PVI Issue

Photovoltaics International Volume 8

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The eighth edition of Photovoltaics International was published in May 2010. In this issue Enerplan address how the new FiT will impact the French Market, in Materials IBM and NREL discuss the pros and cons of UMG silicon and DERlab puts single-phase inverters to the test in Power Generation.

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In this issue...

PVI Paper
Cell Processing, Photovoltaics International Papers
The emitter or p-n junction is the core of crystalline silicon solar cells. The vast majority of silicon cells are produced using a simple process of high temperature diffusion of dopants into the crystal lattice. This paper takes a closer look at the characteristics of this diffusion and possible variations in the process, and asks whether this step can lead to optimal emitters or whether emitters should be made with different processes in order to obtain the highest possible efficiency.
PVI Paper
Photovoltaics International Papers, Power Generation
Interconnection of inverters to the electrical grid is a key issue for the widespread integration of distributed energy resources, especially when the scenario surrounding international standards is so unclear. As a pre-normative research step, a round-robin test of two small-scale photovoltaic inverters was performed by nine DERlab laboratories during 2009. The test activity was focused on the verification of individual test procedures, common interpretation of standards and requirements, and determination of problems related to the equipment and facilities involved in conducting round-robin tests. Compilation of test results and first conclusions of this activity will be presented in this paper.
PVI Paper
Fab & Facilities, Photovoltaics International Papers
As polysilicon producers perform expansions and upgrades to increase production and improve operations, plant safety remains critical. Companies should routinely review their safety policies and effectively plan their projects to ensure uninterrupted product supply and create a safe environment for employees and the communities in which they operate. Both the design and the execution of expansion and upgrades to projects are critical as companies strive for minimal down time so that productivity is not affected. Such hazards and scenarios that may hinder and delay start-up, specifically in relation to polysilicon plants, are highlighted in this paper. Furthermore, the paper outlines how best to avoid these situations, offering methods of execution to achieve the three key measures of success: safety, high purity and minimal down time.
PVI Paper
Photovoltaics International Papers, Thin Film
Thin-film module production has proven itself as a forerunner in the race to drive down costs for photovoltaics. The type of semiconductor material used is the most differentiating factor for thin-film photovoltaics, playing the decisive role for determining which core processes are employed and what type of equipment is used. This explains why discussions related to thin-film costs and technologies usually focus on the semiconductor type. However, the effects of glass production, processing and handling are often underestimated: factors such as scaling, yield, unit cost and total cost of ownership of the equipment are defined by the glass-production side of the industry. This paper discusses the challenges faced in glass washing and handling in thin-film PV production.
PVI Paper
Cell Processing, Photovoltaics International Papers
Among all of the tests performed in the production chain of solar cells, each with the scope of production control and the aim of driving engineering improvements, the electrical final test is certainly the most important. The final test defines the gate to module manufacturing and has a direct impact on finances and customer satisfaction. The test procedure itself is well known and continues to undergo constant further development, but that shall not be the scope of this article. This paper will elucidate on the issues faced by bringing these tests into high volume production, highlighting some issues on measurement accuracy and degradation of the internal calibration standards. In addition to pure electrical testing, the paper will discuss the Q-Cells approach to identifying hot spots and subsequent binning of the affected cells without adding process time to the test procedure, and will show their straightforward correlation to heat generation of these hot spots in real-life condition-encapsulated module tests.
PVI Paper
Fab & Facilities, Photovoltaics International Papers
Building Information Modelling (BIM) is an approach that is fast gaining traction in the architect, engineer and construction (AEC) industries. BIM combines the construction of a virtual model with all aspects of a facility, from design (space planning) to construction (cost and scheduling), and from operations to maintenance (planning and asset management). BIM is also a process as well as a project. Even though the technology for implementation of BIM will change, and probably change rapidly, the process and underlying concepts will likely change very little. This paper outlines the guiding principles of BIM and its ability to enhance the project delivery process of the AEC industries.
PVI Paper
Materials, Photovoltaics International Papers
Upgraded metallurgical-grade (UMG) silicon is a lower cost and lower quality form of solar-grade silicon that is capable of producing solar cells at over 16% efficiency. This paper presents some of the economic advantages and technical concerns and solutions associated with producing silicon based PV from UMG, as well as preliminary solar cell results using this material. Results are based on a comparison of cells made in a turnkey line (Schmid Group) using alloy blends of 10%, 20%, 30% and 100% UMG, mixed with solar-grade Si before ingot growth. Detailed characterization was carried out on these finished cells according to lifetime, LBIC, diffusion length and luminescence imaging to determine correlations of performance with basic parameters. Requirements for material cost and cell performance necessary for UMG solar cells to be cost competitive are also presented.
PVI Paper
Cell Processing, Photovoltaics International Papers
This paper, the third in a series covering cost of ownership (COO) studies for photovoltaics [1], examines the need for metallization of silicon-based solar cells and how it has evolved over the past few years. The technologies and techniques that are being developed for this part of cell manufacturing in the foreseeable future are also discussed. The paper will conclude with a COO case study using the DEK Solar PV3000 as an example.
PVI Paper
Photovoltaics International Papers, PV Modules
Photovoltaic modules are designed to meet the reliability and safety requirements of national and international test standards. Qualification testing is a short-duration (typically, 60-90 days) accelerated testing protocol, and it may be considered as a minimum requirement to undertake reliability testing. The goal of qualification testing is to identify the initial short-term reliability issues in the field, while the qualification testing/certification is primarily driven by marketplace requirements. Safety testing, however, is a regulatory requirement where the modules are assessed for the prevention of electrical shock, fire hazards, and personal injury due to electrical, mechanical, and environmental stresses in the field. This paper examines recent reliability and safety studies conducted at TÜV Rheinland PTL’s solar module testing facility in Arizona.
