France’s improbable quest to revive EU solar makers

By José Rojo, Solar Media

Europe’s centrist star Macron has ambitions to lead a continent-wide comeback of solar manufacturing. Can political will alone shatter the dominance of low-priced Asian rivals? Paris’ plan is either Europe’s second chance or a quest doomed to fail, depending on who José Rojo asks

Latin America’s moment in the sun

By José Rojo, Solar Media

The global solar boom is taking foreign players to Brazil and Mexico but the journey may not be for the faint hearted. Approached by José Rojo, operators of Latin America’s top two markets are keen to dispel myths of a region they say entails risks but also opportunities.

Can US double-up on bifacial in wake of tariff reprieve?

By John Parnell, Solar Media

The US announced an exemption from Section 201 trade tariffs in June. But with a limited bifacial project pipeline in place and questions around supply, will the ruling really open the door to the technology? John Parnell investigates.

Batteries need to be ‘renewable’ too: why recycling matters now

By Stefan Hogg

The huge upsurge in lithium-ion battery deployment expected over the next two decades poses a problem: what to do with cells that have reached the end of their useful life. Stefan Hogg investigates the importance of lithium recyling in the transition to a low carbon energy system.

Bankable and insurable energy storage: a necessary next step for renewable energy

By Jan Geder

The rapid acceleration in energy storage deployment expected over the coming years will require innovation in the quality and safety standards underpinning new battery and associated technologies. VDE’s Jan Geder looks at the technical work underway to ensure the coming storage boom has firm bankability and insurability foundations.

The Clean Energy Package is here – now what?

By Brittney Elzarei

The EU’s clean energy policy framework for the first time recognises energy storage as a key part of the future energy system. It is far from perfect, but lays the foundation for storage to become an integral part of efforts to decarbonise the energy system, writes Brittney Elzarei.

Initiatives for California to overcome its challenges in the sun

By Janice Lin; Jack Chang

California’s success in embracing renewable energy technologies, particularly solar, has brought with it challenges around reliability of supply to consumers. Janice Lin and Jack Chang of Strategen explore how the Golden State is pioneering the deployment of energy storage as it pursues its goal of complete energy decarbonisation by 2045.

Go big, go DC

By Sara Verbruggen

New technologies and designs aimed at driving down the cost of energy storage facilities are currently the focus of intense industry R&D. Sara Verbruggen reports on DC coupling, an emerging system architecture that many believe will soon become the industry standard.

Market and technology development of stationary battery storage systems

By Dr. Kai-Philipp Kairies; Jan Figgener ; David Haberschusz

The business models and technologies underpinning the development of stationary energy storage markets are evolving rapidly. Dr. Kai-Philipp Kairies, Jan Figgener and David Haberschusz look at some of the key trends driving the sector forward.

Open season: the next steps for energy storage

By Andy Colthorpe, Solar Media

Despite the huge strides energy storage has made, significant hurdles remain before the technology in its many guises can be claimed to have fulfilled its massive potential. Introducing a PV Tech Power energy storage special report, Andy Colthorpe assesses the key successes and ongoing challenges for this indispensable part of the future power system.

R&D spending analysis of 21 key PV manufacturers in 2018

By Mark Osborne, Senior News Editor, Photovoltaics International

Photovoltaics International’s annual analysis of PV manufacturers, research and development (R&D) spending in 2018 includes 21 companies that were public listed on various stock exchanges around the world. R&D spending data was taken from audited annual financial reports and converted to US dollars at the time of the reports being published. The analysis in this 2018 report is intended to provide a good representation of global R&D spending trends in the PV wafer, cell and module segments of the upstream solar market.

PERC-based shingled solar cells and modules at Fraunhofer ISE

By Puzant Baliozian; Nils Klasen; Nico Wöhrle; Christoph Kutter; Hannah Stolzenburg; Mohammad Al-Akash; Achim Kraft; Martin Heinrich; Armin Richter; Anna Münzer; Pierre Saint-Cast; Max Mittag; Elmar Lohmüller; Tobias Fellmeth; Andreas Fell; Alma Spribille; Holger Neuhaus; Ralf Preu

This paper reports on the latest advances in passivated emitter and rear cell (PERC)-based shingled solar cell activities at Fraunhofer ISE. The approach taken is to fabricate 6" host wafers from Czochralski-grown silicon and separate them after metallization and contact firing into bifacial p-type shingled passivated edge, emitter and rear (pSPEER) solar cells.

Heterojunction technology: The path to high efficiency in mass production

By Igor Shakhray, Hevel Group; Alexey Abramov, Hevel Group; Sergey Abolmasov, Hevel Group; Ekaterina Terukova, Hevel Group; Dmitriy Andronikov, Hevel Group

Heterojunction technology is currently a hot topic actively discussed in the silicon PV community. Hevel recently became one of the first companies to adopt its old micromorph module line for manufacturing high-efficiency silicon heterojunction (SHJ) solar cells and modules. On the basis of Hevel’s own experience, this paper looks at all the production steps involved, from wafer texturing through to final module assembly.

Precise and accurate solar cell measurements at ISFH CalTeC

By Karsten Bothe; David Hinken

This paper presents the calibration of solar cells, in accordance with the IEC 60904 standards, carried out at the solar cell calibration laboratory of the Calibration and Test Center (CalTeC) at the Institute of Solar Energy Research Hamelin (ISFH). For the calibration of a solar cell, the cell area, the spectral responsivity (SR) and the current–voltage (I–V) curve have to be determined. The I–V curve then yields the characteristic parameters, including the power conversion efficiency, fill factor, short-circuit current and opencircuit voltage. The required measurement facilities and contacting stages are explained in detail; in addition, the measurement procedures are introduced. The precision and accuracy of the resulting characteristic parameters and curves are demonstrated by recent intercomparisons between different international calibration laboratories.

The monoPoly technology platform: Rapid implementation of passivating contacts in PERC/T production lines

By Dr. Shubham Duttagupta; Dr. Naomi Nandakumar; Dr. John Rodriguez; Dr. Vinodh Shanmugam

Passivated emitter and rear cell (PERC) solar cell design is the industry standard for high-volume solar cell manufacturing today. The next challenge for the PV industry is to find a low-cost cell upgrade technology platform that can be easily retrofitted in existing production lines to modify the front side and enhance the rear. The monoPolyTM technology platform, developed at SERIS together with its strategic industry partners, offers an attractive solution and paves the way for the adoption of passivating contacts in large-scale manufacturing. This platform requires only one tool upgrade for most PERC/T production lines, has one less process step than a standard PERC production process, and yields a +1%abs. efficiency boost over a standard PERC process. The authors believe that monoPoly will enable the PV industry to mass produce cells with efficiencies exceeding 24% in their existing lines in the near future.