- Overview of main manufacturers of thin film batteries
Many companies have benefited from the growth of thin-film solar photovoltaic market, mainly including first solar, Fuji Electric, nano solar, Sanyo and uni solar. Each company is building production plants with a capacity of more than 100MW.
As of April 2008, leading thin-film solar cell manufacturers include applied materials and Q-Cells, and industry rookies such as nexpower and QS solar. As of March 2008, the new equipment of many thin-film solar plants had reached US $1.9 billion.
Some leading crystalline silicon manufacturers have entered the thin-film solar cell industry. Sharp is building several plants to increase its capacity to 1GW by 2010. Q-Cells is the world’s leading supplier of solar cells and has invested in five thin-film solar cell projects. Silicon based thin film battery mainly refers to amorphous silicon (a-Si) battery and microcrystalline silicon（ μ C-Si) battery and micro non selective layer (a-Si)/ μ C-Si) batteries are the mainstream of thin-film batteries, accounting for 77.14% of the total thin-film batteries in 2007.
- United States
DuPont announced on May 13, 2008 that in order to support the growing solar photovoltaic industry, it began to build R & D centers in Hong Kong and production devices in Shenzhen. According to DuPont, the annual growth rate of photovoltaic market will exceed 30% in the next few years. The expanded facilities in Hong Kong and Shenzhen will better provide new services for the amorphous silicon (a-Si) film market.
On September 10, 2008, SBD International announced the construction of a thin-film solar cell manufacturing plant in Florida to supply the Caribbean and South American markets. TGI / solar power gr (TSPG) will transfer its thin-film solar cell technology, and the capacity of the thin-film solar cell manufacturing plant is 18mW The construction time of the plant is 18 months and there will be more than 200 employees. The solar18 thin film solar cell can be used in less bright light conditions, and can generate 10% ~ 15% more power than other technologies.
First solar announced the signing of a long-term solar module supply contract at the end of September 2008, with a total amount of 525mw. These modules will be applied to developers of many solar PV projects in the world. The sales price of these modules is about US $800 million and will be delivered from 2009 to 2013. First solar uses advanced thin-film semiconductor technology to manufacture solar modules and provides comprehensive PV solutions, which can greatly reduce the cost of solar power generation.
Konarka technology company of the United States announced on October 7, 2008 that the rolling flexible thin-film solar cell production plant with an annual production capacity of 1GW was put into operation. The device adopts patented thin-film solar cell materials. The device has modern printing and manufacturing capacity, with a production capacity of more than 1 per year × 107m2. This thin-film solar cell can be used in indoor, portable, outdoor and building integration.
He1iovolt announced at the end of October 2008 that its first factory producing thin-film solar cell products was put into operation. The 122400ft2 plant in Austin, Texas recruited 160 new employees and had an initial production capacity of 20MW The factory is the first commercial practice of the fasst active conductive printing process of he1iovolt company applied to the production of solar thin film battery products. FASS technology design can be combined with low-cost film materials, which has high manufacturing efficiency and can produce high-quality products. FASS technology is applied to aluminum selenide wiping solar cells with photoelectric conversion efficiency of more than 12%. He1iovolt adopts FASS technology to develop conventional modules and a new generation of integrated building photovoltaic products, which are applied to the solar energy market.
About solar announced on April 15, 2009 that the thin film photovoltaic plant in Longmont, Colorado will be in full scale production. This fully automated factory has created employment opportunities for more than 300 people. The annual production of thin-film photovoltaic modules is 200MW. The manufacturing process adopts the proprietary continuous online semiconductor equipment of about solar, which can turn glass panels into solar panels in less than 2H.
On December 2, 2009, he1iosphera announced that it would put into operation a 150MW thin-film solar panel manufacturing plant in navy yard, Philadelphia, USA, which would create jobs for 400 people and invest millions of dollars. The new 60MW production plant built by he1iosphern holding company under he1iosphera in pe1oponnesus, Greece, was put into operation in September 2009. On January 7, 2010, X sun X company in California announced the completion of a full-function CIGS thin film solar energy production device. CIGS is developing a technology for depositing solar cells on a stainless steel substrate.
