Inverter manufacturer Growatt just celebrated its 10th anniversary and gifted itself a brand new 20 GW production facility. pv magazine recently caught up with Growatt Marketing Director Lisa Zhang to learn how the company’s five-step quality assurance program found its way into the new production line.
Large-format PV modules are a key development in solar technology and advocates say their emergence has the potential to be one of the most significant innovations the industry has ever seen. But many people remain unconvinced that bigger is actually better.
The pursuit of higher conversion efficiencies is an eternal theme in the PV industry. Among all the links in the chain, cell technology is the most fundamental and decisive element. As we look beyond the established PERC technology, whether heterojunction or TOPCon will become the dominant “next-gen” solar cell among China’s manufacturing giants is emerging as a balancing act between incumbent and upstart, reports Vincent Shaw from Shanghai.
A rethink is required for the mass production of high-efficiency solar cells, says German PV cell production equipment supplier Von Ardenne. And it’s not just TOPCon and heterojunction PV where physical vapor deposition (PVD) processes can be applied in production, but also in perovskite-crystalline silicon cell manufacturing, says Sebastian Gatz, the business head for photovoltaics at Von Ardenne.
Companies working to bring perovskite cell technology to commercial viability face a dilemma: Should perovskites complement their silicon-based rivals or compete head-on with the dominant cell technology? For one U.S. perovskite developer, it believes the technology must find a space of its own, reports David Wagman, senior editor of pv magazine USA.
Developing PV cells and modules that can achieve high performance and durability can be challenging – particularly in the cost-competitive solar marketplace. Officials in Taiwan have sought to promote both goals through its Taiwan Excellence PV Award, which in its eighth year continues to attract the cream of the country’s solar manufacturers.
There has been a flurry of activity within the PV cell manufacturer landscape over the past 12 to 18 months, and it’s largely been in one direction: bigger. But as large-format modules arrive on the market, questions are being raised as to how long the trend can continue and when bigger becomes, quite simply, too big.
The devil is in the details, as they say, and when it comes to the next generation of mass-produced, high-efficiency PV cells, silver costs may be devilishly hard to reduce. Making things worse, prices for the precious metal are now heading in the wrong direction.
While high-efficiency PV cells may capture headlines, the upsizing of mono-PERC is continuing to deliver powerful outcomes – and some unexpected savings. Ulrich Jäger heads up German wet-chemistry equipment supplier RENA’s solar sales and reports on the big orders, and tools that are currently defining the cell production segment.
As PV manufacturing lines continue to get larger, keeping track of the measurement data that’s vital for quality and process control becomes an ever more herculean task. Flashing equipment supplier h.a.l.m. has developed a software solution that keeps all of this data in one place and provides operators with a real-time view of production line performance and quality. pv magazine caught up with Managing Director Michael Meixner to discuss the latest on big data in PV manufacturing.
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