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Magazine Archive 01-2012

Hooking up renewables

Grid integration: As more solar power enters the U.S. electric grid, utilities are eyeing new inverter functions that will help them to design and manage a new grid.

What robotics and automation ought to be

Robotics and automation: Capital investment savings of 23 percent and output per square meter gains of 30 percent would make most PV manufacturers sit up and take notice. But how can gains like this be achieved? pv magazine investigates a number of approaches to bringing about such gains for PV module manufacturers.

Top quality by fully automatic means

Automated inspection: KUKA Systems GmbH’s Bernd Richter of Sales and Project Engineering & Energy and Josephin Schmidt of Marketing & Communications explain how the company’s systems monitor and assure quality of solar modules.

Surprises guaranteed

Industry ranking: No photovoltaics sector is developing as dynamically as the field of project development. Companies that were practically unknown last year are suddenly shooting stars, whereas others remain outside of the public spotlight, fine-tuning their success and not saying too much about their strategy.

Solar awakening

Middle East: Solar projects and activity are beginning to build up across the Middle East as governments look to ease energy supply challenges and nurture the high-tech industrial opportunities afforded by solar.


Ardour Solar Index: The Index resumes a downward slide. Capital is diverting from capacity expansion to R&D.

Settling down in China

Foreign investment: Low production costs used to be the driving force behind foreign investment in China. Now the country’s domestic market is becoming the key driver, as the examples of Coveme and other manufacturers show.

Pushing renewable investment

Emerging markets: 2011 may well have been characterized by a number of controversial issues, including declining module prices, insolvencies, production cutbacks, consolidation, the Fukushima nuclear disaster, and the U.S.-China trade dispute. However, not all is lost: while many of the traditional solar markets are suffering, a number of emerging markets are working hard to fill the void.

On the way to implementation

Ontario: Despite significant financial incentives and a large project pipeline, comparatively few photovoltaic systems have been installed in Ontario thus far. The solar industry is now relying on faster approval phases, greater acceptance on the part of the banks and dynamic adjustment of the feed-in tariffs (FITs) to declining prices.

Let the light shine through

Solar panel cleaning: Dust, leaves, bird excrement – when they fall on your car window, they are easy to clean. But if they accumulate on your PV modules, it’s a bit tougher to wipe them off. But do you really have to? Just how much dirt actually translates into reduced performance and when do owners of solar energy installations need to get their panels professionally cleaned – and how should they do that?

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