PV Cost Reduction Goals Just Released by SEMI and CTM Group

PV Cost Reduction Goals Just Released by SEMI and CTM Group

New Roadmap Aims for a 40% Reduction in Silver Usage by 2015

Critical technology needs and cost reduction goals for PV materials, manufacturing methods and processes have been identified and targeted for yearly improvement by the 2010 International Technology Roadmap for Photovoltaics (ITRPV). The Roadmap aims to inform suppliers and customers about expected technology trends in the field of crystalline silicon (c-Si) photovoltaics and sets a baseline to intensify the dialog on required improvements and standards. The PV cost reduction targets were just released by the Crystalline Silicon PV Technology and Manufacturing Group (CTM), in cooperation with and in support of the SEMI PV Group.

The CTM Group (Bluechip Energy, Bosch Solar, Q-Cells, SCHOTT Solar, Solarworld, Solland, Sovello, and Sunways) has established a crystalline solar cell technology roadmap up to the year 2020. The roadmap describes the development of crystalline solar cell technology focusing on materials, manufacturing processes, and product development. The second edition of the ITRPV was jointly prepared by leading European c-Si solar cell manufacturers, module manufacturers, and wafer suppliers— with feedback and input from various institutes, equipment suppliers and providers of production materials.   

Markus Fischer, director of R&D Processes in the Technology department at Q-Cells, said, “We started the discussions with just nine cell manufacturing companies one-and-a-half years ago. In the last 12 months we had 35 meetings, talks and teleconferences with experts from all along the supply chain. The 2011 edition of the International Technology Roadmap is written based on the input from approximately 40 companies and institutes, representing an enormous level of effort by the industry and significant progress in mapping key areas of improvement.”  

One key insight derived from the roadmapping effort is the need for cost reduction in metallization pastes used for cell processing which are “the most process critical and expensive materials in cell production besides the wafer itself.”  As part of Roadmap goals, the CTM is targeting a reduction in silver usage from 0.25 grams per cell today to 0.1 grams per cell by 2015.  Other critical technology improvements identified by the report are poly-silicon and consumables pricing, wafer thickness, glass absorption/reflection, manufacturing throughput and yield improvements, equipment productivity, and other areas. 

Ralf Lüdemann, SolarWorld Innovation’s managing director and chair of the CTM group, said “The global infrastructure of an association like SEMI PV Group is of utmost importance to reach the goals we have in mind. We realized the complexity of such a roadmap approach, but at the same time are very satisfied with the latest updates. To further increase the value and consistency of the ITRPV, we are constantly considering how to involve other industry stakeholders to provide input. So it is also foreseen to include the input of non-European PV players in the publication. The experience of SEMI in coordinating technology developments on a global basis (e.g. SEMI International Standards) will certainly be of great help to achieve this goal.”

The roadmap information will be updated and published yearly to ensure good communication between manufacturers and suppliers throughout the value chain.

The CTM Group  wants to roll-out the roadmapping effort on a global scale. The first of these discussions will occur during Intersolar Munich.  Strong involvement from all stakeholders in the value chain is needed.

Download the International Technology Roadmap for Photovoltaics at http://www.pvgroup.org/node/1271. The report is also available from the ITRPV website at www.iprpv.net and SEMI PV Group at www.pvgroup.org.

April 5, 2011