German Schott solar energy company announced the establishment of an independent thin-film solar cell business department Schott solar thin-film cell company in mid May 2008. The new company has two production bases in Jena and putzbrunn, Munich, producing high-quality and standard modules and OEM (original equipment manufacturer) prototype models. In the next few years, the annual production capacity will be expanded from the current 36mw to 100MW. At Jena production base, the company has invested 75 million euros in thin-film solar cell technology and put into operation new production facilities.
Johanna solar energy technology company of Germany has built the world’s largest copper steel sulfur selenium solar module packaging plant in Brandenburg, Germany, with a total investment of 72 million euros, a planned annual output of 30 MW and 60 MW in 2009 The solar module of this latest technology has the highest conversion rate of 16%, which can be compared with the traditional silicon module. It is predicted that by 2010, thin-film modules will account for 20% of the world’s solar system installation share, of which copper steel sulfur selenium modules account for half. The maturity and popularization of this technology will improve the bottleneck of polysilicon.
In early April 2008, Malibu company of Germany announced to invest US $135 million to build a large-scale photovoltaic module factory in Magdeburg, Germany, using modern thin film technology. By the end of 2008, the factory began to produce photovoltaic modules with the size of 5.7m2 in the format of 2.20M × 2.60M, with a capacity of 460W. The annual output of the system is 40mW and the equipment produced by American applied materials company is adopted.
In terms of the example of herringbone roof thin-film photovoltaic setting, Moers, located near Duisberg, Germany, set up a herringbone south facing roof thin-film photovoltaic facility (Figure 2.10) in October 2008. The large-scale thin-film photovoltaic structure covers nearly 1 × An area of 104m2. The PV power generated by the PV system is 837kw and the annual power generation is 750mW · h. The cadmium sulfur module is provided by first solar of the United States. The structure is up to 30m high and uses 11467 photovoltaic modules. In addition, wa1dpolenz solar Park was built near Leipzig, Germany, at the end of 2008, becoming the world’s largest thin-film photovoltaic power plant, with an annual power generation of about 40gw · h, equivalent to an annual CO2 emission reduction of about 2.5 × 104t. Wa1dpole The investment in the solar park is about 130 million euros, and the setting cost of the 40mW project is 3.25 euros / W.
One of the world’s largest thin-film photovoltaic solar parks was built in March 2009 in the German border area close to Luxembourg. It is an 8.4mwp thin-film photovoltaic facility developed by stadtwerketrier (SWT). The facility includes more than 112500 photovoltaic modules, covering 2.5 square meters × An area of 104m2. The power generated is supplied to the power grid, with an annual power generation of more than 9gw · h, which can supply more than 2400 households with 4 population for one year.
In June 2009, Malibu company of Germany adopted a greener process for its assembly plant producing thin-film photovoltaic modules. For the first time in the world, nitrogen trifluoride (NF3), which has a great potential impact on global climate warming, was not used in the manufacturing process. The plant adopted an improved cleaning process, so that the use of photovoltaic panels can make up for the impact of manufacturing on the environment. The process has been applied to the new 40mW thin film photovoltaic module production plant in osterweddingen, Germany.
On July 21, 2009, co1exon company of Germany announced to adopt thin-film photovoltaic technology to set up one of the largest roof photovoltaic power generation systems in the world. The solar photovoltaic power generation facility is set in hass1eben, Germany, with a capacity of 4.64mw. 64000 modules are used in the construction of the system, with a roof area of 1930 × 105m2, equivalent to the size of 10 football fields. Thin film photovoltaic modules are manufactured by first solar in Brandenburg, and the facility can generate 4.4% of electricity per year × 1.06 million KW · H. Co1lexon has proposed to expand the facility by another 1.2MW, which is equivalent to the size of 3.5 football fields.
First solar and EDF energy nouve1les announced on January 19, 2010 that they would build the largest photovoltaic production unit in France near Bordeaux.
The device will produce innovative thin-film photovoltaic panels, which will be put into construction in the second half of 2010 and put into operation in early 2012. The annual production capacity is more than 100MW, with a total investment of about 100 million euros.
