Cell manufacturers are increasing their research efforts to push for greater cell efficiencies, according to a new report by NPD Solarbuzz.

With over-capacity wracking the industry in the past and trade uncertainties continuing to make their mark, cell manufacturers are taking more aggressive steps to cut costs and boost the efficiency of their products.

“The solar PV industry previously operated without a clear technology roadmap, which is no longer an option in the rapidly growing solar PV industry,” said Finlay Colville, vice president, NPD Solarbuzz. “Legacy over-capacity within the industry, combined with uncertainty arising from trade disputes, is now forcing cell manufacturers to improve manufacturing processes to attain record efficiencies,” said Colville.

According to the research firm's PV equipment Quarterly, during the next 12 months, a standard 60-cell silicon-based module will reach 275W.

Overcapcity created by new capacity additions in 2011 stalled the development of plants in subsequent years. New advances since then are now available to be taken advantage of for firms looking to upgrade existing lines.

“New solar cell factories were expected to come online during the second half of 2014, especially in Taiwan,” said Colville. “The threat of import duties on Chinese and Taiwanese manufactured components shipping to Europe or the United States, however, has caused additional delays and uncertainty,” he added.

One advance is passivated emitter and rear cell (PERC) technology, which Solarbuzz said could add 10W to a 60-cell multi c-Si module.

“To move existing silicon-based cell capacity further forward now requires new technologies to be implemented, which has the potential to drive solar manufacturing into the first widespread technology buy cycle seen within the industry,” said Colville.
 

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