With its evolutionary E-STAR II cell in production, Hanwha SolarOne said that upgrades enabled a silver paste consumption reduction of up to 45%, while improving cell conversion efficiencies by 0.2 to 0.25%.
Through its ‘Project EStarII' production enhancement strategies, the module manufacturer says it is aiming to lower production costs, improve cell efficiencies, enhance product features and improve quality and yield.
“This is truly a production milestone for Hanwha SolarOne. With this new technology, we are now able to produce world-class solar cells at competitive costs,” said Jeong Eui Hong, chief technology officer at Hanwha SolarOne. “We plan to leverage this technology to gradually increase the cell efficiency of our multi-crystalline silicon wafers to more than 18.5% by the end of 2015.”
The company recently announced that it would shift its business strategy to higher value markets, suggesting it is unable to compete effectively with other tier one producers in China that have both scale and lower production costs.
Hanwha SolarOne’s capacity has remained unchanged for two years at 800MW for ingot and wafer production and 1.3GW for cell production. The company has a nameplate capacity for modules of 1.5GW, compared to rivals that mostly have capacity of 2GW and higher.
The company has however recently undertaken cost reductions at the module assembly stage, reducing labour costs with a shift to fully-automated processes that have also improved product quality consistency as well as using thinner glass and thin frames to reduce BOM costs.