Thursday, March 26, 2009

PV Industry Having Great Week

If you haven't been watching, solar stocks are doing well again this week. Tomorrow's update will show just how good. Here are some other good signs for the PV industry:

Thin-film maker First Solar Inc (FSLR) has been contracted to build a 30-megawatt photovoltaic power plant with power cooperative Tri-State Generation and Transmission Association in Northeastern New Mexico, both companies reported Tuesday.

Called Cimarron I Solar Project it will be located on a 250-acre parcel of land in New Mexico's Colfax County and produce enough power to serve 9,000 homes. Completion is expected by the end of next year. It will use 500,000 First Solar panels made of copper, indium, germanium and selenium (CIGS).

Although specific financial terms were not released Tri-State has contracted to purchase the electricity output for 25 years in a power purchase agreement. (Reuters, 3/25/09)
Solyndra Inc., a privately-held solar cell manufacturer, is the first recipient of an offer for a U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) loan guarantee under Title XVII of the Energy Policy Act of 2005. Solyndra, a Fremont, California-based manufacturer of innovative cylindrical photovoltaic systems, will use the proceeds of a $535 million loan from the U.S. Treasury's Federal Financing Bank to expand its solar panel manufacturing capacity in California.

"The DOE Loan Guarantee Program funding will enable Solyndra to achieve the economies of scale needed to deliver solar electricity at prices that are competitive with utility rates. This expansion is really about creating new jobs while meaningfully impacting global warming," said Solyndra CEO and founder, Dr. Chris Gronet. Most solar incentives are geared to assist end-users to purchase PV systems. The DOE loan guarantee affords solar panel and related equipment makers assistance needed to expand. The country's desperate need to create more jobs makes such a program all the more timely. (more at
Despite last year's drooping economy it was the third straight record year for growth in the solar industry. The Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA) released its 2008 U.S. Solar Industry Year in Review today, highlighting 2008's record growth. The report notes that 1,265 megawatts (MW) of solar power of all types were installed in 2008, bringing total U.S. solar power capacity up 17 percent to 8,775 MW. The 2008 figure included 342 MW of solar photovoltaic (PV), 139 MWTh (thermal equivalent) of solar water heating, 762 MWTh of pool heating and an estimated 21 MW of solar space heating and cooling. SEIA is the recognized solar advocate for the industry in Washington.


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