Tag: AMAT

The Dangers of PR Driven Solar News

by Paula Mints   Few people understand the time, money and effort required to develop and manufacture high quality solar technologies.  We can blame this fact on a reliance on press releases for news about the solar industry. Manufacturers drive these misunderstanding by not properly explaining that champion results are not analogous to or in many cases near commercial viability. The PERC, passivated emitter rear contact solar cell, now gaining market traction began its long trudge to commercial competitiveness in the mid-1980s. When manufacturers announce results without fully ex-plaining these results the effect is misleading and also...

SunShot Grand Challenge: The SunShot Swerve

Ed Gunther Has a permanent swerve or shift downward of the PV (Photovoltaic) Learning Curve been caused by PV industry overcapacity, normalized polysilicon prices, and the aggressive SunShot goals? From SunShot Grand Challenge: The SunShot Swerve On the second day of the SunShot Grand Challenge Summit and Technology Forum, SunPower Corporation (NASDAQ:SPWR) President Emeritus Dr. Richard Swanson presented “The SunShot Swerve” providing his perspectives on where the PV industry is today and how SunShot has influenced the industry’s direction. After explaining the book that motivated the title, Dr....

Will Crystalline Solar Kill Thin Film?

A Conversation with Applied Material’s Solar Head Charlie Gay by Neal Dikeman I had a chance to chat today with Dr. Charlie Gay, the President of Applied Materials' (AMAT) solar division.  You may recall, we broke the story in the blogosphere 5 years ago about Applied’s entry into solar, which was anchored with a highly touted and very aggressive strategy for turnkey large format amorphous silicon and tandem cell plants called SunFab. Charlie reminded me that when they began 5 years ago, they did so along two major thrusts:  The acquisition of Applied Films in...

First Solar Rides the Wall of Worry

Dana Blankenhorn When people first get excited about solar energy, one of the first things they think of doing is to invest in it. And the first place they think to throw their money is thin-film solar manufacturer First Solar Inc. (FSLR) of Tempe, Arizona.  First Solar is what I might call the  “big iron” play in solar. That is, it mainly produces large, flat panels that are installed by utilities and connected to the grid. It's a good business. The company regularly earns 25% on assets, 30% on equity, and it's managed conservatively. So why is it that...