NEW TRIPOLI, USA: Using its proprietary nanocrystal coating on completed solar cells in conjunction with a program with Solar Power Industries (Belle Vernon, PA), SolarPA (New Tripoli, PA) has improved solar cell efficiency by 11.5 percent, turning cells with an average efficiency of 15.4% into cells with an average efficiency of 17.2 percent.
"The breakthrough enables a solar cell plant to automatically increase its output by 11.5 percent," noted Dr. Robert Castellano, CEO of SolarPA. "More importantly, marginally efficient cells, such as those at 15% and often scrapped, can become usable for installation into a panel."Source: The Information Network, USA.
The company is currently evaluating different technologies to deposit its NanoCoat at production throughputs. These technologies include dip coating and screen printing. NanoCoat application is completely non-disruptive to the production line, and coated after a cell is made.
"Our technology is instrumental to US and European solar cell manufacturers to compete against low-cost products coming out of China," added Dr. Castellano. "With the Chinese renowned for low-cost manufacturing, can the non-Chinese solar manufacturers compete against the likes of Suntech Power, Yingli Green Energy, Trina Solar, Solarfun, and Canadian Solar?"
This year, we expect that more than 20 GWatts of solar cells will be installed, up from 14 GWatts in 2010. Moreover, the Chinese solar cell manufacturers produce more than 50 percent of the worldwide cells and export more than 90 percent. Five of the top 10 solar panel makers in the world are from China.
There is a constant struggle by solar manufacturers to keep production costs down and increase solar cell efficiency. First Solar has been an industry leader in this regard with its CdSe thin film solar cells. Amorphous silicon manufacturers continue to promote themselves as low-cost manufacturers, while at the same time pulling out all stops to get efficiency above 10 percent to remain competitive.
US-based SunPower is moving to produce cells at a competitive cost to the Chinese of $1.08 per watt in Q4. But, the drive to lower cost is aided by a large manufacturing plant in Malaysia.
Source: The Information Network, USA.