Editors' Blog

  • SPI 2014

    What SPI 2014 told us about US solar

    By Ben Willis - 24 October 2014, 08:01

    SPI 2014 provided a snapshot of the US solar industry. There was news of an imminent investment boom, a deadline drawing in for a resolution to the US-China trade dispute, exciting technological advances and a campaign to protect a key support mechanism. Ben Willis puts the show’s developments in their wider context.

  • Solar Energy UK

    Battery big guns eyeing 2015 launch for UK PV storage systems

    By Andy Colthorpe - 23 October 2014, 16:01

    Sharp, ABB, SMA and Bosch are among the big names readying new energy storage products for the UK PV market. Andy Colthorpe caught up with them at the Solar Energy UK show to find out what tech fits best for the UK’s nascent storage sector.

  • SolarWorld at SPI 2014

    SPI 2014: SolarWorld defiant over trade case

    By Ben Willis - 22 October 2014, 09:00 | 1

    The US solar trade case continues to cast a shadow over the buoyant American PV market. Ben Willis spoke to the originators of the case, SolarWorld, at SPI 2014 to see if they stand by their actions.

  • EU PVSEC: Is module manufacturing in emerging markets on the move?

    By Mark Osborne - 29 September 2014, 10:31

    The globalisation of end market demand for PV as the technology becomes increasingly cost competitive has been one of the significant developments over the last few years. Mark Osborne explores which regions could now emerge as manufacturing hubs as solar goes global.

  • dupont

    EU PVSEC: DuPont places bet on next gen solar cells

    By Mark Osborne - 24 September 2014, 12:01

    At any technology focused conference, especially in the PV industry the lack of a unified technology roadmap means that picking the winners from the losers is immensely problematic. From EU PVSEC this week, Mark Osborne reports on DuPont’s attempts to do just that.

  • FSLR

    Rare to find a rare-earth metals report that doesn’t scare

    By Mark Osborne - 11 September 2014, 11:57

    A UK Energy Research Centre (UKERC) and Energy Research Partnership (ERP) report that looks at the materials availability for a low-carbon future analysed much of published data on rare-earth metals such as indium and tellurium but didn’t panic over material supply issues, something quite rare in itself.

  • R&D:

    R&D spending analysis of top PV module manufacturers in 2013

    By Mark Osborne - 03 September 2014, 10:02

    As the PV manufacturing industry emerges from a painful downturn, Mark Osborne assesses how leading companies have continued investing in R&D and how that will prepare them as the upturn gathers pace.

  • Next Energy News

    Introducing our new UK site…Next Energy News

    By John Parnell - 20 August 2014, 10:51

    PV Tech’s publisher Solar Media is pleased to announce the launch of a new site for the UK market: Next Energy News.

  • Free trade

    Dim prospects for a lasting end to solar’s trade wars

    By Ben Willis - 30 July 2014, 07:31 | 1

    The trade wars that have convulsed solar in recent years ultimately help no one. Ben Willis assesses the prospects for a permanent solution to a problem that has become a thorn in the industry’s side.

  • Trina

    Who can take advantage of the US anti-dumping decision?

    By Mark Osborne - 29 July 2014, 13:10 | 1

    Although the dust has yet to truly settle on the second US anti-dumping investigation and the preliminary findings, mainstream media and financial analysts are already undertaking a post mortem and trying to pick the winners and losers.

  • BRICS

    How BRICS bank can be a friend to solar

    By Lucy Woods - 28 July 2014, 12:27

    A BRICS development bank agreed last week has been hailed as a potentially important new source of funding for solar. But as Lucy Woods writes, the BRICS nations will have to overcome some significant internal tensions first.

  • Barack Obama inspects a Solyndra module

    Unloved but not unwanted: Solyndra and the PV bargain basement

    By Andy Colthorpe - 22 July 2014, 15:48

    Last week it emerged that modules from the bankrupt US firm Solyndra have found their way into Europe’s second-hand PV market. Andy Colthorpe investigates this little reported but lively trade

  • Greg Barker, the UK's erstwhile solar champion

    Who will speak up for solar in the new-look UK government?

