Image: pv magazine/Harald Schütt

Since its inauguration in 2015, pv magazine‘s Technology Highlights & Award has brought together leading experts from the solar industry in order to recognize and honor the year’s most innovative developments in technology.

These innovations are a key driver behind solar’s continued growth across the entire world, and represent both the industry’s present and future.

In the past, we have featured new tools and processes in manufacturing, at every stage from wafer creation to module assembly, powerful techniques for analysis and testing on the production line and products within a module that contribute to the constant driving down of costs and optimizing of efficiency that has characterized the development of the PV industry.

The feature is planned each year to coincide with SNEC trade show in Shanghai, one of the most important events on the PV calendar.

Technology Highlights 2017

The feature’s third incarnation came at a time when diamond wire sawing had seemingly proved itself as an effective way to cut costs in wafer production, and manufacturers were well on the way to adopting mono PERC and even heterojunction production technology.

With this in mind, our expert jury selected the following  joint winners:

Schmid DW PreTex Solution
The smooth surface left behind by DW sawing can create problems at later stages, especially in multicrystaline. Schmid’s DW Pretex solution addresses this, opening the way for cost effective diamond wire sawing in multi production.

“We are happy and honored to receive the award, it really confirms that we are on the right track,” says Christian Buchner, Vice President of the Photovoltaics Business Unit at Schmid. “With our solution we think we have hit the right spot with a simple, easy to use and inexpensive process, so that people can texture diamond wire-sawed multi wafers.”

Macdermid laser trench monocrystalline 006MacDermid Enthone Helios PoSi Plating  Process
Helios PoSi utilizes an innovative laser ablation process to expose silicon, then deposits nickel, copper, and a small amount of silver into the opening. The process could dramatically reduce the amount of costly silver required in cell metallization.

“MacDermid Enthone greatly appreciates the recognition from our PV industry colleagues as a 2017 Technology Highlights Award recipient,” states Bruce Lee, Global Applications Manager for Photovoltaics at MacDermid Enthone. “We hope our investment in developing this novel metallization process will enable low cost expansion of the PV industry worldwide.”

Alongside these two winners, our jury also decided to recognize an additional development as the ‘Technology to Watch’ for 2017.

FCT-750_Electronic_Load_and_Flash_Power_Supply

Sinton Instruments FCT-750 Cell Tester
Sinton Instruments is bringing R&D level analysis to production lines. The FCT-750 enables advanced optimization of cells and modules, with measurements such as true series resistance and direct shunt.

“This recognition of our technology aligns with our mission and validates our goal. Changing the way things have always been done is not easy,” says Ron Sinton, founder and president at Sinton Instruments. “A comprehensive analysis at cell test can allow quick innovations on the production line to bring new processes up and precisely target problems before they can cause significant loss.”

These solutions were chosen thanks to their great potential to transform the industry, respectively creating an opportunity for diamond wire sawing to be used in conjunction with multicrystalline wafer, dramatically decreasing the amount of costly silver that is required in a production process and bringing laboratory-level analysis equipment onto the production line. These winners were chosen by our jury of industry experts, which in 2017 consisted of the following members:

Corrine-Lin-2016Corrine Lin Independent Analyst
Corrine is an analyst based in Taiwan, she works on market conditions, spot market prices, capacity expansions and technology across all sectors. In April 2017, Corrine joined pv magazine’s Investigations and Insight team.

rsz_andrew_blakers_frei_sw-0Andrew Blakers Australian National University
Andrew Blakers is a professor of Engineering at Australian National University. His interests include PV systems, concentrator solar cells, components and systems and sustainable energy policy.

G_tz_Fischbeck_frei-0Götz Fischbeck Smart Solar Consulting
Götz brings years of experience as a PV specialist for investment banks to our Investigations and Insight team. In 2012 he founded Smart Solar Consulting, which supports PV companies in business strategy and other financial topics.

rsz_matthias_hoerteis_heraeusMatthias Hörteis Heraeus
After completing his PhD in 2009 at the University of Konstanz, Matthias worked as head of the metallization group at Fraunhofer ISE. Since 2011, he has worked in R&D at Heraeus, developing silver pastes for solar cells.

rsz_xiaoting_wang_sw-1Xiaoting Wang Bloomberg New Energy Finance
Xiaoting has published more than 100 insight notes on the PV industry in her role at BNEF. Her research covers global supply chain, supply-demand relationship, cost and price variation, technology progress and the impacts of international trade disputes.

rsz_2pierre_verlinden_trina_solarPierre Verlinden Trina Solar
Pierre is Vice-President and Chief Scientist at Trina Solar. He holds a Ph.D. in Electrical Engineering from the Université Catholique de Louvain in Belgium. He has been working in photovoltaics for 35 years, and has published over 100 technical papers.

The full feature for 2017, which counts down 30 of the finest new PV manufacturing technologies, is included in the April edition of our magazine, and can also be viewed here. We would like to thank all who entered for sharing their time and expertise with us. As our jury member Andrew Blakers of the Australian National University puts it: “One thing that comes out of being involved in awards like this is to see that there is no end in sight to the cost reductions possible in a silicon solar cell.

Technology Highlights 2016

rsz_pvi_05_2016_cover-e1486992691252-600x602

Technology Highlights 2016

2016’s Technology Highlights feature and award also arrived a vital time for the industry, as cost pressures drove innovation in manufacturing processes from ingot all the way to module.

In this year, the jury selected these technological advances as the most worthy of recognition:

Meyer_Burger_DW288_Image2Meyer Burger DW288 Diamond Wire Solution
Meyer Burger’s DW288 Series 3 diamond wire saw is designed to reduce kerf, using the thinnest wires possible, and increase wire life by preventing wire to wire contact.

“The product development team at Meyer Burger was very pleased to have their DW288 Series 3 saw, which has now been very successfully launched in the PV market, recognized with such a prestigious award,” said CIO Dirk Habermann. “Being selected by a jury of solar industry experts was an honor which clearly confirmed our continued determination to further advance photovoltaic technologies.”

rsz_eternal_sun_climate_chamber3Eternal Sun climate chamber/sun simulator
Combining a climate chamber and solar simulator, Eternal Sun’s technology allows simultaneous solar and environmental degradation testing. The chamber can conduct I-V curve measurements under a range of conditions.

“Winning the award symbolized the recognition of the industry for our technology and our company,” said Florian van Rijn van Alkemade, CEO at Eternal Sun. “Being a part of Technology Highlights proves to us that we are working on equipment and services that are innovative and leading, and shows us that we are on the right track.”

For the first time, in 2016 the jury also decided to give the ‘Technology to Watch award, for a development at an earlier stage which shows great potential.

AScoating02DSM Anti Soiling Coating
The Netherlands’ DSM is recognized for creating a new solution to the problem of soiling, particularly relevant as more dry and dusty regions begin to realize their potential for solar deployment.

Technology Highlights 2016 also features a rundown of the year’s top 30 innovations in manufacturing, as included in the May 2016 issue of pv magazine. The full feature counting down all 38 entries is available here.