James Montgomery, News Editor, RenewableEnergyWorld.com
March 06, 2012 | 0 Comments
A half-dozen makers of thin-film solar photovoltaic (PV) technologies are joining forces to promote the technology's "social, economic and environmental benefits."
PVThin, formed under Belgian laws (but claiming it will "register in all relevant government lists"), aims to "champion the role of thin-film PV and communicate the unique technological, environmental and socio-economic aspects of this cost effective and environmentally friendly solar technology," according to Andreas Wade, president of PVThin, in a statement. The group cites figures that thin-film technologies make up about 18 percent of global PV sales, up from "almost nothing a decade ago." Founding members include Abound Solar, Arendi, Calyxo, First Solar, GE Energy and 5N Plus.
The group says its goals are not in conflict with, but instead complement, those of other solar industry advocacy groups including the European Photovoltaic Industry Association (EPIA), the Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA) in the US, and Germany's BSW. "[We do] not seek to create a rival organization," Wade emphasized.
We'll be talking with PVThin later this week for more specifics about its direction, but available info suggests a few early takeaways:
PVThin's initial membership is slanted heavily on the cadmium telluride (CdTe) side of thin-film solar PV: First Solar, Abound Solar, GE, Arendi, and Calyxo. 5N Plus supplies materials for CdTe, but also CdS, a starter material for making copper-indium-gallium-selenide (CIGS), the other prevalent thin-film solar PV technology. But PVThin isn't CdTe-exclusive; the group openly explains the benefits of both CdTe and CIGS, and says "any company from the chalcogenide thin-film PV value chain may become a member."
The group also advocates for inclusion of PV into the EU's Directive on Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment (WEEE) "state-of-the-art PV recycling and recovery programs and technologies in cooperation with other organizations." Thin-film technology, it points out, "lends itself to relatively simple mechanical and chemical recycling" to recover raw materials. "Commercial-scale recycling operations are already capable of recovering up to 95% of the semiconductor material and up to 90% of the glass for use in new solar panels and other glass products."