New New Solar PV

There are a number of fascinating new developments in the world of solar photovoltaic cells, which represent major shifts from the usual crystalline silicon cell based on semiconductor technology, which supplies as much as 80% of the market today (referring to wafers sliced from large single crystal or polycrystalline ingots). Here is a quick overview. Much more information exists on most of these topics.

Evergreen Solar
Evergreen has one of most mature of the new approaches, and is now a growing public company (symbol ESLR), ramping up production of its unique string ribbon Silicon cell. The Evergreen cell is fully equivalent on a functional basis, but is considerably than the ingot slice method. Evergreen anticipates sales of $6-9 million in 2003. The website does a good job explaining the whole story.

Solar Grade Silicon
In March, Solar Grade Silicon LLC announced full production of polycrystalline silicon at its new plant in Washington, the first ever plant dedicated wholly to producing feedstock for the solar industry. They supply the purified silicon that is then melted and made into single crystals, i.e. in large ingots, or Evergreen’s ribbon. In the past, solar cell makers relied on scraps from the semiconductor industry, which won’t be sufficient to handle the growth in the PV industry.

Spheral (ATS Automation)
In one of the stranger sagas of solar, you may recall that in 1995, Texas Instruments finally gave up on a major development program to develop “Spheral” solar cells, an effort they’d devoted many years and many dollars to (with considerable support from DOE). Spheral technology comprises thousands of tiny silicon spheres, bonded between thin flexible aluminum foil substrates to form solar cells, which are then assembled into lightweight flexible modules. TI’s goal was to develop a manufacturing process that would drive PV costs to $2/watt. Ontario Hydro Technologies acquired the technology, set up manufacturing in Toronto, and sold some systems, but in 1997, reorganizations and a return to basics led them to sell it off. Apparently dormant since then, in July 2002 ATS Automation announced it had acquired the technology, set up a subsidiary, and was scaling up production with plans to be in commercial production this year. The Canadian government put in nearly $30 Million. The jury is out on this one. For the story, go to:

Thin Film-CIGS
Commercially produced thin film PV falls into 3 general categories, Cadium Telluride, Amorphous Silicon, and CIGS (Cu(In,Ga)Se2). The first two technologies are struggling, with BP’s notable exit last November from both. CIGS is having instances of some apparent success and continuing development efforts, and enjoys strong support at NREL, a true believer. There are production facilities doing CIGS as well as innumerable development efforts around the world to make it cheaper and more efficient. CIGS has the unique feature of becoming more efficient as it ages.

Global Solar**
Global, partly owned Unisource, the parent of Tucson Electric, is selling thin film CIGS modules to the military, commercial and recreational markets. One product is a blanket a soldier can unfold on the ground. Current production capacity is 2.3 MW per year, and they’re fundraising to expand to 7.5 MW.

Among the new entrants, Raycom is a startup in Silicon Valley, led by veterans of thin film coating for disk drives and optical filters. They believe their experience (and existing equipment) will enable them to avoid the long and painful development cycles that have traditionally characterized the solar PV industry, and be in production in less than 2 years. Their secret is “dual-rotary magnetron sputtering” a patented process that has already proven effective in high volume manufacturing. Cost targets are under $1 per watt. They also have brought a fresh eye to the formulation of CIGS, and see ways to make it without cadmium, which is highly toxic. Raycom produced their first working cells in a matter of months. They are in the midst of fundraising. One might observe that this is a rare instance where someone comes to PV from manufacturing instead of science. Normally, people develop PV technology in the lab and then endeavor to become manufacturers. This time it’s the other way around. [To see the magetron sputtering technology, go to:]
Contact David Pearce 408-456-5706,

Konarka has attracted a great deal of attention and sizable VC participation (funding round Oct 02) with promises of a way to commercialize the “Gratzel” cell, which Dr. Michael Grätzel developed and subsequently patented in the 1990’s. The core of the technology consists of nanometer-scale crystals of TiO2 semiconductor coated with light-absorbing dye and embedded in an electrolyte between the front and back electrical contacts. Photons are absorbed by the dye, liberating an electron which escapes via the TiO2 to the external circuit. The electron returns on the other side of the cell, and is restores another dye molecule. The jury is out on this one, whether it’ll happen quickly as the company and its investors hope, or will there be a long road ahead. One of the biggest issues since this idea was first tried has been the stability of the organic dyes.

