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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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‘The 20GW target can easily be achieved’

Last month, the Indian government decided not to impose antidumping duties on solar cells and modules imported from China, Malaysia, Taiwan, and the United States. The step has been celebrated by many within the industry as a win for solar. To gain a greater understanding of what this means for the future of the Indian […]

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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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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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Rough waters ahead for Indian solar market?

Antidumping duties threaten to torpedo the Indian solar market at a time when the new BJP government led by Narendra Modi has made clear its intention to grow the solar sector in the country. The duties are an ill-conceived and ill-timed vestige of the previous government and serve a very small section of the Indian […]

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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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Portable solar power with a punch

Nothing like a good ol’ Kickstarter or indiegogo solar-centric campaign to get the curatorial juices flowing. My new favorite photovoltaic crowdfunding foray, SunJack, comes from Harold Tan, Deep Patel, and the GigaWatt team. The small but mighty design could become a serious contender on the burgeoning portable solar power/mobile charger scene. The campaign kicked off […]

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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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