This is going to be my last Fool article for a while, as I'm taking a short leave to collaborate on a book about the future of energy. Until I'm back, you solar Fools will have to just talk among yourselves. (Have you visited the Renewable Energy message board? Check it out!)
That wasn't all that went down this week, however.
On Monday, Innovalight announced that it has hit 19% conversion efficiencies with silicon ink processed solar cells. The California company is looking to bring better than 20% efficiencies to partners like JA Solar
Elsehwere on the bleeding-edge technology front, German researchers hit record 20.1% efficiencies with a thin-film cell. The cell used CIGS technology (a different sort of semiconductor from what First Solar employs), which only sports 10%-12% efficiency in commercial modules today. CIGS has had buzz for years, but the promise of the technology may be finally catching up with the hype. Companies pushing the CIGS envelope include Dow Chemical
Midweek, we heard from REC Group and Sharp, solar heavyweights from Europe and Japan, respectively. REC issued a positive outlook for the second half of the year, which is encouraging to hear from a firm that describes itself as "very dependent on the German market." (German feed-in tariff reductions have been causing a lot of analyst unease this year.) Sharp, meanwhile, says it's looking to make inroads in the utility-scale market, and will hike production by 50%, to around 1.2 gigawatts this year.
As for aspiring solar sluggers, DuPont