Bifacial cell manufacturer targeting production capacity ramp ups

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The company, which introduced its disruptive bifacial cells to the market at the start of this April, says it will increase its current 30 MW annual production capacity to between 200 and 300 MW by mid-2013. It manufactures its cells in Heilbronn, Germany.

A spokesperson for bSolar says the company is targeting a front side cell efficiency of between 18.5 and 19 percent, and a back side efficiency of 14 percent. The cells are said to be produced using p-type wafers, and standard equipment and production processes, thus "giving them a mass market appeal".

As such, the spokesperson says the equipment used for production is similar to that of mono facial crystalline silicon cells. They declined to say which equipment manufacturers they use, how much the production expansion will cost, or who will provide the funds. However, they did say they use standard and off-the-shelf equipment. "The expansion cost should be quite minimal these days, where over capacity is large and equipment is available," they add.

Regarding the production steps involved in the bifacial cells, they explain, "The beauty of [the] bSolar bifacial cell is its simplicity; it’s similar to a standard mono crystalline silicon cell where the main differences are in [the] aluminum BSF (back surface field) layer being replaced by a boron BSF and the use of a silicon nitride layer on the back side of the cell."

Again, the spokesperson would not divulge the exact production costs of the cells, but did say that they are similar to other monocrystalline cells, which have a front efficiency of 18.5 percent.

In a separate statement released, bSolar added, "The new cells provide 10-30 percent higher energy (KWH) per KWp installed in standard applications and up to 50 percent in vertical installations, resulting in an equivalent cell efficiency of 21-24 percent in standard applications and a total module power of 280-325 Watts for 60 cell modules."

While the efficiency has not been verified by independent testing laboratories, bSolar says various module manufacturers have confirmed the cells’ superior efficiencies. The statement continued, "Applications for the new cells include flat rooftops and ground installations, as well as unique solutions for special BIPV applications such as solar sound barriers, car ports, facades and greenhouses."

BSolar will present its new cells at Intersolar Europe this June 14 to 16. "We are excited to introduce our disruptive bifacial cells, which will significantly improve the financial returns of solar projects," commented Yossi Kofman, bSolar’s CEO. "We are currently working with our commercial partners and customers to bring cutting-edge bifacial panels to the market."