Florida showcase for solar tech advances

While all eyes in Europe have turned to the solar shindig in Munich, a parallel conference of photovoltaic specialists is being staged across the Pond in Florida.

The 39th IEEE Photovoltaic Specialists Conference started in Tampa on Sunday and runs until Friday.

And there has been an air of quiet confidence at the conference with attendees hearing from keynote speaker Shayle Kann, vice president of research at Greentech Media, on Monday that the solar industry is showing signs of recovery in early 2013 after a tumultuous couple of years.

Howard Branz, of the U.S. government’s Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy (ARPA-E), gave details of some of the grid scale renewable energy storage projects the agency is investing in, including improved rechargable alkaline batteries and fly-wheel energy storage.

Wednesday’s sessions included reports on technological advances in thin film technology with Kaneka featuring an 11.7% certified initial efficiency total area large triple junction module and LG setting a new record for stabilized cell efficiency with a certified 13.4% aSi-ucSi-ucSi triple junction.