PV Industry Forum 2006 in Freiburg Part 1

The 2nd PV Industry Forum was held yesterday in Freiburg im Breisgau, Germany, one day before the start of the Intersolar trade fair. In the morning session, there was a single program about “International PV markets: Status and development”. Regional solar market updates were first provided for Germany, California (apparently now considered a country), and Spain. Jens Herzog, SunTechnics, lauded the merits of California as the single, largest PV market in the US. I find it interesting that established California solar system integration and installation companies such as REC and Akeena are looking to expand and diversify their business in higher growth solar states such as New Jersey.

As teased yesterday, the presentation on “Silicon shortage: Overcoming the current bottleneck situation” by Prof. Dr. Peter Woditsch, CEO of Deutsche Solar AG (a wholly owned subsidiary of Solar World AG), made some compelling predictions and posed a key concern for future growth. In addition, although I thought Dr. Woditsch’s presentation might have had some technology spin, he avoided the marketing spin of many competitor presentations.

1) Dr. Woditsch believes raw silicon production expansion is in place to support 35% PV industry growth for the next 5 years. Silicon customers have directly invested and signed take or pay contracts with their silicon suppliers, shifting risk from silicon producers to their customers.

2) This translates into the potential for 8GWs of crystalline silicon solar production in 2010 (thin film production not included).

3) Dr. Woditsch predicted crystalline silicon will hold 90% or more PV market share in 2010 even with all the new thin film factories and production lines being built. He challenged the thin film firms to deliver competitive products in volume production – “Now or never”.

4) Also, Dr. Woditsch expressed concern about the development of new markets outside of Germany and Japan to fuel demand for this 8GWs of potential capacity.

5) Lastly, Dr. Woditsch stated his firm believes crystalline silicon solar modules have the potential for a 50% cost reduction from 2002 pricing through technology development efforts by no later than 2010.

Dr. Woditsch has thrown down the gauntlet to the thin film and silicon alternative solar manufacturers. Deliver compelling and competitive products than beat proven mono and polycrystalline solar technologies that are synergistic with the worldwide semiconductor industry


  1. Daniel says:

    Solar PV makers can easily use 30% less silicon per Watt and thereby lower their panel prices by 10-15% (assuming equal manufacturing margins).

    I developed some IP related to module making earlier this year, but the basic principle is quite simple…concept and pictures included at link below.


    It seems so simple to me…I’m scratching my head every day wondering why nobody is doing this.

  2. Edgar A. Gunther says:

    If you have a better module design, patent your approach and license or build your modules.

    Solaria announced low concentration ratio technology for silicon solar modules this week.

  3. Daniel says:

    Yes sir that is my plan. I’ve filed for the patent, and now I’m looking to license, and possibly build my own modules.

    I saw the solaria notice…couldn’t tell if they use lenses or mirrors or both. I wonder if they will be at the SEIA conference in San Jose next month…

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