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Nanosolar's Monumental Efficiency Announcement « Partnerships « Financial
 
Wed, 09 Sep 2009, 11:04am #1
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http://bariumtitanate.blogspot.com/2009/09/nano...

By Nanosolar Communications - September 9, 2009

Today Nanosolar demonstrated the completion of its European panel-assembly factory as part of an inauguration event attended by Germany's Minister of the Environment, the Governor of the State of Brandenburg, and a host of leading public officials.

Based in Luckenwalde near Berlin, Germany, the fully-automated panel-assembly factory processes Nanosolar cells into finished solar panels using innovative high-throughput manufacturing techniques and tooling developed by Nanosolar and its partners. The factory—automated to sustain a production rate of one panel every ten seconds, or an annual peak capacity of 640MW when operated 24x7—now eliminates panel assembly as a rate-limiting production step for Nanosolar. "This factory is part of our commitment to create jobs wherever there is a bankable green-energy market", said Nanosolar CEO Martin Roscheisen.

Nanosolar also today announced that serial production in its San Jose, California, cell production factory commenced earlier this year. With the completion of its panel factory, the company is now in serial production throughout for its ultra-low-cost solar power product.

"Getting to the point of serial production with the unusual extent of innovation and leapfrog cost reduction involved in our technology and delivering a product that out of the gate meets and exceeds the high bar set by the industry's existing volume manufacturers on performance and reliability is an accomplishment due to the incredibly hard work and perseverance of our team," said CEO Roscheisen.

While scoped for rapid growth, production is presently set at a sub-capacity baseload runrate of approximately one MW per month and will be ramped in accordance with the company's market-introduction plan which focuses on achieving product bankability with commercial banks and delivering on the company's contractual customer commitments totaling $4.1 billion to date.

Said CEO Roscheisen: "With almost all large solar installations credit financed, broad based product bankability is our key next commercial goal. We have long prepared for this including through the technology choices we have made, the strong balance sheet we have maintained, the quality of customers we have secured, and the local production we have built."

Nanosolar Unveils Nanosolar Utility Panel™ Technology

By Martin Roscheisen, CEO - September 9, 2009

In conjunction with today's inauguration of our panel-assembly serial-production factory, we today also unveiled the technology behind our first product, the Nanosolar Utility Panel™, and its unique features and benefits.

The Nanosolar Utility Panel™ is the industry’s first solar electricity panel specifically designed and developed for utility-scale solar power system deployment.

Through its innovative product design, the panel effectively eliminates the “balance-of-system penalty” that medium-efficient thin panels have conventionally carried relative to higher-efficiency (yet far more expensive) silicon panels.

The IEC-61646 certified Nanosolar Utility Panel™ is electrically and mechanically optimized for utility-scale solar power systems:

- Electrically, it is the industry’s highest-current thin panel, by as much as a factor of six. It is also the industry’s first photovoltaic module certified by TUV for a system voltage of 1500V, or 50% higher than the previously highest certified. Together this enables utility-scale panel array lengths and results in a host of substantial cost savings during the deployment of solar power plants.

- Mechanically, the package used for the panel is distinctly stronger than that of conventional thin-film-on-glass modules, achieving almost twice the mounting span and thus substantially lower mounting cost.

More information about how the Nanosolar Utility Panel™ delivers the industry's lowest total-system cost for solar power plants can be found on our website as well as in detail in our utility panel technology white paper.

NREL Certifies 16.4% Nanosolar Foil Efficiency

By Martin Roscheisen, CEO - September 9, 2009

It was May 2006 when we last released information about our power-conversion efficiencies to the public (for a cell sample on glass actually back then). Obviously, we have made a lot of progress since then; so an update is appropriate.

Our lab and production teams have managed to make more progress on efficiency than we had planned on in any of our business plans. Recall that we print CIGS onto inexpensive metal foil, that is, something that some have been skeptical can work while others have been wondering whether it can deliver cells better than 6% efficient (the highest published efficiency for CIGS — not even printed — on our type of low-cost metal foil).

So we are pleased to announce that our low-cost printed-CIGS-on-metal-foil cell stack and process produces quite efficient cells: Earlier this year, NREL independently verified several of our cell foils to be as efficient as 16.4%.

At 16.4% efficiency, our foil cells represent two world records in one: It's the most efficient printed solar cell of any kind (all semiconductor and device technologies) as well as the most efficient cell on a truly low-cost metal foil (with a material cost of only a cent or two per square foot and mil thickness).

In terms of our current baseline production process, our best production rolls now achieve higher than 11% median efficiency measured as equivalent to panel efficiency, with very tight cross- and down-web uniformity.

A comprehensive description of our cell technology platform as well as NREL's efficiency certifications can be found in our cell technology white paper.

Whitepaper 1

Whitepaper 2


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Wed, 09 Sep 2009, 11:16am #2
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Mirrored here: http://www.theeestory.com/articles/170


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Wed, 09 Sep 2009, 11:25am #3
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BTW, the "record" for efficiency is about 40%.

http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/09/08...

