Fab & Facilities

Photovoltaics International Archive
Fab & Facilities, Photovoltaics International Papers
This review is based on primary research of global solar cell and thin-film manufacturing companies that are either currently manufacturing, expanding manufacturing, building facilities for manufacturing or progressing towards establishment of manufacturing facilities.
Photovoltaics International Archive
Fab & Facilities, Photovoltaics International Papers
The PV industry has seen some incredible growth in the last five to eight years. This growth is essential in order to fulfill the challenging targets this industry has set itself to ensure it becomes an economical viable alternative energy source. A negative result of this growth, however, is the inefficient supply chain, where there is a lack of balance between demand and supply. The industry is going from one bottleneck to another. What is the impact of such inefficiencies on the supplier/manufacturer relationship? In this article, we collect information from short interviews of a number of fab managers in the wafer, cell and module domain, and try to answer this question.
Photovoltaics International Archive
Fab & Facilities, Photovoltaics International Papers
Owing to the huge demand for photovoltaic products, the market is still very attractive for investments in production facilities. Nevertheless, the increasing number of competing photovoltaic manufacturers and the decrease in governmental subsidies require substantial and continuous cost reductions. Whilst existing facilities can save costs by enhancing cell efficiency, optimizing production processes or reducing material costs and other resources, for new manufacturing sites there is a great potential in making efficient use of economies of scale. This also holds true - to some extent – for expanding existing fabs. This paper presents the logistics behind and the benefits of implementing economy of scale in a PV manufacturing facility.
Photovoltaics International Archive
Fab & Facilities, Photovoltaics International Papers
Investments in large photovoltaic factories can lead to high capital expenditure. To achieve a fast return on investment, it is essential to ensure a high utilization of process equipment. Optimization of photovoltaic factory performance requires a fundamental understanding of the processes as well as of the material flow and manufacturing equipment. Fraunhofer IPA has developed an approach to gather and analyze the factory data in order to detect and understand the logistic influencing factors. With this factory data, the performance of material flow systems and production equipments can be evaluated, leading to detection and elimination of inefficiencies in the manufacturing lines. The methods of acquiring and analyzing factory performance data as outlined in this article mainly focus on thin-film manufacturing lines, but are also applicable to crystalline technologies.
Photovoltaics International Archive
Fab & Facilities, Photovoltaics International Papers
Crystalline wafer and thin-film photovoltaics manufacturing have experienced dramatic expansion in recent years, but future growth requires increasingly effective strategies to reduce costs and increase the competitiveness of PV power. Reducing PV manufacturing costs has been a prime focus of the industry. In the current climate, cost reduction is especially critical given the industry shakeout that many analysts are forecasting. Now more than ever, it is important to bring manufacturing capacity online quickly and cost effectively. The vast majority of commercial-scale PV manufacturing capacity is new construction (greenfield), meaning it is purpose-built on an unused piece of land; however, there are alternatives. This paper will outline opportunities for re-use of existing obsolete semiconductor fabs, and the steps required to convert from one manufacturing strand to another.
Photovoltaics International Archive
Fab & Facilities, Photovoltaics International Papers
Climate change, oil shortage, green energy, energy security – these are some of the global `mega´-topics currently dominating the agenda in the news, in politics and in private lives. One of the industries that has most profited from the ever-growing consciousness about the need to de-carbonize current energy use is the photovoltaic industry. With this economic background, the photovoltaic industry has experienced impressive growth rates in the last decade and is expected to grow at 30% per year over at least the next couple of years. Since its upswing, it has become a multi-billion dollar industry and subject to speculation on stock exchanges worldwide.
Photovoltaics International Archive
Fab & Facilities, Photovoltaics International Papers
Many readers will equate SEMI with the SEMICON trade shows around the world, business and technical conferences, EHS and advocacy initiatives and, most of all, industry standards. Currently, SEMI has close to 2,000 member companies, about 20% of which are active in the photovoltaic sector. These companies form a community called PVGroup – a community that addresses opportunities and obstacles collectively, bringing low-cost PV technology and sustainable clean energy to the world. SEMI is supporting this segment by expanding our key competencies – shows, standards, advocacy, and market research – into this new space.
Photovoltaics International Archive
Fab & Facilities, Photovoltaics International Papers
Each year, the photovoltaic market grows at a two-digit growth rate. However, the resulting economy-of-scale effects are not enough to achieve grid parity on their own. In order to reduce the production costs to grid parity level, new concepts and ideas must be realised as the basis for a photovoltaic factory. There are four main requirements that must be fulfilled in order to adhere to this cost reduction strategy: a highly integrated factory; automated and stable processes; a production control system (PCS) that provides the statistic data in order to continually optimise the processes; and an optimally-sized aligned production capacity.

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