Guest Blog

  • PV manufacturing

    Second quarter earnings season takeaways for new entrants in PV manufacturing

    By Matthias Grossmann - 11 hours ago

    Recent second-quarter earnings figures paint a positive picture for established PV producers. Matthias Grossman looks at how start-up manufacturing companies can best take advantage of improving industry conditions.

  • PV shredding

    Time for the industry to keep its environmental promise

    By Pia Alina Lange - 03 September 2015, 10:55

    Since new European legislation kicked-in during 2014, the volume of recycled PV products has soared. Despite this, widespread non-compliance threatens to damage the industry, writes Pia Alina Lange.

  • Barack Obama

    What Obama’s Clean Energy Plan proposals mean for US solar

    By Laura E. Stern - 03 September 2015, 08:49

    President Obama has hailed his Clean Energy Plan as America’s biggest step forward in tackling climate change. Laura Stern explores how the plan will spur further growth in the US solar industry.

  • Module testing

    Challenges of global supply chain for PV modules and inverters

    By Ulrike Therhaag - 02 September 2015, 10:28

    The growing size and geographic dispersal of PV power plants worldwide presents numerous supply chain challenges. Ulrike Therhaag runs through some of the essential steps in effectively managing the procurement process.

  • Module testing

    Your module passed qualification testing, but is it also durable?

    By Rubina Singh,Dr Cordula Schmid - 19 August 2015, 06:00

    The Fraunhofer PV Module Durability Initiative is seeking overcome the fact that current certification regimes give no indication of a module’s lifetime performance. The team behind the initiative describe its latest findings.

  • Cracking the feedstock puzzle for larger solar ingots

    By Til Bartel - 14 August 2015, 10:48

    How silicon feedstock is packed into casting crucibles can have a big impact on the size and cost-efficiency of the resultant solar ingots. Til Bartel looks at some of the latest thinking around this essential stage in the PV manufacturing supply chain.

  • Chinese solar

    Is China ready for 20GW in 2015?

    By Frank Haugwitz - 27 July 2015, 17:14

    So far in 2015, Chinese domestic PV deployment has outstripped last year’s rates. A 20GW year would set a benchmark for China’s new five-year plan for solar development due to come into effect next year, writes Frank Haugwitz.

  • Solar and the road to COP21

    By Alexander Lagaaij - 23 July 2015, 10:31

    Last week the UN hosted the first of three crucially important global development conferences this year, culminating in the COP21 climate change talks in December. Reporting on the event, Alexander Lagaaij saw evidence of an appetite for cooperation, but still no high-level understanding of the potential of solar energy to put the world on a more sustainable path.

  • Limit for industrial c-Si solar cells reached in 2030: what next?

    By Dr Joris Libal,Dr Radovan Kopecek - 15 July 2015, 09:58 | 1

    PV technologists often face the question of what the next-generation solar cell work-horse will look like. Radovan Kopecek and Joris Libal of ISC Konstanz offer some answers.

  • Lender’s due diligence in local content solar markets

    By Matthias Grossmann - 08 July 2015, 08:54

    PV’s continued growth worldwide is creating fresh opportunities for investment in new and enlarged production facilities. But as Matthias Grossman writes, the costs and risks associated with entering new markets mean caution is required by investors.

  • Building-integrated PV

    How BIPV could offer a solution to the European energy efficiency dilemma

    By Silke Krawietz - 06 July 2015, 11:00

    As Europe seeks ways to impove the energy efficiency of its building stock, a key contributor to carbon emissions, building-integrated photovoltaics technology could offer some answers, writes Silke Krawietz.

  • Don’t let ITC Become the speed bump on solar’s growth road

    By Laura E. Stern - 22 June 2015, 10:05

    As the political horse-trading over the future of the US solar investment tax credit gathers momentum, Laura Stern gives three good reasons why Congress should extend it.

  • Power grid

    The utility role in maintaining reliability as PV increases

    By Jacqueline Ashmore - 16 June 2015, 09:51

    As more and more distributed generation comes on to the grid, utilities will have to adapt their practices to accommodate it. Jacqueline Ashmore of Fraunhofer CSE looks at where the most action is needed as renewables become an increasingly unavoidable fact of life.

  • Mining in the Congo.

    The uncomfortable choice with solar power and raw material sourcing

    By Chris Berry - 08 June 2015, 09:58 | 3

    PV manufacturers are under increasing pressure to remove so-called conflict materials from their supply chains. But as Chris Berry explains, it’s not quite as simple as that.