But, that is not on thin films.

One big thing still missing from the press release is the price.


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Wed, 09 Sep 2009, 11:27am #4
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Bret - very cool! Two odd things, tho

1.)
"The company did not reveal is production cost per watt, but said its CIGS cells achieve an efficiency of 16.4 percent and its panels an efficiency approaching 12 percent."
http://www.reuters.com/article/marketsNews/idAF...

2.)
And a competitor, First Solar, had almost no stock price reaction to the news release.

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Wed, 09 Sep 2009, 11:27am #5
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That's nice.


EEtheist.

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Wed, 09 Sep 2009, 11:32am #6
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"The factory—automated to sustain a production rate of one panel every ten seconds, or an annual peak capacity of 640MW when operated 24x7—now eliminates panel assembly as a rate-limiting production step for Nanosolar."

I was under the impression (mistakenly it seems) that they came out of the machine in big rolls, and were cut to size. I didn't realize they were still being assembled into panels.


EEtheist.

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Wed, 09 Sep 2009, 11:34am #7
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Check out the video: http://www.nanosolar.com/company/blog

Last edited Wed, 09 Sep 2009, 11:40am by jimbobway


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Wed, 09 Sep 2009, 11:36am #8
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I've worked with TUV before. They are a very widely used and respected 3rd party safety certification company.

1500V is profound. The losses at this voltage are going to be low and it is a great voltage for inverting since there is an abundance of products with extremely low loss soft switching at this range. There will be some very happy high power component manufacturers today.


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Wed, 09 Sep 2009, 11:36am #9
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chance20_m wrote:

"The factory—automated to sustain a production rate of one panel every ten seconds, or an annual peak capacity of 640MW when operated 24x7—now eliminates panel assembly as a rate-limiting production step for Nanosolar."

I was under the impression (mistakenly it seems) that they came out of the machine in big rolls, and were cut to size. I didn't realize they were still being assembled into panels.

Likely what the customers want, i.e. good weather protection.


The only thing that will slowly change believer's minds is years of unfulfilled promises.

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Wed, 09 Sep 2009, 11:39am #10
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I asked myself, why build the plant in Germany? Why not the U.S. to create U.S. jobs? Or if they wanted to be really profitable why not do what First Solar will do and build a plant in China? Well, seems like the video answered my question. The cost of shipping is expensive so a plant was built in Europe to serve the European market.


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Wed, 09 Sep 2009, 11:50am #11
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exactly and Germany heavily subsidizes solar installations.


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Wed, 09 Sep 2009, 11:52am #12
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EEventually wrote:

exactly and Germany heavily subsidizes solar installations.

Yep their government been doing this for years now (if i remember right.)


The only thing that will slowly change believer's minds is years of unfulfilled promises.

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Wed, 09 Sep 2009, 12:20pm #13
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chance20_m wrote:

"The factory—automated to sustain a production rate of one panel every ten seconds, or an annual peak capacity of 640MW when operated 24x7—now eliminates panel assembly as a rate-limiting production step for Nanosolar."

I was under the impression (mistakenly it seems) that they came out of the machine in big rolls, and were cut to size. I didn't realize they were still being assembled into panels.

Yes, this is interesting. Why cut the rolls into smaller component squares which are then assembled into panels? Why not just cut the roll at 4 feet (or whatever length the panel is) and sandwich between the glass? I thought the advantage to the printing process is that you achieve uniform efficiency and don't need to assemble a panel using like-efficiency components.

Update: I visited the new nanosolar site http://www.us.nanosolar.com/ and it seems that they still sort cells according to electric characteristics to improve efficiency of the overall panel.

Last edited Wed, 09 Sep 2009, 12:36pm by Eeggs&Bacon


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Wed, 09 Sep 2009, 12:48pm #14
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Germany is one of the biggest market for PV..... where I live now there is already PV on 30% of the roofs and there are some big communal installations nearby.

At this moment cells are produced in the USA and the panels assembled in Germany.


svetan

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Wed, 09 Sep 2009, 12:58pm #15
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I have great hopes for nanosolar. Nothing in principle to stop this technology being very cheap, and it does have real advantages - look at nanosolar's customers.

However the issue with development of a process like this is always what will the yield be - this affects price.

Nanaosolar do not state either yield or price. In fact they say that panel assembly is not the limiting step in throughput - I bet that getting enough working film of their line is...

Best wishes, Tom


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Wed, 09 Sep 2009, 1:00pm #16
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Yes, this is interesting. Why cut the rolls into smaller component squares which are then assembled into panels? Why not just cut the roll at 4 feet (or whatever length the panel is) and sandwich between the glass? I thought the advantage to the printing process is that you achieve uniform efficiency and don't need to assemble a panel using like-efficiency components.

Update: I visited the new nanosolar site http://www.us.nanosolar.com/ and it seems that they still sort cells according to electric characteristics to improve efficiency of the overall panel.

Yield.


