Gina R. Johnson
is editor/associate publisher of SOLAR TODA Y.
By Gina R. JohnSon
For green-collar jobs to flourish, a state needs executive leadership along with policies that encourage a ready
market and a welcome business environment, according
to Brad Collins, American Solar Energy Society (ASES)
executive director and keynote speaker at this fall’s inaugural Southern Solar Summit. Collins’ presentation, which
focused on findings from the most recent ASES green jobs
report, had special urgency for summit participants.
Hosted Sept. 3 in Atlanta by the Georgia Solar Energy
GreenBusiness Works eXPo
Association ( gasolar.org), a chapter of ASES, the summit
gathered a top-notch lineup of regional experts, utility leaders and policymakers to discuss opportunities and barriers
in the developing Southeast solar market. The event was
a one-day track within the GreenBusiness Works EXPO.
Chris Lau, research analyst at World Resources Institute
( wri.org), summarized the challenge that was a summit
theme: Although renewable energy is important to this region, where energy consumption more than doubled from
1997 to 2006, regulatory and policy hurdles limit development of a corporate market. But work toward a federal
renewable energy standard and federal carbon legislation
presents new opportunities.
Most presenters and exhibiting businesses were wasting no time planting stakes in the fertile ground, however.
Noting the Southeast’s rich solar resource, Ben Hill of
Georgia Tech’s VentureLab program ( venturelab.gatech.
edu) described his group’s work to commercialize organic
photovoltaics, among other emerging technologies. John
Baumstark, CEO of Suniva ( suniva.com), described the
company’s progression from producing the first solar cell
in its new facility in metro Atlanta last October to recently
achieving more than 20 percent efficiency in the lab. Suniva’s third manufacturing line is now on the boards.
The inaugural Southern Solar Summit, held Sept. 3 in atlanta, gathered
professionals from throughout the Southeast. Participants included
(above) David Thomas of hannah Solar and Michelle Conlon of one-World Sustainable.
New Efficiency Record for Concentrating PV
Spectrolab Inc. ( spectrolab.com), a subsidiary of the Boeing Co., in August announced a new world record for terrestrial concentrator solar cell efficiency. The cell can convert
41. 6 percent of concentrated sunlight into electricity. The U.S. Department of Energy’s
National Renewable Energy Laboratory in Golden, Colo., independently tested the cell in
June, validating that it surpassed the previous record of 41.1 percent held by The Fraunhofer
Institute in Germany.
Produced in February 2008, the new Spectrolab cell is an advanced version of the lattice-matched triple-junction technology already produced in high volumes for space and terrestrial applications. Spectrolab pioneered the technology more than a decade ago. The new
cell incorporates multiple improvements in wafer processing to reduce metal grid shadowing
and series resistance, raising the cell’s overall efficiency.
“Over the past decade, Spectrolab’s efforts developing terrestrial solar cell efficiency have
achieved an average improvement of approximately 1 percentage point per year, and we
expect to continue that pace,” said David Lillington, Spectrolab’s president.
Spectrolab products have powered satellites since 1958 and have contributed to the
on-orbit success of numerous commercial, national security and civil space missions.
The company’s cells power 60 percent of all satellites orbiting the Earth, as well as the
International Space Station. By 2010, the company expects to have an annual capacity of
The BoeinG Co.
Dr. David Lillington,president of Spectrolab,
holds a solar wafer, destined to be cut into
individual concentrator solar cells.