  • SolarPower Europe

    SolarPower Europe – A new start for solar representation in Europe

    By James Watson - 05 June 2015, 09:21

    As Intersolar Europe prepares to open its doors in Munich next week, James Watson, CEO of Europe’s main solar industry body, explans why 30 years into its lifetime, the organisation has rebranded to better reflect PV’s changing dynamics in the continent.

  • The second summer of new PV technologies - chances for cell and module production outside Asia

    By Dr Joris Libal,Dr Radovan Kopecek - 27 May 2015, 11:51

    Radovan Kopecek and Joris Libal explore the prospects for producing new cell and module technologies in territories outside of the big manufacturing countries.

  • China solar

    China’s future solar ambitions – at home and abroad

    By Frank Haugwitz - 21 May 2015, 10:43 | 4

    Frank Haugwitz explores the opportunities for China’s solar industry at home abroad as the country’s new five-year solar development plan is finalised and manufacturers look to expand their global footprint.

  • Battlefield solar: Response strategies for Asian manufacturers

    By Matthias Grossmann - 12 May 2015, 11:31

    With the spectre of trade disputes showing no signs of going away, Asian PV manufacturers need to develop effective strategies to cope with future anti-dumping and anti-subsidy investigations, says Matthias Grossman.

  • Indian prime minister, Narendra Modi

    Why the global climate hinges on India’s solar revolution

    By Dr. Tobias Engelmeier - 04 May 2015, 06:30 | 2

    If India were to grow its electricity system based on coal as China has done, the results for the global climate could be catastrophic. Tobias Engelmeier believes this leaves the country with little choice but to go solar.

  • ITC sunset?

    A softer solar landing after 2016

    By James A. Mueller - 28 April 2015, 10:54 | 1

    An extension and gradual phase out of the investment tax credit would help the US solar industry on to a more sustainable footing in the long term, argues James A. Mueller

  • Single crystal sphere created under the Avogadro project

    Silicon for solar applications: the path to perfection

    By Til Bartel - 20 April 2015, 07:00

    Growing awareness of the advantages of using controlled quantities of impurities in solar silicon is closing the price gap between lower and higher purity feedstock, writes Til Bartel.

  • PV power plant

    Preserving the residual value of solar energy systems

    By Laura E. Stern - 15 April 2015, 08:55

    A lax management and maintenance regime can see the value of a PV system leach away over time. Laura Stern outlines some of the key steps in ensuring a system retains its value right up to the end of its planned lifetime.

  • PID, before and after

    Maximising power production of large PV systems: PID detection and mitigation

    By Rubina Singh - 13 April 2015, 08:34 | 3

    With potential induced degradation emerging as a major issue for PV power plant performance, manufacturers have responded by developing technologies to mitigate the problem. But a lack of long-term field data on PID means the jury is still out on whether these efforts will be sufficient, writes Rubina Singh of Fraunhofer CSE.

  • Solar

    The outlook for the solar industry in 2015 – key questions

    By Susanne von Aichberger,Ash Sharma - 01 April 2015, 11:21 | 3

    Earlier this week market research firm IHS issued revised figures for global PV installs in 2014 and confirmed its 2015 guidance at 57GW. Ahead of a webinar to be jointly hosted with PV Tech on Wednesday 15 April, IHS’ senior analyst, Susanne von Aichberger, and senior director, Ash Sharma, answer some questions on the key PV trends for 2015.

  • China solar

    China 17.8GW, a record solar PV installation target for 2015. Achievable?

    By Frank Haugwitz - 24 March 2015, 09:55

    Last week Chinese authorities announced a 17.8GW PV target for 2015, an even more ambitious quota than the one set in 2014, which was missed.  Beijing-based Chinese solar market expert, Frank Haugwitz, asks whether China can live up to its aspirations this time around.

  • N-type silicon solar cell technology: ready for take off?

    By Dr Joris Libal,Dr Radovan Kopecek - 17 March 2015, 08:51 | 5

    Despite the promise it offers of higher efficiencies, n-type solar cell technology enjoys only limited market penetration. Radovan Kopecek and Joris Libal of ISC Konstanz explain why and look at its prospects for growth.

  • The winning of the Carbon War, Jeremy Leggett's latest book

    Open letter to solar industry leaders

    By Jeremy Leggett - 10 March 2015, 09:52 | 1

    In an exclusive blog post for PV Tech, solar entrepreneur and campaigner Jeremy Leggett spells out why the time has come for the solar industry worldwide to fight back against the lobbying tactics employed by the fossil fuel industry.

