Along with SNEC in China, the EU PVSEC is one of the global events attracting upstream suppliers to the photovoltaic industry in great numbers. However, the number of exhibitors in 2012 has fallen by almost a third compared to previous years and so, it would appear, have attendees.
Despite the disappointing turnout, a plethora of new products and equipment has been released, as have new models for supplying manufacturers in difficult market conditions.
Merck reported yesterday that it is offering an upgrade system for manufacturers, which can result in c-Si cell efficiency gains of between 0.5% to 0.7%. Working with equipment supplier Rena, the company claims the selective emitter upgrade provides a return of investment in three years and that cells can be sold at a price 1% higher than without the upgrade. As the solution is delivered on an upgrade basis, it doesnt require a high level of investment on behalf of the manufacturer, the companies argue.
Equipment supplier Manz today announced the release of a new c-Si tool, to complement its growing range of equipment in this market segment. The VCS 1200 PECVD vacuum-coating system provides an automated tool for both back and front side passivation of c-Si cells. Shaved maintenance times are just one of the advantages of the equipment, which will be manufactured both in Europe and China, claims Manz.
Meanwhile, Honeywell released a new backsheet at the event yesterday. The company claims the product has unique qualities in that it provides thermal performance of a white backsheet, while being black. It further indicates that the PowerShield Cool Black product can reduce module temperatures by 7 to 8 degrees centigrade, which in turn provides considerable efficiency gains for c-Si modules. The Honeywell team indicated that EU PVSEC remains an important event for the company.
Overall, pv magazine can report that the mood among exhibitors is subdued, due to the reduced visitor traffic. However, firms like Applied Materials, which has a very strong presence at the show, emphasized that it sees EU PVSEC as both an international event, and an opportunity to present innovations to the industry in Europe and beyond.
The EU PVSEC continues throughout the week.
Edited by Becky Beetz.