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SunEdison and GRID Alternatives, a non-profit solar installer, have just launched the National Women in Solar Initiative.
The $1.2 million philanthropic partnership aims to encourage women to enter the fast-growing solar industry, and contributes to GRID Alternatives’ mission of providing work training and clean energy to underserved communities.
GRID Alternatives will provide training to over 1,000 women, as well as paid fellowships to work in the industry for a year to 20 women. Plus, they’ll host networking events, starting in Denver in late April.
“GRID Alternatives’ volunteer model provides women a pathway to access a variety of careers in an industry that added jobs at a rate of 20 percent last year,” said Erica Mackie, co-founder and CEO of GRID Alternatives.
“Women’s talents and voices will be critical to the solar industry’s continued growth, and we are thrilled to be partnering with SunEdison to increase their participation in this field,” she added.
“Taking this step to create and advance the Women in Solar Initiative is not only the right thing to do, it is a smart business investment,” said Ahmad Chatila, CEO of SunEdison.
“The continued success of the solar industry depends on recruiting and nurturing the best and brightest people, and this initiative is going to help do exactly that,” he added.
In a new record for annual solar growth in the U.S., solar PV installations rose 41 percent from 2012 to reach 4,751 MW in 2013.
The news comes from Solar Market Insight Year in Review 2013, a report from GTM Research and the Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA).
The additional installations brought the total PV capacity to over 12,000 MW, made up of over 440,000 solar electric systems.
Plus, an added 410 MW of concentrating solar power (CSP) systems became operational last year, almost doubling the total installed capacity of CSP, now at 918 MW.
According to the researchers, solar is now hitting the mainstream: second only to natural gas, solar was the second-largest source of electricity generating capacity installed in the U.S. last year – and the cost of installing solar fell by 15 percent throughout the year.
“2013 offered the U.S. solar market the first real glimpse of its path toward mainstream status,” said Shayle Kann, Senior Vice President at GTM Research. “The combination of rapid customer adoption, grassroots support for solar, improved financing terms, and public market successes displayed clear gains for solar in the eyes of both the general population and the investment community.”
“Today, solar is the fastest-growing source of renewable energy in America, generating enough clean, reliable and affordable electricity to power more than 2.2 million homes – and we’re just beginning to scratch the surface of our industry’s enormous potential,” said SEIA President and CEO Rhone Resch.
“Last year alone, solar created tens of thousands of new American jobs and pumped tens of billions of dollars into the U.S. economy. In fact, more solar has been installed in the U.S. in the last 18 months than in the 30 years prior. That’s a remarkable record of achievement.”
Almost half – 44 percent – of last year’s new solar capacity was installed in the fourth quarter, making Q4 2013 by far the largest quarter in the history of the U.S. market.
Looking ahead, GTM Research and SEIA predict 26% growth in the U.S. solar market next year, bringing annual installations up to nearly 6 GW and a cumulative total just below 20 GW.
A new report finds that the solar industry employs a higher than average rate of veterans, a group often faced with high unemployment.
The findings show that as of November 2013, America’s solar industry has grown by 500 percent since 2008, providing more than 13,000 veterans with job opportunities.
Almost ten percent of all solar workers are veterans, which is promising considering over 15 percent of veterans aged 18-24 are currently unemployed.
Plus, the outlook is bright: more than 60 percent of solar companies that employ veterans plan to add more solar workers over the next year.
“Our servicemen and women have made great sacrifices for our country and it is our responsibility to ensure that when they return home there are high-skill and well-paying jobs available,” said Congressman Scott Peters (CA-52).
“The solar industry offers our veterans a unique opportunity to use the knowledge they learned serving our country in a rapidly growing sector that is vital to both our national security and economic future,” he added.
The study is from The Solar Foundation and Operation Free, a coalition of veterans and national security experts working to secure America with clean energy, and draws on data from The Solar Foundation’s National Solar Jobs Census 2013.
