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Adjust your Bookmarks - CompoundSemi News has a new format!
Tom Griffiths - Publisher

November 14, 2013...The original CompoundSemi News was introduced in 2000, innovating "content management" long before any types of standard frameworks came into being. As of our November 11, 2013 edition, we have launched an all new framework that moves to a headline-summary style, and which will allow us an even more real-time flow to the news you count on. All of 2013's CS News articles are available and fully searchable on the new site. The entire 13 year library of our leading compound semiconductor industry news coverage remains available through the search function of this site, and you'll find a handy link to that at on the top menu at the new

Change your bookmarks/favorites to mark as a replacement for any and all of your current CS Online bookmarks. You'll also want to update your RSS feed to to keep up with all the latest updates. Your CompoundSemi Email News dispatch has also enjoyed a format change, and will continue to arrive at your inbox automatically. If you aren't receiving the email news each Monday, sign up today.

We look forward to hearing from you with any feedback, or if you encounter what we're sure will be a glitch or two during the continuing changeover tweaks (this still involves computers, after all). You can reach Tom directly by tel or email that you'll find on the contact page.

Honda to Discontinue Operations of Honda Soltec, a Photovoltaic Subsidiary
CompoundSemi News Staff

November 4, 2013...Honda Motor Co., Ltd. of Tokyo announced plans to discontinue the operations of Honda Soltec Co., Ltd., Honda's wholly-owned photovoltaic subsidiary, in spring 2014. Honda reportedly plans to withdraw from the production and sales of photovoltaic products. Honda said that despite its efforts to improve performance and reduce the cost of producing CIGS solar cells, the company does not have good prospects to reach its original business goals.

Honda Soltec plans to discontinue operations and dissolve the company in spring 2014. In the Japan market, Honda Soltec will take new orders until mid-February 2014, and after sales service for Honda photovoltaic systems sold by that date will be continued through Honda Kaihatsu Co., Ltd., an affiliated company of Honda.

Honda said it would continue its electricity generation and sales business and continue the research and development of the Honda Smart Home System to foster recycling-oriented energy management based on home energy generation and consumption.

First Solar Sells 250MW Silver State South Project to NextEra Subsidiary
CompoundSemi News Staff

November 4, 2013...First Solar, Inc. announced an agreement to sell the 250-megawatt (MW)AC Silver State South Solar Project to a subsidiary of NextEra Energy Resources. The deal is expected to close early in 2014, subject to certain conditions. Terms of the transaction were not disclosed. Silver State South is located on approximately 3,000 acres of public land in Clark County, Nevada, adjacent to the 50MWAC Silver State North project, which was developed and built by First Solar and commissioned in 2012.

First Solar says it will continue to develop and permit Silver State South, and provide Engineering, Procurement and Construction (EPC) services for the project. Construction on the project is expected to begin in early 2014 after final regulatory and permitting approvals are received. Completion of the project is expected in late 2016. Silver State South will utilize First Solar's thin film solar modules installed on the company's single-axis tracker mounting system. All the power from Silver State South will be sold to Southern California Edison under a long-term power purchase agreement.

First Solar says that at its peak, the project will create up to 300 full-time construction jobs. "Together, NextEra and First Solar are playing a key role in creating more jobs in Nevada and delivering clean, affordable solar energy," Tim Rebhorn, First Solar's senior vice president of business development for the Americas stated.

In October, NextEra Energy Resources named First Solar the EPC contractor for its 250MWAC McCoy Solar Energy Project in Riverside County, California.

CIGS Cell Beats Multi Crystaline Silicon Record, According to ZSW
CompoundSemi News Staff

October 28, 2013...The Centre for Solar Energy and Hydrogen Research (Zentrum für Sonnenenergie- und Wasserstoff-Forschung Baden-Württemberg, ZSW of Stuttgart, Germany has has achieved 20.8 percent efficient CIGS thin-film solar cells. The researchers note that for the first time, CIGS efficiency records have exceeded the efficiency of market-dominating multi-crystalline silicon solar cells. The 0.5 square centimeter record solar cell was made from copper indium gallium diselenide (CIGS) with a laboratory coating system using a simultaneous evaporation process.

"Our new record shows that CIGS thin-film technology still has untapped technological and economic potential," said a delighted Prof. Dr. Michael Powalla, board member and head of the photovoltaics division at ZSW. He added, "It may take a little time for the higher efficiency to be reflected in production, but 16 to 18% in commercial modules is possible over the next few years."

The new record CIGS cell surpasses ZSW's own previous CIGS record of 20.3% on glass. More importantly, the researcher point out that this beats the record of 20.4% for multi-crystalline silicon cells. The results were officially confirmed by the Fraunhofer Institute for Solar Energy Systems ISE (Freiburg, Germany). ZSW's success is the result of intensive research activities that have been supported by the German Federal Environment Ministry and the state of Baden-Württemberg for many years.

