The PV world 10 years ago – Summer Series Part IV


One of United States' first solar PPAs

BlueChip Energy began installation of the first stage of the 10 MW Rinehart Solar Plant in Central Florida, which it defined in its statement as “one of the largest privately owned solar plants in the country.”

The project, located in Lake Mary, was built in stages, starting with a 120 kW total rooftop plant featuring 520 230W monocrystalline panels and two 60 kW Fronius inverters. The second and third stages added 500 kW and 1.4 MW respectively, and finally an 8 MW ground-mounted plant.

BlueChip has entered into a Power Purchase Agreement (PPA) to supply Progress Energy Florida with power. “We hope that the Rinehart Solar plant will serve as a model in the state of Florida for more large-scale alternative energy projects,” said Lawrence Hefler, a company spokesman.

Germany's IBC Solar sold more than 1 GW of modules

German manufacturer IBC Solar announced that it had crossed the barrier of 1 GW of solar modules sold, which “could cover an area of 10 million square meters.”

Canada: Ontario approves new FITs

The Ontario Power Authority approved the new feed-in tariff rates for PV installations. The 20-year FITs are as follows:

Ground mounted installations of up to 10 kW: CAD 0.802/kWh
Rooftop PV systems ranging in size from 10 to 250 kW: CAD 0.455/kWh
Rooftop PV systems ranging in size from 250 to 500 kW: CAD 0.406/kWh
Rooftop PV systems over 500 kW: CAD 0.344/kWh
Ground mounted installations up to 10 MW: CAD 0.283/kWh

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Winners of the Intersolar Awards

The ceremony, called “the Oscars of the solar industry”, was held in June 2010 during Intersolar Europe in Munich, the year in which the fair exceeded all expectations of exhibitors and visitors: around 72,000 people from around 150 nations attended the event at the the new fairgrounds in Munich. 1,880 exhibitors presented their products and services in 134,000 m² of exhibition space covering 12 pavilions and the connected outdoor area.

German company Gehrlicher Solar took home an award in the photovoltaic category for manufacturing and installing 5.6 m² “giant modules”. To do this, the company first built a shipping container with which the modules are hermetically packed and transported to the construction site. Secondly, they designed a semi-automatic assembly robot that picks up the modules with six suction cups and places them on the frame. Thirdly, Gehrlicher developed a mounting system with which, according to company information, the 5.6 m² modules could be removed from the truck and installed in just 60 seconds.

Also from Germany, SMA Technology received the second prize in the photovoltaic category for its 800CP outdoor inverter.

With a power of 800 kW, the 800CP outdoor stood out among the large central inverters due to the maximum conversion efficiency of 98.6%. It also stood out for being easily transportable and installed in a comparatively short time. In addition, the cooling is so good that even with an outside temperature of up to 50 degrees Celsius, the inverter generates all the nominal power, and even 10% more at a temperature of 25 degrees, which, according to SMA, implied a reduction of the costs.

ABB also received an award for its S800-RSU remote-controlled load disconnect switch, designed to be able to disconnect a string of modules in the event of a failure, avoiding having to disconnect the entire system. It also offered protection against fire, or “safe extinction”, to homes with a photovoltaic installation, since it made it possible to disconnect the installation through a remote control in case of fire.

Italy hits 1 GW milestone

On February 28, the Italian energy agency GSE (Gestore dei Servizi Elettrici) reported that it had registered 1,003.6 MW of solar systems connected to the grid and expected to install another GW before 2011, as the FITs of the Conto Energia  program were set to drop considerably towards the end of the year (it was rumored then that it would drop 23%).

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