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Contents contributed and discussions participated by xxx xxx

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PV's "Moore's Law" Required To Drive Increased Material Efficiency - 0 views

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    The road to grid parity for PV power generation will be difficult, needing five or more years to compete with utility power, unsubsidized, on a large scale, noted Mark Thirsk, managing partner at Linx Consulting, at a recent SEMI PV forecast luncheon (Sept. 18) in Santa Clara, CA

    Most input materials for PV production are in relative oversupply and will not constrain production, Thirsk pointed out - and for this reason manufacturers are conservative about capacity investment. In particular, his PV module production forecast (see Fig. 1, above) shows an overstep in demand in 2008. One reason for suppliers' reluctance to build capacity for entering the silicon supply chain is that it is an inefficient process. "Only about 15% of all the silicon going into the supply chain goes into the wafers, so it's a pretty wasteful and capital intensive process, so there is a lot of reluctance to build capacity," said Thirsk. Despite the efficiency challenges, Thirsk's forecast indicates that an oversupply may occur in 2009

    Because >40% of PV grade silicon is lost at the wafering step, Thirsk believes this represents a significant opportunity for the right technology. Additionally, diamond wire is a potential replacement for slurry technology, but this technology is still immature. In the crystalline silicon (c-Si) value chain, Thirsk sees opportunities for optimizing mono-crystalline wafers with metal wrap technology and backside contacts; process optimization and material improvements would improve cell efficiency, and glass, wafer, backsheet, and grid improvements can enable more efficient light capture.

    Looking ahead, Thirsk told the audience that while thin-film technologies will enjoy strong growth "and may be more attractive to value-add materials and equipment suppliers, thin-film cell production will remain a minority share for the medium term." (see Fig. 3, below) He closed his presentation encouraging the creation of a Moore's Law type of roadmap for the PV
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The Lithium Battery Race - 0 views

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    A U.S. government official said dramatic improvements to lithium batteries are needed before they can efficiently power vehicles.

    Experts believe lithium-ion batteries are widely predicted to replace nickel metal-hydride batteries currently used in most hybrid vehicles like Toyota Co's popular Prius.

    The biggest challenges are extending the life of high-power lithium batteries and bringing down their relatively high cost, Tien Duong of the U.S. Department of Energy said on the sidelines of a lithium battery conference held at this government laboratory.

    "Life means 10 years, plus. For hybrids we know (their batteries) last 10 years plus. For the PHEV (plug-in electric vehicle), we don't know," Duong said. He did not specify what the costs should be.

    "One of the phenomenons that cuts short the life of the battery is power. You may have a lot of energy, but if you run out of power, that's no good," he said.

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Japan's Mitusi Mining to invest $144 mln in Malaysia-China Mining - 0 views

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    Japan's Mitsui Mining and Smelting Co Ltd will invest 500 million ringgit to build a new plant for making copper foils in Malaysia, a newspaper reported on Friday.


    The new plant, specialising in high-productivity 12-micron and thinner copper foils, will have a production capacity of 1,200 tonnes a month once fully operational, the Business Times said.


    Construction work on first phase of the plant, with a capacity of 700 tonnes a month, will begin in November and will be completed by June 2010, it quoted Masayuki Misawa, managing director of Mitsui Copper Foil Sdn Bhd, in which the Japanese firm is a stakeholder, as saying.


    Work on the 500-tonne a month second phase will start immediately after that, he said. The new plant is being constructed in Shah Alam, next to an existing facility of the company which has a monthly production capacity of 1,600 tonnes.
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Nanosolar outshines the competition with a $300M financing - 0 views

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    Thin-film solar company Nanosolar has been sitting on a big secret for much of this year, it turns out: The company took a $300 million financing this March, and has remained mum ever since, only detailing it on the company's blog this morning after VentureWire reported the funding.

    While Nanosolar hasn't been entirely secretive about its technology, with chief executive Martin Rosencheisen showing off a rapid manufacturing technique early in summer, but apparently it didn't want details leaking on this giant-sized investment until necessary. Word slipped out in April about $50 million of the total, but at the time, Nanosolar didn't want to talk - and it's now clear why.