Assumptions: 1) E=1/2CV2

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Wed, 09 Sep 2009, 1:13pm #17
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Yes yeild, but will they not bin the panels like Intel based on performance?


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Wed, 09 Sep 2009, 2:54pm #18
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First solar is claiming $0.87 US per watt. What will nanosolar be?

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Wed, 09 Sep 2009, 3:13pm #19
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cechilders wrote:

First solar is claiming $0.87 US per watt. What will nanosolar be?

Yep, just like APR is to financing loan, Cost per watt is the key measurement for solar, funny they didn't put that in there.

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Wed, 09 Sep 2009, 3:28pm #20
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Yah. High efficiency in solar cells is nice, but for most of us, the cost per watt and expected lifespan are significantly more important. If you cover the entire south-facing half of your roof** and the solar panels *still* don't provide enuff electricity, then perhaps higher efficiency is needed. For most of us, that ain't gonna happen.

**...or north-facing, for our Antipodean comrades


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Wed, 09 Sep 2009, 3:35pm #21
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cechilders wrote:

First solar is claiming $0.87 US per watt. What will nanosolar be?

They're not saying. According to Earth2Tech, they are not yet in commercial production :"So is the San Jose, Calif.-based company in long-awaited commercial production yet? Nope, but almost. Nanosolar is calling today’s milestone “serial production,” or basically getting really close to the level of production that it needs to make its solar panels widely available."
http://earth2tech.com/2009/09/09/nanosolar-star...

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Wed, 09 Sep 2009, 3:48pm #22
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Germany has a 'feed-in tariff' which means you can sell any power you generate back into the grid at several times the cost of what you would pay THEM for it. They are compelled by law to accept what you want to sell them. This has created a huge market in solar panels there, because the payback period is reduced to a few years, rather than decades. Portugal and Spain and several other european countries have a similar system.

The UK, dragging its heels as usual, will introduce a FIT next year, but I don't know if details have been established. I don't expect them to be particularly generous though.

All this is highly unpopular with the big power companies of course, and I think the reason the UK has been so slow is a measure of the degree of control these companies exert over our government. I have no idea what the situation is in the US, but certainly I think ALL countries should do this immediately.

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Wed, 09 Sep 2009, 4:43pm #23
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Tec wrote:

I have no idea what the situation is in the US, but certainly I think ALL countries should do this immediately.

Depends on individual states. In My state (Washington) this is what we have

http://www.pugetsoundsolar.com/starthere.html

•The State of Washington will pay you a minimum of 15 cents for every kilowatt hour that your system produces until July 2,020. (my utility rate is about 10 cents all the time - and the utility mostly uses renewables with a claim of complete carbon offsetting).

•There is currently no sales tax on grid-connected photovoltaic systems.

•The Internal Revenue Service will give you a tax credit of 30% of system cost.

•Commercial customers can get fast depreciation of most of the balance of the cost.

BTW, the installed cost is between $6.50 and $10.00 / watt. The larger the install, better the price. Also, 1000 watts of PV takes up about 65 to 90 square feet of space.


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Wed, 09 Sep 2009, 4:49pm #24
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We don't use FIT but a guaranteed minimum price. This was mostly done for wind power which seem to produce the best when consumption is lowest. We get periods of negative electricity wholesale pricing in Texas. Too bad that doesn't roll down to the rate payers. We need storage in the worst way.


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Wed, 09 Sep 2009, 5:13pm #25
jam
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This is good. The price should be around $0.25 per watt installed to make it econnomically viable. I think they can do it. The yield looks quite good looking at one of the charts toward the end of the paper. The indium usage is very good (which is a must).

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Wed, 09 Sep 2009, 5:16pm #26
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Nanosolar will keep the price up to cover their initial cost and earn some money for building more production facilities.

I have heard from production cost of $0.33 and Roscheisen once said in an interview that he could in the end sell under $0.50.


svetan

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Wed, 09 Sep 2009, 5:27pm #27
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svetan wrote:

Nanosolar will keep the price up to cover their initial cost and earn some money for building more production facilities.

I have heard from production cost of $0.33 and Roscheisen once said in an interview that he could in the end sell under $0.50.

If <.50 is true, First Solar may have troubles.

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Wed, 09 Sep 2009, 5:32pm #28
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the price should be artificially high to make full use of the German subsidy until that market saturates. How often do you get a chance to capitalize your company on someone else's politically motivated nonsense? If they start talking about long term pricing now, they may not be able to do this.


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Wed, 09 Sep 2009, 5:35pm #29
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The production technology of Nanosolar is less complex and therefore cheaper as that of First Solar.

Adding up this and First Solar's technology I think they will have definitely problems in the near future.
Another thing is the now fast ramping up of Nanosolar. They will take a big piece of the market before their compatitors can bring out their goodies in volume.


svetan

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Wed, 09 Sep 2009, 5:39pm #30
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If THIS is the earth-shaking announcement we were told to expect, I think its a bit on the feeble side. It's connection to EEstor is somewhat tenuous too.

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