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Yang L.,Shanghai JiaoTong University | Ye Q.H.,Shanghai JiaoTong University | Ebong A.,Georgia Institute of Technology | Song W.T.,Solarfun | And 3 more authors.
Progress in Photovoltaics: Research and Applications | Year: 2011

We present industrialized bifacial solar cells on large area (149 cm 2) 2 cm CZ monocrystalline silicon wafers processed with industrially relevant techniques such as liquid source BBr3 and POCl3 open-tube furnace diffusions, plasma enhanced chemical vapor deposition (PECVD) SiNx deposition, and screen printed contacts. The fundamental analysis of the paste using at boron-diffused surface and the bifacial solar cell firing cycle has been investigated. The resulting solar cells have front and rear efficiencies of 16.6 and 12.8%, respectively. The ratio of the rear JSC to front JSC is 76.8%. It increases the bifacial power by 15.4% over a conventional solar cell at 20% of 1-sun rear illumination, which equals to the power of a conventional solar cell with 19.2% efficiency. We also present a bifacial glass-glass photovoltaic (PV) module with 30 bifacial cells with the electrical characteristics. © 2010 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.


Yang H.,Xi'an Jiaotong University | Xu W.,Xi'an Jiaotong University | Wang H.,Xi'an Jiaotong University | Narayanan M.,Solarfun
Conference Record of the IEEE Photovoltaic Specialists Conference | Year: 2010

The effect of reverse current on reliability of crystalline silicon solar modules was investigated. Based on the experiments, the relation between reverse current and hot-spot protection was discussed. In avoid of the formation of hot spots, the reverse current should be smaller than 1.5 A for 125mm×125mm mono-crystalline silicon solar cells when the bias voltage is at -12V. © 2010 IEEE.


Trademark
Hanwha SolarOne and Solarfun | Date: 2011-01-05

Photovoltaic cells and modules; photovoltaic solar modules; solar cells; solar cell modules; photovoltaic inverters and electrical controllers.


News Article | February 10, 2011
Site: techcrunch.com

Rental car stalwarts, The Hertz Corporation (Hertz, NYSE:HTZ) revealed plans to install 2.3 megawatts (MW) of solar photovoltaic systems at sixteen locations across the U.S. this year. As the first piece of their solar initiative, Hertz completed construction of a 235 kilowatt system — that’s about the size of 60 typical U.S. home solar installations — on the rooftop of their Denver International Airport business (image below). According to a company press statement, that single system is expected to “produce 342,766 kilowatt-hours of AC output and will offset approximately 650,000 pounds of CO2 annually.” Hertz plans to install fifteen other solar power generating systems, also rooftop installations, in facilities in Arizona, California, Colorado, Georgia, Maryland, Massachusetts New Jersey, New York, and Pennsylvania before the end of September 2011. “We went into this, obviously, thinking this would be environmentally sound. But to move ahead we needed it to be a financially positive thing, too. The timing was also right for this. We’re taking full advantage of a range of federal and local grants and rebates on this, including the Treasury’s 1603 program. Over the long term of this project, we anticipate a positive return on investment on the millions of dollars, and to see ROI in five to seven years.” Broome would not confirm a total budget for Hertz’s solar initiative in the U.S.. Based on the company’s disclosure that it is installing some 2.3 megawatts of multi-crystalline solar photovoltaics, however, and drawing on pricing research from Solarbuzz, TechCrunch estimates that the company will spend up to $10 million on its first sixteen solar installations. Multi-crystalline panels in the commercial solar U.S. market are priced at about $2 right now, and industry norms would add another $2 for labor, racking and other installation costs. Federal rebates could cover about 30 percent of those costs, and Hertz could find more support from state and local programs, as well. Generating its own electricity could help Hertz weather the transition of its fleets from gasoline models to hybrid plug-in and all-electrics. In late 2010, the company announced plans to rent electric vehicles (EVs) by the hour to customers in densely populated urban areas and campuses. Broome confirmed that Hertz is buying its solar photovoltaics from SolarFun (a.k.a. Hanwha SolarOne) a Chinese company; and has hired Portugal-based MartiferSolar to complete designs and installations; also retaining project management services from New York-based Global Solar Center for this project. Global Solar Center was founded by chief executive Jack Hidary, a clean tech advocate, serial entrepreneur and former CEO of Dice.com. Hidary chairs and invested in another New York City startup Samba Energy led by his brother, Michael Hidary. Samba Energy provided solar and investment analysis, and enterprise software — Samba SunSpotter — that will be used to help Hertz manage solar installations across U.S. facilities, ongoing. The company was founded in 2009, and is angel backed by undisclosed investors. It aims to help companies that have a multitude of facilities (Hertz has thousands in the U.S. alone) automate analysis of their expenses and returns on clean energy installations.