PVI Paper
Photovoltaics International Papers, Thin Film
This paper describes the functionality, applicability, and the development of dependency maps which are the basis for standardized information exchange between responsible parties during the fab design process. Examples and experiences are related to the solar industry; however this generic approach may be applied to a wide range of different industry sectors with similar challenges. The aim is to provide a guideline for realizing a fab design of dynamic and complex production systems. Its main benefit is a higher degree of transparency regarding dependencies within the production system, which results in a reduction of risk for incorrect planning. In addition, it enables the factory designer to execute the fab planning process and further continuous improvements for achieving respective targets.
PVI Paper
Photovoltaics International Papers, Thin Film
The demand for equipment used to manufacture solar photovoltaic solar cells and modules has grown at an explosive rate over the past five years, and the fastest-growing segment has been for systems used to manufacture thin-film cells and modules. In 2009, demand for this type of equipment reached US$1.9 billion, up from US$0.1 billion in 2004, representing an astonishing 80% compound annual growth rate over the period. However, as with the rest of the industry, 2009 saw sales flattened and the business model change from one of rapid growth to that of sustainability. The result of this transition has been some consolidation, with several major equipment vendors strengthening their position through acquisitions. The outlook for 2010 calls for sales of thin-film production equipment to recover and continue growing at a compound annual growth rate of around 15% over the next five years (see Fig. 1).
PVI Paper
Market Watch, Photovoltaics International Papers
On April 1st 2010, the UK government’s Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC) officially launched its renewable energy policy. The document includes the Carbon Reduction Commitment Energy Efficiency Scheme (CRC EES), designed to improve public and private sector organizations’ energy efficiency; and the generous feed-in tariff (FiT) incentive, which pays 41.3p/kWh of solar photovoltaic energy generated. This article will look at the expectations for the UK solar photovoltaics market following the government’s policy launch. The paper will focus on the impact of the UK’s late arrival to the renewable energy market; why the FiT is so incremental for successful growth; what the expectations are for the development of the UK solar PV market as well as an investigation into whether the UK is really ready for this level of change.
PVI Paper
Photovoltaics International Papers, Power Generation
Renewable energy and, specifically, the integration of photovoltaics in residential development will play an important role in the context of global sustainability and resource conservation. Just like EPIA outlines in its Solar Europe Industry Initiative (SEII) plan (2010-2012), as distributed PV and other renewable energy technologies mature, they can provide a significant share of European electricity demand. However, as their market share grows, concerns about potential impacts on the stability and operation of the electricity grid may create barriers to their future expansion. Additionally, low-cost, high-quality integration of PV in buildings and other objects poses major development challenges. The goal of the SEII is to unlock the potential for making PV a mainstream energy source, with special attention on aspects of system integration.
PVI Paper
Photovoltaics International Papers, PV Modules
Solar enterprises will each be faced with the occasional surplus or lack of solar modules in their lifetimes. In these instances, it is useful to adjust these stock levels at short notice, thus creating a spot market. Spot markets serve the short-term trade of different products, where the seller is able to permanently or temporarily offset surplus, while buyers are able to access attractive offers on surplus stocks and supplement existing supply arrangements as a last resort.
PVI Paper
Photovoltaics International Papers, PV Modules
Power measurements of PV reference modules can, at standard testing conditions (STC), show tolerance deviations of up to ±3%, greatly affecting the maximum power output and thereby lowering the overall energy yield of the installation. Despite some existing technical problems, there is an urgent need on the part of the photovoltaic community to achieve more accuracy in power measurements in respect to the ever-growing production volumes. Some approaches being undertaken to carry out high-quality power measurements are addressed in this paper. The deviation from an ideal simulator performance are shown and discussed for two types of simulators, with reference to the most relevant parameters: irradiance level, deviation from homogeneity, spectral mismatch and temporal stability.
PVI Paper
Market Watch, Photovoltaics International Papers
The French Ministry for the Environment, Ecology, Sustainable Development and Sea (MEEDDM) officially published a new decree concerning photovoltaic electricity generation and feed-in tariffs (FiT) on January 12th 2010. This was followed by a second decree, published on March 16th 2010, which contained some additional information and revisions to the first. This paper outlines the effects the revisions will have on France’s solar industry and provides guidelines for future developments in the country.
PVI Paper
Cell Processing, Photovoltaics International Papers
Development of fine-line crystalline silicon solar cells is a potential direction for application of high-efficiency and low-cost solar cells in the industry. Fine-line mask-free metallization offers a great potential to increase cell efficiency by reducing metal shadowing losses and surface recombination losses. At China Sunergy, three promising approaches for fine-line crystalline silicon solar cells are currently undergoing research, including processes such as laser doping selective emitter (LDSE) technology, inkjet or aerosol jet printing of metal paste and upgraded screen-printing technology. This paper presents the basic investigations of these three manufacturing technologies, singling out the technology that presents the most potential for further application.
PVI Paper
Materials, Photovoltaics International Papers
Multicrystalline wafers are the workhorse of the PV industry, with approximately 60% of crystalline silicon solar cells made from the substrate. They offer cost advantages in the form of good conversion efficiencies, which should continue to improve as cell technology advances continue. However, wafer prices were acutely impacted by the fall in PV market demand in late 2008, which continued through most of 2009. With relatively high capital costs, continued pricing pressures and calls for greater quality and control, wafer producers are now set on a course that requires rigorous and sustainable production cost-reduction strategies to meet customer requirements. This paper focuses on strategies that can be adopted to address this need for tighter quality specifications that reduce manufacturing costs downstream and boost cell conversion efficiencies.

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