ECN

n-PASHA Alliance Awarded 100MW n-type Technology and Equipment Order for Nexolon Turnkey Project in USA

editor, 19 June 2013

Guetenbach, Germany, June 19, 2013 -- The n-PASHA Alliance (RENA GmbH, ECN and Tempress Systems, Inc.), is pleased to announce today that it has been selected by Nexolon America LLC to provide n-type technology and equipment to its photovoltaic cell production facility in San Antonio, Texas. RENA, with its longtime relationship to Nexolon, is the contractual partner of Nexolon for this 100 MW turnkey project. The n-PASHA technology and equipment is designed to produce breakthrough, next generation n-type high-efficiency cells enabling the production of bi-facial modules. This order is the first phase of a planned 200 MW turnkey project for Nexolon.

Photo: n-PASHA signing ceremony with Nexolon

from left to right: Dr. Jan Bultman (ECN), Dr. Ingrid Romijn (ECN), Ernst Hartmannsgruber (RENA), Jaeho Shin (RENA), Knowles Atehison (Nexolon), Scot Arey (Nexolon), Volker Westermann (RENA), Fokko Pentinga (Tempress), Willem Vermeulen (Tempress) .

Mr. Woojeong Lee, President of Nexolon America LLC commented: “Through evaluation of different technologies we chose the n-PASHA technology because it has proven to deliver high levels of solar cell efficiency and importantly, at an attractive cost structure making the n-PASHA technology highly beneficial with regard to the overall cost of energy produced by solar farms.”

Tempress (The Netherlands), the solar subsidiary of Amtech Systems, Inc. (NASDAQ: ASYS), ECN (The Netherlands) and RENA (Germany) established their Alliance to jointly offer a technology transfer of the n-PASHA n-type bi-facial cell concept developed by ECN. Recent production technology improvements yield average cell efficiencies above 19.5% at competitive production cost. The n-type cells used for bi- facial modules generate electricity from light coming through both the front and rear side of the modules and in this way generate up to 20% more power in solar farms. Additionally, the n-type cells do not suffer from LID (light induced degradation) where power loss is typically three percent for commonly used p- type cells.

Mr. Juergen Gutekunst, CEO of RENA GmbH explains: “n-PASHA technology is the high efficiency technology with excellent cost-benefit ratio. As one of the leading suppliers for wet etching, cleaning and plating processes we optimized our products for applications in the trend setting n-PASHA sequence. n- PASHA helps us and our customer to stay at the cutting edge.”

Mr. Fokko Pentinga, CEO of Amtech Systems, Inc., commented: “We have found that through continued advancement of the n-PASHA technology we deliver a competitive next generation high efficiency solar solution. This is the second order for this technology underscoring the Alliance is on the right technology path as the solar market progresses to higher value solutions. At Tempress, with our industry-leading Alliance partners, we are well-positioned to deliver these advanced technologies to the marketplace. We look forward to working with Nexolon in San Antonio, a solar hub in the USA, on this exciting project.”

Mr. Robert Kleiburg, COO of ECN, commented: “We are very proud that such a prestigious company as Nexolon has chosen ECN’s n-PASHA technology for its new production facility in San Antonio. n-type silicon solar cells are gaining market share rapidly and the Alliance is speeding up the roadmap towards even higher performances. We are looking forward to intensify our collaboration with our alliance partners RENA and Tempress and the n-PASHA community to achieve our common goal to deliver better PV products.”

About Nexolon

Nexolon is the leading solution provider in the solar energy industry. They are advancing to be a global leader in the renewable energy industry by manufacturing central components for solar power generation such as varieties of solar ingots, wafers, cells and modules. Nexolon manufactures the backbone components of solar power generation by procuring raw materials from prestigious global polysilicon makers and by obtaining the latest, state-of-the-art cell and module equipment. Polysilicon is melted down to produce a highly purified silicon cylinder called an ingot which is then sliced into wafers out of which solar cells can be made. A solar module is an arrangement of solar cells. Since the electricity produced from each cell is gathered simultaneously in a solar module, it is possible to generate electricity safely and regularly when installed in areas with ample sunlight. www.nexolon.com .