For a good discussion of dye-sensitized cells, see this pdf:

This Palo Alto based company has a long list of goals for its nanotechnology, ranging from chemical/biological sensors, to electronics and photovoltaics, based on formulations of nanowires, nanotubes, and nanoparticles. Their idea for PV is reportedly to embed nanorods of photosensitive material in a polymer electrolyte, on a principle not unlike Konarka’s. On April 24, they announced an amazing $30 Million VC funding. You have to wonder about this one, i.e. if the nano-hype has taken over, and how successful they’ll be about solar as compared with the other areas.

The technology was originally developed at Lawrence Berkeley Lab:

Also Palo Alto based, this one is in stealth mode. The basic idea is similar to Nanosys, but they are focused only on solar. They also incorporate technology licensed from Sandia for nano-self-assembly to align the nanorods perpendicular to the surface, which is supposed to make a big difference in the efficiency. (Nanosys’s nanorods are said to be randomly oriented in clumps.) NanoSolar has some very famous investors, who are maintaining an extremely low profile.

Solaicx is a new spinout from SRI International, and has a way to make polycrystalline silicon cell material in a continuous process atmospheric-pressure furnace. Their presentations and materials tell very little about what they have, making it pretty hard to judge.

This is a very unusual concentrator story involving the use of variable “graded” index glass optics. The work started in the mid 80’s. Solaria Corporation was formed in 1998 by the founders and former management from LightPath Technologies, Inc., Albuquerque, New Mexico. Solaria holds the exclusive license from LightPath to use its proprietary GRADIUM® optics in the field of solar energy.

** These companies presented at the Cleantech Venture Forum in San Francisco, April 30.


Six stalwart UFTO company representatives and yours truly spent the entire day on May 8 at the National Renewable Energy Lab (NREL), in Golden CO.

NREL is the smallest of the DOE national labs, with just over 1000 staff, and an annual budget of $187 million (FY00).. It is also the only lab with a specifically defined mission to advance renewable energy technology. NREL has a number of special purpose facilities and programs in wind, solar (PV and thermal), biomass/bioenergy, hydrogen and advanced transportation vehicles.

One impression that struck us was the strong sense of purpose and commitment that the NREL staff bring to their work. They really seem motivated by a desire to make the world a better place.

In terms of technical content, it was a bit of a drink from a firehose. Each presenter managed in under an hour to encapsulate the state of the art, explain the context and importance, and indicate what NREL’s particular role is.

(Presentations are available for download from the UFTO website–client password required. To access the directory of all presentation files, go to:
Or click on the links below to download individual documents directly.)

Obviously, in this amount of time we were only beginning to scratch the surface–myriad information resources abound on the DOE, NREL and other websites and publications. Best of all, perhaps, was the opportunity to meet the people doing the work, and to be able to recontact them to dig deeper.

Discussions of context and importance reflected a familiar list of driving forces (climate, resources, population, poverty, etc.). Energy demand will grow substantially; oil and gas won’t last forever. Renewables are on a decades-long development cycle that most new technologies (e.g. oil) have experienced in the past. Their cost and performance characteristics are now beginning to reach a point where their use is increasingly entering the mainstream in a major way.

One idea that NREL has been talking about for a couple of years — if the 20th century was the fossil energy century, then perhaps the 21st will be the biological energy century, with “biorefineries” gradually taking the place of oil refineries to provide fuels, chemicals, and myriad other material feedstocks of the economy. It’s definitely a long-term vision, but one can cite several examples where this already happens, e.g. in a paper mill, trees become paper, energy and other products. Another is corn, which becomes ethanol, corn, and livestock feed.

NREL Overview (1.2 mb)
David Warner,
Lee Boughey,
Industry Liaison

Distributed Energy Resources and Hydrogen (820kb)
Tony Schaffhauser,
Director , Distributed Energy Resources Center

This group pursues the linkages of renewables and natural gas with national energy needs through distributed generation. They provide analysis tools, test facilities, resource assessment, and work on standards, codes, and regulatory/institutional issues.

Renewable Resource Data Center (RReDC) provides information on several types of renewable energy resources in the United States, in the form of publications, data, and maps. GIS integration enables overlay of related infrastructures, e.g. pipelines, roads, and transmission lines.

