Monocrystalline Silicon Solar Cells More Popular, More Solar System Installations Expected

Monocrystalline silicon is a relatively dynamic non-metallic element, and one important part of crystalline materials. Today it serves as one of the most important newmaterials, mainly used for making semi-conductor materials, solar cells for PV systems, heating systems and so on. It is also named single-crystal silicon, single-crystal Si, mono c-Si or mono-Si. In the past 30 years, In the recent 30 years, solar energy technology has won great achievements in research, commercialization and market expansion, and will also win its market share in the future.

A few days ago, NREL and the company Crystal Solar worked together and proved that mono-Si solar cells and modules that are less than 80 microns thick. More importantly, they can become less expensive through an epitaxial process. At the same time this process can help grow large numbers of cells, and their cost is about 50 cents each watt. The process shows us that cell cost cost can be halved and 100 times faster than conventional epitaxial reactors. In this case, quick commercialization for single-crystal silicon can be expected.

One data report from some large scale ground PV solar power station in Ningxia, China shows that a single-crystal silicon power station can generate power 5% more than a poly-silicon power station on average.

Single-crystal silicon and poly-silicon are two very important components of a solar PV system. Why are they called single-crystal silicon and poly-silicon? The simple reason is that they have different crystal lattices. People usually think that single-crystal silicon can be made into solar cells that are more potential in generating power. However, the cost is relatively higher. The last data shows that their costs are nearly the same when they are put into a solar PV system. In addition, single-crystal solar panels will be more advantageous in later maintenance and operation.

At present, single-crystal silicon solar PV power generation has been gradually approved, while it still seems its higher cost is now its threshold compared with poly-silicon solar cells.

In China today, single-crystal silicon power stations account for about 10% of the total number, and the rest are comprised of single-crystal silicon and a few thin-film stations. In the past years, the poly-silicon power plants have been prevalent because of its relatively cheaper price.

In the world, single-crystal silicon solar cells are more used. In 2013, new installations have passed 38GW, with 8-9GW of single-crystal silicon installations accounting for 31%-35%. Indeed, this figure is still lower than poly-silicon power installations. But if higher efficiency is considered, this cost evaluation must be changed somewhat.

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