35th EU PVSEC, 24 - 28 September 2018
SQUARE - Brussels Meeting Centre, Brussels, Belgium

04 July 2018

EU PVSEC – Where the Latest in Science & Technology Meets Industry

The advancements of solar scientists continue to be impressive, and so are the constant product innovations of solar companies – that’s why next to the EU PVSEC conference events we’ve been traditionally having an industry exhibition. At the 35th EU PVSEC in Brussels, Exhibition from 24 to 27 September, the scientific PV developments discussed in various conference sessions will be again complemented by solar companies and research institutes along the value chain offering their latest technical PV solutions.

It almost seems that increasing efficiency has never been higher on the agenda of the PV industry, which is evaluating and quickly putting into production various advanced cell architectures. To facilitate the industry’s march towards high efficiency cell structures, equipment makers are churning out innovative product platforms. All four sponsors of the upcoming EU PVSEC – h.a.l.m. elektronik, RENA Technologies, SINGULUS TECHNOLOGIES, VON ARDENNE – are offering specific solutions for many of the advanced cell concepts, such as heterojunction cells, among others.

Heterojunction is hot
As with traditional cell processing, the heterojunction process starts with surface conditioning of the wafers, which require a high degree of cleaning. Leading wet solution providers RENA Technologies and SINGULUS TECHNOLOGIES are also providing wet-benches for accomplishing specially cleaning regimes suitable for heterojunction cells. Both companies are offering ozone-based cleaning solutions, for example. RENA Technologies has extended its BatchTex N platform under the name BatchTex SHJ, which accomplishes etching, texturing and required cleaning for heterojunction. SINGULUS TECHNOLOGIES is promoting SILEX II CLEAN as a dedicated cleaning machine for pre- or post-deposition in heterojunction processing.

19 June 2018

Upcoming EU PVSEC in Brussels will Discuss Latest World Class Solar R&D Research – Crystalline Silicon Remains Key

Who would have thought a decade ago that crystalline silicon would be such a dominating force in today’s solar world. Not only is an end of this high flight very hard to imagine, crystalline silicon solar stakeholders in R&D and manufacturing continue to surprise even longtime experts. At the 35th EU PVSEC from 24 to 28 September 2018 in Brussels, the world leading researchers in the crystalline silicon field will provide their latest updates. Check out our EU PVSEC Programme, which we’ve just published here.

First comes PERC
There are many silicon solar cell technologies. The new standard, however, is PERC cell technology. According to a new PERC report from TaiyangNews, the technology will reach manufacturing capacities of 65.7 GW in 2018, compared to 28.9 GW in 2017. Nearly half of the total production output in 2018 is supposed to come from PERC.

06 March 2018

Multi-busbar Technology for Record Solar Cells

One reason for solar power’s success in reducing cost is improvements in cell efficiency. While world record efficiency solar cells are light towers that are many years away from commercialization – if at all, they do show potential for optimization and innovation of a technology and inspire other researchers to work even harder on their scientific developments in that or a competing field.

A recent record efficiency of LONGi Solar has again put Passivated Emitter and Rear Cell (PERC) architecture into the spotlight. The vertically-integrated monocrystalline solar module manufacturer announced on 28 February that it attained a world record conversion efficiency of 23.6% for a commercial-size 6-inch monocrystalline PERC cell. In less than half a year, LONGi has improved its peak PERC cell efficiency three times – it reached a 23.26% efficiency level on 27 October 2017, beating its 22.71% record it announced only 10 days earlier.

21 February 2018

Mono or Multi?

The Crystalline Solar World Seems to Turn Towards Mono Cell Technologies

There is no doubt on the leading solar cell technology today – it is and will stay for the foreseeable future based on crystalline silicon wafers. The jury is still out about the crystallization type - multicrystalline and monocrystalline.