About ECN

With and for the market, ECN develops knowledge and technology that enable a transition to a sustainable energy system. Countries and their economies develop and grow. To meet the future energy needs, the global energy system needs to become more sustainable. ECN’s groundbreaking renewable energy technologies and knowledge offer businesses and governments economic opportunities and innovative distinctiveness. ECN plays a leading role in energy R&D and policy advice and has gained a strong reputation worldwide in the fields of solar and wind energy, bio-energy, energy efficiency, environmental research and policy studies. Our track record of success is illustrated by the fact that over 60% of all solar modules in the world contain ECN technology and 80% of Europe’s offshore wind farms is realized with R&D and support from ECN. Employing around 500 professionals and having multiple branches in Europe and Asia, ECN works on sustainability every day. www.ecn.nl.

About RENA GmbH

“THE WET PROCESSING COMPANY” RENA regards itself as one of the world's leading suppliers of high-tech equipment and plants, primarily for water treatment and wet chemical surface processing. The areas of application for RENA products – Water Treatment, Renewable Energy, Health & Others – reflect the vital needs of people living in today's industrial society. RENA products are used to treat water, waste water and chemicals and to process surfaces of products such as solar cells, circuit boards and dental implants using wet chemicals or water. RENA produces both standardized machines and systems with guaranteed processes and machines and systems tailored to specific customer requirements. The surfaces of around 50% of solar cells produced worldwide are textured using RENA systems. Alongside solar activities, products for the area of Renewable Energy include energy storage units, efficient combined heat and power plants and waste to energy solutions. Typical products for the field of Health & Others include surface processing systems for dental implants and production systems for milk products. www.rena.com.

About Amtech Systems, Inc.

Amtech Systems, Inc. manufactures capital equipment, including silicon wafer handling automation, thermal processing equipment and related consumables used in fabricating solar cells, LED and semiconductor devices. Semiconductors, or semiconductor chips, are fabricated on silicon wafer substrates, sliced from ingots, and are part of the circuitry, or electronic components, of many products including solar cells, computers, telecommunications devices, automotive products, consumer goods, and industrial automation and control systems. The Company's wafer handling, thermal processing and consumable products currently address the diffusion, oxidation, and deposition steps used in the fabrication of solar cells, LEDs, semiconductors, MEMS and the polishing of newly sliced silicon wafers. www.amtechsystems.com.

Climate adaptation of electricity sector could cost Europe €15-19 billion per year

editor, 22 June 2011

A recent study by Ecorys, in consortium with Energy research Centre of the Netherlands (ECN) and Nuclear Research and consultancy Group (NRG),for the European Commission shows that in order to ‘climate proof’ the European electricity sector, investments between €15 and €19 billion per year could be required. These investments are needed to safeguard electricity generation facilities and infrastructure against the harmful effects of climate change like rising temperatures and water levels.

The IPCC’s Fourth Assessment Report indicates that climate change could seriously affect all aspects of today’s society, including the electricity sector. The impacts of climate change can cause electricity generation facilities and infrastructure to fail, unless operators invest in preventative measures. Ecorys, ECN and NRG have has mapped the size of the impacts of climate change for different electricity generation technologies (conventional electricity generation from fossil fuels, renewable electricity generation and nuclear energy) and electricity grids in Europe including the investments needed to ‘climate proof’ the current and future electricity generation capacity and electricity grids. The study shows that the annual investments costs are between €15-19 billion per year until 2080 under the constraint of limiting global temperature increase to 2ºC by 2100. The additional costs as a consequence of climate change will amount to €1.5 to €2.6 billion for nuclear power plants, €3.0 to €4,3 billion for fossil fuel based power generation, €4.9 to €5.5 billion for renewable electricity generation, and €4.0 to €4.9 billion for electricity grids.

Recent events in Japan have fuelled the debate on the safety of nuclear energy

In March 2011 the largest earthquake in the recorded history of Japan has taken place. Besides the human disaster the earthquake devastated the civil infrastructure and vital installations of the energy sector. The result is a forced shutdown of 9.7 GW nuclear capacity (=5.7% of national generation), the forced shutdown of 9.5 GW conventional generated electricity capacity and significant damage to the grid infrastructure. The developments in Japan fed the debate about the future of nuclear energy within Europe which is closely followed by the European Commission and national government officials. Hence, the impact of extreme weather events on the safety and normal functioning of nuclear energy generation is high on the political agenda and forms a key constituent of the forthcoming comprehensive safety and risk assessments of all EU nuclear power plants, coordinated by the European Commission. Climate change is expected to have an enormous impact on the energy sector. Considerable investments in dykes, infrastructure and protection measures will be necessary to adapt to future impacts of climate change and to ‘climate proof’ the European electricity sector. This study has shown that the need to adapt electricity generation and transmission infrastructures to the effects of climate change is not limited at all to the nuclear sector.

