Solaria BIPV products now available for architects through Linel


Solaria Corporation continues to make progress in developing the building integrated photovoltaic (BIPV) market, signing a deal with Linel, a fabricator of customized architectural glass and metal products, for architects to access Linel, powered-by-Solaria.

For decades, Linel has taken projects from design to installation as a full life-cycle subcontractor whose materials and suppliers are directly influenced by the needs of project architects. Linel now offers BIPV sloped glazing systems to answer a growing demand for architectural solar solutions from building developers and designers producing leading edge plans for new projects.

“We’re always looking for new ways to add value to our sloped glazing projects, and Solaria’s PowerView™ BIPV is a product that offers impressive solar performance without compromising aesthetic quality,” said Brian Murphy, Product Design Engineer, Linel. “The economic benefit is clear, the contribution toward sustainability is real, and the design is flexible. We believe the industry is poised to embrace BIPV sloped glazing in a major way, and this partnership has Linel and Solaria ready to provide an industry-leading system.”

Solaria BIPV technology now available through CleanFund Commercial PACE financing

By offering architectural solar solutions powered-by-Solaria, Linel can address the architectural community’s increasing demand for solar skylights, atriums, clerestories, sunshades, patios and canopies. Now, in addition to typical rooftop photovoltaic systems and louver photovoltaic systems, Linel will capitalize on the opportunity to establish the company as a recognized market leader as architectural solar grows to significant volume.

“Solaria has been cultivating the architectural solar market as its momentum grows into true industry-wide adoption. After establishing a number of significant partnerships in the vertical façade of medium to large projects, Solaria is proud of this strategic expansion into sloped glazing applications,” said Udi Paret, GM Building Solutions, Solaria Corporation. “Solaria is excited to be the premier provider of architectural solar solutions to Linel and differentiate them as a leading providing of solar skylights and solar sloped glazing solutions.”

— Solar Builder magazine

JinkoSolar breaks PERC solar cell efficiency record, debuts new mobile solutions


At China International Industry Fair (CIIF), JinkoSolar announced that it has broken its own world record for P-type monocrystalline PERC solar cell efficiency by achieving that of 23.45 percent. The record was independently validated by the Chinese Academy of Sciences’ Photovoltaic and Wind Power System Quality Test Center. This new achievement eclipses JinkoSolar’s world record breaking P-Type monocrystalline PERC solar cell efficiency of 22.78% that was achieved just last month in October.

Also at CIIF JinkoSolar introduced new applications of cutting-edge technology such as IoT devices, intelligent mobile devices, and mobile robots to its manufacturing process. The innovative applications allows JinkoSolar to consolidate data collection, enable yield traceability, improve workflow efficiency, and optimize material transportation, which ultimately allows the company to continuously enhance its fab operating efficiency. Following through with its commitment to manufacturing excellence, JinkoSolar has further integrated functions such as advanced data analytics, smart diagnostics, self-reporting, and precise forecasting, with its operational know-how. The integration has revolutionized JinkoSolar’s fab operations from “Automated” to “Intelligent”, allowing the company to achieve greater efficiency, flexibility and quality, maximize cost effectiveness, and accelerate overall innovation.

— Solar Builder magazine

Solar trade case update: Overview of ITC remedies and reactions from solar executives

solar ITC remedies

The International Trade Commission made its remedy recommendations in the Suniva/SolarWorld Section 201 trade petition case known to the world last week, which included a mix of tariffs and quotas, but nothing near the levels the petitioners were seeking. Those recommendations will be sent to Donald Trump by Nov. 13, and then he will have 60 days to make the final determination.

We continue to believe this is a futile exercise, considering the former host of the Apprentice gets to decide whatever he wants, but for the less cynical, these recommendations are surely instructive and could very likely anchor pieces of the final outcome. Below is the CliffsNotes version of each commissioner’s recommendation and reaction from a few solar executives.

ITC recommendations: Rhonda Schmidtlein

Tariffs? Yes – an ad valorem tariff (a percentage of the cost of the cell or module at the border).

Quota limitation? No, just quotas on tariff levels.

ITS solar tariffs

Anything else notable? She would not include imports from Australia, Colombia, Israel, Jordan, Panama, Peru and Singapore in the final list.

