North Coast Solar Stocks

October 29, 2009

Solar power execs bullish on 2010 despite earnings

Filed under: FSLR, SPWR, STP — Tags: , , , , , , — Jason @ 7:36 pm

Thu Oct 29, 2009 7:36pm EDT

* Execs with Suntech, BP Solar, others see growth in 2010

* Driven by government aid, improved financial markets

* See fall in panel prices stabilizing

By Laura Isensee

ANAHEIM, California, Oct 29 (Reuters) – Executives from solar power companies see clearer skies in 2010 for the beleaguered industry, even as quarterly reports from heavyweights like First Solar Inc. (FSLR) and SunPower Corp (SPWRA, SPWRB) have disappointed investors and dragged down shares.

The industry has struggled to emerge this year from tight credit markets, a global glut of panels and falling prices.

“I think we’re already in the middle of a turnaround. We’ve kind of gone through the low point of the recent past,” said Steven Chan, Suntech Power Holdings Co Ltd’s (STP) chief strategy officer, in an interview with Reuters.

Executives from Sharp Corp, BP’s (BP) solar unit and other solar power players shared similar optimism about the sector’s outlook in 2010 at the Solar Power International conference being held in Anaheim, California, this week.

“Demand’s really good going into 2010. Visibility is a hell of a lot better than it was coming into 2009,” SunPower’s chief executive Tom Werner told reporters at the conference.

The industry, which grew at a clip of more than 40 percent for several years, has suffered in the recession, but solar companies kept a bullish attitude on growth next year.

Executives cited various forces that could drive growth in 2010, including U.S. stimulus funds for green projects, extended tax incentives and new financing.

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First Solar Crushed; Merrill, Caris, Gabelli Downgrade

Filed under: FSLR — Tags: , , , , , — Jason @ 3:20 pm

By Eric Savitz
barrons.com

First Solar (FSLR) shares are getting absolutely crushed today, after a disappointing Q3 earnings report and weaker Q4 guidance. The combination triggered some extremely bearish Street commentary, and spurred at least three analysts to issue downgrades.

* Bank of America/Merrill Lynch analyst Steven Mliunovich cut his rating on the stock to Neutral from Buy, with a new price target of $135, down from $180. He chopped his 2010 EPS estimate to $7.22, from $6.25. “It’s difficult to see upside catalysts given concerns regarding pricing and the German feed-in tariff along with the company’s limited ability to increase production if demand surprises on the upside.,” he writes. “We see four quarters of year-over-year earnings declines, not typically good for stock performance.”

* Caris & Co. analyst Ben Pang cut his rating to Above Average from Buy, and reduced his target to $162 from $205. He says that “earnings leverage is trending below our expectations…as pricing erosion and potential tariff changes will continue to pressure margins.” He says FSLR is likely go gain share, but that multiple expansion is unlikely unless the company can deliver higher efficiencies or better margins.

* Gabelli & Co. analyst Hendi Susanto downgraded the stock to Hold from Buy, noting that the pricing outlook is uncertain given a potential FIT reduction in Germany and competition with silicon-based providers. Susanto says the reduced rating reflects “narrowing margin and concern about impact of FIT reduction and further pricing competition with crystalline silicon modules.”

Meanwhile, Pacific Crest analyst Mack Bachman writes that press reports that the revenue miss reflects a revenue recognition push-out from a single project are wrong. “The revenue miss was due to a lack of module sales despite management giving away more than $60 million in price concessions in Q3,” he writes. “We are concerned that the rebate did not create demand.” His advice: “Put money to work elsewhere.”

FSLR today is down $22.96, or 15.2%, to $128.62

First Solar shares plunge on 3Q revenue miss

Filed under: FSLR — Tags: , , , , , — Jason @ 2:57 pm

First Solar shares plunge sharply on 3rd-qtr revenue miss, but analysts remain bullish

2:57 pm EDT, Thursday October 29, 2009

NEW YORK (AP) — Shares of First Solar Inc. (FSLR) tumbled Thursday after the nation’s largest solar panel maker reported third-quarter revenue far below analyst expectations, even though analysts remained bullish on the company.

First Solar shares plunged $22.69, or 15 percent, to $128.89 in afternoon trading. The stock has traded between $85.28 and $207.51 over the past year.

Late Wednesday, the company reported a 55 percent leap in third-quarter earnings on a 38 percent increase in revenue. But sales of $480.9 million missed the average analyst estimate of $528.8 million, as measured by a Thomson Reuters survey.

The company said its Sarnia project in Canada is about 65 percent complete. Although all modules produced during the quarter were shipped, about $58 million in revenue won’t be recognized until the fourth quarter, the company said.

“This is truly a timing issue,” Chairman Mike Ahearn said on a conference call with analysts. “That project has been sold, the contract wasn’t signed until early in the fourth quarter. We remain on track for annual guidance.”

“Don’t sweat the revenue miss,” said John Roy, an analyst with Janney Capital Markets. He reiterated a “Buy” rating and $185 share price target.

“While the lower revenue was a slight disappointment, we do not view it as a cause for concern and believe it will be made up in the fourth quarter,” Roy said in a note to clients. He added that the results do not change his view that First Solar should remain the low-cost industry leader for the foreseeable future and will likely gain share value in large-scale projects.

Lazard Capital Markets analyst Sanjay Shrestha said First Solar’s pressured share price presents an opportunity to buy up shares at a discount. He reiterated a “Buy” rating and $190 price target.

Jefferies & Co. analyst Paul Clegg said First Solar is positioned to generate greater cash flow returns than its peers, and he can hardly imagine a market scenario where that is not the case.

“We believe that First Solar’s cost structure will remain the lowest in the industry even if silicon prices continue to decline,” Clegg said as he maintained his “Hold” rating and $130 price target.

First Solar falls 17%, but analysts calm

Filed under: FSLR — Tags: , , , , — Jason @ 11:04 am

NEW YORK (MarketWatch) — First Solar (FSLR) fell 17% to $126.60 on Thursday after the thin film solar panel maker weighed in with its earnings. Analysts at Jefferies said First Solar missed its revenue target due to $58 million in sales that will be recognized in the fourth quarter. Jefferies reiterated its hold rating and price target of $130 a share. “We believe that First Solar’s cost structure will remain the lowest in the industry even if silicon prices continue to decline,” analysts said.

Lazard Capital Markets reiterated its buy rating on the stock. “With shares under pressure on revenue deferral into fourth quarter and concern surrounding margin guidance, which simply reflects a higher mix of system business, we encourage accumulating positions on this weakness,” Lazard analysts said.

October 28, 2009

First Solar reports profit growth, but revenue disappoints and shares fall

Filed under: FSLR — Tags: , , , , — Jason @ 11:24 pm

11:24 pm EDT, Wednesday October 28, 2009

TEMPE, Ariz. (AP) — First Solar Inc. (FSLR), the nation’s largest solar panel maker, said on Wednesday that its third-quarter profit jumped almost 55 percent on higher revenue. But revenue fell well short of analyst expectations because of a contract that wasn’t signed until the current quarter, sending shares tumbling in late trading.

