Third Generation Solar Home System introduced to East Africa

Rex Solar, a Dar es Salaam, Tanzania based solar contracting company along with its Partner, Solaric, a US-Bangladesh joint Solar innovations company has introduced a new generation of Solar Home Systems for East Africa.

The Joint Venture, announced on March 3, 2015, will connect 1.5 million homes in East Africa over the span of 5 years. The venture will also help create upwards of 2,500 jobs says Mr. Francis Kibisha, Managing Director of Rex Energy.

The 3rd generation of Solar Home Systems, developed by Solaric, has removed all the limitations of older generation systems, and at the same time, has decreased the capital and operational cost compared to older systems.

Currently, Previous generation of Solar Home Systems (1G and 2G) are costly low 12 Volt systems that are extremely limited in its capabilities as they are limited to only lighting merely a couple of light bulbs.

Furthermore, the users of these older systems consider them to be too expensive for its limited capabilities as they do not make significant improvement to their lives.

3G-Solar introduces the first high (125V) Voltage systems that go beyond lighting by enabling users to have unrestricted energy access that, for the first time, allows them to not only power lights, but the patented inverter-less technology that combines DC-DC converter + Charge controller + LED Driver, allows users to power any electronic appliance they desire such as laptops, fans, and TV.

Founder and Managing Director of Solaric, Didar Islam, says "It is an affordable service which will also help lift people of Africa from one stage of development to another.

It is not just about turning on the lights, but opening up new economic opportunities that rural people were once limited to due to not having adequate and high quality energy access that the population can use that actually makes a difference in their lives"

Users who already have an older generation system can keep their old PV panel and battery and only pay USD $100 to upgrade to 3G-Solar with the addition of Solarics Optimizer, the heart of the technology.

With the upgrade, Solaric also includes a fan, and light bulb. The payment mode will allow the customers to pay a deposit upfront and the remaining balance over a period of 12 months which further makes the systems more affordable for the users.

To date, only a little over 20% of Tanzanias population has gained access to electricity with other locations including 23% of Kenyans, and only 11% of Rwandans; the majority of people are still using costly and unhealthy forms of energy for cooking and lighting.

Extending the National Grid to many parts of the country, including rural areas, is not financially or economically feasible and come with many challenges which the use of small Solar Home Systems can help mitigate the need to extend any grid.

The Principal Energy Officer, Ministry of Energy and Minerals, Mr Paul Kiwele said, "rural electrification remains among the government's top priorities because it is likely to contribute immensely in transforming living conditions of the people".

There is a tremendous increase in the focus on rural electrification but a lack of available appropriate technology that is both affordable and at the same time meets all the needs of rural users that truly make a significant improvement in their lives. Solaric has finally developed a solar home solution specialized for rural users that has addressed all the issues in making rural electrification feasible and truly makes an impact on their lives by providing services that go beyond just lighting.

The systems have already proven highly successful in other areas such as Bangladesh, Myanmar, India, Malaysia, and more.

3G Solar is the first solution to provide rural homes with unrestricted energy access and will help close the gap on how off-grid users in rural Africa and users that have grid connection use electricity.

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CEC Evaluation Confirms Excellent Performance Of Vikram Solar Modules

After extensive testing, the California Energy Commission (CEC) recently awarded superior PTC values to Vikram Solar's Eldora series 72-cell polycrystalline PV modules. For example, the 310 Watt (STC) model produced a PTC value of 283.6 Watts.

In terms of industry ranking, this makes the Eldora series one of the top Tier-1 performers available, a testament to the superior engineering and manufacturing now available from India's industrial sector. The modules were simultaneously certified to be UL 1703 compliant at 1000 VDC, with a "Type 1" fire safety class.

Ivan Saha, President and CTO at Vikram Solar says: "This latest certification demonstrates how Vikram Solar's customers benefit from our investment in R and D and production technology. PVUSA field test conditions are far more realistic than controlled laboratories. The excellent PTC rating proves that PV systems engineered with Vikram modules are likely to deliver more energy output than competitive brands."