David Johanson, Irving Williamson

Tariffs? Yes – an ad valorem tariff (a percentage of the cost of the cell or module at the border). Cells at 30 percent after 1 GW, phased down 5 percent in subsequent years. Modules at 30 percent (no quota), phased down 5 percent in subsequent years.

Quota limitation? No, just quotas on cell tariff levels.

Anything else notable? Johanson and Williamson would not apply these tariffs to Australia, Colombia, Costa Rica, the Dominican Republic, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Israel, Jordan, Nicaragua, Panama, Peru and Singapore.

They also recommend the consideration of product exclusions, requested by respondents.

Solving C&I Solar: How boutique financing is growing this underserved solar segment

Meredith Broadbent

Tariffs? No.

Quota limitation? Yes. A four-year quantitative restriction on imports starting at 8.9 GW in year one, increasing by 1.4 GW each year after. She chose 8.9 GW based on market share of imports in 2016.

Anything else notable? She recommended the SEIA licensing concept: Selling import licenses at public auction at a minimum of 1 cent per watt, which she estimates could bring in $89 million of revenue in year one. That revenue would then be used to re-develop the domestic industry (rehiring, R&D, etc.)

Broadbent provided the most rationale for her decision within the initial release, noting she believed a tariff would be too harmful to the overall industry, and that the petitioners did not present a plan for becoming competitive after trade-restrictive tariffs were imposed.

Funniest note in the recommendations? “Full details on their recommendations will be included in the report to the President.” (Yea, I’m sure he’ll be all over the chance to read even more about this. He just loves using in-depth info to make informed decisions.)

Executives react

“Even at levels below what the petitioners wanted, we still think the tariffs proposed would hurt our industry and will continue to advocate voraciously for the import fee proposal. But it’s a great starting point for negotiations with the Administration,” stated Abigail Ross Hopper, CEO of SEIA.

“Today’s three different recommendations demonstrate Suniva’s request was not permissible under law,” said Ed Fenster, chairman of the U.S. solar firm Sunrun, in a statement. “We believe the Administration will go the next step, look past the narrow legal lens of this process and see what is plainly visible: the best move for America’s workers is to reject entirely this bailout of two bankrupt companies.”

“The ITC’s suggestions for ‘remedies’ represents an unfortunate and grossly unnecessary potential intrusion of the federal government into a market that is already working,” stated Sunnova Energy Corporation’s Chief Executive Officer William J. (John) Berger. “Artificially inflating prices at the behest of a few poorly-run, foreign-owned companies not only harms U.S. consumers but it abuses a process that was meant to protect U.S. companies from truly unfair trade practices.”

Tony Clifford, chief development officer of Standard Solar, in this Op-ed: They have the potential to do damage to the U.S. solar industry. But they are in no way threatening to its existence, which could not be said about the remedies for which Suniva/SolarWorld asked. They are a basis from which, as the Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA) suggested, a mutually acceptable compromise can come.”

Three takeaways from SEIA white paper on financing C&I solar with C-PACE

“Limiting or slapping big tariffs on solar imports might marginally benefit U.S.-based solar manufacturers, but would hurt every other part of our homegrown solar industry: solar installers, salespeople, project developers, financiers, and even manufacturers of other solar system components,” stated John Rogers, senior energy analyst at the Union of Concerned Scientists. “If the president proceeds down the path of limiting our access to international solar products, a serious number of the 260,000 U.S. solar workers—and the many prospective solar customers that depend on them—will take the hit. ‘Little gain, lots of pain’ is a poor approach to economic development, and a bad reason to derail how solar power is contributing to the nation’s impressive clean energy growth.

“The 201 trade case brings near-term challenges to the U.S. market, but we believe the industry will adjust and sustain the momentum it has already built through strong technological advancements over the years,” stated Archie Flores, General Manager, LONGi Solar Technology (U.S.) Inc. – a Chinese-based module manufacturer. “We continue to view the U.S. as a valuable market and we will find ways to continue to serve customer demand regardless of any trade dispute. Module cost is just one factor affecting solar growth. The global market is now entering the PV 3.0 era, wherein higher power, improved reliability and increased energy yield allows for better economics in the cents per kilowatt-hour energy level rather than the traditional focus on cents per watt per unit. At LONGi, we remain excited with the road ahead and we have full resolve to make solar a mainstream energy option.”

