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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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Intersolar North America 2014: U.S. solar market outlook

The numbers don’t lie. The growth of the U.S. solar market has been phenomenal over the past few years, with the annual installation rate soaring toward 10GW within the next year or two. But behind the upwardly mobile statistics lies a simple truth: the massive increase in solar penetration has taken place in a handful […]

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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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The expansive solar value stream

One of the big-picture takeaways from the DOE SunShot Grand Challenge Summit was a reminder of just how expansive the solar value stream really is. From early-stage research in quantum dot solar cells waaaay upstream to programs developing low-cost, high-efficiency crystalline-silicon cell architectures all the way down the mighty river to awardee projects innovating balance-of-systems […]

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PV at 60: History becomes the future

“It was the solar cell that launched the renewable energy age,” declared Eicke Weber, director of the Fraunhofer Institute for Solar Energy Systems, as he kicked off “PV60: History Becoming the Future.” The program, honoring the history of the invention of the silicon solar cell, took place April 18 at the Lucie Stern Community Center […]

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Happy anniversary, silicon solar cell

There’s a landmark date fast approaching on the solar industry calendar. April 25 will mark the 60th birthday of Bell Lab’s 1954 press conference announcing the invention of the first “practical” silicon solar cell. News coverage at the time waxed enthusiastic about the discovery. The story made the front page of the next day’s edition […]

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Solar prank sucker

They dangled the bait in the water, and like a sucker, I bit. I should have known better than to engage so early in my day. The pranksters at Tigo Energy had me going for a few minutes with their clever, solar-geek-specific April Fools’ Day gag. The headline read: “Tigo Energy is Pleased to Announce […]

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Mining solar gems

First Solar’s analyst day was marked by not one, not two, not three, but four substantive press announcements, all of which were newsworthy in their own right: the signing of the contract to build the biggest utility-scale solar plant in Jordan, the deepening of the relationship with GE that includes a significant new central inverter […]

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