The meteoric rise of the photovoltaic (PV) industry is an incredible story. In 2013, Google's investments in PV systems totaled about half a billion dollars and Warren Buffet, one of the famous investors, invested $2.5 billion in the world's largest PV system in California. These gigantic investments by major financial players were made only 40 years after the first two terrestrial PV companies, Solarex and Solar Power Corporation, were formed in the USA. Back in 1973, the two companies employed 20 people and produced only 500 watts of PV power.
Now, just 40 years later, over a million people work in the PV industry. The worldwide capacity of operating PV electric generators equals the capacity of about 25 nuclear power plants. The PV industry is growing at an annual rate of 30 percent, equivalent to about five new nuclear power plants per year. Today, solar electricity is a significant supplier of electricity needs, to the extent that PV is forcing the restructuring of 100-year-old electric power utilities. Sun Above the Horizon describes how this happened and what lies ahead for PV power generation.
Act 1 DAWN 1972 - 1984
Damn the torpedoes and full steam ahead
Cook book: how to make solar cells and modules
Betting on horses
The dawn of the terrestrial PV – solarex: the beginning and...
... Almost a premature end
"chevron" solar cells
The silicon enigma
Silicon, the second most common element in the earth's crust
The evolution of the terrestrial PV modules - the importance of testing and quality
Dreamers and sobering reality
"stand alone" or "off grid" PV systems
1975 the year of change
The importance of consumer business
Micro-generators and …
... and a permanent bridge to europe
The micro-generator mushroom resulting in a solar thin-film solution
PV for the people
Story about success and cash flow
Water pumping with PV
Amorphous silicon (a-si) the first successful thin film solar cell
Act 2 SUNRISE 1985 - `999
The Big Oils’ involvement in PV
Building integrated photovoltaics (BIPV) and PV roofs
Space applications used in everyday life: Communication Satellites and GPS
Development of the global PV quality program
World bank's trailblazing role for PV in developing countries
Japan and then Europe take over the baton
Three axioms that will shape the future of PV
Does PV need government subsidy or can it be financed privately?
Grass roots – common sense.
Act 3 TOWARDS HIGH NOON 2000 – 2013
The winding road to the feed in tariff (FiT)
A new silicon enigma and thin film PV alternatives
PV becomes unstoppable
"The Chinese miracle" (中国奇迹) part one
"The Chinese miracle" (中国奇迹) part two
Concentrated, tracking and the solyndra PV systems
The PV rollercoaster
The last barrier: "bankability"= proof of quality/reliability
The effect of PV on the transformation of the electric utilities
Energy independence and the wireless environment
Annex - Metallurgical and polycrystalline silicon
Annex - Float zone (FZ) and EFG processes
Annex - Qualification testing of PV modules and PV standards
Annex - Early photovoltaic pilot applications in the European Union
Annex - US and Canadian coast guards solar modules for navigational aids
Annex - Space solar cells conversion efficiency of light to electricity
Annex - Satellite navigation systems in use or in development in various countries
Annex - Regional PV manufacturing shares
Annex - 25 year life prediction of PV modules
Annex – PV GAP training manual covers
Annex - China General Certification center (CGC) photovoltaic (PV) product certification
Annex - Electricity storage systems
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Dr. Peter F. Varadi escaped from Hungary in 1956 and, after a scientific carrier in 1968, was appointed head of the Communication Satellite Corporation's (COMSAT's) chemistry laboratory in the US. In this function he also participated in research on photovoltaic (PV) solar cells, which were used to power satellites. In 1973 he co-founded SOLAREX Corporation in Rockville, Maryland to develop the utilization of solar cells (PV) for terrestrial applications. SOLAREX was one of two companies that pioneered this field. In 1983, it was the largest PV company in the world when it was sold to AMOCO. Varadi continued consulting for Solarex for ten years, and after that for the European Commission, The World Bank, and NREL, among other organizations. In 2004, in recognition of his lifelong service to the global PV sector and his continuing commitment to strive for excellence in the PV industry, received the European Photovoltaic Industry Association (EPIA) John Bonda prize.