With solar grade polysilicon prices having plummeted in recent years, cutting down on consumption of the material has not been a priority. But strategies exist and significant savings can be made through deploying thinner wafers that use less silicon, insists a new paper published by MIT and NREL. And as manufacturers are increasingly hitting dead ends on other routes to cost reduction, this option could be back on the table for many.
After the failed attempt to sell a majoritry stake in its main polysilicon unit, Jiangsu Zhongneng, the Chinese solar manufacturer has now agreed to sell its wafer unit Suzhou Kezhun to Huajun Holding Group for US$123.6 million. The operation is part of the company’s plan to focus on wafer manufacturing based on the diamond-wire sawing technology and shift production to low-cost locations.
Scientists from the Solar Energy Research Institute of Singapore (SERIS) have announced the development of a new wet chemical process to allow multi-cSi wafers to be cut with diamond wire saw technology, and subsequently textured to reduce their reflectivity.
Equipment manufacturer Meyer Burger plans to end production at its headquarters site in Thun, Switzerland, as part of an updated cost efficiency program. All production activities in Thun will be discontinued by the end of 2018, though the site will continue to serve as Meyer Burger’s headquarters.
The use of diamond wire significantly reduces wafer saw losses. Some photovoltaic manufacturers have begun to switch their production, after technical problems appear to have been resolved.
The Swiss equipment provider has announced a plan to close production for its diamond wire platform in Colorado. The company blames global pressure on prices and margins. Meanwhile, its preliminary financial results for 2016 show a 40% increase in sales.
The German production manufacturer has announced the development of a new process for the texturing of diamond wire cut multi silicon wafers. Schmid says that it will ship the first systems featuring the new technology in the second quarter of 2017.
The German PV maker will introduce the diamond wire saws at Europe’s largest solar wafer plant in Freiberg.
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