Throughout the world, there are three ancestors of solar equipment industry: American applied materials (Amat), hairdressing (UL VAC, formerly Japanese vacuum) and oer1ikon, Switzerland. Aifake is one of the largest companies in Japan that can design and produce complete sets of thin-film solar cell equipment. China’s early development of thin film solar energy equipment is the main equipment supplier of Japanese famous film solar producers, including SHARP (Sharp) and SANYO (San yo). The equipment is of high maturity. In recent years, with the rapid growth of thin film solar cell market, Ai Ke Ke has begun to provide technology transfer services to customers. The joint phase of Taiwan electric group is its main customer. Liandian ordered the whole thin-film solar cell production line from Aifake. Therefore, Aifake established a thin-film solar cell R & D experimental line in Maoqi factory, Kanagawa, Japan, in order to better provide technical support to customers.
With the rapid development of photovoltaic market, sharp invested in the construction of thin-film solar cell manufacturing plant in Sakai, Japan. Sharp’s total investment in the collapsed thin-film solar cell plant is about 72 billion yen, which can increase the company’s total annual capacity to 1GW. Production began in March 2010, and the initial production capacity of thin-film solar cells was 480mw. Together with the 160mw capacity of the Katsuragi (Nara Prefecture) plant, the total global production capacity of Sharp’s thin-film solar cells will reach 1GW by April2010 The thin-film solar cell factory in Tui adopts a large-scale glass base and is jointly developed with Tokyo electronics company. The construction of the plant can enable sharp to greatly improve production efficiency and more efficiently meet the growth of demand. The main features of the welded thin-film solar cell factory are: facing the production plant of the 21st century, applying TFTLCD thin-film technology; Large glass base size. By enlarging the size of glass base to 1000mm × 1400mm, thus improving production efficiency, which is higher than the previous base size (560mm × 925mm), about 2.7 times larger.
Honda invested 4billion yen in early December2006 to establish a wholly-owned solar cell subsidiary, so1tec, which specializes in the production and sales of thin-film solar cells. This also marks Honda’s full entry into the solar cell business. The solar cell factory of Honda shuotech company was put into operation in October 2007. Instead of silicon, thin films made of compounds of copper, copper, copper and selenium (CIGS) were used. Compared with the production of conventional crystalline silicon solar cells, the energy consumption of Honda’s new generation solar cells can be greatly reduced by about 50%. Honda shuotech has produced a large number of solar cells since October 2007. By the spring of 2008, the annual output reached 27.5mw (equivalent to the power generated for about 9000 households). The company also sells solar cells to households in Japan. It has 80 distribution points and plans to promote sales by adding distribution points. By 2008, it has more than 200 distribution points.
Mitsubishi Chemical announced in late August 2008 that it is committed to the development of photovoltaic products with small molecular organic solution coating technology on flexible matrix. Sanyo Electric Co., Ltd. invested US $70 million to develop micro product thin film technology in its new advanced photovoltaic development center. The annual value of Mitsubishi Chemical’s sales of related materials in the field of solar energy industry has reached US $18 million and will increase to US $90 million by 2010. The greater development opportunity is to use crimping technology for low-cost manufacturing of thin, lightweight and flexible solar cells. Mitsubishi Chemical Company plans to produce thin-film solar cells by small molecule organic coating method. The performance of products manufactured by this method is better than that of products manufactured by solution processed polymers. The company has developed a unique material technology, which can be simply coated and then heat treated without a high-cost vacuum deposition process. It adopts tetrabenzoporphyrin for p-type semiconductor, and the current efficiency is about 3.4%. The company aims to achieve 7% efficiency by 2010. Sanyo Electric Company aims to achieve 12% efficiency of silicon thin film battery and halve the module cost to $1.40/w.
The solar division of oer1ikon, a Swiss Technology Group, announced in mid April 2008 that it had doubled its production capacity and increased its sales by 17% in 2008 through new installations in Asia. Oer1ikon of Switzerland is a leading market supplier of thin-film solar cells and has built a new production plant in Singapore. Singapore’s thin-film solar cell devices help meet the growing demand in Asia. In the next few years, Asia will become one of the regions with the fastest growth in the production of thin-film solar cell modules. Based on the prediction, the production capacity of solar panels in Asia will increase to more than 4gw by 2010, which will be more than twice that of the United States and Europe.
