Chinese state-owned PV manufacturer, CECEP Solar Energy Technology has used upgrades for Applied Materials ‘Baccini Esatto’ screen printers to produce average multicrystalline solar cell conversion efficiencies of 18.32%.
Esatto tools were said to have been upgraded with Applied’s ‘Fine Line Double Printing’ (FLDP) technology last year and reached the cell conversion efficiency levels in early December 2013 with the production line continuing to maintain stable operation, according to the company. The improved results were said to represent a 0.2% efficiency gain over CECEP’s previous production baseline.
“China’s Ministry of Industry and Information Technology’s minimum [cell conversion rates] requirement is further evidence of a 10 watt per year industry 'efficiency clock' that is driving our customers to rapidly innovate to stay competitive,” said Jim Mullin, vice president and general manager of Solar Products for Applied Materials’ Energy and Environmental Solutions Group.
China’s Ministry of Industry and Information Technology has also stipulated that companies will also be required to invest at least 2% of annual sales in R&D activities to further promote a focus on technology innovation as efforts to rationalise the PV sector in China continues.
“As new markets for solar PV emerge across China and competition increases, it is essential to accelerate the pace of innovation to achieve higher cell efficiencies,” added Li Kai Jiang, CECEP General Manager.
Applied’s FLDP Esatto technology uses a double printing technique to provide sub-50 micron fine metallisation lines to increase cell efficiency, improve yield and reduce silver paste consumption.
According to NPD Solarbuzz, Applied Materials is the market leader with its Baccini screen printers.