The company said it earned $153.3 million, or $1.79 per share, for the quarter that ended Sept. 26. That was up from $99.3 million, or $1.20 per share, during the quarter that ended Sept. 27, 2008.

Revenue rose 38 percent to $480.9 million from $348.7 million a year earlier.

Profit topped the $1.74 per share that analysts surveyed by Thomson Reuters were expecting, but revenue was shy of the $528.8 million average estimate.

The company said its Sarnia project in Canada is about 65 percent complete. Although all modules produced during the quarter were shipped, about $58 million in revenue won’t be recognized until the fourth quarter, the company said.

“This is truly a timing issue,” Chairman Mike Ahearn said on a conference call with analysts. “That project has been sold, the contract wasn’t signed until early in the fourth quarter. We remain on track for annual guidance.”

First Solar also said revenue fell from the second quarter because reduced pricing driven by its rebate program, foreign exchange fluctuations and the fact that the second quarter benefited from $27 million of deferred revenue from another project.

First Solar said market demand is seasonally stronger, and inventories have been reduced. The company now forecasts full-year revenue of $1.97 billion to $2.02 billion, in line with analysts’ average forecast of about $2 billion.

The company’s shares fell $24.08, or nearly 16 percent, to $127.50 in aftermarket trading, after closing up $1.36 at $151.58 before the results were released.

FSLR: Sees Q4 Margin Erosion

Filed under: FSLR — Tags: , , , , , — Jason @ 7:43 pm

By Tiernan Ray
barrons.com

During a conference call with analysts this evening, management of solar energy technology vendor First Solar (FSLR) talked folks through the revenue miss in the third quarter that pushed shares down over 15% this evening.

The dip in revenue from $525 million in Q2 to $480 million in Q3, below analysts’ estimates, was because of a single order that were “not able to be recognized” — in other words, implying cash collected but not able to be recorded on the income statement within the quarter. The company did not make clear when that revenue will be recognized.

In addition to the revenue miss, analysts will be pouring over the gross margin implications. The company said that a rebate program initiated last quarter to goose solar investment knocked down gross profit. Indeed, gross profit as a percentage of sales fell from 57% in the second quarter to 50.9% last quarter.

That’s going lower in the current quarter, management said, to a range of 41% to 44%. The company said it saw a big uptake of the rebates and purchases qualifying for the rebates, and that the rebate policy would continue in Germany as the pricing of silicon-based solar panel technology was “much more competitive” at present than in past. About the only good news on rebates and margins was that the company does not expect to extend its rebate plan outside of Germany.

As for recent speculation about whether Germany will reduce subsidies for solar technology purchases, company management said it’s “difficult to handicap where that is going to come out.”

First Solar, Inc. Announces 2009 Third Quarter Financial Results

Filed under: FSLR — Tags: , , , — Jason @ 4:03 pm

Fiscal 2009 Revenue Guidance Expected at the High End of the Prior Guidance Range

4:03 pm EDT, Wednesday October 28, 2009

TEMPE, Ariz.–(BUSINESS WIRE)–First Solar, Inc. (FSLR) today announced its financial results for the third quarter ended September 26, 2009. Quarterly revenues were $480.9 million and excluded the Sarnia project, which was over 65% completed at quarter end. Revenues were $525.9 million in the second quarter of fiscal 2009 and $348.7 million in the third quarter of fiscal 2008.

Revenues for the first nine months of fiscal 2009 were $1,424.9 million compared to $812.7 million for the first nine months of fiscal 2008.

Net income for the third quarter of fiscal 2009 was $153.3 million or $1.79 per share on a fully diluted basis, down from $180.6 million or $2.11 per share on a fully diluted basis for the second quarter of fiscal 2009 and up from $99.3 million or $1.20 per share on a fully diluted basis for the third quarter of fiscal 2008.

The Company has also posted its Earnings Call Presentation, which includes updated guidance for fiscal 2009 on the Company’s web site. The Company expects full year fiscal 2009 revenue at the updated guidance range of $1.975 to $2.025 billion, which is at the high end of the previously provided guidance range.

First Solar will discuss these results and outlook for fiscal 2009 in a conference call scheduled for today at 1:30 p.m. MST (4:30 p.m. EDT). Investors may access a live audio webcast of this conference call or the Earnings Call Presentation in the Investors section of the Company’s web site at http://www.firstsolar.com. An audio replay of the conference call will also be available approximately two hours after the conclusion of the call. The audio replay will remain available until Monday, November 2, 2009 at 11:59 p.m. EDT and can be accessed by dialing 888-203-1112 if you are calling from within the United States or 719-457-0820 if you are calling from outside the United States and entering access code 1744958. A replay of the webcast will be available on the Investor section on the Company’s Web site approximately two hours after the conclusion of the call and will remain available for 90 calendar days. If you are a subscriber of FactSet and Thomson One, you can obtain a written transcript within two hours.

(more…)

Energy Conversion Devices and CertainTeed Install New Residential Rooftop Solar Product Atop Michigan Governor’s Residence

Filed under: ENER — Tags: , , , , — Jason @ 3:55 pm

3:55 pm EDT, Wednesday October 28, 2009

LANSING, Mich., Oct. 28 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ — Energy Conversion Devices, Inc. (ECD) (ENER), the leading global manufacturer of UNI-SOLAR® thin-film flexible solar laminates, and CertainTeed Corporation, a leading North American building products manufacturer, today announced the installation of EnerGen(TM), a breakthrough solar roof system, on the official residence of Michigan Governor Jennifer M. Granholm.

EnerGen is the first product developed through a joint venture announced between the two companies in October 2008, and is slated for official launch to the roofing industry in 2010. EnerGen combines Uni-Solar’s industry-leading expertise in photovoltaics (PV) with CertainTeed’s century-long leadership in residential roofing to create a solar roof system that seamlessly integrates the solar with roofing shingles. To celebrate this achievement, the two companies donated a 3.2 kW EnerGen system for Governor Granholm’s official residence in Lansing, Michigan.

“We are pleased that our collaboration with CertainTeed has resulted in the development of an industry first,” said Mark Morelli, ECD’s President and CEO. “In recognition of Governor Granholm’s tireless efforts to reconstruct Michigan’s economy around clean, renewable energy, it’s entirely appropriate that her home receives one of the first EnerGen residential rooftop solar power systems. She can be proud to know that the solar cells powering her rooftop system were developed and manufactured in Michigan.”

“Our goal since partnering with United Solar was to develop lightweight, aesthetically pleasing integrated solar roofing products that are affordable and available to more people,” said Guillaume Texier, President of CertainTeed Roofing. “EnerGen is a tremendous step in that direction and CertainTeed looks forward to developing a portfolio of PV products for both residential and commercial applications. As a proud Michigan employer, CertainTeed is honored to support the Governor’s energy efforts with this launch.”

