Fab & Facilities

PVI Paper
Fab & Facilities, Photovoltaics International Papers
This paper outlines how a blend of physics-based analysis and statistical data science methods can aid continuous improvement and yield optimization in high-volume solar cell fabrication.
PVI Paper
Fab & Facilities, Photovoltaics International Papers
PV manufacturing capacity expansion announcements in 2019 were a stark contrast to 2018, when major policy changes in China impacted the upstream supply chain. This paper looks in detail at not only a significant recovery in capacity expansions throughout the year but also new trends in the capacity scale of announcements and a marked shift in wafer sizes and cell technology.
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.
PVI Paper
Fab & Facilities, Photovoltaics International Papers
PV manufacturing capacity expansion announcements in 2018 were significantly impacted by major policy changes mid-year in China. This paper looks in detail at the contrasting developments in the first half of the year, compared with the second half. Attention will also be given to the regional site selection changes as well as to the advanced manufacturing trends emerging in 2018. Finally, after five years of tracking capacity expansion plans, an overview of cumulative expansions, coupled to global solar demand and to capacity trends specifically in China, will be provided.
PVI Paper
Fab & Facilities, Photovoltaics International Papers
Ever since the manufacturing of PV modules began suffering from a huge price decline, the reduction of the production cost has been a task of high priority. Digitalization is a subsequent further development of the automation of today’s PV cell and module manufacturing processes and can help to decrease production costs. A central concept of digitalization is the digital twin, which represents the properties and behaviours of physical assets, materials, processes or eventually the entire production line (the so-called smart fab). Different cases of its use are presented in this paper, along with a discussion of the corresponding applications of such digital twins. Finally, a smart fab for PV production is described.
PVI Paper
Fab & Facilities, Photovoltaics International Papers
PV manufacturing capacity expansion announcements in the second quarter of 2018 were slightly higher than the previous quarter, although activity slumped specifically in June, following China’s decision to suddenly cap utility-scale and distributed generation projects. The quarter was also characterized by activity in India, partially driven by a major Chinese manufacturer. The report will also analyze first half year capacity expansion plans and targeted locations, globally.
PVI Paper
Fab & Facilities, Photovoltaics International Papers
After defining the term Industry 4.0 according to the authors’ interpretation, this paper elaborates on the opportunities and challenges that the Industry 4.0 transition will bring to the PV sector. The topic is approached from various angles. How can the PV industry and the related value chain itself progress to Industry 4.0? And how does this reflect in different application sectors, such as construction and automotive? This paper presents a future scenario towards which the industry could be heading; some of the steps already being taken and some of the main challenges ahead are described. The value of PV technology as an enabler for other sectors, such as edge versus cloud computing, to move into Industry 4.0 is also touched upon. Additionally, a number of enablers and boundary conditions are highlighted in the context of Industry 4.0 and their relevance to the PV industry (legislation, cyber security, etc.) The status of Industry 4.0 in PV compared with other sectors is also explored. Wherever appropriate and possible, examples of projects and activities that illustrate the described topics are given.
PVI Paper
Fab & Facilities, Photovoltaics International Papers
PV manufacturing capacity expansion announcements in the first quarter of 2018 continued to mirror those of the previous two years, highlighting the recent trend of the last quarter and the first quarter of each year (since the end of 2015) being the most active. The quarter being discussed also represents a revival in thin-film expansion plans, the return of PV module assembly outpacing solar cell announcements and the return of India and the US as major destinations for new capacity plans.
PVI Paper
Fab & Facilities, Photovoltaics International Papers
PV manufacturing capacity expansion announcements in 2017 far exceeded the three preceding years, despite the significant slowdown in new plans in the third quarter. The year was dominated by c-Si solar cell expansion plans and the return of CdTe and CIGS thin-film activity – the highest seen in many years. This quarterly report reviews the fourth quarter activity as well offering a full-year review and analysis of a record year across all segments of upstream manufacturing.

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