Geothermal team at Spanish Sacyr recognized for R&D efforts

Geothermal team at Spanish Sacyr recognized for R&D efforts

What is Sacyr? (source: Flickr, Iris Mesko, Commercial Use)

Spanish company Sacyr recognized for R&D efforts into geothermal energy and retrofitting of historical buildings with these systems.

The Sacyr “Premio Innovadores Naturales” (Natural Innovators Award) was granted to Daniel Muñoz Sanz in recognition of the contributions made by the professionals of the company’s geothermal team. Mr. Sanz is responsible for the geothermal team and are making great strides to promote and implement more geothermal into the energy mix in Spain.

Sacyr Industrial is a leader in this sector in Spain and has been designing geothermal systems for installation in “historical rehabilitations” of important buildings. These buildings are of historical significance and require the retrofitting of heating and cooling systems that must be compliant with new energy efficiency standards. Some of the systems designed by the geothermal team at Sacyr have been installed in buildings that now meet the highest sustainability standards in Europe, LEED Platinum.

Source: Sacyr – Global Innovation “La Energía Más Eficiente Viene de Dentro de la Tierra” May 29, 2017.


Silicor Materials Announces Production of PERC Mono Cells at 20% Efficiency Using Its Standard Solar Silicon

SAN JOSE, Calif.–(BUSINESS WIRE)–Silicor Materials, Inc., a manufacturer of high-quality solar silicon and aluminum by-products, announced today that in its first ever attempt, the company has produced p-type mono PERC (Passivated Emitter Rear Cell) cells at approximately 20 percent efficiency, using 100 percent of its standard silicon feedstock.

“We are extremely pleased with the results of this first attempt at mono cell production,” says Alain Turenne, Chief Technical Officer at Silicor Materials. “These results show the power of our process to produce silicon of such high quality that even the demands of a mono PERC cell architecture are well within reach.”

A small mono boule was expertly grown and wafered at Fraunhofer CSP’s lab for crystallization technology in Germany, and then converted into cells by a manufacturing partner. The result demonstrates that Silicor’s low cost, high quality feedstock can be used to make mono-crystals using the Czochralski method, as well as high efficiency monocrystalline solar cells. These results further confirm that Silicor’s breakthrough technology for manufacturing solar grade silicon provides the solar market with a simple solution to manufacturing the highest quality, highest efficiency solar cells of the future at a substantially lower cost than all other solar grade silicon manufacturing technologies on the market today.

“These results come at no surprise to the Silicor team but will to some of our competitors, who have become wedded to very expensive methods to manufacture solar grade silicon,” said Terry Jester, CEO of Silicor Materials. “Our results with mono PERC cells are only the beginning. We will continue our work with perfecting the manner in which our material is integrated into mono wafer manufacturing and expect even better results in the future. Silicor Materials has significant experience in using its material in multi-crystalline applications and has a track record of continuous improvement in cell efficiency. This news is certain to be welcomed by customers and investors alike.”

About Silicor Materials

Silicor Materials produces solar silicon to meet the unique cost and performance needs of PV manufacturers. The company’s novel manufacturing process unlocks significant cost reduction without sacrificing quality, and its products achieve performance on par with global industry standards. Investors include Hudson Clean Energy Partners. For more information, please visit

Nearly Ideal Performing Regions in Perovskite Films Could Boost Solar Cells – MilTech

Click to enlarge photo. Enlarge Photo

This atomic force microscopy image of the grainy surface of a perovskite solar cell reveals a new path to much greater efficiency. Individual grains are outlined in black, low-performing facets are red, and high-performing facets are green. A big jump in efficiency could possibly be obtained if the material could be grown so that more high-performing facets develop.

The Science

Solar cells made from specialized compounds, with the crystal structure of the mineral perovskite, have captured scientists’ imaginations. The cells are inexpensive and easy to make. Even more intriguing, the efficiency at which perovskite solar cells convert light to electricity has increased more rapidly than any other material to date. By taking a close look at the perovskite, a team at the Molecular Foundry can now differentiate high-performing areas on perovskite solar cells. These areas could lead to record high-efficiency solar cells.

The Impact

The discovery of these top-performing facets could hold the secret to highly efficient perovskite solar cells. The next step would be to make perovskite that only contained the most efficient facets.