In addition to obtaining UL and CEC certification, Vikram has submitted its Eldora Ultima series to other miscellaneous independent engineering firms for further validation. For instance, DNV GL recently finalized PAN file validation for Vikram's 60-cell series and the same for 72-cell series is under process.

As part of its launch campaign in North America, Vikram is a proud sponsor of the Solar Summit U.S. taking place in Phoenix on April 14-16. Last year, Ken Oatman also joined the Vikram team as Head of Business Development for the Americas.

He recently elaborated on Vikram's plans for the future, "The North American market is a core focus for Vikram's management team. This is why we will continue to strive to be close to our customers, and to optimize the efficiency and quality of our products - especially for the requirements in the U.S. market."

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RenXSol installs roof top power plant at KSCA's M Chinnaswamy Stadium

RenXSol Ecotech has announced that the 400 kW roof top power plant at KSCA's M Chinnaswamy Stadium was successfully installed, with successful testing, integration and evacuation to BESCOM grid post CEIG approvals on This roof top installation by KSCA is a novel initiative that has been executed for the first time at any stadium in India and probably also the first cricket stadium in the world to have such facility.

Further, this roof top installation is the first project in Karnataka of this size for any industry or institution being sanctioned under the Net Metering policy of BESCOM announced in November 2014 and such project installed and commissioned in short time of about 45-50 days.

The 400 kW rooftop solar power plant system has 300Wp, 72 cells, multi-crystalline solar panels, with 20 kW Grid Tie type String Inverters, 20 nos., evacuated with bi-directional metering to BESCOM at HT level of 11 KV substation, under the new BESCOM Net Metering Solar Policy announced in Nov 2014.

While RenXSol handled the design, engineering, project management consultancy (PMC) for the whole project, the execution was done by a KSCA approved vendor under RenXSol and KSCA guidance.

The power generated at KSCA's roof top power plant will be sent to BESCOM Grid under the Net Metering policy, wherein only the Nett of power generated and power consumed is payable by KSCA and in case of excess solar power if given to BESCOM, then the utility will pay KSCA at Rs 9.56 per unit for such power.

Commenting on the novel initiative, Srinivas Kumar, Managing Director and CEO, RenXSol, said, "We are delighted in having partnered KSCA to build a green infrastructure and in the process have showcased to the world how un-used roof tops could be utilised productively. With cricket being a religion in the country, we are confident KSCA's initiative will be an eye opener in harnessing green energy and go a long way in popularising solar power, especially with several State Governments introducing net metering and open access concept."

Further, he added we have the technical competence, reliability, where-withawal, design, engineering and trained manpower to compete with the best in the world for providing reliable solar solutions. There is huge savings and benefits to all clients of ESCOM using grid power to substitute their day time power usage through solar power for at least 300 days a year.

Even clients using diesel generators can switch to solar energy giving them huge savings. Integration of solar with existing grid or diesel gensets with synchronization can be ideally done and with higher power factor of 0.99 plus. Net Metered systems use grid as a reservoir without use of battery and also enabling income with surplus power.

Karnataka government has ideally promoted a policy of free wheeling and transmission for solar, making installation of solar very attractive in the state. By installing solar, every citizen or company can contribute in the development of the state, as, "Energy saved is energy generated" which saves the State Government huge sums in setting up new infrastructure for energy as well as enables government use this saved energy for energy deficient areas and for farmers.

According to Mr.BrijeshPatel, Hon. Secretary, Karnataka State Cricket Association, "KSCA has installed a 400 kW rooftop solar power plant at M Chinnaswamy stadium at Bangalore. We appointed RenXSol Ecotech as solar consultants to KSCA for design, engineering and project management activity for this challenging project.

"The solar plant is designed to generate 5.90 lakh units per year, equivalent to powering 200 AEH (All Electric Homes) households using 3 KW power annuallyand also saving about 600 tons of carbon dioxide emissions annually.

