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May 17th, 2013: Energy saving and environment protection became an urgent topic in our world. Also the lighting industry has to follow this demand and tried to replace the common incandescent lamps by new energy saving lamps, but the real breakthrough is still missing. Currently used “energy saving lamps” contain mercury and are dangerous for health and environment if they brake. Full of hope the industry put the focus on LED lamps, but up to now the market breakthrough of this lamp technology failed by several reasons. Main problem is the heat sink for the LED which limits the required power and requires much space and weight as well as the low light output of the currently used LED’s. Another problem is the high quota of blue light and a reduced light angle of LED. Acceptance of LED lamps also failed by high prices, caused by huge aluminum heat sinks and high LED chip cost.

The ban of incandescent lamps pushed the LED light industry to develop new lamps, but all of them cannot really replace the well-known incandescent bulbs with 60W – 100W in brightness, light quality , light beam and price.

Great inventions are mostly not done by big companies but by single inventors. So it’s not surprising that the problem of LED lamps is also now solved by a Swiss inventor.

A new generation of LED lamps are born in a small workshop in Switzerland which will revolutionize the complete lighting market. The new developed LED’s have a light output of 160 lm – 200 lm per Watt and a true natural light color. The usually used big and heavy aluminum heat sink is replaced by a new invented thermal conductive plastic with unreached and surprising cooling properties. So it became possible to design LED lamps in shape and size of standard incandescent bulbs with a light output similar to 60W, 75W, 100W and more, with a shadow free light beam angle of 340° for easy replacement at any application.

But it’s not only the easy replacement and continuation of the standard bulb form, the low weight of about 100 g, low temperature of the LED for long life time and a price similar to currently used energy saving fluorescent lamps will bring the real breakthrough in a new lighting generation.

This lamp isn’t  anymore only a theory, it’s really existing now in properly working prototypes and waiting for the required investors to build up a very new and bright lighting future.

Anti Dumping Zölle – Solartechnik künstlich verteuern?

Sept. 5th, 2012: Was ist los in der Solarbranche? Krisen, Konkurse, Preisverfall, jeden Tag neue Hiobsbotschaften.
Aber sind es wirklich ausschliesslich Hiobsbotschaften?

 Über viele Jahre wurde hart daran gearbeitet, Photovoltaik wirklich marktfähig und wirtschaftlich zu machen. Die Preise zu senken.

Mit erheblichen Subventionen in allen führenden Ländern, sei es für Forschung und Entwicklung, für Hersteller, seien es Subventionen für PV - Anlagen oder für Netzeinspeisung.

Diese Subventionspolitik hat gewirkt. Solaranlagen wurden wirtschaftlich und profitabel, der Solarmarkt boomte.

Grosse Stückzahlen und Konkurrenz führten zu niedrigen Preisen, zur Freude der Anwender und Installateure, jedoch zum Leidwesen vieler Hersteller.

Der Preisdruck zwang zu Investitionen in rentablere Produktionstechniken, zu günstigerem Einkauf von Rohmaterial, Gewinnmargen wurden geringer, die ersten Hersteller zeichneten rote Zahlen.-

Preis und Qualität, nicht Name und Herstellungsland,  sind der Schlüssel zum internationalen Erfolg, wenn Konkurrenzdruck herrscht.

Hier sind inzwischen chinesische Hersteller führend, haben in diese Zukunftstechnologie viel investiert, der Exportmarkt boomte, chinesische Solarmodule wurden führend auf dem Weltmarkt. Zum Leidwesen lokaler Hersteller, zum Nutzen der Anwender.

Alle Hersteller, in allen Ländern, sind letztendlich durch Subventionen gross geworden, durch Subventionen, ob direkt oder indirekt,  wurde die Solartechnik wirtschaftlich, es wurden hohe Gewinne erwirtschaftet.

 Nun, in der Zeit der Preiskrise, sucht man einen Sündenbock, nach Schutz und Argumenten, um billige Importe einzuschränken. Schutz – Zölle müssen her! Solartechnik durch Import darf nicht billiger werden als lokale Produzenten produzieren können. Wir müssen, bitteschön, die Preise hoch halten, damit weitere Subventionen und teure Herstellungsprozesse gerechtfertigt sind!

Bitte etwas mehr Patriotismus, bitte etwas weniger freie Marktwirtschaft!

Verbraucher, bitte denkt nicht an Euren Nutzen, sondern gönnt der heimischen Industrie Ihren Profit!

