Solar Latest News Round-Up Issue 17

This issue covers:

Solar Cities Plan for India

 As part of plans to cope with the urban transformation of India and ensure the long term sustainability of cities, the country’s Ministry of New & Renewable Energy has reiterated its scheme for the development of solar cities.

So far, 60 cities have been proposed for the solar cities programme and 48 of these have been approved. 31 cities have received in-principle approval for planning schemes with master plans for 11 cities now drafted and the first solar cells being established.

The Ministry’s aim is becoming a world leader in the use of renewables to sustain economic development.

It is forecast that 41% of India’s population is expected to live in urban areas by 2030, compared to 31%. Currently, burgeoning demand for energy means cities are facing significant electricity shortages. More details at


Multifunction PV Tester Helps to Complete Iconic PV Project

 One of the UK’s largest and most complex building-integrated photovoltaic systems has been completed and in the process helped to pioneer the use of unique new PV electrical test instrumentation.

 The new 240kWp rooftop PV system installed on London’s iconic King’s Cross railway station has recently been switched on, marking full commissioning of the new £1.3m project.

In carrying out the PV system design and installation work at Kings Cross, Sundog Energy became the first solar PV contractor to use the new multifunction Seaward Solar Installation PV tester on a major scheme.

The specialist Seaward PV electrical tester is a dedicated all in one combination tester for solar panel installation. It is capable of carrying out all electrical tests required by BS EN 62446 on grid connected PV systems and eliminates the need for multiple test instruments for PV panel electrical installation and connection.

With the push of a single button the new combination tester carries out the required sequence of electrical tests in a safe and controlled manner, avoiding the risk of contact with exposed live DC conductors.

The PV project formed part of a larger £550 million redevelopment programme at the station. As part of the renovation, 1,392 custom-made glass laminate solar panels were incorporated into the roof structure. They will help to generate an estimated 175,000 kWh of solar power per annum which will provide around 10% of the station’s electricity demand.

Martin Cotterell, the founder and chairman of Sundog Energy, said: “King’s Cross has been a fantastic project to work on – but also a labour of love. 

“The sheer scale of the installation has presented many major technical and aesthetic design challenges from day one and there has been no margin for error as the work had to be undertaken whist the station remained fully operational.”

Read more about our PV150 Solar Installation Test Kit.


Market forecast for Japan’s PV sector

 A new report looks at the PV market in Japan with forward predictions of changing market segmentation in the next few years.

The 41 page ‘Japan PV Market, 2012-2016’ analysis from Greentech Media provides in-depth market landscapes as well as an understanding of incentives, value chains, sales channels, market players, projections, and strategies for market entry and survival.

In July, 2012, Japan´s Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry (METI) introduced a restructured feed-in tariff in order to spike investments in large-scale renewable energy and photovoltaics. As a result market segmentation and development in Japan are anticipated to change significantly in the near future, with significant change forecast by 2013 shifting towards commercial, industrial, and small and large utility markets.

The report considers these trends and projections, alongside company analyses of the major companies involved in Japan’s solar PV sector.

More details at


Advanced irradiance meters in the spotlight

 A special instructional film shows how a new range of multifunction irradiance meters enable installers to carry out comprehensive solar PV site surveys and installation testing quickly and easily.

The new Solar Survey meters from Seaward Solar combine high performance irradiance measurement with a host of other features. A special film guide for users is available at

Both the Solar Survey 100 and 200R instruments incorporate a precision PV cell sensor for the highly accurate irradiance measurement, displaying results in either Wm-2 or BTU/hr-ft2 and making them ideal for solar PV and solar thermal site surveys, as well as installation and performance testing.

Uniquely, the new multi function units also incorporate a digital compass, a digital inclination measurement and a dual channel precision thermometer.

These special features enable the user to quickly identify the location where maximum levels of solar power can be collected and accurately measure irradiance, roof pitch, orientation and both ambient air and PV module temperature.

Both the 100 and 200R incorporate a display hold feature to allow readings to be captured in difficult locations. The Solar Survey 200R has the added benefit of a large internal memory and USB interface for the downloading of results to a PC, for shading analysis.

These additional features in the 200R form part of a special wireless Solarlink capability providing wireless connectivity with the Seaward Solar PV150 electrical installation tester. This enables real-time irradiance to be displayed and measured at the same time as electrical testing is being undertaken.

This means that irradiance, module and ambient temperature can be recorded in real time within the PV150 as the electrical tests are conducted, making testing much quicker and so simple complete testing can be carried out by one person. 