"KSCA has set an example as a stadium able to use its space for helping protect the environment for our children in the years to come. KSCA has become the first cricket stadium globally and the also first stadium in India and first net metered project in Karnataka to use solar power. We are proud of this achievement and congratulate RenXSol for the success of the project."

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Schneider Electric connects more than 300 MW to the UK grid in March

Schneider Electric Solar Business is pleased to contribute significantly to the development of solar in the UK by connecting more than 300 MW to the grid in end of March, on top of the 200 MW already in operation.

A key factor of this success was the ability of Schneider Electric to provide an industrialized packaged solution, fast track the delivery of Distribution Network Operator (DNO) compliant switchgears, and commissioning of the on-site inverters, transformers, and customer switchgears.

The projects were constructed by 7 different EPC (Engineering, Procurement, and Construction) companies from 4 different countries, in more than 20 PV sites across the UK. Schneider Electric's global service infrastructure team, with field service engineers in over 100 countries, supported the successful commissioning of all sites, meeting all project deadlines.

The ability to achieve this high volume of project installations was also due in part to the fully integrated PV Box solution from Schneider Electric. The containerised solution, which integrated inverters, switchgear, LV switchboard, DC box, monitoring cabinets, and a transformer already inside, allows for efficient on-site installation.

"Schneider Electric's differentiator in the market is the ability to deliver a complete, competitive, and optimized electrical system, including the grid connection, to most regions of the world.

"This was crucial in the UK due to tight deadlines and the importance of getting suitable DNO compliant switchgears. Many customers trusted in our ability to make it happen, and we are proud to have met their expectations, despite the difficulties of delivering and commissioning so many equipment." said Pierre-Emmanuel Frot, Head of Global Sales for the Power Plants Line of Business.

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SEI spins-off Professional Services group to meet industry needs

Solar Energy International (SEI) announced the spin-off of SEI Professional Services LLC, a dedicated business to provide specialized services directly to the solar electric industry. SEI Professional Services (SEIPS) has started operations as a separate entity and integral supporter of SEI's mission.

100% of the profits will be returned to Solar Energy International in support of its non-profit mission to provide industry leading technical training and expertise in renewable energy to empower people, communities and businesses worldwide.

SEIPS is dedicated to serving the solar electric industry through high-level services including feasibility analysis, construction plans, construction phase consulting, commissioning, inspections, consulting, engineering and design of photovoltaic systems. It is important to note that they will not be performing installations or engaging in procurement activities. SEIPS is filling a need in the solar industry while supporting SEI's family of over 40,000 alumni.

"SEI initially created SEIPS as a way to better serve our alumni as they take the next step after training. We are constantly being approached by our alumni who want our assistance in reviewing their designs, commissioning and inspecting their systems, and ensuring that they are designing and installing systems that are safe and representative of the high quality training they received through SEI," stated Kathryn Swartz, Executive Director of SEI.

"As this program grew, we quickly realized that beyond our alumni, there is a void in the marketplace that we were quickly being asked to fill."

SEIPS projects range from small to utility-scale and include grid-tied and battery-based systems of all size. SEIPS projects already include everything from commissioning the largest rooftop PV system in Latin America, to designing 70 megawatts of PV currently under construction in Texas, to design review and construction inspections of large, utility-owned systems. SEIPS also caters to the small end of the market including residential-scale systems both on and off-grid.

Many of the services SEIPS offers are centered around the beginning and end of the project, such as design, performance verification, and commissioning. SEIPS also offers services throughout the project, such as serving as an owner's representative during all phases of project development.

Nowhere else can a client find the breadth of experience offered by SEI's instructors. The SEIPS team has years of experience in both grid-direct and battery-based applications ranging from small off-grid to utility scale projects.

The creation of SEIPS also benefits SEI by ensuring that our training program continues to be industry-leading and of the highest quality. Through SEIPS, SEI instructors work on a variety of ground-breaking projects throughout the world to expand their knowledge. This experience is then brought back into the classroom.

"Just as the solar industry continues to evolve, so too does SEI. Between the creation of our Spanish PV Training Program and the spin-off of SEIPS, we are continually looking for how we can better serve the rapidly expanding solar industry, while still maintaining our core foundation of quality, industry-leading training." Swartz said.

