• 10 hours Oil Pares Gains After API Reports Surprise Crude Inventory Build
  • 11 hours Elon Musk Won’t Get Paid Unless Tesla Does “Extraordinarily Well”
  • 11 hours U.S. Regulators Keep Keystone Capacity Capped At 80 Percent
  • 12 hours Trump Signs Off On 30 Percent Tariff On Imported Solar Equipment
  • 14 hours Russian Funds May Invest In Aramco’s IPO To Boost Oil Ties
  • 15 hours IMF Raises Saudi Arabia Growth Outlook On Higher Oil Prices
  • 16 hours China Is World’s Number-2 In LNG Imports
  • 1 day EIA Weekly Inventory Data Due Wednesday, Despite Govt. Shutdown
  • 1 day Oklahoma Rig Explodes, Leaving Five Missing
  • 1 day Lloyd’s Sees No Room For Coal In New Investment Strategy
  • 2 days Gunmen Kidnap Nigerian Oil Workers In Oil-Rich Delta Area
  • 2 days Libya’s NOC Restarts Oil Fields
  • 2 days US Orion To Develop Gas Field In Iraq
  • 4 days U.S. On Track To Unseat Saudi Arabia As No.2 Oil Producer In the World
  • 4 days Senior Interior Dept. Official Says Florida Still On Trump’s Draft Drilling Plan
  • 4 days Schlumberger Optimistic In 2018 For Oilfield Services Businesses
  • 4 days Only 1/3 Of Oil Patch Jobs To Return To Canada After Downturn Ends
  • 5 days Statoil, YPF Finalize Joint Vaca Muerta Development Deal
  • 5 days TransCanada Boasts Long-Term Commitments For Keystone XL
  • 5 days Nigeria Files Suit Against JP Morgan Over Oil Field Sale
  • 5 days Chinese Oil Ships Found Violating UN Sanctions On North Korea
  • 5 days Oil Slick From Iranian Tanker Explosion Is Now The Size Of Paris
  • 5 days Nigeria Approves Petroleum Industry Bill After 17 Long Years
  • 5 days Venezuelan Output Drops To 28-Year Low In 2017
  • 5 days OPEC Revises Up Non-OPEC Production Estimates For 2018
  • 6 days Iraq Ready To Sign Deal With BP For Kirkuk Fields
  • 6 days Kinder Morgan Delays Trans Mountain Launch Again
  • 6 days Shell Inks Another Solar Deal
  • 6 days API Reports Seventh Large Crude Draw In Seven Weeks
  • 6 days Maduro’s Advisors Recommend Selling Petro At Steep 60% Discount
  • 6 days EIA: Shale Oil Output To Rise By 1.8 Million Bpd Through Q1 2019
  • 6 days IEA: Don’t Expect Much Oil From Arctic National Wildlife Refuge Before 2030
  • 7 days Minister Says Norway Must Prepare For Arctic Oil Race With Russia
  • 7 days Eight Years Late—UK Hinkley Point C To Be In Service By 2025
  • 7 days Sunk Iranian Oil Tanker Leave Behind Two Slicks
  • 7 days Saudi Arabia Shuns UBS, BofA As Aramco IPO Coordinators
  • 7 days WCS-WTI Spread Narrows As Exports-By-Rail Pick Up
  • 7 days Norway Grants Record 75 New Offshore Exploration Leases
  • 7 days China’s Growing Appetite For Renewables
  • 7 days Chevron To Resume Drilling In Kurdistan
Alt Text

New Breakthrough Boosts Solar Fuel Efficiency

A new breakthrough from researchers…

Alt Text

How China Is Killing India’s Solar Industry

In India’s race to boost…

Thin-Film Solar Panels, Riding Out the Turbulence

Thin-Film Solar Panels, Riding Out the Turbulence

Thin-film solar is attractive for a number of reasons; from the fact that it is more environmentally friendly to produce, to the low cost of manufacturing these much lighter weight and less bulky cousins of the traditional solar panel. But only the fittest are surviving in this niche market of highly sophisticated technology and constant innovation.

Thin-film solar panels are manufactured using solution-based, low-temperature, roll-to-roll procedures that apply conventional printing techniques to flexible materials that can easily be incorporated into buildings and other structures. They are manufactured using copper, indium, gallium and selenium, rather than from silicon, cadmium and tellurium, which is used in conventional solar panel production. 

The latest industry victim is Konarka, which filed for bankruptcy after having raised more than $150 million in funding since 2001, plus at least $10 million in loans over the past decade, including a $1.5 million state loan backed by Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney. Late last week, the company said it had failed to obtain additional financing and had no alternative to a full liquidation and asset sale to pay off creditors.

Aside from Konarka, at least 13 thin-film solar panel manufacturers in the US have filed for bankruptcy this year.
In the meantime, thin-film solar panel manufacturing is being eyed by the Chinese, who appreciate the low-cost production and have plenty of space to install these larger, though less bulky panels.

Earlier this year, China’s LDK solar group announced it planned to acquire German panel maker Sunways, which produces thin-film panels. In June, China’s privately owned Hanergy likewise announced plans to acquire another European thin-film solar panel producer, Solibro, a subsidiary of Q-Cells, which filed for insolvency in April. 

But this is not the death knell for thin-film panels by any means, it’s just a test which only the innovatively fittest will survive. While Konarka and others have failed, California solar panel maker Nanosolar Inc. announced on 1 June that it had managed to raise $70 million in venture capital to commercialize its innovative solar panels.

Nanosolar appears to have the edge on innovation necessary to attract continued investment. According to NASDAQ, Nanosolar’s new venture capital is coming from Mohr Davidow Ventures, OnPoint Technologies Inc., Ohana Holdings LLC and European private-equity investors “who refer to themselves as international family offices because they include families who use their wealth to invest in companies”.

So, while Konarka files for bankruptcy, Nanosolar is optimistic despite falling prices and global oversupply. Nanosolar has its sights set on expanding its manufacturing operations to 115 megawatts of capacity, along with some hearty research and development to improve its technology.

Incidentally, the failure of Konarka is not likely to be altogether grieved by President Obama, who had come under fierce attack over the failure of the administration-backed Solyndra solar giant in 2011. It will be lost on few that Konarka was backed very explicitly by Romney, who has led the attacks on the Obama renewable energy campaign.

By. Jen Alic of Oilprice.com

Jen Alic is a geopolitical analyst, co-founder of ISA Intel in Sarajevo and Tel Aviv, and the former editor-in-chief of ISN Security Watch in Zurich.




Back to homepage


Leave a comment
  • MineMan on June 05 2012 said:
    At least Obama was smart enmough not to risk his own money in a very risky business. Romney collects more interest per day than he lost in this investment.

Leave a comment




Oilprice - The No. 1 Source for Oil & Energy News