If They Can Do This In Greenville, Why Not Cleveland???

Submitted by Charles Frost on Mon, 12/31/2007 - 09:10.

If They Can Do This In Greenville, Why Not Cleveland???
Sunday, December 30, 2007

Story of the Year
A year of ups and downs for solar panel manufacturer

rjeltema [at] staffordgroup [dot] com
Assistant News Editor

This year was up and down for Greenville's newest major industry, United Solar Ovonic.

The Auburn Hills-based solar panel manufacturer opened the first of its two Greenville plants in the fall while recording a significant sales increase. United Solar Ovonic's parent company, Energy Conversion Devices (ECD) of Rochester Hills, still fell well short of profitability, however, and two accidents at the first plant caused disruptions to the surrounding area.

ECD also experienced a major shift in management with founder and inventor Stanford Ovshinsky retiring in August followed by Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Robert Stempel in November. They were replaced by former United Technologies Corp. executive Mark Morelli amid a major restructuring effort.

With hopes for the local economy pinned on United Solar Ovonic, the company's quiet opening of the first local plant in Greenville's new industrial park north of VanDeinse Avenue on Nov. 1 was greeted with relief.

Meanwhile, construction is continuing on the second nearly identical plant next door with an opening slated for sometime next summer.

Each plant employs about 200 workers. Michigan Works began the hiring process for 70 workers last June.

Company officials declined to discuss progress on the plants after springtime.

Stempel told the audience during a statewide alternative energy conference in April that two more solar panel plants are "on the drawing board" for the company but would not disclose where they would be built and when they would be officially announced.

He said other cities and states continue making pitches to the company to locate plants in their areas.

"We're down to the final selection stage," Stempel said. "There's a lot of pushing to put the plant here or there. People see the scope of what we're doing and what it could bring for them and obviously they're interested."

He said company officials are pleased with the progress of both Greenville plants, which could bode well for locating the new facilities here. Construction on the second plant is coming along better than the first due to some lessons learned during construction.

"It's looking pretty nice. We're on schedule," Stempel said. "We've had a very good relationship with the city and that certainly is a plus."
 The positive feelings surrounding the opening didn't last long.

A minor explosion in the pump room blew off an exterior wall panel on Building 1 just before 8 a.m. Nov. 21. Emergency responders determined the blast was caused by a "procedural error" when an employee improperly left a valve open. No hazardous materials were released into the air endangering the public.

"It was an overpressure explosion," said United Solar Ovonic Senior Vice President Jay Knoll. "It was caused by a failure to close a valve during a routine system changeover."

All 153 employees inside the building were evacuated. No injuries were reported.

Less than two weeks later, everyone within a one-mile radius of Building 1, including hundreds of people attending Greenville Community Church's morning worship service, were evacuated Dec. 2 after a report of a gas leak at the plant.

"We were in the middle of the service," said Joel Heron, lead pastor at the church. "I was actually preaching at the time."

Greenville Department of Public Safety Director Michael Stuck said residents were able to return to their homes about an hour after being evacuated.

"Their (United Solar Ovonic's) safety control system did exactly what it was supposed to do," he said.

Knoll blamed the mishap on an exhaust stack, used to vent gases between Buildings 1 and 2, springing a leak.

"We're working out the bugs of the plant," he said.
 United Solar Ovonic announced one of its largest sales to date on July 24, a three-year distributor agreement to provide Advanced Green Technologies Inc. in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., with $108 million of photovoltaic solar panels.

"We are convinced that our relationship with Advanced Green Technologies will further successful installations of building integrated solar power systems and demonstrate the use of Uni-Solar products for improved energy self-reliance," said United Solar Ovonic President and Chief Operating Officer Subhendu Guha.

The company also gave a sneak peek into its new residential solar system on a Habitat for Humanity house in Traverse City during the National Governors' Association meetings in July. Governors of several states participated in building a Habitat home powered by Uni-Solar panels.

"United Solar Ovonic's contribution to our project aids us in our mission to build high quality, energy-efficient homes at the lowest possible cost and we are grateful," said Ken Bensen, Michigan's Habitat for Humanity president. "We look forward to seeing Uni-Solar solutions on Habitat homes throughout the world."

Guha said the system will be released to the public soon.
 United Solar Ovonic also expanded overseas in 2007, entering the Chinese marketplace with a joint venture with Tianjin Jinneng Investment Co. (TJIC) of Tianjin, China, to open a photovoltaic solar panel manufacturing facility in the city of 4.5 million people.

