Solar, Storage

Critical photovoltaics cost reductions identified

Metallization pastes used for cell processing could cost less if they incorporated less silver per panel, say SEMI’s PV Group and CTM. In addition, the entire supply chain of cSi photovoltaics — materials, processes, and equipment — requires constant review from a cost perspective, the groups say.

March 30, 2011 — Critical technology needs and cost reduction goals for photovoltaic (PV) materials, manufacturing methods, and processes have been identified and targeted for yearly improvement by the 2010 International Technology Roadmap for Photovoltaics (ITRPV), released by the Crystalline Silicon PV Technology and Manufacturing Group (CTM), in cooperation with and in support of the SEMI PV Group.

Cost reduction in metallization pastes used for cell processing. Metallization pastes are the most process-critical and expensive materials in cell production besides the wafer itself. As part of Roadmap goals, the CTM is targeting a reduction in silver usage from 0.25 grams per cell today to 0.1 grams per cell by 2015. Other critical technology improvements identified by the report are poly-silicon and consumables pricing, wafer thickness, glass absorption/reflection, manufacturing throughput and yield improvements, equipment productivity, and other areas.

Crucial cSi improvements. The Roadmap aims to inform suppliers and customers about expected technology trends in the field of crystalline silicon (c-Si) photovoltaics and sets a basis to intensify the dialog on required improvements and standards. The second edition of the ITRPV was jointly prepared by leading European c-Si solar cell manufacturers, module manufacturers, and wafer suppliers. Feedback and input from various institutes, equipment suppliers and providers of production materials was also included. The information will be updated and published yearly to ensure good communication between manufacturers and suppliers throughout the value chain.

The discussion began over a year ago with 9 solar cell manufacturers, recalls Markus Fischer, director of R&D Processes at Q-Cells. “In the last 12 months we had 35 meetings, talks and teleconferences with experts from all along the supply chain. The 2011 edition of the International Technology Roadmap is written based on the input from approximately 40 companies and institutes, representing an enormous level of effort by the industry and significant progress in mapping key areas of improvement.”

Ralf Lüdemann, SolarWorld Innovation’s managing director and chair of the CTM group, said “To further increase the value and consistency of the ITRPV, we are constantly considering how to involve other industry stakeholders to provide input. So it is also foreseen to include the input of non-European PV players in the publication. The experience of SEMI in coordinating technology developments on a global basis (e.g. SEMI International Standards) will certainly be of great help to achieve this goal.”

The CTM Group (Bluechip Energy, Bosch Solar, Q-Cells, SCHOTT Solar, Solarworld, Solland, Sovello, and Sunways) have established a crystalline solar cell technology roadmap up to the year 2020. The roadmap describes the development of crystalline solar cell technology with focus on materials, manufacturing processes, and product development. The CTM Group aims to roll out the roadmapping effort on a global scale. The first of these discussions will occur during Intersolar Munich. Strong involvement from all stakeholders in the value chain is needed.

Download the International Technology Roadmap for Photovoltaics at http://www.pvgroup.org/node/1271.

SEMI is a global industry association serving the manufacturing supply chains for the microelectronic, display and photovoltaic industries. For more information, visit www.semi.org.

PV Group represents SEMI member companies involved in the solar energy manufacturing supply chain. For more information, visit www.pvgroup.org

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