Posts Tagged ‘solar cell modules’

First Solar breaks solar energys $1 per watt barrier

Sunday, March 1st, 2009

This is great news…soon it will be possible to have solar powered nodes at a low cost. As a comparison point, solar panels cost about $7/watt in 2002…hmm…wonder if this has anything to do with the 2 gigs of RAM I bought for $20…

First Solar Inc this week claimed a milestone in the solar industry toward providing a sustainable and affordable solar energy solution: solar modules manufactured below the $1 per watt point, at a cost of $0.98 per watt.

“This was truly a worldwide goal,” said Ken Zweibel, director of the Institute for the Analysis of Solar Energy at George Washington University. “The solar industry has been aiming at this goal for the past 25 years, and now it has been met by First Solar. The US leads the world in photovoltaics in terms of the technology with First Solar being the lowest cost practical manufacturing modules below $0.98 per watt and SunPower reporting the highest solar converting efficiency of approximately 20%.”

San Jose-based SunPower last May touted full-scale solar cell protototypes at 23.4% efficiency. The company has reported improvements in mass production since its first all-back contact solar cell prototype in 2003. CEO Tom Werner has stated that SunPower’s Gen 2 technology in mass production since 2007 is 22% efficient.

Source: Electronic New

ABB automates solar cell chemical technology

Saturday, September 6th, 2008

Evonik Industries, a leading chemical, energy and real estate company based in Essen, Germany, is the world’s largest producer of ultra-pure chemicals for the photovoltaic industry. It chose ABB’s flagship System 800xA automation platform to control the complex production process at its new site expansion in Germany.

The expansion will enable Evonik to triple production of ultra-pure chlorosilanes, raw material in the production of photovoltaic (PV) silicon. PV silicon is the substance from which solar-grade silicon wafers are made, which are the key components in solar cells and solar power systems.

Photovoltaic or solar cells convert sunlight directly into electricity, and are commonly made of silicon (like the blocks above), a semiconductor material. When light strikes the cell, it creates a flow of electrons, or an electrical current.

Evonik is the world’s leading supplier of ultra-pure chlorosilanes, and the only company to operate dedicated chlorosilane production sites for the fast-growing solar energy industry.

The company’s lead site for the production of ultra-pure chlorosilanes is at Bitterfeld in Germany, which is one of the largest chemical parks in Europe.

When the Bitterfeld plant expansion is completed early in 2009, it will be linked by pipeline to an adjoining factory currently being built by PV Crystalox Solar, the world’s largest manufacturer of multi-crystalline wafers for solar cell modules.

To ensure production reliability and process excellence at the site, Evonik selected ABB to evolve and expand the existing distributed control system into a new plant-wide solution.

The solution is based on ABB’s flagship automation platform, Extended Automation System 800xA – ranked by automation industry analyst ARC Advisory Group as the world’s leading distributed control system.

Solar cell technology has progressed significantly, and the energy payback time of a modern photovoltaic module is typically from 1 to 4 years.

The solution enables Evonik to enhance its existing ABB Advant open control system to the latest version of System 800xA without interrupting production at the plant.

It allows Evonik to retain existing application programs and AC450 controllers and integrate them with new AC800M and AC800M HI (high integrity) controllers, Information Management software and System 800xA workplaces. ABB is also providing S900 explosion-proof I/O modules for high-risk production zones.

ABB supplied a similar solution for chlorosilane production to Wacker Chemie in for its production plant in Neunchritz, Germany, and is supplying the power plant automation system for Europe’s largest solar power plant, currently under construction in Spain.

Key features of Evonik’s installation based on System 800xA include:

  • integrated safety and control functions
  • emergency shutdown and rapid restart in critical situations
  • full installation without interrupting production at the existing plant
  • Evonik retains existing application programs which are integrated with new controllers, software and workplaces

Source: ABB