While multicrystalline has been the prime choice for low cost solutions, monocrystalline with its higher efficiency and higher cost was rather used for applications with limited space. As the PV market has been always very price sensitive, multicrystalline has been dominating the solar sector, in particular in the utility-scale segment, where most PV modules has been deployed so far. However, the recent trend towards PERC has been pushing the scale towards mono.

12 February 2018

Impressive Solar Cell Efficiency Improvements across the Board

The strong growth of the global solar market in 2017 to nearly 100 GW from 77 GW the year before had caught any expert in the sector by surprise. The recent efficiency increases were not all that surprising but the constant and manifold improvements have been very impressive across the board. The latest solar cell efficiency table (version 51 in Dec. 2017) of the semi-annually published Progress in Photovoltaics alone listed 10 new efficiency records for various cell and module technologies from companies and research institutes in Europe, Asia and America:

 

08 September 2017

Discussing PV System Performance & Integration at EU PVSEC 2017 in Amsterdam

The ultimate metric for all improvements accomplished along the value chain of PV manufacturing is a solar system’s performance. But yield is one thing, another is integration of a solar system into the concert of power generators using the grid – a topic that is growing in importance with the quickly increasing share of solar around the world. As system performance and integration go together, these topics are combined in the programme of the 33rd EU PVSEC conference, which will be held from 25-29 September 2017 in Amsterdam.

Programme Topic 6 - PV System Performance and Integration covers several system configurations and grid integration aspects. The EU PVSEC scientific committee selected 246 scientific papers in this field, of which 176 are poster contributions, 66 oral presentations and 4 are part of plenary session.

24 August 2017

Challenging the Theoretical Solar Cell Efficiency Limits - Discussed at Upcoming EU PVSEC in Amsterdam

Step by step PV scientists are improving cell efficiencies – and the latest 26.33% record of Kaneka is another step narrowing the already close gap to the theoretical efficiency limit of 29.4% for single-junction crystalline silicon based solar cells. So what’s next?

At the same time, that companies are improving commercial cells, researchers are working on advanced materials and concepts to overcome the theoretical efficiency limitation. The upcoming 33rd EU PVSEC in Amsterdam from 25-29 September will provide insights into such advancements in programme topic 1 “New Materials and Concepts for Photovoltaics Devices”. This topic is represented with 3 talks in the plenary session, 29 oral presentations and 78 posters, resulting in a total of 110 scientific papers from scientists of leading research centers in Europe and many other parts of the world.

 

10 August 2017

Leading Solar Materials and Equipment Companies as well as Research Institutes at EU PVSEC Exhibition in Amsterdam

This year’s EU PVSEC in Amsterdam from 25-29 September 2017 will have again a research and industry connecting exhibition – and the entire space is already fully booked. We have included this business and research platform to offer attendants the opportunity to complement the scientific exchange at the conference with first-hand updates from leading PV equipment and material suppliers as well as from institutes at the exhibition.

03 August 2017

The Latest on Thin-Film PV R&D at EU PVSEC 2017 Will Stage Record Efficiency Announcements

One should not forget that there is more than crystalline silicon wafer based technology in the photovoltaics world. Even though the market share is much, much smaller than that of its omnipresent c-Si based sister, thin-film PV offers a number of advantages – including better temperature coefficients or the possibility of using flexible substrates. And there is a lot of untapped R&D potential – as the quick efficiency progress in the field of perovskites proves.

This year’s EU PVSEC will also look at the latest innovations and improvements in thin-film PV. Programme topic 3 “Thin film Photovoltaics” features a total of 242 research papers of which 181 are posters and 57 are oral presentations

29 July 2017

Crystalline Silicon Research Highlights at the Upcoming 33rd EU PVSEC

While crystalline silicon continues to enjoy the lion’s share in PV manufacturing, it is impressive how much innovation and progress we are still seeing for this long-time incumbent solar cell technology. For the upcoming EU PVSEC in Amsterdam from 25-29 September, our Programme Committee has selected exciting research presentations for Topic 2 “Silicon Photovoltaics” (to be precise, 292 papers of which 84 are oral, 5 are plenary and 203 visual presentations).