  • Polysilicon reinvestment price levels, a moving target

    By Matthias Grossmann - 03 March 2015, 12:16

    Matthias Grossman analyses the prospects for a wave of expansions in the dynamic polysilicon market.

  • One year until Paris

    The road from Lima to Paris: Lit up by solar power

    By James Watson - 19 February 2015, 06:18 | 2

    Optimism is growing that the Paris COP 21 meeting set for November and December 2015 could lead to an international agreement to limit CO2 emissions. James Watson, CEO of the European Photovoltaic Industry Association (EPIA), explains why a successful outcome would be a boon for the solar industry.

  • O&M

    More bang for your buck: getting the most from PV asset management

    By Laura E. Stern - 10 February 2015, 09:46

    Building a PV power plant is one thing; making sure it pays is a whole different game. Laura E. Stern explains the benefits of combining physical and financial solar asset management in maximising a plant’s profitability.

  • Lightweight PV modules being installed

    Lightweight module durability: Working to address a market barrier

    By Dr Cordula Schmid - 03 February 2015, 10:28

    Lightweight crystalline PV modules promise a potentially large new market for solar, as well as addressing a variety of problems such as transportation costs. But further work is needed to establish their performance and durability, says Fraunhofer’s Cordula Schmid.

  • Utility-scale storage

    Grid-connected PV energy storage installations to triple in 2015

    By Sam Wilkinson - 27 January 2015, 10:58

    Ahead of a free webinar from IHS Technology and PV Tech next month, IHS analyst Sam Wilkinson discusses some of key trends shaping the market for energy storage in PV in 2015.

  • China solar

    China 2014 – still 10.5 to 12GW despite new policies favouring distributed solar PV

    By Frank Haugwitz - 20 January 2015, 05:00

    Throughout 2014, there were widespread reports of China’s struggles to hit ambitious PV targets set at the start of the year. Beijing-based solar expert, Frank Haugwitz, lays bare the difficulties China experienced and offers his analysis of what the year-end tally will be for Asian giant.

  • BiSoN

    Bifaciality: One small step for technology, one giant leap for kWh cost reduction

    By Dr Joris Libal,Dr Radovan Kopecek - 13 January 2015, 09:26 | 8

    Bifacial cell and module technologies are gradually finding their way into mass production. Radovan Kopecek and Joris Libal of ISC Konstanz explain why they think the future is bifacial.

  • PV materials

    Enough to go around? Raw materials and limits to growth in solar energy

    By Chris Berry - 16 December 2014, 08:22 | 2

    Political and regulatory disruption often get the most attention as the likely brakes on solar’s future growth. But a more pressing concern is the availability of crucial materials, says Chris Berry.

  • Templin PV project in Germany, using First Solar modules.

    The energy transition: redefining investment portfolios

    By Christopher Burghardt - 12 December 2014, 00:02

    Last week Germany’s E.ON announced its divestment from fossil fuels and a focus on renewable energy. First Solar’s Christopher Burghardt explains why solar is becoming an increasingly sound bet for investors.

  • Europe solar manufacturing

    Can Europe catch up in the PV capacity expansion game?

    By Matthias Grossmann - 09 December 2014, 09:26

    Europe so far looks to be the laggard in the PV capacity expansion drive now gathering a head of steam. But all the ingredients are there for Southeastern European countries to establish themselves as manufacturing hubs, says Matthias Grossman.

  • E.ON renewables

    What the miraculous transformation of a German utility giant means for India

    By Dr. Tobias Engelmeier - 05 December 2014, 10:26

    Earlier this week German utility E.ON announced surprise plans to divest from fossil fuels and focus on renewable energy. Tobias Engelmeier explores what utilities in India could learn from its move.

  • First Solar

    What’s next for thin-film solar PV in 2015?

    By Finlay Colville - 05 November 2014, 10:49

    Demand for thin-film PV is still growing, but what about supply? NPD Solarbuzz’s Finlay Colville looks at what is around the corner for thin-film PV as a technology offering to the solar industry.

  • solarbuzz

    Why p-type multi c-Si is seeing strong market share gains

    By Finlay Colville - 29 October 2014, 12:00 | 1

    Modules based on p-type multi c-Si technologies are set to dominate the PV industry over the next five years, according to analysis in the new NPD Solarbuzz PV Technology Roadmap report.