“Through this collaboration, we are finally able to see, with hard numbers, what we have suspected for years: veterans are huge assets to the clean energy economy,” said Jaclyn Houser, Advocacy Director of Operation Free.
“They bring unparalleled technical skills and a relentless focus on accomplishing the mission. And they view their work in clean energy as a continuation of their service.”
It’s the first such study into veterans in the solar industry; Operation Free and The Solar Foundation aim to expand upon the findings to recruit and retain more veterans in solar.
SunEdison and MIC Solar Energy Holdings have completed the largest PV solar installation at any U.S. Defense Department site, at Davis-Monathan Air Force Base in Tuscon, Arizona.
The 16.4 MW ground-mounted PV installation covers 170 acres of land that was previously unused, with 57,000 modules that automatically track the sun’s path to maximise electricity generation.
The installation will provide about 35 percent of the base’s electricity for 25 years – that’s equivalent to powering over 5,100 homes.
The new installation is also expected to save the Air Force around half a million dollars on electricity costs, and reduce carbon dioxide emissions by almost 17,000 metric tons, per year.
“The Air Force, like other branches of the armed forces, is a perfect candidate for solar power because they have high electricity demands and often have large plots of underutilised land,” said Bob Powell, president of North America, SunEdison.
“We can help them use that land to generate significant cost savings that can be reinvested.”
The installation contributes to the Air Force’s aim of generating one quarter of its energy from renewable resources by 2025, a significant goal considering the Air Force is the federal government’s largest consumer of electricity.
The U.S. Department of Energy has revealed the 20 teams of college students participating in the next Solar Decathlon.
The teams, hailing from the U.S. and abroad, will spend the next two years developing solar homes to be displayed at the 2015 Solar Decathlon held in Orange County Great Park, California.
The homes will be judged on factors like energy efficiency, architecture, engineering, innovation and affordability. The competition not only gives students hands on experience preparing them for the clean technology workforce, but also offers the public a chance to see renewable energy at work.
“As President Obama made clear in the State of the Union address, we need an all-of-the-above energy strategy that creates a safer and more sustainable planet, while ensuring American students and workers have the skills they need for the challenging jobs of today and tomorrow,” said Deputy Energy Secretary Dan Poneman.
“The Solar Decathlon provides the next generation of America’s architects, engineers, and entrepreneurs with the real world experience and training they need to strengthen U.S. innovation and support new, clean sources of energy,” he added.
From 2002 until 2011, the event was held in Washington D.C. but has since moved to California to give a different set of visitors the chance to see solar energy in action first hand.
The following teams have been selected to compete in Solar Decathlon 2015:
- California Polytechnic State University
- California State University, Sacramento
- Clemson University
- Crowder College and Drury University
- Lansing Community College and Kendall College of Art and Design of Ferris State University
- Missouri University of Science and Technology
- New York City College of Technology
- Oregon Institute of Technology and Portland State University
- Stanford University
- State University of New York at Alfred College of Technology and Alfred University
- Stevens Institute of Technology
- University of Florida, National University of Singapore, and Santa Fe College
- The University of Texas at Austin and Technische Universitaet Muenchen
- University at Buffalo, The State University of New York
- University of California, Davis
- University of California, Irvine; Saddleback College; Chapman University; and Irvine Valley College
- Vanderbilt University and Middle Tennessee State University
- West Virginia University and University of Roma Tor Vergata
- Western New England University, Universidad Tecnológica de Panamá, and Universidad Tecnológica Centroamericana
- Yale University
“Since 2002, the Solar Decathlon has shown how hard work, imagination, and collaboration can energize collegiate teams to design, build and operate attractive, efficient, solar-powered homes,” said Tom Kimbis, vice president of executive affairs for the Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA).
“SEIA congratulates the twenty teams selected by the U.S. Department of Energy from schools representing more than a dozen states to compete in the 2015 Solar Decathlon and wishes success to them all,” he continued.
