SEIA Solar Update
March 3, 2010

Scaling up solar power
MIT Technology Review
In 2006, semiconductor-equipment giant Applied Materials got into the solar-power market in a big way. At the company's headquarters in Santa Clara, Calif., you can see just how big: a ceiling-mounted crane lifts a piece of glass the size of a garage door onto a table for testing. The glass sheet, covered with a thin orange film of amorphous silicon, is destined to become one of the world's largest solar panels.More

PV testing and certification center opens in Singapore
Solar Industry Magazine
The Association for Electrical, Electronic and Information Technologies and the Fraunhofer Institute for Solar Energy Systems have partnered with the Solar Energy Research Institute Of Singapore to open what the organizations say is the first testing and certification center for photovoltaic modules in southeast Asia.More

Argonne launches solar energy research initiative
The Department of Energy's Argonne National Laboratory, Argonne, Ill., has announced plans to to launch its Alternative Energy and Efficiency Initiative. The plan is a measure to achieve advances toward the wider use of solar energy, through basic and applied research, and collaborations with industry and other researchers. According to laboratory representatives, global development and population surges are expected to double the world's energy requirements from its present level to 2050. More

ComEd puts solar energy to the test
Chicago Sun-Times
Later this year, the Chicago utility company will mount solar panels on the roofs of 100 homes in the near west suburbs and possibly the city's Near West Side. The utility will outfit 50 of those homes with smart electric meters, hourly electric pricing, battery solar-power storage and the ability to gain credits for emitting excess solar power back to the electric grid for others' use.More

Solar industry faces stiff price drops
The solar industry faces steep price declines again in 2010, although prices will drop at a more moderate pace than last year, predicted iSuppli. While installed watts will grow by 64 percent this year, the market research firm said module prices will decline by an estimated 20 percent, following a 37.8 percent drop in 2009.More

SunPower signs 32-megawatt solar power supply agreement with Toshiba
SunPower Corporation announced that, under a strategic supply agreement, Toshiba Corporation will order 32 megawatts of high-efficiency solar panels from SunPower in 2010. The SunPower panels will form the cornerstone of Toshiba's new residential solar offering in Japan, to be launched on April 1. "We welcome the opportunity to partner with Toshiba, a preeminent business leader in Japan and throughout the world," said SunPower CEO Tom Werner.More

Controversial Arizona energy bill withdrawn
Solar Industry Magazine
H.B.2701, an Arizona House Bill that solar energy executives and other stakeholders have criticized as potentially detrimental to the solar sector in the state, has been pulled from consideration. The bill, proposed by Rep. Debbie Lesko, would have allowed utilities to count nuclear energy toward their renewable portfolio standard requirements.More

Schwarzenegger backing bill to nix net-metering cap
PHOTON International Magazine
California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger is pushing ahead with his promise to eliminate the state's current cap on net metering in his final year in office, backing a bill to be introduced in state legislature in February to achieve that goal, Dan Pellissier, California’s deputy secretary for energy policy, told PHOTON International.More

From waste biomass to jet fuel
MIT Technology Review
A novel chemical process developed by researchers at the University of Wisconsin-Madison converts cellulose from agricultural waste into gasoline and jet fuel. It produces fuel by modifying what until now had been considered unwanted by-products (levulinic acid and formic acid) of breaking cellulose down into sugar.More

Solar: A bright future
Modern Plastics Worldwide
Of all the reasons that solar energy is capturing record levels of investment and spurring frenetic activity, its tremendous potential, laid out by Dan Cunningham of BP Solar, Frederick, Md., is the primary driver for the market. Participating in the Chemical Development & Marketing Assn.'s "Opportunities for Chemicals and Materials: Capitalizing on Wind and Solar" conference held last December at the University of Pennsylvania's chemistry department, Cunningham addressed a crowd that included the biggest names in plastics supply -- BASF, Bayer MaterialScience, Dow, and DuPont to name a few -- all of which appreciate the extraordinary opportunity the burgeoning solar energy sector holds for plastics.More