A very readable overview, here's a snip.
,,,Silicon Solar Cells Will Be Edged Out
The dominant solar technology is currently based on silicon, a nonmetallic substance that is packed into wafers that fit into panels, which absorb sunlight and convert it into electricity and heat. Eventually, however, silicon solar cells are likely to be edged out by thin-film cells, which at the moment aren't nearly as efficient as silicon-based cells.
While most solar panel manufacturers understand that they will eventually need to make the transition to thin-film, only two—SolarWorld and SunTech Power Holdings (STP)—have made public statements about their intention to do so, says Jack Uldrich, who heads a nanotechnology consulting firm and writes about investing in emerging technology for The Motley Fool Web site.
"The manufacturing economics tell me the future is in thin-film, as well as flexible polymers, and not silicon," says Uldrich. "Both [SolarWorld and SunTech] are positioning themselves to take advantage of that," he says. At the same time, they maintain strong positions in silicon....Much More