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Magazine Archive 05-2010

Solar DIY

Di-it-yourself PV kits: Complete photovoltaic systems are not only available from specialized retailers or installers of solar systems. It is precisely the do-it-yourself enthusiasts who also rely on other sources, such as the German chain stores Obi, Toom, Globus, Tchibo, and even eBay. Nevertheless, the installers of solar power systems don’t have to start worrying about their volume of orders just yet.

PV production under the microscope

Over the years, scientists of the US National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) have made many important breakthroughs in their solar PV laboratories. However, making those breakthroughs commercial projects has often proven to be painfully slow. They are hoping their newest facility will help close that gap by integrating the best scientific precision measuring devices into a simulated industrial production line.

“The market is picking up again”

Taiwan: The Taiwanese photovoltaics industry aims to turn its homeland into one of the top three PV producers worldwide. Last year’s financial crisis put the brakes on growth, but things are moving ahead again now.


Preparing to move out of the niche

Triple Green, part 5: Mass production of CIS modules is largely possible without heavy metals and metallurgy. Theoretically, they as such have the best chance of becoming truly “triple green” (green energy, green recycling, green manufacturing). Nevertheless, there is still some need for development before these modules can be produced in a manner both environmentally and economically sustainable.

Pores and pyramids, yield increasers

Anti-reflective solar glass: Solar glass is meant to protect modules from wind and weather. But it always reflects a small amount of sunlight, especially if the light hits the glass at a low angle. Anti-reflective coatings and structures can help, and increase module output, yet there remains no ideal solution for every application.

On an east-west course

Solar panel orientation: Roofs that face towards south present ideal surfaces for photovoltaic installations. Yet with the decline in the prices for solar systems, more and more plants are being built on roofs that face towards east and west.

Manager for hire

Management: Most people would be scared off by a constant pressure to perform, new situations and uncertain future prospects. Bona fide interim managers, however, thrive in such situations. They think of it as a challenge, as independence, and an opportunity to make a difference. Their creed? Roll up your sleeves and get to it. More and more solar energy companies are using these modern nomads to meet the quickly changing demands of the market.

Less iron, more transparency

Solar glass: A new float glass factory of F-Glass, a joint venture between Scheuten and Interpane, now makes very clear glass with low iron content. As a result, more sunlight is passed on to the solar cells and module efficiency increased. And as the glass is also coated directly in the production plant, production is also cheaper.

Growing end market demand

Ardour solar index: Positive data on end market demand is not enough to boost stocks, while feed-in tariff risk in Spain makes headlines.

Goodbye to heavy metals

EU environmental guidelines: New environmental constraints loom for the photovoltaics industry. Members of the European Parliament are now discussing recycling systems and directives to govern the use of carcinogenic substances like lead and cadmium in electrical and electronic equipment.

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