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The long read: The right time for TOPCon

The potential advantages of n-type technologies have long been known to solar manufacturers, and such applications have been the focus of much of their research and development activities. Recent developments see 2022 shaping up as the year when n-type goes into mass production, led by tunnel oxide passivated contact (TOPCon) cells. pv magazine takes a closer at this cell technology and its route to the mainstream.

IEA outlines plan to rapidly reduce dominant role of Russia in Europe’s energy markets

The International Energy Agency has published a 10-point plan for Europe to reduce its reliance on natural gas imported from Russia. The plan would see Russian gas imports to EU member states reduced by one third within a year, and notes that further reductions within this timeframe would come with significant tradeoffs, likely to impact both energy prices and Europe’s Green Deal. The plan was presented by Fatih Birol, executive director of the IEA, in a virtual press conference held earlier today.

A 4,000 cycle lithium-sulfur battery

Scientists in the United States developed a lithium-sulfur battery using a commercially available carbonate electrolyte, that retained more than 80% of its initial capacity after 4000 cycles. The group used a vapor deposition process which unexpectedly produced a form of sulfur that did not react with the electrolyte, overcoming one of the key challenges for this battery chemistry.

The long read: Expansions in n-type solar tech

The past 12 months have been a turbulent time for PV manufacturing. Rapid and impressive developments in technology have been accompanied by price increases up and down the supply chain, and energy shortages weighed on production in the second half of the year. Chinese n-type module manufacturer Jolywood is now pressing ahead with ambitious expansion plans despite the disruption. pv magazine publisher Eckhart K. Gouras and editor Mark Hutchins recently caught up with Cathy Huang, European sales director at Jolywood, to discuss the company’s plans to bring n-type TOPCon technology into mainstream production.

The long read: Finding PV faults faster

PV cell and module manufacturers are increasingly turning to artificial intelligence to monitor production lines and the products coming off them in minute detail. As inline monitoring and testing equipment become more sophisticated, cell and module makers must be prepared to manage the enormous amounts of data and pull out the points that will save them time and money. pv magazine examines the software solutions backing state-of-the-art PV production.

Defining BIPV

Incorporating solar into our built environments represents an opportunity for hundreds of gigawatts to be installed worldwide without taking up any additional land. In many cases though, this will require solutions beyond typical rooftop PV installations and much closer cooperation between the PV and construction industries. A new report published by IEA PVPS looks to bring together the interests of both worlds, and clearly categorize both the building envelope and energy functions of different BIPV components.


PV technology roadmap: More work needed to process 210mm wafers

In an update to its annual International Technology Roadmap for Photovoltaics, German engineering association VDMA discusses the readiness level for various technologies in PV cell and module manufacturing, finding that more process development is needed for 210mm wafers – the largest format currently on the market – to match the throughputs that will soon be achievable with smaller formats including 182mm.


Mathematical model to predict rooftop PV system yield

Scientists in India developed a mathematical model to predict the output of solar cells and modules in the field. The model was developed and tested using both sun simulator and actual installed modules. The scientists state that their model can be applied to a PV installation anywhere in the world, and that by taking into account module degradation over time their forecasts can be as much as 26% more accurate than existing energy yield models.


210mm wafer achieves highest energy yield, finds Trina Solar

Trina Solar has found that its Vertex modules, based on the 210mm wafer, achieve an energy yield up to 1.6% higher than rival products based on the smaller 182mm wafer format. The company conducted outdoor testing at two separate sites with varying climates, finding that products based on the larger format have a particular advantage in low-irradiance environments.

Analyzing the opportunity for perovskite solar module production in India

Scientists in India conducted a techno-economic analysis for a 100 MW production line for carbon-electrode perovskite solar modules, located in Himachal Pradesh, India. The analysis concludes that, even at the smaller scale, this emerging technology could achieve cost levels comparable with today’s silicon solar products.