1 June 2010


OPEL reports rise in quoting activity for industrial-scale CPV systems

Despite an uneven economic recovery and the lingering effects of the global recession on virtually every industry worldwide, OPEL Solar Inc of Shelton, CT, USA (a subsidiary of OPEL International Inc of Toronto, Canada) is reporting a sharp increase in requests for quotes on industrial-scale solar power systems in both North America and abroad, according to CEO Leon (Lee) M. Pierhal.

“With the worst hopefully behind us, there is no question that both governments and investors alike are reaffirming their interest and commitment to solar power in a big way,” says Pierhal. “Since late 2008 when the credit markets first crashed, we have seen a significant increase in requests for quotes on both our HCPV [high-concentration photovoltaic] solar panels and our ground-based and rooftop tracker systems,” he adds.

OPEL Solar claims that its gallium arsenide-based HCPV panels can generate up to 40% more kilowatt-hours than conventional flat-plate silicon solar panels. On 28 April, the firm also announced plans for US-based manufacturing of its utility-scale TF-800, a ground-mounted single-axis tracker (developed with FEiNA) that allows ease of installation and avoids shadowing from adjacent trackers (due to its reverse tracking ability).

Pierhal attributes the increase in quote activity to OPEL Solar’s completion (with Spanish partner BETASOL) of a 330kW HCPV utility-grade power plant in Spain last October, as well as the firm’s agreement in April to participate in a 1MW Portuguese HCPV installation with Tecneira S.A of Porto Salvo, Portugal, the renewable energy firm of power plant developer ProCME Group (and one of the largest renewable energy construction firms in Portugal). The latter is Portugal’s first use of CPV technology, and will also use a dual-axis tracking system. Both installations, which are eligible for feed-in-tariffs (FIT), will provide investors with a guaranteed rate of return, OPEL assures.

Pierhal also notes an especially sharp and recent focus in the marketplace on solar power installations of at least 1MW in size. Also in first-quarter 2010, OPEL Solar was selected (via a partnership with French tracker firm Exosun) for an initial 1MW HCPV power plant in the South of France, with installation starting mid-year. Again, the plant will be grid connected, selling electricity to the country’s utility. Deliveries on both the Portuguese and French 1MW projects will begin in second-half 2010.

“We are also partnering with one of the largest engineering and construction companies in the world to build utility-scale solar power farms in North America,” Pierhal says.

“Neither the private sector nor forward-looking countries want to mortgage their future or straitjacket their ability to compete globally by relying exclusively on more traditional fossil fuel sources.”

On 20 May, OPEL International Inc reported revenue for first-quarter 2010 up on both last quarter and a year ago. In addition, the firm says that the increased quoting activity on large-scale, utility-grade projects during first-quarter 2010 is due to its continued focus on forging relationships with large engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) companies and power producers. “With our new relationships and increased backlog, we are poised to significantly increase our revenue and shareholder value in 2010,” asserts chief financial officer Michael McCoy.

*On 25 May, OPEL International said that it had mailed proxy materials to shareholders prior to their Annual Meeting in Toronto on 18 June at which they will be asked to consider a special resolution authorizing (subject to regulatory approval) a change of the firm’s name to OPEL Solar International Inc. The firm says that, as it gains market share in solar energy, the name change better reflects its primary business and heightens awareness of OPEL’s purpose.

See related item:

OPEL’s revenues shrink 60% in Q4/2009 while focusing on demonstration projects

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