Solar Programs Overview (7mb)
John Benner,

PV Roadmap:

Some key take-aways:
– “Breakthroughs” are not necessary. PV is on track to become a major energy supply via gradual improvement. The range of cost-effective applications is rapidly expanding, with PV energy costing from 10-50¢/kwh. Over the last 20 years, prices have fallen 25% with each doubling of cumulative shipments.
– Silicon PV rides on the shoulders of the semiconductor industry, with all its materials, equipment and manufacturing technology (e.g. the progress from 6″ to 8″ to 12″ wafers). (NREL’s PV lab does research funded by IC companies!) Even amorphous silicon can draw from the flat panels industry. The various thin-film technologies have no such opportunity to leverage better established industry capabilities.
– Thin film, though less efficient, is cheaper, and can fill important niches such as building-integrated PV.
– US market share is dropping. Elsewhere in the world, interest, and government support is leading to faster growth. World wide production is over 400 MW/year.
– There are lots of myths to dispel. For example, some say that huge land areas are required. Answer: existing roofs are more than enough.

Superconductivity (2.8mb)
Richard Blaugher,
Technology Manager, Superconductivity Program

NREL is one six DOE labs that work in superconductivity (SC). The DOE website has a lot of information about the overall effort:
(note in particular “Library” and “Technology Status”)

There are two main thrusts: basic research into new materials and wire or ribbon fabrication methods, and develop superconducting electronic power devices, in collaboration with industry. Devices include transformers, cables, a motor, current limiter and a magnetic separator. (Fact sheets on each one are available under “The Partnership”.) Utilities are involved with several of these projects.

NREL’s own internal R&D includes development of new coating techniques to make HTSC ribbon. One method uses electrodeposition, and recently a dip-coating technique has set new records for current density.

See Blaugher’s excellent review article from 2000 Global Energy Prospects.doc (52kb)

Energy Analysis Overview (3.1mb)
Walter Short,

This group, along with counterparts throughout the lab, studies technology, policy and market issues to support decision making at the program level, lab management, and DOE headquarters. They develop models and tools and perform analyses such as life-cycle cost, technology choice, R&D program prioritization and review, etc.
The website has a lot of good material, including publications and even an online software tool for renewable energy cost estimation.

Enterprise Development Program (1.2mb) (word 300kb)

Marty Murphy,

This unique program supports innovators, recognizing the need for viable small companies as one of the principal mechanisms to carry new technologies forward to commercialization. The website offers an broad array of reference and other materials to help them with all aspects of their business, especially fundraising. Venture investment forums are held around the company. Over 200 companies have presented in past events. NREL has also been instrumental in establishing a new national alliance of incubators around the country which focus on clean energy.

Next event: The 15th NREL Industry Growth Forum
Oct. 29- 30, 2002 in Albany, NY.

Biofuels Overview (1.9mb)
Cindy Riley,
Process Development Leader
Biotechnology Division for Fuels and Chemicals

Ethanol from cellulosic biomass is a key goal of NREL’s. For thousands of years, ethanol has been made by fermentation of sugars and starches; most of today’s US ethanol is made from corn. Most biomass, however, consists of lignin and cellulosic material which has to be broken down first. Various combinations of acids and enzymes are used to convert the cellulose to sugars which then can be fermented. (Lignin remains, and once separated has uses of its own.)

The DOE website gives a good overview of the process:

NREL’s program includes engineering new enzymes and yeasts, process technology, a major test facility, resource analysis, and systems economics studies, with a goal to bring the production cost of bioethanol down to $1/gallon by 2010. Bioethanol, and many various potential coproducts, could be a major realization of the “biorefinery” vision.

Bioenergy Overview (5.3mb)
Rich Bain, Group Manager,
Chemistry for Bioenergy Systems

Following the ethanol story, bioenergy is a far broader topic. Noting there are hundreds of bio-based production facilities in the US already (which already produce over 6000 MW of power), this presentation reviewed many of the huge variety of opportunities within the biorefinery concept, from biodiesel to biopower and gasification at scales ranging from 15 kw to the 200 tons/day Battelle Gasifier.

Tour of the National Wind Test Center (2.4 mb)
Brian Smith, Turbine Program Development,,
Jim Johnson, Site Operations,,

As with solar, Europe leads the US by a wide margin in deployment of windpower, with a total installed capacity nearly four times ours. The economics of wind are steadily improving, and some very large companies are heavily committed. As DOE’s lead laboratory in wind technology development, NREL operates the National Wind Technology Center and manages turbine research programs and applied research activities.

We visited the Center, 30 minutes from NREL, and toured the facilities, which are available to wind turbine manufacturers for equipment test and evaluation.

