NewEnergyNews: QUICK NEWS, 3-31: A LOOK AT SUN’S THIN FILM; GE DOES WELL DOING NEW ENERGY; INDIA’S WIND MAKING U.S. JOBS, REVENUES; MICH UTILITY WANTS SPACES FOR SUN

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    Wednesday, March 31, 2010

    QUICK NEWS, 3-31: A LOOK AT SUN’S THIN FILM; GE DOES WELL DOING NEW ENERGY; INDIA’S WIND MAKING U.S. JOBS, REVENUES; MICH UTILITY WANTS SPACES FOR SUN

    A LOOK AT SUN’S THIN FILM
    The Future of Thin Film: Beyond the Hype; 2009 was undoubtedly a difficult year for most thin-film producers. What does the future hold?
    Shyam Mehta, March 29, 2010 (Greentech Media)

    "From only 17 MW in 2002 to 966 MW in 2008, thin film's rise over the last decade has been remarkable indeed. Fueled by the greatest success story in the PV industry -- cadmium telluride producer First Solar -- the technology has captured the imagination of industry participants and interested observers alike. First Solar represents the disruptive potential of thin-film PV in full: high throughput (1,011 megawatts in 2009), competitive efficiency (11%), and an industry-leading cost (currently 83 cents per watt), enabling significant profit… listed on the S&P index…[and] the largest PV module producer in the world…

    "The search for alternative technologies led to a tidal wave of investment and entrepreneurial activity in thin film, with 46 companies entering the market between 2004 and 2008, as well as $1.8 billion in venture capital investment in the space. As market share rose from a mere 3% in 2001 to 12% in 2007, companies spoke confidently of hundreds of megawatts of production at below a dollar per watt being within arm's reach. It was only a matter of time before thin film would replace crystalline silicon as the dominant PV technology, finally enabling the long sought-after dream of grid parity…"


    From Greentech Media (click thru for more info)

    "…As of 2010, only one other company besides First Solar -- triple-junction amorphous silicon firm United Solar -- has produced in excess of 100 MW annually. The cost structure of most amorphous silicon, considering its low efficiency, is barely competitive with crystalline silicon, and CIGS producers have encountered technical issues in manufacturing…[C]capital constraints made banks and developers shy away…Asian crystalline silicon PV producers continue to ramp down costs and increase capacity beyond the gigawatt level…[T]thin film [may] fulfill its potential and make meaningful inroads into the solar energy landscape, creating new markets…Or [it may] be relegated to a bit-player role…

    "…GTM Research's just-published report Thin Film 2010: Market Outlook through 2015…[offers a] set of insights…[1] Thin film capacity will exceed 10 GW by the end of 2012…[2] Best-practice producers across all technologies will achieve costs of 80 cents per watt by the beginning of 2012, but there will be significant variation across producers…[3] First Solar will continue its dominance, remaining the largest thin film manufacturer in the world over the next three years…"


    From Greentech Media (click thru for more info)

    "[4] CIGS and amorphous silicon (particularly turnkey line production) will likely not see meaningful market share before 2013, after which cost reductions and efficiency improvements will finally start to drive a competitive product offering at an adequate margin…[5] High-margin thin film production will be a game played by the select few…[6] All signs point to one of the venture-backed CIGS companies (Solyndra, Nanosolar, Miasolé) emerging as successful representatives of this technology…7. The coming years should see a great deal more consolidation than has been witnessed so far in the thin film industry…

    "…Only past 2013 will thin film adoption, the case of First Solar aside, begin to really take off, and developments over the next three years will play a crucial role in determining the exact pace of this transition…[S]uccess [may] arrive a lot later than expected. But [it is quite likely to] arrive…"



    GE DOES WELL DOING NEW ENERGY
    GE Seeks Green By Going Green
    Peter Gwynne, March 2010 (Industrial Research Institute via WaterWorld)

    "…[Though] the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and some fossil fuel companies lobby hard to deny the effect of human activity on global warming, some high-technology firms are…embracing environmental attitudes as a source of new business enterprises. Prominent among those firms is General Electric…

    "In 2005, GE launched what it called its "ecomagination initiative," which it intended to meet customers' demands for more energy-efficient products and, in the process, improve the company's bottom line. Since then, the company has brought more than 80 "ecomagination solutions"- both products and services-to market. Revenues from the ecomagination sector represented 9% of the company's total last year, and increased by 21% from 2008 to 2009."


