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PV manufacturing materials: Technological and process-related options for cost reduction

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By Joseph Berwind, Managing Partner, AEI Research & Consulting

The PV industry is undergoing dramatic changes. Like a carnival ride gone dreadfully wrong, exhilaration has been supplanted by dread; joy has been replaced by fear. Just look around you – provided you are able to turn your head to defy the g-forces acting upon you as we bank and turn wildly along. You will see PV companies closing their doors for good. You will see extraordinarily talented people throughout the supply chain, shifting positions everywhere and looking for safe-haven jobs. And you will also see once-leading PV companies burning cash and losing their status as ‘bankable’. Everywhere we turn, we see companies in the supply chain shuttering production as if to balance markets.

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The 15th edition of Photovoltaics International hopes to bring some optimism to 2012 by tackling the key factors on how to cope with the current situation. Contributions come from MIT on using TCAD as a viable method for modelling metal impurity evolution; Alternative Energy Investing presents a comprehensive look at materials cost; and efficiency improvements are on offer by ECN. REC Solar and Tata BP Solar report on module lifetime and IMS Research gives us a brief rundown of 2012 global market expectations.

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