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Photovoltaic materials innovations continue to drive up efficiencies, drive down costs

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By Tom Cheyney, Senior Contributing Editor - USA, Photovoltaics International

Materials innovation in solar photovoltaic manufacturing has long played a key role in efforts to raise cell and module conversion efficiencies, improve overall device performance and reliability, and lower the overall cost per manufactured watt. Research and development in areas such as ultrathin-silicon wafering and replacement films for thin-film PV transparent conductive oxides often garner much of the industry’s attention. But a wide range of emerging technologies could provide crystalline-silicon and thin-film cell and module manufacturers the kinds of materials solutions that will accelerate their attempts to reach competitive levelized cost of energy metrics and ultimately attain their goal of achieving grid parity with conventional energy sources – as well as open up lucrative market opportunities for the materials suppliers.

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The third edition of Photovoltaics International was published in February 2009. In Thin films we offer Heliovolt enabling rapid printing of microscale CIGS films, and Q-Cells presents requirements for improving diffusion techniques for higher efficiency solar cells in Cell Processing. In Market Watch, we discuss how the USA Stimulus Bill will benefit you.

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