16 March 2012

Solar module and materials capacity expansions boosting opto activity

Despite recent, highly publicized problems at Evergreen Solar and Solyndra, solar energy continues to play an essential role as governments seek sources for renewable energy, notes the Strategy Analytics GaAs and Compound Semiconductor Technologies Service (GaAs) viewpoint ‘Compound Semiconductor Industry Review October-December 2011: Optoelectronics, Materials & Equipment’.

The report gives a positive outlook for solar industry players, as seen in the many announcements from firms that are expanding their solar module or material capacity. The viewpoint from market research firm Strategy Analytics summarizes technology, product, contract financial and employment announcements in fourth-quarter 2011 from major material, equipment and component manufacturers in the optoelectronic supply chain, including Aixtron, IQE, Kopin, Oclaro, GigOptix, Cree, JDSU, Avago Technologies, Finisar and Osram.

Financial results were mixed, but generally positive for the quarter, notes Strategy Analytics. Deposition equipment maker Aixtron continues to attribute revenue declines to a softening in the LED market, but product development continues and LED applications are expanding. Meanwhile, consolidation and shakeouts continue in the solar market. However, Spire, TSMC, Avancis, Soitec and centrotherm are all increasing their solar module manufacturing capabilities.

“It is easy to get a negative outlook about an entire segment when a couple of the high-profile participants run into difficulties,” notes Eric Higham, director of the Strategy Analytics GaAs and Compound Semiconductor Technologies Service. “Solar energy has become a widely deployed form of alternative energy. This report provides a snapshot of the growth and activity in the compound photovoltaic technologies which underpin the solar market,” he adds.

“Despite the bankruptcy proceedings at Solyndra and Evergreen Solar, photovoltaic device and module manufacturers continue to announce efficiency improvements and capacity expansions,” comments Asif Anwar, director of the Strategy Analytics Strategic Technologies Practice.

See related items:

Soitec finalizes acquisition of Soitec Solar GmbH

TSMC Solar receives UL, IEC and ISO 9001 certifications

Tags: Solar modules Spire TSMC Avancis Soitec centrotherm

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