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Magazine Archive 06-2011

Learning from the test

PV+Test: Module tests help you choose modules. On the one hand, manufacturers like that. On the other hand, they fear it. Andreas Cox, test engineer at TÜV Rheinland, reports on the reactions.

The art and science of high-efficiency solar cells

Conference on Silicon Photovoltaics: Silicon PV is set to continue to dominate the solar cell manufacturing industry for the next ten years. It will hold that position due to its ability to eke out continued conversion efficiency improvements and cost reduction.

No more flying blind

Yield forecasts: Recently experts have been able to precisely predict just how much solar electricity transmission system operators will be able to reckon with the next day. This represents an important step toward better integration of photovoltaic plants into the electricity grid.

The knowledge factory

Polysilicon production: The Siemens process has been the forerunning technology in the polysilicon production world for the last years. Even with the advent of fluid-bed reactors and vapor-to-liquid deposition, the Siemens process remains the unrivalled popular method. Thus, it was with great interest that pv magazine toured the Schmid Silicon Technology (SST) pilot plant in Schwarze Pumpe, in the east of Germany. SST has their own method; one apparently ready to challenge the rest of the techniques.

360 degrees capture

Sphelar: The idea behind Josuke Nakata’s spherical cells was to capture light from all directions, thus optimizing the potential of a solar cell. Sphelar has developed over the years, reaching higher efficiencies and varied application potentials; and now, mass production interest is starting to emerge. Nevertheless, can the niche product really survive the market demands?

Optimum optics

Optical inspection systems for cell production (inline): These systems work without contact, are quick and can provide vital information to solar producers. Despite the prowess these systems have, there are still certain issues in need of rectification. How does one assess these systems?

Tracker vendors go deeper and wider

Tracking systems: In face of changes in demand in their traditional markets, tracking systems vendors are wasting no time in developing new opportunities, whether at home or abroad.

A wave of lawsuits

Spain: A wave of lawsuits against the Spanish Government is welling up after the authorities applied retroactive tariff adjustments to existing photovoltaic systems. But the industry is still optimistic about the future. Solar panels on industrial roofs are gaining momentum. And a regulation for self consumption is on the horizon.

Perspectives and challenges

4th General Assembly of VDMA Photovoltaic Equipment: Leading German photovoltaic suppliers discussed the latest trends in the photovoltaic supplier industry. Besides cost aspects for equipment makers and their customers, market development, technology trends and the actual R&D policies were topics of the convention. Florian Wessendorf from VDMA talks about the highlights of the assembly.


Russia: The natural disaster that happened in Japan on 11 March that caused a series of serious reactions at the Fukushima nuclear power plants influenced the nuclear energy industry and politics in many countries all over the world. But apparently, not in Russia.

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