The official Michigan Governor’s Residence is a single-story home on four acres in the Moores River Drive neighborhood of Lansing. Designed by American Architect Wallace Frost, the original home was built in 1957 and donated to the state in 1969. Since then, several additions and renovations have been made to expand and modernize the home using products and materials made in Michigan. Mechanical Energy Systems of Michigan assisted with the installation of the system on the Governor’s residence. The home also features CertainTeed’s Grand Manor® Luxury Shingles, a product that also adorns the historic Henry Ford home and Eastern Market in Detroit.

“Dan and I are grateful and excited that the governor’s official residence in Lansing can now generate some of its own electricity using solar technology developed right here in Michigan,” Granholm said. “These new EnerGen panels show how Michigan companies like United Solar are leading the way in alternative energy development and are helping to transform our state into a global center for green manufacturing. We hope that homes throughout Michigan and the world will take advantage of clean, renewable energy sources to help improve our environment and our economy.”

About CertainTeed

Through the responsible development of innovative and sustainable building products, CertainTeed has helped shape the building products industry for more than 100 years. Founded in 1904 as General Roofing Manufacturing Company, the firm’s slogan “Quality Made Certain, Satisfaction Guaranteed,” quickly inspired the name CertainTeed. Today, CertainTeed® is North America’s leading brand of exterior and interior building products, including roofing, siding, windows, fence, decking, railing, trim, foundations, pipe, insulation, gypsum, ceilings and access covers.

Headquartered in Valley Forge, Penn., CertainTeed and its affiliates have more than 6,000 employees and more than 65 manufacturing facilities throughout the United States and Canada. In 2009, CertainTeed was named ENERGY STAR Partner of the Year by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, a national award that recognizes environmentally responsible corporations. The group had total sales of more than $3 billion in 2008. http://www.certainteed.com

Applied Materials’ Next-Generation IEC-Certified SunFab Module Technology Cuts Customers’ Cost of Manufacturing

Filed under: AMAT — Tags: , , , , — Jason @ 11:00 am

11:00 am EDT, Wednesday October 28, 2009

SANTA CLARA, Calif.–(BUSINESS WIRE)–Applied Materials, Inc. (AMAT) announced today that it has significantly lowered the cost for customers to manufacture solar photovoltaic (PV) panels on its SunFab™ Thin Film Line using its next-generation module technology. Executing on its aggressive cost-cutting roadmap, Applied has leveraged economies of scale with leading suppliers and has introduced key process efficiencies that reduce the cost of materials by 22%. In addition, SunFab panels using these new materials and processes have received IEC* certification for aperture area conversion efficiencies of up to 9.7%, enabling customers to advance panel performance to this level without requiring additional certification.

“This achievement demonstrates Applied’s ongoing commitment to reducing the cost of manufacturing panels with our SunFab Thin Film Line to $1/watt and below,” said Tom Lacey, vice president and general manager of Applied Materials’ SunFab Thin Film Solar Group. “Applied Materials has a unique ability to accelerate solar PV through its 5.7m2 panel size standard, innovative technology and line performance improvements, and also through its expanding global SunFab footprint that enables economies of scale by aggregating the needs of multiple customers.”

In order to achieve these cost reductions, Applied worked with leading, high-quality materials suppliers on behalf of its customers to secure lower pricing in key raw materials such as transparent conductive glass and laminating films. Applied also engineered and validated more efficient processes that significantly decrease materials consumption.

Applied’s receipt of advance IEC certification for panels produced on SunFab lines using this next-generation module package of materials and process changes will help accelerate customers’ time to market for their new panels. The IEC certification was awarded to both single and tandem junction modules in all panel sizes by TÜV InterCert, demonstrating that, like the original SunFab panels, modules produced with this next-generation technology can meet performance and safety specifications under challenging environmental conditions.

ICP Solar Provides Business Update

Filed under: ICPR — Tags: , , , , , — Jason @ 10:38 am

Company Continues to Cut Costs and Drive New Initiatives

10:38 am EDT, Wednesday October 28, 2009

MONTREAL–(BUSINESS WIRE)–ICP Solar Technologies Inc. (ICPR), a developer and marketer of innovative, proprietary solar panels and products, announced that the Company has taken further measures to cut costs and decrease overhead even as funds start to flow from the recently-announced financing transaction with its lead investors. The Company has reduced monthly SG&A expenses by over 50% compared with 2008.

“ICP Solar continues to take the necessary steps to improve its business model ahead of the launch of our Energizer® product line,” said Sass Peress, CEO. “In addition, our investors have already begun funding strategic marketing initiatives including the development of our online retail store energizersolar.com, which is expected to go live and begin generating revenue during December. The website will feature ICP Solar’s full Energizer® solar product line and supporting content to make shopping easy and hassle-free.”

“We expect this new site to become a hub of activity for those people interested in learning more about solar energy and purchasing solar products”, added Howard Firestone, Director of Online Marketing for Energizersolar.com. “We are on track to meet all customer requirements and are excited about the months to come.”

October 27, 2009

Energy Conversion Devices and United Solar Introduce the UNI-SOLAR PowerTilt(TM) Solar Rooftop System

Filed under: ENER — Tags: , , , — Jason @ 2:03 pm

New Tilted Rack-Mount Solar Solution Offers Ease of Installation, Lower BOS Costs And Lowers LCOE for the Building Applied Photovoltaic (BAPV) market

2:03 pm EDT, Tuesday October 27, 2009

ROCHESTER HILLS, Mich., Oct. 27 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ — Energy Conversion Devices, Inc. (ECD) (ENER), the leading global manufacturer of thin-film flexible solar laminate products for the building integrated and commercial rooftop markets, today introduced its new UNI-SOLAR PowerTilt(TM) Solar Roof system – the lightest rack-mounted solar system available today. UNI-SOLAR PowerTilt solar rooftop systems are manufactured for the Building Applied Photovoltaic (BAPV) market.

The new UNI-SOLAR PowerTilt product will be available in 136 or 144 watts per panel, and offers unique features and benefits to the rooftop solar buyer.

Lightweight and Durable

UNI-SOLAR PowerTilt is ideal for low-load bearing roofs, can be installed without costly structural roof reinforcements, is glass-free and encapsulated in UV-stabilized, weather-resistant polymers. It holds up against high-winds, hail, and impacts and comes with a 25-year limited power warranty.

Easy to Install with No Roof Penetrations

At less than two pounds per square foot, it is easy to handle. Attachment options facilitate installation to a variety of roofing materials. The UNI-SOLAR PowerTilt assembly is also easy to remove for re-roofing. The integrated mounting frame of the UNI-SOLAR PowerTilt installs without roofing penetrations.

