Materials

Photovoltaics International Archive
Materials, Photovoltaics International Papers
In the perpetual struggle to reduce the costs associated with PV energy generation, one aspect of the manufacturing process has potential to shine. To date, the PV sector is dominated by crystalline silicon wafers (90%), which largely use silver as the conducting medium for the front side grid, and to a lesser extent the backside contact. The conducting media are crucial to the overall efficiency of the cell by providing the means for current to flow when sunlight strikes the doped silicon wafer. This paper presents silver as a vital factor in the PV process, and discusses the future industry requirements as well as a projection for the overall silver market for the next eight years.
Photovoltaics International Archive
Materials, Photovoltaics International Papers
The rapid growth of the solar energy industry owes its success to the development and production of mono- and multi-crystalline solar cells. This growth has been limited in recent years due to the lack of available supply of polysilicon, the key raw material for making the wafers that serve as the basis of the solar cell. As a result of this limitation, the price of polysilicon has increased dramatically and this has led to significant new and planned capacity expansions. These new capacity expansion announcements have been highly publicized, with little additional outside focus on other chemicals and materials.
Photovoltaics International Archive
Materials, Photovoltaics International Papers
Thin-film solar cell manufacturing is poised to make a giant leap in scale with the birth of the gigawatt fab. Commercial thin-film plants are typically sized based on the capacity of the production line from the chosen equipment supplier. In most cases, initial investments have been for a single line, typically with an output capacity of no more than 60MWp. This period of initial development has allowed the industry to prove the robustness of the technology and capabilities of the equipment, as well as to understand the significance for the cost-per-watt of key cost drivers such as materials reduction, cell efficiency increases, and productivity. While large-scale manufacturing will positively impact costs, it presents a unique set of challenges for equipment and material suppliers, as well as the engineering and contracting companies tasked with designing, building, equipping and running a facility on this scale. In this paper, we present the insights of two specialty companies in the solar industry. Turner and Townsend, a design and project management consultancy, and Linde, glass manufacturer and gas and chemical company - share their views of the challenges of the gigawatt fab in three dedicated sections.

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