The plant will have a capacity of manufacturing enough solar panels annually to generate 30 megawatts of electricity without affecting the company's plans in Greenville.

Guha said the company still plans to produce mile-long rolls of solar panels, cut them into nine- by 14-inch sections and implant electrodes in Greenville. The parts then will be shipped to the Chinese plant or a similar plant in Tijuana, Mexico, to be assembled into strips of solar roof laminates or other products and covered with a protective plastic coating.

He said the China and Mexico operations were on the drawing board well before United Solar Ovonic announced plans to locate in Greenville.

"The Chinese market is going to expand rapidly and we have to be there," Guha said.

Under Chinese trade laws "we cannot sell products in China unless we have a manufacturing presence," he said.
 Still, despite all United Solar Ovonic's growth in production and sales, the company's profits have not been able to keep pace.

United Solar Ovonic posted a $2 million profit for the fiscal year that ended June 30, down from $8.2 million a yea earlier.

However, sales grew 11 percent during that same span to $91.5 million due to robust European sales and ramping up production capacity. With the addition of a second plant in Auburn Hills, solar panel manufacturing capacity increased from 28 megawatts to 58 megawatts annually. That is expected to triple during the current fiscal year with the addition of both Greenville plants.

"Going forward, improvements in the energy conversion efficiency of our products and our cost-reduction initiatives will drive gross margin improvement," said James Metzger, ECD's executive vice president and chief operating officer.

He said a $19 million grant from the U.S. Department of Energy's Solar America Initiative will help accelerate improvements in products during the next fiscal year and beyond.

United Solar Ovonic projects a sales increase to from $205 million to $225 million over the current fiscal year, more than double that of the previous year.

The first fiscal quarter was a good start.

United Solar Ovonic reported $41.9 million in revenue during the three-month period, which ended Sept. 30. That represents a 76 percent increase over last year's first quarter.

Morelli noted that supply agreements and product commitments for the second quarter exceed United Solar Ovonic's current capacity.

"Our laminates continue to gain momentum in the marketplace, as demonstrated by our growing pipeline of business," he said. "I am encouraged by our opportunities and our progress."

From the Greenville Michigan Daily News: http://www.thedailynews.cc/main.asp?SectionID=2&subsectionID=11&articleID=17864

( categories: )

Polysilicon

The magic word seems to be Polysilicon.  What are the implications for American photovoltaic production? 

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Title = {CHINA SOLAR PANEL SUPPLIERS SET TO LOWER OR STABILIZE PRICES. (Cover story)},
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URL = {http://search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&db=buh&AN=28025768&loginpage=Login.asp&site=ehost-live},
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Silicon Solar is 50 Year Old Technology

Here is an article showing photos from the 50's: http://www.porticus.org/bell/belllabs_photovoltaics.html

Polysilicon is simply a variotion on that 50 year old theme.

The "thin-film" PV revolution is the only one that has a chance to reach the golden goal of grid parity......

 "Grid parity, the point at which photovoltaic electricity is equal to or cheaper than grid power, is achieved first in areas with abundant sun and high costs for electricity such as in California and Japan.[66] Grid parity has been reached in Hawaii and other islands that otherwise use diesel fuel to produce electricity. George W. Bush has set 2015 as the date for grid parity in the USA.[67][68] General Electric's Chief Engineer predicts grid parity without subsidies in sunny parts of the United States by around 2015. Other companies predict an earlier date.[3]

In Italy, PV power has been cheaper than retail grid electricity since 2006. One kWh in Italy costs 21.08  €-cents. [4] Italy has an average of 1,600 kWh/m² sun power per year (Sicily has even more, at 1,800 kWh/m²)."

From: http://72.14.205.104/search?q=cache:gF5oVXIGcekJ:en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Photovoltaics+%22grid+parity%22&hl=en&ct=clnk&cd=1&gl=us

There are a number of companies producing thin film PV, and I believe that Uni-Solar is the best of them, mainly because their roll to roll process is better than their competitors who deposit their thin film PV material on heavy panes of (fragile) glass. The Uni-Solar people use a thin sheet of stainless steel instead. With the result being that their product is much lighter, virtually unbreakable, and is more effiecient at generating electricity to boot. There is a nice illustrative photo here: http://www.renewables.net/solar_panels.html (scroll down at the very bottom of the page).

 

Who dropped the ball?

  Uni-solar has offices in Michigan with position openings for engineers...why did they choose Michigan!!!!

