San Jose, CA, United States
San Jose, CA, United States

SoloPower is a solar energy company developing and manufacturing Copper indium gallium selenide Thin-film flexible Photo-voltaic Solar Panels. The company uses a special electroplating technology to utilize nearly 100% of its materials.SoloPower is based in San Jose, California, and has achieved the distinction of being the first company to obtain UL Certification of CIGS flexible solar panels in 2010. This was lauded as a significant achievement by California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger. Later the same year, the company also received IEC Certification of its flexible CIGS solar panels, again an industry first. In March 2012, the company's modules set a world record aperture efficiency of 13.4% for flexible CIGS Solar Panels, as measured by NREL. Wikipedia.

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Another week brings more moves and shifts at the upper levels of the renewable energy industry. [Correction] Francesco Venturini, the CEO of Enel Green Power is now heading the new Global E-Solution division of the Enel Group. After three years of running EGP, Venturini has been requested by Enel Group CEO Francesco Starace to head this new unit with a focus on e-mobility, V2G, recharging infrastructure, energy efficiencies and batteries. Venturini is not leaving the group as we incorrectly reported. We apologize for the error. Olivier Jacques was promoted to executive VP of USA and EMEA at microinverter builder APsystems. Prior to joining APsystems in 2015, he served as managing director, EMEA at Enphase Energy. Ultracapacitor vendor Maxwell Technologies named Thibault Kassir, formerly with Knowles Corp., as VP and general manager of energy storage products. Holy Cross Energy, an electric company cooperatively owned by its approximately 42,000 members (mostly in Colorado's Eagle, Garfield and Pitkin Counties) named Bryan Hannegan as its new CEO. Previously, Hannegan led R&D teams at the National Renewable Energy Laboratory and the Electric Power Research Institute. Jeff Wolfe, founder of groSolar, is joining Royal Dutch Shell with a "focus on behind-the-meter energy efficiency, storage, distributed resources, and integrated operations (virtual power plants)." He writes: "Transformation from within the fossil industry starts on Monday. No one is more surprised than me that I'm going to work for Shell." Michael Atkinson joined Doosan GridTech as VP of business development, focused on the utility sector. Previously, Atkinson was the general manager of North America for GE Grid Solutions. Doosan also brought on Ranjan Gupta as its first director of ESS turnkey programs. Gupta previously worked as a director at First Solar's new ventures and product development group. Ballard Power Systems named Rob Campbell as VP and CCO. Campbell was most recently CEO of SoloPower, and prior to that, he was at another failed thin-film solar firm, Energy Conversion Devices. Eos Energy issued an update, noting that Ken Langone and Peter Fox-Penner have joined its advisory board. The update also claims, "Eos is taking orders today at a volume price of $160 per usable kWh for delivery in 2017 and $95 per usable kWh in 2022." Billionaire Home Depot founder Langone is an investor in Eos.    Matt Mayberry was promoted to director of residential product management at SunPower. Dan Cohen was promoted to director of strategy transformation and China programs at SunPower. Enertech Search Partners, an executive search firm with a dedicated cleantech practice, is the sponsor of the GTM jobs column. Among its many active searches, Enertech is looking for a Director of Business Development -- Distributed Energy. This client is leading the market in deployments with innovative utility projects that deploy and manage distributed energy resources, ranging from DER management systems, grid supporting microgrids, smart communities and transactive energy platforms and partnering with leading energy players. Currently this client is looking for a Sales & BD Director to join its team in the East and engage utilities with solutions that will help to evolve the electricity distribution industry to a more intelligent, real-time grid of the future. The ideal candidate is a driven, results-oriented self-starter that understands utility challenges and opportunities at an operational level and able to convey the strategic value of deploying new distributed resource management solutions. Solar Roof Dynamics of Davis, California, a distributor of solar products, added Debbie Schrider as its new VP of sales. Schrider has held senior roles at SolarCity, SunEdison and One Block Off the Grid. Nick Lowrie was hired as director of operations. Lowrie spent eight years building the Northern California operations for SolarCity. Jeff Russell has joined Baker McKenzie's North America banking, finance and major projects practice as Counsel. Most recently, Jeff served as assistant General Counsel of global asset management at SunEdison. Prior to SunEdison, Russell was Counsel at Silverado Power, a California-based utility scale solar developer. Trump’s expected pick for top USDA scientist, Sam Clovis, has never taken a graduate course in science, as reported by Talking Points Memo. Before founding the just-unstealthed Voltus last year, CEO Gregg Dixon was a senior VP and a founding executive at EnerNOC. Voltus is a challenger to EnerNOC, as is long-standing competitor CPower. In March, EnerNOC CEO Tim Healy said the firm was exploring "potential alternatives to our current structure. This may include the sale or separation of one or more of our business units, a sale of the company, or other alternatives." (Jeff St. John reports on Voltus here.) Last week we reported that Jon Wellinghoff, the chief policy officer at SolarCity, had left the company now that it has merged with Tesla. The ex-FERC commissioner just told GTM: "My move in opening my own firm, Policy/DER Consulting, will allow me to better focus on my passions: energy policy and its intersection with distributed energy resources. I see a rapid movement now happening from the old way of siloing technologies like rooftop solar, efficiency, storage, and control technologies to an integration and optimization of systems behind the meter. In order to effectively enable this transition, significant policy initiatives will be necessary. Those initiatives include the creation of efficient transactional financial market platforms based on backend algorithms like blockchain. Having my own firm allows me to fully explore and engage these new paradigms."