About SEI ?Solar Energy International, was founded in 1991 as a nonprofit educational organization. SEI's mission is to provide industry-leading technical training and expertise in renewable energy to empower people, communities, and businesses worldwide.

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Trina ships 9.9 MW modules for major Panama solar farm

Trina Solar, a global leader in photovoltaic ("PV") modules, solutions, and services, has announced that it has been selected by Solarcentury, a project developer and EPC, to supply around 33,000 of its PC14 modules for a 9.9MWp solar farm project in Cocle province, central Panama.

Solarcentury will use the high-powered solar PV modules supplied by Trina Solar to construct the solar farm for ECOSolar, a Latin American solar investment company. Working alongside local solar company Hybrytec, Solarcentury will build the 9.9MWp 'Divisa Solar' system. The system will be one of the largest solar farms in Panama connected to the grid and sold on the spot market once completed.

Ideal for large-scale installations, the PC14 module is one of the industry's most trusted modules due to its high levels of reliability and performance capabilities, even in challenging environmental conditions.

Thanks to its high power footprint, installation time and BOS costs are significantly reduced, helping to achieve maximum cost efficiency. The farm will be capable of producing enough clean solar energy to power around 3,000 homes in the area, which will help meet the country's growing electricity demands and reduce CO2 emissions by more than 4,850 tons each year.

Zhiguo Zhu, COO and President of Module Business Unit at Trina Solar, said: "We are very pleased to be able to partner with Solarcentury in this project, which will yield benefits for the Panamanian people and for the environment. Over the last few years we have expanded our presence in Latin America and this project marks a major milestone for us. Thanks to its good climate, the region is well suited to solar PV generation, and has abundant space.

"With an increasing demand for electricity in the area, the solar farm will diversify the energy mix and thus drive an efficient and clean supply of energy. We believe Panama and Latin America hold high potential for the solar sector and this project demonstrates Trina Solar's continued progress as a leading provider of solar PV modules in the region."

Matthew Boulton, COO at Solarcentury said: "Trina Solar is a new partner for Solarcentury and as a leading global brand, it was an obvious choice as part of establishing Solarcentury in new countries. Trina Solar was able to support the tight timelines required to fulfil the project and provided regular communication and support from its UK team."

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Sunrun Brings New Jobs To Nevada With Las Vegas Expansion

Sunrun has announced the expansion of the company's presence in Nevada. Sunrun's Las Vegas office and warehouse, which opened in 2014, is expected to add more than 45 new jobs this spring, nearly doubling the company's local workforce. To support this growth, Sunrun will be present at the Las Vegas Choice Career Fair April 14 and the Military Spouse Hiring Fair at Nellis Air Force Base April 29 to meet and interview candidates.

"We've grown our business and footprint in Nevada since we began offering Sunrun solar in the market last year," said Ethan Miller, senior vice president of operations at Sunrun. "We're creating additional jobs in our Las Vegas facility to help support increasing consumer demand as Nevada homeowners become more aware of clean energy options like home solar that can save them money on their electric bill."

According to the recently released Solar Foundation National Solar Jobs Census 2014, Nevada ranks among the top seven states for solar job creation with more than 5,900 existing solar jobs in the state. Nevada jumped from number eight to the number one rank in per capita solar jobs in the U.S. last year.

Currently, Sunrun is available to homeowners serviced by NV Energy in Las Vegas, North Las Vegas, Henderson, Mesquite, Boulder City and the surrounding areas, and continues to look for opportunities to extend its service within the state, like the regions surrounding Reno and Carson City. By continuing to grow its network, Sunrun aims to make home solar accessible to more consumers in Nevada and nationwide.

As the first company to introduce solar as a service to American homeowners, Sunrun has reinvented the way people buy electricity. Sunrun gives homeowners access to the smartest energy source - sunlight - and takes care of everything so consumers can focus on putting savings back in their pockets each month.

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