A very good summary on hot topics in crystalline silicon R&D will be provided in the 5 presentations of the Silicon Photovoltaics Plenary Session (2 BP.1 on 26 Sept. at 10:30):

30 January 2017

Kerf-less Wafers – Start-Ups Working On True Revolution For Crystalline Silicon Solar Wafer Manufacturing

Reducing silicon consumption has always been the focus of PV manufacturers – and it still makes a lot of sense. Though silicon is not expensive these days, this core material for most cells is still a significant contributor to module costs - with a share of over 20% for the cost leaders. One way to reduce silicon usage per cell is to decrease the thickness of the wafer. An even more interesting option is to reduce the so-called kerf. As much as close to 50% of the silicon is lost as waste (kerf) during the ingot sawing process to produce wafers. While reducing kerf losses is on the agenda of wafer makers, some companies, especially start-ups, are trying to eliminate kerf losses completely. Their kerf-less solutions not only dramatically save on silicon raw material, if it worked in large-scale manufacturing, it could revolutionize today’s value chain for crystalline silicon modules by eradicating the upstream production processes of ingot growing and wafering, but depending on the process, even polysilicon production. According to one company active in that field, NexWafe, their technology could save up to 60% of silicon lost during sawing, reduce energy consumption during manufacturing by up to 80%, and require 70% less investment cost for its scrap-free wafer production.

 

nextwafe

Photo Credit: NexWafe

04 January 2017

Trends in Solar Module Manufacturing

From the distance, today’s solar module might not look any different than 20 years ago, but researchers and module manufacturers have been pretty innovative on improving the solar module’s contribution to efficiency and yield, often independent from the cell.

The so-called cell-to-module losses (CTM) value is a clear indication of this progress. According to the 7th edition of the International Technology Roadmap for PV (ITRPV), published by the German Engineering Federation’s (VDMA) PV Chapter, the CTM losses for multicrystalline modules would be zero already by 2017, whereas monocrystalline modules would reach this level in 2019. This difference is mainly due to monocrystalline cells featuring already a superior surface texturing that leads to relatively lower reflection losses, but it also means that they benefit less from the ‘coupling gain’ after encapsulation.

19 December 2016

Perovskite Solar Cells – Impressive & Fast Efficiency Developments, Now It’s About Research On Stability

The development speed of perovskite solar cell efficiencies is breathtaking. When the technology was reported first in 2009, efficiencies were mere 3.8%. But in only 7 years, single-junction perovskite cell efficiencies skyrocketed beyond 20%, getting increasingly closer to the level of incumbent crystalline silicon technology.

Perovskite is a structured compound made of a hybrid organic-inorganic lead or tin halide-based material, which is used as the active PV layer. The fundamental advantages of this new material class are twofold - perovskites crystals can be manufactured at low temperatures of about 200 °C, and they can be produced at low cost. Perovskite solar cells are also several folds thinner than typical crystalline wafer-based cells. They enable simple application methods, such as spraying and printing, provide flexibility in choosing different substrates, such as glass or plastic, which in the end offers sheer endless product designs.

7 December 2016

Heterojunction Solar Cells – A High-Efficiency Technology With Huge Potential

For years, heterojunction-based silicon solar cells have scored high in efficiency rankings. The well-known HIT cell from Panasonic reached a world record 25.6% efficiency in early 2014, according to the solar cell efficiency tables edition of Progress in Photovoltaics, -  and has kept this record for over 2.5 years.

The reason for Panasonic’s dominance is simple – Sanyo (which was overtaken by Panasonic) developed the crystalline silicon heterojunction cell concept, has been mass-producing it, and protected the intellectual property. But Sanyo’s patents expired in 2010. Since then the race is on, with several PV module companies and equipment manufacturers working on product solutions for heterojunction cells.