Renew On Line (UK) 27
Extracts from the July-Aug
2000 edition of Renew
|Welcome Archives Bulletin|
PV SHARE BOOM
Dot.com shares may be facing problems but Reuters reported recently that the morning after announcing a joint venture to make solar panels, Belgian steel wire maker Bekaert SA saw its shares bounce up by more than four percent. Reuters noted that this made it one of the leading percentage gainers on the Brussels stock market.
Bekaert will invest $84 million in a 50:50 joint venture with U.S. based Energy Conversion Devices (ECD) to manufacture thin film solar power panels. They will spend $50 million on a new plant with an annual capacity of 25 megawatts of solar panel output. They predict that the new unit will generate sales of $125 to 150 million within four to five years and will equal Bekaert's current annual steel sales of one billion dollars by 2010.
The company expects that the new factory will reach full capacity within 2 years, make a profit from year three and recover the entire initial outlay in a further three to four years. Source: Reuters News Service 4-5 April 2000
Solar and other renewables will be the source of energy for a new solar manufacturing facility now open in San Francisco. Built by PowerLight Corporation, the 18,000 sq foot facility will manufacture the company's PowerGuard ® photovoltaic roofing tiles. Solar electric output from a year's production of PowerGuard tiles will equal 15 megawatts.
On the roof of the factory is a 15 kilowatt array of PowerGuard tiles which will supply a portion of the energy needed for production. The remainder of the energy will come from GreenMountain.com's Solar for the Future (sm) programme. California residential customers using Solar for the Future will receive 100 percent of their power from renewable sources, while part of their monthly payment will be set aside to contribute to future solar projects.
PowerLight is the first commercial customer for GreenMountain in the programme. Like any Solar for the Future customer, a portion of the monthly electric bill paid by PowerLight to GreenMountain will turn around and be used to build more solar generating capacity.
At the dedication of the plant an additional 100 kilowatt solar array was announced that will be the largest in the Bay Area of San Francisco. Visit PowerLight at http://www.powerlight.com and GreenMountain.com at http://www.GreenMountain.com/
Source: ENERGIES e- Newsletter .
European PV Conference
The European Photovoltaics Conference in Glasgow attracted 1,500 PV experts from 70 countries. Conference chairman Hermann Scheer noted that Germany aims to have 100,000 homes producing grid linked solar power by 2010 - there were around 5,000 so far.
The contrast to the host country, the UK, was stark. Here theres a plan for PV on just 100 houses. Jenniy Gregory of the British Photo Voltaic Society noted that "there are only a handful of British houses at the moment," and feared that Britain would be left behind by other countries in Europe, despite being at the forefront of solar technology. In Germany, the government saw its funding for PV as a way to pump prime the market and help to get prices down, but in the UK was still seen as a long term option
DTI Energy Minister Helen Liddell was clearly therefore facing a less than sympathetic audience when she outlined the governments view that "we need liberalised, competitive markets that reflect true costs and give consumers real choice. Only then can we hope to see increasing demand and decreasing costs become reality and the possibility of a sustainable future". She went on "Here in the UK we have taken the lead in market liberalisation. I do not believe that large scale subsidy is the answer, though clearly subsidy has a role to play. In fact there has been a very substantial increase in our R&D expenditure, £5 million of which has been allocated to PV over the next three years."
On a more positive note she added "There is no doubt that in the long run PV will play a major role in our electricity supply systems. I intend to play a positive role in promoting PV, particularly to the movers and shakers in the construction industry."