News Article | May 23, 2017

It's extremely difficult to raise venture capital funding for solar hardware companies, but somehow Siva Power just raised $25 million for its thin-film solar manufacturing think-tank/retirement project for thin-film technologists. Siva closed this $25 million round to focus on building a pilot line and developing a solar module business -- with funding led by Jim Simons and Mark Heising, along with Jonathan Sheets. Mark Heising is the managing director of Medley Partners. Jim Simons, a renowned mathematician, started the Medallion Fund, a wildly successful hedge fund. He's appeared on the Forbes top 100 richest people list and, until this investment at least, was called “the world’s smartest billionaire.” Siva Power possesses an all-star team of thin-film solar technologists. This $25 million adds to the $15 million in financing from DBL Partners, Acero, Symmetry Group and Red House Capital that Siva closed in 2015 and the more than $60 million that Siva had raised in previous incarnations from Olympus Capital Partners, DBL Investors, Birchmere Ventures, Trident Capital and Firelake Capital. Siva began in 2006 as Solexant, a cadmium-telluride (CdTe) solar on roll-to-roll startup, and was on the same build-a-factory-before-the-process-is-optimized death spin as the rest. But the board hired semiconductor equipment/process veteran and solar investor Brad Mattson in June 2011. Mattson was the CEO and founder of semiconductor equipment successes Mattson Technology and Novellus Systems. At one point, the firm was investigating five materials systems. Solexant acquired the remains of Wakonda (GaAs), set world records in copper zinc tin sulfide, and forged ahead with CdTe. In March 2013, Siva re-emerged from stealth with a new mission and a new name. Soon the company added CTO Markus Beck (who brought an extensive CIGS experience from his tenures with Solyndra and First Solar) and recently added former First Solar executive Bruce Sohn as CEO. Mattson's ultimate technology conclusion was monolithically integrated, co-evaporated CIGS on glass, because it is "higher efficiency than anything else." (Not sputtering, not electroplating, not roll-to-roll, not foil, no singulation, no metal-organic chemical vapor deposition.) Mattson called co-evaporated CIGS one of those rare instances -- and a "gift of physics" -- where the highest-efficiency solution is also the fastest. Co-evaporation doesn't require the selenization step needed in a sputtering process. At one point the company was looking to build "a profitable path to sub-$0.40-per-watt solar power, along with unprecedented production scale" until it had to update that number with the claim that it planned to build a 300-megawatt plant and eventually produce modules for 28 cents per watt. The cost of silicon solar modules continues to drop. First Solar continues to improve its 2 gigawatts of thin-film module production capacity. First Solar’s lead-line module efficiency is approaching 17 percent. Mattson sees the solar industry as being in the "gigawatt era" -- but the idea with thin film is to build that gigawatt in a 10,000-square-meter factory, not a 200,000-square-meter factory. Hopefully, the engineering and investment community has learned something from the $4 billion to $5 billion invested in the CIGS solar material over the last decade. We've watched a number of copper-indium-gallium-diselenide solar companies raise funding and collapse with varying degrees of drama -- including Solyndra, Nanosolar, SoloPower and AQT. Solar Frontier and MiaSolé are among the few firms still engaged in the production of CIGS thin-film technologies. Mattson has told GTM in previous interviews: "Silicon scaled, but the Chinese are not scaling -- they are replicating like a cookie cutter. This is not scaling. China cannot compete with us if we scale properly."

