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Chip Shots

The Chip Shots blog channels the observations of Fabtech's and PV-Tech/Photovoltaic International's Senior Contributing Editor--USA, Tom Cheyney, a 20-year veteran of semiconductor, advanced micro/nanoelectronics, and solar manufacturing trade journalism. For 15 years, Tom was editor in chief of MICRO (the original home of Chip Shots) until it ceased publication in July 2006. Tom calls Los Angeles home. View MICRO Magazine archive.

SolarWorld car finishes third, but company’s US manufacturing capability leads the silicon PV pack

23 July 2008
Although the Solar World 1 photovoltaic-powered car driven by the University of Bochum (Germany) team finished a very respectable third in the just-completed Dallas-to-Calgary North American Solar Challenge race, the company itself has the number-one position in terms of vertically integrated crystalline silicon-based solar manufacturing on the continent. Read more >>

The PV-vino connection: Advanced Energy’s solar inverter helps Cline Cellars keep the juice flowing

22 July 2008
One of my regrets from last week's Semicon West/Intersolar North America event was not being able to go on a winery tour. What does a press junket to wine country have to do with chipmaking or photovoltaic manufacturing, you might ask? Cline Cellars, located in the Sonoma region north of San Francisco, is trying to go 100% solar for its electricity needs, and a recently installed Advanced Energy 333-kW Solaron grid-tie inverter is helping the organic viticulturists in their quest for sustainability and carbon footprint elimination. Read more >>

You heard it here first, really: First Solar wins first SoCal Edison PV commercial rooftop bid

22 July 2008 | Comments (1)
Several times since early May, when Chip Shots carried the inside scoop that First Solar had been awarded the bid for the first installation in Southern California Edison's 250-MW, $875-million five-year project to install photovoltaics modules on a couple of square miles of commercial rooftops in the region, I had tried without success to get the Edison people to confirm my information. Read more >>

Semicon West/Intersolar North America redux: Sifting through the noise for the signals—hello AMAT?

21 July 2008
As last week's Semicon West/Intersolar North America colocated extravaganza wore on, several people asked me why I wasn't blogging every day--or several times daily--during the events. Although there were moments when I did experience blogger's withdrawal, I came to San Francisco with the intent of information-gathering (the data dump) and network-building (the shmooze), not chasing story after story down and trying to match my peers in a meaningless race to see who could file more copy or shoot more video interviews. Read more >>

Global Solar ready to install modules, flip switch on CIGS solar field within months

21 July 2008
What may be the largest copper indium gallium (di)selenide--based photovoltaic-module field in the US will be sending electricity within a few months to the manufacturing plant of the company that made the flexible CIGS "stringer" cells powering the array. Read more >>

One word…materials: Some whimsical data points from SEMI’s midyear forecasts

15 July 2008
The materials revolution in the semiconductor industry since the turn of the century has been well documented, and SEMI's just-released midyear forecast numbers underscore the economic realities of this megatrend. It also doesn't hurt that the solar materials market, especially in the polysilicon sandbox, will soon absorb a profound growth spurt. Read more >>

Extension of US solar investment tax credit emerges as key issue at Intersolar/Semicon West

14 July 2008
For many of those attending the colocated Semicon West and Intersolar North America trade shows this week in San Francisco, one of the most important events in the solar industry is taking place on the other side of the country in Washington, DC. The US Senate is again discussing and likely voting on whether or not to extend the 30% solar energy investment tax credit (ITC)--which expires at the end of 2008--for another eight years. Read more >>

Gartner Dataquest, IC Insights forecasts have curious meeting point

10 July 2008
Two of the leading semiconductor industry market research groups have issued new reports, and the numbers are going in opposite directions. But a certain dollar amount from the dissimilar forecasts shows up on both. Read more >>

Fit to print: US Display Consortium embraces electronics (r)evolution, becomes FlexTech Alliance

09 July 2008
The news that the US Display Consortium (USDC) has fully embraced the emerging flexible and printed electronics technologies and changed its name to the FlexTech Alliance came as no surprise. As head honcho Mike Ciesinski said in a Webcast earlier today, "the transition had been under way for a long's not much of a shift for us." Read more >>

Big Baby grows up: Thin-film CIGS solar PV start-up DayStar offers operational update

08 July 2008 | Comments (2)
Few pieces of photovoltaic manufacturing equipment have nicknames as endearing as DayStar Technologies' Big Baby deposition megasystem. But don't let the cute sobriquet distract you from a central truth about the copper indium gallium (di)selenide (CIGS) start-up's plight: if the oversize, multichamber production-development system doesn't measure up and perform as expected, DayStar has no future as a volume PV manufacturer. By the tenor of CEO Stephan DeLuca's comments during Tuesday's midyear update conference call, Big Baby has made its parents proud of late. Read more >>