Power & Energy Solutions

The premier renewable energy publication

SEMI is the global industry association serving the manufacturing supply chains for the microelectronic, display and photovoltaic industries, and member companies are the engine of the future, enabling smarter, faster and more economical products that improve our lives. Here, Steve Buehler, Sr. Director, Communications, puts forward a future vision for the industry that is built upon strategic thinking and a coherent global framework.{pagebreak} Despite difficult economic conditions, an expected significant decline in worldwide PV systems installations in 2009 and an inconsistent policy landscape, the PV industry continues to gain traction as the most promising alternative energy industry of the future.  And yet, on the ‘Energy Solutions’ heart monitor, renewable energy sources, including PV, barely have a pulse – at least compared to oil, nuclear and natural gas. That makes sense, given that PV has major stumbling blocks obscuring progress. These include the cost per watt of installed systems compared to the grid, a lack of industry standards, fragmented and competing roadmaps for industry direction and goals, inconsistencies in advocacy across global regions, and insufficient industry and government collaboration to move the industry forward rapidly. 

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The Carl Zeiss brand is well known in a variety of global consumer sectors, and yet it is also one of the PV industry’s leading lights. Here, Jürgen Gobel tells PES about the company, its future goals and its broad spectrum of applications within the sector.Can you tell us a little bit about the history of the company and what you offer the photovoltaic industry?{pagebreak}Jürgen Gobel: The company was founded as a workshop for precision mechanics and optics in the German city of Jena in 1846. Today, the Carl Zeiss Group is a global leader in the optical and opto-electronic industries and has approximately 13,000 employees. We have offices in more than 30 countries, are represented in more than 100 countries and have production centers in Europe, North America, Central America and Asia. The company is headquartered in Oberkochen, Germany. We are market leaders in the majority of our fields and offer an extraordinary spectrum of leading-edge solutions and products. Carl Zeiss MicroImaging GmbH is a 100% subsidiary of Carl Zeiss AG.  The Optical Sensor Systems and the Materials Microscopy business units are part of the Industrial Division which, along with the BioScience Division, belongs to Carl Zeiss MicroImaging. During

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As a critical part of the photovoltaic manufacturing process, metallization is applicable to both crystalline silicon and thin-film technologies. As such, it’s not only important that manufacturers get it right, but also, that they do so while driving down cost-per-watt and increasing cell efficiency. Then and only then will we arrive at that coveted milestone of grid parity.{pagebreak}The ongoing commercialisation of the photovoltaic marketplace has been facilitated in part by the emergence of companies pioneering process-led efficiencies to enhance our ability to deliver on these all-important drivers. One such company is DEK Solar, a screen printing specialist pre-eminent in the field for its high accuracy commercial mass imaging process expertise and equipment solutions. Today, DEK Solar is helping the industry harness the power of screen printing to deliver improvements in throughput, accuracy and yield. The screen printing advantageThere are currently two manufacturing technologies for PV cells. Those fabricated on bulk silicon substrates currently account for more than 90% of global production. These are built up using thick-film production techniques, by depositing an array of fine current-collector fingers on the topside of the substrate, creating a series of wider bus bars for electrical interconnection purposes on the topside and backside, and then

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A vertically-integrated manufacturer of ingots, wafers, cells, solar modules and custom-designed solar power applications, Canadian Solar delivers solar power products of uncompromising quality to customers worldwide. We talk to President Gregory E. Spanoudakis about the firm’s meteoric rise and its plans for future expansion.{pagebreak} PES: Welcome to PES. Can you explain a little about the history of the company and what you offer the photovoltaic industry?Gregory E. Spanoudakis: Canadian Solar Inc was established in October 2001 in Toronto, Canada, with a focus on engineering application products which were initially geared towards the automotive industry. Having one of the automotive industry’s largest manufacturers as our first client with an engineered-specific product and solution specifically developed for them was a springboard towards the development of other industry-specific engineered products for various clients. This led to the design and manufacturing of solar modules in various different configurations. At present we offer a very wide range of products from 1 watt to 300 watt and various sizes and silicon types. 2006 saw Canadian Solar successfully become listed on the NASDAQ as CSIQ. PES: Canadian Solar is one of the fastest growing companies in the industry – to what do you attribute your astonishing success?GS: A

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The Grenzebach group is a global PV player with production facilities in Germany, the USA and China. Its staff of 1500 designs, manufactures and delivers fabrication lines and components for the production and processing of flat glass and thin film photovoltaic modules. The company is also a specialist in equipment for display glass production. Here, Egbert Wenninger (Dipl. Ing.){pagebreak}Vice President, Sales Glass Technology, tells PES how Grenzebach has set standards in the design and construction of plants and high performance technology. PES: Welcome to PES magazine. Can you first explain a little about the history of your company and how it serves the photovoltaic industry?Egbert Wenninger: Since its foundation in 1960, Grenzebach has been a successful supplier of manufacturing and processing equipment for several mainline industries. From a single machine to a complete production line we have perfected technology for the production of gypsum, insulation panels and various other building boards, for cutting and drying of veneer and also general automation technology.  Over the years, Grenzebach has been a trend setter for the flat glass industry. We quickly identified the opportunities that electronics provided for controlling complex production procedures and founded our own electronics department. More recently, Grenzebach has assumed a

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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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