Oer1ikon solar energy company announced on August 20, 2009 that it will build a 120mW thin-film solar photovoltaic module production line for Russia’s high-tech nano solar technology (NST) company, with an annual output of 1 million solar photovoltaic modules. It is said that this is by far the largest equipment contract in the world’s thin-film silicon photovoltaic market. NST is a joint venture between Renova group and Russian nanotechnology company. The contract includes the use of qer1ikon Solar’s Micro morph technology. The photoelectric conversion efficiency of photovoltaic modules using this technology is 50% higher than that of other thin-film technologies. The production equipment was delivered in 2010 and put into operation in 2011.
On October 22, 2009, ksk Surya photovoltaic enterprise company under Indian ksk power company announced that it had signed a contract with American applied materials company to introduce its technology and build a thin-film photovoltaic manufacturing plant with an annual capacity of 150MW. The facility, built in Hyderabad, India, with an investment of about US $500 million, will become the largest solar photovoltaic plant in India. As India has the highest solar radiation in the world, ksk group said that India should become a leader in solar power generation technology. The new plant will set up a sun Fab film manufacturing line applied to the material company to produce 5.7m2 solar panels.
1) New project progress
The Asian technology marketing department of the solar energy division of oer1ikon company in Switzerland believes that China has a relatively rich raw material (glass) market and talent reserve, and China will become the “world factory” of thin-film solar cells. Because from the cost structure of thin-film solar cells, glass materials account for about 40% of the raw materials, while China’s glass production is the largest in the world, and the price of raw materials is relatively low. At the same time, China has a rich reserve of talents from the semiconductor, FPD and electronic industries. Compared with the semiconductor and flat panel display industries, the equipment, capital requirements and technical threshold of thin-film solar cells are relatively low.
Information shows that several new Chinese PV market participants have entered the thin film market, and Chinese solar PV module manufacturers will enter the second wave of development year in 2009. In 2009 alone, China’s total thin-film photovoltaic capacity exceeded 1.5gw, which will double in a year. This new wave of solar thin film modules were put into the market in early 2009, and these products have obtained I positive C / UL certification. The price of the product is about $2.50/w. These new participants are expected to survive in the PV manufacturing industry and enter the PV industry integration period.
Recently, China has accelerated the construction of some thin-film photovoltaic production projects. A cell thickness gauge is a new thin-film solar cell with a unit power generation cost of 1% less than that of crystalline silicon, which was launched in Hangzhou Zhejiang Zhengtai Solar Energy Technology Co., Ltd. in february2009. This new product fills the gap in China and is also in the forefront of the world. The solar thin film battery project is a national encouraged project. Under the same area, the thickness of crystalline silicon solar cells is about 0.2mm, while the thickness of the second-generation thin-film solar cells produced by the company is only 1%, that is, 2% mm, which not only saves consumption, but also the cost per watt is nearly 3 / 4 lower than that of crystalline silicon. It is expected that the power generation cost can be reduced to less than 1 yuan / (kW. H) in the future. The product has been offline in Zhejiang Zhengtai Solar Energy Technology Co., Ltd. The production capacity of the company’s first 30MW film production line has reached 65%, and the production capacity of more than 300MW was realized in 2010. In the future, the annual production capacity will increase by at least 50%. Due to the relatively small production capacity of thin film products, at present, the first generation of crystalline silicon products in the market account for more than 90%. However, with the expansion of the production capacity of the second generation of thin film products, its advantages will become more prominent, and finally replace the first generation of crystalline silicon products. The high-end and large-area high-efficiency thin film battery is a laminated technical structure of amorphous / microcrystalline silicon. Amorphous silicon can better absorb the blue and green light in the solar spectrum, and microcrystalline silicon can better absorb the red light in the spectrum. Compared with the common crystalline silicon solar cells in the market, this cell structure can make better use of the solar spectrum and enhance the photoelectric conversion efficiency. At present, the rated conversion efficiency of the production line of Chint Solar Energy Technology Co., Ltd. can reach 9%, which is the highest conversion efficiency of thin-film cells in the world.
Energoso1ar Hungarian equipment manufacturing company announced on March 12, 2009 that it would supply thin-film solar module production line to parity solar in Jiangsu Province, China. Hungary would provide 24mw energoso1ar complete module manufacturing plant to produce a-Si thin-film photovoltaic modules. Parity solar solar plans to expand the manufacturing capacity of thin-film photovoltaic modules to 96mw from 2010 to 2011 Energoso1ar will provide all production equipment, from glass manufacturing to final testing of thin-film photovoltaic modules. The first stage facility was put into operation in the third quarter of 2009, and 24mw can produce 4.7 MW per year × 105m2 high quality thin film photovoltaic module.