    By Lucy Woods - 17 July 2014, 09:13

    A major shake-up in the UK government earlier this week saw the country’s booming solar industry lose arguably its most important political champion. The question now is who will fill his shoes, writes Lucy Woods.

  • India

    The sorry state of PV manufacturing in India

    By Mark Osborne - 25 June 2014, 15:44

    With India embroiled in a fierce debate over whether or not to impose trade duties on foreign PV imports, a recent report laid bare the sorry state of the country’s domestic PV industry. Mark Osborne takes a look at the findings.

  • qcells

    Q CELLS back in the game

    By Mark Osborne - 19 June 2014, 09:01

    Germany’s Q-Cells was one of the most high-profile bankruptcies in the recent industry downturn. Reborn as Hanwha Q CELLS, the company is witnessing a strong revival, writes Mark Osborne, following an exclusive interview with its chief executive, Charles Kim.

  • Silevo

    SolarCity reverse engineers PV manufacturers’ business models

    By Mark Osborne - 18 June 2014, 10:56

    The acquisition of US-based PV manufacturer, Silevo, by the largest US PV installer, SolarCity, has caused a storm and turned recent business trends within the industry on their head. Mark Osborne analyses the deal and its implications for the industry.

  • Intersolar 2014

    Compact, efficient, international, Intersolar Europe 2014 offers glimpse of the future

    By John Parnell - 10 June 2014, 06:09

    Less dramatic, slightly smaller, more international. Intersolar Europe 2014 offers a few glimpses of what a sustainable, internationalised European PV industry might look like, writes John Parnell.

  • Ivanpah, Brightsource

    Birds could derail CSP project despite promises of ‘drones, tear gas and pyrotechnics’

    By John Parnell - 07 May 2014, 16:27 | 2

    A decision to block the 500MW Palen project in California from using CSP tower technology could send solar thermal power generation back to the trough despite a range of inventive solutions to deter migratory birds.

  • JA Solar cell production

    The next PV capacity expansion phase is under way

    By Mark Osborne - 24 April 2014, 11:40

    After two years of living hand to mouth, PV manufacturers are once again looking at building new production capacity as demand booms. Mark Osborne charts the expansion plans of the industry’s leading suppliers.

  • YingliSolar

    How important is Yingli’s sponsorship of the Brazil World Cup for solar?

    By Peter Bennett - 25 March 2014, 05:34 | 1

    Here’s a challenge for you – spot the odd one out from the following list of 2014 FIFA world cup sponsors: McDonald’s, Coca-Cola, Castrol, Budweiser, Adidas, Visa, Sony and Yingli.

  • Risk

    PV, a dicey business

    By Ben Willis - 21 March 2014, 10:06

    Events in Ukraine highlight how easily apparently safe solar investments can suddenly look very precarious. As PV expands its global reach, managing political risk will become an increasing concern, says Ben Willis.

  • Activ Solar's Perovo power plant

    Uncertain future for Ukraine’s PV power plants

    By Lucy Woods - 12 March 2014, 09:47

    As Russia strengthens its grip on Crimea, the fate of PV power plants in the region and in wider Ukraine is in limbo. Lucy Woods reports.

  • Bill Clinton

    If money makes the world spin round, investment is the new name of the solar game

    By Lucy Woods - 31 January 2014, 12:03 | 1

    Former US president Bill Clinton led a rally of high profile calls for a rethinking of renewable energy investment at a clean-tech conference in Germany last week. Lucy Woods heard what he had to say.

  • Solar sunset

    So long, and thanks for all the sunshine

    By Felicity Carus - 07 January 2014, 11:00 | 4

    In her final blog for PV Tech, Felicity Carus reflects on the changes she has seen in her time as an observer of the US solar market. Although huge challenges remain, the industry is in great health, she writes.

  • Meyer Burger's SmartWire Connection Technology

    Top 10 PV Tech product reviews of 2013

    By Mark Osborne - 03 January 2014, 11:24

    Despite a lack of spending on new product development 2013 still turned out some interesting new entrants from new tools for factories to new modules and inverters. We run through the top ten products by page views that caught the eye of PV Tech readers in 2013.

