Cell efficiency is the name of the game in the photovoltaics industry. The recent claim that First Solar has achieved the coveted grid parity has confirmed the importance of cell efficiency in the light of pushing solar energy as a viable contender in the race to reduce carbon emissions globally.
But in order to reach such efficiencies that would yield a cost-effective energy source, research must be carried out. Sunovia has been inching its way upwards this year, with claims that it may rival First Solar’s CdTe production in the next two to three years. Certainly one to watch!
Fraunhofer ISE bettered its own personal cell efficiency record, achieving a record of 39.7% on its multi-junction III-V solar cells. Another researcher turning up research of note was Solland Solar, which company presented its ‘Metal Wrap Through’ (MWT) method of cell design. This method claimed a boost of on average 2% improvement on traditional solar cell design.
A new entrant to the industry this year was Intel spin-off SpectraWatt. The company expects to begin cell shipments by mid-2009, promising improvements on traditional cell production techniques.
A dramatic cut in CapEx for 2009 by Suntech came as a surprise, even given the troubled economic climate. The cut from a planned $300 million to a revised $80 million was severe; however, Dr. Zhengrong Shi, Suntech’s CEO, remains confident about the company’s profitability as a result of these revisions.