Volume 33

This issue of Photovoltaics International focuses on cell technology trends, manufacturing capacity, cell efficiency, mitigating light-induced degredation, new printing techniques, progress in thin-film technology and studies of studies of multicrystalline PV modules. Finlay Colville also provides a full market analysis of cell technology trends impacting module supply in 2017.

Volume 32

This issue of Photovoltaics International focuses on the steady adoption of PERC as the technology of choice for providing a quick boost to cell performances. Our chief analyst, Finlay Colville, reports that PERC is a key driver for internal technology roadmaps of all silicon cell providers and is indirectly influencing the development of other technologies in competing n-type and thin-film segments. However, PERC is not without its drawbacks, and one of these is its increased susceptibility to light-induced degradation. Other highlights include ISC Konstanz on the future of back-contact technology and ECN on the development of a new technique for minimising recombination losses in silicon solar cells.

Volume 31

This issue of Photovoltaics International features an industry-first analysis of the rate at which manufacturing expansion announcements over the past two years are being turned into real nameplate production capacity. In another special report Finlay Colville characterises the nature of the current PV capex cycle as compared to the last. Whereas the previous spending cycle was notable for being “frantic”, the latest one has so far been more measured, with manufacturers focusing on strengthening their positions in specific segments of the value chain. Other highlights in this issue include a paper from researchers at the Solar Energy Research Institute of Singapore (SERIS) exploring cell-to-module losses.

Volume 30

With PV supply and demand finding equilibrium once again, manufacturers are turning their attention to the next big question they must face: what their technology of choice will be for the next round of production expansions they are planning, announcements of which are now coming thick and fast. In this issue of Photovoltaics International we feature an exclusive preview of research undertaken by Finlay Colville, head of our new Solar Intelligence activities. Colville will be publishing a full report on next-generation cell technologies in the new year, ahead of the PVCellTech event we will be hosting in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia in March 2016. Together the report and event promise to bring some much-needed focus to the debate around cell technology evolution, which is happening against the backdrop of break-neck growth in the solar industry worldwide.

Volume 29

Forecasting the evolution of a young, dynamic industry is by definition an uncertain business, and solar is no exception. Rarely, if ever, do the numbers broadcast by any of the various bodies involved in the PV prediction game tally, and even historical deployment rates remain the subject of hot debate. The paradox is that getting forecasts broadly right is going to become increasingly important over the next few years, particularly for those involved in producing the equipment that will support whatever levels of demand come to pass. As discussed by Gaëtan Masson, director of the Becquerel Institute, on p.110 of this issue of Photovoltaics International, although global PV demand appears in rude health, complex political and economic conditions in many individual markets mean the question of how vigorously it will continue to grow in the coming years is less than clear. Yet for the upstream part of the industry, correctly forecasting PV market developments will be critical to ensure the right investments are made along the value chain in technologies that will help spur PV to new levels of competitiveness and thus drive continued demand.

Volume 28

In the past few issues of Photovoltaics International we have tracked in detail plans being implemented by the leading module manufacturers to expand production capacity. That process began tentatively last year as end-market demand began to catch up with the chronic overcapacity that had built up in the preceding years, prompting industry-wide upheaval. Our latest capacity expansion report (p.11), a unique resource in the industry, reveals that while that activity was maintained throughout much of 2014, spiking in a strong final quarter of 2014, announcements of new capacity slowed slightly in the opening quarter of this year. Nevertheless, all the signs point to the pace picking up again later this year as manufacturers look to take advantage of the surge in activity expected in the US at the back end of this year and into 2016, in anticipation of the cutting back of the solar investment tax credit at the end of that year.

Volume 27

Now that the PV industry has unquestionably entered a new growth phase, all eyes are on which technologies will win through into the mainstream of PV manufacturing. PERC, n-type, p-type bifacial, heterojunction – all have become familiar terms in the ever-growing constellation of solar cell technologies. The question is which will offer manufacturers what they are looking for in improving efficiencies and cutting costs.

Volume 26

Looking back, 2014 was a year of convalescence for a PV industry still battered and bruised from a period of ferocious competition. End-market demand continued apace, with analysts towards the end of 2014 predicting the year would see between around 45 and 50GW of deployment. That has begun to feed through to the supplier end of the market, with all the main manufacturers announcing capacity expansions in 2015 and further ahead.

Volume 25

In this issue we offer some insights into what the next wave of photovoltaic technologies may look like as that upturn gathers pace. Industry observers have been in broad agreement that the major next-gen PV technology innovations won’t happen straight away. But there’s also little doubt that the search is now on in earnest for the breakthroughs that will come to define the state of the art in the industry in the years to come.

