LONDON — China’s Yingli Group and the UK’s DEK Solar have announced that they will jointly build a solar technology research centre intended, the two companies said, to drive innovation and nurture the next generation of talent in the Chinese solar market.
The facility, named the Yingli Solar State Key Laboratory, will be built as part of Yingli’s main manufacturing campus in Baoding, Hebei Province and will focus on new technologies, processes and materials for solar manufacturing.
Under the companies’ agreement, DEK will make its Apollo solar metallization platform available to the facility, and the two firms will jointly pursue research and development into metallization technology and solar panels.
Metallization, in which a conductive layer is printed onto solar cells, can largely determine the ultimate efficiency of a crystalline silicon module, and also constitutes a significant part of its cost.
DEK released the Apollo platform last year. The company says it features a breakage rate of less than 0.15 percent and can process 1,450 wafers per hour. It features topside cameras for fiducial or pattern alignment, and incorporates handling, conveyoring and drying equipment, DEK says.
DEK’s Brian Lau, director of process support products and commercial management, said his company continues to invest significantly in the Chinese photovoltaic (PV) market because “we firmly believe that it is heading toward an upturn in 2014.” The two companies’ joint research will speed the industry’s recovery by helping to find ways to deliver greater efficiencies and lower overall manufacturing costs, he said.
“DEK Solar is the perfect partner to help ensure the Yingli State Key Lab is a success for the local PV industry,” said Miao Liansheng, Yingli’s chairman and CEO. “We are both determined to help achieve an upturn in the Chinese PV market, and we know that this can be made possible by investing in people and technology. The PV market is poised for an upturn and collaborations such as the Yingli Lab will ensure that it is China that drives this forward,” he said.
Yesterday NPD Solarbuzz’s Module Tracker Quarterly reported that China’s largest PV manufacturers set new module shipment records in Q2 of this year. Final numbers for the quarter are not yet in, but it is expected that Tier One manufacturers including Yingli, Trina Solar, Jinko Solar, Renesola and Hanwha SolarOne will all set new records. Solarbuzz said Yingli’s quarterly shipments are expected to reach 0.8 GW, a new world record for a single PV supplier.
Lead image: DEK Solar and Yingli Solar signing the memorandum of understanding, via DEK Solar