New methodology

Within this study the consortium has developed a new methodology for measuring the required investments for different future situations based on climate change scenario’s and sector growth projections, in which climate change effects can be linked to investments/cost impacts on a sector level. Based on climate change indicators, some scenarios have been developed for different climatic zones within Europe.

The complete report can be found at http://ec.europa.eu/energy/nuclear/studies/nuclear_en.htm

New European project helps EU meet its renewable energy targets at lower cumulative costs

editor, 23 March 2011

The project “Cost-efficient and sustainable deployment of Renewable Energy Sources (RES) towards the EU 20% target by 2020, and beyond (RES4LESS)” was approved by the EU Programme Intelligent Energy Europe and has officially kicked-off in January 2011.

ECN and NRG express their sympathy

The main objective of the RES4LESS project - "more renewable energy in Europe at less cost" - is to develop a Roadmap to a cost effective deployment of RES in the period up to 2020 and 2030. The result will be more renewables against lower cumulative cost as compared to the Member States’ "do it yourself’ approach in reaching the national renewables targets.

Through a combination of scientific research and wide-reaching stakeholder consultation, the project will deliver a methodology to identify and promote the development of renewable energy Valleys of Opportunity, under the different cooperation schemes indicated by the Directive 2009/28/EC. It will furthermore address grid issues of developing such Valleys of Opportunity and what needs to be done at EU and national level to trigger cooperation between Member States. The key results will be summarized into a final Roadmap for the deployment of RES for the time periods 2010 to 2020 and 2020 to 2030.

Other important activities within the project will be to provide input to the NREAP progress reports and offer technical assistance to the RES Concerted Action initiative.

ECN coordinates

RES4LESS is 2-year collaborative research and development project, coordinated by the Energy research Centre of the Netherlands (ECN). Consortium partners include: Technical University of Denmark (DTU)- Denmark, IT POWER- UK, Enviros - Czech Republic, Institute for Applied Ecology (Oeko Institute)- Germany, Centre for Promotion of Clean and Efficient Energy in Romania (ENERO), CIEMAT - Spain.

Additional information about the project can be obtained soon from www.res4less.eu and from the project coordinator (ECN) via: Paul van den Oosterkamp (e-mail: vandenoosterkamp@remove-this-part-ecn.nl, tel. +31 224 564036.

ECN response to incidents in Japan

editor, 18 March 2011

In the light of the incidents in Japan, ECN and NRG, ECN’s daughter company, are currently busy providing all media and other interested parties with information about nuclear energy and radiation. ECN’s involvement entails (research on) nuclear energy in relation to the total fuel mix.

ECN and NRG express their sympathy

The catastrophic earth quake and subsequent tsunami in Japan have led to a worrisome situation in this country, including for a number of nuclear power plants that are located in the area. It is barely possible to conceive the impact of a combined natural disaster of such a magnitude.

We sympathise enormously with the people of Japan. Naturally, we are very much aware of the sensitivity that will be incited among the Dutch population as a result of this incident. All organisations that are part of 'Nucleair Nederland' (www.nucleairnederland.nl), in which NRG is also involved, are offering their expertise in providing the media and interested parties with factual information to the best of their ability.

The role of ECN in nuclear energy

ECN is also involved in (research on) nuclear energy in relation to other types of energy supply. Since 2005, ECN Policy Studies has conducted a number of specific studies on nuclear energy. You can find these reports on our website under the heading ‘ECN and nuclear energy' on our homepage.

Renewable energy share in European Union increased to 11,6% in 2009

editor, 23 February 2011

The new EurObserv'ER report "The state of renewable energy in Europe" presents an estimate for the share of renewable energy in overall energy consumption in Europe. This share is estimated at 11.6% for 2009, compared to 10.4% in 2008. EurObserv'ER is a cooperation body of experts in the field of renewable energy that reports at national and European level, in support of European policy.

