When capacity buys are not an option: Technical trends in c-Si cell manufacturing and their implications


By David Jimenez, President, Wright Williams & Kelly, Inc.; Alan Levine, Wright Williams & Kelly, Inc.

Economics will always play a crucial role in the way PV technology advances. However, the current generation of products is facing substantial business challenges in the attempt to scale the product technologies. This paper is the fifth in a series covering business analysis for PV processes. The methods applied in these papers fall into two categories: cost of ownership (COO) modelling and cost and resource modelling. Both methods examine the business considerations associated with the adoption of new processes, tools or materials. This is more critical than ever. Nearterm issues – in some cases the survival of the business – heavily influence today's decision processes. This paper tries to identify the areas that it is thought will produce the largest near-term paybacks. The areas identified are n-type wafers, Al2O3 passivation and copper metallization.

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For manufacturers who had their heads in the bunker during 2012, fighting falling ASPs and eroding margins, the nineteenth edition brings you details of what lies in store for this coming year. Wright Williams & Kelly return in this issue with their popular analysis of payback on technology buys; crucially they analyze n-type wafers, Al2O3 passivation and copper metallization. SERIS shows us how to achieve 18.7% efficiencies using low-cost etching techniques on diffused wafers. We also have two important technology roundups: CIGS from Helmholtz Berlin, and PV module encapsulation techniques from Fraunhofer ISE.

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