What competitive advantages can Cleveland offer companies in the field of alternative energy?  Water supply, port and transportation, salt industry, steel production, talent??  What are the DISADVANTAGES of Cleveland as a location?  I am just getting back to your original question. 

Who dropped the ball!!

Does it have anything to do with the supply of silicon and manufacturing of polysilicon?

Toledo is looking good

Could it be capitalizing on the growing solar industry in Michigan?  Toledo was once a world leader in the glass industry.  It is rising again like a Phoenix.   Michigan and Ohio once fought a war over Toledo.

 Looks like Michigan won the war!

NBC Video of Green Jobs In Greenville Michigan

http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/3032619/#28780000

---------------------------------- 

By refusing to deal honorably with others, you dishonor yourself.

Wind, solar power components may fuel Michigan's economy

Wind, solar power components may fuel
Michigan's economy

 

Posted by WHITNEY LLOYD | Capital News Service January 18, 2008 14:25PM

 

Categories: Environment

 

LANSING -- The vacant factories that pockmark
Michigan's decaying industrial landscape loom large in laid-off workers' minds.

 

They are blighted reminders of the good old days and an easier, gentler circle of life, a time when it was possible for a young man to join his father on the assembly line, ensuring a middle-class life for his children -- children who would soon take their place alongside him on the line.

 

With
Michigan now leading the nation in unemployment, this circle seems as broken as the rusted gates that stand sentry over those now-silent factories.

 

This was the case in Greenville three years ago when
Montcalm County's biggest employer, Electrolux Home Products Inc., shuttered its doors and shipped its manufacturing jobs to South Carolina and
Mexico. The area lost more than 7,000 jobs.

 

It was the end of an era -- or so it seemed.

 

Now, however,
Greenville is home to a United Solar Ovonics -- Unisolar -- plant. The Auburn Hills-based company manufactures thin, flexible stainless steel solar panels and currently employees 800 people across the state, says Mac McNeer of Unisolar.

 

Last year, the company collected $98.4 million in revenue and is expected to more than double that this year, McNeer said. Company projections indicate that Unisolar could take in as much as $225 million in 2008.

 

Greenville is now a leader in the production of alternative energy components -- an industry that manufacturing leaders, economists and energy experts say could be the next big boom in
Michigan's economy.

 

James Epolito, chief executive officer of Michigan Economic Development Corp., says alternative energy is becoming an ever-more viable solution to the world's energy woes.

 

And Dan Radomski, vice president of industry services at NextEnergy in
Detroit, a nonprofit organization founded to promote the alternative energy industry in the state, says that alternative energy is also a diversified sector with opportunities for expansion in solar energy, wind manufacturing, biofuel production and advanced battery technology.

 

Both Epolito and Radomski say
Michigan's manufacturing legacy makes it particularly well-positioned to take advantage of economic opportunities in the alternative energy industry.

 

"
Michigan is the center of manufacturing," Epolito says. "Manufacturing is in our DNA. We have to capture the manufacturing of this diversified product in our diversified environment."

 

Workers laid off from other manufacturing jobs already have skills in design, engineering, manufacturing and assembly that are attractive to alternative energy companies in need of a skilled workforce, Radomski says.

 

Beyond its skilled workers,
Michigan also has a pre-existing manufacturing infrastructure. Factories currently sitting empty can be fitted with new equipment to produce solar panels or wind turbine parts.

 

The alternative energy sector seems promising for
Michigan's faltering economy, but these experts urge caution. They wonder if alternative energy can be counted on to deliver jobs and economic security to the state.

 

After all, Radomski says, "This industry is experiencing a boom right now, but with every business there are valley points. In 30, 40, 50 years, there will be a dip in business."

 

For now, Unisolar in
Greenville faces a three-year backlog for its low-light compatible solar panels, Epolito says.

 

Another plant is currently under construction in
Greenville, and McNeer says Unisolar has plans to expand its energy-producing capacity by 182 megawatts in the next two years.

 

McNeer says that most of Unisolar's orders come from overseas. Germany, Spain, Italy and
South Korea offer tax incentives for homeowners who install solar panels, creating a large and growing export market for these Michigan-made products.

 

No such national incentive program exists in the
United States.
U.S. legislators removed alternative energy incentives from the national energy bill in December.

 

Without a national program, the market for alternative energy systems domestically is limited to states like
California that offer their own incentives, McNeer says.

 

Experts say jobs in the alternative energy sector could just be a temporary Band-Aid on the gush of jobs from the states. The key to making this industry serve
Michigan workers, they say, is for the state to enact its own incentive program called a renewable energy portfolio standard.

