Impact of Materials Prices on Cost of PV Manufacture Part I (Crystalline Silicon)

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1 Impact of Materials Prices on Cost of PV Manufacture Part I (Crystalline Silicon) Nigel Mason SMEET II Workshop, London 27 Feb 2013

2 content Brief introduction to Solar PV Technologies Part I - Crystalline Silicon Case Study 1 - Silicon Silicon production, consumption, price, cost reduction and impact Case Study 2 - Silver Usage in PV, silver demand & price, alternative technology Part 2 - Thin Film to be resented by Chiara Candelise Conclusions 2

3 technology platforms flat-plate sun-tracking concentrator Crystalline Silicon Thin Film Emerging mono-crystalline multi-crystalline silicon ribbon a-si / c-si CdTe CIGS DSC Polymer OPV SM-OPV 3

4 technology status Wafer-Based Silicon Mono c-si Multi c-si Best lab cell efficiency 25% 20% Commercial module 15-20% 14-17% Thin Film a-si/ c-si CdTe CIS/CIGS Best lab cell efficiency 13% 19% 20% Commercial module 7-10% 9-13% 10-14% Emerging DSC Polymer SM-OPV Best lab cell efficiency 12% 11% 12% Today s module eff. 3-5% 3-5% - 4

5 market Share market share & trend 88% of PV production (2011) is wafer-based crystalline silicon technology (c-si) Market share of c-si technology >80% for past 13 years Output by Technology (2011) 100% 80% a-si CIS multi-si 57% mono-si 31% CdTe 6% TF-Si 3% CIS 2% 60% 40% 20% 0% CdTe ribbon-si multi-si mono-si Source: Photon International 5

6 c-si PV value chain MG Si Polysilicon Crystal Wafer Cell Module 6

7 Case Study 1 Silicon polysilicon production Metallurgical Grade Si Siemens process for semiconductor grade Si (polysilicon) Carbo-thermic reduction of quartz Si + HCl = SiHCl 3 Fractional Reduction in H 2 distillation SiHCl 3 to Si cost ~$2/kg ~$20/kg 300,000 MT/year 7

8 polysilicon price ($/kg) silicon price Pre-2005 PV industry used scrap Si from semiconductor industry at price ~$20/kg 58% PV share of polysilicon output PV electronics 12% 8% 6% 20% 32% 45% 42% Around 2005 PV consumption of polysilicon matched semiconductor industry where price ~$50/kg Rapid growth in PV exceeded supply and spot price increased to $500/kg at peak Subsequent expansion in polysilicon production has resulted in excess supply and price fall to ~$20/kg 88% 92% 94% 80% 68% 55% 58% 42% Solar-grade silicon price trend 0 8

9 Source: IRENA Renewable Energy Technologies: Cost Analysis, Solar PV 2012 PV cost reduction The actions The outcome Before the Si price spike the PV modules cost was ~$4/Wp of which ~$1/Wp was the silicon cost The industry response was to reduce Si consumption from 15 g/wp to 5 g/wp by Thinner wafers Reduced kerf loss Higher yields Increased recycling Higher efficiency At the same time the polysilicon industry significantly increased capacity (3-year lead-time) Temporary increase in module price Silicon cost in PV module reduced from $1.00 to $0.20/Wp and c-si remains cost-leading technology * Spot price for c-si module in Germany week 8/2013 was 0.53/Wp ($0.70/Wp) 9 *

10 Case Study 2 Silver used for electrodes (contacts) Electrical contacts are made to the top and bottom surfaces of the silicon cell These contacts are used to interconnect cells in a module and carry current to external circuit Silver-loaded paste is screen printed on the silicon and heated to 780 C to form Ohmic contact to silicon Silver is not detrimental to cell performance, is inert to firing temperature and produces a surface to which metal ribbon can be readily soldered. 10

11 silver - cost challenge Remarkable reductions in PV module cost have been achieved over recent years but rising silver metal price has limited cost reduction in cell fabrication Best-practice wafer-to-cell conversion cost <$0.20/Wp Typical silver paste cost $0.09/Wp paste consumption ~300 mg/cell 156mm silver cost $ 1.10/g silver cost in wafer $ 0.33/cell ($0.09/Wp) module cost breakdown wafer silicon silver cell process module 11

12 sources: The Silver Institute PR 7 Apr 2011 and Photon International sliver demand Industrial demand for silver 55% of supply Prime industrial use is electrical & electronics PV consumes around 6% of demand but increasing with market growth No shortage of silver but supply driven by mining and price MT 30,000 25,000 20,000 15,000 10,000 5,000 - MT 20,000 15,000 10,000 5,000-30,000 net gov. sales 25,000 recycle 20,000 mine 15,000 production 10,000 supply 5,000 (2010) Industrial Demand for Silver e 2012e 2013e 2014e 2015e - coins & medals silverware jewelry photography industrial demand (2010) other ethylene oxide solder & brazing electrical & electronic PV 12

13 base metal alternatives Nickel plated contacts were used in PV cells in the early 80 s by Solarex and Motorola Requires on-cell mask (e.g. photolith.) for electroless Ni deposition Oxidation of nickel and copper limit their use in printed and fired pastes Copper an ideal conductor (92% conductivity Ag) but a detrimental impurity in silicon 2-layer Ni/Cu offers an effective solution Ni plating of solar cells - US DoE/JPL funded work April

14 Ni/Cu/Sn plate v Ag print Attribute Ag Screen Print Ni/Cu/Sn Plating Lower material cost Ag price $1200/kg Cu price $9/kg Narrow line width m m Lower Resistivity 3-10 Ω.cm 1.7 Ω.cm Lower contact resistance sensitive to firing temp. <1 mω.cm 2 Higher aspect ratio (h:w) Range 1:10 to 1:2 1:2 or better Lower firing temperature C C Screen Print Ag paste 780 C fire-through SiN Copper - more complex process but lower cost and improved performance Laser pattern SiN Ni plate 350 C sinter Ni-Si Cu plate + Sn cap 14

15 early adopters (of Cu) Pioneered by In production today Pilot production or R&D Source: Ji-sun Kim (Shinsung Solar) et al., PVSC

16 module price ($/Wp) summary (from case 1 & 2) A 3-fold decrease in Si consumption per Wp and a 2-fold decrease in Si price has driven c-si to a low price High silver price is driving a range of short-term silver paste-reduction initiatives but copper-based contacts provide a long-term solution to sustainable cost reduction Message Factory-gate c-si module prices Dec-08 Dec-09 Dec-10 Dec-11 Dec-12 Source: Photon Consulting Incumbent industries will find innovative ways to overcome material shortages or price escalation 16

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