Business for general-use silicon metal has been brisk enough to justify a complete ramp-up of Timminco's three furnaces to full production (since October), but the company has decided to suspend its upgraded metallurgical silicon (UMG-Si) operations on lack of demand for the solar-grade material.
Researchers at Caltech have devised a flexible solar cell that incorporates silicon wire arrays each acting as a high-efficiency solar cell, which also greatly reduces the amount of silicon material required.
Suntech Power Holdings has narrowed its planned first US manufacturing plant in Arizona to the town of Goodyear. The site will start with 30MW of initial production capacity, eventually ramping to >120MW.
LG Electronics is readying to launch a new crystalline silicon solar cell production line in Gumi, about 200km southeast of Seoul, South Korea, with 120MW capacity and projected annual output of ~500K solar modules.
Energy Research Centere of the Netherlands (ECN) has made the world's first multicrystalline silicon solar panel with 17% efficiency. The full findings will be reported in the January 2010 issue of the journal "Progress in Photovoltaics" and represents a 1.5% improvement over the previous 15–year old listing of 15.5% efficiency held by Sandia National Labs.
Efficiency enhancement approaches look set to further fragment the PV equipment supply-chain, providing increased options for c-Si cell producers -- who must arm themselves with a wider knowledge of the different options presented. Coherent's Finlay Colville explains the different c-Si cells technology approaches and equipment types to support them.
Researcher Tim Schmidt from the U. of Sydney explains the results from work on "upconversion" as a way to boost solar cell efficiency limit of c-Si and a-Si solar cells by one-third.
Analysts explain why Applied Materials' acquisition Advent Solar is an effort to bolster the company's crystalline silicon (c-Si) technology position against the onslaught of thin-film alternatives.
SunPower says it has produced a full-size solar panel (333W, 1.6m2 including frame) with an NREL-confirmed record 20.4% total area efficiency.
Innovalight CTO Homer Antoniadis talks to PV World about his company's Cougar cell technology, which uses one addition step with an inkjet printer to enhance c-Si cell efficiency.
At EU PVSEC (European Photovoltaic Solar Energy Conference and Exhibition), Bosch Solar Energy AG presented three prototypes of new crystalline and thin-film modules.
At the European Photovoltaic Solar Energy Conference EUPVSEC in Hamburg, Germany, IMEC presented a large-area solar with a conversion efficiency of 18.4%. Compared to the consortium’s standard i-PERC cell process, IMEC’s solar cell features a shallow emitter and advanced front metallization using copper plating. The results were obtained on large-area cells (125cm2), proving the industrial viability of the process.
Two major European energy companies -- Total and GDF SUEZ -- and their common solar cells manufacturing subsidiary Photovoltech, joined the IMEC industrial affiliation program (IIAP). The team will concentrate on sharply reducing silicon use, while also increasing the efficiency of solar cells, which should both substantially lower the cost for solar energy.
Suntech Power says it has exceeded its own just-achieved record mark for multi-crystalline silicon module conversion efficiency, reaching 16.53% -- nearly a full point better than the 15.6% it achieved in August.
Q-Cells AG says it has reached 15.9% conversion efficiency (certified by the Fraunhofer ISE) for its polycrystalline silicon solar cells, a world record for mass-produced poly-Si PV cells.
At this week's European Photovoltaic Solar Energy Conference, IMEC researchers are touting a new crystalline silicon (c-Si) solar cell (125cm<sup>2</sup>) with shallow emitter and copper-plated (Cu) contacts achieving 18.4% conversion efficiency, improving on the group's standard i-PERC cell process.
Researchers at the Fraunhofer Institute for Solar Energy Systems (ISE) have developed prototype n-type silicon solar cells with conversion efficiency exceeding a record 23.4%.
Samsung Electronics is planting its flag in the solar PV space with a new R&D/test facility for crystalline silicon (c-Si) cells, with a goal to sit atop the global solar cell market by 2015, according to local reports.
A new Chinese ban on imported scrap polysilicon likely dents business for foreign firms but spells relief for domestic ones, notes a Reuters report.
With polysilicon prices drumming at bargain-basement levels, many PV firms are eager to revisit or flat-out tear up their long-term contracts with raw material suppliers signed in the past couple of years. The latest example: China Sunergy, which says it is renegotiating "in good faith" its seven-year >$400M deal with REC.
SCHMID execs discuss development of a new type of crystalline solar cell with selective emitters that uses printing and etching technology.
This article from IMEC describes a roadmap for thin crystalline silicon, and the opportunities of using materials and process methods used in IC manufacturing.
The photovoltaic industry has gotten a bad rap because of its need for incentives to stimulate the market for grid-connected systems. But as the popular "Cash for Clunkers" program shows, incentives can stimulate a market successfully and with little pain.
The glut in the world's PV panel capacity is so bad that half of all panels made this year won't sell, and current supplies won't be burned down for three more years, according to recalculated estimates by iSuppli.
Photovoltaic cells are getting steadily more efficient, and even the small area taken up by interconnect is shrinking to get more electrons flowing. Some of these developments were discussed at the recent Photovoltaic Specialists Conference in Philadelphia and at the accompanying PV America exhibition.
Ensuring laser-based tools are accepted as standard equipment during the production of high-efficiency crystalline silicon (c-Si) cells requires better understanding of the process windows involved, qualification of new tooling optimized for specific applications, and a clearly identified supply-chain.
Craig Lund, business development manager for Massachusetts-based start-up 1366 Technologies, tells REW.com's Stephen Lacey about the company's efforts to commercialize new manufacturing techniques for increasing the efficiency of multicrystalline solar cells.
Changes in market supply-demand dynamics, coupled with less favorable financing conditions brought on by the current credit crunch climate, are together redefining the type of c-Si production equipment required by cell manufacturers over the next few years.
In a presentation at last week's Intertech-Pira Photovoltaics Summit in San Francisco, Spire Corp. chairman/CEO Roger Little made his case for what he called a huge opportunity for investors to make money by investing in crystalline silicon plants in the US.
Sanyo Electric says it has ratcheted up the conversion efficiency of its crystalline silicon (c-Si) solar cells to 23.0% thanks to improvements in the heterojunction quality, absorption loss, and resistance loss.