Reliability of electrically conductive adhesives

By Dr. Oreski; Dr. Gabriele Eder; Lukas Neumaier; Dr. Christina Hirschl; Dr. Rita Ebner; Jörg Scheurer; Wolfgang Pranger

The application of electrically conductive adhesives (ECAs) is a promising alternative to the soldering process for cell interconnection in today’s solar module production. ECAs provide an environmentally friendly solution and offer several other advantages over the conventional solder interconnection technology, such as lower processing temperature, higher mechanical flexibility and replacement of toxic lead. When it is proposed to switch from soldering to adhesive technology in a critical process such as the production of solar cell strings, it is necessary to perform a thorough preliminary analysis of the properties of the materials involved, the material compatibilities and the long-term stability of the interconnections within the PV modules.

PV manufacturing capacity expansion announcements in 2018

By Mark Osborne, Senior News Editor, Photovoltaics International

PV manufacturing capacity expansion announcements in 2018 were significantly impacted by major policy changes mid-year in China. This paper looks in detail at the contrasting developments in the first half of the year, compared with the second half. Attention will also be given to the regional site selection changes as well as to the advanced manufacturing trends emerging in 2018. Finally, after five years of tracking capacity expansion plans, an overview of cumulative expansions, coupled to global solar demand and to capacity trends specifically in China, will be provided.

Digitalization meets PV production technology – Outline of a smart production of silicon solar cells and modules

By Martin Zimmer, Fraunhofer ISE, Freiburg, Germany; Matthias Demant, Fraunhofer ISE, Freiburg, Germany; Norbert Bergmann, Fraunhofer ISE, Freiburg, Germany; Stefan Rein, Fraunhofer ISE, Freiburg, Germany; Jochen Rentsch, Fraunhofer ISE, Freiburg, Germany; Ralf Preu, Fraunhofer ISE, Freiburg, Germany

Ever since the manufacturing of PV modules began suffering from a huge price decline, the reduction of the production cost has been a task of high priority. Digitalization is a subsequent further development of the automation of today’s PV cell and module manufacturing processes and can help to decrease production costs. A central concept of digitalization is the digital twin, which represents the properties and behaviours of physical assets, materials, processes or eventually the entire production line (the so-called smart fab). Different cases of its use are presented in this paper, along with a discussion of the corresponding applications of such digital twins. Finally, a smart fab for PV production is described.

Top 10 module suppliers of 2018

By Finlay Colville, Head of Research, PV-Tech and Solar Media Ltd.

This article reveals the top-10 module suppliers of 2018, based purely on own-brand shipped module MWp-dc volumes. For the past few years, we have sought to compile the top-10 module supplier list before the end of January (or at the latest before the Chinese new year). In practice, with the first two weeks of the year being a reset from any prior-year shipment rush or inventory clear-out, we end up having a couple of weeks to get the top-10 module supplier rankings done.

Top-10 solar cell producers of 2018

By Finlay Colville, Head of Research, PV-Tech and Solar Media Ltd.

Solar cell production in 2018 represented change on many fronts, but may be remembered as a year during which Chinese-owned companies made further strategic moves as part of the current Beijing mandate to position the country as a high-tech manufacturing global powerhouse. This article explains how this is having a dramatic impact on solar cell manufacturing outside the control of leading Chinese-funded companies, and what this really means in terms of solar cell technologies and industry-wide technology roadmaps during 2019.

Cryogenic, long-duration energy storage in a 100% clean energy future

By Dr. Javier Cavada

A key missing piece in the clean energy puzzle is the question of how to provide baseload power in an electricity system dominated by intermittent renewables. Javier Cavada of Highview Power examines cryogenic long-duration storage as a possible solution.

Peak time to take action

By Andy Colthorpe

In the hierarchy of grid needs, peaking power is often a priority in terms of providing resiliency and balance to the network. This is usually provided by natural gas turbines, which come at a high environmental and economic cost. Andy Colthorpe charts the rise of the solar-plusstorage peaker plant.

Fixed-tilt versus single-axis tracker arrays in India

By Geoffrey S. Kinsey ; Madhusudan Partani; Mukund Kulkarni; Brijit Shetty; Dr. Rubin Sidhu; Dr. Jie Zhang

India has become the world’s second largest market for trackers as it chases its ambition of installing 100GW of solar by 2022. Geoffrey S. Kinsey, Madhusudan Partani, Mukund Kulkarni, Brijit Shetty, Rubin Sidhu and Jie Zhang report on efforts to better understand the performance benefits of trackers over fixed-tilt mountings

Is LeTID degradation in PERC cells another degradation crisis even worse than PID?

By Dr. Radovan Kopecek; Dr. Joris Libal; Lejo J. Koduvelikulathu

Light- and elevated temperature-induced degradation – LeTID – is emerging as a potentially serious problem affecting PV modules employing PERC technology. So why isn’t the industry more aware of it, ask Radovan Kopecek, Joris Libal and Lejo J. Koduvelikulathu of ISC Konstanz.

Optimising Europe’s solar plants: O&M guidelines to further solar growth

By Guillermo Oviedo Hernández; Elena Bernardi; Jörn Carstensen

Solar O&M is rapidly evolving as PV deployment gathers pace worldwide. Guillermo Oviedo Hernández, Elena Bernardi and Jörn Carstensen of SolarPower Europe’s O&M Task Force look at some of the emerging trends, practices and business models in this increasingly critical arm of the solar industry.

Project briefing

By Tom Kenning

While Filipino policymakers pondered a controversial bill that would allow a solar company to set up a micro-grid and transmission franchise aiming to improve power supply across the country, a small town on the island of Mindoro was already enjoying round-the-clock electricity for the first time ever. The town of Paluan, situated in the northwest corner of Mindoro, the seventh largest island in the Philippines, dominated by an agricultural society and dubbed ‘the brownout capital of the Philippines’, is receiving power from Southeast Asia’s largest micro-grid, combining solar PV, energy storage and diesel technology.

Power plant wire management

By Samuel Truthseeker

Effective management of cabling in a PV system can greatly impact its lifetime maintenance requirements and thus profitability. Samuel Truthseeker of TECSI Solar looks in detail at the latest developments in wire management and highlights several reliability considerations.

Floating PV systems – an overview of design considerations

By Gijo George; Pranav Patel

Floating solar has huge potential in areas where difficult terrain or land constraints make ground-mounted systems impractical. Gijo George and Pranav Patel of DNV GL explore some of the technical challenges in designing and building floating PV projects.

Ensuring the bankability of the UK’s low-carbon fleet

By Gareth Miller, Cornwall Insight

Strong policy support to safeguard the bankability of low-carbon energy technologies and underpin the UK’s ongoing decarbonisation efforts. Gareth Miller of Cornwall Insight outlines proposals for a new route to market that would guarantee future investment in much-needed renewables such as solar and onshore wind.

Subsidy-free solar: Europe’s search for new allies

By José Rojo, Solar Media

Led by a bullish Spain, the industry’s free-market revival has dispelled memories of the FiT fallout but also ushered in an era of uncertainty. José Rojo charts players’ efforts to master the rules of a new game of tough PPA interactions and merchant risks.