Magazine Archive 06 - 2020

pv magazine Award

The first entries for the 2020 pv magazine Award were gathered together in March and April. We presented highlights from the production equipment, modules and materials categories in last month’s magazine.

2020 Awards: finalists announced

The first finalists in the 2020 Modules award category are:

Meyer Burger’s Made-in-Germany plans

While Germany’s coal reserves represented a home-grown energy source in decades past, it’s history of PV module making has been patchy – with a long list of failed ventures a feature. However, as plans for a coal exit begin to take shape, one technology supplier is looking to build a new era of high-efficiency crystalline silicon PV production.

More wires for larger cells

Somewhat less publicized than the recent move to larger wafer formats from China’s cell suppliers has been accompanying growth in multi-busbar cell interconnection strategies, which typically forego flat ribbons in favor of round wires to carry a charge generated in a cell out into the system. This brings benefits in module performance and can also reduce silver content in the cells. Equipment suppliers in Europe, however, see several problems in the processing of round wires that could risk performance and quality issues, and will need to be ironed out for the technology to gain further ground.

Pushing sustainability in PV

Recent European policy initiatives appear to be sharpening the focus on sustainability across the economy and also within PV. Michele Vannini, the PV business manager at Italian backsheet supplier Coveme says that the initial signs are good that things are moving in the right direction, and that backsheets will undoubtedly play a key role in the evolution of PV module sustainability.

‘Sustainability without compromise’

With such small volumes of products at end of life, it is little wonder that recycling materials from PV modules for new PV modules is far from central on the solar industry’s agenda. But according to Steven Davies, a market manager for DuPont Teijin Films, recycled PET can be incorporated into backsheets – giving them a pretty handy 25-year second life.

Tandem modules: a unique opportunity for EU PV

In the coming years, tandem modules combining silicon PV and perovskite solar cells will become available. Using these modules in novel integrated solar solutions will demand close links between local market players and customers. This presents Europe with a unique opportunity to regain an important role in solar manufacturing, says Philip Pieters, business development director at imec.

pv magazine test

April 2020 Results

Scientists at Argonne develop new kind of thermal battery

Scientists at the U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) Argonne National Laboratory have developed a new kind of thermal battery that can greatly increase the energy efficiency and cost-effectiveness of many industrial processes and shows great promise for use in the solar industry. Liz Thompson reports that Argonne’s Thermal Energy Storage System (TESS) can rapidly capture and store surplus heat so that it can be used as needed. With its pioneering modular design and material advancements resulting in greater efficiency, TESS is a big step forward in thermal battery technology.

Adding blockchain to battery supply chains

Responsibility in battery supply chains has become a growing focal point over the last few years and will remain a key theme as demand for mobile phones, electric vehicles, and alternative forms of energy continue to increase. Alexander Preston from SAFE sets out how the application of blockchain technology can deliver visibility, build trust, and facilitate the battery sector’s digital transformation.

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