The U.S. government has filed a complaint against India with the World Trade Organization (WTO), claiming aspects of the Indian government’s solar expansion plan break global trade rules.
As part of it’s National Solar Mission (NSM), which aims to deploy 20,000 MW of solar by 2022, the Indian government is requiring that solar power developers must use solar panels and cells made in India.
The NSM has three Phases, now entering Phase II. The first Phase also had a domestic content requirement that the U.S. filed a complaint about. But in Phase II, the requirement to use Indian-made solar extends to thin film technology, which makes up the bulk of U.S. solar exports to India and was exempt in Phase I.
“These domestic content requirements discriminate against U.S. exports by requiring solar power developers to use Indian-manufactured equipment instead of U.S. equipment,” said United States Trade Representative Michael Froman.
“These unfair requirements are against WTO rules, and we are standing up today for the rights of American workers and businesses,” he added.
The U.S. Trade Representative also noted that protectionist measures like a domestic content requirement harm the expansion of solar worldwide, not just in the U.S. – a view reiterated by the U.S. solar lobby group.
“These types of ‘localization’ measures not only are an unfair barrier to U.S. exports, but also raise the cost of solar energy, hindering deployment of solar energy around the world, including in India,” said Froman.
“Localization barriers are a growing threat to U.S. solar exports and clearly violate WTO rules. Over the past three years, the U.S. government has provided India every opportunity to remove restrictive and unfair marketplace requirements,” said Rhone Resch, president and CEO of the Solar Energy Industries Association.
“In the absence of any meaningful effort by India to find common ground, it’s now time for the WTO to finally resolve these long-festering issues.”
The U.S. has requested consultations, the first step in the WTO dispute settlement process. If after 60 days, India and the U.S. fail to resolve the issue through negotiations, the United States may ask the WTO to establish a dispute settlement panel.
The world’s largest solar thermal power plant, the Ivanpah Solar Energy Generating System, is live and delivering power to Californians.
Covering around 3,500 acres of federal land near the California-Nevada border, the system has a field of thousands of mirror-like heliostats that direct sunlight to receivers on three 450-foot high towers. The heat then boils water to power a conventional steam turbine.
The system will produce 392 MW of electricity, enough power 140,000 California homes and avoid 400,000 metric tons of carbon dioxide emission. The power from Ivanpah will be sold to utilities Pacific Gas & Electric and Southern California Edison Company.
“The Ivanpah project is a shining example of how America is becoming a world leader in solar energy,” said Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz at the opening of the plant, which accounts for about one third of all solar thermal power generated in the U.S.
“As the President made clear in the State of the Union, we must continue to move toward a cleaner energy economy, and this project shows that building a clean energy economy creates jobs, curbs greenhouse gas emissions, and fosters American innovation,” he continued.
While the project $2.2 billion project is owned by NRG Energy, Google, and BrightSource Energy, it’s also a recipient of a $1.6 billion loan guarantee from the Energy Department.
“This project was made possible by the successful public-private partnership between the Department of Energy and the project sponsors,” said Peter Davidson, Executive Director of the Loan Programs Office. “Through partnerships like this, we can continue to build an innovative clean energy economy in the U.S.”
Ivanpah was the first commercial scale solar power tower project in the U.S., and one of five CSP projects receiving a loan guarantee from the Energy Department.
The Energy Department’s Loan Program is also supporting innovative technologies like the country’s first solar thermal storage project and the first power tower with solar thermal storage.
“Congratulations to the Ivanpah team for achieving commercial operation,” said Rick Needham, Google’s director of energy and sustainability.
“At Google we invest in innovative renewable energy projects that have the potential to transform the energy landscape and help provide more clean power to businesses and homes around the world. Ivanpah is a shining example of such a project and we’re delighted to be a part of it.”
Major U.S. solar firm SolarCity has started a nonprofit organization to help provide children around the world with clean energy to light their schools.