NREL operates the only full-scale blade testing facility in the U.S. for MW-scale wind turbines. 35 meter length blades are pushed and pulled a million times to find their weak points. The full-system wind turbine drive train testing accommodates up to 2.5 MW turbines. A huge electric motor drive simulates the wind, pushing systems to their limit. This facility in the only one of its kind in the world. In addition, there is a strong gusty wind that comes through a notch in the mountains. This would make a poor production resource, but is an excellent testing environment, as it subjects systems to highly variable and difficult conditions. Full scale turbines of all sizes are installed at the site and monitored in detail. Our group actually got to up inside a 600 kw wind turbine– impressive to say the least, at 120 feet above the ground.

Distributed Energy Resources/Hybrid Test Facility (256kb)
Ben Kroposki,

This facility has a variety of distributed generation technologies, a grid simulator and load banks. It is used to test inverters and interconnection power electronic systems, especially those developed under the DOE Distributed Power Program. Recently, the mission has been expanded to do testing of standards, “testing the test” to see if proposed standards can be used in practice.

IEEE DistGen Stds update

IEEE SCC21 P1547 Web Site Available:

(The first is the html home page, the second one is simply an archive file log.)

The site includes a P1547Background file, a P1547MeetingPattern file explaining meeting logistics, and folders for past and ongoing notices, agendas and minutes. (Meeting minutes “annexes” are not available electronically.)

The January 2000 meeting (Albuquerque NM) minutes have just been posted at the “archives” site. <>

The next meeting is April 26-27, 2000 hosted by Cutler-Hammer in Pittsburgh PA Next after that is June 7-8, 2000, hosted by Capstone Turbines in Los Angeles

Contact is: Tom Basso, 303-384-6765,

(For additional background, see:
UFTO Note – IEEE Stds for DR Interconnection, 09 Jul 1999)


In related developments: (February 10, 2000)

Sandia’s PV News: IEEE Interconnection Standard For Utility-Intertied Photovoltaic Systems Is Approved

An IEEE-sponsored working group has developed an interconnection standard that will simplify the process of interconnecting photovoltaic systems with an electric utility. Photovoltaics (PV) is a solar-electric technology that uses solid-state solar cells to convert solar energy to electric energy. Not only does this standard vastly simplify PV interconnection, but it is the first IEEE standard of its kind for allowing utility interconnections of non-utility-owned distributed generation equipment. The unique aspects of this standard include tightly-defined requirements for the interconnecting hardware that can be tested by an independent test laboratory such as Underwriters Laboratories. This removes former barriers to PV use throughout the country.

John Stevens, Sandia National Labs, chaired the working group, which included about 25 members representing the utility industry, the PV industry, PV inverter manufacturers and PV researchers. The effort was sponsored by IEEE Standards Coordinating Committee 21 (SCC21). It required a little over three years from initial announcement of the project to final approval by the IEEE Standards Board. Its value is that it provides a standard that PV interconnection hardware can be designed to, thus removing the requirement for specialized hardware for different utility jurisdictions. The standard includes very specific requirements for systems of up to 10kW, but it covers systems of all sizes. The IEEE PV interconnection standard, identified as IEEE Std 929-2000, is known informally as IEEE 929.

The standard actually applies to the PV inverter, the device that converts the PV dc energy into utility-compatible ac energy. Similar inverters are used in other distributed generation systems such as fuel cells and microturbines. Many of the requirements for interconnection that are described in IEEE 929 might also be adopted for these other technologies.

IEEE 929 provides guidance for operating voltage and frequency windows, trip times for excursions outside these windows, requirements for waveform distortion, as well as defining a non-islanding inverter. An important parallel effort was performed at Underwriters Laboratories where a test procedure, UL 1741, was written that will verify that an inverter meets the requirements of IEEE 929.

In support of the IEEE 929 process, several development projects were completed at Sandia that addressed interconnection issues. The performance of several inverters operating in parallel when a utility line is de-energized was characterized to better understand the potential for unintended operation during a utility outage (“islanding”). A control scheme was developed to assure that islanding doesn’t happen. A test was developed to allow testing of single inverters to identify the presence, or lack, of an adequate anti-islanding scheme. Several specific tests were performed at the request of some electric utilities to examine such issues as ferroresonance with inverters under fault conditions and response of inverter protection schemes to the non-sinusoidal waveforms that are sometimes associated with abnormal conditions on utility systems.

This working group was an outstanding example of people with different backgrounds working together toward a common goal — simplifying the interconnection procedure. IEEE SCC21, which is chaired by Dick DeBlasio of NREL, has sponsored numerous PV-related standards since its inception in the late 1970s.