— Solar Builder magazine

LONGi Green Energy mono PERC solar cell hits 22.71 percent efficiency

solar cell research

The Fraunhofer ISE CalLab of Germany certified the photovoltaic conversion efficiency of 22.71 percent of LONGi Green Energy Technology Co.’s monocrystalline PERC cell, which is a new world record for this cell type.

As the industry’s leading manufacturer of high efficient monocrystalline products, LONGi has always been committed to the improvement of the monocrystalline technology. Since its founding in 2001, the company has built and relied upon its own R&D capabilities. LONGi continues to lead the industry in scientific advancement and technological innovation, as demonstrated by the company’s progress in the conversion efficiency of its PERC cell:

• In April 2017, LONGi Solar’s 100MW pilot cell line achieved maximum efficiency of 22.17% in mass production (certified by CPVT);

• At the end of August, LONGi Solar improved the efficiency to 22.43%.

This recent breakthrough in conversion efficiency is LONGi’s latest and most important technology R&D achievement to-date.

Dr. Li Hua, Vice President of Cell R&D of LONGi Solar, said: “Based on large-area, P-type monocrystalline silicon wafer, we are able to employ mass production compatible cell process technology and able to realize a conversion efficiency of 22.71%. This greatly enhances the entire industry’s confidence in P-type monocrystalline cell. With continued R&D optimization, we believe the monocrystalline PERC cell can reach a conversion efficiency of greater than 23.0% in the near future.”

LONGi Solar plans to introduce the 22.0% efficient PERC cell technology into the production line at the end of 2017, allowing the company to deliver Top Runner-compliant products with leading edge technical standards. LONGi’s module power rating will achieve 340W-345W for a 60-cell format by 2018.

Module Evolution: What big-time PV improvements will boost panel efficiency?

— Solar Builder magazine

Details on new multijunction solar cell developed by NREL that’s ready for commercialization

NREL microlink

The National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) has entered into a license agreement with MicroLink Devices, Inc. (Niles, IL) to commercialize NREL’s patented inverted metamorphic (IMM) multijunction solar cells. While high-efficiency multijunction solar cells are commonly used for space satellites, researchers have continued to look for ways to improve cost and performance to enable a broader range of applications.

The IMM technique licensed by MicroLink Devices enables multijunction III-V solar cells to be grown with both higher efficiencies and lower costs than traditional multijunction solar cells by reversing the order in which individual sub-cells are typically grown.

The IMM architecture enables greater power extraction from the higher-bandgap sub-cells and further allows the use of more efficient low-bandgap sub-cell materials such as Indium Gallium Arsenide. In contrast to traditional III-V multijunction solar cells, IMM devices are removed from their growth substrate, allowing the substrate to be reused over multiple growth runs – a significant component in reducing overall device costs. Removing the substrate also reduces the weight of the solar cell, which is important for applications such as solar-powered unmanned aerial vehicles.

MicroLink Devices is an Illinois-based ISO 9001 certified semiconductor manufacturer specializing in removing active semiconductor device layers from their growth substrate via a proprietary epitaxial liftoff (ELO) process. By utilizing its ELO capabilities, MicroLink will be able to make thin, lightweight, and highly flexible IMM solar cells which are ideal for use in unmanned aerial vehicles, space-based vehicles and equipment, and portable power generation applications.

Module Evolution: What big-time PV improvements will boost panel efficiency?

“IMM makes multijunction solar cells practical for a wide variety of weight-, geometry-, and space-constrained applications where high efficiency is critical,” said Jeff Carapella, one of the researchers in NREL’s III-V multijunction materials and devices research group that developed the technology.

“Former NREL Scientist Mark Wanlass pioneered the use of metamorphic buffer layers to form tandem III-V solar cells with three or more junctions. This approach is very synergistic with our ELO process technology, and MicroLink Devices is excited to now be commercializing IMM solar cells for high-performance space and UAV applications,” said Noren Pan, CEO of MicroLink Devices.

MicroLink and NREL have collaborated to evaluate the use of ELO for producing IMM solar cells since 2009, when MicroLink was the recipient of a DOE PV Incubator subcontract from NREL. Tests of MicroLink-produced IMM solar cells conducted at NREL have demonstrated multiple successful substrate reuses and efficiencies exceeding 30%.

NREL has more than 800 technologies available for licensing and continues to engage in advanced research and development of next-generation IMM and ultra-high-efficiency multijunction solar cells with both academic and commercial collaborators.

— Solar Builder magazine