/news/

Panasonic to Release 96-cell Solar Panels to North American Market this Year

By: Kelly Pickerel

Targeting the residential market, the 96-cell ‘HIT’ module is one of the few volume produced Hetero Junction (HJ) cell-based modules on the market.


Panasonic Eco Solutions Company announced the company’s expansion of larger solar panels into North America’s fast-growing residential solar market. Panasonic’s complete high-efficiency photovoltaic module HIT product range will be available beginning this month, including high efficiency, 96-cell panels that meet the demand for the growing residential market. Panasonic will also announce its extended product warranty, bringing increased value to installers and end users across North America in 2016.

The residential solar market has continued its steady growth in recent years, with residential solar installations going up 70% from 2014. Panasonic will continue to shape the renewable energy landscape as it broadens the scope of its operations to include all of North America.

“North America is one of the fastest growing markets for renewable energy in the world and solar is expected to drive a significant percentage of that growth over the next several years,” said Dan Silver, president, Panasonic Eco Solutions Company North America. “Panasonic’s commitment to residential solar in North America has never been stronger. By offering our customers an affordable way to reduce their energy bills and their carbon footprint with one of the most efficient, highest-performing solar solutions on the market, we’re perfectly positioned to meet this growing demand.”

Panasonic, a leader in consumer electronics, business solutions and industrial components has been a pioneer in the solar business for 40 years, since developing the amorphous silicon solar cell in 1975. Panasonic also developed the original photovoltaic module HIT, which achieved one of the world’s highest conversion efficiency and continues to offer the highest cell efficiencies for capturing and storing energy.

Features and Advantages of Panasonic HIT

  • Leading Edge Technology – Silicone Hetero Junction (SHJ) Solar Cell Panasonic’s original silicone heterojunction cell has a unique property that helps minimizes loss of electrons and helps maximize the performance of the cell increasing its output.
  • Original Pyramid Structure While the rough surface of other panels reflects sunlight, Panasonic’s pyramid structure helps the cell surface absorb more sunlight in turn generating more energy.
  • High Efficiency Performance at High Temperatures Due to the patented property of the panel’s amorphous silicon layer in each solar cell, Panasonic HIT is efficient and maintains high output even at high temperatures.
  • Water DrainageRain water is drained off the panel surface. This helps avoid not only water accumulation, but also water stains after drying. Even in low-angle installations, the water drainage helps to keep the panel clean.
  • High Testing Standards Panasonic’s testing criteria is more exhaustive than industry standards.

This is not Panasonic’s first foray into the solar industry in North America, as the company has maintained a strong presence in the market since 2002. This experience will prove invaluable as Panasonic aims to capitalize on the new opportunities that have come with the evolving solar industry, as well as new trends that have emerged in the renewable energy landscape as a whole. Panasonic boasts the industry’s top level efficiency and energy-saving solar panels on the market (up to 19.7% panel efficiency), which, coupled with its strong brand name, will lead to a robust new beginning in North America.

Courtesy: http://www.solarpowerworldonline.com/


Can Going Green Save You Green?

iStock-13689706_solar-panels-on-roof_s4x3.jpg.rend.hgtvcom.616.462Most people think of retro fitting a building with green fixtures and appliances as a very expensive endeavor. While the up-front cost may be somewhat pricey, however, the eventual savings often more than make up for the expenditure. In fact, many home and business owners find that taking steps to make buildings more eco-friendly pays in real dollars. That’s a change that you can feel good about.

Going Solar

Having solar panels installed on the roof can help most home and business owners save money on electricity. With the right set-up, many homes and businesses can significantly offset the need for electricity from “on-grid” sources. This may cut down energy bills by a significant percentage.

Some systems may even be able to harness solar energy that is not used immediately, though regulations regarding what is to be done with that energy may vary by state. In some states, the excess energy can be sold to power companies for a profit. This is not always the case, however, so it is important to do research before assuming that this will be an eventual project cost offset.

Investing in Energy Efficient Appliances

Energy efficient lighting, refrigeration, cooking appliances, and heating and cooling systems can reduce the amount of energy that a building uses on average. This can reduce the building’s carbon footprint and overall energy needs. By making small incremental changes, such as purchasing an energy efficient refrigerator and led light bulbs, building owners often see an immediate decrease in the kWh used and therefore the price of the electric bill.

Tax Incentives

In addition to incremental monthly savings on energy, switching to more energy efficient appliances and energy sources may make home and business owners eligible for tax credits. The U.S. government offers tax credits for certain renewable energy projects and the purchase of energy efficient appliances. Certain states may also offer additional credits. It is important to research tax credit before making assumptions, however, as some green incentive programs have recently expired.

Cost Segregation Audit to Determine Savings

Cost segregation may help business owners to maximize savings. By conferring with cost segregation experts, business owners may find that they are eligible for income tax obligation reductions stemming from green renovations and reductions in overall building energy use. In many cases, these deductions are missed without expert assistance. Cost segregation experts may also perform an energy audit to help business owners receive the highest amount of tax savings possible.

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