The present invention provides a method to form Group IBIIIAVIA solar cell absorber layers on continuous flexible substrates. In a preferred aspect, the method forms a Group IBIIIAVIA absorber layer for manufacturing photovoltaic cells by providing a workpiece having a precursor layer formed over a substrate, the precursor layer including copper, indium, gallium, selenium and a dopant of a Group IA material; heating the precursor layer to a first temperature; reacting the precursor layer at the first temperature for a first predetermined time to transform the precursor layer to a partially formed absorber structure; cooling down the partially formed absorber structure to a second temperature, wherein both the first temperature and the second temperature are above 400 C.; and reacting the partially formed absorber structure at the second temperature for a second predetermined time, which is longer than the first predetermined time, to form a Group IBIIIAVIA absorber layer.

SoloPower | Date: 2011-01-07

The present invention provides methods of electroplating a film or films onto a top surface of a continuously moving roll-to-roll sheet. In one aspect, the invention includes continuously electroplating a film onto a conductive surface using an electroplating unit as the roll-to-roll sheet moves therethrough.

SoloPower | Date: 2011-10-17

A system and method of manufacturing solar panels whereby parameters about how each cell, each array and each panel are recorded in a database or electronic memory. The cells, arrays and panels are also provided an identification, such as a bar code, to allow for subsequent retrieval of the parameters. The electronic memory is arranged so that different cells, arrays and panels that share the same parameters can be identified.

SoloPower | Date: 2012-06-08

A solar module having a curved surface to facilitate shedding of accumulated snow and water. The module can also be angled to achieve the same. The module includes a housing with a curved or angled upper surface and solar cells are positioned within the housing.

The present inventions provide method and apparatus that employ constituents from one or more constituent supply source or sources to form one or more films of a precursor layer formed on a surface of a continuous flexible workpiece. Of particular significance is the implementation of PVD systems that operate upon a horizontally disposed portion of a continuous flexible workpiece and a vertically disposed portion of a continuous flexible workpiece, preferably in conjunction with a short free-span zone of the portion of a continuous flexible workpiece.

An electrochemical deposition method to form uniform and continuous Group IIIA material rich thin films with repeatability is provided. Such thin films are used in fabrication of semiconductor and electronic devices such as thin film solar cells. In one embodiment, the Group IIIA material rich thin film is deposited on an interlayer that includes 20-90 molar percent of at least one of In and Ga and at least 10 molar percent of an additive material including one of Cu, Se, Te, Ag and S. The thickness of the interlayer is adapted to be less than or equal to about 20% of the thickness of the Group IIIA material rich thin film.

SoloPower | Date: 2012-04-26

Described are embodiments including an apparatus that provides a thin film solar cell base structure for a photovoltaic device, a method of manufacturing a photovoltaic device, a roll to roll method of manufacturing a thin film solar cell base structure, and a ruthenium alloy sheet material.

The embodiment described herein relate to pulse electroplating methods and solutions.

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