    The race for funds, and ever-larger production targets, is definitely on for thin film. Secretive thin-film silicon company Optisolar has raised over $200 million this year, and Nanosolar's thin-film CIGS competitor Miasole is trying to close on a similar amount. And while dozens of other startups are also on the hunt, large companies like Oerlikon Solar and Applied Materials are pouring money into ventures of their own.

    In many ways, it looks like an overheated sector. But on the other hand, Optisolar's recent deal with PG&E to provide 550 megawatts of electricity suggests that the potential for thin film panels is larger than previously expected, even when considering one analyst firm's prediction earlier this year that the sector will grow at 45 percent annually.

    That figure could now be much higher, especially for a few big winners - of which Nanosolar will likely be one. The company will be doing some utility-scale projects of its own, Rosencheisen tells us, with experienced partners. It also has a panel built specifically for use by utilities. And one of the backers of this funding, AES Corp., is also one of the world's biggest power companies.

    At the moment, Nanosolar is still working toward a gigawatt of annual manufacturing capacity, but it will grow be
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FCC Acquires Two PV Plants in Spain - 0 views

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    FCC has acquired two solar photovoltaic (PV) plants in Cordoba, Spain with an installed capacity of 20 megawatts (MW), from Sky Global Solar. The investment amounted to EUR 140 million [US $195 million]. This is FCC's second investment in renewable energy in less than a month. It also bought 14 wind parks with an installed capacity of 420 MW from Australian company Babcock & Brown Wind Partners (BBW).
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Murchison sells Midwest stake to Sinosteel - 0 views

shared by xxx xxx on 11 Sep 08 - Cached
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    Murchison has sold its 9.2% stake in Midwest Corp to Sinosteel for $107 million following Sinosteel's takeover of Midwest.

    Posted: Thursday , 11 Sep 2008

    SYDNEY (Reuters) -



    Australian iron ore prospector Murchison Metals Ltd has sold its 9.2 percent stake in fellow Australian firm Midwest Corp to China's Sinosteel for about A$135 million ($107 million).

    The move follows Sinosteel's $1.3 billion takeover of Midwest earlier this year, which defeated a plan by Murchison to merge with Midwest. The two Australian firms are neighbours in the as-yet undeveloped Yilgarn iron ore mining region of west Australia.

    Murchison said in a statement on Thursday the sale of the Midwest shares is in the best interests of the company, especially given significant changes in world financial markets over the past three months.

    "The cash raised through the sale gives Murchison greater flexibility in relation to both developing existing projects and in pursuing fresh opportunities," Murchison Executive Chairman Paul Kopejtka said in the statement.
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Copper prices jump after Chile earthquake - 0 views

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    NEW YORK (MarketWatch) - Copper futures jumped Wednesday after news that a 5.8-magnitude earthquake hit Chile, the world's top copper producer. Copper futures for December delivery rose 3.6 cents, or 1.2%, to $3.12 a pound. Copper fell in morning trading. The U.S. Geological Survey reported the earthquake hit 63 miles east of Iquique, Chile, a major copper mining area.
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UK Behind Marine Renewables' Rising Tide - 0 views

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    It's been a long, challenging endeavor, but there are signs that the economic ecosystem built up around wave and tidal power generation is at long last gathering enough momentum to make the jump from R&D-driven to full-fledged commercial industry.

    Scotland, with its long stretches of west-facing coastlines, North Atlantic latitude and longstanding tradition of maritime engineering and commerce, is now at the leading edge of change when it comes to fostering development of marine renewables.

    Wavegen's Limpet 500 system has been pumping electricity from the western Scottish Isle of Islay shoreline since 2000 while the company and project developer npower renewables have continued to move forward with plans to develop the Siadar Wave Energy Project, potentially the first under the Scottish government's Marine Supply Obligation program.

