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Utah Passes Financing Law 17 Congress Gets Energy Report Card 18 Feds Subsidizing Coal 19
Andalay Becomes Westinghouse Solar
Akeena Solar ( akeena.com), maker of the Andalay integrated photo- voltaic (PV) module-with-microinverter system, has signed an agree- ment to market its solar panels under the Westinghouse name. According to Gary Mull, vice president of marketing for Akeena’s new Westinghouse Solar division, the name change will help the company sell product to mainstream customers, “beyond the early adopters.”
CEO Barry Cinnamon noted that using the Westinghouse brand eliminates the time and cost to build a widely recognized brand name from
scratch. He views this as the next logical step in the product’s evolution.
“Since the beginning, we’ve worked consistently to make solar more
mainstream,” Cinnamon said. “We began as a rooftop installer. We then
designed our own easy-to-install solar panels that gave customers supe-
rior reliability and aesthetics. We improved our design by manufacturing
higher-performance AC panels and built a dealer network that has grown
to more than 25 states and Canada. We then partnered with Lowe’s Home
Improvement stores for installation services, along with the first do-it-
yourself solar panels stocked on retail shelves. Now, with the exclusive
rights to the Westinghouse Solar brand, we look forward
to accelerated growth without large up-front brand investments.”
“Since George Westinghouse founded the Westinghouse Electric Cor-
poration in 1886, the world’s electric grid has operated on AC power,” said
James F. Davis, vice president, Westinghouse Electric Corp. “For more than
100 years, Westinghouse has literally set the standard for reliable electric
power and home appliances. We approached Akeena when our research
indicated their integrated solar panel technology could help make solar main-
stream. Akeena’s safe and reliable AC solar panels are a perfect complement
with Westinghouse’s heritage. We are pleased to introduce Westinghouse
Solar as the newest member of the exclusive Westinghouse family.”
Westinghouse Solar now integrates Entech microinverters (entechsolar.
com) with Sun Tech PV modules ( suntech-power.com) using Akeena’s pat-
ented combined framing-racking system to dramatically reduce parts count,
installation time and shading losses. The system can be expanded gradually,
by plugging in additional modules until the homeowner runs out of roof.
Westinghouse-branded solar panels will begin shipping to customers in
the United States and Canada later this summer.
CL See a video interview with Westinghouse Solar’s Gary Mull: solartoday.org/video
New Technique Makes Cheap Gallium Arsenide Cells
16 July/August 2010 SOLAR TODAY solartoday.org Copyright © 2010 by the American Solar Energy Society Inc. All rights reserved.
University of Illinois researchers have developed a method to produce
cheap gallium arsenide (GaAs) semiconductors for many electronic device applications, including solar cells.
10 growths, loading and unloading with temperature ramp-up and ramp-down
take a lot of time. If you consider what is required for each growth — the machine,
the preparation, the time, the people
— the overhead savings our approach
offers is a significant cost reduction.”
The stacks alternate layers of alu-
minum arsenide with the gallium
arsenide, which facilitates peeling
off layers. That’s done by bathing the
stacks in a solution of acid and an
oxidizing agent to dissolve the lay-
ers of aluminum arsenide. That frees
the individual thin sheets of gallium
arsenide. These sheets are then trans-
ferred to another substrate of glass,
plastic or silicon. They can be laid out
side-by-side to produce a much larger
surface area — critical for solar appli-
cations — whereas today’s single-layer
process limits GaAs area to the size of the wafer.
Gallium arsenide and related compound semiconductors offer nearly
twice the efficiency as silicon in solar
devices, yet they are rarely used in utility-scale applications because of their
high manufacturing cost.
Professors John Rogers and Xiuling
Li explored lower-cost ways to manufacture thin films of gallium arsenide. “If
you can reduce substantially the cost of
gallium arsenide and other compound
semiconductors, then you could expand
their range of applications,” said Rogers, the university’s Lee J. Flory Founder
Members of the research team, from left: professor Xiuling li,
student Ik Su Chun, postdoctoral researchers Sungjin Jo and
Jongseung Yoon, and professor John Rogers.
LIZ AhLBERG, UNIVERSI Ty oF ILLINo IS
Chair in Engineering Innovation and a professor of materials science, engineer-
ing and chemistry.
In conventional manufacturing, GaAs is deposited as a single thin layer on
a wafer. The Illinois group deposited multiple layers of the material on a single
wafer, creating a stack of gallium arsenide thin films.
“If you grow 10 layers in one growth, you only have to load the wafer one
time,” said Li, a professor of electrical and computer engineering. “If you do this in
The group described the method in a paper published in the May 20 edition
of the journal Nature (see tinyurl.com/GaAsCells). The paper’s co-authors are
postdoctoral researchers Jongseung yoon, Sungjin Jo and Inhwa Jung; students
Ik Su Chun and hoon-Sik kin; and electrical and computer engineering profes-
sor James Coleman, along with Ungyu Paik, of hanyang University in Seoul, and
Semprius scientists Matthew Meitl and Etienne Menard. Semprius is a startup
company in North Carolina gearing up to produce this technology.
The research was funded by the U. S. Department of Energy and the National