South Africa’s Largest Ever Solar Deal, SolarX, First Solar CEO Interview… (Solar News Of The Week)

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Here’s some more top solar energy news from the week (other than our own stories — which you can find via the link above):

Rooftop Solar

Why Utilites Will Pay A Premium For Rooftop Solar: “A power company rang me up last week offering to increase my rooftop solar (RTS) feed-in tariff if I switched my contract to them. My first thought was that this was a marketing ploy but, on reflection, this did not make sense.”

Solar Power Plants

Hanwha SolarOne Signs South Africa’s Largest Ever Solar Deal: “Hanwha SolarOne will deliver 155 MW of its solar modules to South African projects to be developed by Cobra, Gransolar and Kensani.”

GCL-Poly To Supply 150 MW Of PV Modules To South Africa: “GCL-Poly has said it will supply 150 MW worth of its photovoltaic modules to two projects in South Africa. The China-based photovoltaic manufacturer will provide the necessary modules for two plants worth 75 MW each. The projects were selected under the South African Renewable Energy Programme’s first bidding round. Both are said to have secured a 20 year PPA with local utility Eskom.”

Suntech, Siemens and Mainstream Renewable Power Collaborate on 100MW of Solar Projects in South Africa: “Suntech Power Holdings Co., Ltd. (NYSE: STP), one of the world’s largest producers of solar panels, has announced that it will supply approximately 100 megawatts (MW) of solar panels for two projects that are being developed, built and operated by a consortium led by Mainstream Renewable Power in South Africa. The projects, which are being developed at two separate sites in the Northern Cape of South Africa, will be designed and constructed by Siemens and will be operational by mid-2014.”

JinkoSolar to Supply 81 MW WBHO-Building Energy in South Africa: “JinkoSolar Holding Co., Ltd. (‘JinkoSolar’ or the ‘Company’) (NYSE: JKS), a leading global solar power product manufacturer, [this week] announced that it has signed a contract with fix price to supply WBHO-Building Energy (Pty) Ltd. (‘WBHO-BE’) with 81 MW of photovoltaic (PV) modules for the solar PV park project in Gamagara Local Municipality, Northern Cape Province, South Africa.”

Work On 92 MW US PV Plant Complete: “Construction work on the first phase of a 150 MW photovoltaic plant has been completed by Sempra U.S. Gas & Power in Boulder City, Nevada. Overall, the project is scheduled to be finalized in 2015.”

Suntech & SunSystem Announce 25MW Sales Agreement In Romania: “Suntech Power Holdings Co., Ltd. (NYSE: STP), one of the world’s largest producers of solar panels, and SunSystem S.p.A., a leading Italian solar engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) company, have signed a contract for Suntech to supply 25 megawatts (MW) of polycrystalline solar panels. The Suntech solar panels will power two new photovoltaic projects under construction in Romania that will be grid connected by the end of 2013.”

NRG threw the switch to begin operating its 25 megawatt Avra Valley Solar Facility near Tucson, Arizona.

NRG Completes 25 MW Avra Valley Solar Photovoltaic Facility: This week, “NRG Energy, Inc. (NYSE: NRG), through its wholly owned subsidiary NRG Solar, announced the start of commercial operations for the Avra Valley Solar Generating Station, a 25 megawatt (AC) photovoltaic facility near Tucson, Ariz. The station’s electricity will be sold to Tucson Electric Power under a 20-year power purchase agreement.”

Japan: Work To Begin On 5.2 MW PV Project: “Sanko Real Estate Co. Ltd, Solar Frontier and Chiyoda Corporation are gearing up to begin work on a 5.2 MW photovoltaic plant in Japan’s Ise City, Mie Prefecture.”

First Solar

Interview: First Solar CEO James Hughes: “This week, RenewEconomy obtained an interview with James Hughes, the CEO of the world’s biggest manufacturer of flat panel PV models, Pheonix-based First Solar, Inc.

“It’s a long interview, but Hughes provides a fascinating insight into how his company is approaching the market.”

First Solar: Why Grid Parity Does Not Matter: “James Hughes, the chief executive of First Solar, the world’s biggest manufacturer of solar photovoltaic modules, has dismissed the industry’s obsession with ‘grid parity’, saying solar technologies are not yet ready to match the cost of conventional baseload power.

“But he also said that doesn’t matter, because solar technologies are already competitive enough in the intermediate and peaking markets, where it competes with gas. And he has no doubts that solar will grab ‘at least’ a 10-20 per cent share of the global electricity market over the next two decades.”

