Solar Photovoltaic Arrays

Manufacturers

AIR THERM Solartechnik 

Modules

ATLANTIS SOLAR SYSTEMS LTD

Not panels but slates! Switzerland. Good introduction 

ASE Americas, Inc.

Modules

AstroPower, Inc.

Modules

They recycle silicon plates from the semi-conductor industry for their solar modules. This high-quality material makes high-output cells and reuses resources that would otherwise go to waste. 

BP Solar

Modules 

BP Solar have manufactured high efficiency monocrystalline solar modules since the mid 1980's. The modules come with a 20 year limited warranty. They're working on a new thin film technology called Apollo Thin Film.

Solarex is (was?) the largest manufacturer of polycrystalline silicon PV modules.

BP purchased Solarex in 1999.

The SX series modules are made with cell strings laminated between sheets of ethylene vinyl acetate (EVA) and tempered low iron glass.

The MSX (Mega SX) series are Made of polycrystalline silicon PV cells coated with patented anti-reflective titanium dioxide.

Dunasolar, Inc.

"The DUNASOLAR Inc. is one of the biggest amorphous silicon photovoltaics panels producer in Europe. On our WEB page you will find company profile and the description of our products, you will learn about usage of photovoltaics panels and how they work, plus troubleshooting and helpful things."

(Tell me how!)

Energy Photovoltaics, Inc.

Products

ENTECH 

Entech use inexpensive Fresnel lenses to capture sunlight, and focus it onto small solar cells.

Eurosolare

Eurosolare produces photovoltaic modules in monocrystalline and multicrystalline silicon.

Products 

Evergreen Solar

Modules

Kyocera

Modules

There appears to be some collusion with Uni-solar.

Matrix Solar / Photowatt

Modules

ATS is the largest manufacturer of turn-key automatic manufacturing and testing lines in North America. They own Matrix. 

Early in 1997 Matrix Solar Technologies, Inc., acquired Photowatt International. 

Photowatt, founded in 1979, is now the largest integrated manufacturer of photovoltaic wafers, cells and modules in Europe, and the world leader in thin silicon cell technology. It holds 5% of the international market. 

Pacific Solar

A bunch of Aussies developing affordable solar photovoltaic systems for the rooftops of the world. Eurosolare have a share in Pacific Solar.

PowerLight Corp.

PowerLight Corporation (USA) designer, manufacturer and installer of grid-connected commercial
solar electric systems.

Seimens

Modules

Siemens specialise in monocrystalline  photovoltaic panels. They have been manufacturing solar panels since 1970.

Uni-solar

Modules

There appears to be some collusion with Kyocera. Alternate versions: flat metal roof panels, shingles.

The predecessor of Uni-Solar (a.k.a. United Solar, a.k.a. United Solar Systems Corp.) was Sovonics Solar Systems, established in 1981. Parent company Energy Conversion Devices, Inc

Cost

A rule of thumb: PV modules cost  US $5 / watt.

75W modules are used for reference, April 2001.

BP275 Qty 4+ $349 each.

AIR THERM Solartechnik AT 75Qty 2+ $330.37

Marketing News 

SolarAccess.com, a Solar Energy & Renewable Energy Information Resource.

Technical Reports

Sandia National Laboratories Photovoltaics Program

http://www.eren.doe.gov/ (good description of technologies here)

Under Research

Photon ChipsT differ from today's solar energy technologies - they're photoelectric, instead of photovoltaic. This, apparently, allows the devices to be potentially orders of magnitude cheaper than photovoltaics, and readily mass-produceable. ( It's just that you can't get them !)

Dealers and Distributors

Alternative Energy Store US

ETA Engineering US

GO Solar US. (Worth a look)

MrSolar US

Solar century UK

Solarelectric.com US

Sunwize US

Siemens Solar Panels direct from Bullnet

BP UK Dealers. 

