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Magazine Archive 07-2011

Large market for small systems

PV in developing countries: Simon Rolland, Secretary General of the Alliance for Rural Electrification (ARE), on business models for small-scale off-grid photovoltaics.

Looking ahead

Intersolar Europe: Grid parity for solar electricity and the renewable energy mix are in sight. This was the message put across by the Intersolar Europe 2011 trade exhibition, which this year celebrated its 20th anniversary.

A challenge and an opportunity

Concentrating photovoltaics: In recent months, the market for terrestrial CPV has gained some momentum. As dual axis tracking is a must-have for CPV to maximize investment in materials and optimize conversion efficiency, it presents both an opportunity and a challenge for tracker manufacturers.

Marriage of convenience

Solar and retail: Big U.S. retailers such as Lowe’s and Costco are increasing their solar electric equipment sales and services by teaming up with solar service providers who can do sales, financing and installation.

A thirst for silver

Silver: As a raw material of the contact grid, silver is the highest cost factor after the wafer in the manufacture of solar cells. Given the extreme price hikes this year alone, replacing the precious metal with industrial metals such as copper is becoming increasingly important. Yet this on its own will scarcely be enough to protect the industry from rising raw material costs.

Much more than just ramping up production

China: Chinese cell and module manufacturers are ramping up production capacity even as major markets in Europe show signs of slowing down. China’s production of photovoltaic (PV) cells doubled from four gigawatts (GW) at the end of 2009 to eight GW at the end of 2010. This year will bring a further significant ramp-up in Chinese PV manufacturing capacity and production.

And the winner is …

Intersolar Awards: It was not just a parade of big names at the Intersolar Awards 2011, which took place in Munich, Germany as part of the trade fair. Newer names, a more global representation, and companies that came over from other industries were on the nomination list. Solar Promotion and Freiburg Wirtschaft Touristik und Messe (FWTM), with the German Solar Industry Association (BSW-Solar) presented the Intersolar Award ceremony.


Japan: Post-Fukushima Japan is a vastly different place to the one which committed to a nuclear energy future. Recent government announcements regarding a drive towards solar research and development and a feed-in tariff scheme with strong political support all indicate Japan’s energy future will result in a commitment to renewable sources with solar and PV at its core.

Are you a green hypocrite?

Sustainability: For the solar industry, which produces “green” products, sustainability is hugely relevant. But do module manufacturers, for example, which happily promote their products’ environmental credentials, adopt sustainable production principles? A number of companies are investigating this topic. Here, pv magazine looks at the evaluation methods, their effectiveness and their industry relevance.

Precision coating

Selective emitter process: The thin, uniform application of dopants is critical to the successful formation of selective emitters on photovoltaic cells. Considerable effort is ongoing to improve the efficiency of photovoltaic cells. Recently, much attention has been given to the formation of selective emitters to significantly improve the efficiency of the solar cell. In a two-part series, Ultrasonic System’s President Stuart Erickson and Chinalight Solar’s Senior Engineer, Yang Song, Deputy Director of Research and Development, Ye Duan, and Deputy General Manager Youzhong Li elaborate.

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