Power & Energy Solutions

The premier renewable energy publication

California-based Paula Mints is widely recognised as one of the foremost experts in the PV industry. For many years she has provided clients with objective, comprehensive industry analysis based on extensive primary research, including her forward-looking understanding of market and technology trends. Her strong background in primary research qualifies her to provide insight into the dynamic PV industry and its emerging trends. She has a decade of experience providing research products and insight about the PV industry. PES talks to her about the state of the industry.PES: Welcome to PES magazine, for the benefit of our readers who might not be familiar with your area of expertise, can you outline your role within the PV industry? Paula Mints: I am a market researcher focused entirely on PV - this is all I have done since 1998. My work is entirely based on primary research (contact with one or the other side of the market). I am very lucky to have inherited, so to speak, the practice from my former boss and mentor - lucky because this practice began in 1974, and my database dates back to this point.PES: Can you explain a little about double counting and how this skews

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As a comprehensive optoelectronics group, Jenoptik is well-known - and indeed, well respected - within the PV arena. With its group headquarters in Jena (Germany), the company is represented in nearly 70 countries and has major production sites abroad in the USA, France and Switzerland as well as shareholdings in India, China, Korea and Japan. Division Manager, Dr. Thomas Fehn, offers an illuminating insight into the firm's inner workings and aspirations.PES: Welcome to PES magazine, can you start off by introducing your company and the services it provides to the PV industry?Dr. Thomas Fehn: Jenoptik is a leading manufacturer of optoelectronic systems and components. The company has five divisions employing over 3,000 professionals in Europe, Asia and North America. Jenoptik's Lasers & Material Processing division provides an entire value added chain starting with laser components, leading into laser sources and finally the laser material processing automation equipment. With 400 employees, the Lasers & Material Processing division supplies highly efficient laser processing technology that optimises customers' cost of ownership. Our division is serving the markets with sales, service and application centres in Europe, North America and Asia.Both our Optical Systems and Lasers & Material Processing divisions support the PV industry. To

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As CEO of Meyer Burger, Peter Pauli has helmed the company through a period of impressive - and perhaps unprecedented - growth. Their all-share acquisition of 3S Industries has created a company with a workforce comprising more than 1,000 employees, making it the world's third-largest PV equipment supplier. Here, he tells PES about the past, present and his strategic plans for an even-more buoyant future.PES: Welcome back to PES magazine, for the benefit of our readers who might not be familiar with your business, can you outline how you serve the photovoltaic industry? Peter Pauli: We are an equipment supplier to the solar industry and we focus on the wafer side, producing wafers and producing equipment for use in modules. Our main business is wafer lines and module lines and we have three technologies in the cell lines, such as coating and automation and handling systems.The company was founded 50 years ago and at the time we produced machines for drilling and machines for watch bearings. Along the way we achieved leadership in cutting wafers for the semiconductor industry and market leadership in a product to cut semiconductor wafers. The market then contracted because the company was too focused on

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With cost cutting in mind, the photovoltaics industry increasingly relies on automation, expecting it to bring about sustained high product quality and increased productivity. PES explains all.Industrial robots feed and discharge solar cell production lines and sort the finished components by pick-and-place processes. They handle glass panes, cut films and foils and assemble frames around solar modules and have recently even started installing junction boxes. Be it at Q-Cells in Bitterfeld, at Conergy in Frankfurt/Oder or Bosch Solar Energy in Erfurt - most production lines in the solar sector are highly automated these days. And with good reason: "Here in Europe we have to increase capacities to remain competitive," says Carsten Busch, Head of the Solar Unit at ABB Automation in Friedberg, who adds that price pressure is enormous. If we are to keep manufacturing modules in Germany then robots will have to be used for even more tasks in future. "The automotive industry has proven that successful manufacturing is possible here in this country."The solar sector is increasingly interested in manufacturing concepts that have "empowered" the likes of Mercedes, Porsche or BMW. Many manufacturers of automation technology boast precisely this know-how.ABB, for example, offers robots for nearly all segments