 

"It is absolutely essential," Epolito says. "You need a renewable energy portfolio standard. It is the key to making these companies come to
Michigan and these jobs sustainable."

 

Ongoing efforts to create a renewable energy portfolio standard would require 10 percent of
Michigan's electricity to be generated by renewable resources by 2015, Radomski says. Such a standard would create a market for Michigan-made alternative energy system in the state.

 

The installation of those systems would create another category of jobs. A study by the Land Policy Institute at
Michigan State University estimates that state incentives would create more than 4,000 jobs in construction and maintenance of alternative energy system by 2029.

 


From: http://blog.mlive.com/cns/2008/01/wind_solar_power_components_ma.html

If They Can Do This In Maryland, Why Not In Cleveland & Ohio?

Pumpkin symbol marks sex offenders' homes

 

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

ANNAPOLIS | The Scarlet Letter for Maryland sex offenders this Halloween will be a bright orange pumpkin.

That is the symbol on a sign they are required to post on their doors with a warning, in capital letters, to trick-or-treaters: "No candy at this residence."

The paper signs began arriving last week in the mailboxes of the roughly 1,200 violent and child-sex offenders across the state with a letter explaining how they are to comport themselves on Oct. 31.

"Halloween provides a rare opportunity for you to demonstrate to your neighbors that you are making a sincere effort to change the direction of your life," the letter states.

In addition to posting the sign, the offenders must stay at home, turn off outside lights and not answer the door, according to the letter obtained by The Washington Times.

"Because Halloween is a holiday in which large numbers of children interact with strangers, the concern among parents and other community members about sexual offenders in their neighborhoods is naturally intensified during this time of year," Patrick McGee, interim director of the state's Division of Parole and Probation, wrote in the Oct. 1 letter.

Maryland has joined other states across the country in steadily increasing restrictions on convicted sex offenders over the past few years.

http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2008/oct/15/pumpkin-marks-sex-offenders-homes/  

 

Maryland

My mom lives in Maryland.  They do a lot of things right in Maryland :)

If Philly Can Do This, Why Can't We Do It Here In Cleveland?

HelioSphera Plans 160MW Solar Factory in Philly

The Greek solar company only recently opened a factory in its home country, and is seizing incentives from Philadelphia to set up new production complex.

HelioSphera plans to spend $500 million to build a solar panel factory in Philadelphia. The city is offering to help offset the cost.

The private Greek company will start building the 500,000-square foot factory in the Navy Yard next year, and expects to start operating it in 2011, reported the Philadelphia Inquirer.

Philadelphia is offering $49 million in grants and loans to HelioSphera.

Funded by Plainfield Asset Management and Sciens Capital Management, HelioSphera only recently opened a 60-megawatt factory in Tripoli. That factory uses equipment from Oerlikon Solar in Switzerland to make solar panels that feature a layer of amorphous silicon and a layer of microcrystaline silicon.

HelioSphera expects to reach 30 megawatts of annual production next year and 60 megawatts in 2011, said Chris O'Brien, head of the North America marketing for Oerlikon Solar. 

HelioSphera hasn't said whether it plans to use Oerlikon's equipment for the Philadelphia factory as well. O'Brien, who spoke at the Thin Film Solar Summit in San Francisco Tuesday, declined to comment.

Clairvoyant Energy announced in September this year that it would build a 90-megawatt factory in Michigan and roll out solar panels with Oerlikon's equipment (see Oerlikon Solar Tools Coming to America). Clairvoyant, which is applying for a 30 percent federal manufacturing tax credit, expects to close the financing for the factory in 2010, O'Brien said.

A growing number of European and Asian solar companies are opening factories in the U.S. to take advantage of a growing market and the economic stimulus plan by the federal government to give billion of dollars in grants and loan guarantees to renewable energy equipment manufacturers and power plant developers.

Many states have required their utilities to increase their purchases of renewable electricity. These states are offering rebates for consumers and businesses to install solar energy systems.

Suntech Power of China is planning for a 30-megawatt factory in the Phoenix area. Sanyo of Japan recently opened a silicon ingot and wafer factory in Oregon.

German solar panel makers Solon, SolarWorld and Schott Solar all have recently opened factories in the U.S.

Photo of a HelioSphera production plant near Tripoli, Greece via HelioSphera.

From: http://www.greentechmedia.com/articles/read/heliosphera-plans-160mw-solar-factory-in-philly/

 

By refusing to deal honorably with others, you dishonor yourself.