High-EF
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  • Thursday 19 April 2018
  • The HIGH-EF project aims to advance the technology of multi-crystalline thin film silicon solar-cells by providing a completely new processing based on the laser-SPE process (cf. Fig. 1) to develop a high efficiency, low cost silicon solar cell on glass with low consumption of silicon.

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    In PV industry, crystalline silicon (single- and multicrystalline) bulk material dominates the market with over 90% market share.

    The difficulty in securing a feedstock supply to produce conventional wafer-based solar cells has encouraged a frenzy of industry projects related to thin-film solar cells.

    WTC, a technology consulting company based in Munich, Germany, has counted some 34 companies developing and in some cases building production lines for thin-film cells.

    Last year saw First Solar, Nanosolar, Schott Solar, and ERSOL announce investments in the range of $100 million each to build new thin-film plants.

    At this pace, thin-film cells could represent about 20% of the PV technology installed (on a year to year basis) worldwide in 2012.WTC estimates that the market for thin-film cells is set to explode in the next few years, reaching $1.5 billion in 2012.

    While the USA has been steadily loosing ground to Japan and Europe in wafer-based cells, about half of the thin-film cells are made by US companies an  this share is expected to remain high (although the production may not be located in the US).

    A timely move is to join forces in Europe and provide one of the thin-film PV manufacturers, CSG Solar AG, with novel silicon thin film material that can be produced at competitive costs and efficiencies >10%.