    Marine Current Turbines is getting ready to flip the switch and fully commission a grid-connected 1.2-megawatt (MW) Seagen tidal turbine-based system in Northern Ireland's Strangford Narrow, while elsewhere in the EU, project developers and the marine renewables community await the much-anticipated commissioning of Pelamis's novel, serpent-like wave power system off the northern Portuguese coast.
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Range Fuels, Ceres To Collaborate on Cellulosic Feedstocks - 0 views

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    Range Fuels, Inc., a company focused on green energy and the production of cellulosic ethanol, announced today that it is collaborating with Ceres, Inc., a leading company in the research, development and commercialization of purpose-grown herbaceous biomass feedstocks.

    Range Fuels will explore the role that non-invasive, high-yield, non-food sources of biomass might play in Range Fuels' plans to produce cellulosic ethanol on a commercial basis. Ceres is primarily focused on the development of annual and perennial grasses, such as high-biomass sorghum, switchgrass and miscanthus.

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U.S. offshore wind projects move closer to reality - MarketWatch - 0 views

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    NEW YORK (MarketWatch) - Deal making and development in the wind arena continue even as the economy slows down, with the federal government moving ahead to grant leases for the U.S.'s first offshore wind projects in history and other state-based projects moving to the front burner.

    Comments on federal rules to govern a host of alternative energy projects proposed in federal waters off the coast of the U.S. drew about 225 responses by Monday's deadline, as the U.S. Mineral Management Service, or MMS, moves ahead with plans to lease the outer continental shelf to several companies.
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LDK Solar awards US$220m wafer contract - 0 views

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    XINYU CITY, CHINA, September 3, 2008. Solar wafers manufacturer LDK Solar Co Ltd has awarded a US$220 million contract to Applied Materials Inc to provide precision wafering systems to support its next phase of production expansion.

    Shipping to LDK Solar's facility in Xinyu, China, is scheduled to start early 2009, and it will support LDK Solar's previously announced plans to expand to 3.2 GW annual wafer capacity in 2010.

    "We believe that Applied's state-of-the-art wafering systems, including its HCT wire saws and squarers, are the best choice to help us scale up capacity to meet the expanding global demand for wafers," says Xiaofeng Peng, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of LDK Solar.
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Striving for Super Efficiency - Air Conditioning, Heating & Refrigeration NEWS - 0 views

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    Long ago, the industry determined that the combination of copper tubing and aluminum fins provided the most efficient transfer of thermal heat in condenser coils.

    Manufacturers of residential units are not necessarily on that same page - or that line of thinking - today.

    Most manufacturers, if not all, are revising, have revised, or continue to revise their outdoor coil construction. One of the main objectives, of course, is to increase heat transfer efficiency, as energy efficiency is high on every homeowner's wish list.

    In the end, each manufacturer believes it has engineered and/or perfected - at least up to now - the most-efficient coil design. Some, like Goodman Manufacturing, have made changes as a direct result of the efficiency offered from R-410A refrigerant.
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Mitsubishi to quadruple PV by 2012 - 0 views

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    TOKYO, JAPAN, September 4, 2008. Mitsubishi Electric Corporation plans to quadruple its annual photovoltaic (PV) cell production to 600 MW by 2012, investing ¥50 billion.\n\nMitsubishi says it plans to construct a new building for PV cell production, the PV Cell Plant #2, at its Nakatsugawa Works Iida Factory in Nagano Prefecture.\n\nThe expansion comes as a response to "a sharp increase in demand" for solar power generation systems.\n\nThe company forecasts a global PV market size of 1,950 MW in 2009 growing to 4,430 MW in 2012, with further growth expected.\n
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EERE News: DOE Awards $6.6 Million for State-Led Clean Energy Projects - 0 views

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    DOE announced on September 8 that it will award $6.6 million in competitive grants for 15 state-level projects, nine of which focus on developing policy and regulations to support gigawatt-scale clean energy capacity, and six of which focus on developing advanced building codes. Of these awards, $4 million will go to the gigawatt-scale clean energy capacity projects, which will develop policy and regulatory frameworks that will enable gigawatt-scale clean energy, either through renewable energy or demand-side reductions. Although no cost share was mandated, state partners will contribute up to $1.8 million for these projects. The six advanced building codes projects will receive $2.6 million, which will assist states in developing and implementing residential, commercial, or overarching building codes. Along with its financial assistance, DOE will support these projects with ongoing technical assistance.
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U.S. Doubles Wind Power Supply In 2 Years - 0 views

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    U.S. wind industry has raced past the 20,000-megawatt (MW) installed capacity milestone, achieving in two years what had previously taken more than two decades, according to new figures. The 10,000-MW mark was reached in 2006.

