Technology Report

Technology report, H1-2018

Executive Summary 

 

The rapidly developing, global photovoltaic market constantly demands technology which is more efficient and cost-effective in order to compete against conventional energy sources as well as the other renewables. During the last decade, solar panels through various innovative approaches have improved substantially in terms of their efficiency and power output. The efficiency value of silicon solar cells has approached the maximum achievable limit of 29.4 %, the so-called Auger limit, more and more closely. Efficiency values exceeding 22 %, which were feasible only with laboratory solar cells ten years ago, can be achieved today with industrially produced cell structures, whereas cell prototypes already reach values above 26%. Besides, differently from the past, where the focus was mainly on how to improve the efficiency to reduce the cost. Today, the manufacturers are exploring the overall value chain from the polysilicon to the kilowatt-hour (end users). Specific innovations are raising the bar for the solar industry in terms of power output, higher efficiency, quality, reliability production efficiency and boosted system performance.

The report will review certain innovations that are revolutionizing the sector such as :

  • Crystal growing technology process improvements and the penetration of the diamond wire technology and its potential of high throughput, lower kerf loss and thinner wafers,
  • The cells efficiency trends and improvements through PERC/PERT, HJT, IBC and the new cells design like of bifacial technology in boosting system performance and energy yield,
  • The advantages offered by half-cut cells, and the challenges of manufacturing these products,
  • The shingle modules, similar to the half cells. However, here the cells are sliced in several pieces and connected in a shingle manner,
  • The multi-bus bar cell technology that represents a vital step forward,
  • Additional innovations in the module assembly that help push the efficiency needle, such as reflective ribbons and other design tweaks that boost performance.
  • The introduction of 1500 V modules and their impact on the overall BOS cost reduction,
  • The tracking system and their advantages vs fixed structure.
  • The storage systems as an ultimate solution for solar PV deployment and usage.

 

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