Volume 24

Signs earlier in the year of the global industry entering a growth phase have now been confirmed beyond any doubt. Almost all the big-name suppliers have now announced some form of manufacturing capacity expansion, a trend that analysts agree will only gather pace as long as the levels of demand predicted over the next few years turn out to be correct.

Volume 23

This issue of Photovoltaics International, our 23rd, offers key insights into some of the technologies that are ready to move from lab to fab in support of these goals. ISC Konstanz offer a glimpse of what the low-cost, high-efficiency solar cells of the future might look like. On page 35 the institute’s authors give an overview of what they call Konstanz’ “technology zoo”, encompassing their so-called BiSoN, PELICAN and ZEBRA cell concepts, all of which are aimed at increasing energy yield at the lowest possible cost.

Volume 22

The period of ‘profitless prosperity’ in the PV industry is finally at an end. Throughout 2013, despite continued economic woes, the PV industry has continued to expand and finally become a global industry. Market forecasts indicating that the sector could reach its next 100GW milestone in just the next two years suggest the industry is on the cusp of another period of strong growth. All the signs confirm this is the case, with utilization rates at their highest level since 2010, companies reporting full order books well into next year and the first tentative announcements of factory capacity expansions making the headlines.

Volume 21

There have been encouraging signs in recent months of changing fortunes for PV equipment suppliers after a difficult period of consolidation. Shipment figures, actual and forecast, have in many instances seen an upswing, as booming markets in Japan, China and the US continue to drive demand, even as some European markets continue to dwindle. It’s probably too early to call the beginnings of a new PV technology buy cycle, but it seems more a case of ‘when’ rather than ‘if ’ now, and analysts have pointed to mid-2014 as the likely point when supply and demand will be in some kind of equilibrium. Clearly the implication of this is that if demand continues to rise beyond this point, supply will have to keep up, so manufacturers will have to invest in new capacity.

Volume 20

Has the latest round of consolidation in the supply chain enabled a more sustainable growth curve for the solar industry or is this a blip fuelled by subsidies? In this context Photovoltaics International has never been more relevant for your business. Whether you are a glass half empty or full person, the fact remains that orders are up across the board, new markets are coming on stream and analysts’ predictions are increasing again. Optimism is starting to creep into even the most conservative of organisations.

Volume 19

For manufacturers who had their heads in the bunker during 2012, fighting falling ASPs and eroding margins, the nineteenth edition brings you details of what lies in store for this coming year. Wright Williams & Kelly return in this issue with their popular analysis of payback on technology buys; crucially they analyze n-type wafers, Al2O3 passivation and copper metallization. SERIS shows us how to achieve 18.7% efficiencies using low-cost etching techniques on diffused wafers. We also have two important technology roundups: CIGS from Helmholtz Berlin, and PV module encapsulation techniques from Fraunhofer ISE.

Volume 18

Our focus here at Photovoltaics International has always been on efficiency improvement and driving down the cost per watt of modules. In this issue we take a look at some of the market dynamics driving prices in the supply chain so that you can make better decisions to help reduce your overall cost per watt and increase your efficiency at the same time.

Volume 17

The seventeenth edition of Photovoltaics International applauds new markets emerging to plug the deployment gaps left by countries such as Spain, the Czech Republic and Italy. Profitless prosperity is the way Mark Osborne, Senior News Editor at PV-Tech.org characterises the PV manufacturing supply chain at the moment. In this issue the Fraunhofer ISE presents an overview of MWT technologies and calls on manufacturers to “quickly bring these techniques to industrialisation”. Additionally back contact cells and modules are featured extensively with valuable contributions from IMEC/ECN and the ISFH.

Volume 16

This sixteenth edition of Photovoltaics International marks four years of production of the quarterly journal. As always, our focus is on efficiency and quality improvement and cost reduction in manufacturing.

Volume 15

The 15th edition of Photovoltaics International hopes to bring some optimism to 2012 by tackling the key factors on how to cope with the current situation. Contributions come from MIT on using TCAD as a viable method for modelling metal impurity evolution; Alternative Energy Investing presents a comprehensive look at materials cost; and efficiency improvements are on offer by ECN. REC Solar and Tata BP Solar report on module lifetime and IMS Research gives us a brief rundown of 2012 global market expectations.

Volume 14

Published in November 2011, the 14th edition of Photovoltaics International provides a variety of technical papers from some of the industry’s stalwarts. Features include: TÜV Rheinland on junction box testing; Laser Zentrum Hannover on laser edge isolation of mc-Si cells; Calisolar on the importance of traceability; Fraunhofer ISE on EWT cells; and EPIA on Europe’s LCOE.