Solar Cell Technology Standard Receives International Recognition

Solar Cell Technology Standard Receives International Recognition

New Standard Allows PV Industry to Focus on Product Innovation and Differentiation

PVTaiwan photoOn October 3 at PV Taiwan 2012, SEMI and ITRI jointly announced the successful “SEMI PV38-0912 Test Method for Mechanical Vibration of c-Si PV Cells in Shipping Environment" international standard which reduces damage to solar cells due to the vibration caused during transportation, increasing overall profitability. Proposed by the Taiwan SEMI Standards PV Committee, the standard was approved in September 2012 by the global SEMI PV Standards Committee after a year and a half of discussions and coordination.  It becomes the second international solar industry standard authored by Taiwan within three years; the first standard involved PV modules (“SEMI PV23-1011 Test Method for Mechanical Vibration of c-Si Photovoltaic (PV) Modules In Shipping Environment”).

In terms of c-Si solar technology development, lower cell damage rates mean higher production yields. Temperature, pressure, subtle cracks in polycrystalline silicon, and other factors could damage the integrity of the wafer, causing damage to the silicon cells, thereby affecting the overall yield of solar modules. However, the main reason for solar cell failure is the external forces when manufacturing, processing, and transporting, which often damage the cells. And the damage caused during transportation is the main reason for cell failure. The new trend in solar cell development of using thinner silicon wafers in manufacturing stresses the importance of this issue.

This standard provides a uniform test method to evaluate the damage of solar cells caused by the vibration generated during transportation. The standard can also be used for any transportation condition and mode of transport to assess the cracks or defects in solar cells. In addition, testing different cell packaging will yield different results, which can be used to advise vendors to package properly to reduce damage during transit. The standard deals with products being damaged during transit so that cell manufacturers, buyers, or other related companies   can make assessments based on common standards.

Terry Tsao, president of Taiwan and Southeast Asia of SEMI PV Group, states, "Taiwan plays a vital role in the global solar industry. Our solar cells lead the industry in terms of quality and quantity. To help Taiwan manufacturers be more competitive in the global market, SEMI provides an international technology standards platform and together with industry and research experts, has completed another solar cell-related international standard this year, building upon the launch of Taiwan's first solar module international standard last October. This is the best example of industry cooperation that maintains sustainable development for the solar industry while helping Taiwan's solar industry shine on the international stage."

Jia-Ruey Duann, general director, ITRI’s Center for Measurement Standards emphasized, "To help Taiwanese technology companies increase competitiveness in the global market and connect with the world more smoothly, ITRI has long been actively involved in promoting international industry standards. ITRI worked with Taiwanese companies to create Taiwan's very first SEMI international PV module standard and went on to produce the solar cell standards this year, both of extraordinary importance. With this shipping standard, solar cell damage during different transit environments can be controlled, and at the same time it provides cell manufacturers and their customers with a common reference. It's also documents best practices for reducing costs to benefit the end customers, further speeding up the development of cell protection during shipping."

This approved standard was proposed by the Vibration Test Methods Task Force (organized under the SEMI Taiwan PV Standards Technical Committee) in February 2011. In addition to ITRI, numerous companies represented the voice of Taiwan's photovoltaic industry on the SEMI International Standards platform, including Dr. J.S. Chen, chairman of TeraSolar Energy Materials, Rui-Yi Song, director of UL, Kun-Da Lee, chairman of King Design, Dr. Ching-Chieh Lin of PV Guider, Kuang Han Ke, chairman of Gran Systems, Yi-Heng Zhou, senior manager of DelSolar, and Bo-Xun Huang, director of Shining Energy.

The SEMI Taiwan PV Standards Technical was established in July 2009, and currently has activities organized into three Task Forces (c-Si Cell Appearance, Vibration Test Method, and Wafer Measurement Test Method). In addition to Taiwan, SEMI PV Standards Committees have also been established in China, Europe, Japan, and North America.

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November 6, 2012