Solar installations are rocketing worldwide as solar electricity becomes cheaper than electricity from fossil fuels – it’s already happened in 105 countries. This is the tipping point where economics takes over from altruism and solar PV becomes a serious part of the global energy mix.
The steady drop in cost-per-watt is great news for the end user and is enabled by simultaneous increases in cell efficiency and lower manufacturing costs.
If you’re a cell manufacturer, though, dropping prices are a double-edged sword: strong demand is good, but you must continuously lower costs by improving your manufacturing processes in order to be profitable.
So, in a fiercely competitive industry, how is this done?
After the jump, we’ll look at a great example of how cell manufacturers can boost profitability using an emerging technique called “double printing”.
Cell manufacturers worldwide, are in the process of transitioning to advanced cell structures in order to boost cell efficiencies and drive down the cost per watt. The photovoltaic (PV) learning curve has traditionally seen a 20% decline in module prices for every doubling of total installed modules. While this rate of reduction has primarily been driven by scale, we are now at a point where cell efficiency will become crucial in accelerating cost reduction.