From small calculators to powering communications equipment, converting sunlight directly into electrical energy is now common practice. After decades of slow progress toward establishing the manufacturing capability, technologies, market awareness, and distribution channels, photovoltaic (PV) manufacturers are now seeing the payoff.

The global PV market became a billion dollar industry in 1999 and will be 10 times larger before 2010, according to an Allied Business Intelligence (ABI) report, US and Global Photovoltaic Markets: Demand Surge at the Dawn of the Solar Century.

Michael Kujawa, director of energy research at ABI and the principal author of the study, reports that "We are now seeing the benefits of the industrialization of the PV manufacturing processes. The markets were always there. It has only been recently that they could be developed."

The report describes and quantifies U.S., regional, and world markets for PV applications such as green power programs, solar pumps, telecommunications base stations, and others. An era has begun where all PVs that can be built can be sold and supported.

Web Service Providers Directory UE Service Partners, a directory of service providers, is now on the Internet. An outsource resource, the directory lists companies that offer inspection and/or training services for leak detection, mechanical inspection, and electrical inspection using one or more of the advanced technologies of ultrasound, infrared, oil analysis, and vibration. This international directory enables visitors to locate a service provider by pointing to a location and clicking on a map. Each listing includes the specific services offered as well as contact information.

VerticalBuyer Launches New Web Sites VerticalBuyer Inc., Billerica, Mass, a company developer and publisher of industry-specific Web sites, recently launched two new Web sites: VoiceDataNews.com and ElectricalTimes.com. These are both online auction services and global news portals that address the business-to-business needs of the voice/data and commercial electrical industries. These sites were also introduced at NECA's annual show in Seattle Sept. 24-26. Both Web sites will feature product searches and reverse auctions, as well as a bulletin board on which companies can post press releases.