Chinese racking and tracking: With the phenomenal growth of the Chinese PV market, Chinese suppliers of racking and tracking have been growing in size and importance not only at home, but in many global markets.
Connectors: Battery connection makers are broadly adopting plug-and-play formats for energy storage solutions, borrowing much from the telecommunications industry, long dependent on power backups. At the same time, new demand is rising for communications ports on batteries, both for internal diagnostics and for system controllers, ushering the Internet of Things into energy storage.
Financial risk: Poor project performance for solar plants in China is the result of a number of factors, but the bottom line is – it increases investment risk. Dirk Kayser, who serves as financial supervisor for Photovoltaik-Institut Berlin’s China operations, explores how government and the private sector are tackling these challenges.
Junction boxes: The seemingly low-tech functionality of the humble junction box belies a piece of kit performing a vital role in maintaining solar’s exemplary safety records. But how do junction box suppliers stay ahead of the game in an industry where new technologies, higher voltages and tighter margins are always around the corner?
Inverter strategies: Data from GTM Research late in 2016 found that the ten largest inverter suppliers cornered 80% of the market last year, marking the greatest level of consolidation since 2010. Faced with this trend, what survival and growth strategies remain viable for those inverter suppliers that do not currently occupy a top-ten position?
Interview: In this interview with pv magazine, Agfa head of business unit functional foils – specialty products Cesar Campos talks about his company’s new UNIQOAT mono-layer PET backsheet line, which will be unveiled at the SNEC trade show in Shanghai, as well as competition between PET and fluoropolymers in the backsheet market.
Interview: Chinese company Jolywood made its name in the solar backsheet industry but has recently taken large strides into high-efficiency cell production. Jolywood’s SVP and general manager of its high-efficiency cell division Liu Yong recently discussed the company’s technological goals and strategic aims with pv magazine at the PV Expo in Tokyo.
Thin film: First Solar is moving to a much larger format for its Series 6 modules, which are due to begin production next year. Is this the signal that the thin film industry has been looking for to move to larger formats?
Thin film production equipment: While long thought to be facing an uphill battle against c-Si rivals, suppliers of thin film production equipment have seen a notable uptick in orders in the last 12-18 months. For later entrants to the PV module production game in China, CIGS has is emerging as the semiconductor choice of many. German robotics giant Kuka is riding this wave of investment and Joachim Döhner, Kuka’s Division Head Technology Solutions spoke to pv magazine about the opportunities.
Price development: Anyone interested in an answer to the question of how sustainable the drastic price drop for solar modules is would likely have a look at price-learning curve figures. Although it also tracks technological progress, its forecasting value is limited.
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