  • Thin-film

    Top 10 PV Tech news stories of 2013

    By Mark Osborne - 02 January 2014, 10:07

    Looking back over 2013, it’s clear the year was a transitional one. A key takeaway has been the recovery in end-market demand that has restored manufacturing utilisation rates to almost 100% for tier one PV module manufacturers and the opportunity for many but not all PV module manufacturers to return to operating profits in the second half of the year.

  • A traditional British panto

    The heroes, villains, victims and fools of solar in 2013

    By John Parnell - 31 December 2013, 05:27

    Here in the UK the festive season also means panto season, so how would the last 12 months in the solar industry play out in the classic, over the top, slapstick theatre styling of pantomime and who would be the villain of the piece?

  • Kagoshima Nanatsujima Mega Solar Power Plant

    The heavyweight PV projects of 2013

    By Ben Willis - 30 December 2013, 05:27

    While 2012 was arguably the year the solar mega project entered the public consciousness, with what are (for now) some of the world’s largest PV plants reaching completion, 2013 has seen its fair share of solar behemoths too. We profile the biggest projects of 2013 from the world’s biggest markets.

  • BrightSource's Ivanpah project

    CSP around the clock keeps developers up all night

    By Felicity Carus - 17 December 2013, 10:28

    Concentrated solar power has had a difficult year in the US, with several high-profile projects being turned down or shelved. But as Felicity Carus reports, it’s a technology that still has some distance to run.

  • Module shipments

    Solar trade wars: are you winning yet?

    By Felicity Carus - 10 December 2013, 10:19

    Trade disputes with the Chinese are still rumbling on in the US and Europe. As Felicity Carus reports, although efforts are still ongoing to find a settlement, the only winners so far have been Taiwanese cell manufacturers.

  • Money

    Solar’s ITC equity gap taxes the brightest minds in finance

    By Felicity Carus - 03 December 2013, 12:44

    The search is on for the next source of solar finance once the Investment Tax Credit winds, and some elaborate ideas are on the table. Just don’t mention sub-prime mortgages, says Felicity Carus.

  • Copper Mountain

    We need to talk about utility-scale solar…

    By Felicity Carus - 26 November 2013, 12:26

    Although much of the focus of debate in the US has been around residential and commercial solar, utility-scale projects represent the largest segment in America’s PV market. But as Felicity Carus, the days of the PV ‘mega’ project could be numbered.

  • Commercial solar

    Energy storage and the great commercial frontier: a solar star is born

    By Felicity Carus - 19 November 2013, 12:37

    Neither commercial-scale nor energy storage have yet take off in the US. But as Felicity Carus reports, this could be about change as companies eye opportunities in both segments.

  • Ontario FiTs

    Welcome to Canada, the new Germany for solar PV

    By Felicity Carus - 12 November 2013, 10:53 | 1

    Solar deployment in Canada has so far largely been restricted to its biggest economy, Ontario. But as Felicity Carus reports, other provinces are now beginning to consider the technology, even Alberta, home to the controversial tar sands.

  • SunEdison

    SunEdison entering phase of rapid expansion with new financial structures

    By Mark Osborne - 07 November 2013, 08:15

    SunEdison is racing to build significant scale to its PV power plant project business, while SolarCity has just successfully added a new financial business model to its bow.

  • Panasonic at SPI

    When will commercial solar hit the roof?

    By Felicity Carus - 05 November 2013, 13:11

    With the spotlight frequently shining on residential and utility-scale solar in the US, the commercial and industrial segments are often left in the dark. Felicity Carus reports on how they could shortly have their moment in the limelight.

  • Are utilities finally learning to love residential solar?

    By Felicity Carus - 29 October 2013, 12:41

    Investor-owned utility companies are often seen as the enemies of the US’s booming residential solar industry. But as Felicity Carus reports they are also emerging as solar providers themselves, with plenty more scope for their role to grow.

  • Joking aside

    SPI 2013: Comedy moments raise a laugh but Roth brings the sunshine

    By Felicity Carus - 24 October 2013, 12:12

    Some lighter moments at SPI 2013 in Chicago yesterday masked the serious trade and policy issues dominating the US solar scene. But at least the mood was lightened by a buoyant mood among the investor contingent, writes Felicity Carus from Chicago.

  • New growth versus established markets.