Lower Levelized Cost of Electricity.

Best of all, UNI-SOLAR PowerTilt’s lower balance of systems costs and optimized energy output result in lower LCOE.

Mark Morelli, President and CEO for Energy Conversion Devices said, “This new product is another in a long line of innovations from United Solar. UNI-SOLAR PowerTilt offers excellent real-world power output in a lightweight product that is suited for application on any existing rooftop. We have proven ability to manufacture such innovative products in scale to meet the demands of the marketplace, and we look forward to continuing to introduce new products and setting the standard for lightweight solar rooftop solutions.”

The UNI-SOLAR PowerTilt rooftop solar system is the newest member of United Solar’s PowerLine of products. The UNI-SOLAR PowerTilt is on display at 2009 Solar Power International at the Company’s booth 1111, and will be available for purchase in January 2010.

Evergreen Solar Showcases New ES-C Series Off-Grid Solar Panels at Solar Power International in Anaheim, California

Filed under: ESLR — Tags: , , , — Jason @ 10:21 am

ES-A Series On-Grid Panels also on display at America’s largest solar event

10:21 am EDT, Tuesday October 27, 2009

MARLBORO, Mass.–(BUSINESS WIRE)–Evergreen Solar, Inc. (ESLR), a manufacturer of String Ribbon™ solar power products with its proprietary, low-cost silicon wafer technology, will introduce its ES-C Series String Ribbon solar panels, the company’s first-ever off-grid panels, at its booth during Solar Power International 2009 in Anaheim, Calif., October 27-29. Also showcased will be the company’s ES-A line of 200, 205 and 210 watt high output solar panels designed with its new black frame for increased aesthetics.

Evergreen Solar’s new line of ES-C Series off-grid panels and its ES-A Series on-grid panels will be available for viewing throughout Solar Power International at the company’s booth # 2001. Both product lines, like all Evergreen Solar panels, are manufactured using its proprietary silicon wafer technology which is the most environmentally-friendly process in the industry.

The ES-C Series of panels are suitable for direct 12, 24 or 48 volt battery charging in a wide variety of off-grid applications. The panels provide higher voltages for superior battery charging performance, particularly in hotter climates. Similar to the current line of Evergreen Solar panels serving on-grid markets, the ES-C line of panels deliver more electricity with the least environmental impact of any silicon-based solar panel currently available.

“The ES-C Series enables Evergreen Solar to capitalize on the expanding off-grid solar market and further positions the company as a leader in the global solar industry,” said Alan King, Director of Sales for the Americas. “Like all Evergreen Solar products this product line has been designed with differentiating performance characteristics to distinguish it from commodity-like competitors and provides better battery charging capability than other major brands. At the same time, we are proud to lead the industry in environmental credentials with the smallest carbon footprint and the quickest energy payback of any silicon-based panel available today.”

The ES-C Series panels are constructed with conduit-ready, multi-configuration junction boxes for easy, flexible installation. The panel’s double-walled, high-strength frame allows it to withstand the harshest of wind or snow conditions. The panels are also designed to fully comply with UL 1703 (for U.S. and Canada) and IEC standards (approval pending) and carry with them a five-year workmanship and 25-year power warranty. Evergreen is accepting orders now for initial shipments beginning in November. For more information call Alan King at 508-251-3301 or visit http://www.evergreensolar.com/ES-C

Renewable Energy Misses Q3 Sales, Profit, Shares Sink 12.5%

Filed under: none — Tags: , , , , — Jason @ 10:00 am

By Tiernan Ray
barrons.com

Norwegian solar energy firm Renewable Energy Corp. this morning announced Q3 sales and profit below estimates as lower-than-expected volumes of its solar panel technology crimped sales and profit.

Q3 revenue rose 13% to 2.16 billion Norwegian Kroner, roughly $383 million, missing the average estimate of Thomson Financial survey of 2.5 billion Kroner, yielding profit per share, excluding some costs, of .19 Kroner, below the .54 Kroner estimate.

The company noted sales declined 6% from the prior quarter due to lower sales volume owing to “weak demand.” The company was hit particularly in its division that makes multicrystalline wafers, the building blocks of photovoltaic cells. The company had shuttered some production in May in the face of market weakness. The company has resumed the ramp-up of those wafer factories, it said.

Shares of REC, traded on the over-the-counter market, were down 95 cents, or 12.5%, at $6.70. REC shares on the Oslo stock exchange fell about 9%.

GT Solar Commissions Solar Wafer Production Line in Spain

Filed under: SOLR — Tags: , , , , , , — Jason @ 8:30 am

Enables Cost-Effective Market Entry for DC Wafers

8:30 am EDT, Tuesday October 27, 2009

ANAHEIM, Calif.–(BUSINESS WIRE)–GT Solar International, Inc. (SOLR), a global provider of specialized production equipment, process technology and turnkey manufacturing services for the solar power industry, today announced that it has received final acceptance for the design, installation and commissioning of one of the most technologically-advanced turnkey wafer fabrication lines in Spain.

Created for Leon-based DC Wafers, the state-of-the-art wafer production line (GT-WAFFABTM) includes GT Solar’s GT-DSS450TM ingot growth technology, coupled with advanced wafering systems, and automated in-line inspection tools. GT Solar’s turnkey services process experts worked closely with DC Wafer’s engineers to optimize the wafer line to increase productivity, boost quality and line yields, and lower production costs. The line was designed to produce 30-megawatts (MW) of multi-crystalline solar wafers annually; it will likely exceed that target by up to an additional 5 MW, as the line is already operating at a better than expected polysilicon consumption rate.

“GT Solar’s proven technology and manufacturing know-how, in combination with the expertise of our manufacturing team, have enabled DC Wafers to build an extremely efficient, cost-effective facility that is allowing us to produce high-quality silicon wafers to meet our customers’ very specific needs,” said Ismael Guerrero Arias, DC Wafers’ director and chief technology officer. “Our company is conscious of the positive implications that generating clean energy has for the environment and our local community in terms of job growth, and we are committed to the development of the photovoltaic industry. To those ends, we will continue to focus our R&D strategies on reducing costs, saving energy and achieving maximum quality and efficiency.”

“The successful commissioning of DC Wafer’s new wafer line was accomplished through great teamwork between our teams,” said Ron Jones, vice president and general manager of GT Solar’s turnkey business. “We believe that DC Wafers is well situated in today’s market and we look forward to further strengthening our partnership with them to help optimize their competitive position as they expand their business.”

GT Solar provides turnkey solutions for every process of the PV manufacturing value chain including wafer, cell, and module lines. The company has successfully installed a variety of turnkey line configurations in countries around the globe including China, Greece, India, Italy, Spain, Taiwan, and the United Kingdom.