A multidisciplinary team discovered a possible secret to dramatically boosting the efficiency of methylammonium lead iodide perovskite solar cells hidden in the nanoscale peaks and valleys of the crystalline material. The team of scientists from the Molecular Foundry and users at the Joint Center for Artificial Photosynthesis, both at Berkeley Lab, found a surprising characteristic of a perovskite solar cell that could be exploited for even higher efficiencies, possibly up to 31 percent. Using photoconductive atomic force microscopy having nanometer-scale resolution, the scientists mapped two properties on the active layer of the solar cell that relate to its photovoltaic efficiency. The maps revealed a bumpy surface composed of grains about 200 nanometers in length. Each grain has multi-angled facets like the faces of a gemstone.

Unexpectedly, the scientists discovered a huge difference in energy conversion efficiency between facets on individual grains. They found poorly performing facets adjacent to highly efficient facets, with some facets approaching the material’s theoretical energy conversion limit. The scientists say these top-performing facets could hold the secret to highly efficient solar cells if the material can be synthesized so that only very efficient facets develop.


Alex Weber-Bargioni
Molecular Foundry, Berkeley Lab; 510.486.4026


This material is based on work supported by the National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship under grant NSF DGE 1106400 and by the Joint Center for Artificial Photosynthesis, a U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) Energy Innovation Hub, supported through the DOE Office of Science under award DE-SC0004993. L.L. thanks the AvH foundation for financial support through the Feodor-Lynen program. D.Z. acknowledges support by the DOE Office of Science, Small Business Innovation Research and Small Business Technology Transfer Program Office, under award DE-SC0013212. A.W.B., M.M., J.L., and S.Y.L. were supported by a DOE Early Career Grant. Work at the Molecular Foundry was supported by the DOE, Office of Science, Office of Basic Energy Sciences, Scientific User Facilities Division under contract DE-AC02-05CH11231 and user proposal 4233. J.B.N., S.E.R.L., and F.M.T. acknowledge support from the Laboratory Directed Research and Development Program at the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory under contract DE-AC02-05CH11231.


S.Y. Leblebici, L. Leppert, Y. Li, S.E. Reyes-Lillo, S. Wickenburg, E. Wong, J. Lee, M. Melli, D. Ziegler, D.K. Angell, D.F. Ogletree, P.D. Ashby, F.M. Toma, J.B. Neaton, I.D. Sharp, and A. Weber-Bargioni, “Facet-dependent photovoltaic efficiency variations in single grains of hybrid halide perovskiteExternal link.” Nature Energy 1, 16093 (2016). [DOI:10.1038/nenergy.2016.93]

Related Links

Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory news release: Discovery Could Dramatically Boost Efficiency of Perovskite Solar CellsExternal link

Highlight Categories

Program: BES, MSE, SUF, Hubs

Performer/Facility: DOE Laboratory, SC User Facilities, BES User Facilities, Foundry

Additional: Collaborations, Non-DOE Interagency Collaboration

IEA PVPS publishes new technical reports on PV performance

Quality and reliability of PV systems is at the core of discussions during this year’s Intersolar Europe fair in Munich. While the PV market grew significantly in the last years, the achievement of long-term reliability and the ability of plants to deliver during their lifetime is a sign of improved maturity for the PV industry.

Following seven years of PV systems performance and reliability research, the IEA PVPS programme’s Task 13 has delivered on a series of reports summarising years of intensive research activities. The reports aim to provide the PV industry with tools and keys to better understand the concepts of reliability and performance, how they are used in the field and their consequences on financial models. In addition, the first report highlights the root causes of module failures.

The first of the three published reports focuses on the Assessment of PV Modules Failures in the Field.

It concludes that the right combination of the encapsulant and backsheet films can be beneficial in reducing failures: The degradation modes depend on the bill of materials and components and are unique for each single PV module brand and model. However, there are typically several degradation modes that could act simultaneously to degrade performances, making it challenging to correlate observed effects with single mechanisms.

The second report focuses on the Technical Assumptions Used in PV Financial Models. This report highlights best practices used to assess financially PV projects and highlight some ways to improve the understanding of PV performances over the lifetime of the plant.

