PVI Issue

Photovoltaics International Volume 43

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The PV industry continues its technological advance and downstream markets continue to grow, with the two elements remaining intrinsically linked. If this edition is an indication that technological advances are continuing to shape the industry and drive down the cost per-Watt to record lows, then we are set for many years of continued growth.

Our annual in-house analysis of the R&D spending trends of 21 PV manufacturers in this edition highlights the second consecutive year of combined expenditure topping the US$1.0 billion mark, with the LONGi Group setting a industry record of US$182.74 million of expenditure in 2018.

One of the first to transition to SHJ technology was the Russia-based Hevel Group. A paper from Hevel in this edition is notable for detailing all the processing steps required for successful SHJ production.

Fraunhofer ISE demonstrates latest advances in PERC-based shingled solar cells. Edition 43 continues its own series of Industry 4.0 papers, with researchers from ISC Konstanz highlighting the role and impact of digitalization and self-learning concepts in PV manufacturing.

A paper from ISFH that details the processes and the key importance of accurate solar cell measurement, especially, as noted in the last edition, in light of the swathe of solar cell conversion efficiency records already seen in 2019.


In this issue...

PVI Paper
Market Watch, Photovoltaics International Papers
Photovoltaics International’s annual analysis of PV manufacturers, research and development (R&D) spending in 2018 includes 21 companies that were public listed on various stock exchanges around the world. R&D spending data was taken from audited annual financial reports and converted to US dollars at the time of the reports being published. The analysis in this 2018 report is intended to provide a good representation of global R&D spending trends in the PV wafer, cell and module segments of the upstream solar market.
PVI Paper
Photovoltaics International Papers, PV Modules
This paper reports on the latest advances in passivated emitter and rear cell (PERC)-based shingled solar cell activities at Fraunhofer ISE. The approach taken is to fabricate 6" host wafers from Czochralski-grown silicon and separate them after metallization and contact firing into bifacial p-type shingled passivated edge, emitter and rear (pSPEER) solar cells.
PVI Paper
Photovoltaics International Papers, Thin Film
Heterojunction technology is currently a hot topic actively discussed in the silicon PV community. Hevel recently became one of the first companies to adopt its old micromorph module line for manufacturing high-efficiency silicon heterojunction (SHJ) solar cells and modules. On the basis of Hevel’s own experience, this paper looks at all the production steps involved, from wafer texturing through to final module assembly.
PVI Paper
Cell Processing, Photovoltaics International Papers
This paper presents the calibration of solar cells, in accordance with the IEC 60904 standards, carried out at the solar cell calibration laboratory of the Calibration and Test Center (CalTeC) at the Institute of Solar Energy Research Hamelin (ISFH). For the calibration of a solar cell, the cell area, the spectral responsivity (SR) and the current–voltage (I–V) curve have to be determined. The I–V curve then yields the characteristic parameters, including the power conversion efficiency, fill factor, short-circuit current and opencircuit voltage. The required measurement facilities and contacting stages are explained in detail; in addition, the measurement procedures are introduced. The precision and accuracy of the resulting characteristic parameters and curves are demonstrated by recent intercomparisons between different international calibration laboratories.
PVI Paper
Cell Processing, Photovoltaics International Papers
Passivated emitter and rear cell (PERC) solar cell design is the industry standard for high-volume solar cell manufacturing today. The next challenge for the PV industry is to find a low-cost cell upgrade technology platform that can be easily retrofitted in existing production lines to modify the front side and enhance the rear. The monoPolyTM technology platform, developed at SERIS together with its strategic industry partners, offers an attractive solution and paves the way for the adoption of passivating contacts in large-scale manufacturing. This platform requires only one tool upgrade for most PERC/T production lines, has one less process step than a standard PERC production process, and yields a +1%abs. efficiency boost over a standard PERC process. The authors believe that monoPoly will enable the PV industry to mass produce cells with efficiencies exceeding 24% in their existing lines in the near future.
PVI Paper
Materials, Photovoltaics International Papers
The PV industry is undergoing rapid technology changes that have been driven by the well-documented swift adoption of monocrystalline wafers. Less well understood, however, is that within this wafer technology transition comes a shift to larger wafer sizes, and this includes p-type and n-type mono-Si wafers.
PVI Paper
Fab & Facilities, Photovoltaics International Papers
This paper explains how these modern production concepts are implemented in ISC’s lab, and details the plans for their utilization in future production sites, with illustrations of the key benefits in practice. With these modern manufacturing concepts, it will even be possible to bring future c-Si PV production back to the EU with the choice of an appropriate cell concept (high efficiency but proven technology, e.g. interdigitated back-contact (IBC) cells, such as ZEBRA) and a sound business plan.
PVI Paper
Fab & Facilities, Photovoltaics International Papers
Today, solar power is one of the cheapest ways of providing energy internationally, partly because of the excellent R&D work in Europe. Prices of modules have fallen by half in the past three years, and at the same time the use of solar power has been steadily increasing. The reason why there has been an increase in the use of solar energy in Europe and Germany is the achievement of the climate targets of the Paris Agreement. While the machines for the production of solar modules are still manufactured in Germany, the production of cells has now almost completely migrated to Asia. Therefore, the VDMA commissioned a study from Fraunhofer ISE to evaluate whether the production of solar modules at competitive costs could again be realized in Europe. This paper presents the results of the VDMA study.

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