Müssen wir es uns wirklich gefallen lassen, dass die Industrielobby durch Beantragung von Antidumping – Gesetzen und Schutzzöllen die Preise bei uns in Europa hoch hält?  Den weiteren Weg zur Wirtschaftlichkeit der Solartechnik blockiert?

Eine Regierung, die derartigen Anträgen folgt, hat ihre Subventionen und damit unser Geld in den Sand gesetzt, falls durch Gesetz weitere Preissenkungen verhindert werden, das hohe Preisniveau geschützt wird.

Ich höre und lese überall ausschliesslich die Meinung der Lobby der Hersteller.
Verbraucher, wo bleibt EURE Stimme zu diesem Thema???

May 25th, 2012: Sometimes great developments are done in small companies, worth many millions of dollars, but they are fighting with acceptance and a lack of capital to finalize and optimize the product for the market application. Valuable time is lost to implement the new process in planned and running projects which could be more effective and quite cheaper.

For sample, I found a small company in Germany, just in the stage of foundation. They developed a great invention to increase rapidly the efficiency of solar systems in a quite simple way, applicable for PV as well as for solar thermal systems. But they have the problems mentioned above, so it may take years before customers can apply it to their systems.

What are they doing? They found a way using nanotechnology to develop functional ceramics which can transform the unusable light spectrum into a usable spectrum for the target.

In this way they can increase the efficiency of solar cells by 25 – 40%, transforming UV light to visible light as well as transforming short wave infrared light to long wave infrared light. The effect: More light in the usable spectrum for solar cells as well as reducing the cell temperature which will increase the efficiency rapidly in hot countries.

But not only in PV systems, also solar thermal systems can benefit from this process using a different type of functional ceramics which will transform normally unused light into short wave infrared for additional thermal power.

A sample:
The Solar Power Plant SHAMs 1 provides hot water at 380°C which has to be additional heated up with gas to 500°C. They need extremely big reflector surfaces for the sun light as well as big cooling surfaces after the turbine.

Using that new infrared functional ceramics, they will reach a water temperature of about 600°C only by the sun with smaller and cheaper reflector surfaces, don’t need the temperature rise by gas and will also have smaller cooling surfaces after the turbine.

A huge saving of investment in system cost as well as big savings in running costs. And also an additional environmental effect: Really no CO2 produced at all.

Why did I tell you this story? 

If you plan to build new energy systems, you may carefully have a look at first what is just in the stage of development. A quite small investment in a new, up to now unused technology may let you save much money in system cost and let you earn more money in running your system!

Walther Saalfeld

April 13th, 2012: Rapidly decreasing prices, oversupply, lower or cancelled subsidies, bankrupt of well known and leading manufacturers. The last year has been full of shocking bad news about the photovoltaic market.

Does this mean the end of a much promising solar future?

My answer is no! It is just the inevitable beginning of a new and great solar era!

Sure, the time is over where the customers and investors have been willing to pay any price per Watt, photovoltaic systems still have been reliable by governmental subsidies.

But the sense of subsidies is to give new technologies the chance for development and to become reliable, the sense is not to finance an uneconomic product and investors profit for all the future.

But: The photovoltaic technology has reached the point to become economic. Lower prices, increased efficiency, new applications, new and reliable industrial manufacturing technologies and new, low cost manufacturing processes for the key material Solar Grade Silicon are opening a new future.

But if manufacturers don’t prepare their technology for the low cost future market, they will not have a future at all….

There are many critical voices about low cost solar modules from Asia, especially China. Governments are thinking about anti dumping protection duties for their local market. But such regulations cannot stop the worldwide market development of lower prices, they will isolate such countries from further developments.

In the 18th and 19th century we had the worldwide industrial revolution. We all know the positive result, even if that time many companies bankrupted, a new and better economic era began, the world and the economy had been changed.

This process of “Industrial Revolution” appears just now in the photovoltaic market. Traditional, well known manufacturers, which did not prepare for the new era, they will disappear. But new companies will follow up, with newest technologies, high grade automation to reduce man power and cost, independent from subsidies but with high quality and low cost for their product.

The critical argument of cheap man power in China will not be any argument anymore if fully automated robot manufacturing lines with high output and high quality are used! The automotive industry has shown this way of development….

Basing on this new economic developments and the constraint for environment friendly energy, the photovoltaic market will grow inevitable also in the future, with higher growth rates than ever expected!

Walther Saalfeld

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