Fachinformationszentrum Karlsruhe

New production process for solar cells and modules

PV industry continues rapid technological development

New technological developments make that possible. A kilowatt-hour of solar electricity can be generated increasingly cheaper and the industry is close to achieving grid parity. The cost of generating solar power would then be roughly equivalent to what end users currently have to pay for their household electricity. The BINE-Themeninfo brochure “Photovoltaics - Innovations” (II/2011) presents the latest research and development work on new solar cells concepts and production technologies.

Researchers are presenting solar cells with ever-higher efficiencies. New records are constantly being set, only to be broken again. As a result of both the growing costs pressures caused by the reduction in feed-in tariff and the continual research and development activities from science and industry, the production technology for photovoltaics has developed highly dynamically. Cheaper processes, thinner wafers and lighter modules are thronging onto the market. Several thin-film technologies are available as alternatives to the various types of silicon cells. New multiple band-gap cells utilise several spectral bands of sunlight and thus enable greater efficiencies. Innovative manufacturing processes are being developed in which solar cells are produced “off the roll” like in printing plants.

Developers and manufacturers are looking to optimise both the performance of solar cells as well as the production processes. It is becoming increasingly important to produce the entire modules as cheaply and durably as possible so that they can successfully compete internationally.