What is Happening at the PV Manufacturing Stage?

Expert Interview – June 05, 2024

The vast expansion of solar energy relies on a continuously growing, technologically mature PV manufacturing industry that produces increasingly cost-effective, efficient, and versatile products.

Reason enough for us to focus on this topic again this year, together with our partner, group sector Photovoltaics Equipment of the Machinery and Equipment Manufacturing Association (VDMA), at the PV Manufacturing Stage on all three days of the exhibition.

Find out in our interview with Dr. Puzant Baliozian, Group Sector Leader of VDMA Photovoltaics Equipment, what visitors can expect at the event.

Interview with Dr. Puzant Baliozian, Group Sector Leader of VDMA Photovoltaics Equipment

This year, the PV Manufacturing Stage is taking place for the second time at Intersolar Europe. What kind of response is the topic of PV production currently receiving in the industry?

The topic of PV Production is very dynamic. On a global scale, an installation capacity of around 1.5 TWp is already achieved in 2023. The significance of manufacturing and production technology remains of interest as a core topic for 2024 and expected to remain so with technology advancement. In 2023, the PV shipment volume was estimated to be around 502 GW. We see that for every doubling of shipments in MWs an average module price with a learning rate of 24.9%. This drop of prices is due to strong technological development in production technologies but also market-dependent conditions.

The very low witnessed module prices do not prevent the production technologies from further development, and from remaining an essential point of discussion for our PV community. The PV Manufacturing stage is offering a main platform within Intersolar Europe to cover the latest in solar manufacturing.

What can participants expect at this year's PV Manufacturing Stage? What are the main themes for 2024, and why should I, as an exhibition visitor, attend the stage?

At this year’s PV manufacturing Stage we will be hosting a 3-day program during the days of the exhibition, showcasing technological advancements by companies and research institutions. We will be having in total more than 40 speakers, in 7 sessions. The topics cover mainly crystalline silicon and thin film technologies.

The entire value chain of crystalline silicon solar manufacturing will be part of the content, from the ingot, wafers, cells and modules, also including automation and measurement technologies with artificial intelligence being part of today’s production line solutions. Attendees will get an overview of the industry, but also receive insights about the latest technological questions.

What will be presented at the PV Manufacturing Stage regarding the latest trends in cell technologies and manufacturing techniques

The industry is already facing the rapid shift from the domination of the PERC technology to the solar cells and modules with passivated contacts (TOPCon and SHJ) and advanced IBC cell structures. These cell structures offer higher efficiency levels, but most importantly a cost-effective product on a system level when levelized cost of electricity (LCoE) is calculated.

Moreover, considering the promising indications of extremely high efficiencies for perovskite-silicon tandem cells, companies are actively working on product development and roadmaps to facilitate the mass production of this technology, a topic that will also be addressed.

The presentations given on stage will showcase how machinery and equipment manufacturers are providing highly innovative solutions for production lines with unprecedented industrial throughput values at low total cost of ownership, without which no cost-effective products can be produced. Furthermore, representatives from leading European R&D institutes in solar technology innovation will share insights into their solutions and discuss potential pathways for integration into European production lines through robust collaborations with equipment manufacturers.

What is the current status of the initiative to bring PV production back to Europe? Is this still a topic in 2024, and if so, what can we expect to hear about it?

The topic of PV production renaissance in Europe remains of vital importance for us, as it was in the past and the future. We are aware of several initiatives for large-scale gigafactories in different phases of development are on the go. Moreover, manufacturing of niche products for particular applications is also being implemented. Some of those innovative European companies will be presenting their latest developments at the PV Manufacturing stage.

We however also know that domestic European manufacturing is becoming more challenging due to the low module prices of imports making the competition very difficult. We will have a policy-based presentation focusing on European solar manufacturing bringing new insights for the future of the manufacturing branch in Europe. The PV Manufacturing Stage offers the voice for the solar manufacturing innovation activities.

About the PV Manufacturing Stage

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