News Article | December 5, 2007
Site: gigaom.com

A couple weeks ago, following Trina Solar’s results, we said that the photovoltaics manufacturing industry needed consolidation. Lo and behold, Good Energy, a shareholder in Trina Solar, has upped its stake in Chinese PV manufacturer SolarFun (SOLF) from 6% to 35%. Could a merger between Trina and SolarFun be somewhere in the future? Good Energy, a renewable energy investment holding company, now has a portfolio with a market cap of over 4 billion euros. Good Energy has built up an impressive portfolio spanning the entire value chain. We’re guessing that the company’s CEO, Richard Kauffman, former head of global financing at Goldman, has big plans for the company’s dozen solar investments. The stock of SolarFun jumped 25% following the news. Investors have given it the cold shoulder till recently. It went public in December 2006 and the stock slide below $10 per share from an IPO price of $12.50. Since November 29th, when the company announced better-than-expected Q3 revenue and upped its 2007 guidance, it’s up over 130% to today at about $26.25 a share. The stock purchase also reflects a notable transfer of power from SolarFun’s founder and CEO, Yonghua Lu, to his new investors. Good Energy, a COFRA subsidiary, purchased 50% of Lu’s shares, and now control more than twice as much of the company as he does. That could be a step towards


News Article | May 21, 2008
Site: gigaom.com

After a rocky start, Solarfun may finally be winning the respect of investors. Its stock is up 8 percent in Wednesday trading after delivering earnings that showed revenue in the first quarter of 2008 had grown six-fold from the same period a year ago. Net profit of 32 cents a share (versus a one-cent loss a year earlier) was twice as large as analysts were forecasting. And that gain looks pretty good, considering that the stock has been on a tear in the past week in anticipation of a strong earnings report today. As of yesterday, SOLF had risen 69 percent over seven trading sessions. Wall Street hasn’t always been so bullish on Solarfun. The Shanghai-based company listed its shares on Nasdaq in December 2006, and for most of its first year on the public markets, it traded near or below its $12.50 offering price. After shooting up to $37 a share in January, the stock had fallen below $10 a share in March. Now the company is showing promise of real growth. In a statement, CEO Harold Hoskens said “customer demand is robust, pricing for our products remains strong, and we have good control of our operating expenses and improved working capital management.” First-quarter module shipments totaled 40.3 megawatts (MW), sold at an average price of $4.07, up from the previous quarter’s average of $3.85. The company sees prices holding around $4 this year. It also expects to ship between 160 and 180 MW of photovoltaic modules, a slightly higher target than its previous guidance of 160 MW. A 120 MW-capacity plant in Qidong is schedule to begin production next quarter, raising Solarfun’s annual manufacturing capacity as high as 360 MW a year. The only negative note was in gross margins, which fell to 16.5 percent from 17.2 percent a year ago because of higher silicon prices. Still, there are signs that Solarfun, which lagged other solar stars for some time, could join their ranks this year.


News Article | August 27, 2008
Site: gigaom.com

The mood in the solar stock sector today might best be described as dark green. Shares in Qidong, China-based Solarfun posted financial earnings that were ahead of analyst expectations, but the shares dived as much as 11 percent percent on concern that prices for its photovoltaic cells and modules will decline as much as 10 percent next year. That followed another earnings report Tuesday from Nasdaq newbie GT Solar, which saw revenue more than triple to $57 million in its most recent quarter. The report, its first following its high-profile but ultimately disappointing IPO last month, also showed GT swinging to a profit of $5.1 million, or 3 cents a share, vs. a year-ago loss of $5 million, or 4 cents a share. Yet shares of Merrimack, N.H.-based GT, which makes equipment that solar-panel companies use in their facilities, fell more than 10 percent to change hands for as low as $12.61 on Wednesday morning — a 23.6 percent drop from its $16.50 offering price. The renewed bearishness follows what last week had started to look like confidence returning to solar stocks. It seems past performance, however strong, isn’t outweighing lingering concerns about what lies ahead for solar companies. Take Solarfun. In discussing its financial outlook, the company made statements that suggest silicon prices will remain high at least through the coming quarter, while average selling prices, or ASPs, for its own goods are poised to come down in 2009. “Gross margins for the second half of 2008 are expected to improve from levels seen in the second quarter of 2008, although the Company expects that polysilicon and wafer pricing will continue to be high during the third quarter of 2008.” “For the Full Year 2009, management expects … ASP’s to decline 5-10% from the expected full-year 2008.” Nevertheless, Solarfun also said it expects its gross margins to improve next year as it manages the squeeze. That wasn’t enough. The negative sentiment about the solar market seems to have won the day.


