Monday, June 21, 2010


Intl Solar Meeting at the Hawaii Convention Center

By Henry Curtis

The 35th Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) Photovoltaic Specialists Conference is meeting all week at the Hawaii Convention Center. There are 1300 registered attendees and 903 speakers. The first day had 18 sessions totally 21 hours.

Rhone Resch, President of the Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA) noted that Germany, Italy and Japan led the world in Photovoltaic (PV) installations last year. Japan was just ahead of fourth place United States. Germany had over half of the installations worldwide, twenty times the installations as the United States. Resch predicted that the U.S. would take the lead in 2014.

China has surpassed Germany to become #1 in building solar cells. Shenghong Ma noted that China now produces 40% of all solar panels worldwide and that 95% of the solar cells produced are exported. While China has some fossil fuel resources, it has enormous amounts of potential solar energy, especially in deserts which cover a quarter of China. China is importing a small but growing share of its energy from abroad.

Most of the desert areas are located in the northwest part of China. The annual total radiation is 1,600-2,300 kWh/m2. The north-west deserts are considered to be the richest solar resource in the world. China has begun testing the use of Feed-In Tariffs in places such as Ningxia.

Izumi Kaizuki noted that Japan has adopted net excess feed-in tariffs where customers with generators are paid for solar energy in excess of their electricity use. Since solar is more expensive than grid electricity this method wouldn’t work, however it has been made effective since some installations are able to double dip or triple dip subsidies that are available. Japan is looking into the Feed-In Tariff model used in Germany and Spain. Japan is different that the United States in a key way. In the United States PV is more attractive for businesses, while in Japan 90% of PV installations are on residential units. The Japanese government predicts that this will drop to 80% by 2020.

Sopogy pioneered the Micro-Scaled Concentrating Solar Power (CSP), where sunlight is concentrated on a pipe containing mineral oil. The heated oil can be used for thermal applications, or stored evening electricity needs.

Nancy Hartsoch (CPV Consortium) talked about concentrator photovoltaic (CPV) where sunlight is concentrated for the purpose of generating electricity instead of heat. Recently several CPV systems have won competitively bid solar bids.

Other presentations dealt with climate change, nanostructures and quantum wells.
Tomorrow there will be a presentation on the Hawaii Clean Energy Initiative (HCEI) and how to address the current barriers to high penetration of PV on the islands. Moderated by DBEDT’s Ted Peck, the panel will include Mina Morita (Chair of the Hawaii House Energy and Environmental Protection Committee), Carl Caliboso (Chairman, HI Public Utilities Commission), Scott Seu (HECO), and Mark Duda (Distributed Energy Partners).

There were three videographers filming portions of the proceedings, one from the IEEE, and two using `Olelo Community Media equipment: Jeff Davis (Hawaii's Solar Guy) and myself.

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Current barriers to high penetration of PV in Hawaii: 1) Higher cost than elsewhere, 2) Not adequate financing for high up-front costs, and 3) No feed-in tariff rate yet. No.2 we had a solution last Legislative session until they made it political. No.3 is before the PUC now. Tomorrow will probably be about who can accurately talk around the issue without taking credit for the failures.


been long time since I communicated.

the entire area of "energy" use and how we manage the resources that support current models should be on the top of everyones' list of priorities. kinda hard however to get the green light from a joint consolidation of ACTIONs when there are still so many starving people in the world, and the last thing they want to think about is how do I conserve energy, adopt other means of energy strategies....not sure we can ever get over the the 100% hurdle with all agreeing and contributing and following up on what we know needs DOING. I do think we need a more practical and pragmatic set of triggers for the short-to-medium term time frame. I am from Hilo....I know there is sufficient volcanic activity for a good and solid thermal energy model; the last time I was at S. Point there were some 100 or so wind towers standing like warriors fronzen in time, rusting away. AND there is also the lastest (which I think the Dutch are experimenting with, Finnish....)ocean turbines driven by currents. you and I know why this continues to be put on the back burner in Hawai'i (and most other potential sites). too many rice bowls would be on the line. we should all return, in the first instance, to a good old fashioned bartering system. we are literally destroying our own back yards. we have no idea of how many species are becoming extinct in the world until someone gets interested in R&D and suddently finds out................NO MORE.not sure what the answer is. My na'au indicates however that the issues need to be stripped of the politics, and big business in order for the real facts to surface. then we can work from here. Monsanto trying to control all crop activities through their various programs is not helpful despite all the bull shit they spew out.

Just my thoughts.....Curt Sharp (Kawaipuna)

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