About DC Wafers Investments, S.L:

DC Wafers is the first Spanish owned company dedicated to the manufacturing of multicrystalline silicon wafers for the photovoltaic industry. The company methods are designed to satisfy the most demanding quality specifications of the PV industry. For additional information about DC Wafers, please visit http://www.dcwafers.com.

Suntech Unveils Robust North American Partner Sales Program

Filed under: STP — Tags: , , , , — Jason @ 8:00 am

New Program Gives Installers Access to Broad Range of Services and Support

8:00 am EDT, Tuesday October 27, 2009

ANAHEIM, Calif., Oct. 27 /PRNewswire-Asia/ — Today from the Solar Power International conference, Suntech Power Holdings Co., Ltd. (STP), the world’s leading manufacturer of crystalline silicon photovoltaic (PV) modules, announced its new North American Partner Program, designed to increase its current network of approximately 200 domestic installers and help dealers generate more sales. Formally launching in January 2010, the Suntech Partner Program will offer selected dealers a co-marketing fund, training and services, financing programs, and priority access to its innovative product line.

“We are focused on growing the footprint of solar power across the U.S. and Canada, and to do this, we know we have to effectively collaborate with all of our partners,” said Mark McKahan-Jones, vice president, Dealer Sales Division, Suntech. “Our program is built with insights and feedback from solar installers across the country, and we’re confident that combined with our high-value solar modules, we will provide the country’s best dealers with everything they need to grow their businesses.”

With applications open to all North American solar installers, Suntech’s Partner Program will feature a proprietary Partner Portal created to simplify the installer sales process. The portal allows Suntech dealers to manage their Suntech account, retrieve and track leads, and access a variety of sales and marketing resources. Additionally, Suntech worked with Clean Power Finance, the nation’s leading provider of software and services to renewable energy professionals to develop a state of the art proposal tool/CRM service that allows Suntech partners to:

— Produce professional and fully customizable proposals in a few simple steps;
— Utilize a continuously updated, comprehensive database of utility rates, incentives, and rebates;
— Track and manage their customers from interest to installation from one central location; and
— Produce accurate quotes using pre-loaded Suntech solar modules.

Dealers are welcome to contact Suntech now to sign up for the launch of the Partner Program in January 2010. To learn more about Suntech and its Partner Program, please visit http://www.suntech-power.com.

Energy Conversion Devices and Austin Energy to Build Austin’s Largest Solar Rooftop on City Building

Filed under: ENER — Tags: , , — Jason @ 8:00 am

UNI-SOLAR Installation to Save 167,605 Kilowatt Hours of Electricity Annually

8:00 am EDT, Tuesday October 27, 2009

ROCHESTER HILLS, Mich., Oct. 27 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ — Energy Conversion Devices, Inc. (ECD) (ENER), a manufacturer of proprietary, thin-film amorphous silicon-based photovoltaic (PV) laminates, announced today that its UNI-SOLAR® laminates will be used to power a 136-kW solar photovoltaic rooftop system at the Austin Water Utility’s Glen Bell Service Center in Austin, Texas.

On September 24, the Austin City Council granted approval for Austin Energy – the nation’s 9th largest community-owned electric utility – to build the city’s largest solar rooftop installation using lightweight and flexible UNI-SOLAR laminates. Beginning November 1, approximately 1,000 laminates covering 23,250 square feet of roof space will be installed on the Service Center.

“The Glen Bell Service Center recently replaced its worn roof with a new membrane roof. Our peel-and-stick UNI-SOLAR laminates are the ideal choice for a membrane rooftop solar solution since they can be quickly installed and do not make any holes in the brand new roof,” said Mark Morelli, president and CEO of Energy Conversion Devices.

When complete, the 136-kW system will have a peak electrical output of 105 kW, with a capacity factor of about 18%. It is expected to reduce the Service Center’s peak demand by about 24 kW and save 167,605 kWh annually, or enough power to provide electricity to 17 average-sized homes in Austin for an entire year.

About Austin Energy

Austin Energy is the nation’s 9th largest community-owned electric utility, serving around 400,000 customers and a population of more than 900,000. Austin Energy powers the capital city of Texas through a diverse generation mix. Its portfolio provides nuclear, coal, natural gas, and renewable energy sources and creates over 3,000 megawatts (MWs) of total generation.

SunPower Announces the Most Powerful Solar Tracker for Power Plant Applications

Filed under: SPWR — Tags: , , , — Jason @ 8:00 am

SunPower T20 Tracker Evolution Delivers Maximum Energy with 128-cell, 400-Watt High Efficiency Solar Panel

8:00 am EDT, Tuesday October 27, 2009

ANAHEIM, Calif., Oct. 27 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ — At the Solar Power International 2009 conference today, SunPower Corporation (SPWRA, SPWRB), a Silicon Valley-based manufacturer of high-efficiency solar cells, solar panels and solar systems, launched the next generation of its SunPower® T20 Tracker (T20 Tracker). It is the most powerful solar tracker on the market today, incorporating SunPower’s high-efficiency 128-cell, 400-watt solar panels for maximum energy output.

SunPower’s newest T20 Tracker is a single axis, ground mounted tracker that follows the sun to deliver the highest system performance. It is pre-assembled for a fast, simple and scalable installation and offers customers a choice of design options to meet specific site needs. With fewer moving parts and refined mechanical structure, the T20 Tracker provides increased reliability, durability, less maintenance, and better wind resistance than conventional trackers. Each T20 Tracker unit generates up to 3.7 kilowatts of power and, by following the sun, delivers up to 30 percent more energy than a fixed tilt system of the same capacity.

“The superior design of the latest SunPower T20 Tracker evolves from our experience in deploying more than 200 megawatts of solar photovoltaic (PV) tracking systems worldwide,” said Tom Werner, SunPower’s CEO. “This tracker is at the core of SunPower’s advanced PV power plant technologies which deliver the lowest levelized cost of energy for utility power plants today.”

This next generation T20 Tracker also features the new SunPower TMAC Advanced Tracker Controller (TMAC), the most innovative PV tracker control system on the market today. Its features include real-time tracker status updates, remote monitoring and control, proprietary energy production optimization algorithms, and superior reliability even in harsh environments. In addition, the TMAC enables power plant operators to wirelessly monitor the status of the T20 Tracker in real-time through the SunPower power plant SCADA control system, giving them the option to control the array from a central operations center.

SunPower will begin constructing power plant projects using the new T20 Tracker beginning in early 2010.

Ascent Solar Unveils FlexPowerTM Modules at Solar Power International

Filed under: ASTI — Tags: , , , — Jason @ 6:00 am

6:00 am EDT, Tuesday October 27, 2009

THORNTON, Colo.–(BUSINESS WIRE)–Ascent Solar Technologies, Inc. (ASTI), a developer of lightweight flexible thin-film photovoltaic modules, today unveiled its FlexPowerTM line of products. The FlexPowerTM class of modules, which includes Light, Mobile and Extreme, carries an industry leading power to weight ratio, achieves the highest power density of any flexible product currently available in the market and provides a unique form-fit capability. The FlexPowerTM line is now available and on display at Solar Power International at the Company’s booth 1254.