    click thru for more info on ecomagination

    "GE hasn't adopted the approach simply because it feels it should do its bit for the environment…[It’s] a hard-edged business strategy…To GE…"eco" means economics plus ecology. Thus, the corporation bases the venture on the fundamental proposition that "green is green"-in other words, that the development of innovative solutions to environmental problems will inevitably produce profit for the company…[And it sees New Energy as the] next big emerging market…

    "The approach has a natural fit with GE's corporate footprint, which covers a wide range of industries and locations. GE's businesses that have benefited from ecomagination's products and services so far include energy, transportation, consumer & industrial, oil & gas, water & process technologies, aviation, healthcare, enterprise solutions, and even GE Enterprise Services and GE Capital."


    click thru for more info on ecomagination

    "The venture has also provided strong assistance to the company's global growth. In December 2009, for example, General Electric China announced that ecomagination products in China produced revenues of $656 million in the first three quarters of 2009… a 50% increase over the similar period in 2008…

    "…Each GE division is encouraged to come up with green products and…to develop its own plan for reducing its environmental footprint…[GE has doubled] the firm's investment in R&D on clean technologies over a period of four years, from $750 million in 2005 to more than $1.4 billion in 2008…[Work on new battery technologies, advances in wind energy, smart grid te3chnologies, “clean” coal and energy efficient lighting reresent] roughly one-third of the company's current overall investment in R&D…"



    INDIA’S WIND MAKING U.S. JOBS, REVENUES
    Suzlon Wind Energy Corp. Will Install More Than 700 MW of Clean Energy in 2010; Construction of Nine Wind Power Projects Expected to Funnel $1.5 Million into Communities
    March 5, 2010 (Suzlon Wind Energy Corp)

    "Suzlon Wind Energy Corp., the North American subsidiary of Suzlon Energy Limited…plans to bring online 728 MW of renewable energy in the U.S. in 2010…

    "Among the nine 2010 projects, 351 newly installed turbines will produce clean energy that can power as many as 220,000 homes in seven states. In addition, these projects will create more than 50 long-term wind turbine maintenance-related jobs in rural areas. During the construction and commissioning of the nine wind farms across the [U.S.], Suzlon estimates that its employees will contribute $1.5 million to the local economies where they live and work…"

    click to enlarge

    "The nine Suzlon projects are located in seven states… Arizona, Idaho, Illinois, Kansas, Minnesota, Oregon and Washington. They encompass community projects in Kansas and Minnesota, and the expansion of the first wind farm in Arizona. Nearly all projects feature Suzlon’s S88-2.1 MW wind turbine that routinely has performed well…

    "Frequently, Suzlon hears about how its wind farm construction and maintenance employees are appreciated for bolstering local communities and economies. At one wind power plant, Suzlon even contributed to the rebuilding of a town - Greensburg, Kansas - where 95 percent of its structures were destroyed by a tornado in May 2006. Greensburg’s wind farm is home to 10 Suzlon S64-1.25 MW wind turbines that can generate enough energy to power 3,750 homes."


    click to enlarge

    [Greensburg Mayor Bob Dixson:] “Suzlon and this wind farm provided a huge boost to this community after the tornado devastated the region and during our recent recovery…The town is making a remarkable comeback with our mission to be ‘better, stronger and greener.’ Suzlon’s turbines are helping us achieve our green energy goals and are serving to exemplify the potential for wind-powered towns.”

    "At present, Suzlon has more than 1,750 MW of wind turbine capacity installed in the U.S. and expects to have 2,480 MW by the end of the year."


    MICH UTILITY WANTS SPACES FOR SUN
    Edison seeks commercial customers to participate in solar energy program
    March 29, 2010 (San Francisco Examiner)

    "…Detroit Edison…[t]he Detroit-based utility and subsidiary of DTE Energy is looking for commercial customers to participate in its SolarCurrents program…[that] seeks to install photovoltaic systems on customer rooftops or property to generate 15 megawatts of electricity throughout its southeast Michigan service area during the next five years.

    "…Detroit Edison will invest more than $100 million in the program. Customers who agree to having the equipment installed must participate for at least 20 years…Edison will own, operate and maintain the equipment; customers will get an annual credit on their energy bill based on system size as well as a one-time upfront construction payment."


    Get the point? (click to enlarge)

    "The utility will accept applications until April 29. Applicants should own a facility with at least 15,000 square feet of unobstructed roof in good condition, or a similar sized ground area…

    "…Edison also offers incentives to residential customers who install photovoltaic systems…Edison has announced that it plans to add more than 1,200 megawatts of renewable energy, including wind farms and other green energy facilities."

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