Failure assessments of PV systems demonstrate the importance of elective quality assurance

By Dipl. Ing. Annett Sepanski; Dipl. Ing. Uwe Hupach; Dipl. Ing. Willi Vaaßen; Dipl. Phys. Jörg Schmauder; Prof. Dr. Ansgar Steland; Thomas C. Sauer heads; Dipl., Dipl. ec. Georg Fischer; Dr. Andreas Sommer; M.Sc. E. Sovetkin

In a four-year project sponsored by the German Federal Ministry of Economics and Energy, a consortium of German experts assessed the quality of actual PV power installations. The researchers now report on how the effects of several common module failures on module and string performance highlight the importance of consistent quality assurance to prevent risks to financial success

Texture etching technologies for diamond-wire-sawn mc-Si solar cells

By Jochen Rentsch, Fraunhofer Institute for Solar Energy Systems ISE, Freiburg, Germany; Bishal Kafle; Marc Hofmann; Katrin Krieg; Martin Zimmer

Optical confinement is essential in order to increase the amount of photogeneration in a crystalline silicon (c-Si) solar cell. Fraunhofer examines the compatible options for wafers created using diamond wire sawing.

Industrialized high-efficiency mono PERC cells

By Dr. Zhang Guanlun, TongWei Solar (Chengdu) Co. Ltd., P. R. China; Lan Wang; Junmin Wu; Qing Chang; Tao Yan; Yaohui Xie; Lei Yang; Bushuang Hong; Yuanqiu Zhang; Peng Zhang; Bingwei Yin

The deployment of renewable energy, especially solar, is becoming ever more popular. It is estimated that with every 1% increase in PV cell efficiency, electricity costs would decrease by 7%; therefore, improving solar cell efficiency is very important for reducing the average electricity-generating cost of solar and driving it towards grid parity.

From bifacial PV cells to bifacial PV power plants – the chain of characterization and performance prediction

By Christian Reise, Fraunhofer Institute for Solar Energy Systems ISE, Freiburg, Germany; Michael Rauer, Fraunhofer Institute for Solar Energy Systems ISE, Freiburg, Germany; Max Mittag, Fraunhofer Institute for Solar Energy Systems ISE, Freiburg, Germany; Alexandra Schmid, Fraunhofer Institute for Solar Energy Systems ISE, Freiburg, Germany

Bifacial PV technology raises new challenges for the characterization and modelling of solar cells and modules, as well as for the yield predictions of power plants, as the contribution of the rear side can significantly affect the performance of these types of device.

PID issues in thin-film PV plants

By Thomas Weber, PI Photovoltaik-Institut Berlin AG (PI Berlin); Steven Xuereb , PI Photovoltaik-Institut Berlin AG (PI Berlin); Cyril Hinz, PI Photovoltaik-Institut Berlin AG (PI Berlin); Mathias Leers, PI Photovoltaik-Institut Berlin AG (PI Berlin); Lars Podlowski, PI Photovoltaik-Institut Berlin AG (PI Berlin)

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?

As-grown bulk lifetime: Increasingly relevant for silicon solar cell performance

By Bernhard Mitchell, University of New South Wales; Daniel Chung , is a Ph.D. student at the Australian Centre for Advanced Photovoltaics at UNSW Australia; Zhen Xiong, is the chief engineer of ingot and wafer technology at Trina Solar; Pietro P. Altermatt , is the principal scientist at the State Key Laboratory for PV Science and Technology (SKL) at Trina Solar; Peter Geelan-Small , University of New South Wales; Thorsten Trupke , is a professor at the Australian Centre for Advanced Photovoltaics at UNSW

By the end of 2017 it is expected that boron-doped multicrystalline silicon (p-type mc-Si) wafers will have been used in more than 60% of the world’s manufactured solar cells.

Industrial implementation of bifacial PERC+ solar cells and modules

By Dr. Thorsten Dullweber, leads the industrial solar cells R&D group at Institute for Solar Energy Research Hamelin (ISFH); Henning Schulte-Huxel, ISFH; Susanne Blankemeyer, ISFH; Dr. Helge Hannebauer, ISFH; Sabrina Schimanke, ISFH; Ulrike Baumann, ISFH; Robert Witteck, ISFH; Dr. Robby Peibst, ISFH; Dr. Marc Köntges, ISFH; Rolf Brendel, is the scientific director of ISFH

Since its first publication in 2015, the PERC+ cell concept, which is based on a passivated emitter and rear cell (PERC) design with a screen-printed Al finger grid on the rear, has been rapidly adopted by several solar cell manufacturers worldwide.

Life cycle management and recycling of PV systems

By Dr. Parikhit Sinha, is a Senior Scientist in the Global Sustainability group at First Solar and a member of the International Energy Agency PVPS Task 12; Sukhwant Raju, is the Global Director of Recycling Operations and Services at First Solar; Karen Drozdiak, is the Sustainability Communications and Analysis Manager at First Solar; Andreas Wade, is the Global Sustainability Director at First Solar and the Deputy Operating Agent of the International Energy Agency’s PVPS Task 12

In 2015, estimated annual global volumes of electronic waste (e-waste) reached a record 43.8 million metric tons and global e-waste generation is expected to increase up to 50 million metric tons by 2018. Even though solar PV panels significantly differ from typical consumer electronic products, global regulators view PV panels increasingly in the context of e-waste regulations. Solar PV currently accounts for less than 1% of total annual e-waste volumes.

Delivering on record low PPAs

By Tom Kenning ; John Parnell

Abu Dhabi’s giant 1.2GW Sweihan PV plant made headlines last year for achieving a record low bid price. With construction well underway, Tom Kenning and John Parnell look at how the project is being executed.

Life at the frontier of green investment

By Andy Colthorpe

Clean energy entrepreneur Jigar Shah, one of the pioneers of solar finance, is turning his attentions to other low-carbon energy technologies such as storage. He tells Andy Colthorpe about his latest equity round and the freedom he enjoys to back projects he thinks will have greatest impact