The Energy research Centre of the Netherlands (ECN) is a consortium partner in the EurObserv’ER project and contributes with various activities, including supplying Dutch figures on the development of renewable energy in the previous year. As well as the figures on turnover and employment in this sector. Those figures for the Netherlands are reflected in the January report issued by ECN.

The increase of 1.2 percentage points of the renewable energy share in gross final energy consumption results in a renewable energy consumption of 131.7 million tonnes of oil equivalent (Mtoe) in 2009 (up 6.3 Mtoe) of a total of 1136.4 Mtoe in real terms. This result of the growth in the share observed in 2009, despite impressive growth in some renewable sectors, cannot be attributed to the rise in renewably-sourced final energy consumption alone but instead stems for more than half from a drop in total gross final energy consumption.

Key data

Moreover the report presents for the year 2009 in the EU the following key data:

- Renewable energy share in total electricity consumption: 18.2%

- Renewable energy employment: 912 thousand jobs

- Renewable energy turnover: 120 billion euro

ECN to advise Kuwait

editor, 22 February 2011

Energy research Centre of the Netherlands (ECN) will become advisor of the Kuwait Institute for Scientific Research (KISR). ECN will offer KISR advice and support in setting up and equipping a test facility for Photovoltaic (PV) systems. On 1 February ECN and KISR signed a technical cooperation agreement for this purpose. KISR will use this test facility to test solar panels and accompanying electronics for efficiency and endurance under extreme Kuwaiti conditions.

KISR is still at the early stage of sustainable technology research in Kuwait. Kuwait currently does not produce electricity with PV systems. The government of Kuwait commissioned KISR, an organisation that is similar to ECN, to acquire knowledge about PV. The ultimate goal of KISR is to be able to advise the industry and consumers of Kuwait on PV.

The advisory activities also include training of staff at KISR, the Ministry of Electricity and Water, and the Ministry of Education. Last January a delegation of ECN visited Kuwait to give a training on PV systems. ECN will also cooperate with KISR in developing a roadmap for sustainable energy.

It offers both KISR and ECN an excellent opportunity to test different solar panels in practise under the extreme weather conditions of a desert area, involving heat, sand and cold. It is the intention to conduct more joint projects in the field of sustainable energy in the future. Technologies that have reached a mature stage at ECN can subsequently be implemented in Kuwait. The collaboration with KISR is not only an important link in the sale of ECN know-how to Kuwait; it is also a boost for the Dutch economy.

The first contacts with ECN were made in 2009. Representatives of KISR came in contact with ECN employees after attending a presentation held by ECN Solar at a Solar conference. After some exploratory discussions it soon became clear that ECN has a lot to offer to KISR.

ECN receives IEC Certification for Metal Wrap Through Solar Panels

editor, 21 February 2011

ECN, the Energy research Centre of the Netherlands, announces that it has achieved the IEC 61215 industry standard certification for their Metal Wrap Through (MWT) module technology, in collaboration with and on behalf of an undisclosed solar PV company. The certification is the first milestone of a collaborative research framework agreement. This certificate allows sales of PV modules based on ECN's module technology to commercial projects.

Paul Wyers, Manager ECN Solar Energy: “After years of development we were not only confident about the performance, but also about the robustness of our back-contact modules. The back-contact module production method is beyond state-of-the-art. We use materials that are new for crystalline silicon modules, such as conductive adhesives and conductive back-sheets. We are very happy that our MWT module technology has been awarded the certificate by TÜV-SÜD and we are confident that modules with this technology will be sold in the near future.”

MWT modules combine high-speed manufacturability with 4-5% higher output power when compared with state-of-the-art. By using this technology, ECN was the first to reach 17.0% module efficiency using multi-crystalline silicon solar cells in December 2009. The IEC 61215 certificate shows that the MWT technology is designed for reliable energy generation over a period exceeding 25 years.

