June 1, 2010
The subsidiary of Energy Conversion Devices, Uni-Solar, has detailed its technology roadmap, which is intended to push conversion efficiencies to 12% and a cost-per-watt of 95 cents by 2012.
May 10, 2010
In another sign of the difficult market conditions facing a-Si thin-film module manufacturers, Masdar PV has sacked both Rainer Gegenwart and Joachim Nell from their roles as CEO and COO/CMO, respectively. Michael Alexander will head Masdar PV in the interim. Masdar PV is a customer of Applied Materials turnkey thin-film technology and equipment under its ‘SunFab’ product line.
May 5, 2010
Harvard University spin-off SiOnyx has entered into a joint development agreement with Coherent to evaluate and develop the start-up’s light-absorbent material for solar cell fabrication applications. Fabrication of black silicon uses femtosecond laser processing of the target material to produce absorbent layers that better capture infrared light, potentially boost solar cell conversion efficiencies over conventional processes. Coherent has been active in developing laser-based techniques for both c-Si and thin film process technologies.
April 28, 2010
Having announced in February revenue of US$2,066.2 million in 2009, thin-film leader First Solar was crowned the number-one photovoltaics manufacturer by revenue for the first time. It also shipped over 1GW in modules, the first PV company to reach that milestone. However, First's time in the top slot would seem to have been short lived, as Sharp retook the position after issuing revenue of 208.7 billion yen (US$2.214bn), up 32.8% over the previous year.
March 29, 2010
With an initial production capacity of 160MW, Sharp has started volume production at its 1GW a-Si thin-film plant in Sakai City, Osaka Prefecture, Japan. According to the company, the new facility will be a model plant for future Sharp thin-film solar cell plants around the world.
March 2, 2010
Organic photovoltaics developer Konarka Technologies and Konica Minolta Holdings have signed a comprehensive R&D collaboration and strategic investment agreement. The deal calls for an investment of $20 million by Konica Minolta in Konarka and for the companies to start full-scale collaboration in April in the joint development and distribution of organic thin-film PV.
March 1, 2010
Mitsubishi Electric has said that it has completed construction of PV Cell Plant #2, a 50MW solar cell production facility at its Nakatsugawa Works Iida Factory in Nagano Prefecture. When ramped in 2011, the new plant will give Mitsubishi an annual capacity of 270MW. The company noted that the new facility will also produce monocrystalline-silicon cells and start production by March 2011.
December 23, 2009
Every year we dig deep into the archive of web statistics to rediscover the most popular news stories that have captured the attention of readers in that year. While we have found that in previous years, one or two stories stand out above all others from a pageviews perspective, this year more than four stories are in close contention for the ‘top spot’ and barely a cat's whisker separates the Number 1 and Number 2 stories. In what could hint at the battle that lies ahead in the thin-film realm, the top story for 2009 was Nanosolar's announcement of volume production plans for its unique CIGS thin-film modules. A certain level of controversy had surrounded Nanosolar as the early hype had not been followed up with any concrete plans for scaling the technology. The thin-film start-up's order backlog also demonstrated that it can actually compete with market leader First Solar.
December 2, 2009
Organic photovoltaics developer Solarmer Energy has achieved the highest conversion efficiency recorded so far for a plastic OPV champion cell—7.9%. The aperture-area test results, recently certified by the U.S. Department of Energy’s National Renewable Energy Laboratory, represent an improvement over independent exams conducted a few months ago at Newport Corp.’s Technology and Application Center’s PV Lab, where cell efficiencies of 7.6% and module efficiencies of 3.9% were recorded.
September 15, 2009
The race to higher conversion efficiencies in volume production for both monocrystalline and multicrystalline cells continues with news that Canadian Solar plans to boost cell performance to 18.5% and 16.8%, respectively. This will be accomplished by using several advances that include improvements in screen printing techniques, better texturization and a modified selective emitter process. The company said that these successful R&D projects will be migrated to production lines in the fourth quarter of 2009.

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