The Department of Energy is awarding $47 million to support the development of new technologies and knowhow aimed at improving energy efficiency in the information technology (IT) and communication technology sectors. Energy Secretary Steven Chu announced that 14 projects across the country will share in this award. Information technology and telecommunications are vital and rapidly growing sectors of our overall economy and will become even more central as the smart grid is deployed. As our country increasingly comes to rely on an information economy in sector after sector the underlying physical infrastructure that supports it, such as the data centers, networks, routers and so forth, is expected to continue to rapidly grow.
It is a rough time to be a startup in the Solar Photovoltaic sector. The financial crisis and deep recession has not only dried up capital, but has also hit demand for solar panels, which has lead to a global supply glut and a price collapse. In this very difficult environment startups must compete with much larger established global suppliers that have factories of hundreds of megawatts each, an established customer base and well developed brand names and sales channels. In this post we look at five promising CIGS thin film Solar PV startups based in the US and try to catalog their unique strengths and accomplishments.
The manufacturers of the equipment and production lines that are needed to produce solar cells and modules are an important segment of the overall value chain in the solar PV sector as a whole. These companies are making a wide variety of equipment that finds use in the manufacture of solar cells, ranging from tradition semi-conductor manufacturing equipment that has grown out of the computer semi-conductor industry, to more exotic things like specialized inkjet printers and lasers. Who are these US based solar photovoltaic equipment manufacturers and how are they fairing in the global recession of 2009?