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PV manufacturing capacity expansion plan announcements: Analysis for the first half of 2017

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By Mark Osborne, Senior News Editor, Photovoltaics International

Combined R&D expenditures of 12 major PV module manufacturers in 2016, tracked since 2007, decline by approximately 4.4% in 2016 to US$519.3 million, compared to US$542.9 million in 2015. As 2015 expenditures were a new record high, 2016 becomes the second highest year of spending and 2014 the third highest. All three years highlight total combined annual R&D expenditures above US$500 million.

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Photovoltaics International Archive
As always we have a selection of technical papers from some of the industry’s leading minds. Radovan Kopecek and Joris Libal from ISC Konstanz tackle one of the biggest issues impeding the rollout of bifacial cell and modules, how to standardise their measurement. As long as there is no commercially available means to measure their gain, bifacial modules will struggle to improve their market penetration. The materials section includes an excellent paper from Fraunhofer THM examining the optimization of diamond wire sawing. The method is becoming increasingly predominant with some equipment manufacturers shelving their slurrybased tools. Here Fraunhofer assesses how to squeeze even more efficiency out of diamond wire saws. CSEM meanwhile explores the required metallization and interconnection process changes required to enable a production-scale shift to silicon heterojunction PV. Mark Osborne provides his latest capacity expansion report as upgrades to higher efficiency lines continue to drive planned investments.

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