Power & Energy Solutions

The premier renewable energy publication

A leading manufacturer of high-performance solar cells, JA Solar Holdings Co., Ltd. is one of the industry’s leading lights. The company sells its products to solar manufacturers worldwide, who assemble and integrate solar cells into modules and systems that convert sunlight into electricity for residential, commercial, and utility-scale power generation. PES spoke to Ming Yang, VP, Business Development & Corporate Communications.{pagebreak} PES: Welcome to PES magazine. Your company is only a few years old – can you tell us a little about its history and how it has developed over that time?Ming Yang: JA Solar was founded in 2005 by Jinglong Group, one of China’s leading mono-crystalline wafer companies, and a group of PV experts from Australia. The company started operations in 2006, and quickly became one of the world’s leading solar cell suppliers in 2007. By forming strategic relationships with its suppliers, JA Solar was able to secure silicon and wafers during the limited supply years and to execute on its growth strategy. In 2008, JA Solar grew its revenue year-over-year by more than 100% to USD $800M, with shipment more than doubling to 277MW. The company prides itself in high quality products, competitive pricing, operation flexibility, and focus on

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Luvata is a world-leader in metal fabrication, component manufacturing and related engineering and design services. The now-global company prides itself on its ability to partner its customers – through its Partnerships Beyond Metals philosophy – to help them increase their competitiveness. PES spoke to Justin Roux, Senior Vice-President of Communications, about the company and its products.{pagebreak} PES: How has your Sunwire product evolved since it was developed in the 1990s?Justin Roux: In the beginning Sunwire was hard and electrolytically coated with tin. As the crystalline silicon wafers became thin and more fragile, Luvata developed an annealing and hot dip tinning process to meet with the increasing requirements of customers.  With the growth of solar panel markets, Luvata has developed a chemical-free annealing and plating process that achieves a greater level of material softness and straightness than ever before. This Sunwire technology offers photovoltaic module manufacturers the widest or thinnest wire compatible with multicrystalline silicon, monocrystalline silicon or thin film technologies. Luvata has also tailored its production processes to enable it to adjust production and product dimensions to meet a wide range of applications and prevent the limitations that historically prohibited the development of new photovoltaic cells. The technology behind Sunwire

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ABB is a market leader in power and automation technologies, enabling utility and industry customers to improve their performance while lowering environmental impact. The ABB group of companies operates in around 100 countries and employs about 120,000 people.{pagebreak}ABB robots for solar cell and solar module productionABB uses all the latest technology to meet increasing demand in the industry, including high-speed cell and wafer-handling and fully-automated module backend manufacturing, optimising production output and decreasing its overall manufacturing costs. 1. Introduction and purposeManufacturers of solar modules (crystalline as well as thin film) are faced with decreasing market prices and increasing competition worldwide. In order to stay competitive it is now essential to improve continuously the module production towards: * Increasing production output* Decreasing production costs* Improving product quality In future, state-of-the-art production concepts are going to have to include fully integrated and controlled production schemes with high-end flexible automation developed to fulfil the specific demands of the solar industry 

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Flanked by wind and solar thermal energy, photovoltaic is the source to give developing regions access to clean energy. In order to compete with traditional and new energy sources, the photovoltaic industry follows one goal – cost reduction. To address this need, the Meyer Burger Technology Group has come up with a whole range of systems and solutions to slash production costs in wafer manufacturing.{pagebreak}Meyer Burger is a leading supplier of high-tech slicing and automation systems for wafer production, and of measuring and handling systems for cell production. The machines, competences and technologies of the different companies in the group are used in the solar industry (photovoltaics), semi-conductor and optical industries. The thinnest wafers, made from silicon, sapphire or other crystals are required in these three markets to manufacture solar modules, switching circuits or high-performance LEDs. The group’s core competences are made up of a whole range of production processes, machines and systems that are used within the value chain in the manufacture of high quality wafers. This comprehensive range of products is complemented by a worldwide service network with wear and tear parts, consumables, re-grooving service, process know-how, servicing, after-sales service, training and other services. As a globally active

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Black Forest-based Robert Bürkle GmbH succeeded in making a breakthrough in solar module production with its Ypsator, the world’s first and largest multi-opening laminator. Here Managing Director, Ralf Spindler, tells us about the company and its ambitious plans for the future.{pagebreak}With the Ypsator, Robert Bürkle GmbH succeeded in making a breakthrough in solar module production at its first attempt. The German plant manufacturer is now considered a pioneer in the field of multi-opening lamination. Some 20 solar modules can be produced simultaneously on the Ypsator which Managing Director, Ralf Spindler, claims is a world record. Herr Spindler told PES that Bürkle had supplied and commissioned more than 10 multi-opening laminators since the market launch at the end of 2007. “No manufacturer has supplied more,” said the 45-year-old manager. “This adds up to the capacity of around 50 traditional single-opening laminators.” Last year Bürkle also sold 13 units of the Tpsator and in 2008, business in the new photovoltaic sector was worth 31m Euros, raising turnover to 115m Euros. Business had been good this year as well, said Herr Spindler, with five further units of the Ypsator brand ordered and due to be supplied by the end of

