Photovoltaic Energy – Electricity from the sun
Photovoltaic (PV) is a combination of two words. “Photo” meaning light and “Voltaic” meaning electricity. Photovoltaic technology is a term that describes the processes that converts solar energy into usable power that generates electricity from light.
The cost of PV electricity is still higher than mainstream electricity.
Whilst it is expected that prices for electricity from fossil fuels will keep rising, it is still very important that the costs for solar power will be brought down. With introduction of advanced non-oxide ceramics, Steuler Solar will be one important factor for Photovoltaic industry to substantially reduce production costs and increase solar cell efficiency.
Most PV systems are based on wafers from crystalline silicon.
There are two types of wafers with two different production technologies.
What is common for both types is the need to transfer silicon raw material into crystallised wafers.
For silicon to produce electricity, it is necessary to transfer the material into a new structure. This new structure will occur during controlled heating and cooling. The process is therefore taking place in crystallisation kilns under severe controlled atmosphere.
Silicon raw materials are first put into crucibles. During firing, the silicon is melted in the crucible and during cooling, the silicon will be crystallised. We now have a crystallised ingot that during several cutting operations will be reduced to smaller ingots and finally super-thin wafers.
Depending on the process, the wafers comes out as monocrystalline or multicrystalline.
Mono is representing the high efficiency solar panels. However, it is not representing the highest volume due to a more complex production technology.
Even with lower efficiency, multicrystalline wafers is currently most expanding. This is due to a more robust technology that easier can be up scaled at necessary speed. However, there are no fundamental reasons why multicrystalline technology could not reach same high efficiency as monocrystalline.
By improving the conditions under which crystallization is taken place, Steuler Solar new generation crucibles, will significantly contribute to new technology developments.
By reducing production costs of clean solar energy, Steuler Solar will be one factor for reducing fossil fuel carbon emissions and to help create a sustainable future.
NEWSFLASH January 2016 – Steuler Solar
Steuler Solar, partner in Horizon 2020 R&D project, ″EcoSolar”
EcoSolar envisions an integrated value chain to manufacture and implement solar panels in the most ecologic way by maximizing resource efficiency, taking into account reuse of materials during production and repurposing solar panel components at end of life stage. EcoSolar will demonstrate that during the lifetime of a solar electricity producing field, individual panels can be monitored, allowing to identify defaulting panels at an early stage, replacing or repairing them and thus to increase the overall energy yield.
With our new generation crystallization crucible, based on our proprietary technologies, Steuler Solar are together with 11 other European partners, participant in a new R&D project financed under EU Horizon 2020 program.
The crucibles will be used to determine the optimal parameters for highest number of reuse by improving properties and crystallization processes for both Cz-mono and DS-multi industry.