In early May 2009, the amorphous silicon thin film solar cell project with a total investment of US $600 million settled in Jingkou District, Zhenjiang. The completion of the project is of positive significance to improve the development level of Jingkou and expand the photovoltaic industry in Zhenjiang. The amorphous silicon thin film solar cell invested and produced by Jiangsu oasis new energy company uses complex high and new technologies to “print” the solar cell on glass, plastic or metal foil, and uses a variety of alloy coatings to absorb sunlight and generate electric energy. Its efficiency is basically equivalent to that of traditional solar crystalline silicon cells, but the manufacturing cost is only 1 / 4 of that of traditional crystalline silicon cells, so it is considered to be a new generation of solar silicon cells that can replace crystalline silicon cells. In addition, the silicon raw material consumption of thin-film cells is only about 1% of that of traditional silicon wafer cells. It is expected that the on grid price of “solar power” is expected to be reduced from 4 yuan / (kW. H) to 1 yuan / (kW. H) in the next three years, so as to approach the price advantage of coal power and truly open the new energy market. Therefore, Jiangsu oasis new energy company decided to invest in the production of amorphous silicon thin-film solar cell photovoltaic products in Jingkou Industrial Park. It is reported that the project is planned to be operated in three phases, of which the total investment of phase I is US $98 million and the annual output value is expected to be US $100 million. After the completion and operation of phase III, a new energy enterprise with an annual output of 200MW, world-class technology and leading output in China will be formed.
On October 28, 2009, Beijing’s first amorphous silicon thin film solar cell production base – Beijing zhongjinyang 150MW thin film solar cell production base, and the phase I 50MW project was put into operation in Pinggu Mafang green energy industry base. Amorphous silicon thin film solar cells have the advantages of rich raw materials, non-toxic, pollution-free and lowest energy consumption. They have realized the industrialization technology of large-scale production. Their products are mainly used in the construction of large and super large grid connected photovoltaic power stations. The total investment of Beijing zhongjinyang 150MW amorphous silicon thin film solar cell production base project is 950 million yuan. It is planned to cover an area of 200 mu and build six production lines. After the project is completed and put into operation in 2010, the annual output of amorphous silicon thin film solar cells will be 150MW, which is equivalent to the annual power consumption of a city with a population of 300000. It can realize sales revenue of 1.5 billion yuan and profit and tax of 200 million yuan. The first phase of 50MW amorphous silicon thin film solar cell production line put into operation this time is the largest photovoltaic cell and module production project in Beijing.
The double track high-efficiency solar cell project of Jiangxi saide High Tech Co., Ltd. was completed in late November 2009. This is a thin-film solar cell project with the highest scientific and technological level, the largest scale and the most advanced technology under construction in the world. Jiangxi Seville best thin film battery project adopts a complete set of advanced silicon-based thin film technology and equipment, and applies mature microcrystalline silicon double junction lamination technology. In the initial stage, it reaches a stable conversion rate of 8.5%, which is much higher than the current conversion rate of 6% of amorphous silicon single junction technology, and will be continuously increased to 12%. Its technical cost is only 40% ~ 50% of polycrystalline silicon and monocrystalline silicon batteries, the thickness of silicon film is less than 21m, and the consumption of silicon material is only 1%, The 5.7m silicon-based thin-film solar cell jointly developed by the company and its partners is the largest single thin-film solar cell in the world. According to the introduction, the current production cost of the world’s advanced thin-film solar cells is about US $1 / W. after the 1000MW capacity of the savibest thin-film battery project is fully realized, the large-scale production will reduce the cost to the level of US $0.6-0.7/w. It is estimated that the power generation cost will reach 0.6 yuan / (kW. H) by 2015
At the end of December 2009, Chengdu zhongphotoelectric Apollo solar energy Co., Ltd. laid the foundation for the 500MW quhua pot thin film solar cell project in Chengdu, and the 5MW quhua cadmium thin film solar cell production line was put into trial production. It is reported that the manufacturing cost of Quehua saw thin film solar cell is low, and it is a new type of solar cell with the best application prospect. The 5MW quhua cadmium thin film solar cell production line of Sichuan Apollo Solar Energy Technology Co., Ltd. has a number of patents such as target manufacturing, target head design and coating process. The trial production of the production line broke the foreign monopoly in the industry.