For further information on this PV interconnection standard
contact John Stevens,
Sandia PV Projects (505) 844-3698 (phone) (505) 844-6541 (fax)

Fed Energy Mgt Program (FEMP) Videoconf.

FYI — UFTO Notes from the last couple of months are now available on a new page on the UFTO website.

Fed Energy Mgt Program (FEMP) Videoconf.

(Thanks to Scherry Boyer at APS for passing this along.)

Even if you aren’t able to attend the videoconf., the agenda description on the website provides some good information about FEMP and the implementation of the technologies listed below.


TeleFEMP Broadcast VI

Energy Technology Solutions for the 90s and Beyond

Tuesday, June 2

2:00 – 3:30 p.m. EDT

Tune in to this 90-minute video conference and learn how sustainable energy technologies can save energy and dollars at Federal facilities. TeleFEMP Broadcast VI will focus on educating Federal energy managers and facility engineers on the engineering principles and the application of photovoltaics, solar hot water, energy effective lighting and lighting controls, and fuel cells.

Introduction (You Have the Power for Energy Technology Solutions)
Featured Technologies
Solar Hot Water
Energy Effective Lighting and Lighting Control Systems
Fuel Cells

To participate in the video conference, complete and fax the registration
form (Wordperfect [122 Kb] file).

Please send any comments, questions, or suggestions to:

ESA Newsletter

(By special permission from ESA, here is their latest newsletter.)


The ESA has listened to its membership and is being responsive to what the membership says it wants from the ESA. In our survey of ESA members over the last few months, the number one thing you want from the ESA is promotion and a forum so that potential customers are aware of the value and opportunities for including energy storage in their business plans. Energy Storage: It’s About Time! Is the theme for our new brochure and our marketing campaign for the next several years? Our new brochure should be available at the Spring meeting and the ESA staff is hard at work to deliver this message throughout the industry.

Our upcoming meeting in Phoenix is also focusing on the customer. The meeting’s preliminary agenda (mailed last week) includes presentations by power quality customer’s that have incorporated energy storage, electric utility customer’s that are installing energy storage, and fuel cell developers incorporating energy storage into their designs. Along with the exceptional visits to Arizona Public Service Company and Salt River Project (not to mention the amenities available in the Phoenix area), we expect our meeting to have outstanding attendance.
I recently was invited to participate in a plenary session on Alternative Generation and Storage at IEEE’s Winter Power Meeting at Tampa, Florida. I used the opportunity to present our standard ESA electronic presentation (available to any ESA member) and the response was overwhelming. More than 30 participants immediately asked for more information and I suspect several will attend our upcoming meeting in Phoenix. I am more convinced than ever that the interest in energy storage is at an all time high. However, we must be more proactive in delivering our message.

Thus, the objective of our brochure and marketing campaign.

Our membership is reflecting the transition taking place in the electricity business. We are picking up several new members while others have merged, downsized, or gone out of business. We cannot improve without ideas, feedback and commitment from our membership. As always, contact us at any time by phone, fax, and email or via our website and stop in to pay us a visit the next time you are in Washington, DC. Register for the Spring meeting early and do not forget your dues with registration and encourage other business partners, customers, and colleagues to participate in the ESA.

Jon Hurwitch, ESA Executive Director



The Spring 1998 ESA meeting is fast approaching. The preliminary agenda and registration materials are in the mail. As always, we anticipate changes to the agenda, additions and deletions as well as details on the presentations. Updates to meeting program will be available via the ESA world wide web site.

This meeting is shaping up to be very exciting and we hope that you will find the new format refreshing. The Feature Forum is dedicated to presentations on how customers are using energy storage technologies. We have avoided over-booking this session so that the presenters can give longer, more detailed presentations and there is time for questions and answers.

The Fuel Cell Storage Session will both serve to introduce fuel cell technology, a close relative to energy storage, and the potentially interactive relationship between fuel cells and storage, particularly for grid-independent systems. The remaining sessions are broken into the three primary applications for storage, utility, power quality and renewables. In addition to a strong program, we have two tours planned at Salt River Project and Arizona Public Service Company.

ESA/SEIA to Host PV-Battery Storage Discussion at SOLTECH

The Energy Storage Association will be co-sponsoring a session at the SOLTECH meeting on Monday, April 27, 1998. The SOLTECH , Interstate Renewable Energy Council and Utility Photovoltaic Group annual meetings are being held in Orlando, Florida, April 25-30, 1998.