The third report details PV Performances Modelling Methods and Practices. This report summarises the main findings of a Task 13 workshop jointly organised by ‘The PV Performance Modelling Collaborative’ (PVPMC). This group was started by Sandia National Laboratories in 2010 to bring together stakeholders with the aim of advancing the ‘state of the art’ in PV performance prediction.

An additional report will be published in the coming weeks. This report details the ‘Improving Efficiency of PV Systems Using Statistical Performances Monitoring’. It highlights the need for monitoring carefully PV plants and deriving conclusions from observations. 

For additional information:

International Energy Agency Photovoltaic Power System Programme (IEA PVPS)

Assessment of PV Modules Failures in the Field

Technical Assumptions Used in PV Financial Models

PV Performances Modelling Methods and Practices

Kipp & Zonen offers easy measurement of utility-scale solar panel soiling

More in Products, Power Plants, Operations & Maintenance, Projects

Kipp & Zonen offers easy measurement of utility-scale solar panel soiling

‘DustIQ’ measures the soiling ratio (SR) and can be easily added to new or existing solar arrays and integrated into plant management systems.Image: Kipp & Zonen

‘DustIQ’ measures the soiling ratio (SR) and can be easily added to new or existing solar arrays and integrated into plant management systems.Image: Kipp & Zonen

Kipp & Zonen is launching a completely new technology and product to monitor PV panel soiling at Intersolar Europe 2017 in Munich, Germany. Based on Kipp & Zonen’s unique optical technology, ‘DustIQ’ measures the soiling ratio (SR) and can be easily added to new or existing solar arrays and integrated into plant management systems.


The performance ratio of PV panels is primarily determined by four main parameters; the incoming solar irradiance, the cell (back panel) temperature, the soiling ratio and the power produced. Soiling of the panel glass is one of the major problems in the rapidly expanding solar energy market, with the attendant loss of efficiency and reduction in performance ratios. 


DustIQ measures the SR, which can be translated to generating power loss in real time. This enables the plant operation and maintenance staff to know when a critical level of soiling is reached and it has become necessary to start cleaning procedures. Dust IQ needs no maintenance and is cleaned in the same way, and at the same time, as the panels around it. Large solar parks have different soiling rates across the site, which is why IEC 61724-1 requires multiple measurement points. The significantly lower purchase, installation and maintenance costs of DustIQ compared to traditional systems make this much more economic, so that cleaning can be scheduled when and where it is needed.


Soiling ratio measurements for large commercial and utility-scale PV power plants.


DustIQ communicates digitally via ‘Modbus’ and has an input for an optional back panel temperature sensor. It can be networked with Kipp & Zonen Smart pyranometers for irradiance measurements and be integrated into a plant SCADA system.


May 2017, onwards.

kipp & zonen, pv power plants, pv modules

Botswana Power utility invites bids for 100MW solar plant

More in News, Power Plants, Grids, Projects, Markets & Finance, Policy, Companies, Africa & Middle East, Africa

Botswana Power utility invites bids for 100MW solar plant

If BPC successfully secures an IPP joint venture partner for the project, the 100MW plant will be the country's first large-scale PV project. Source: cia

If BPC successfully secures an IPP joint venture partner for the project, the 100MW plant will be the country’s first large-scale PV project. Source: cia

Botswana’s state-owned power utility has invited bids to build a 100MW plant in the country.

The Expression of Interest (EOI) is specifically to invite a party to establish a joint venture with Botswana Power Corporation (BPC) for the project, with a view to combating the country’s power supply deficit. Cooperation proposals must be submitted by 14 June.

The utility-scale project is expected to be completed two years from appointment of the IPP joint venture partner.

The solar plant is much needed in the country, as current peak demand currently stands at around 600MW, according to a BPC document; with the supply gap being met through imports mainly from South Africa and the Mozambique.

In a bid for more energy independence and security, the 100MW solar plant should help the electricity demand in Botswana to more than double to 1,523MW by 2035. This initiative is in line with the country’s National Energy Policy goal of providing affordable, reliable and adequate supply of energy for sustainable development, as well as improving access to and efficient use of energy resources.

If successfully built, the 100MW solar plant will be the country’s first large-scale PV project. 

africa, botswana, utility-scale solar, solar pv, pv power plants, utility, botswana power corporation, eoi