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Photovoltaics Evolve Amid Cost Challenges

Molex
11/17/2011  
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Ann R. Thryft
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Re: Interface Importance
Ann R. Thryft   11/18/2011 12:10:36 PM
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Isn't it ironic that it took so long for the PV market to reach the high volumes needed to drive down cost-per-watt, the solar power holy grail, and the next step is oversupply? But actually, that's the way of semiconductor-based technologies, and the majority of PV solar cells are based on polycrystalline wafers. It will be interesting to see how different the curves may be for thin-film or some of the more exotic competing technologies.

Alexander Wolfe
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Re: Interface Importance
Alexander Wolfe   11/18/2011 10:41:23 AM
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Great point, Chuck, about overcapacity, which presages an expected shakeout in the PV market, particularly insofar as high-flying startups are concerned. For a relevant article on this, take a look at Loring Wirbel's recent post, Solyndra Seeds Doubts About Photovoltaic Manufacturability.

Charles Murray
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Re: Interface Importance
Charles Murray   11/17/2011 9:11:39 PM
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Given the PV market's current level of overcapacity, every cost-reduced component -- connectors and cables included -- is important.  

Ann R. Thryft
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Re: Interface Importance
Ann R. Thryft   11/17/2011 12:46:19 PM
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Connectors and cables are often one of those overlooked areas in a system design, or at least looked at last when there's no more budget left to do them right. In consumer electronics, it seems that the cheapest parts are spec'd in as the "afterthought" components. I agree, Alex, interconnects are vital, all the way from the chip's internal connections to the panel's external ones.

Alexander Wolfe
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Interface Importance
Alexander Wolfe   11/17/2011 9:17:09 AM
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One interesting point that this post speaks to is that fact that core electronics functionality is worth nothing if you can't interface it to the outside world. Here we read about the importance of connectors for photovoltaics, particularly robust connectors for the harsh environments in which PVs cells are typically used. But this also applies to the internal construction of the PVs themselves, in terms of the bus-bar foils and the adhesives used in assembling the different layers of the PV cell. Interesting stuff!

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