For more information on the panel discussion, please contact the ESA. For information on the SOLTECH meeting contact the Solar Energy Industries Association at 202/383-2670.

————————— EESAT ’98 Meeting

The ESA has received copies of the meeting program and registration and will be distributing them at the meeting in Phoenix. If you need copies ahead of time, please give us a call and we will put them in the mail to you.

Other Upcoming Meetings

Marriott Boca Center, Boca Raton, Florida
For information call, 561/997-2299, or

HydroVision98: Exploring Our New Frontiers
July 28-31, 1998
For information call, 816/931-1311, or. www.hydrovision98com

Powersystems World ’98: Managing your Facility in a New Energy Marketplace
November 7-13, 1998
Santa Clara Convention Center

ESA Participates at IEEE Winter Power Meeting Plenary Session

ESA Executive Director, Jon Hurwitch was one of five invited panelists for the Plenary Session on “Alternative Energy Generation and Storage: Concepts or Becoming Operational Reality?” The other panelists were, Gilbert Cohen, Kramer Junction Company; Douglas Hyde, Green Mountain Energy Resources; Ernesto Terrado, World Bank; and Richard Walker, Central and Southwest Services.

The Plenary Session attracted more than 1000 delegates primary from the U.S. electric utility industry. Jon delivered an abridged Energy Storage Overview presentation which was well received and generated a number of prospective ESA members.


1998 ESA Index

The Energy Storage Association is in the process of updating the ESA Index for 1998. If you have any changes or additions to your listing or that of your colleagues, please forward that information to the ESA as soon as possible. We hope to issue the 1998 Index at the Spring meeting in Phoenix.

1998 ESA Member Directory
This year the ESA will be preparing a directory of its membership that will include a discussion of the products and services offered by member companies. The directory will be available in electronic form via the ESA website.

We are asking members to please send us, preferably in electronic form, a brief write up about the company; information on your energy storage product and services; photos or other graphics, but in particular the company logo; contact name and information; and the URL address for a company website.

ESA Welcomes New Member, KEMA

The Energy Storage Association continues to stretch its membership boundary. In February 1998 KEMA Nederland B.V., a major Dutch utility became the second European ESA member. KEMA has been a participant in the International Energy Agency Annex IX and has its own storage research program. We will all have the opportunity to meet representatives from KEMA and hear more about their interest in energy storage at the ESA meeting in Phoenix.

Omnion and AC Battery Reunited

Delphi and Omnion believe the prospects for AC Battery” power quality products are substantial, particularly in light of the ever-increasing sophistication of manufacturing and data processing operations and the potential power supply problems that may occur as utility deregulation moves forward. AC Battery products offer unique technological advantages over competitive products in the field.

Trace Engineering and Statpower Technologies Announce Merger Plans

Trace Engineering Corporation of Arlington, Washington and Statpower Technologies Corporation of Burnaby, British Columbia, Canada signed a Letter of Intent to merge the two businesses in November of 1997. The merger, expected to be completed in the first quarter of 1998, will result in the world’s leading manufacturer of small electronic power inverters.
According to Trace Engineering President Bill Roppenecker, “Trace and Statpower make an excellent strategic fit. We have complimentary technologies, products, and market strengths. By joining forces we get the critical mass necessary to effectively serve the rapidly growing market for mobile and renewable power sources.”

Trace Engineering and Statpower Technologies develop and manufacture electric power inverters, battery chargers, and other power conversion products for a variety of markets including the recreational vehicle, marine truck, mobile office, backup power, and renewable energy markets.

Department of Energy 1999 Budget Request
The Administration has submitted its fiscal year 1999 budget request to Congress. The House and Senate are expected to begin hearings on the budget this month.

The budget for energy efficiency and renewable energy programs has jumped from $908 million in 1998 to a proposed $1,198 million in 1999. This increase of 32% will help to support the President’s proposed Climate Change Technology Initiative for clean energy research and development.

The budget request breakdown by major program offices is:

$322M – Utility
$167M – Industrial
$293M – Transportation
$ 34M – Federal Energy Management
$317M – Buildings, States & Communities

The energy storage program request for 1999 stands at $6 M up from $3.9 M in 1998, and includes funding for the ESA-backed Storage 2000 initiative. The Energy Storage Association backed the recommendation of the President’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology (PCAST) to increase the energy storage program budget to $20 M in 1999 to support renewable generation and storage programs. The ESA will work with the Sustainable Energy Coalition to continue to push for the PCAST budget recommendations during appropriations hearings in Congress.

