Leading Chinese module manufacturer Yingli Solar has completed trials on a new technology for pulling monocrystalline silicon ingots it claims could reduce production costs by US$0.01 per watt.
The process uses crucibles made from a carbon-carbon composite, rather than the traditional graphite, which Yingli said are prone to cracking during heating and leaking silicon.
It said the new material was not as prone to this problem as its structure is more resistant to thermal shock due to its high thermal conductivity.
The new process could increase the utilisation rate of monocrystalline silicon ingots by around 3%, Yingli said.
Liansheng Miao, chairman and chief executive Yingli Green Energy, said: “Our pursuit of innovative manufacturing processes has played a key role in Yingli's growth trajectory. As the world's largest vertically integrated PV manufacturer, we are dedicated to continuous improvement on our manufacturing lines and frequently experiment with new material and technologies. Our priorities are to improve efficiency, reduce costs, and deliver high product quality, so that we can maximise value for our global partners and bring affordable green energy to all.”
PV Tech was unable to reach Yingli for further details on when the new process would be used on its production lines.