The specialized module assembly equipment, which can be used to manufacture modules using all types of back-contact cells, has been developed in co-operation with Eurotron, a Dutch based manufacturer and supplier of handling equipment for module assembly. “From the moment we started with promoting our equipment in 2008, there has been strong interest in this unique technology”, says Bram Verschoor, commercial director of Eurotron. “The MWT module certification allows us to sell turn-key production lines. A single Eurotron line is capable of assembling 150MWp of MWT modules per year with a footprint comparable with a 20MWp tabber stringer”

IEC 61215 is a recognized industry standard that verifies that the modules have passed the required series of tests and are suitable for long-term operation in a wide range of outdoor climates. These tests examine the important technical requirements for photovoltaic modules, namely reliability, durability, efficiency, electrical and performance degradation over time. IEC certification for photovoltaic modules is a requirement for sales to the global market.

August 2010

ECN report on Renewable Energy Action Plans of all 27 European Member States

editor, 03 February 2011

On 31 January 2011, the European Commission presented its ‘Communication on the progress of renewable energy in the European Union’. Among others it shows that the 2020 renewable energy policy goals are likely to be met and even exceeded if Member States fully implement their National Renewable Energy Action Plans (NREAPs). The Energy research Centre of the Netherlands (ECN) compiled a database and data report on the NREAPs, commissioned by the European Environment Agency (EEA). This report has proven to be useful in accessing and evaluating the renewable energy projections and is referred to in the above-mentioned Communication from the European Commission.

ECN has released a final update of the report on the Renewable Energy Action Plans as submitted to the Commission by the European Member States. The report and the updated database are available from www.ecn.nl/nreap, covering all 27 European Member States. A summary report is available as well.

The report presents detailed data for all 27 EU Member States, including the resulting aggregate EU-27 figures. Parameters presented are: gross final energy consumption, all renewable technologies (renewable electricity, renewable heating and cooling and renewable transport) and per-country summary tables. Moreover, derived indicators allow to compare the country projections on a per-capita or a per-surface base.

EU targets can be met

Europe has committed itself to obtaining 20% of its energy from renewable sources by 2020. An analysis of key data extracted from the NREAP’s shows that renewable energy production is projected to increase from 99 million tonnes of oil equivalent (Mtoe) in 2005 to 245 Mtoe in 2020 (an average annual growth rate of 6% per year). According to the action plans the strongest growth will occur in wind power, solar electricity, geothermal heat, heat pumps and biofuels. In fact, the EU will even slightly exceed its 20% renewable energy target (0.7%), if all Member States follow the trajectory they have outlined in their plans.

The EEA has supported the compilation of the data report and the database that holds key data from all the National Renewable Energy Action Plans (NREAPs). By publicly offering these data, the audience is encouraged to conduct its own analysis and to use the data for other purposes. Based on the evaluation of the data, the ECN/EEA report indicates that:

• Electricity will make up 42% of total renewable energy production, with wind power supplying 41% of renewable electricity;

• 46 % of all renewable energy production will be used for heating and cooling, with biomass accounting for 78 % renewable heating and cooling output;

• Transport will account for the smallest proportion of renewable energy production (12 %), but is the fastest growing demand sector between 2005 and 2020.

The figures in the database are all available as separate image files. The figure below highlights the projected breakdown in renewable energy consumption for all 27 European Member States by the year 2020, based on the findings of the report.

Renewable energy provided in 2009 for the first time in excess of 10,000 direct jobs

editor, 28 January 2011

In the framework of the EU project EurObserv’ER, Energy research Centre of the Netherlands (ECN) analysed the turnover and employment of renewable energy companies in the Netherlands.

The analysis is an inventory of in particular companies that are active in wind energy, solar energy, biofuels, other biomass, the renewable fraction of energy from municipal solid waste combustion, and geothermal energy. ECN estimates the turnover in the Netherlands at € 3.8 billion. The estimate of the total employment is in excess of 10,000 direct jobs. The growth in 2009 was approximately 25%. The indirect employment amounts to another 9,000 jobs.

The turnover and employment of renewable energy companies is largely related to the sectors solar PV (photovoltaic systems), energy from the biogenic fraction of municipal solid waste, wind energy, and solar thermal energy (for hot water).

The data in the ECN study are conveyed in the EU-wide EurObserv’ER publication ‘The State of Renewables in Europe’ which will be published in early February 2011 on www.eurobserv-er.org.

The report can be found on the ECN website, ECN number ECN-E--10-089.

For more information, please contact, tel. +31 (0) 224-564418, mail address: lako@remove-this-part-ecn.nl.