Power & Energy Solutions

The premier renewable energy publication

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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Adam Grainger, Global Head of Energy and Engineering, Networkers International plcThe renewable energy industry is growing rapidly as are the number of people employed within it. In order to give your business a competitive edge, it is becoming increasingly important to ensure you have appropriately skilled and motivated individuals within your organisation to compete effectively in the global renewable energy market place.With the day to day responsibilities of most hiring managers in the energy industry focussed elsewhere, it can be hard to dedicate the necessary time to recruit staff. If you get it wrong, and you are forced to replace an individual, the costs to your business can be vast. A recent study concluded that the cost of replacing an employee could be anything from 75 percent of the person's salary to an alarming 24 times the person's salary! So how do you go about identifying the right individual first time round?Identify your resource needsBefore hiring a new member of staff it is important that you consider the skills your business will need in order to function properly and complete the tasks at hand. In a growing industry, such as renewable energy it is important to ensure you have the

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In October last year, Hans-Joachim Bender was awarded a German Enterprise Medal ("Wirtschaftsmedaille") in recognition of his corporate merits and achievements as the managing partner of Robert Bürkle GmbH. The Black Forest plant manufacturer is bucking the recent economic trend by introducing new products and innovations and has aggressively opened up the photovoltaic market as a new business sector.PES: Welcome back to PES, for the benefit of our readers who might not be familiar with your company, can you explain how you serve the solar industry? Hans-Joachim Bender: It is good to be back again. The success story began in 2005. That was then year we built the first coating lines for the photovoltaic industry, and two years later we presented the first multi-opening laminator Ypsator for solar modules on the occasion of the EUPVSEC in Valencia.Since then, we have delivered more than 20 lines. However, we were not content with that and have been extending our product portfolio successively since then. For example, with the single-opening laminator e.a.sy-Lam, back ends for thin film modules, handling lines and foil cutting lines.PES: We hear that 2010 is set to be a watershed year for the growth of the company; can you

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China-based Upsolar is a global company, specialising in the design and manufacture of PV modules. It has always maintained that its strength lies in the development of strict quality control in the manufacturing process, to provide worldwide customers with reliable, excellent products. Here, PES talks to the company's Jerry Li, Supply Chain & Manufacturing Director.PES: Welcome to PES magazine. Can you explain a little about your company and outline the products and services you provide for the Solar/PV industry?Jerry Li: Thank you for giving us an opportunity to outline our core business. Upsolar is a dynamic, multinational group offering design, R&D and quality control, and providing PV modules for worldwide residential, commercial and utility-scale projects.Using top-quality module components from highly-qualified international manufacturers ensures the delivery of consistent product quality. Upsolar also aims to provide the most reliable and cost-competitive PV modules to its customers. Upsolar's mission, since the company's inception, has always been to provide the global PV market an opportunity to purchase a made-in-China product of market-leading quality, at a competitive price. The company has since developed its focus on providing an excellent product, meeting all international quality standards, while offering the most competitive prices available from a Chinese

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Bottero Group is a global player for the glass industry, with a focus on the design, production and installation of glass technologies and equipment that stretches back over more than 50 years.With the expertise of their 1200 people, seven Research and Development centres in Europe, production facilities in Italy and China, and a service and sales network in more than 90 countries, the Group is now also offering to the fast-growing PV sector their ‘global solution provider' approach - the goal being to improve quality and reduce costs of PV module manufacturing.HistoryThe Bottero Group was established in 1957 as a service workshop for the glass manufacturing companies of the Cuneo area of north western Italy. The company rapidly developed in the glass technology business, developed an ever-expanding customer-base and took a leading role in the glass production industry.Currently, Bottero is the only Group in the world that can offer equipment and technologies to the glass industry for both container and flat glass production and processing.The cutting-edge technologies of Bottero for E-IS machines in container glass or cutting systems for flat glass have been setting the standards of the glass industry for several years. Furthermore, ISO9001:200 and ISO14001 certifications guarantee the

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The InFrame Synapse product family of German company Information Technology AG (acp-IT) offers all the IT functionalities necessary to manage and control a high-tech manufacturing line in the PV as well as semiconductor, electronics and automotive industries. Dr Frank Frauenhoffer, one of the founders of the company, talks about its product portfolio.PES: Dr Frauenhoffer, could you outline your view of the Manufacturing Execution System (MES) in the PV Industry.Frank Frauenhoffer: Looking three or four years backwards, it was very often necessary to explain the value of an MES to PV customers. Nowadays they are asking if the MES includes a Statistical Process Control (SPC) module. This demonstrates a tremendous change, which is presently going on in the PV industry. While in the past almost every product could be sold, nowadays price pressure forces the PV industry to search for higher efficiency to the lowest possible cost. It's clear to me that MES is not the most important key to grid parity. But in order to manage and control an existing PV manufacturing line to the optimum performance and the best product quality at lowest cost in shortest timeframe, MES is an essential tool for manufacturing engineers and management.PES: Do you

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With the acquisition of the solar company STANGL Semiconductor Equipment AG in 2007, a foundation was laid to establish SINGULUS TECHNOLOGIES in the growing photovoltaics market. Numerous new products were developed and made marketable at SINGULUS and STANGL, and as from 2010 SINGULUS will pursue an expansion strategy in the solar segment. In the future the product range will not be limited to individual machines and plants: SINGULUS will increasingly advance towards becoming a solution supplier.2010: a new dawn for solarSolar energy is increasingly emancipating itself from governmental incentive programmes and start-up financing and moving rapidly towards net parity. In addition to photovoltaics (PV) this also includes CSP (Concentrating Solar Power) power plants (such as the DESERTEC project in the Sahara, for example). Solar heating also continues to play an important role. The global PV industry was caught in a crisis at the end of 2008, which has only slowly been resolved. After its booming years, the solar market slowed to zero growth in 2009, and since the beginning of 2009 prices for solar panels have declined by 30-40 %.The German and European cell manufacturers are under massive pressure and due to international competition they are forced to reduce production

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