EU PVSEC: cost is hindering advanced cell efficiency technologies migration into mass production

Share on facebook
Facebook
Share on twitter
Twitter
Share on linkedin
LinkedIn
Share on reddit
Reddit
Share on email
Email

Despite record cell efficiencies being announced in recent years, just 0.5% of advanced technologies for cell efficiency have been implemented into volume production on an annual basis. A panel session moderated by PV-Tech’s senior editor Mark Osborne, part of the PV Production Forum 2012 at EU PVSEC, discusses the reasons why migration has been so slow.

Several factors hindering the migration were revealed during the panel session but the issue of cost kept recurring. According to the panelists, developing the technology is not a key issue but the cost of implementing the technologies is. In this current climate, many companies are struggling to obtain the necessary finances to fund the transition process.

Dr. Florian Holzapfel, CEO of Calyxo believed that thin-film companies need around €100 million to €200 million to implement the new technologies to facilitate the transition but many companies, at this moment in time, would rather wait as they do not believe that it is the right time to invest in the implementation of the technologies.

Florian also pointed out that if the production lines are unable to reach their yield, the product could become much more expensive than anticipated if the efforts in the technology development phase were not properly researched and tested, and this takes time.

Holzapfel highlighted the differences between technologies for crystalline products and thin-film products. It is possible to ramp up certain areas of the crystalline production line enabling companies to slowly realize cost reductions. In the case of thin-film, the implementation will affect the entire production line. So, in a way, implementation in crystalline production lines may be easier to implement but this would be at a slower pace. 

Markus Fischer, director of R&D at Q-Cells, added that the whole migration process was a timely process and that the technology aspect must be dealt with first before rolling it out on a mass scale. In addition to cost issues, companies must consider reliability issues as well as yield issues.

In the polysilicon sector, Nick Sarno, former head of manufacturing at LDK Solar and now consulting to the PV industry explained that technology which improves the purity of polysilicon has been developed and implemented but these only yield a small cost reduction. He argued that the reason for the lack of development in this sector is that there is a general lack of knowledge and expertise in improving the quality of the product and implementation of cost reductions by new entrants.

Another factor hindering the implementation of advanced technologies is the declining opportunities to benefit from subsidies. As feed-in tariffs come to a close, many companies are under pressure to quickly install PV projects. However, the market does not currently have the capabilities to rapidly install such advanced technologies in their production lines. But it was noted that a number of new markets are now emerging which may see new subsidies being offered.
 

22 September 2021
To commemorate the World Energy Storage Day(WESD) on 22 September, being recognized worldwide, Customized Energy Solutions (CES) and India Energy Storage Alliance (IESA) is organising the 5th global conference and virtual expo, which will be held virtually on 22 September 2021. WESD is a global movement initiated by various apex trade bodies working to promote and adopt energy storage, e-mobility & green hydrogen technologies for a sustainable future. The forthcoming edition of WESD is expected to attract global participation with an intent to facilitate bi-lateral trade, market development and new research and innovation, which will invite 100+ countries, 100+ regulators & policy makers, 100+ International speakers,1000+ organisations, 100+ partners & exhibitors and 20,000+ global delegates.
28 September 2021
Solar Solutions International is the largest trade show for solar energy in Northwest Europe. Now the solar market has grown up, it's time for the next step. Solar Solutions International displays more than 500 innovations and over 100 practical seminars concerning the latest in energy storage, smart products, and an ever evolving array of solar panels. As an exclusively B2B trade show, Solar Solutions International offers both exhibitors and visitors the chance to network at the highest level. Duurzaam Verwarmd, the largest trade show for sustainable HVAC technology in the Benelux, is held simultaneously. This way your one visit gets you up to date with all of the developments in both sustainable energy and heating.
6 October 2021
Intersolar Europe is the world’s leading exhibition for the solar industry. It takes place as part of The smarter E Europe – the continent’s largest platform for the energy industry. Under the motto “Connecting solar business,” manufacturers, suppliers, distributors, service providers and project planners and developers from around the world meet in Munich every year to discuss the latest developments and trends, explore innovations firsthand and meet potential new customers.
6 October 2021
The future is bright for a new era of US solar and storage, and the 8th annual Solar & Storage Finance Summit will provide opportunities to discuss solutions to the industry’s challenges and provide a networking platform designed to bring together the top minds in the industry to do business. With a mix of high-level, informative presentations and panels, a stellar cast of speakers and audience members with deal-making capacity, the 2021 edition of the event will be a sell-out success.
18 October 2021
Intersolar South America, South America’s largest exhibition and conference for the solar industry, takes place at the Expo Center Norte in São Paulo, Brazil on October 18–20, 2021, and has a focus on the areas of photovoltaics, PV production and solar thermal technologies. At the accompanying Intersolar South America Conference, renowned experts shed light on hot topics in the solar industry.
19 October 2021
This year’s EV World Congress will hold a special role, not only as the first live EverythingEV event in over a year – a chance to renew your connections and re-engage with the EV sector face to face – but also as a chance to share insight and inspiration as world starts to look towards move on post COVID towards hitting ambitious decarbonisation goals in 2030 and beyond. As ever, we will be bringing world leading organisations, cities, and technology providers to the UK to inspire EV innovators, and delve into the challenges facing the sector as the UK looks to revolutionise road transport.

Read Next

September 17, 2021
BP, Abu Dhabi National Oil Company (ADNOC) and Masdar have partnered up to develop low carbon hydrogen hubs and create decarbonised air travel corridors between the UK and UAE in a deal that will see “billions” of dollars of investment.
September 17, 2021
US utility company Dominion Energy Virginia has proposed 15 new energy projects totalling 1GW of power for the state, which Dominion Energy claimed was the largest group of projects to be submitted to the Virginia State Corporation Commission (SCC)
September 17, 2021
Renewables developer Ørsted has promoted Neil O'Donovan to CEO of its onshore business unit following the resignation of his predecessor in August.
September 17, 2021
A 58.5MW floating PV plant in Thailand, said to be the largest install of its kind in the country, has been connected to the grid, according to inverter and floating solutions supplier Sungrow.
PV Tech Premium
September 17, 2021
PV Tech spoke to investors and analysts about why Brazil is fast becoming an attractive market for solar investment.
September 16, 2021
Vistra Energy has welcomed the enactment of clean energy policies in Illinois which the power generation company said will support 300MW of solar and 150MW of battery storage to be built at nine of its coal plant sites. 

Subscribe to Newsletter

Upcoming Events

Solar Media Events
October 6, 2021
Solar Media Events
October 19, 2021
BRISTOL, UK
Solar Media Events
December 1, 2021