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theWatt Podcast 66

Topic: The thin-film solar scandal

Guests: Dr. Arne Jacobson (from Humboldt State University) and Sass Peress (from ICP Solar)

[important update] Arne Jacobson released a memo on July 19th about his study. Please read this memo!

Quick rundown: Thin-film solar cells supplied by ******** ******, a manufacturer in China, and sold in some big box stores and online are consistently poor quality. For example, ******** ****** modules rated for 15 watts have been shown to have an average initial performance of 9.6 watts and an average final performance of 6.8 watts compared to ICP Solar's module, rated at 18 Watts before light soaking and a minimum of 14 Watts after light soaking, which has an average initial performance of 17.8 watts and average final performance of 14.2 watts [1]. A big danger here is that consumers may be turned off of photovoltaics all-together if they consistently come across a module with bad performance.

[1] A. Jacobson, "Product Quality in Solar PV Markets: Results for Amorphous Silicon Solar Module Performance from African and North American Markets", Solar 2006, Denver, Colorado.

Note: Studies using solar panels distributed in Kenya in 2004/2005 showed that Shenzhen Topray is the company to avoid.

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