The energy was obvious and the connections were working on Martin Luther King, Jr. Day at the Tech Museum in San Jose, CA … both as 40 students worked in teams to build “We Share Solar Suitcases” and when the switch was flipped on their creations to generate electricity to power a 100-watt light bulb. Best yet, the students knew that the suitcase they engineered would power the first lights for schools and orphanages in Africa.
Can sharing goods and services help save the planet? That was one of a number of provocative questions posed by Van Jones in a Master class offered by the Presidio Graduate School. You may recall Jones as the passionate human rights and green jobs proponent who served briefly in the Obama Administration. The problem statement with which he launched the class was that consumerism is threatening the planet’s future as we extract more and more resources and throw away more and more things, i.e. waste. Collaborative economics was described as a “nation of neighbors”, where we share with one another and rely more on our social capital than strictly upon financial capital. Jones capsulized it as follows: “do we want to treat our planet as if we are locusts (consuming the planet) or as honeybees (living, building and producing together)?”
Sharing can be part of the solution to the ecological problems that come from excess consumerism.
Solar installations are rocketing worldwide as solar electricity becomes cheaper than electricity from fossil fuels – it’s already happened in 105 countries. This is the tipping point where economics takes over from altruism and solar PV becomes a serious part of the global energy mix.
The steady drop in cost-per-watt is great news for the end user and is enabled by simultaneous increases in cell efficiency and lower manufacturing costs.
If you’re a cell manufacturer, though, dropping prices are a double-edged sword: strong demand is good, but you must continuously lower costs by improving your manufacturing processes in order to be profitable.
So, in a fiercely competitive industry, how is this done?
After the jump, we’ll look at a great example of how cell manufacturers can boost profitability using an emerging technique called “double printing”.
Applied Materials is pleased to be recognized once again for our commitment to green energy. In the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s recent Green Power Partnership report, Applied ranked no. 15 on the list of the Top 20 Tech and Telecom companies and no. 35 on the Fortune 500 list.
As I’m caught up in Olympic fever at the moment, this feels like winning a medal!
600 million people without power – and those were the ones expecting to have power. I’m not going to join the chorus of critical voices reacting to two of the world’s largest power black-outs this week in India. While surely there is ample blame to go around, it’s not really clear what happened. It could have been the lack of infrastructure investment, the light monsoon weather causing farmers to use more electricity for pumping irrigation water or states taking more than their allotted share of electricity from the grid. But one thing is clear, this power outage ground India’s economy to a halt, left 10% of the world’s population without power and rolled through 22 of India’s 28 states. And that’s not counting the 300 million people there who have no regular access to electricity.
Summer solstice is a great time to celebrate the sun and all the benefits we receive from it–light, resources for life and warmth for the Earth. It’s also a great time to talk about solar energy and its adoption around the world. For the past four years, Applied has used this day to highlight the benefits of solar technology, as well as dispel common misperceptions about this renewable energy source.
Today, we released the results of our annual solar energy survey which measures consumer understanding and awareness of solar in China, India, Japan and the United States. We chose these countries because the anticipated growth of photovoltaic (PV) installations is greatest in these markets.
I want to invite you to a special Applied Materials blog event on Twitter featuring the senior director for Energy Policy and Market Development at Applied Materials, Cathy Boone. Topics she will discuss include solar energy policy, jobs and myths. The Twitter chat is on Wednesday, June 20, 2012 at 10:00 a.m. Pacific; 1:00 p.m. Eastern and will last for one hour.
India’s solar industry is finally taking off, but before it can make a meaningful contribution to the country’s growing power demands, many hurdles must still be overcome say experts and business leaders in the field.
In order to remain competitive in the global solar market and compete with countries like China and others, Indian manufactures will need to scale up and quickly. The market is there and booming, but manufacturers need capacities of 300-1,000 MW to remain competitive.
Applied Materials, Inc. was recognized as the largest supplier of photovoltaic (PV) solar manufacturing equipment in 2011 by VLSIresearch, a market research firm located in Santa Clara, Calif. This is the fourth consecutive year that Applied has been ranked number one in revenue in the PV solar market, and fiscal 2011 represented its third year of achieving more than $1 billion in sales in this market.*
As the market leader in PV manufacturing equipment, Applied currently supports over 1,800 solar manufacturing systems including screen printing, precision wafering, ion implantation and thin film deposition equipment at more than 200 customer sites worldwide through its Applied Global Services division. Applied also provides factory automation software and service solutions for optimizing solar cell efficiency and factory operations.
Last year, the Japanese government announced the creation of a national feed-in tariff (FiT) for solar, joining Germany and China in creating robust public policy to drive deployment of renewable energy. The program is set to launch on July 1, 2012 and solar is regarded as one of the brightest spots in the Japanese recovery from the tsunami.
The new program will guarantee payment of 40 Yen/kWh ($0.50) for solar energy produced by projects >10kw (non-residential) and 42 Yen/kWh ($0.53) for energy from projects <10kw (residential) for twenty and ten years, respectively. Today, installed system prices in Japan far exceed global norms – 2011 system costs averaged ~$6.25/w reflecting a high cost of regulation, grid connection, land, labor and construction costs in Japan as well as a module supply largely dominated by higher priced domestic manufacturers. Solar panel prices in 2011 ranged from 150-200Yen/watt ($1.90-2.70/w) which is almost twice what installers in the U.S. pay.