In Depth

  • Exclusive: PV in the USA, Part II—NREL’s PDIL helps propagate solar process technologies

    By Tom Cheyney - 08 September 2010, 10:11

    Brent Nelson is unlikely to underestimate the limitations of science. “I’m always quick to not say, ‘something can’t be done.’ Because people are clever and will always figure something out….Never say nothing will ever happen.” As manager of NREL’s Process Development and Integration Laboratory (PDIL), one of the planet’s leading photovoltaic research facilities, he gets a steady dose of innovation in crystalline and thin-film silicon, CIGS, CdTe, organics, measurement technologies, and variations therein to support his optimistic outlook.

  • Exclusive: PV in the USA—The current incarnation of tech incubation at NREL

    By Tom Cheyney - 01 September 2010, 10:23

    Don’t let anyone tell you that the level of technological innovation and the amount of manufacturing capacity across the photovoltaics sector are on the wane in the United States. My own eyes and ears tell me otherwise. Since March, I have toured some 25 research, development, pilot, and volume production facilities in various parts of the country, including companies from the Mexican border up to the Bay Area in California, the burgeoning PV cluster in and around Toledo, OH, and most recently, the centennial state of Colorado, home of the esteemed National Renewable Energy Lab and several up-and-coming thin-film and inverter firms.

  • Cuts conundrum: investigating likely feed-in tariff changes worldwide

    By Emma Hughes - 25 August 2010, 15:20

    As we move further into 2010 the news of feed-in tariff cuts is becoming less and less surprising. Following the announcement this week that France plans to cut its subsidy rates for projects over 30m2, Bloomberg New Energy Finance has reported that this move may be followed by similar incisions in countries such as the Czech Republic, Ontario and the UK.

  • Solar slashing: France’s solar feed-in tariff to be cut by up to 12% - updated

    By Emma Hughes - 24 August 2010, 15:45

    Local press reports in France have pointed towards feed-in tariff cuts for solar power installations. The French government is expected to follow the trend in solar slashing to keep its policy in line with the massive price drops apparent across the industry.

  • Solar slashing: France’s solar feed-in tariff to be cut by up to 12% - updated

    By Emma Hughes - 24 August 2010, 15:33

    Local press reports in France have pointed towards feed-in tariff cuts for solar power installations. The French government is expected to follow the trend in solar slashing to keep its policy in line with the massive price drops apparent across the industry.

  • PV equipment makers rejoice as cell expansions exhibit strong growth, technology diversification

    By Finlay Colville - 20 August 2010, 16:10

    In contrast to the cloud of uncertainty prevailing over much of the thin-film equipment supply chain today, recent quarterly results within the c-Si segment from the likes of Centrotherm, Roth and Rau, Manz Automation, Applied Materials, and Amtech suggest sunny times lie ahead for these leading c-Si tool suppliers.

  • Chinese solar in the Land of Lincoln: Wanxiang opens PV module line, partners on 62MW power plant

    By Tom Cheyney - 19 August 2010, 10:32

    The Wanxiang Group may be a familiar name to those in the automotive parts supply business, but the multibillion-dollar Chinese conglomerate has stayed off—or at least on the screen-edge of—most solar PV observers’ radar. Yet the company is one of the largest solar silicon ingot and wafer producers in China. It also started a cell and module business in 2005, with plans to get to 300MW of capacity in the next year or so. Wanxiang has been operating in the U.S. for awhile, with more than 4000 employees, but had not dipped its toe in the Stateside solar pond until recently.

  • Rasta gone solar: Reggae band Steel Pulse donates song download for Haitian PV projects

    By Tom Cheyney - 17 August 2010, 10:45

    Before gravity took its course, David Hinds’ massive dreadlocks once rose straight up from his head, resembling none other than the shape of a nuclear power plant to many observers. Now the outspoken British Rastaman, whose band Steel Pulse has carried the flag for the Jamaican-born music since the days when Bob Marley walked the Earth, has put his songwriting talents behind a worthy renewable power-related cause—namely, the solar electrification of health clinics in earthquake-wracked Haiti. Hinds and his group are giving 100% of the proceeds gathered from donations made when charitable music-lovers download his newly recorded “Hold On (4 Haiti)” track at a new Website dedicated to the relief campaign.

  • The crying game: R&D in solar PV, CIGS moves make different kinds of noise amid financial tumult

    By Tom Cheyney - 14 August 2010, 11:36

    The past week or so has been one of the most tumultuous in recent memory for the solar photovoltaic manufacturing community. The earnings season is upon us, and some of the company news has been downright scary, especially from the likes of Q-Cells and others that have seen the bottom fall out of their markets and have had to take drastic steps to survive, such as the Q’s plant shutdown and layoffs.

  • First Solar, please go to the back of the queue

    By Mark Osborne - 13 August 2010, 16:46

    Two gigawatts worth of utility-scale projects signed between First Solar and the Ordos City Government in Inner Mongolia, China looks like it’s becoming a white elephant, according to an article in the Washington Post. There would seem to be an uproar from China-based PV manufacturers about the deal, which wasn’t opened to a bidding process and now will be, suggesting that should any final deal be made, First Solar could well be at the back of the queue.

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  • Photovoltaics International 24th Edition

    Signs earlier in the year of the global industry entering a growth phase have now been confirmed beyond any doubt. Almost all the big-name suppliers have now announced some form of manufacturing capacity expansion, a trend that analysts agree will only gather pace as long as the levels of demand predicted over the next few years turn out to be correct.

  • 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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