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Cost reduction and productivity improvement strategies for multicrystalline wafering processes

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By Mark Osborne, Senior News Editor, Photovoltaics International

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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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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