When we established the Silicon Module Super League (SMSL) a few years ago, it was prompted by the realisation that a select group of solar PV module suppliers were moving away from the 100+ chasing pack, and firmly establishing themselves as the companies that would be the dominant players as the industry moved towards and above annual shipment levels of 100GW.
PV Tech caught up with Lou Trippel, vice president of Product Management at US-based thin-film solar manufacturer and developer First Solar, to discuss how the company’s new Series 6 module has been received, sustainability gains from the transition and even the firm’s consideration of recycling capabilities beyond its thin-film remit.
SolAero Technologies is developing thin-film technology for the US Navy's solar drone programme, as previously explored on PV Tech. In a follow-up piece, Edgar A. Gunther gets more details from the firm and explores the current price points for high-performance cells.
Vertically-integrated solar energy company First Solar will be involved in the first megawatt-scale battery system announced in Arizona since it was revealed the state could put a 3,000MW energy storage deployment target in place.
Nowadays, there is a worldwide production capacity of about 5GW of thin-film module technology. In total, an estimated cumulative installed capacity of 15 to 24GW exists (5-8% of 300GW installed
worldwide in 2016). But how serious is the threat of PID in this thin-film fleet?
The German subsidiary of UK firm Oxford Photovoltaics (PV) has been awarded €15 million (~US$18 million) by the European Investment bank (EIB) to support the commercialisation of the company’s perovskite photovoltaic technology.
Outsourcing in the various stages running up to module assembly versus having one’s entire supply chain in house was a major theme at PV ModuleTech 2017. PV Tech caught up with Nick Strevel, director, global technical sales, at vertically-integrated thin-film PV manufacturer First Solar, to discuss the benefits of having all in house production and the drivers for high expenditure in R&D.
Innovation in the field of thin-film cells, in addition to economy of scale and the manufacturing learning curve, is an important element in keeping the price of this technology competitive. Most papers on these cells focus on their technology; however, the economic potential of the technology is also important. Of even greater significance, a realistic estimation of the potential, along with the associated costs, of advanced technology, is part of the equation for profitability. Two examples of technology – metallic grids and texturing – are given in this paper; the designs are discussed, and a brief economic analysis is presented for various scenarios of the technologies. Although the profitability of these technologies can be considerable, it is shown that one should be wary of basing decisions purely on potential and on ideal scenarios, and how the cost of a technology can turn a great prospect into a trade-off.
The PV CellTech 2017 conference has just finished. The findings were revealing, stimulating, thought-provoking, and in terms of mass production metrics from a PV event, once again ground-breaking, writes Finlay Colville.