Inline solar cell measurement equipment specialist Aurora Solar Technologies (AST) is expecting 2018 to be a record year for new orders, as major PV manufacturers continue to migrate and ramp high-efficiency solar cells such as monocrystalline PERC (Passivated Emitter Rear Cell) and bifacial cell technologies.
‘Silicon Module Super League’ (SMSL) member Trina Solar has set a new record 25.04% conversion efficiency for an N-type monocrystalline IBC (Interdigitated Back Contact) solar cell at its State Key Laboratory (SKL) of PV Science and Technology (PVST) that was independently certified by Japan Electric Safety and Environmental Technology Laboratory (JET).
PV capital expenditure (capex) in 2018, covering investments into ingot, wafer, cell and module capacity, will grow by almost 25% compared to 2017, passing through the US$10 billion mark, returning to levels last seen back in 2010 and 2011 when investments in turn-key thin-film fabs were a key contributor.
With cell producers increasingly focusing on improved efficiencies and yields, line optimization upgrades are coming to the fore. PV Tech caught up with Steve Mcdonald, vice president, application engineering at inline solar cell measurement equipment specialist Aurora Solar Technologies, to discuss some of the industry trends.