First Solar Releases 92.5-Watt Thin-Film PV Module: “First Solar, Inc. (Nasdaq: FSLR) [this week] announced the release of its most advanced thin-film photovoltaic (PV) module, the Series 3 FS-392, which is rated at 92.5 watts. The new FS-392 module maintains all the existing IEC certifications and UL listings for the Series 3 family, including UL listing for 1000-volt systems.”


CSP 2012: Concentrated Solar Power Review: “2012 was the CSP construction stage; 2013 is when 800 megawatts come on-line…. The four major CSP companies kept their PPA-driven flagship projects on track for power production in 2013.”

CSIRO To Lead Push To Bring Cost Of CSP To 10c/kWh: “The CSIRO is to lead a major new research initiative in solar thermal (concentrating solar power, or CSP) technologies that will aim to reduce the cost of the technology to between 9c and 12c a kilowatt hour, and be able to compete with fossil fuels – possibly as early as 2016.”

SolarReserve Leads Renewable Companies At Platts Awards: “SolarReserve, a U.S. developer of utility-scale solar power projects, led the renewable energy industry as an award finalist in four categories, including Leading Technology, at the 2012 Platts Global Energy Awards, held in New York on November 29th. Hosted by Platts, a major energy, metals and petrochemicals information provider worldwide, the annual awards program honors exemplary achievement in the global energy industry, recognizing corporate and individual performance, innovation and entrepreneurship.”


Stop the Solar Trade War Before It’s Too Late: “Unless the United States, China, and the European Union (EU) step back from a mutually destructive trade war, the next decade for the solar industry could resemble the world economy in the 1930s.”

Asia-Pacific Solar Revenues To Reach $11.1 Billion By 2016: “According to new research by Frost & Sullivan, the Asian-Pacific solar market will reap revenues worth US11.1 billion in 2016. Meanwhile, photovoltaics is said to be the leading technology in the region.”

Japan: Wirsol & Greenpower Capital Form Joint Venture: “Wirsol and Greenpower Capital have formed a joint venture to provide project finance, EPC and O&M to the Japanese solar market. The services are tailor-made to fit photovoltaic projects 10 MW and above.”

KYOCERA Surpasses 2 Million Solar Modules Produced In North America: “Kyocera Solar Inc., a leading supplier of reliable solar modules and renewable energy solutions, [this week] announced that Kyocera’s North American manufacturing facilities have surpassed production of two million photovoltaic (PV) solar modules. Kyocera has been producing modules in North America since 2004 and its solar solutions are used in a variety of applications including residential, commercial, and utility-scale projects across the Americas, Australia and select regions worldwide.”

Solar Power Prices Should Continue Falling Through 2025: “A new survey of experts argues that solar power will become much cheaper through 2025, while expanding greatly—but for these trends to continue for the long term, will require a commitment to funding research.”

New SolarX Hybrid from SolarX Energy provides both electrical and thermal (hot water) energy. Its peripherally mounted photo voltaic (PV) panels can produce 25% more electrical power than traditional fixed PV tracking, and it is the only energy system of its kind for remote areas. The product’s logo was designed to feature the unit’s energy source (the sun) and its unique PV panels. (PRNewsFoto/SolarX Energy)

SolarX Energy Introduces Its ‘Next Generation’ Hybrid Solar Energy System: “SolarX Energy today announced the launch of its much anticipated SolarX Hybrid – a total solar energy solution expected to raise the bar on solar-generated clean energy by coupling thermal (hot water) production output of over 100,000 BTUs per day with electrical power production of up to 1.0 kilowatt per day.”

Shell, VCs Ante Up $26M For Solar That Beats Natural Gas: “GlassPoint Solar just won $26 million in Round B financing from an impressive list of investors. GlassPoint’s Enclosed Trough Concentrating Solar Power (CSP) enhanced oil recovery (EOR) process attracted oil giant Royal Dutch Shell (NYSE:RDS.A) as well as RockPort Capital, Nth Power, and Chrysalix Energy Venture Capital.”

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Zachary Shahan

Zach is tryin' to help society help itself one word at a time. He spends most of his time here on CleanTechnica as its director, chief editor, and CEO. Zach is recognized globally as an electric vehicle, solar energy, and energy storage expert. He has presented about cleantech at conferences in India, the UAE, Ukraine, Poland, Germany, the Netherlands, the USA, Canada, and Curaçao. Zach has long-term investments in Tesla [TSLA], NIO [NIO], Xpeng [XPEV], Ford [F], ChargePoint [CHPT], Amazon [AMZN], Piedmont Lithium [PLL], Lithium Americas [LAC], Albemarle Corporation [ALB], Nouveau Monde Graphite [NMGRF], Talon Metals [TLOFF], Arclight Clean Transition Corp [ACTC], and Starbucks [SBUX]. But he does not offer (explicitly or implicitly) investment advice of any sort.

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