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Why solar companies are not high-tech companies

Despite the ongoing incremental improvements in conversion efficiencies and cost reduction taking place in the solar manufacturing community, it would be a stretch to call most of the players truly “high tech.” Industry executives like Trina Solar’s Jifan Gao can tout his company’s “emphasis on technology breakthroughs” and its efforts to “remain at the forefront […]

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South African solar surge

If Nelson Mandela were alive today, he would be proud of the rapid growth of solar power in his beloved South Africa. It’s been nearly a year since he passed away last December 5, and during that time, several hundred megawatts of photovoltaic projects have moved from the developmental pipeline to actively converting photons into […]

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Intersolar North America 2014: Manufacturing bullishness

SAN FRANCISCO—For those laboring in the photovoltaic equipment manufacturing business, the recent signs of growth and purchasing activity in the customer base as well as sturdy end-market demand provide reasons to be bullish. At the SEMI PV Manufacturing Forum held in conjunction with Intersolar North America 2014, IHS analyst and conference moderator Jon Campos shared […]

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IEEE PVSC turns 40

Having hit the big 4-0, the IEEE Photovoltaic Specialists Conference (PVSC) may have reached middle age, but this year showed no signs of slowing down. The IEEE PVSC 2014 edition, which was held June 8-13 in Denver, had over 1500 attendees and celebrated many key technological advancements, including a pair of particularly significant achievements: for […]

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The SolarCity-Silevo surprise

The reverberations of the blockbuster news of the SolarCity-Silevo surprise acquisition deal extend well beyond the solar community, with the Wall Streeters in particular scrambling to put their spins on the implications. When Elon Musk speaks, people listen—and then fall all over themselves to contextualize and analyze what he says. He is, after all, the […]

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Intersolar Europe 2014 redux: American dreams

During my previous visits to Intersolar Europe, I had always attended with my EU hat firmly on, having been based out of and travelling from the U.K. This year’s show marked my first visit to Messe Munchen since I had moved Stateside last year, so I entered Europe’s largest solar exhibition with a different mindset. […]

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Big solar, Japanese style

Several massive imagination-capturing solar plants offer power-generating proof that the age of true utility-scale solar has begun. Whether it’s Ivanpah’s trio of sci-fi-like power towers surrounded by hundreds of thousands of heliostats in the Mojave Desert, California Valley Solar Ranch’s sprawling expanse of high-efficiency tracker-based systems, or the newly commissioned Amanacer PV farm shimmering in […]

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World Cup solar power

It’s finally World Cup 2014 time, and Team Solar Curator can’t wait for foot to meet ball in Brazil. We’re not only excited because most of us are avid international soccer-futbol fans, but also since nearly all of the most solarized countries on the planet are represented in the draw. Consider this: among the 32 […]

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Intersolar Europe 2014: Stories from the show floor

MUNICH–After missing Intersolar Europe for the first time in five years in 2013, I’ve been looking forward to visiting the Messe München for many months. Over the course of the first two days, the show has not disappointed. While exhibitor numbers are down over recent years, the show is still viewed as the premier European event […]

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Concentrator photovoltaics tipping point?

Some 250 academics and technologists from 23 countries gathered in Albuquerque, NM, at the recent 10th International Conference on Concentrator Photovoltaic Systems (CPV-10) to discuss the state of CPV technology and deployment. Since its inception in 2002, the “CPV-x” conference series has operated as a nonprofit, with the aim of maintaining an intimate, collegial feel […]

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