FlexPowerTM Light modules are manufactured for the Building Integrated Photovoltaic (BIPV) market. The FlexPowerTM Light line features a 5 Meter long product that delivers 123 watts and is the world’s largest monolithically interconnected flexible module. Manufacturers of building materials and BIPV systems can now utilize the unique nature of the FlexPowerTM Light class for large area BIPV installations and seamless integration into building surfaces.

FlexPowerTM Mobile is designed for the Electronic Integrated Photovoltaic (EIPV) market. These modules are optimized for 12-volt battery charging applications, provide seamless integration into consumer electronics and are available encapsulated or un-encapsulated as a build to suit solution.

FlexPowerTM Extreme for Defense is a durable and deployable photovoltaic solution for Defense applications. The Extreme class of modules is designed to provide excellent power density and match existing battery recharging ecosystems allowing for more supply line independence.

Farhad Moghadam, President and CEO for Ascent Solar stated, “This is an exciting event for Ascent Solar as we unveil our line of products to the public. Our ability to manufacture monolithically integrated flexible CIGS modules provides a unique and enabling solution to various premium market opportunities. FlexPowerTM is not only a brand name, but it also best represents our manufacturing capability at Ascent Solar.”

LDK Solar Updates Outlook for the Third Quarter of 2009

Filed under: LDK — Tags: , , , — Jason @ 3:30 am

3:30 am EDT, Tuesday October 27, 2009

XINYU CITY, China and SUNNYVALE, Calif., Oct. 27 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ — LDK Solar Co., Ltd. (LDK), a leading manufacturer of multicrystalline solar wafers, today provided an updated outlook for its third quarter 2009 financial results. For the third quarter of 2009, LDK Solar expects to report between $270 million and $290 million in revenue with wafer shipments between 310 megawatts (“MW”) to 330 MW and module shipments between 5 MW to 10 MW. The Company’s prior guidance for the third quarter was revenue of $240 to $270 million, wafer shipments of 260 MW to 300 MW and module shipments of 10 MW to 20 MW.

This outlook for the three months ended September 30, 2009 is an estimate. Results are subject to change based on further review by the management. Once the third quarter reporting date is finalized, LDK Solar will issue a press release announcing the date and details of its third quarter conference call.

October 26, 2009

Solar Stocks Ready For A Big Move

Filed under: ENER, FSLR, SPWR, TAN, YGE — Tags: , , , , — Jason @ 4:19 pm

Posted: Oct 26, 2009 16:19 PM by Joey Fundora

The solar stocks continue to be one of the more volatile groups in the markets. Traders often fear high levels of volatility, but if these are properly planned for, volatile stocks can offer outstanding trading opportunities. The solar stocks have been in a large range over the past year, and many of these stocks actually set their lows in November rather than March. This group has often been cited by the current administration as a focal point in helping to reduce the U.S. dependence on oil-rich countries, and while it has threatened to fall apart several times, it has continually found a floor.

This group is once again under pressure as a poor earnings report from SunPower Corporation (SPWRA, SPWRB) kicked off this earnings season, as the markets reacted poorly to the company’s guidance number. While this stock individually came under pressure, as a group there wasn’t major technical damage done. In looking at the Claymore/MAV Global Solar Energy Index ETF (TAN), which can be used as a proxy for the sector, you can see that TAN held up last week, despite the weak report by SPWRA. In looking at the chart, there is an interesting pattern developing. Overall, TAN remains in a trading range, but it was able to clear a descending wedge in September, and is currently trading in a small symmetrical triangle. Both of these patterns are simply consolidation patterns, but with TAN clearing the first to the upside, it may hint at a break to the upside from the second pattern as well. The descending trendline touching the last two price highs should be watched as a level of importance.

Source: StockCharts.com

The largest component in TAN is First Solar, Inc. (FSLR). With FSLR reporting on Wednesday, it could be the catalyst for a move in either direction for the group. The company’s last earnings report was met with steep selling, as FSLR pulled back from $176.05 to $112.09 in a few weeks’ time. FSLR did stabilize, and rallied back to a declining trendline, marking the tops of prior rally attempts. It recently cleared this trendline, and it continues to trade in a tighter consolidation leading into the earnings report. More than likely, FSLR will have a large move this week, but with earnings coming out, which direction it’s headed is anyone’s guess. However, this stock will likely impact the entire sector, so it is worth watching to help gauge the direction for the next quarter.

Source: StockCharts.com

Energy Conversion Devices, Inc. (ENER) is another solar that has been showing weakness for a few months, but recently cleared a declining trendline that halted recent rally attempts. It just cleared this area, and has been experiencing an uptick in volume. Earnings are not due until November, so this is a stock that could benefit from a positive FSLR report. A move above $13.62 could signal a test of $14.21 and possibly a test of the 200-day moving average near $16.

Source: StockCharts.com

Another stock worth watching is Yingli Green Energy (YGE). This stock has shown relative strength compared to its peers, and has been in a consolidation pattern for a few months. It’s currently looking a little weak, and is resting on its 50-day moving average, but if it can get back over $13.85 it could be ready for a test of the June high near $16.35.

Source: StockCharts.com

Bottom Line
The solar stocks could really go in either direction at this point, but they are worth watching with FSLR reporting this week. They often set the trend for this group, and there could be some great trading opportunities setting up. The levels noted in the charts above are starting points for watching the action objectively. Regardless of the headline news or numbers, the important thing to watch is what the stock price does moving forward. If any of these stocks starts to climb above key levels, there is a good chance they can experience a sharp rally. If they start to lose these levels, the opposite would hold true. With volatile groups like these, it’s worth watching regardless of which direction the move goes.

Solar: German Subsidy Update

Filed under: FSLR, SPWR — Tags: , , , , , , — Jason @ 1:52 pm

By Tiernan Ray
barrons.com

Analysts this morning are parsing the fine print of a four-year coalition agreement ratified in Germany today that will likely have an impact on funding for solar technology projects, and on solar technology vendors such as First Solar (FSLR) and SunPower (SPWRA, SPWRB).

As Bloomberg notes, German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s Christian Democratic Union pushed through measures for a $36 billion tax cut meant to spur economic growth, a compromise with more aggressive proposals. The measures relating to solar funding appear vague and thus open to widely differing interpretations.

The agreement does not call for immediate cuts in the so-called feed-in tariff for solar projects, subsidies that have helped boost German investment in the technology, writes Collins Stewart analyst Dan Ries. The agreement “highlights that the coalition is committed to solar and indicates that the government will pursue a dialog with the solar industry and community leaders to determine if the current subsidy is too generous.”

Ries is optimistic, writing that “we do not believe the outcome will be as harsh as the “enormous” one-time cut of perhaps 20-30% reported in the press.”

