Solar cell and module manufacturer Yingli Green Energy, the Energy Research Centre of the Netherlands (ECN), and process tool maker Amtech Systems have signed a three-party research collaboration agreement to develop next-generation, high-efficiency silicon photovoltaic cells.
The joint project will develop and implement high-efficiency N-type crystalline-silicon solar cells, named PANDA, at Yingli’s pilot production line in Baoding, China. The cells will use ECN’s design, the solar diffusion technology and dry phosphosilicate glass (PSG) removal expertise of Amtech’s Tempress Systems subsidiary, and Yingli’s process technology.
The construction of the pilot line will not need significant capital expense, since only moderate changes will be required on the existing production lines, according to the participants.
“We are very pleased to be entering into a cooperation that combines our strong commercialization capabilities with the strengths of a global research institution and a leading equipment supplier,” said Liansheng Miao, Yingli’s chairman/CEO. “We look forward to playing a crucial role in the introduction of the next generation of high-efficiency solar cells. PANDA aims at significantly raising the efficiency of crystalline silicon solar cells and at commercializing the new technology quickly on our production lines.”
Ton Hoff, chairman of ECN, said that the research institute is “very happy that ECN’s technology for N-type crystalline silicon solar cells is going to be industrialized in cooperation with these ambitious partners with a long operating history in the PV industry.”
Amtech’s president/CEO J.S. Whang noted his company’s excitement about the project and “its potential to contribute to significant improvements in solar cell efficiency and bring solar energy closer to achieving grid parity. PANDA is true validation for Tempress’ in-depth diffusion expertise and our capability for supplying reliable diffusion and automation equipment to the solar industry.”
No financial details or project timeline information were disclosed.