BP Solar Announces Solar Manufacturing Advance

Just a week after announcing a new partnership with a university in Portugal that would explore new ways to produce “ribbon-style” solar photovoltaic (PV) cells, the solar giant announced the development of a new silicon growth process it says increases the all-important efficiency of their multi-crystalline-based cells.

The new technique, named Mono2TM, “enhances BP Solar’s technological expertise in the silicon growth and wafering arenas where silicon ingots and wafering technology are key to future growth,” said a company press release. Solar cells made with these wafers, in combination with other BP Solar advances in cell process technology, will be able to produce in excess of five to eight percent more power than solar cells made with conventional processes, according to the company. This translates into an equivalent module power increase and hence a substantial cost reduction at the installed system level. BP Solar plans to implement the Mono2 technique in its existing equipment at the Frederick facility with the goal to achieve large-scale production. The first modules to incorporate this process will be available in 2007. The development of Mono2 is funded in part through a manufacturing contract with the U.S. Department of Energy’s National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL). “BP Solar’s implementation of this new growth technique will greatly improve wafer quality,” said Eric Daniels, vice president of technology for BP Solar. “This development is a great advance on the pioneering work conducted by BP Solar scientists when the first successful multi-crystal wafers were introduced more than 20 years ago.”

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