Excerpts from the President’s State of The Union Address

In his State of the Union Address in January, President Clinton introduced his proposal for $3.6 billion in tax incentives over the next five years that will go directly to consumers in an effort to get advanced energy efficiency and renewable energy technologies into the marketplace.

Some specific tax credits include:

– 20% credit on purchase price for energy-efficient building equipment which includes: fuel cells, electric heat pump water heaters, advanced natural gas and residential size electric heat pumps, and advanced central air conditions;
– 15% credit for qualified investment up to a maximum of $1,000 for solar water heating systems and $2000 for rooftop photovoltaic systems;
– five year extension of 1.5 cent/kWh tax credit for electricity produced from wind or closed-loop biomass

A copy of the report containing the proposed tax incentives is available via the world wide web at:

The National Regulatory Research Institute Issues Unbundling Report

According to a recent report, Unbundling Generation and Transmission Services for Competitive Electricity Markets: Examining Ancillary Services, the nationwide cost of ancillary services is about $12 billion a year, roughly 10% of the cost of the energy commodity. The report sponsored by the National Regulatory Research Institute and prepared by Oak Ridge National Laboratory is available from NPRI for $29.95 by calling 614/292-9404 (report number NPRI 98-05.)

The report notes that although the utility industry has made substantial progress in identifying and defining the key ancillary services, much remains to be done. Developing metrics, determining costs, and setting pricing rules are important because most ancillary services are produced by the same pieces of equipment that produce the basic electricity commodity. Thus, production of energy and ancillary services is highly interactive, sometimes complementary and sometimes competing. In contrast to today’s typical time-invariant, embedded-cost prices, competitive prices for ancillary services would vary with system loads and spot prices for energy.

The individual ancillary services differ substantially in their features, competitiveness, provision, and pricing. Operating reserves, for example, can likely be provided by competitive markets. The primary supplier cost for this service is the opportunity cost associated with foregone energy sales; significant fuel costs are incurred only when these reserves are called upon to respond to the loss of a major generation or transmission outage.

The report provides an overview of the twelve ancillary services plus details on two of those services, operating reserves and voltage support.

Cara Molinari Joins ESA Staff

On February 17, Switch Technologies welcomed new staff member Cara Molinari. As Executive Assistant, Cara will be taking over the responsibilities of ESA Coordinator including handling communications with members, finance, office administration, meeting planning, library maintenance, and website updates.

Prior to joining Switch, Cara was a Work Assignment Manager and Communications Specialist for Technical Resources International, Inc. of Rockville, Maryland. Cara brings experience in the preparation of communications and marketing materials including newsletters, brochures, and educational materials; and meeting planning to Switch and the ESA. Cara received her BS in Sociology and Italian Studies from St. Joseph’s University. Cara is fluent in Italian and proficient in Spanish and French.

You will have an opportunity to meet Cara in person at the upcoming ESA meeting in Phoenix.

Premium Power RFP Issued

The Department of Commerce, Advanced Technology Program released a request for proposals for premium power technology research and development. The goal of the program is to promote U.S. economic growth by supporting sustained, High-Risk Research and Development to accelerate progress in power technologies critical to changes occurring in information systems, telecommunication, and distributed electric power. Technologies within the scope include advanced rechargeable batteries, photovoltaic arrays, fuel cells, ultracapacitors and flywheels. In FY98, $82 million is available for new projects.

Proposals for the first round are due April 8, 1998. Proposal kits can be obtained by calling the ATP hotline at 800-ATP-FUND or e-mail at: Information on the premium power program is also available via the ATP website at:

JON HURWITCH, Executive Director
LAURA WALTEMATH, Projects Director

Please contact ESA office at:

Linear Concentrator PV system Demonstration

Subject: UFTO Note – Linear Concentrator PV system Demonstration
Date: Wed, 19 Feb 1997 11:15:58 -0800
From: Ed Beardsworth

| ** UFTO ** Edward Beardsworth ** Consultant
| 951 Lincoln Ave. tel 415-328-5670
| Palo Alto CA 94301-3041 fax 415-328-5675

Linear Concentrator PV system Demonstration

Photovoltaics International (PVI) is introducing its first commercial product. It is a 1400 W DC, 12 module concentrating PV panel. They are seeking participants in a demonstration program with an invitation to purchase one of these panels at a reduced price of $4,000.