Through the Give Power Foundation, SolarCity will donate a PV solar power system and battery unit to a school without electricity for every megawatt of residential PV that SolarCity installs this year.
According to SolarCity, over 290 million children around the world attend elementary schools that don’t have electricity.
Not only will students have electricity during the day, but the schools can be community gathering places in the evening. The first installations are expected to be in Haiti, Mali, Malawi and Nepal.
“The United Nations has set the ambitious goal of ensuring that everyone in the world has access to electricity by 2030, while fighting climate change, and we are deeply committed to making this happen through the Give Power Foundation,” said Hayes Barnard, SolarCity’s Chief Revenue Officer and President of Give Power Foundation.
“Now every SolarCity customer will play a part in giving light to a community in need,” Barnard continued.
The Give Power Foundation will work with buildOn, a nonprofit that builds schools in some of the poorest countries in the world, to ensure that the systems are installed and maintained correctly.Solar Liberty Foundation Provides PV Power to Haiti Orphanage
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Rumor has it that Apple is developing a solar-powered wristwatch, according to a New York Times report.
That’s based on comments from insiders and former employees, and the fact that Apple recently posted a job advertisement seeking an engineer specialising in solar and has poached employees from battery tech companies like Tesla.
There have already been rumours of a curved-glass “smartwatch,” and in 2013 Apple patented a flexible battery, which could potentially be covered by a thin layer of solar cells.
While smartphone and portable computer technology has been advancing in leaps and bounds, battery technology has lagged. According to the Times, that’s because the safety of “experimental” batteries is not totally clear – and also because most currently popular devices, like cell phones, do not actually see enough sun as they are usually carried in pockets.
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Westmill Solar Park, a 30-acre solar farm is on the border of Oxfordshire and Wiltshire in the UK, is offering locals a source of renewable energy and a clean investment opportunity.
The farm is own by the the Westmill Solar Co-operative’s 1,648 members. It’s the first large scale solar farm cooperative in the UK, and according to the group members, the largest in the world.
Over 20,000 PV panels make up the 5 MW farm, generating enough electricity to power 1,400 homes in Oxfordshire each year.
The group aims to not only combat climate change, but also provide locals with a positive, stable investment. And the group believes, according to its website, “ownership should be equitable – so no matter the level of investment, each member has the same number of votes at each year’s AGM.” That means each member has a say in how the park is run and how the revenue is spent.
“We believe that local ownership and community ownership of renewable energy systems is a brilliant way to go forward. It’s about decentralising production. It’s about empowering people to have the opportunity to control and have a stake in the energy industry,” Adam Twine, director of the Westmill Solar Co-operative, recently told Voice of Russia.
“And it’s about keeping money from [big energy] businesses going round in the local economy. It’s a win-win all round,” he continued.Solar Farms
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New Jersey’s MetLife Stadium, host to the recent Super Bowl clash between the Denver Broncos and Seattle Seahawks, is a shining example of how solar is hitting the mainstream.
The ring atop the stadium, made of LED light bulbs, is powered by 1,350 building integrated PV panels installed by NRG Solar in 2012. The 314 kW system can generate 350,000 kW hours of electricity, equivalent to taking 53 cars off the road each year.
The Solar Ring is part of a suite of energy saving initiatives agreed to in a Memorandum of Understanding with the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) back in 2009. MetLife Stadium opened in April 2010.
In addition to using PV technology, the stadium is made in large part of recycled steel and concrete, has seating made partially from recycled plastic and scrap iron, low flow faucets, toilets and waterless urinals in restrooms, and food composting.
Each year, the stadium reports to the EPA. In 2013, MetLife Stadium reduced its carbon footprint by 234,834 Metric Tons of Carbon Dioxide Equivalent, which is analogous to eliminating carbon dioxide emissions from 12,086 homes.IKEA adds 2.5MW solar capacity
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SolarCity, one of the country’s largest solar leasing firms, will launch a new online investment platform to allow people to support and participate in solar in a new way.
