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Magazine Archive 11-2012

Protectionism is spreading out

India: Bridge To India analyses the recent Indian antidumping probe launched against solar modules produced in China, Taiwan, Malaysia and the United States.

Persistence required

Silicon industry: Companies must invest in efficiency and innovative production lines in order to survive the price war. This adds to existing overcapacities and therefore exerts downward pressure on prices again.

A case of light and shade

27th EU PVSEC: It’s often a lawyer’s advice to a client, “expect nothing, and you can only be pleasantly surprised.” And in some ways, the EU PVSEC trade show in Frankfurt delivered more or less along these lines; low expectations resulted in some surprisingly positive results for a number of participants. However, after seeing a fall in exhibitor numbers by almost one third, others were left questioning the need for a second big European show.

Global FIT overview

Feed-in tariffs: The Bulgarian industry’s woes continue as the government makes more cuts, this time introducing sweeping retroactive measures. Austria has shunned larger plants, Brussels and Wallonia in Belgium are awarding less green certificates, and Cyprus, Lithuania and Switzerland have all cut their financial support for PV.

For Taiwan, China, Japan and EPC hold the key

PV Taiwan: More solar cell exports to Japan, greater collaboration with mainland China and developing Taiwanese expertise in engineering, procurement and construction were among the topics dominating this year’s PV Taiwan trade exhibition.

Faith and financing

Chile: In October, pv magazine attended the inauguration of Chile’s biggest PV plant. At 1.4 MW, the project may seem trivial compared to the large-scale plants in operation across the globe. However, for Chile it represents the start of what will hopefully become a burgeoning solar industry. That is, if the faith and financing hurdles can be overcome.

Extending the limits

Silver pastes: A committee of the industry association Semiconductor Equipment and Materials International (SEMI) is looking at how to reduce the amount of silver used in photovoltaic cells. Stephan Raithel of the SEMI PV Group as well as Weiming Zhang and David P. McMullen of Heraeus Precious Metals report on the goals, the approaches, and the achievements.

Doubling down on quality

PV+Test: Four more modules made by Chinese manufacturers have undergone the Solarpraxis/TUV Rheinland module test. The manufacturer JS Solar has proven that China is capable of producing high quality modules. The other two manufacturers, however, underscore the fact that this is not always the case.

Control is better

Cell testing: Solar cells are vulnerable to defects, such as microcracks, at every step of the manufacturing process. Some module manufacturers have therefore started carefully screening the goods coming from their suppliers. Manufacturers are taking a close look at what comes in the door and keeping cell suppliers on their toes.

Brief uptick in Europe

Chinese factory gate prices: The utilization rates of Chinese suppliers are still very low. PV installations in China are rising, but module prices are expected to stay low.

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