PV equipment specialist Despatch Industries said it had recently sold 10 firing furnaces to a leading solar cell producer, marking a milestone that all of the top-10 largest solar cell producers are now using its furnace technology.
“The top-10 manufacturers account for over 40% of all the crystalline solar cells produced worldwide,” noted Ellen Cheng, general manager of Solar Business for Despatch Industries. “Despatch continues to be the global leader and supplier of firing furnaces for the industry, holding a 75% market share through 2014.”
Despatch noted that its ‘CF Series Firing Furnace’ had been the workhorse for many solar cell producers for post metallisation processes, while its more recent Safire Firing Furnace with DriTech Dryer could deliver 0.1% absolute improvement in overall cell efficiency. The systems also reduced wafer losses due to breakage close to 1%, while reducing low efficiency cells by 4% absolute.
A number of major solar cell producers announced capacity expansions in 2014, primarily for PERC (passivated emitter rear cell) architectures for both multicrystalline and monocrystalline cell/modules, the first meaningful capacity expansions in three years.
According to a recently published report in PV Tech’s sister technical journal, Photovoltaics International, around 4.7GW of new solar cell capacity expansion announcements were made in 2014, with over 2GW announced in the fourth quarter of 2014 alone.