Supply chain management: Logistics is becoming more complex as the industry is expanding globally. A study by IPVEA and Solar PV Consulting found that the solar industry is losing huge amounts due to a lack of supply chain optimization.
EU energy strategy: From currency to employment rights, European unity has proved workable on a number of important issues. Yet one of Europes most pressing concerns energy remains fragmented, lacking a binding strategy that could deliver a more sustainable, independent future. pv magazine finds a solar industry armed with the tools to engineer change, but asks: Is there sufficient political appetite to challenge the status quo?
Craneless maintenance: The new XEAnova tool from PV production supplier Von Ardenne has led the companys latest pivot towards c-Si tool supply, delivering a vacuum coating technique that improves coating times and most pertinent of all removes the need for crane-based maintenance.
Equipment manufacturers: Investments in production technology by equipment manufacturers are paying off as market supply and demand finally start to balance out in the PV industry
BIPV: The small field of solar shingle manufacturers is beginning to expand, cutting installation costs, improving roof and solar integration, incorporating new materials.
Mounting Systems: The solar downturn of 2012 and 2013 claimed many victims. One of which, Germanys Mounting Systems, was left looking for a buyer after parent company Conergy Group became insolvent. In December 2013, an agreement was reached for the Nordwest Industrie Group to purchase Mounting Systems. pv magazine met with Managing Director Stefan Spork on its re-emergence from financial insecurity onto the global stage.
Stringing and tabbing: Not always the best loved child of PV processes, cell assembly and interconnection, known as stringing, is crucial in terms of manufacturing quality and production efficiency. pv magazine investigates some of the latest innovations in the space.
Monitoring: Synapse Wireless and Shoals Technologies Group introduced a cloud-based wireless system for real-time string-level monitoring of PV installations from cradle to grave.
Installation: U.S. solar installers and developers are being offered more assistance to help them shave critical minutes off the time required to properly install a fire-safe rooftop solar system. Ranging from new testing products for OEMs to self-testing for installers, the new offerings will facilitate OEM regulatory adherence and installer efficiency, and also help ensure bankability and return on investment.
Industry ranking: Capacity additions and production ramps were not terms uttered often about thin producers in the recent years. But amongst the swirling winds of trade disputes, downstream integration, and steady technological progress, thin films are just about holding their own.