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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Radovan Kopecek and Joris Libal explore the prospects for producing new cell and module technologies in territories outside of the big manufacturing countries.
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Matthias Grossman analyses the prospects for a wave of expansions in the dynamic polysilicon market.
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.
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 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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).
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.
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 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.
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.
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.