Category Solar Module Packaging

Saudi Arabia’s Solar Market

About half of the world’s oil reserves are in the Middle East. Recognizing this opportunity to control the world’s prices, the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) was formed in 1965. OPEC is a cartel of oil – producing countries, which collude to control the world’s supply of oil and therefore command a premium market price. As of 2008, it included Algeria, Angola, Ecuador, Iran, Iraq, Kuwait, Libya, Nigeria, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, and Venezuela.

In 1973, OPEC received the world’s attention when they constrained their oil supply and increased prices. For years, Saudi Arabia has been the dom­inant cartel member with the largest oil reserves. They have campaigned for moderate pricing to decrease the attractiveness of alternative energy sources...

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China’s Solar Market

Unlike the United States, China has constantly passed legislation to promote renewable energy growth over the last five decades. Most importantly, while the United States underwent policy reversals in the 1980s, industrialization in China was forcing alternative energy initiatives to the priority of their national agenda. It was during this time that a growing manufacturing sec­tor created higher energy requirements and larger initiatives to decrease environmental pollution.

As early as 2005, China’s building sector accounted for 23% of its total energy consumption, and it was only expected to grow over the next decade [28]. During this same time period, the primary use for solar energy in China was water heating for off-grid applications in rural areas...

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Photovoltaic Markets Abroad

During the first energy crisis in 1977, the United States spent $65 million on renewable energy research. The entire European Economic Community spent the equivalent of $9 million between 1974 and 1979 [19]. Despite this previous economic commitment, only 3% of the energy in the United States came from renewable sources in 2009. Coal, oil, nuclear, and natural gas have a strong­hold on U. S. energy consumption (Figure 5.13) [20]. Part of this devotion to carbon-based energy is the price. In 2005, the average cost of PV energy was $3.50/watt [21]. This is well above the $1 to $0.3/watt targeted by the United States Research and Development Administration in the 1970s [19]. Even with the ongoing, industry-wide cost reductions, PV is projected to remain

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FIGURE 5.14

Projected cost ratios for ...

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Operational Optimization for Photovoltaic Companies

High costs have been blamed for the slow adoption of PV technology as an alternative energy source. These costs are directly related to a PV company’s operating conditions dictated by the market. The energy market is not a per­fectly competitive market. However, examining economic principles describ­ing a perfect competition can provide important insight into the current U. S. energy market.

Following basic microeconomic principles, all companies in a perfectly competitive market, want to operate where the marginal revenue (MR) is equivalent to the marginal cost (MC) (Equation 5.2, Figure 5.10):

MR – MC (5.2)

The MR = MC rule states that if profit can be made by producing an addi­tional unit, then the company should continue to operate provided there is pure competition in the market...

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Technology Development Theory and Photovoltaic Energy

For more than three decades, NRL has monitored PV cell efficiencies for the various semiconductor technologies. The thin-film technologies (e. g., copper indium gallium diselenide [CIGS], amorphous silicon [a-Si], and cadmium
telluride [CdTe]) generally have the lowest efficiencies. Crystalline silicon PV cells have efficiencies slightly higher than thin-film technologies but use between 20 and 100 times more semiconductor material. These two classi­fications dominated the industry in the mid-1980s. At that time, theoreti­cal physicists predicted PV cells would not exceed 22% efficiency. However, with the discovery of multijunction PV cells, efficiencies have now exceeded 40%...

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The Current Energy Crisis

After the U. S. invasion of Iraq in 2003, oil prices began to steadily increase due to the rising Middle East turmoil. By 2005, the U. S. price for oil had dou­bled the average cost in the 1990s (Figure 5.1). In response, the U. S. Congress passed the Energy Policy Act of 2005. Similar to past decades, this new leg­islation was meant to increase energy diversification and improve energy efficiencies through a series of tax incentives and loan guarantees for alter­native energy. However, the policy was widely criticized for emphasizing U. S. exploration of new oil reserves and neglecting renewable sources.

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Regardless, from 2005 to 2008, there was a linear increase in the number of U. S. PV companies...

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Economic Theory and Photovoltaic Packaging

5.1 The First U. S. Energy Crisis

The photoelectric effect is the physical phenomenon of turning light into electricity. It was discovered by Alexander Edmond Becquerel almost two centuries ago in 1839. However, it was not until 1954, over a century later, that the first silicon photovoltaic (PV) cell was fabricated by Bell Labs [1]. Despite this proof of concept, PV power remained cost prohibitive to the general public with an asking price of ~$1000/watt in 1955. A number of American companies noted the potential for commercialization with increased cell efficiency and lower costs; however, even without these improvements, PV energy quickly found a niche market for government applications.

During this same decade, in 1958, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) was forme...

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Adhesive Dispense

An adhesive dispenser is used to meter thermosets or elastomers onto mat­ing surfaces. For an automated process, the one-part chemistry is loaded in a drum. Hydraulic presses or gas pressure reduces the internal drum volume, pushing the viscous material into the hoses, through the flow controller, and into the dispense head (Figure 4.3). In a two-part dispense, one drum con­tains the base and the other the catalyst. The material is dispensed in sepa­rate lines. The two components are combined in a nozzle at the tip of the dispense head (Figure 4.4).

Flow controller

Dispense head

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Adhesive drum

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Adhesive drum

FIGURE 4.4

Dispense head for automated adhesive dispense. (From MX3000/MX4000 Gear Pump Meter – Mix Dispensing Systems, http://www. pva. net. With permission.)

TABL...

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