    Wind now provides 20,152 MW of electricity generating capacity in the U.S., producing enough electricity to serve 5.3 million American homes or power a fleet of more than 1 million plug-in hybrid vehicle, according to the American Wind Energy Association (AWEA).

    "Wind energy installations are well ahead of the curve for contributing 20% of the U.S. electric power supply by 2030 as envisioned by the U.S. Department of Energy," said AWEA Executive Director Randall Swisher. "However, the looming expiration of the federal renewable energy production tax credit (PTC) less than four months from now threatens this spectacular progress. The PTC has been a critical factor in wind's very rapid growth as a part of the nation's power portfolio."

    The PTC is currently set to expire at the end of 2008.

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Shanghai copper down 2 pct, LME bounces - 0 views

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    SINGAPORE, Sept 8 (Reuters) - Shanghai copper fell around 2 percent on Monday but it lagged behind a 4.5 percent slide in London prices after big jumps in inventories on Friday.

    But prices in London bounced on Monday, lifted by gains in other other commodity markets as the dollar lost ground against the euro after the U.S. government on Sunday seized control of mortgage finance companies Fannie Mae (nyse: FNM - news - people ) and Freddie Mac (nyse: FRE - news - people ), which own or guarantee half of all U.S. mortgages.

    LME copper rose $75 or 1.1 percent, to $6,975 at 0232 GMT, while Shanghai November copper dropped 1,030 yuan to 55,630 yuan ($8,130) and earlier touched a nine-month low.

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US wind turbine market worth $60.9 billion in 2013 - 0 views

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    According to a new technical market research report from BCC Research, the domestic market for wind turbine components and systems will be worth $60.9 billion in 2013. This represents an increase from the 2007 market value of $7.9 billion and the estimated 2008 market value of $11.2 billion. The compound annual growth rate (CAGR) between 2008 and 2013 is expected to be 40.0%. \n\nThe market is analyzed by state and includes the top ten spenders on wind turbine technology: Texas, California, Iowa, Minnesota, Washington, Oregon, Colorado, New York, Kansas and Illinois. Texas has the largest statewide expenditure, exceeding $2.4 billion in 2007 and an estimated $3.0 billion in 2008. This should grow at a CAGR of 38.0% to reach $15.2 billion in 2013. \n
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ArcelorMittal SA to reduce steel price by 5% for October - 0 views

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    South Africa's largest steel producer, ArcelorMittal South Africa, has announced its first price decrease for the year and will cut the price of both hot-rolled coil (HRC) and wire rod by 5% as from October.

    The price of HRC and wire rod, which provide the base prices for flat and long steel respectively, will decline from their record levels, with the price to be cut by about R500/t on just about about all grades, barring plate which will remain unchanged.
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Renewable Energy Focus - 0 views

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    COPENHAGEN, DENMARK, September 2, 2008. The Danish Ministry for Climate and Energy says a new 400 MW offshore wind farm will be built by 2012.
    The wind farm comes in addition to the 200 MW Rødsand II (online from 2011) and 200 MW Horns Rev II (online from 2009), and will be built between Anholt and Djursland in the Kattegat Sea between Denmark and Sweden.
    The location was chosen due to the possibility of connecting the wind farm more or less directly to the existing grid, which means the windmills can be put up quicker. Depending on the capacity of the windmills that will be chosen, the wind farm will have 100-175 wind mills.
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Nanosolar grabs $300 million for utility solar - 0 views

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    Manufacturer joins pack of thin-film companies securing big bucks to take innovations to production stage.

    San Jose, Calif.-based Nanosolar has raised $300 million in equity to expand production of its thin-film panels for solar power plants, Nanosolar CEO Martin Röscheisen told the Cleantech Group today.

    The financing-a combination of supply deals, partnerships and funding-pushes Nanosolar to nearly half a billion dollars of capital, securing the six-year-old company's position as one of the leading thin-film producers.
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