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Is thin film the future of solar?

Sharp Solar is betting on thin film. The company announced, they’re increasing their thin film production line from 15 megawatts to 160 megawatt capacity annually with the completion of it’s factory in Katsuragi, Japan. Sharp Solar increased the second generation thin film solar panel efficiency rate to 9% and offers a rated output of up to 128 watts per solar panel. Don’t expect to put these solar panels up on your house anytime soon, since the efficiency per solar panel is lower than traditional silicon based solar panels, thin film is better suited for projects with a vast amount of surface area. For example, if you were putting up a solar farm and space was no issue, well thin film would make sense, because you make up the lack of efficiency with space. But if you have a small roof, less surface area to work with, you want a highly efficient solar panel such as the Sanyo HIT solar panel, since it produces more watts per square foot. Until thin film technologies increase their efficiencies significantly the technology will not gain serious traction in the residential market. What do you think? Will the residential solar market see a highly efficient, dollar per watt thin film solar panel anytime...

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Day Two: Solar Power International 2008 Exhibits

Still reporting from Solar Power International 2008, the show has been a sell out and there are over 15,000 people from all over the world at the conference. There are some interesting products that have hit the market that I want to show you. Let’s start off with the concentrated photovoltaic (CPV), these products are used for utility scale generation. Concentrated solar power is magnifying sunlight on to a small amount of solar cells to create a greater output. Hitachi has entered the solar power industry, although they are focusing on utility scale products such as the magnifying lens pictured above. The special lens attaches on top of solar cells that are designed to perform reliably in extreme heat conditions. Sharp Solar has been developing solar panels for a long time, although at this show they have showcased a concentrated photovoltaic panel similar to the design of Energy Innovation’s Sunflower CPV solar panel. This is the first time I have seen Sharp Solar display a concentrated solar panel, I think this is an industry trend, more solar panel manufacturers are diversifying into the CPV space. Green Volts has developed an interesting design which can concentrate sunlight into a neat looking panel and racking system. Green Volts claims that their system can compete with traditional fossil fuels in terms of cost to generate electricity. The unit showed below is rated at 100kW, pretty small footprint for a 100kW capacity, don’t you think? Evergreen Solar has released their new ES-A series that claims you will receive the power output rated on the nameplate. Most of the time, solar panels except a few out on the market can guarantee the rated output. With the new ES-A series, if you buy a 200 watt panel, you will be getting 200 watts. The UL4703 cables that are integrated within the solar panel can work with new inverters that are transformer-less, such as the upcoming SMA SunnyBoy 3000HF. The new Evergreen Solar Panel also comes with new extended length cables, which eliminates home-run wiring and lockable connectors that complies with the latest codes for accessibility of solar arrays. The Evergreen ES-A will be offered in 200, 205 and 210watt versions and is backed by a 5 year workmanship and 25 year power warranty. I have to go now, but I have more pictures and videos, more to come soon! Fresh product content and news stright from the source, Solar Power International 2008. Stay...

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Sharp OnEnergy Solar Power Systems

The Sharp OnEnergy Solar Power system makes installing solar panels on a home easy to order and install. Sharp Solar has also incorporated great looking aesthetics, because of the strong customer feedback within the solar panel industry to make solar panels look better for residential roof tops. The Sharp OnEnergy complete solar power systems come with everything you need right down to the last screw. The solar power kit from Sharp has a UL Listed grounding which lowers your installation time dramatically. The Sharp OnEnergy system can also be used for light commercial applications and focuses on the ease of installation by using a shared rail system that requires 30% less rails than traditional solar power systems. The racking system included in the OnEnergy system is compatible with all types of roofs and no parts of the mounting structure are are visible on the roof. The great aspect of these system is the detailed installation manual that Sharp put together to make the installation process easy to understand and deploy for installers and do-it-yourselfers alike. The installation manual that is included with the sharp OnEnergy systems is one of the best documents I have seen that has been included with a complete Grid Tie Solar Power System. As solar power becomes more mainstream we are seeing standardized and easier to deploy systems that is really pushing solar on every roof across the USA in our...

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Sharp Solar developing a solar powered factory

Wouldn’t it be cool if a solar panel manufacturer made a factory that was operated off of solar panels? Well, Sharp Solar Japan, a major solar panel manufacturer is making that dream come true. They are developing a solar panel factory that will get its power from a 28MW (megawatt) solar panel farm. A carbon neutral solar power factory is really a step in the right direction and a great example for future factories. Not only can Sharp save on its operational overhead but the solar panel farm will have a significant impact to the environment. Using renewable energy to provide others with the products to create their own renewable energy is a very interesting proposition Sharp Solar is developing. Should more manufacturing companies follow the example Sharp Solar has set? Do you think all solar manufacturers should power their factories off of their own solar...

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