“People want to support clean energy development. Customers are seeing the benefits of getting solar for their homes but they would like to participate in other ways as well,” said SolarCity CEO Lyndon Rive.
“Previously, only institutional investors could participate in the financing of most solar assets,” said Rive. “With our investment platform, we’re hoping to allow far more individuals and smaller organizations to participate in the transformation to a cleaner, more distributed infrastructure.”
SolarCity has acquired financial technology firm Common Assets, which has developed the new investment platform that will allow individuals to invest in solar – an industry that isn’t just booming financially, but also provides a social and environmental benefit.
“Unlike crowdfunding and community solar approaches that typically aggregate investors to provide loans for individual projects, SolarCity plans to offer debt investments backed by diversified portfolios of solar assets,” said Tim Newell, CEO of Common Assets and now SolarCity’s vice president of financial products.
“SolarCity’s financial products will provide an exciting new opportunity for people to make an impact—both for their own financial future and our global future—by investing in the shift to solar energy,” he said.New Crowdfunding Platform Finances Solar Projects
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A new report predicts an uptick in spending on solar photovoltaic equipment starting in 2015, reaching up to $10 billion in 2017.
The data comes from the latest PV Equipment Quarterly report released by research firm NPD Solarbuzz.
“During 2012 and 2013, solar PV equipment suppliers were confronted by the sharpest downturn ever to hit the sector,” said Finlay Colville, vice president at NPD Solarbuzz.
“The decline was caused by strong over-capacity that reshaped the entire PV industry in 2012, which resulted in manufacturers’ capital expenditure budgets being put on hold during 2013,” he continued.
Spending on solar PV equipment, including components like crystalline wafers and solar cells, fell to $1.73 billion last year – from a peak of $13 billion in 2011 – as the market adjusted to a global oversupply and decline in prices.
But NPD Solarbuzz predicts that by the end of the year, demand for PV panels will catch up with the industry’s production capacity. PV manufacturers will, in turn, require increased capacity to keep up with growing demand, which will flow on to the PV equipment supply chain.
And while crystalline silicon producers will still dominate the market, the report foresees opportunities for equipment manufacturers supplying the thin-film PV sector.
“Strong investments from new thin-film challengers are expected in the coming years, including Hanergy’s plan for several gigawatts of new CIGS capacity within China,” added Colville.
“New thin-film capacity is also likely to be built in the Middle East and Latin America, as emerging regions seek to enter the PV manufacturing arena and differentiate themselves from crystalline silicon products made in Asia.”Report: PV equipment spending will bottom out in Q2 2012 after sustained negative growth
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The world’s largest solar bridge, London’s Blackfriars bridge, has gone live and is powering half of Blackfriars train station.
The bridge, which crosses the Thames River, was originally built in 1886 but has been upgraded by the London rail network as part of the overhaul of the adjacent train station.
Solarcentury installed 4,400 solar photovoltaic panels on the bridge’s roof, covering almost 65,000 square feet, the 1.1 MW system making it the world’s largest solar bridge. The panels will provide half of the train station’s energy and save over one million pounds of carbon dioxide emissions each year.
Rail commuters celebrated with a tea party,with around 79,000 cups of tea representing how much tea can be brewed each day with the electricity generated from the new PV system.
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First Solar has begun construction on the Nyngan Solar Plant, which will be Australia’s largest utility-scale solar plant. The project will employ 300 people during construction, and will be run by by one of the country’s largest renewable energy operators, AGL.
The 1,350,000 advanced thin-film PV modules will cover 250 hectares of land near the town of Nyngan, in the state of New South Wales (NSW).
The plant is supported by the state government and the Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA), has been in planning for four years, and has an expected completion date of mid-2015.
Once complete, the 102 MW Nyngan Solar Plant will produce enough electricity to power more than 33,000 homes, offsetting over 203,000 tonnes of carbon dioxide every year. That’s equivalent to taking more than 53,000 cars off the roads.
