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”.
Applied Materials launched its new Applied Baccini® Pegaso™ solar cell manufacturing platform today. The Pegaso system represents the new state of the art in solar cell manufacturing and will help to drive the solar industry into the future.
But that’s not why I’m posting this video. I’m posting it because the Pegaso system is one of the most elegant pieces of machinery I’ve ever seen.
We did and said a lot around solar and clean energy in 2010 — it was definitely a BUSY year for everyone at Applied Materials. So to reflect on the year, we compiled a list of the ‘Top 10 Blog Posts’ for your reading pleasure.
Early in the year, Applied Materials was honored in The Massachusetts Institute of Technology's Technology Review as one of the world's 50 most innovative companies. Applied was recognized specifically for "Saving solar costs with large-scale manufacturing."
Yingli Green Energy granted Applied Materials its "Special Contribution Award" for excellence in optimizing the efficiency and productivity of its solar photovoltaic (PV) cell manufacturing operations in Baoding, Hebei province, China.
Applied Materials was one of only two equipment manufacturers among Yingli’s 200 suppliers to win this prestigious award. This was the highest honor given to Yingli’s business partners during its 1st Supplier Conference held recently in Baoding, China.
There are many prestigious prizes which institutions and academics award to honor people for their exceptional efforts or accomplishments that benefit science, academia or even mankind. And many of them are not well known yet.
In his blog, James Moyne talked about Applied Materials’ software footprint as it relates to crystalline silicon (c-Si) solar production. James highlighted a specific scenario where advanced process control plays an important role in addressing issues associated with solar cell printing. As this type of technology becomes widely adopted, the c-Si solar industry will collectively improve processes and drive the quality and conversion efficiency of the product to new highs.
The LED manufacturing world has an interesting mix of semiconductor technology and c-Si manufacturing practices. This raises the question: can automation software be beneficial—and affordable—for LED production lines? The answer is YES, and I’ll begin to tell you why.
Applied Materials is gearing up for an eventful participation in the 25th European Solar Energy Conference and Exhibition (EU PVSEC) in Valencia, Spain this week. This is a time of considerable ferment.
My unofficial 2010 Solar Predictions. Before we start, an author’s safe harbor statement: these predictions are necessarily forward-looking statements and, since the future can be temperamental, any prediction that does not exactly match can and will be graciously excused.
Recent news from Spectrolab Inc., asserts that a triple junction solar cell has achieved the world record in efficiency, converting 41.6% of sunlight into electricity. While tremendously impressive and promising, this technology is targeted for implementation in space. Our focus at Applied is on achieving breakthrough efficiencies for rooftop and utility photovoltaics applications. We must achieve this with efficient and low cost manufacturing technologies capable of converting the most electrons for your solar buck.