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There is a special magic that sometimes happens with sports teams, particularly young, struggling teams, when the right group of talented, hungry people, who believe in something come together and, well, make magic happen. Examples are the 1982 49ers and more recently, the 2010 San Francisco Giants winning the World Series with guts, talent and again, magic.
Sarah Kurtz, Principal Scientist and Reliability Group Manager at NREL, expects increases in CPV and thin film, while silicon will continue to be strong, especially for applications that value long lifetimes. Looking ahead, her expectation is that PV systems will deliver electricity for a low enough cost to be used as a mainstream energy source.
Cost reduction is the key objective of the photovoltaics (PV) industry as it strives to position solar power as a low-cost choice for new energy capacity. Three years ago, silicon wafer prices were high and PV modules were in short supply. With crystalline silicon cells making up ~80%  of the PV energy capacity produced annually, fluctuations in supply and cost of polysilicon  in recent years created a window of opportunity for thin film technology innovation, driven by manufacturing equipment suppliers seeking new high-growth business opportunities and and by module manufacturers looking for ways to diversify and/or enter a fast-growing world PV market. Within a short period, many existing and new PV manufacturers began choosing thin-film silicon technology to reduce their strategic dependence on polysilicon and to capitalize on new innovations in thin film technologies promising an advantageous manufacturing cost.
Next year looks set to see record revenues recorded by many equipment suppliers. For them, the only question is how long this can be sustained beyond the next 12 months, before equipment demand softens again.
In this issue, we’ve assembled a collection of viewpoints from industry analysts and technologists on what the coming year might bring in the world of photovoltaics and solar power. I found two comments particularly noteworthy.
The PV industry is a huge success story today, with new companies shooting up like mushrooms and big companies shifting their gears towards this Holy Land of dollars. One could say that the large demand on the PV market is to be attributed to the need to solve the energy problem. A crucial factor enabling this 2-digit yearly growth is the incentives of European countries and, in particular, of the German government.
A study released by the SEIA and GTM Research finds that the US solar industry is a big exporter of solar energy products, and manages to keep most of the billions of dollars it contributes in global economic value within its borders.
The TXG14NIR camera offers enhanced sensitivity in the near infrared (NIR) for automatic inspection of wafers for solar cells, to detect fractures as well as failures in the crystal structure. It provides a significantly higher sensitivity at the required wavelengths, and provides high-resolution images (1392 × 1040 pixels).