“Breaking ground at the Nyngan solar project is a significant milestone for the advancement of Australia’s utility-scale solar industry,” said Jack Curtis, First Solar’s Vice President of Business Development for Asia Pacific.
“Each project that First Solar constructs builds acceptance of and confidence in utility-scale solar as an effective source of power generation in Australia. As the Nyngan project develops, we look forward to seeing its impact, not only in generating important local job opportunities, but also in strengthening the solar industry’s position within Australia’s energy mix.”
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According to the latest annual National Solar Jobs Census, the U.S. solar industry employed 142,698 people in 2013 – up 20 percent, or more than 23,500 jobs, since 2012.
That’s ten times faster than the national average employment growth rate of 1.9 percent between September 2012 and November 2013.
“The solar industry’s job-creating power is clear,” said Andrea Luecke, Executive Director and President of The Solar Foundation. “The industry has grown an astounding 53 percent in the last four years alone, adding nearly 50,000 jobs.”
To paint an even more positive picture, another 22,000 jobs are anticipated in the coming year, thanks to strong demand and supportive policies.
“Tens of thousands of new living-wage jobs have been created over the past year thanks to plunging solar technology costs, increasing consumer demand, and supportive government policies,” said Amit Ronen, Director of The George Washington University Solar Institute, which supported the report, along with BW Research Partnership.
“As the nation’s fastest growing energy source, we expect the solar industry will continue to generate robust job growth for at least the next decade,” Ronen continued.
The data, collected from more than 2,080 solar firms, confirms that whilst other energy generation sectors suffered a decline in job numbers (fossil fuels dropping almost 9 percent), opportunities and wages climbed higher in solar, up to between $20 and $23.63 per hour.
“The study shows both aggressive hiring and clear optimism among US solar companies,” said Philip Jordan, Vice President at BW Research Partnership. ”We also found higher than average employment of veterans in the solar industry, a sign that their high-tech skills are valued in this sector.”
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SolarWorld, the company that launched the solar trade dispute between the U.S. and China back in 2011, has called upon the U.S. government to close “loopholes” in solar trade rules.
In 2012, the U.S. imposed anti-dumping tariffs and countervailing duties of up to 250% on Chinese-made solar cells after finding that Chinese firms were benefiting from unfair government subsidies and selling solar panels at below-cost prices in the U.S.
But according to SolarWorld, Chinese firms are able to avoid these tariffs by assembling panels with solar cells made in other countries, including Taiwan. The PV panel manufacturer has filed a complaint to the U.S. International Trade Commission and Department of Commerce against China and Taiwan to close this so-called ‘loophole.’
“We’re finishing the job of presenting the facts to our trade regulators to prevent China from further damaging yet another manufacturing industry and another rich base of employment,” said Mukesh Dulani, president of SolarWorld Industries America Inc., based in Oregon.
SolarWorld claims that China does not actually have a production cost advantage, and is still benefiting from unfair government subsidies and selling products at below cost price to gain market share in the U.S.
“China obviously recognizes the key importance of solar-technology manufacturing to future economic competitiveness. But we do, too,” Dulani added. “Therefore, we are once again simply asking our trade regulators to investigate the facts and apply the well-established laws that enable free trade, robust competition and lower long-term pricing. If fair competition can be restored, the U.S. industry will return to growth.”
But the U.S. solar PV industry group opposed SolarWorld’s move, calling for negotiation and action from the Chinese and U.S. governments.
“We oppose today’s escalation of the U.S.-China solar trade conflict…Trade litigation is a blunt instrument and, alone, incapable of resolving the complex competitiveness issues that exist between the U.S. and Chinese solar industries,” said Rhone Resch, president and CEO of the Solar Energy Industries Association.
