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Advanced Photovoltaic Systems

AET 230-8204 Notes-Week 8

Today we will:

  1. Get a report from the ASES (American Solar Energy Society) National Conference in Buffalo NY (Where I am now).
  2. Discuss job opportunities in the PV industry.
  3. Take a final exam
  4. Go on a field trip to Scott & Dean Cornell's house and see his grid-interactive and electric car charging PV systems. They live close to campus and will bring maps.

Final Exam

The final will cover:

  1. The material that we cove red to study for the previous quizzes.
  2. 690.2 of the NEC (definitions). It will be an open book test & we will have NEC books for those who do not have their own copies.
  3. A very simple identification of where the AC and DC wires go on an SMA 5000US Sunny Boy inverter.

News From Buffalo New York:

The industry is still growing, even with this economy. There were more registrants, than at the conference in San Diego last year.

Next year, the conference will be in Phoenix AZ May 18-22. You can read about it at:

I like to volunteer, which saves me $700-$1000 in registration & workshop fees. Also volunteering can be fun and gives you a good way to meet people. Many volunteers find solar jobs.

Between the volunteer work and the constant overlapping of exceptional speakers, you will be very busy during the conference. I recommend reserving a room close to the conference 6 months early.

ASES SOLAR 2009 Notes:

Speaker Dr. Ajeet Rohatgi

  • Due to the economy, in the past year the price of PV has gone from $4 to $2.50 per watt. These prices are the best prices that you can probably only get from volume pricing.
  • Cost of PV drops 20% for every time production doubles due to economies of scale.
  • Expects grid parity 2015 to 2017 with 18% efficient modules at $1 to $1.50 per watt providing electricity at 8¢ to 10¢ per kWh.
  • More efficient modules have a lower installation and BOS cost (BOS means balance of systems).
  • Grid parity for 18% efficient modules is $1.35/watt.
  • Grid parity for 10% efficient modules is 57¢ per watt
  • These figures are considering the current electricity price in US is 8¢ per kWh.
  • Current electricity price in Japan is 15¢ per kWh.
  • Current electricity price in Italy is 24¢ per kWh.
  • Current electricity price in CA is 13¢ per kWh.
  • Current electricity price in NY is 15¢ per kWh.
  • Current electricity price in HI is 20¢ per kWh.
  • Grid parity is when solar pays off without incentives and tax credits.

Speaker Dr. Danielle Merfeld

GE Energy

Director of Solar Technology Platform

  • GE generates 25% of worlds power
  • 15 Gigawatts of wind
  • Solar is fastest growing renewable
  • Solar is 95% incentive driven
  • In CA 42% drop in cost because of incentives (30% tax credit and depreciation).
  • Now 1 GW of inventory and possibly 4 GW by the end of the year
  • Installed cost now $4/watt
  • Installed cost in 2015 $2.50/watt
  • GE has Primestar CdTe modules which are modular & plug & play

Speaker Jonathan Pickering

Applied Materials

VP Global Marketing

Solar Business Group

  • Growth now is in ground mount utility scale projects over 1 megawatt
  • Many of these projects are over landfill, which is land that can’t be used for anything else
  • Primarily thin film applications
  • Predicted electricity demand growth is 80% in next 20 years
  • Coal & nuclear is baseload
  • Gas is peak generation which is used 100-200 hours per year (like jet engines)
  • Solar is predictable and once installed “free”
  • Solar is produced at peak times naturally
  • London has 1300 hours of sun per year
  • Buffalo NY has 1384
  • 30-40% of electricity production is peak needs
  • 30% of peak could be solar
  • 250MW of solar needed

Speaker Jigar Shah

Founder of Sun Edison

(Big name in solar)

  • Expects Silicon oversupply for 3-4 years
  • Crystalline Silicon lasts a long time, perhaps 40-50 years or more
  • Thin film lasts not as long, maybe 20 years
  • North America has less than 10% of global demand
  • 2009 is an especially lean year
  • Silicon wafer was $2/watt last year and now $1/watt
  • Future may be AC modules
  • There are 3000 utilities in the US
  • There is no grid parity
  • Levalized cost of energy does not include risk for nuclear, etc.

Speaker Jerry Ventre

Author: Photovoltaic Systems Engineering

  • 30 fold increase in PV in 8 years
  • Training required for:

· Installers

· Designers

· Contractors

· Inspectors

· Solar Sales/Site Assessment

· Architects

· Utilities

· Construction Accountants

Speaker Laurie Guevera-Stone

Solar Energy International Instructor

Presentation on Cuba

  • Cuba manufactures their own PV
  • Used to depend on subsidized Soviet Oil until USSR broke apart
  • No more rolling blackouts in last few years with more energy independence
  • PV at every school in the country
  • College degrees in PV and renewable energy
  • Went door to door and changed out every light bulb, so there is not an incandescent left in Cuba
  • SEI is having another workshop in Cuba that you can find on their website

Speaker Tom Hoff

Clean Power Research (makes Powerclerk for California Solar Initiative)

Topic: Solar Sustained Vehicles (SSV)

  • Plug in Hybrid bundled with PV to offset car & next 4 cars
  • ¾ of miles come from electricity and ¼ from gas
  • Obama goal 1 million plug in hybrids by 2015
  • 1.5 kW is a SSV sized system

Speaker Joe McCabe

ASES Fellow

Topic: Salvage Value of PV

  • SMUD (Sacramento) has salvage sales every year
  • Prices are less than $1 per watt
  • Check modules for broken glass
  • Thin Film does not always have glass
  • Can’t salvaged modules for CSI rebates
  • Prepare for salvaged PV on the market from Germany in 14 years for the 7 year old systems that get to the end of their 20 year Feed in Tariff contracts.

These are my notes from just a small amount of the variety of classes you can attend at an ASES conference. For more information, go to

Here is the Final Exam with the answers:

final exam answers.pdf (PDF — 64 KB)

May you plant many megawatts of PV in your new green jobs.

This webpage is an archive and has not been updated in over 10 years. Much of the information is still relevant. To see our more recent website, go to