1) Solar cell production
Global Solar Energy (GSE) produced CGIS solar cell plant in Tucson, Arizona, USA, which was put into operation on March 6, 2008. The first phase of the plant has a total production capacity of 40MW. The company is also building one of the world’s largest CGIS solar cell plants in Berlin, Germany, a 35MW plant. The company increased its production by another 100MW by the end of 2009, bringing its total global capacity to 170MW by 2010.
On December 18, 2008, Signet announced the construction of the company’s first 300MW solar panel production plant in North America in Belen, New Mexico, USA. The first phase was put into operation in 2010. The plant will produce large-area thin-film silicon photovoltaic modules for use in commercial solar power generation systems installed on the roof and on the ground. The first stage of the factory has an annual production capacity of 65MW. The long-term plan is to increase the production capacity to 300MW/a and establish a production plant with an area of 600,000 ft2.
American Suniva announced on August 26, 2009 that the photoelectric conversion efficiency of its ARTisun series solar cells exceeded 18%, setting a record for the mass production of screen printed cells. Suniva’s second production line at the Norcross plant in Georgia has also begun production. The new 64MW production line quadrupled the plant’s production capacity to approximately 100MW.
2) Solar cell and module technology development
Colorado State University in the United States adopted a low-cost, high-efficiency solar panel method to build a 200MW solar cell plant in Colorado. AVASolar was put into production at the end of 2007. The developed solar panels use continuous and automated production processes, using cadmium telluride film glass coating instead of standard crystalline silicon. The process efficiency is high, the production rate is high, and the production cost is cheaper than the existing technology.
The Drexel Metal Company of the United States launched the DrexelSolar achievement system in early 2007, which combines photovoltaic film with Drexel’s joint metal roof and accessories (Figure 1). The building-integrated photovoltaic system (BI-PV) design can be applied to civil and commercial facilities, and can enjoy tax relief in the United States.
The American Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) announced in March 2007 that it had developed a more efficient solar cell with a conversion efficiency of 40.7%. This type of solar cell can capture more sunlight spectrum. In the multi-junction battery, each battery is made in layers, and each layer can capture part of the light passing through the battery, so that the battery can absorb more energy from the sunlight.
BP Solar International Inc. is a leading solar panel manufacturer. The company announced on July 21, 2009 that by adopting energy-saving technology from Energy Automation Systems (EASD), its US solar panel manufacturing installations have achieved greenhouse gas emission reductions and reductions. In 2006 and 2007, EASI’s energy-saving equipment was installed in BP Solar International’s 1X105ft2 factory in Frederick, Maryland. The equipment operates 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. It is said that the plant uses EASI. After the company’s technology, the energy expenditure of the 6MW production base has been reduced by 8%.