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Solar Production Technology
High efficiency for the trend reversal
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New plants: Solar production plants in Asia are peppered with production technology from Germany. (Photo: Suntech)
Observed precisely:show photos
Now, many manufacturers in Asia build their own production lines. They have learned how the technology works. (Photo: Suntech)
Old times:show photos
Schott boss Udo Ungeheuer is not smiling anymore. The solar crisis has forced him to opt out of cell production. (Photo: Schott)
This step is particularly surprising, since the Mainz company was seen as an important ray of hope for the German solar industry, which is in crisis. They have only just completed the development of the so-called PERC cells (Passivated Emitter and Rear Contact), which have already been celebrated as the industrial cell of the future by experts. With more than 20 per cent effectiveness, PERC puts standard cells made of silicon, which convert a maximum of 16 to 17 per cent of light into energy, clearly in the shade. The high efficiency of PERC is due to an additional barrier layer between the semiconductor and the contacts on the reverse side. This prevents the charge carrier getting lost at this critical point in the cell.
Fortunately, the new wonder cell of photovoltaics remains, in spite of Schott Solar's withdrawal. In June, the company licensed the technology to the Swabian mechanical engineer Schmid, who is now selling equipment for this all over the world. "Starting from now, we will offer the plants and the process, as an individual upgrade or complete turnkey line," says Schmid spokesman Christoph Kübler.