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Magazine Archive 06-2014

Dramatic slump in the European market

Module prices: Is PV still a model for the future in Europe? The current situation casts doubt on that.

Virtues of automation

Thin film: Automated production lines can provide a number of advantages to module manufacturers. High yields and throughput, detailed monitoring and consistent product quality are all virtues of automated process controls and getting robots to do the handling. It is also a marketing tool to give modules a stamp of quality. On the flip side, new automation tool orders for thin film have been extremely hard to come by for tool suppliers, meaning development has had to be largely self-funded.

Focus on self-consumption

Switzerland: Owners of solar PV systems in Switzerland are allowed to consume their electricity themselves for the first time. This is guaranteed by an amendment of the country’s national energy law. The reform should be good for the PV market, not least because the state will provide one third of the investment for systems up to ten kilowatts as of this year.

When the market decides

Storage systems: Not only are they being talked about by everyone, they are also splitting the industry. Some are focusing on successfully opening up a new market with them, while others consider them to be inefficient and economically pointless. But the figures are crystal clear.

Global FIT overview

Feed-in tariffs: In emerging markets, both Algeria and Costa Rica locked in comprehensive new feed-in tariff schemes and Bangladesh is thinking about adopting its own scheme. Up north, Germany and Slovenia have continued with planned degressions.

In the red

Ardour Solar Index: The trade case and China’s distributed PV focus cast uncertainty on volume growth.

Monitoring and data logging services multiply

Solar monitoring and data logging: There has been a virtual explosion of solar PV monitoring and data logging companies offering services in the global market over the past few years, and consolidation is the watchword. In the U.S. market alone, the number of companies has risen from a few dozen to several hundred, begging the question of what standard services are, and at what price.

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