Despite concerns of an oversupply in the second half of 2016, Chinese PV makers appear to be continuing aggressive capacity expansions across the value chain. Only days after GT Advanced Technologies reported its first large polysilicon equipment orders since emerging from bankruptcy, Swiss tool maker Meyer Burger has announced US$22 million in orders from a tier one Chinese PV manufacturer for its diamond wire saws and passivated emitter rear contact (PERC) PV cell tools.
Meyer Burger will supply its DW288 Series 3 diamond wire saws, which pv magazine recognized as one of the two winners of its Technology Highlights award in our May edition, as well as its plasma enhanced chemical vapor deposition (PECVD) MAiA 2.1 tools incorporating MB PERC technology.
Both diamond wire saws and PERC are increasingly popular technology upgrades for PV makers. The latest edition of the International Technology Roadmap for PV (ITRPV) expects diamond wire sawing to reach a 50% share of monocrystalline silicon wafer production this year, and to take an increasingly large share of both mono- and multi-wafer production in coming years.
Likewise, the seventh edition of ITRPV expects PERC and related cell types to gain market share in coming years, and to become the dominant cell technologies in the 2023-2026 time frame. PERC is a treatment for the back side of PV cells which has the potential to increase efficiencies at a relatively low cost with minimal changes to standard production processes.
Meyer Burger plans to begin delivery of the equipment in October and to commission the equipment in the fourth quarter of this year, which will enable the customer to begin production in the first quarter of 2017.
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