Their technical approach goes neatly in between flat panel and high concentration, and offers a real prospect for low priced production of reliable systems in the immediate future. The heart of the system is a patented extruded acrylic cylindrical lens that concentrates the sunlight by a factor of about 10 – 15 onto ordinary one-sun Si photocells (with minor modification). The system has none of the special and stringent requirements of high-concentration approaches. For example, it operates with simple self-contained one-axis tracking that is reliable and needn’t be nearly as accurate (within 5-10° instead of >> 1°).

A panel consists of 12 modules linked together to track the sun in unison, and mounted on a lightweight frame that can be readily installed on roofs (without any difficult structural modifications to the building).

Considerable experience has been gained over the last two years of pilot installations at SMUD, Arizona Public Service, and Clean Air Now (S. Calif.) that has been incorporated into the new product design. It is expected that within one to two years, PVI will be able to offer systems at costs significantly lower than flat panel systems now available.

Jim Sahagian, President
PVI, Sunnyvale CA
408-746-3062, fax 408-746-3890, email:

Battery Market Studies from Sandia

Battery Market Studies from Sandia
Aug 14, 1997

Sandia has issued two new reports on markets for batteries:

“Photovoltaic Battery and Charge Controller Market and Applications Survey”, Hammond, Turpin,, SAND96-2900, December 1996

Surveys were conducted with PV system integrators, battery makers, and PV charge controller makers, to a) quantify the market for batteries shipped (in 1995), b) quantify market segments by type and application, c) characterize controllers used in PV systems, d) characterize operating environments for storage components in PV systems, and e) estimate the market in the year 2000.

In 1995, worldwide shipments for PV batteries totalled $300 million, with a U.S. accounting for just over 10%. In either case, system integrators account for no more than 14% of batteries sold for PV.

“Battery Energy Storage Market Feasibility Study”, Akhil and Kraft, SAND97-1275/1 and SAND97-1275/2, July 1997. (The first, 1275/1, is a short version of 25 pages. The second, 1275/2, is the long version, with about 200 pages, which will be available sometime in September.)

The purpose of this study was to quantify the energy storage market for utility applications by surveys of electricity providers, battery storage system vendors, and others. Specifically, goals were a) to gather perceptions in the battery energy storage (BES) and utility industries on desired features and comparison with other storage options; b) to estimate BES markets through the year 2010; and c) to provide Sandia and DOE with inputs to the Energy Storage System Program effort.

Reports can be obtained through NTIS or directly from Sandia. Send requests to Imelda Francis, 505-844-7362, fax 505-844-6972, or:

Note: Real Time Video Tower Monitor

Subject: UFTO Note: Real Time Video Tower Monitor
Date: Fri, 23 Aug 1996 13:58:14 -0700
From: Ed Beardsworth <>

Real Time Video Tower Monitor System

A local company here in Silicon Valley has outlined this new concept and wants to see what the utility industry’s level of interest would be.

Imagine that you could have a video camera on each and every transmission tower, sending real time images that would provide warnings about weather, forest fires, sabotage or other suspicious activity, and mechanical and electrical phenomena at the site. Sensor data could also be provided, such as temperatures, wind, stresses and strains, EM fields, etc.

This is a very different approach to maintaining, operating and monitoring equipment that rarely has a problem, but when it does, the consequences are large. Recall instances where storms have pulled down miles and miles of towers in remote areas where the only access is by helicopter. A decision to take the line out of service might have been possible, avoiding the shock to the rest of the system. Better yet, there may be things that could be done dynamically to minimize damage. At the very least, repairs could be undertaken with far better information about the problems at hand.

Instead of the usual periodic inspections and repairs, we’re talking about real time monitoring. This hasn’t been considered feasible to date (except for very special and isolated situations) because of the high costs and technical challenges, but suppose those problems were solved.

Clearly, this would have to be cheap and readily integrated into operations. The low power devices would not require grid connection–a small battery/PV panel would suffice. The technical details are highly proprietary at this point, but assume for sake of discussion that it really can be done cheaply and reliably.

Suppose it were offered as a service by a third party, who would install and operate the system and provide filtered or analyzed data and alarm condition warnings as appropriate.

The question is, would you be interested in this kind of capability? What would the value be? What would you be willing to pay for such a capability (e.g., $ per month per tower)?

Your reactions and those of experts in your company would be much appreciated.

Contact: Edward Beardsworth, 415-328-5670,

| *** UFTO *** Edward Beardsworth * Consultant |
| 951 Lincoln Ave. tel 415-328-5670 |
| Palo Alto CA 94301-3041 fax 415-328-5675 |