2014 and beyond—What is the next level for PV manufacturing technology?

2014 and beyond—What is the next level for PV manufacturing technology?

By Stephan Raithel, SEMI Europe

Compared to a few short months ago, the media and analysts alike have been buzzing about the positive the status of the PV industry. There are reports of module manufacturers coming back into a positive margin zone, record installations projected over the next several years and new investment cycles for PV equipment. However, one very important topic has not received extensive coverage is what will be the next technology level in PV manufacturing?

This may be due in part to when we think of mass manufacturing we tend to see more constant process improvement rather than new, technological breakthroughs. However, the question remains open—what does the next standardized mass manufacturing process look like? And, what equipment upgrade or replacement does your company need to remain competitive?

In 2014, SEMI invites you, as experts from industry, to join us as we seek to answer these questions. To help guide the PV industry to continuously improve the PV manufacturing processes, we invite you to participate in any one, or all, of these SEMI initiatives:

Join a SEMI standards committee to develop PV manufacturing standards for the industry, by the industry.  The SEMI Standards PV volume now contains almost 50 manufacturing standards on automation, chemicals, wafers, feedstock, equipment communication, and many more.

Join the International Technology Roadmap for PV effort (ITRPV).  The objective of the ITPRV is to ensure constant cost reduction and efficiency increase through technology advancements in the performance of c-Si products.  Throughout the course of 2013, ITRPV workshops were held in China, Germany, Russia, USA, Italy and Taiwan to bring together stakeholders and exchange ideas. 

Attend the PV Fab Managers Forum.  The ITRPV report is the culmination of workshops throughout the year and it is released yearly at the PV Fab Managers Forum.  Attendees will be the first to hear the results from the report.  Also of note in 2014, the PV Fab Managers Forum moves from Europe to China to coincide with SEMICON China/SOLARCON China 2014.

I wish all of you a relaxing holiday and look forward to positive new year!

SEMI, The Grid – December 2013