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.
Driven mainly by expectations of strong end-market demand growth this year, polysilicon spot prices increased significantly in Q1’14, up 15% Q/Q and 28% Y/Y. In Q2’14, spot prices are expected to remain relatively flat – or to decline moderately – as more polysilicon makers ramp-up production, in an effort to take advantage of the current price environment.
The UK is set to become the largest market for solar PV in Europe during 2014, confirming its status as the hottest market across the region.
During the past couple of weeks, two of the leading custodians of thin-film solar PV technology have restated or amended long-term industry plans. Finlay Colville assesses the future for thin-film PV technology
The uptick in solar end-market demand at the end of 2013 has been followed by new wave of PV cell and module capex. The missing part of the equation is spending on new wafer capacity, writes Finlay Colville.
Consolidation has been one of the most heavily used words in the PV industry over the past couple of years. But as Finlay Colville writes, whether it has actually happened or not is open to debate.
Following the latest round of downstream channel checks and project pipeline activity in the UK, NPD Solarbuzz is now further upgrading its forecast for the UK PV market in 2014.
The compromised solution agreed between Brussels and Beijing for the supply of Chinese solar PV components to Europe is approaching its anniversary. Finlay Colville looks at how the deal has panned out.
The recent announcement by US manufacturer REC Silicon that it would establish a new polysilicon plant has highlighted an upcoming trend in the polysilicon industry: the rise of fluidised bed reactor (FBR) technology. Will it live up to expectation, asks Johannes Bernreuter.
The news today that HelioVolt – one of the few remaining custodians of US based PV manufacturing – will cease operations is terrible news for the 100-plus employees that have been working hard at HelioVolt to advance PV manufacturing in the US.
Recently, we prepared two exclusive blogs for PV-Tech that outlined what PV cell production and technologies looked like at the start of 2014: Can PV technology change before 2015? and What does NPD Solarbuzz’ solar cell rankings for 2013 reveal?
Does the US solar industry need Taiwan, more than Taiwan needs the US solar industry? This is perhaps one of the biggest questions to ask as the latest US ITC investigations gain traction. Finlay Colville offers some answers.
Around about this time each year, we have a closer look at the PV technologies that were used to make all the solar panels in 2013 that ended up being shipped through downstream channels.
NPD Solarbuzz’s Finlay Colville looks at the top 10 cell producer rankings and asks what it tells us about what’s going on in the upper echelons of PV manufacturing.
Each year forecasts for how much new PV capacity will be added around the world are released. These are subsequently revised, updated, defended and invariably increased. The forecasts for 2014 from various banks and research firms however are quite different. The difference between the high-end and the low-end of expectations is massive – potentially 15GW – or put another way nearly half the amount installed in total the previous year.
Having teased the PV equipment supply chain with its multi billion dollar thin-film CIGS capex plans, Hanergy has now revealed the first part of its plans.
Apollo Solar – Hanergy’s PV equipment tool maker subsidiary – has become the clear leader for solar PV equipment revenues during 2013, according to new findings in the latest NPD Solarbuzz PV Equipment Quarterly report. Previous leading rank companies of the PV equipment supply sector include Centrotherm, Applied Materials and Meyer Burger.
After a mediocre 2013, India’s solar industry failed to get off to the positive start it was hoping for in 2014 when an auction under its national solar programme was delayed by a month. Ritesh Pothan sets out how India can avoid the mistakes of 2013 in 2014 and end this year on a firmer footing.
At the end of 2013 the USA’s top solar states had a non-residential PV pipeline of some 40GW. This means any PV company wanting to play on a global level must have a strategy for the US market, write Michael Barker and Christine Beadle.
The US International Trade Commission’s latest trade investigation into Chinese PV manufacturers may be setting off some alarm bells, but what is needed is a good dose of global manufacturing reality to calm things down, says Finlay Colville.
Based on existing company guidance and downstream channel checks - and supplemented by various estimates by company through to the end of 2013 - NPD Solarbuzz can now reveal the Top 10 PV module suppliers for 2013.