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One of the most forward-looking operators within the PV industry, Multi-Contact is nevertheless built upon decades of innovation and experience across a broad sweep of industries. PES caught up with CEO, Rainer Isenrich, who is currently steering the company into previously-untapped global markets.PES: Welcome back to PES. For the benefit of any new readers who perhaps might not be acquainted with Multi-Contact, would you be able to outline how your company benefits the solar industry? Rainer Isenrich: MC has been among the leaders in the PV industry for more than 10 years. We supply global top module companies, system integrators, inverter manufacturers and installers with our MC3 and MC4 connector lines and other products out of our PV portfolio.Founded in Basle, Switzerland, in 1962, Multi-Contact develops and manufactures connector systems for various industries such as power distribution, automation, photovoltaic, medical and test & measurement. In addition to our broad standard product range, we are specialised in designing customised solutions, based on our unique MC Multilam Technology.PES: As a company with many areas of focus, how has your business adapted to demand from the solar industry? RI: PV business has strongly increased over the last years and it now represents an

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PES takes a look at three state-of the-art modes of transport which could help facilitate an energy-efficient future and help conserve the increasingly limited natural resources of the planet.SkiesSome 110 years after the much-celebrated Wright Brothers designed and flew their first aircraft, the age of solar fight has finally arrived.The ghosts of Wilbur and Orville could have looked on in sheer amazement as the Solar Impulse HB-SIA - the first aircraft designed to fly without fuel - left the ground for the first time at Dübendorf Airfield in Germany.The final ground tests, in December 2009, had proved encouraging, showing excellent results for controllability, acceleration, braking paths and, engine power and the team behind the ambitious project gave the thumbs up to test pilot Markus Scherdel, to take the prototype up to take-off speed.As the aircraft gathered speed, project promoters Bertrand Piccard and André Borschberg watched on admiringly. After some 350 metres of flight at an altitude of one metre, the prototype landed on the centre of the runway as the team behind the project applauded enthusiastically.Bertrand Piccard, initiator and President of Solar Impulse, said: "For over 10 years I have dreamt of a solar aircraft capable of flying day and

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As CEO of Oerlikon Leybold Vacuum, Dr. Andreas Widl is one of the PV industry's leading lights. Here, he talks to PES about the evolution of the company and the technological advances that have made it a major global player.PES: Welcome to PES magazine, for the benefit of our readers who might not be acquainted with your company, can you outline how you serve the PV industry?Andreas Widl: For the past 160 years the business focus of Leybold Vacuum has been vacuum technology, a prerequisite for most modern manufacturing process. This is also the case for the PV industry. Only 5-10% of total investment is spent on vacuum technology, even though vacuum is the enabling factor in the production chain. Vacuum plays a role in growing silicon ingots, wafer processing, all relevant coating processes and lamination. Application know-how, and the experience of selecting the right vacuum solution and systems for the different applications are crucial for a stable and reliable production as well as essential for secure and profitable processes.PES: You operate in a number of production sectors, can you tell us about the importance of PV to your overall operation and whether this sector is growing?AW: From delivering vacuum

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The UK and European renewable energy sector is currently undergoing a radical transformation, spearheaded by the increasing demand for a secure source of clean, home grown energy. Driven by strong government incentives and advancements in technology, the sector has matured over recent years and the barriers to entry for new investors are receding.In particular, the wind sub-sector has been responsible for the biggest shift in attitudes and the greatest attraction of proactive investment, having demonstrated its simplicity and proven renewable energy technology. These are key factors necessary to unlock project finance and support of the banks. However, the sector has not escaped the lack of confidence that has dogged the global financial markets, which has stifled funding and development.There have been numerous policies implemented by governments across Europe aimed at reversing this trend. In the UK, Ofgem recently highlighted the need for an estimated £200bn of investment in cleantech and renewables over the next 10 years. Renewable Obligation Certificates (ROCs) have been introduced, which provide large utility companies with a quota for sourcing their power from renewables.To address the dilemma of a funding shortfall at the small-scale research and development end of the scale, Feed in Tariffs (FITs) have been

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Since 1995, Prediktor has delivered advanced industrial IT tools and solutions to a wide range of industries, including the PV sector. As CEO Steinar Sælid explains, the company's solutions are based on deep process knowledge and insights into customers' processes and operations.PES: When you were formulating your Manufacturing Execution System (MES) solution back in 2002, you consulted with a number of solar industry members. What was their feedback to you and how did you meet their needs?Steinar Sælid: The feedback we got from industry members generally was that none of the existing MES solutions covered all the specific needs of the PV industry. One of the most important needs was a very strong tracking functionality since most of the product analysis instruments are placed at the end of the production lines. Therefore, to be able to find root causes of breakage or B class products and optimise process, high quality tracking is needed.We therefore enhanced our existing real-time framework to facilitate a tracking database to allow the amount and speed of data needed for tracking every single cell or wafer in a production process and linking each cell or wafer with the correct process data that we log from all

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