First Solar Announces Completion of Dubai’s 13MW Solar Power Plant
CompoundSemi News Staff

October 28, 2013...First Solar reports that it has successfully completed and handed over a 13 megawatt (MWDC) CdTe thin-film photovoltaic (PV) power plant in Dubai, the United Arab Emirates (UAE). The facility, the company’s first Middle East utility-scale project is the largest operating solar PV plant in the region. The Dubai Electricity and Water Authority (DEWA) selected First Solar to provide engineering, procurement and construction services, as well as its advanced thin-film modules.

First Solar successfully connected the plant to the emirate’s electricity grid just 195 days after breaking ground in March 2013. The plant is powered by 152,880 First Solar FS Series 3 Black PV modules that cover 59 acres or 59 acres or 238,764 square meters. It will generate approximately 24 million kilowatt hours (kWh) of electricity per year. The plant is designed to operate for over 25 years.

“This plant represents an important step in the implementation of the Dubai Integrated Energy Strategy 2030 to diversify Dubai’s energy mix, as envisioned by the Dubai Supreme Council of Energy, ” said His Excellency Saeed Mohammed Al Tayer, Vice Chairman of the Dubai Supreme Council of Energy.

The plant is the first phase of the landmark Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum Solar Park, named after His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai. The Park is expected to eventually cover 40 square kilometers and produce 1,000MW of clean energy for the national grid using both PV and solar thermal technology.

Avaco Claims its ALD Process Boosts Conversion Efficiency 30% Compared to Conventional CIGS Solar Cells
CompoundSemi News Staff

October 21, 2013...Avaco (not to be confused with Avago), a maker of atomic layer deposition (ALD) equipment, announced the development of a new concept buffer layer deposition for photovoltaics. Avaco claims that using its new atomic layer deposition (ALD) process, the energy conversion efficiency of a CIGs solar cell increased approximately 30% more than the conventional CIGS solar cell that uses CdS (cadmium selenide) for the buffer layer.

Avaco claims that its new ALD process system can provide a solution for buffer layer optimization in the dry process to effectively convert solar energy during photovoltaic development process. The company contends that the new process enhanced quantum efficiency in both the short wavelength range and near infrared range. The company notes that the quantum jump in the short circuit current improvement of the I-V curve contributed to higher efficiency CIGS solar cell without affecting the open circuit voltage, Voc. The company also confirmed that its new buffer layer deposition technique can be applied to a wide range of CIGS absorbers regardless of the preparation methods.

Avaco will showcase the new technology at Solar Power International 2013 in Chicago, October 21-24, Booth #751, and/or education poster presentation at Booth #4806.

Five Millionth Photovoltaic Solar Module Installed on 550-Megawatt Topaz Solar Farms
CompoundSemi News Staff

October 14, 2013...First Solar, Inc. reported having installed the 5 millionth solar module at the Topaz Solar Farms, in San Luis Obispo County, California. When complete, the 550-megawattAC project will include more than 8 million photovoltaic modules. The first solar module was installed May 16, 2012. The Topaz project is owned by MidAmerican Solar. First Solar is in charge of the project's construction as well as operations and maintenance services. Construction began in late 2011 and is expected to be complete by early 2015.

Pacific Gas and Electric Company will purchase the electricity from the Topaz project under a 25-year power purchase agreement, helping California meet its mandate to generate 33 percent of its power from renewable sources by 2020. The three-year project is expected to create an average of 400 contraction jobs and infuse $417 million into the local economy, according an economic benefits study by The Brattle Group and California Polytechnic State University.

Paul Caudill, president of MidAmerican Solar said, “A project of this magnitude requires extraordinary teamwork from local communities and government and environmental leaders to contractors and suppliers to ensure it is successful in safely and reliably delivering renewable energy to California.”

Georges Antoun, First Solar's COO commented, “Installation of the five millionth module not only marks a major milestone for the project, but it's the first time First Solar has installed that many modules at a single solar site.”

Semprius Achieves 35.5 Percent Efficiency with CPV Solar Module
CompoundSemi News Staff

October 7, 2013...Semprius, Inc. of Durham, North Carolina USA, a maker of high concentration photovoltaic (HCPV) solar modules, has reached 35.5 percent efficiency at Concentrator Standard Test Conditions (CSTC). The result, which was confirmed by the Fraunhofer Institute for Solar Energy Systems ISE in Germany, significantly exceeds Semprius’ previous record of 33.9 percent, announced in January 2012. The record module was produced on the production line at Semprius’ new manufacturing facility in Henderson, N.C. The module incorporates standard production techniques and materials, including epitaxial wafers from Solar Junction. At over 35 percent, Semprius says its modules are two to three times more efficient than conventional photovoltaic modules and significantly higher than other commercially available HCPV modules. Semprius also recently built an R&D demonstration module that achieved an efficiency of 37.1 percent at CSTC.

“We are particularly pleased that we were able to produce this new record on our pilot production line just months after opening the facility,” said Joe Carr, CEO at Semprius. “This is a testament not only to our R&D and manufacturing teams, but also to our production process which is robust and scalable. We are now focused on continuing to ramp up production capacities to deliver increasing volumes of these high-performance, high-efficiency modules globally.”

Scott Burroughs, vice president of technology at Semprius said, “Our R&D team continues to raise the bar for solar module efficiency as it executes against our product roadmap.”

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