The emerging solar technology industry faces increased pressure to drive down production costs, increase efficiencies and thus increase competitiveness in the marketplace. Jaime Schmitt, Phil McGraw and Kevin McAloon look at the growing use of ceramics in solar cell production, which is bringing grid parity for solar power closer than ever before.
World energy consumption is forecast to increase 44 per cent from 2006 levels by 2030. While the use of natural gas and coal will grow, the fastest-growing source of energy will be renewable, which includes solar. Ceramic’s unique physical, thermal and electrical properties make it a reliable, highly-durable and cost-effective material for the harsh environments found in solar cell manufacturing. It is being used to optimise the two key manufacturing processes – silicon wafer and thin-film PV.