Survey Says Solar PV Systems Still Good Value in the UK

 New data from the Energy Saving Trust has revealed that the average combined savings and income made from households installing solar PV panels has increased by nearly £100.

Previous data, prior to 1 November 2012, indicated that the average combined savings and income for households installing solar PV panels was around £540 per year; however, new figures show this has increased to £635.

Energy Saving Trust, who assessed the data, indicate that the main reason for this increase in income and savings is due to the average size of the solar PV installations increasing, even though the feed-in tariff rate has dropped.

Ian Cuthbert, renewables expert from the Energy Saving Trust, said, “The average size of solar PV installations has increased from 3kWp to 3.5kWP, which basically means households are generating more electricity and therefore more savings and feed-in tariff income. It is clear that UK households are increasingly looking to get the maximum yield for their roof to maximise the benefits of the solar installation.

“We hope the latest data and figures will provide householders, whose homes are appropriate for solar panels, with the reassurance that they will be making significant savings and income as a result of the installation. More details at


Germany’s Solar PV Contribution Grows

The share of solar power in Germany’s energy mix has risen 50% on the back of increased photovoltaic installation activity and a high number of sunshine hours.

Germany installed 1.85 GW of new photovoltaics between July and September 2012, contributing to the overall increased contribution of renewables to the country’s energy output in the first nine months of 2012.

According to the German Association of Energy and Water Industries (BDEW), 24.9 billion kWh of solar energy were produced in Germany in the first three quarters of 2012. This compares to the 16.5 billion kWh seen in the first nine months of 2011.

The increase is said to be due to the continued strong growth in newly installed photovoltaic plants and the favourable sunlight conditions seen this year.

The BDEW said that in September alone, more solar energy was generated than in any month in 2011. Overall, the share of photovoltaics in Germany has risen from 4.1 to 6.1% within the last year. Consequently, photovoltaics is the most important renewable energy source in the country, after wind, which saw its contribution rise from 8 to 8.6% in the same period.

In the first nine months of the year, renewables accounted for around 26% of Germany’s electricity mix. More at


UK PV Ambition is 22GW by 2020

 UK Energy and Climate Change Minister Greg Barker has again publicly declared his desire to see the UK solar market reach 22GW by 2020.

However, he said the target was only aspirational and would depend on the solar industry´s ability to continue driving down costs.

During parliamentary questions, Shadow Energy Secretary Caroline Flint called on Barker to include his 22GW solar ambition in the upcoming renewables energy roadmap, stating: “As installations flatline, Ministers have clung to the line that their plans will allow 4 million homes to be solar powered, with 22GW of solar to be installed by 2020.

“Will the plan for 22GW, which was announced in April, still be the government’s policy when they publish their renewable road map, or does he now accept that, because of his cuts, Britain will not reach that target for at least another 30 years?”

Barker responded: “What we said about deployment rates is that we have the potential to deploy 22GW if we can continue to drive down the cost of solar.”

The Minister continued: “22GW is certainly our ambition, but in order to meet that ambition we need not just deployment, but deployment at a level that the country can afford.”

More at


Oxford University’s Low Cost PV Technology

Oxford University researchers have developed PV technology that has the potential to deliver low cost, efficient solar cells that can be readily incorporated into glass building facades.

Results published in the journal Science describe the development of a new low cost-performance photovoltaic solution. The technology makes use of a simple manufacturing process with inexpensive and abundant raw materials.

Prototypes of the new Meso-Superstructured Solar Cells (MSSC) demonstrated in the journal have already achieved an efficiency of 10.9%.

The technology has been exclusively licensed by Isis Innovation Ltd., the Technology Transfer company of the University of Oxford, to Oxford Photovoltaics Ltd (Oxford PV) which was spun out by Isis in December 2010.

CEO Kevin Arthur said: “This new class of solar cells will deliver a massively scaleable product firstly for the building integrated market and, as energy conversion performance improves further, for other high volume PV applications. Ultimately we envisage this technology competing directly with grid delivered electricity.”


And finally...Come and see us at Renewable Energy

Visit us at the free Renewable Energy Exhibition, Japan, where we will be showcasing our Seaward Solar PV Testing range.

Renewable Energy

Venue: CNT Inc. FORECAST Kandasudacho 4F., 1-24-3 Kanda Suda-cho, Chiyoda-ku, Tokyo 101-0041, Japan
Date: 5-7th December 2012

For more information visit

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