Module prices: With sales stagnating, most module manufacturers are achieving lower profit margins.
Lead times: The trend towards lower purchasing lead times is ebbing, but has not yet reversed. Distributors expect inventories to peak in Q2 2011.
Germany: After months of standstill prices are declining on the German photovoltaics market. However, investors and installers require further price discounts in order not to endanger the fledgling recovery.
Process and quality management systems: Factory-wide automation of process and quality control is an emerging trend in PV fabs around the world. Driving the trend is the need to improve yield, produce higher efficiency cells more consistently, and cut manufacturing costs.
Process control: Important tools to reduce the balance of system costs in PV manufacturing are the use of advanced optical defect inspection systems and surface metrology systems, in combination with a comprehensive process control methodology, explains Pieter Vandewalle of KLA-Tencor Corporation.
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