Hapoalim Securities analyst Gordon Johnson, on the other hand, believes cuts to subsidies won’t be “less severe,” as Ries and others believe. In fact, “we see this as confirmation that Merkel’s new coalition sees an immediate need to adjust current incentives for solar PV technologies,” he writes. “Furthermore, there was mention of focusing incremental ground based solar PV systems on “sealed” land – our discussions with contacts in Germany this morning suggest this could materially limit the sites new free-field solar projects in Germany can be placed.”

But as Johnson notes, it’s possible that a future limiting of subsidies will have a positive near-term impact on demand, causing projects to rush to use existing subsidies. But Johnson believes this will be small comfort given what he argues is an industry-wide glut of polysilicon (the raw material for many solar devices), solar wafers, and photovoltaic cells and modules, “we see acute risk of industry wide multiple compression on the horizon.”

The effects of the a potential tariff cut have already begun to be felt by some vendors. SunPower, for example, last Thursday offered a disappointing Q4 revenue outlook, which some analysts attributed to orders being pulled into last quarter from the current quarter, as projects scrambled to buy panels before tariffs run dry.

Sunpower shares today are down 90 cents, or 3%, at $27.45, while First Solar’s stock is up $2.51, or 1.7%, at $154.90.

Applied Materials Opens Advanced Solar Research and Customer Demonstration Facility in Xi’an, China

Filed under: AMAT — Tags: , , , , — Jason @ 10:00 am

10:00 am EDT, Monday October 26, 2009

XI’AN, China–(BUSINESS WIRE)–Applied Materials, Inc. (AMAT) the world’s largest supplier of equipment to the solar photovoltaic industry, today opened an advanced solar research and demonstration facility in Xi’an, China. Applied Materials’ Solar Technology Center, the largest non-government solar energy research facility in the world, is comprised of laboratory and office buildings covering more than 400,000 square feet and contains an entire Applied SunFab™ thin film manufacturing line and a complete crystalline silicon pilot process. These lines are configured to closely simulate customer fabrication (fab) environments.

“This opening represents a critical breakthrough for the photovoltaic industry and China and a tremendous benefit to our customers,” said Mike Splinter, chairman and CEO of Applied Materials. “Establishing this center in China is an integral part of Applied’s global strategy and an important step toward the industrialization of the global solar industry.”

Applied Materials is celebrating its 25th anniversary in China this year and today has more than 800 employees and 13 offices in the country, with approximately 300 employees in Xi’an. Applied first broke ground in Xi’an in 2006 and the total investment in the multi-phase project is more than $250 million dollars. The completed facility includes a solar technology center for R&D, engineering, product demonstration, testing and training for crystalline silicon and thin film solar module manufacturing equipment and processes. Employees in the center will work closely with local suppliers to test and qualify new materials and tools and evaluate potential new cost saving technologies. The center has the largest solar array in Xi’an, a 56 kW array on a parking lot structure.

“We believe this technology center will provide important contributions to driving down the cost of solar around the world,” stated Mark Pinto, senior vice president, general manager, Energy and Environmental Solutions and Applied’s chief technology officer. “In addition to housing Applied’s state-of-the-art research into solar manufacturing techniques, customers and potential customers from around the world will be able to work side-by-side with our technologists to reduce their time to market and improve factory productivity and cell efficiency.”

Xi’an is located in the Shaanxi province in northwest China and is a growing center of energy technology excellence in China. The local province boasts more than 40 colleges and universities and Xi’an is recognized as one of the leading high-technology research areas in the country. Applied has worked closely with local governments, contributed to research and awarded 166 university scholarships since 2005 through an R&D fund with the Xi’an Municipal Science and Technology Commission and Xi’an High Tech Park.

“As China works to build its renewable power infrastructure we are pleased to offer such a unique facility. In the laboratories, local suppliers of systems and materials will be able to work closely with our engineers to reduce development costs, accelerate the industrialization of clean energy technology and contribute to decreasing the cost of solar,” said Charlie Gay, president, Applied Solar. “This is a powerful benefit we are bringing to our customers and to China, and we look forward to immediately putting these capabilities to work.”

High-Performance CS Modules Series Set New PTC Ratings Records for P-Type Silicon Modules

Filed under: CSIQ — Tags: , , , , — Jason @ 8:00 am

Separately, Enhanced Selective Emitter Technology Tests Successfully

8:00 am EDT, Monday October 26, 2009

ANAHEIM, Calif., Oct. 26 /PRNewswire-Asia-FirstCall/ — Canadian Solar Inc. (“the Company,” “Canadian Solar” or “we”) (CSIQ) today announced at the Solar Power International 2009 Event that two of their solar module series, CS5A and CS5P, have set the new record in PV USA (or PTC) ratings. In addition, the Company announced the successful test of cells produced with Enhanced Selective Emitter (ESE) technology, a breakthrough technology for the Company. In the development of increased conversion efficiencies for scale production, Canadian Solar is on track to boost performance of these cells to 18.5% for mono crystalline and 17% for poly crystalline.

The Canadian Solar High Performance CS modules were tested in June and July of this year, setting new PTC rating records for P-type silicon modules. PTC measurement, a mandatory test in the state of California, measures a PV system power output at atmospheric conditions closer to real-world climatic conditions. A higher PV rating indicates higher actual production on site per watt installed — which translates directly into higher California rebates for system owners. Part of the Company’s industry-leading “CS” solar module series, the High Performance modules include ratings of 190 and 250 watts. They are available for immediate delivery.

The Company also announced it is accepting orders for cells and modules with ESE technology for delivery in early 2010. The ESE technology, developed in Canadian Solar laboratories, will enhance module performance and thus is expected to lead to increased revenues and returns on investment for customers.

Dr. Shawn Qu, Chairman and CEO of Canadian Solar, commented, “Canadian Solar continues to advance the field of photovoltaics through our commitment to R&D. The record-setting PTC efficiencies of our High Performance CS modules are a clear validation of the progress we’ve made to bring high quality products and long-term reliability to real solar projects around the world. Our Enhanced Selective Emitter technology is a breakthrough in terms of the efficiency and value we bring to our customers. We will continue to invest in R&D and manufacturing processes, allowing us to further increase our module efficiency, while improving cost structures and driving down the cost of solar.”

For more information about the High Performance CS modules and the ESE technology, visit Canadian Solar at the Solar Power International 2009 Event, Booth 2408. The conference and exposition is held at the Anaheim Convention Center from October 27 – 29, 2009.

About Canadian Solar Enhanced Selective Emitter (ESE) Technology:

Canadian Solar’s Enhanced Selective Emitter (ESE) technology will lead the industry in efficiency and performance due to several ground-breaking improvements. The ESE technology for cell structure eliminates the “dead layer” and gets super-blue response, resulting in higher conversion efficiency.