A large-scale thin-film solar cell project with international advanced technology and a planned investment of 12.7 billion yuan in phase I – hanergy Guangdong Heyuan thin-film solar cell R & D and manufacturing base laid the foundation in Heyuan high tech Development Zone, Guangdong Province on January 12, 2010. The large-scale project will be built with the world’s advanced second-generation silicon-based thin-film solar photovoltaic core technology. Compared with the first generation crystalline silicon solar cell technology, the new technology has the advantages of no pollution, low cost, high power generation and good weak light response. It can be widely used in large-scale photovoltaic power stations, residential roof power generation, building photovoltaic integration and other fields. The completion of the project will promote the rapid development of China’s thin-film solar cell technology and improve the core competitiveness of China’s new energy industry. Hanergy Guangdong Heyuan phase I project will be put into operation before the end of 2010. According to the plan, hanergy will invest 28 billion yuan in Heyuan, Guangdong in the next few years, and finally form Asia’s largest thin-film solar cell production and R & D base with an annual output of 1GW. After all the projects are completed, the annual sales revenue can reach 11.705 billion yuan and the annual after tax profit is 2.218 billion yuan.
2) Development status and problems
In China, more and more thin-film photovoltaic businesses are developing, which shows the active development trend in this field. It is expected that in the future, thin-film photovoltaic will provide low-cost solar power and will be widely developed. Most experts believe that the soaring price of polysilicon in 2008 has improved the price advantage of thin films and promoted Chinese manufacturers to adjust the structure of photovoltaic products.
(1) In terms of price advantage. With the rising price of polycrystalline silicon in China, the production cost of silicon-based solar cell module was 4 ~ 5 times higher than that of thin film module in 2008. Although the price of polysilicon in China has dropped from 480 US dollars / kg in 2008 to 60 US dollars / kg at the end of 2009, thin film manufacturers still enjoy the advantage of low production cost, and the cost of thin film modules is 20% lower than that of silicon modules. In addition, as Chinese manufacturers are acquiring more resources in the R & D field and strengthening cooperation with equipment suppliers, it is expected that the film production cost will continue to decline.
For example, the production cost of thin-film solar cell module of Chint Solar Technology Co., Ltd. is about 8 yuan / W. However, by improving technology and developing China’s supply chain to reduce the cost of raw materials and equipment, the production cost can be reduced to about 4 yuan / W by 2011 or 2012.
(2) Growing demand. The growing demand for thin film is also driven by its technical advantages, such as resistance to harsh environment, good performance and flexibility under low light conditions, which makes Chinese photovoltaic manufacturers love thin film photovoltaic.
(3) With the development of overseas markets, the Chinese market will also develop thin-film photovoltaic. It is estimated that by 2012, China’s market will account for 1 / 3, and the United States and Europe will account for 1 / 3 respectively
(4) The demand for thin film will increase with the development of China building integrated photovoltaic power generation project. For example, thin film photovoltaic has set up Chint’s 2MW project on the 58m ‘skylight and 265m’ arc building wall in Hangzhou.
(5) Challenges. First solar has successfully become the leading thin-film photovoltaic manufacturer in the United States. It is difficult for Chinese thin-film photovoltaic manufacturers to reach the same level because of limited production scale, lack of advanced technology and too much dependence on imported equipment and raw materials. Most Chinese film manufacturers buy expensive equipment from some foreign companies, such as applied materials in the United States, oer1ikon in Switzerland and u1vac in Japan, making their initial investment 10 times higher than that of silicon module manufacturers. In addition, China’s film manufacturers rely heavily on foreign suppliers, which may lead to short supply of some major raw materials, such as some target materials, conductive glass and silicon burning gas. Studies have pointed out that Germany’s Heraeus company supplied more than 60% of China’s target materials in 2008. In terms of conductive glass, Japan’s NSG group and American AFG industry company also occupy a considerable market share in China.
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