Sand Trap


Will the silicon shortage stunt the solar industry’s growth? By Alan Joch


Evergreen claims the process produces more than twice the solar cells per pound of silicon than traditional manufacturing techniques. And Energy Conversion Devices (ticker: ENER) says its thin sheets of solar cells also use less silicon. The manufacturing process deposits the silicon in a gas form onto slender 14-inch-wide stainless-steel sheets, which feed off a roll into the company’s solar-cell manufacturing machine.

Other companies are selling solar products using “thin-film” technologies that eschew silicon altogether. DayStar Technologies (ticker: DSTI) and the private firms Miasole and HelioVolt Corporation combine the highspeed manufacturing advantages of thin-film techniques with solar cells created from a combination of copper, indium, gallium, and selenium (known as CIGS). Miasol?? says only a fraction of this silicon alternative is needed to create the same energy-producing capacity of a conventional solar cell, saving on materials costs. (See “Ventures in the Sun,” in Plenty’s December/January 2006 issue.)

This all sets the stage for intense competition that’s likely to persist long after the polysilicon shortages subside. Upstarts like Energy Conversion, Evergreen, and the CIGS backers are ramping up their capacity to compete head to- head against the established solar-cell companies. Hmm…Upstarts challenging the establishment? Sounds like just one more sign that the solar industry is well on its way to moving beyond the growing-pains stage toward becoming a mature sector with a bright future.

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Comments

K?¶re John

Jeg har fundet mere p?• nettet
om solenergi
M.V.H.

Bent

I dont think so personall. It seems like they will find away around it over time.

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