The modules to be produced through the ESE technology will generate more field energy output due to better low irradiance performance. This improvement is due to Canadian Solar’s advanced process on raising shunt resistance, unique texturing to absorb more light, and superior temperature performance.

About Canadian Solar High Power CS Series:

The Canadian Solar CS series has set new records in PV USA testing. According to CEC listing data(1), Canadian Solar’s key products rank TOP 3 with the highest per Watt PTC ratings (CS5P-240M for 91.8%, CS5A-180M for 91.11% and CS5P-230M for 91.04%) among key module manufacturers with mainstream P-type silicon technology. PTC test conditions more closely simulate real-world solar and climatic conditions than STC ratings, giving a closer indication of real-world performance. The PTC rating is a better measurement of PV system’s power output than that of STC rating. The test conditions for PTC are similar to the real-world solar and climatic conditions. All ratings in the list are in DC (direct current) watts.

The High Power CS Series is immediately available and now includes the following higher efficiency modules available for immediate delivery:

High Power CS5A-190M: 190Watt of 72pics 5″ Mono module, suitable for all PV applications

High Power CS5P-250M: 250Watt of 96pics 5″ Mono module, recommended for utility-scale or large commercial-scale use

High Power CS6P-250M: 250Watt of 60pics 6″ Mono module, suitable for all PV applications

High Power CS6P-250P: 250Watt of 60pics 6″ Mono module, suitable for all PV applications

Clear-sheet CS5A-180M: 180Watt of 72pics 5″ Mono module with transparent back sheet. This module meets the aesthetics, design, and engineering needs for carport, facade, or skylight uses.

All-black CS5A-180M: 180Watt of 72pics 5″ Mono module with black back sheet and black frame. The all black model meets the aesthetics, design and engineering needs for roof-top uses.

The High Power CS series products are guaranteed by a 6-year industry- leading warranty and the tightest power tolerances +/-5W (+/- 2% for CS5P- 250M), resulting in more real-world kilowatt-hour production.

(1) *Resource: Go Solar California, List of Eligible SB1 Guidelines Compliant Photovoltaic Modules http://www.gosolarcalifornia.ca.gov/equipment/pvmodule.html

Evergreen Solar Announces Opening of New European Headquarters in Berlin

Filed under: ESLR — Tags: , , , — Jason @ 8:00 am

Key location will expand company’s presence in German market

8:00 am EDT, Monday October 26, 2009

MARLBORO, Mass. and BERLIN–(BUSINESS WIRE)–Evergreen Solar, Inc. (ESLR), a manufacturer of String Ribbon™ solar power products with its proprietary, low-cost silicon wafer technology, today announced that it has opened a new European headquarters in Berlin, Germany, further increasing the company’s presence in the German market.

Evergreen Solar began its European operations in 2002 and became a fully-registered German company in 2004. Since that time European sales have grown nearly 20 times, equivalent to a 180% compound annual growth rate. The new Berlin headquarters will help the company keep pace with the rapid business growth in the European market, particularly in Germany, a country featuring notable incentives for commercial and residential solar installations.

The new headquarters is located at Wallstraße 65, 10179 Berlin.

“Berlin is an ideal location for us to establish our European headquarters,” said Peter Rusch, Managing Director of Evergreen Solar GmbH and Vice President of Sales for Evergreen Solar, Inc. “Our excellent products and strong relationships with customers have allowed us to establish ourselves very quickly as a leader across the European market.”

Evergreen Solar produces high output solar panels that are the most environmentally friendly of any silicon-based panel. They have the smallest carbon footprint with the quickest energy payback of any silicon based panels in the industry.

“Evergreen Solar’s panels produce more electricity and less impact on the environment than any other silicon based panel,” Rusch said. “If you want to judge the performance of a panel the delivery of kilowatt hours per kilowatts installed is the best measure. From an ecological impact of a solar panel, the carbon footprint and energy payback are the most important factors. That’s what stands behind our slogan: More electricity, less impact.”

The European headquarters is in addition to the company’s worldwide headquarters in Marlboro, Mass., USA. The company also has a sales office for the Asia Pacific Region in California, as well as manufacturing plants in Devens, Mass., Midland, Michigan and one currently under construction in Wuhan, China.

SunPower Announces World-Record Solar Panel With a 20.4 Percent Total Area Efficiency

Filed under: SPWR — Tags: , , , , — Jason @ 8:00 am

Prototype Developed Using Funding From the DOE Solar America Initiative

8:00 am EDT, Monday October 26, 2009

SAN JOSE, Calif., Oct. 26 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ — SunPower Corp. (SPWRA, SPWRB), a Silicon Valley-based manufacturer of high-efficiency solar cells, solar panels and solar systems, announced today that it has produced a world-record, full-sized solar panel with a 20.4 percent total area efficiency. The prototype was successfully developed using funds provided by the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) under its Solar America Initiative (SAI), which was awarded to SunPower approximately two years ago.

The new 96-cell, 333-watt solar panel is comprised of SunPower’s third generation solar cell technology that offers a minimum cell efficiency of 23 percent. In addition, the larger area cells are cut from a 165 mm diameter ingot and include an anti-reflective coating for maximum power generation. With a total panel area of 1.6 square meters, including the frame, SunPower’s 20.4 percent panel achieved the highest efficiency rating of a full sized solar panel and this rating was confirmed by the National Renewable Energy Lab (NREL), an independent testing facility.

“SunPower has the engineering expertise and proven technology to accomplish this remarkable milestone in such a short period of time,” said Larry Kazmerski, executive director, science and technology partnerships, located at NREL. “My colleagues at the DOE and NREL had cautioned me that reaching a 20 percent solar panel was a stretch, but this did not dampen my optimism that it would happen. I congratulate SunPower and its team of talented engineers on realizing this accomplishment.”

SunPower expects to make the 20.4 percent efficiency solar panel commercially available within the next 24 months. The company plans to begin operating a U.S. panel manufacturing facility in 2010 using automated equipment designed and commercialized with SAI funding. SunPower recently announced the availability of the SunPower T5 Solar Roof Tile (T5), the first photovoltaic roof product to combine solar panel, frame and mounting system into a single pre-engineered unit. The T5 was also developed using research and development funds from the SAI.

“We are excited with the rapid pace in which we’ve been able to develop these advanced technologies,” said Bill Mulligan, SunPower’s vice president of technology and development. “Without the funding from the SAI, it would have taken us much longer to deliver both the world-record 96-cell solar panel and the innovative T5 Solar Roof Tile. We appreciate the DOE’s continued support of the solar energy industry.”

The Solar America Initiative is focused on accelerating widespread commercialization of clean solar energy technologies by 2015 and to provide the U.S. additional electricity supply options while reducing dependence on fossil fuels and improving the environment. It aims to achieve market competitiveness for solar electric power through government partnerships with industry, universities, national laboratories, states, and other public entities by funding new research and development activities.

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