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There are very few industries that have grown as quickly as the photovoltaic industry over the last 10 years. Its image as a fancy technology is long gone and it is now on the way to becoming one of the 21st century's sources of energy. Lapp Group’s Michael Collet explains…{pagebreak} The industry has not always been in such good shape, of course. In 1905 Albert Einstein explained the "photovoltaic effect" which had actually been recognised and described for a long time. He also received the Nobel Prize for Physics in 1922 for this work. However, it was another 50 years before the Bell laboratories in the US produced the first silicon-based solar cell for use in space. In 1958 Vanguard One was the first satellite to take its energy from one of six solar units made up of solar cells. Then, in the 1970s, thin-film solar cells were produced to provide energy for calculators and watches as well as crystalline cells for producing electricity in regions without power supply systems. In 1988, politicians ensured a further technological breakthrough with the German 1,000 Roofs programme, where private photovoltaic units were funded by the state. The renewable energy law was then passed in 2000

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Alternative energy resources continue to be high in demand, and the photovoltaic industry is still leading the field. In order to ensure availability and short lead times, Swiss based PV connector specialist Multi-Contact largely increased their global manufacturing capacities and invested in state-of-the-art production facilities.{pagebreak} In 1996, Multi-Contact pioneered with the introduction of the world’s first standardised connector for photovoltaic installations. The innovative MC3 connector system was well received by the industry, and still has a good standing in the international market. The MC4 connector followed in 2002, and is today the most popular PV connector worldwide. Closely observing the latest developments and trends in the industry, and based on their long-term experience and expertise in the PV sector, Multi-Contact keep expanding their product range and provide customised solutions for individual requirements. In 2008, the total sales volume of PV products skyrocketed. The global photovoltaic market more than doubled compared to 2007 and the industry was suddenly facing an extremely tight market situation with a temporary shortage of supply. Even though there has been a noticeable decline in the meantime, driven by the current global financial crisis, the demand for photovoltaic solutions remains strong, and the upward trend is likely to pick

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Prediktor is a Manufacturing Execution Systems (MES) company with its HQ in Norway and subsidiaries in Singapore, Germany and China. Prediktor is partnering with the PV industry to optimise manufacturing processes and reduce the cost of solar power. The Prediktor Solar Manufacturing Execution System helps realise a plant’s full potential, based on in-depth solar industry experience. During the last eight years Prediktor has installed a substantial base of MES solutions to major PV industry players, such as REC, Elkem Solar, Norsun and Q-cells.{pagebreak} Leaders in the PV industry have recognised that the installation and use of a plant- wide real-time information system is vital to stay profitable and ahead of the competition on the road to grid parity. An MES system collects data in real-time, stores the data in a structured way and delivers information which enables the optimisation of production activities from order launch to finished goods. According to MESA, the goal of an MES solution is to improve execution throughput by five to 15 per cent. Why MES in the PV industryThe PV industry has experienced tremendous growth recently, driven by a seemingly unlimited demand for PV installations. The financial crisis has slowed this process down however and some solar

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In a country which often generates adverse publicity as a result of its fluctuating economy and ever-changing political system, one area of consistently good news lies with its renewables industry, which is seen as one of the most up-and-coming in the world. In fact, according to the European Photovoltaic Industry Association.{pagebreak}investments in photovoltaics in southern Italy would next year start to compete with electricity from the national power grid. Thanks to generous subsidies and almost continuous sunshine, particularly in the southern tip of the country, Italy is expected to triple PV capacity from its current 450MW to an estimated 1,200 – 1,300MW by the end of 2010. And there is much excitement that grid parity is highly likely to be achieved. “Italy is the first large-scale market where it will happen

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In recent years, the interest for renewable energy has grown dramatically, not only from the research and academic world and from the policy makers, but also from the industry, that has reckoned renewable energy as a new growth market. As a result, the PV industry has grown with more that 30% yearly over the last 10 years.{pagebreak}And even though the PV industry has now temporarily stabilized due to the worldwide economic crisis, the importance of PV in global energy production will only grow further, because renewable energy is contributing to a cleaner environment and countering global heating, but also because it is the founder of a whole new thriving industry. Already now, the PV industry is consuming more silicon than the semiconductor industry. And with Barack Obama as the new president of the US, they too will focus their attention on this new growth pole. Being neglected for the last 20 years, the production of renewable energy such as solar and wind energy is now considered as one of the ways to resuscitate the American industry and fight the economic crisis. Nowadays, commercially available PV modules are still too expensive. For a real breakthrough, and to take over a significant part

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