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Archive for December 29th, 2009

Here is a article from Greentech Media.

“2009 had plenty of greentech hits: technical breakthroughs, lots of VC and government funding, some interesting acquisitions and a few successful IPOs.  But there were also a number of misses. Here’s a list:

Spain Pays for Its Poorly Executed Solar Subsidy: The mistakes happened in 2008 but the echoes were felt in 2009. Spain went from being the largest PV market in 2008 to almost zero in 2009.

Spain had a lucrative feed-in tariff program that required utilities to buy solar electricity at high rates set by the government. After seeing an explosive growth of solar projects that far surpassed its estimates, the government reduced the solar electricity rates for solar power plants installed after September 2008. Additionally,  government investigation uncovered widespread fraud in the administration and roll-out of the FIT program.

A rush to install solar energy systems led to reports of fraud by developers claiming they had finished their projects when they only installed some of the panels or, in some cases, put in fake solar panels to buy time.

Spain had been a great market for Chinese panel makers, who were able to sell their goods at premium prices in 2008.  Not so in 2009.

Optisolar Lands Hard: Optisolar had raised more than $300 million based on a vision of the economies of scale of building a gigawatt-sized factory.  The vision was that the cost of solar could be radically dropped by building “Solar City” factory complexes capable of churning out 2.1 gigawatts to 3.6 gigawatts of solar cells a year. These factories would cost $500 million to $600 million and be composed of factories-within-factories focused on different tasks: an onsite glass making outfit capable of cranking out 30 million square meters of glass a year; a solar cell unit with 100 identical manufacturing lines; and a full-fledged packaging facility.

In this ideal world modules would cost 0.60 cents to 0.52 cents per watt and fully installed solar power would cost $1.00 to 0.88 cents a watt.

As per Michael Kanellos’ article: The ideas from the Keshner NREL paper largely formed the company’s business plan.

After building a factory in Hayward capable of producing 30 megawatts to 50 megawatts, it landed $20 million in tax breaks in 2007 to build a factory at McClellan Air Force Base in Sacramento County. By 2011, the million square foot facility would employ 1,000 and put out over 600 megawatts worth of solar panels a year. Although the original paper discussed ways of making cheap solar panels out of CIGS, cadmium telluride or amorphous silicon, OptiSolar focused on silicon because, among other reasons, of its far wider availability.

Plans were also being laid to build an even larger factory after McClellan that would contain the in-house sub-factory for glass making as discussed in 2004.”

Read the full article here.

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