  • European Union

    EPIA: EU 2030 renewables target a crucial signal for investments in solar

    By Frauke Thies - 28 October 2014, 10:59

    The EU agreed its 2030 climate and energy package last week with the end product leaving many underwhelmed. Frauke Thies, policy director at the European Photovoltaic Industry Association, explains how even this modest victory could be a first step toward a more stable policy future for solar in Europe.

  • imec

    The dielectric passivation revolution from p-Si Al BSF to n-Si PERT cells (and beyond)

    By Filip Duerinckx - 27 October 2014, 15:50

    In the beginning, there was nothing. At least there was no dielectric passivation applied to the silicon solar cells from the early production lines of the 1980s, an era when PV production companies were still thinking in terms of MWp rather than GWp factories.

  • REC

    Latest effective PV capacity trends delay greenfield fab development

    By Finlay Colville - 13 October 2014, 08:55

    How far can existing PV capacity go, in terms of keeping up with end-market growth? This is one of the key issues in terms of capital expenditures and tool suppliers waiting for an uptick in bookings. It is also essential to understand in terms of forecasting end-market demand in 2015, at a time when trade uncertainty and the preference for project financing is keeping new ‘greenfield’ fab build at a minimum.

  • Mission Solar Energy: New PV star rising over Texas

    By Sam Martens - 08 October 2014, 16:27 | 2

    In late 2011, Mission Solar Energy made the first of several bold decisions:  build a silicon-based PV manufacturing plant in the US, a market long dominated by thin-film technologies. An even more unusual decision followed to locate the company in San Antonio, Texas, rather than California or Arizona where US solar markets are well established. Then, Mission Solar made the gutsy move to push forward with the development of an n-type monocrystaline silicon based product when the market was being dominated by p-type multicrystaline silicon modules coming out of Asia.

  • npd solarbuzz

    Europe-China module floor price nudges down in Q4’14, but what will happen on 1 January 2015?

    By Finlay Colville - 30 September 2014, 15:33

    It appears the waiting is over during September 2014 for Chinese suppliers (and all other suppliers of modules to Europe), regarding the minimum import price (MIP) for the 3-month period October to December 2014 (Q4’14).

  • imec

    Accelerating photovoltaic R&D via joint collaboration

    By Philip Pieters - 12 September 2014, 07:00 | 1

    To sustain growth, the solar cell industry must constantly find better and cheaper technologies. Imec’s Philip Pieters explains how in the quest to innovate manufacturers can benefit from working together.

  • PERC

    PERC capacity hits 2.5GW and offers new technology buy cycle option

    By Finlay Colville - 14 August 2014, 15:30 | 1

    Previously confined to the R&D labs and academic solar PV roadmaps, PERC based c-Si cell capacity upgrades are starting to have a tangible impact on the PV industry. Finlay Colville investigates the drivers, myths, opportunities and the impact of PERC on PV capex and module performance.

  • Google's inverter challenge could upset the established supplier base

    Why Google’s ‘little box’ could challenge inverter world order

    By Cormac Gilligan - 25 July 2014, 09:16 | 4

    Google is offering a prize for prototype inverter that’s smaller than a laptop. Cormac Gilligan of IHS explains why a successful proposal could pose a threat to existing suppliers.

  • Crystalline silicon cell

    Case study of a growth driver – silver use in solar

    By Chris Berry - 21 July 2014, 10:01

    Silver is a key raw material in PV manufacturing. But as Chris Berry writes, a deficit in global silver supply and the prospect of future price increases are both sources of concern for the solar industry.

  • Solar inverter

    The changing face of the PV inverter supplier base

    By Sam Wilkinson - 14 July 2014, 11:08 | 1

    Ahead of a free webinar from IHS Technology and PV Tech on 29 July 2014, IHS analyst Sam Wilkinson discusses some of key trends shaping the global inverter market.

Publications

  • Photovoltaics International 27th Edition

    Now that the PV industry has unquestionably entered a new growth phase, all eyes are on which technologies will win through into the mainstream of PV manufacturing. PERC, n-type, p-type bifacial, heterojunction – all have become familiar terms in the ever-growing constellation of solar cell technologies. The question is which will offer manufacturers what they are looking for in improving efficiencies and cutting costs.

  • Manufacturing The Solar Future: The 2014 Production Annual

    Although the past few years have proved extremely testing for PV equipment manufacturers, falling module prices have driven solar end-market demand to previously unseen levels. That demand is now starting to be felt by manufacturers, to the extent that leading companies are starting to talk about serious capacity expansions later this year and into 2015. This means that the next 12 months will be a critical period if companies throughout the supply chain are to take full advantage of the PV industry’s next growth phase.

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Acknowledgements

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