Monday, August 12, 2013

Keeping tabs on PV module efficiency

When talking about the efficiency of PV modules, there are seemingly infinite numbers to talk about.  First, there is the different types of modules, like c-Si, a-Si, CdTe, CIGS, CPV, on and on and on.  Then, there is the different conditions under which efficiency is measured, like IEC 60904-3, ASTM G-173-03, IEC CSTC, on and on and on.  It easy to understand how someone even working in solar would very easily get confused by all of these numbers, results, conditions and technologies.

But there is one document that has taken the lead in organizing and presenting all of these different values in an attempt to present results on equal grounds.  This is the perpetually published Solar Cell efficiency tables (currently on Version 41) by Martin A. Greene et al, which was last released in late 2012.  About one to two times a year, a new version is published and all in the world of PV efficiency is clear, if even for a moment.  I urge anyone with interest in the topic of PV technology and modules to review this document in its most current release and get a real sense for where efficiency currently resides in the PV world.  

Monday, August 5, 2013

A "How To" for CA landowners who want to develop solar

I recently received a phone call from a landowner in Southern California who follows ASES and wanted to know more about how a landowner in the region can develop solar on their land, essentially creating their own lil "power plant".  This is not my area of expertise in solar so my guidance at the time was fairly broad, to call one of many solar companies who install commercial / residential / utility scale solar and ask about the steps involved.  This could be Sunpower, Hanwha, First Solar, ect.  But I was intrigued by the inquiry and the idea of thousands of small plant across the CA landscape that I decided to keep an ear to the ground for any potential rumblings on the topic.

Today I saw this article on GreenTechMedia.  While its by no means a comprehensive guide to getting solar on your land, it does a good job of explaining the broad steps.  What would be more interesting is actually seeing some calculations on the return of land with solar vs other types of development options with land.  I am sure these number have changed drastically in the past several years, please let me know if anyone out there comes across anything!