Global Standards Roadmap for Photovoltaics Update


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Global Standards Roadmap for Photovoltaics Update

Phase 1 Report to be Issued in January 2009

In recent issues, Standards Watch featured several articles on PV Standards. PV Standards committees in Europe and North America have gained significant momentum over the past year. Several task forces are actively developing new specifications, test methods and guides as well as revising existing SEMI Standards to include PV-specific information. Taiwan has formed a PV Standards Working Group that includes several subgroups, and is in the process of aligning scopes and plans with other regions.

And yet, industry stakeholders felt early on that more was needed, in particular a comprehensive, forward-looking, anticipative document to guide the industry in addressing technology developments, process improvements, safety aspects and other issues as early in the design and production phases as possible. In other words, a Roadmap for PV Standards based on the collective analysis and prioritization of short- and long-term manufacturing challenges to be used in the development of timely, consensus-based solutions for the global PV industry. The common drivers are clear and obvious: manufacturing costs have to come down, cell efficiency must be improved, and manufacturing processes and materials need to be safe to use and disposed of safely.

To begin this challenging task of a global roadmap for photovoltaics standards, a core team of industry stakeholders was established in May 2008 under the auspices of SEMI PV Group. The core team represents equipment and materials manufacturers, cell makers, third parties and special interests. The work was divided in two phases: Efforts in Phase 1 (May to December 2008) were focused on a high-level assessment and analysis of existing SEMI Standards and Safety Guidelines with respect to their applicability to PV manufacturing. The team used a list of 80 topics that covered the nearly 800 currently published SEMI Standards and Safety Guidelines and assessed need, usefulness and priority for each. Results were divided into 3 categories: 1) Fully applicable to PV; 2) possibly applicable to PV; and 3) not applicable to PV. Over time, documents from other Standards Developing Organizations (SDOs), such as ASTM International, IEEE, and IEC will be included in the assessment.

Detailed initial findings of the assessment exercise, together with core team activity history, an overview of ongoing PV Standards work in SEMI Standards committees as well as a look to Phase 2 - identifying and prioritizing "PV-unique" needs, opportunities and challenges where a standardized approach will help mitigate risks and reduce cost - will be included in a Guidance Document which will be released in mid-January 2009. Interested parties are encouraged to contact Ms. Bettina Weiss, Sr. Director, Photovoltaic at bweiss@semi.org.