News Article | March 26, 2009
Site: gigaom.com

Just when a rebound in solar shares is offering investors some relief, Solarfun comes out with dismal fourth-quarter results that make clear there’s still plenty of bad news to go around. In addition to a large quarterly loss, a pile of solar modules it can’t sell and the need for substantial borrowing in a tight credit market, the Chinese company is also losing Chief Financial Officer Amy Liu, who is leaving at the end of the month “to pursue other interests.” Terry McCarthy, a former chair of Solarfun’s audit committee, has been named interim CFO. “When a CFO leaves, it’s not perceived particularly positively,” said CEO Harold Hoskens in a conference call. “We fully understand that. I think in this case, you shouldn’t read more into it than is necessary.” In the last three months of 2008, Solarfun swung to a net loss of 418.8 million Renminbi ($61.4 million), including $47.8 million from writedowns related to a drop in inventory values as well as products that the company says it can’t sell in the current market. Solarfun reported a net profit of 66.4 million Renminbi in the comparable quarter in 2007. And while Solarfun’s revenue rose 14 percent year-over-year, to $146.4 million, those inventory problems caused the cost of revenue to exceed revenue itself, creating a gross loss of $55 million vs. a $6.7 million gross profit the year before. Though there was some good news in operating expenses: They fell 15 percent. It’s likely to get worse for Solarfun before it gets better. The company expects shipments in the current quarter — estimated at 35 megawatts — to be even weaker than in the last quarter of 2008, when they totaled 46.7 megawatts. It also forecast average selling prices to range between $2.78 and $2.04, down from $3.37 in the most recent quarter. For the full year, Solarfun said the price of its goods could fall as much as 15 percent. Solarfun, which sees 80 percent of its revenue in euros, has been hurt by a strong dollar and a trend of governments in Spain and Germany scaling back spending on solar power. Falling prices of its modules are also a concern, although prices of polysilicon used in making them are also declining . The company says it’s budgeting for demand to pick after this month. But it will still need to worry about funding for the rest of the year. It said cash on hand will help, as will lines of credit. Solarfun held $60 million in cash at the end of December, down $10 million from the end of September. Bank borrowings, meanwhile, rose by $13 million to $190 million. Banks in China are still being “accommodative” with their lines of credit, Solarfun said in its earnings release. But analysts are starting to wonder how long their generosity will last. They say Solarfun will need to borrow heavily to fund its operations. And as the Journal’s David Gaffen pointed out:


News Article | October 19, 2010
Site: gigaom.com

Silicon wafer production has been in existence for decades, yet there is still significant room for improving the process and slashing costs. That’s the thinking behind a new venture undertaken by 1366 Technologies, which announced Tuesday it has raised $20 million to take its new technology out of the lab and into the factory. The startup now counts Hanwha Chemical and Ventizz Capital Fund among its investors for the B round, which brings the total the company has raised since its inception to $37.55 million (the $5.15 million announced earlier this year was not part of B round). One of the new investors, Korea-based Hanwha Chemical, also will be a customer of 1366 Technologies. Hanwha bought a 49.99 percent stake in China-based Solarfun, which makes solar cells and assembles them into panels. The $20 million is roughly half the amount that 1366 Technologies needs to build a factory, said CEO Frank van Mierlo. Over the next year, he plans to raise more money, which could be private equity, loans or prepayments from customers. The goal is to break ground a year from now and start shipping wafers in 2013, van Mierlo said. The Lexington, Mass.-based startup used a $4 million grant from the federal ARPA-E program in 2009 to develop a technology based on research by Ely Sachs, the company’s chief technology officer and a MIT professor. Sachs co-founded 1366 Technologies with van Mierlo. The technology eliminates the many steps and wastes that take place in the common way of making silicon wafers today, van Mierlo said. Silicon wafers account for about 50 percent of the cost of making solar panels, he added, so reducing their costs can lead to much cheaper solar electricity. The conventional method melts the silicon to make ingots, which are cut to create blocks. Then a sawing machine goes to work to slice the block into thin wafers, a process that creates silicon sawdust that becomes waste. Up to 50 percent of the silicon can go to waste in the process, and there is federally funded research underway to figure out ways to re-use the waste. The saws also require frequent replacement, van Mierlo noted. The wafers also need to be carefully removed from the slicer in order to avoid chipping and breakages. 1366 Technologies can make wafers directly from molten silicon, which van Mierlo said is akin to making sheets of glass. The company’s process can cut manufacturing costs by as much as 80 percent now, he said. Given the continuing decline in the price of silicon, van Mierlo believes the manufacturing cost can still be lowered by 50 percent by the time the company starts shipping wafers. “We can get twice as much wafers per pound of silicon. Our process is faster, one step instead of four steps,” van Mierlo said. The company plans to make the standard-sized multicrystalline silicon wafers that are 200-micron thick and six-inch-square in size. Most of the solar cells made today use multicrystalline silicon wafers. 1366 Technologies, founded in 2007, initially wanted to make cells and put them in panels for sale. The company started out developing ways to make solar cells that can greatly boost the amount of sunlight that is converted into electricity. The startup did figure ways to create textures in the cells that could trap and absorb more infrared light. Its researchers also found ways to print thinner metal lines on the solar cells so that more of the cells’ surface are exposed to the sun. The metal lines are like highways that transport the electricity produced by the cells. The company also uses copper to print the lines because copper is cheaper than the more popular silver. The startup ditched the solar cell and panel manufacturing plans soon after the financial market crashed in the fall of 2008 and focused more on technology development instead. 1366 Technologies didn’t abandon the cell technologies it had developed, however. It’s been making and selling cell-patterning equipment, van Mierlo said. It’s selling the equipment through RENA, a German factory equipment supplier that has a large set of customers in Asia. For more research, check out GigaOM Pro (subscription required):

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