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SOLAR DAILY
Trina Solar chief scientist at PVSEC 2013
by Staff Writers
Paris, France (SPX) Oct 16, 2013


File image.

Trina Solar took to the stage at PVSEC 2013 to provide an evaluation of current PV production costs and assess what the company believes will be the decisive buying factors for PV in the coming years.

PVSEC Europe - held this year in Paris, 30 September to 4 October - is the largest international conference and trade show for research, technology, and solutions companies in the PV industry.

It gathers the global PV community to conduct business, to network, and to present and discuss the latest developments and innovations in photovoltaics. It is a world-renowned science-to-science, business-to-business, and science-to-industry platform with an exclusive focus on the global solar sector.

Dr Pierre Verlinden is Trina's Solar Chief Scientist and Vice Chair of the State Key Laboratory of PV Science and Technology (PVST), and a member of the PVSEC International Scientific Advisory Committee (ISAC). He has an extensive track record in the PV industry and strong technical experience in R and D management, high-efficiency silicon and multi-junction III-V solar cells, manufacturing of high-efficiency solar cells and concentrator PV systems.

In his keynote speech, "Cost Analysis of Current Production and Strategy for Future Silicon PV Modules", Dr Verlinden presented his views on the current cost of PV manufacturing.

Dr Verlinden explored the manufacturing realities behind plummeting PV module prices between 2008 and 2012, revealing that the 82 per cent drop in ASP, and a 70 per cent fall in manufacturing costs over the same period, were largely attributable to the falling cost of silicon - non-silicon cost has dropped by only 48.4 per cent, almost in line with the "learning curve" model.

He also predicted that cost reductions will continue to follow this model, which forecasts a 20 per cent drop for every doubling of the cumulative production.

Dr Verlinden stated his firm belief that price will, however, stay constant, suggesting that the key challenge for the industry in future will be identifying how to regain sufficient gross margin to maintain profitability and sustainable growth. Finally, Dr Verlinden also predicted that there may be further market supply constraints due to the cost and availability of silver.

"If prices have reached bottom and will stay more or less flat, what factors will shape customer decisions? What differentiates PV products from each other? Customers are now more educated and have more information available to them, such as independent laboratory test results. Customer decisions will be now based mainly on two key factors: reliability and LCOE (levelised cost of electricity)," he said.

"Reliability is expensive. PV companies cannot offer the highest quality module at the lowest cost," he continued.

"But what we can do is offer a highly reliable product that is adapted to a particular climate, design a cell that has a better energy efficiency at a typical irradiance, optimise the energy production rate for each typical climate, focus on reduction of LCOE instead of $/Watt, and educate customers about the particular attributes of PV modules," Dr Verlinden concluded.

Trina Solar offers a number of products that help lower LCOE, including double-glass modules for improved reliability and Trinasmart for improved energy production and lower O&M cost. The company also presented the results of a new cell in pilot production that has reached 20.54 per cent efficiency for lower LCOE.

At PVSEC Europe, Dr Verlinden participated in the Moderated Policy Panel Discussion on Monday 30 September, and chaired the "PV Value Chain" session held on Wednesday 2 October.

Finally, Dr Verlinden co-authored five other papers presented at the EU PVSEC Conferences:

+ Preventing the Formation of Voids in the Rear Local Contact Areas for Industrial-Type PERC Solar Cells

+ Injection Dependent Emitter J0 Measurement under Metallised Areas Using Photoconductance Decay

+ High-Reliability and Long-Durability Double-Glass Module with Crystalline Silicon Solar Cells with Fire-Safety Class-A Certification

+ Analysis of the Series Resistance of Industrial Crystalline Silicon Solar Cells by Numerical Device Simulation and Analytical Modelling

+ An Inline Assessing Method for Multi-Crystalline Wafer Based on PL and CCD Images

To download these papers, please go here.

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