SAN JOSE, CA--The latest solar photovoltaic (PV) development, applications, and manufacturing center to emerge based on growing opportunities in the solar PV market is a center in Silicon Valley, forged from a partnership between SVTC Technologies (San Jose, CA), a semiconductor technology development and commercialization services company, and Roth & Rau AG (Hohenstein-Ernstthal, Germany), a solar equipment manufacturer. The new 30 MW Silicon Valley PV Development Center from SVTC and Roth & Rau will offer a full range of manufacturing equipment and services to companies engaged in the development and production of solar cells.
Even though the worldwide solar PV market is expected to reach $34 billion by 2013 and almost $4 billion was invested in solar technologies during 2008, the market downturn means that many startup and established solar development companies may not have access to either the capital equipment or cost-effective, complete development solutions they need to succeed.
Joe Bronson, CEO of SVTC Technologies, said, “SVTC has proven the value of its business model of providing equipment and development capabilities for the commercialization of products in the semiconductor portion of its business. We will adapt the same concept to the emerging U.S. solar business to accelerate its ability to grow the market for solar cells.”
SVTC and Roth and Rau are not alone in their thinking. IMEC (Leuven, Belgium) announced new joint-development agreements with solar-cell material and equipment suppliers such as MEMC Electronic Materials, Leybold Optics Dresden, Roth & Rau, and Mallinckrodt Baker that allows the partners to conduct solar-cell process development research in a semi-industrial environment, enabling transfer of the results of this research directly to the industry’s production lines.
In early July, Newport Corporation’s (Irvine, CA) PV Laboratory of its Technology and Applications Center (TAC-PV Lab) in Irvine was accredited by the American Association of Laboratory Accreditation (A2LA) to the ISO/IEC 17025 standard to provide calibration data for the electrical performance of PV cells. The new lab complements Newport’s PV Applications Lab in Stahnsdorf, Germany, which is focused on increasing the efficiency and lowering the cost of manufacturing PV panels for its customers.
And back in May, DuPont opened a PV technical center at its China global R&D Center in Shanghai with three labs that focus on processes including cell-to-module manufacturing, PV metallization, and PV reliability testing. The new PV technology center provides integrated research, development, and technical support for customers in the PV industry in China.
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