How competitive is the LCOE of crystalline silicon PV plants compared to traditional forms of energy generation? Will the latest R&D developments in batteries significantly strengthen the PV industry?
To discuss these among other questions, Schmid Silicon Technology GmbH (SST) organised an international press event (Schmid & SST International Press Meeting IPM) in Dresden on October 22nd and 23rd 2012.
Invited guests included journalists of solar specialist publications, such as PV Magazine and Sonne, Wind & Wärme. Dr. Henning Wicht of IHS iSuppli contributed to our forum with insights into the latest polysilicon price development. Kick-Off for SST’s elect international press forum was a fireside chat in Dresden’s famous Fischhaus restaurant which fostered lively discussions in the face of the current challenges for the Solar and Polysilicon industry. On day two followed a series of presentations by industry experts. To cover all fields of interest, presentations featured not only polysilicon issues, but also integrated projects (Integrated Fab Solutions IFS) from polysilicon to solar module. The event concluded with a tour through Schmid Polysilicon Production (SPP) in Spreetal, Sachsen.
SST was happy to welcome Dr. Henning Wicht, Principal Analyst PV with IHS iSuppli. The renowned specialist is well known for his in-depth analysis of the solar sector, and differentiated views on polysilicon prices according to different quality standards. While prices in the entire PV value chain continue to drop, cell efficiencies increase, and wafers get thinner, the polysilicon production industry is facing serious challenges and ever smaller or non-existent margins.
Polysilicon players who want to survive will have to turn to more cost-competitive technologies allowing for production of high qualitiy polysilicon at low production costs. Dr. Wehefritz, Director Sales Development Department at SST, introduced the SST Monosilane-based Polysilicon Production Process. Technology driven and with a strong R&D focus, SST claims cost- and quality leadership in polysilicon production technology. Uwe Habermann, Sales Director IFS (Integrated Fab Solutions) at SCHMID GROUP, complemented the company introduction with a presentation of a complete solar value chain as it is offered by SCHMID GROUP together with SST and EPC partners: from polysilicon purification to wafer, cell and module. With such a PV value chain, the LCOE (Levelized Cost of Electricity) of solar PV is more than competitive compared to conventional forms of energy generation, as Karan Bhalla, Business Development SCHMID GROUP, pointed out. Due to cell efficiency and intrinsic degradation issues inherent in solar power generation methods like CdTe, crystalline silicon PV wins with respect to lifetime electricity output and total costs of ownership.
The Vanadium Redox Flow Battery (VRFB) solar battery, one of the latest in the long list of SCHMID GROUP R&D highlights, met strong interest with the forum participants. The VRFB, introduced by Dr. Christophe Féry, Product Manager Thinfilm at SCHMID GROUP, surpasses conventional batteries in longevity and excels with an unlimited number of cycles without losing efficiency. What is more, there are no environmental issues, and the VRFB can be applied with large-scale (MW) or small-scale (kW) PV systems just as well.
The SCHMID GROUP and SST International Press Meeting ended with a tour through Schmid Polysilicon Production (SPP). The plant in Saxony, Germany is based on patented SST technology. The first Silicon Out was produced in June 2011 with an offhand extraordinary high purity level. Engineering and realisation of the plant were conducted by the expert team of SST Group.