SolarWorld has announced that it is making a significant investment to move its monocrystalline silicon wafering operations in Freiberg, Germany to diamond wire saws, noting that diamond wire technology will increase output and production speed for its solar wafers.
Solar World also says that the diamond wire process will improve the quality of wafers produced at the Freiberg plant, which it describes as the largest wafer production facility in Europe. Additionally, diamond wire saws reduce wafer slurry, and SolarWorld says that despite the higher cost of the saws that they are a money-saver.
“The higher the quality and efficiency of a solar power system, the lower the levelized cost of electricity per kilowatt hour,” notes SolarWorld CEO Dr. Frank Asbeck. “That’s why we are further focusing on highest quality and efficiency with the new diamond wire technology, our monocrystalline PERC solar cells and extremely durable glass-glass modules.”
Monocrystalline wafers produced via diamond-wire sawing will then be sent to SolarWorld’s cell production lines in Arnstadt, Thuringia. SolarWorld also makes multicrystalline wafers at its Freiberg plant.
SolarWorld’s announcement of this order comes less than one week after Meyer Burger reported an order for its DW 288 Series 3 diamond wire sawing equipment from an “existing European customer”, which the company says it will deliver and begin to commission the equipment in the second quarter of this year.
Update: This article was modified at 15:15 CET on January 17. The earlier version of the article noted the difference between the value of Meyer Burger’s sale and SolarWorld’s estimate of how much it will invest, however SolarWorld has since clarified that its investments include the cost of integrating the diamond wire saws as well as equipment costs. The text has been changed to reflect the absence of a discrepancy.