Beco Batteries, Ltd. 
9 Speedwell Units 
Nelson Rd.,Industrial Estate
Dartmouth,
Devon TQ6 9SZ
44-1803-833-636
Fax: 44-1803-833-379

Marlec Limited 
Rutland House, Threvithick Road 
Corby,
Northants NN17 5XY
44-1536-201588
Fax: 44-1536-400211

Dabbrook Power Systems Ltd 
Unit 23 Bells Marsh Road 
Gorleston Great Yamouth NR31 6PT
44-1493-441711
Fax: 44-1493-440322

Wind and Sun 
Humber,Marsh, Stoke Prior 
Leominister HR6 ONE
44-1568-760671
Fax: 44-1568-760484 

PV system design software

Maui Solar Energy Software Corporation

Solar Design Studio v5.0 (US$159.00)

Insolation data

How much solar energy can you expect at your location.

PV Conferences

http://www.wip-munich.de/conferences/pv/munich_2001/munich.html

The technology

Photovoltaic systems convert light directly into electricity using semi-conductor technology. (10% efficiency)

Thermal systems (hot water, pool heaters) produce heat from the sun's radiation. (+40% efficiency)

A cell produces ˝ volt. 36 times ˝ volt yields 18 volts. However, the voltage is reduced as these 
cells get hot in the sun and 12-volt batteries typically need about 14 volts for a charge, so the 36 cell module has become the standard of the solar battery charger industry.

Is it worth it?

Powergen supplies mains electricity in sunny Milton Keynes at 2.5p per kWh off peak, 6.2p normal  (17th January 2002).

(2p per kWh off peak, 5 normal in 2000) 

PV seems to come in at 40p.

What about the energy in making the wretched things? According to the article by J. Nijs, et al in their paper "Energy Payback Time of Crystalline Silicon Solar Modules ("Advances in Solar Energy," ed. K. Boer, ASES, Boulder, CO USA; vol. 11, 1997. pp. 291-328), conservative calculations for the pay-back time of crystalline silicon PV modules varies from 2.58 years, for multicrystalline silicon and 2.66 years, for single-crystal silicon in the sunbelt, to 4.92 years and 5.07 years, respectively, for these same materials in less sunny areas. Projections for additional manufacturing improvements indicate improvements to 1.4 years (sunbelt) and 2.67 years (less-sunny areas) in the mid-term future, and 1.22 years and 2.33 years, respectively, for longer-term improvements.

Magazines

Home Power magazine

French solar magazine

German solar magazine 

Links

Useful list of links

PV Power Resource Site

Solar Electric Power Association

List of manufacturers

The Solar Exchange Unit  Global Solar Partners brings together teachers and students world-wide to share ideas about energy in a sustainable future. 

Useful technical data from U.S. Department of Energy's NREL

Useful database, other renewable energies International Energy Agency  CADDET Renewable Energy 

Details on cost projections Million Solar Roofs 

Main US renewable site from U.S. Department of Energy's EREN

U.S. Department of Energy Photovoltaics Program Million Solar Roofs 

Australian renewable support Austrian Renewable Energy

Main International Solar Energy Society World-wide Information System for Renewable Energy

Swiss initiatives Förderverein der Energie-Umwelt- und Solar-Initiative

Indian renewable web site yes

Spanish, solar energy training centre Centro de Estudios de la Energía Solar

German initiatives Der Solarserver - Ihr Internetportal zur Sonnenenergie

Canadian renewable web site CEDRL's Photovoltaic Program 

Renewable energy news Canadian Association for Renewable Energies

EuroREX, The Renewable Energy Exchange

South African renewables web site Renewable Energy for Rural African Households

Sustainable Community Development link Sustainable Development International

The Solar Roof at CAT

James and James Provider of information for energy and environment professionals worldwide.

Source Guides Renewable Energy Retail Businesses in the United Kingdom

My Tinkerings...

PV inverter. This is work in progress.

PV Evaluation