Intersolar North America arrives this week in San Francisco, and Greentech Media will be reporting all the solar news that's fit to print -- from crystalline silicon development to thin film progress to module manufacturing to balance of system to inverters and microinverters. Stay tuned for a flood of stories from sunny San Francisco.
We'll kick off our coverage with a few concentrating photovoltaics (CPV) tidbits.
SolFocus just announced its latest CPV system with an emphasis on more power production and a reduction in field assembly time through an increase in factory integration and a simplified mechanical structure. Each system provides 15.6 kilowatt peak DC power. The idea is to make it easier to manufacture, install and use in the field.
Last week JDSU purchased the assets of quantum-well triple-junction CPV semiconductor firm QuantaSol. Low Carbon Accelerator, the funding entity behind QuantaSol, announced that the sale price was "an initial payment of £400,000 ($638,000) from the proceeds of this asset sale, with further balancing payments in due course."
The bargain basement price suggests a few things -- JDSU really needed a technological differentiator in addition to their admittedly large scale and strong balance sheet. And the price offers a cause for worry if you're an investor in triple junction solar cell firms which currently seem to have relatively stingy market valuations. A few months back, Emcore bought the remains of CPV systems startup Soliant for approximately $450,000.
The CPV market has seen a run of financing in the last few weeks: $16.5 million for Morgan Solar, $20 million for Semprius, and $17 million for Greenvolts; all of which are aspiring systems vendors trailing leaders SolFocus, Amonix, and Soitec. Startup Solar Junction, which has been setting impressive efficiency records, is in the process of closing a $30 million round as well as looking for a DOE loan guarantee in order to finance a factory.
The CPV industry still faces strong challenges from flat panel silicon and thin film. Despite the CPV mantra of LCOE trumping price per watt -- LCOE calculations are still greatly weighted by price per watt and that means CPV still has to keep up with the cost declines in flat plate solar.
If you're at the show, feel free to say hello to the Greentech Media news and research team in booth # 8143. Shayle Kann, Managing Director of GTM Research, will be holding an informal interview/Q&A session with members of the press about the state of the U.S. utility PV market on Tuesday, July 12, at 4:00 p.m. in the Greentech Media booth. If you would like to participate, please RSVP to Nick Rinaldi.
See you in San Francisco.