$300 Million solar
by KATrINA PHruKSuKArN
on July 15, the Energy Division of the Califor- nia Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) released a proposal that would give $300.8
million in financial incentives through 2017 for solar
water-heating and other solar thermal technologies.
The program, a carve-out of the new $2.1 billion California Solar Initiative (CSI), may offer up to $1,875 in
incentives for individual residential installations and
up to $150,000 for commercial installations.
The CPUC is developing the CSI-Thermal Program through a public rulemaking process. Industry
stakeholders participated in a public forum Aug. 3,
and formal written comments were accepted by the
CPUC through Aug. 24. These comments are currently under review, and the CPUC expects to publish
a proposed decision on the program in November. A
final vote will take place approximately 30 days after
the decision is released. If approved, the CSI-Thermal
Program is expected to accept applications beginning
Eligible participants will be gas and electric
ratepayers in the territories serviced by San Diego
Gas & Electric (SDE&G), Southern California Gas,
Pacific Gas & Electric and Southern California Edison.
Those who use propane to heat their water will not be
eligible, and pool- and spa-heating systems are also
not eligible for rebates.
The California Center for Sustainable Energy
administers a solar water-heating pilot program in the
SDG&E service territory, which served as a model
for the CSI-Thermal program design. Rebates are still
available through the pilot program until Dec. 31, to
electric, natural gas and propane users. The only other
locations in California currently providing incentives
for solar water-heating technology are the city of Palo
Alto Utilities, Sacramento Municipal Utility District,
the county of Marin, the city of Santa Clara and Redding Electric Utility.
Katrina Phruksukarn is program manager of the Solar Water
Heating Pilot Program at the California Center for Sustainable
Energy. She sits on the board of directors of the San Diego
Renewable Energy Society. Contact her at contact.katrina
Andy Moss demonstrates
a Hot Pot Solar Oven at the
New Mexico Solar Energy
Association’s 2009 Solar
Fiesta, which took place
Sept. 26 and 27 in Albuquerque. The annual event
educates the community
about renewable energy.
Silicon Ink Addition Can Boost
Silicon Cell Performance
Innovalight Inc. ( innovalight.com) of Sunnyvale, Calif.,
in September announced a record 18 percent conversion efficiency with silicon-ink solar cells. The results were independently certified by the U.S. Department of Energy’s National
Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) and The Fraunhofer
Institute for Solar Energy Systems in Germany.
Innovalight’s proprietary silicon ink process allows
crystalline silicon solar cell manufacturers to boost cell
performance while reducing costs. According to Homer
Antoniadis, chief technology officer at Innovalight, a simple addition to existing manufacturing lines can bring conversion of silicon cells to over 20 percent. Innovalight was
awarded a $3 million Technology Incubator subcontract
for PV Cells
Dow Corning Corp.
( dowcorning.com) has
announced the commercial availability of a
breakthrough solar cell
The company’s PV-6100
Encapsulant Series relies
on the UV stability of the
silicone molecule to deliver
improved durability and
an ultra-transparent layer
of protection for the solar
cell in a panel.
solartoday.org SOLAR TODAY November/December 2009 15
According to Dow Corning, the material provides
higher efficiency, longer
module life and optimum
UV resistance, with higher
production rates for crystalline and amorphous silicon
thin-film modules, which
reduces the cost per kilowatt-hour of solar power.
with PV-6100 Encapsulant
Series pass UL Class “C”
flame testing and International Electrotechnical
Conductive Ink Creates PV Fabric
A new conductive ink technology permits uniforms and
tent canopies to power GPS, cell phones, radios and other
low-power devices for U.S. military personnel.
Scientists at the Air Force Research Laboratory Materials and Manufacturing Directorate ( afmc.af.mil), in partnership with Plextronics Inc.( plextronics.com) and the
Pennsylvania NanoMaterials Commercialization Center
( pananocenter.org), both in Pittsburgh, Pa., have developed Plexcore, a ready-to-use organic photovoltaic ink that
can be printed on very thin, flexible surfaces using a commercial ink-jet process.