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R&D spending analysis of top PV module manufacturers in 2014

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By Mark Osborne, Senior News Editor, Photovoltaics International

R&D expenditure by major PV module manufacturers showed a remarkable turnaround in 2014. Previous reports had noted, especially in 2013, that R&D spending had not been immune to the PV industry’s period of profitless prosperity and was deemed a discretionary spend by the majority of leading producers. A return to profitability for many in 2014 resulted in a year of new record spending. There was record spending from 11 of the 12 companies covered, with Hanwha Q CELLS' spending actually declining in 2014.

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Published In

PVI Issue
Forecasting the evolution of a young, dynamic industry is by definition an uncertain business, and solar is no exception. Rarely, if ever, do the numbers broadcast by any of the various bodies involved in the PV prediction game tally, and even historical deployment rates remain the subject of hot debate. The paradox is that getting forecasts broadly right is going to become increasingly important over the next few years, particularly for those involved in producing the equipment that will support whatever levels of demand come to pass. As discussed by Gaëtan Masson, director of the Becquerel Institute, on p.110 of this issue of Photovoltaics International, although global PV demand appears in rude health, complex political and economic conditions in many individual markets mean the question of how vigorously it will continue to grow in the coming years is less than clear. Yet for the upstream part of the industry, correctly forecasting PV market developments will be critical to ensure the right investments are made along the value chain in technologies that will help spur PV to new levels of competitiveness and thus drive continued demand.

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