    SPI 2013: Small is beautiful from Minnesota to Taiwan - and why energy storage matters

    By Felicity Carus - 23 October 2013, 09:46 | 1

    Day two of Solar Power International saw varying predictions of the big opportunities for solar. Reporting from the event, Felicity Carus discovers where the hidden growth markets of the US are and hears how energy storage could be key to attracting solar finance.

  • Chicago mayor Rahm Emmanuel

    SPI Chicago: Second City gets a second chance with solar

    By Felicity Carus - 22 October 2013, 11:30

    Chicago’s mayor Rahm Emmanuel yesterday fired the starting gun on Solar Power International 2013. Felicity Carus reports on the event’s opening day, which saw a call to arms to the US solar industry.

  • Second wave of PV development

    Solar 2.0: a brave new profitless world of 100GW demand

    By Felicity Carus - 15 October 2013, 11:17 | 2

    Solexant chief executive Brad Mattson’s forthcoming book seeks to chart the way ahead for the development of PV technology. He’d better publish it quickly, or it’s likely to be out of date even before it hits the shelves, says Felicity Carus.

  • Saudi savings

    Solar workhorses could overtake the Ferraris of PV and CSP

    By Felicity Carus - 08 October 2013, 09:44 | 1

    Glasspoint and Alion are not quite disruptive technologies, but in some markets, they might just be in the right place at the right time.

  • Solar lives to fight another day

    NEM lives to fight another day in California

    By Felicity Carus - 01 October 2013, 07:27

    The long-awaited report on net metering by the California Public Utilities Commission apparently sided with utility companies that claim the system unfairly discriminates against non solar users. But as Felicity Carus reports, the commission overlooks come inconvenient truths that will make the economics of solar hard to ignore.

  • Installation costs for small systems

    California’s solar gravitational pull pushes national prices higher

    By Felicity Carus - 23 September 2013, 22:59

    Although the solar market in the US has reached 10GW, size has not led to a consistent decrease in prices for consumers, even in leading state California. Felicity Carus looks at the drivers behind America’s patchwork PV market.

  • Toaster

    It’s game on when PV turns into toasters

    By Felicity Carus - 17 September 2013, 11:38

    The cost of solar still has a long way to fall in the US before being comparable with the likes of Germany. We’ll know we’re there when people pay as little attention to who made their PV panel as their toaster, says Felicity Carus.

  • Silicon Valley

    Palo Alto solar takes on star quality

    By Felicity Carus - 10 September 2013, 09:20

    Silicon Valley’s Palo Alto, home to the semi-conductor industry, practises what it preaches by being a big solar user. Felicity Carus looks at the drivers for PV adoption in the city.

  • RPS sunset

    Final countdown for solar costs in ‘next generation’ post-RPS world

    By Felicity Carus - 03 September 2013, 08:29

    Discussion in the US solar world is dominated by what happens when the Investment Tax Credit is wound down. But as Felicity Carus writes, even more pressing is what the solar landscape will look like when state Renewable Portfolio Standards have expired.

  • Arnold Schwarzenegger with fellow panelists

    Why Schwarzenegger wants you disco-dancing with a solar-powered jacuzzi

    By Felicity Carus - 27 August 2013, 09:35 | 1

    Arnold Schwarzenegger may have retired to Hollywood, but the actor-turned-governor still pushes his image as a climate hero and clean energy champion, says Felicity Carus.

  • Slide 1

    Quest for consensus as some in solar industry seek peace agreement

    By Felicity Carus - 20 August 2013, 12:40

    Net energy metering for solar users has become the focal point of a fierce battle in the US, with utility companies seeking to undermine it. But the policy need not be at odds with utilities’ objectives, argues Felicity Carus.

  • Michael Splinter, Chairman and CEO of Applied Materials, is to move upstairs to become executive chairman of the Board of Directors, relinqu

    Is Applied Materials changing of the guard good for its solar business?

    By Mark Osborne - 16 August 2013, 12:44

    As reported, Mike Splinter, Chairman and CEO of Applied Materials (AMAT), is stepping down from the day-to-day running of the company, being replaced by Applied’s current President and former head of Varian Semiconductor, Gary Dickerson.

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