“It’s time to end this conflict and negotiations must play a role,” he continued. “It’s time for both governments to get in the game and end this conflict – we urge the United States and China to immediately commit to serious, results-driven negotiations.”China’s Ministry of Commerce to investigate U.S. polysilicon imports
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Global demand for solar PV is set to reach 49 GW this year, up from 36 GW in 2013, with almost half coming from the Asia-Pacific region.
The prediction comes from research firm NPD Solarbuzz’ latest quarterly report, which finds that the last quarter of 2013 and first quarter of 2014 will be record breaking periods.
“The solar PV industry has reached a critical tipping point, with end-market demand hitting record levels almost every quarter,” said Finlay Colville, vice-president at NPD Solarbuzz.
“This growth is being driven by leading module suppliers and project developers that returned to profitability during 2013, and which have now established highly-effective global sales and marketing networks.”
From October 2013 to March 2014, almost 22 GW of solar photovoltaics will be installed worldwide. That month period will have more installations than 2005 to 2009 put together, and equivalent to one new 5 MW solar farm completed every hour for six months.
“Manufacturing over-capacity and pricing erosion within the PV industry was previously a key factor in limiting annual growth to 10-20% between 2011 and 2013,” added Colville. “With a more stable pricing environment and the prospects of increased end-market globalization, NPD Solarbuzz forecasts a return to annual growth above 30% for the PV industry in 2014.”
In Q4 2013, two-thirds of all solar panels were installed in China, Japan and the U.S. And with a predicted 23 GW of demand, the Asia-Pacific (APAC) region will account for almost half of new PV demand in 2014.
“APAC will dominate both manufacturing supply and end-market demand in 2014, with more than 80% of module production also coming from the region,” said Steven Han, analyst at NPD Solarbuzz.
“This milestone marks the final chapter in the transition from historic European domination to a new PV industry, where supply and demand from APAC will determine the basis of the 50 GW global PV industry going into 2015,” he added.Report: record 3rd quarter for world PV demand
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One pilot of the world’s largest solar plane, Solar Impulse, has completed round-the-world flight simulation lasting 72 hours.
Bertrand Piccard, who developed the plane along with fellow Swiss entrepreneur André Borschberg, stayed at the controls of the flight simulator for 72 hours straight in preparation for the plane’s round the world journey in 2015.
The plane has a wingspan of 208 feet, weighs around 3,500 pounds and can fly both at day and night time thanks to 12,000 photovoltaic cells and batteries that conserve solar energy.
“This experiment provided vital training for the round the world flight, while at the same time highlighting the extreme difficulty of this venture,” said Bertrand Piccard, Chairman and Pilot of Solar Impulse.
Experts from around the world assisted during the 72 hour simulation, monitoring fatigue, cockpit ergonomics, nutrition, use of the toilet, exercises to prevent thrombosis, vigilance and the ability to pilot the aircraft in a state of sleep deprivation.
According to the Solar Impulse team, “Piccard used self-hypnosis techniques to remain alert, manage his fatigue and sleep. Bertrand went into episodes of hypnotic trance to stimulate his activity, fall asleep or wake up faster. Over the 72 hour period, he rested 35 times for a period of 20 minutes.”
In 2013, the duo successfully flew across the U.S. in the solar plane and launched a partnership with Google. The internet giant will be the plane’s official “Internet Technology Partner,” sharing the plane’s progress with supporters using Google technology.
André Borschberg, CEO and Pilot of Solar Impulse, said that “[t]he team is on the point of finalizing the second aircraft which will have a [theoretically] infinite range. Now the challenge is to make the pilot as ‘enduring’ as the aircraft! We must learn to manage our own energy, to be able to recognize the point at which fatigue is gaining the upper hand and find solutions to remain alert and vigilant.”Solar Impulse sets record for longest solar flight
Solar Impulse has set a world record for distance covered in a solar aircraft, covering 957 miles between Phoenix, AZ ...Solar plane begins cross-country flight
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Internet giant Google has thrown its support behind Solar Impulse, the world record-breaking solar plane. Google is the official “Internet ...