Posts Tagged ‘solar modules’

15 July

GTAT Bringing Merlin To Solar Industry


Dear Friends, Visitors/Viewers/Readers,

(Please click on red links and note magenta)

This is an interview with the team (Sr. Vice President/General Manager Dr. Venkatesan Murali, Sr. Director of Marketing Jeff Nestel-Patt, and Vice President of Sales Andrew Barta) from GT Advanced Technologies (GTAT) at San Francisco, CA, during InterSolar North America 2014, on July 9, 2014,overlooking the Yerba Buena Gardens on top of Moscone North. Video below:

As the global demand for solar energy continues to grow while the industry is facing downward pricing pressure, reduced subsidies, and solar trade tensions, it becomes increasingly important for PV manufacturers to achieve further cost reductions and improved cell efficiency. GTAT accomplishes this by introducing the innovative metallization & cell interconnect technology (Merlin Advanced Metallization Technology) that transforms the solar module into a less expensive, more efficient panel that is easier to install.

The Merlin Advanced Metallization Technology enables greater performance than the traditional modules by:

  1. Eliminating up to 80% of the expensive silver paste used in the traditional cells and modules, leading to cost reduction.
  2. The same screen printing equipment installed in cell line can be used to print the segmented fingers onto the cell
  3. Flexible grid that eliminates silver bus bars: a plated copper grid is attached to the segmented fingers on the top of the solar cell. The combination of segmented fingers and flexible grid makes it easier to move current off the cell. The flexible grid provides 20 paths/highways for the current to travel along rather than the three bus bars found on the traditional solar cells.
  4. Reducing shading by bus bars and increasing electrical connections on the surface of the cell  lead to increased cell efficiency and increased power output (by 3-5% compared to standard module).
  5. Improving the interconnection between cells by eliminating the need for stringing and tabbing of the old technology, providing highly flexible and durable way to connect cells while eliminating the bus bar tabs of traditional cells. Cells can therefore be connected closer together, allowing a smaller and more flexible module than the conventional module.
  6. The flexible tabs at the end of each grid solve the problem generally associated with breakage of modules during transport resulting from metal fatigue when ribbons break due to dynamic loading conditions during shipping.
  7. GTAT is almost 50% lighter than the conventional modules.
  8. Easier installation results in lower balance of system costs

(Please also refer to this video for visual demonstration:

GTAT is already working with select customers to implement Merlin, involving custom-made copper meshes soldered on to PV cells instead of bus bars. GTAT will produce and sell customized copper meshes to customers, and expects to reach a production capacity of 100 MW annually by the end of 2014. In early 2015, it will begin to offer a wire attachment tool to customers, which will replace the tabbing stringer. Orders may be taken in last quarter of 2014, so in 2015, solar PV module makers will be able to work with this new technology to replace silver bus bars with a customizable copper mesh, reducing silver usage, increasing power output, and allowing lighter modules to be transported and installed.

GT Advanced Technologies Inc. is a global provider of polysilicon production technology and sapphire and silicon crystalline growth systems and materials for the global solar, LED, and other electronics industries and specialty markets. The company’s products and services accelerate the adoption of new advanced materials that improve performance and lower the cost of manufacturing. For additional information about GT Advanced Technologies, please visit

~have a bright and sunny day~

Gathered, written, and posted by sunisthefuture-Susan Sun Nunamaker

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28 March

Sunshine For All of Us-Insolation



Dear friends and readers, here is the continuation from March 20, 2011 post on “There Is Plenty of Sunshine For All of Us”:

I  found a wonderful site that has explained the concept of  insolation with more graphical presentatioins: .  Various parts of the world or planet earth may also be seen through this collection of World Insolation Maps, available via:,or.r_gc.r_pw.&um=1&ie=UTF-8&source=univ&sa=X&ei=eLSFTZXBKu2C0QGOnvHOCA&ved=0CCUQsAQ.
To get a general idea of how much solar radiation there is available in USA, I’d like to share with you some data collected by U.S. Government of Scientific and Technical Information (OSTI) for different states, made available at this site, So, let’s take a look at some data together:  Firstly, if you’d click on the sunshine state of Florida (specifically Daytona Beach, FL), solar radiation for flat-plate collectors facing South at 0 degree tilt,  during the month of January, produces at minimum 2.7  kWh/m2/day, at maximum 3.7 kWh/m2/day (which average to 3.1 kWh/m2/day).   kWh/m2/day, kilowatt-hour per meter squared per day, is the unit of measurement for energy, in this case, for solar radiation.  Under similar circumstance in Chicago, IL (by clicking on Illinois), the measurement at minimum was 1.5 , at maximum was 2.1 and averaged to 1.8 in the month of January while in Alpena, MI, measurement at minimum was 1.4, at maximum 1.8, and averaged to 1.6 kWh/m2/day. To get an overview of how much solar radiation/sunshine there may be available for the month of January in USA, please take a look at the map below.  Definitely, there will be monthly and seasonal variations.

January PV Solar Radiation (Flat Plate, Facing South, Latitude Tilt) of USA

To determine how much, on the average, solar radiation may be available annually, we simply multiply the amount of   solar radiation or energy is available daily by 365. For  an example of a quick overview of the average annual solar radiation  data (for USA) produced by NREL (National Renewable Energy Laboratory) , take a look at this map located at this site:  Annual PV Solar Radiation (Flat Plate, Facing South, Latitude Tilt) .

Annual PV Solar Radiation (Flat Plate, Facing South, Latitude Tilt) of USA

Insolation is a measure of solar radiation energy received on a given surface area in a given time.  In the case of photovoltaics it is commonly measured as kilowatt hours per year per kilowatt peak rating.  In case any of you is wondering, peak rating is the amount of energy produced at the moment or instant when highest amount of solar radiation is produced at specifically given conditions.  Recall  my previous post (of March 20, 2011) regarding single or 1- axis vs. dual or 2-axis tracking  device, these trackers are great for optimizing the amount of energy produced for current pricing structure of the solar modules/panels/plates;dual or 2-axis tracker yields about 40% more power than fixed/flat plate (source: ) while single or 1-axis tracker yields about 20-30% more power than fixed/flat plate (source: .  But as the cost of solar modules/plates continue to drop,  the desirability of these tracking devices may also diminish for the fact that there is added initial costs and movable parts (translating to higher maintenance cost).  If solar modules/plates are cheap enough, it may eventually be more economically feasible to simply add more solar modules/plates rather than adding tracking devices. Please keep in mind that the economic feasibility will continue to change as the cost of solar module/panel/plate decreases and price of oil increases.

My friends in USA and  throughout planet earth, we really do have plenty of sunshine, waiting to be tapped.  So let’s try to put it to use.  It is true that at different parts of the world, there may be different  level of availability.  I guarantee that the cost of using solar energy/technology will continue to drop.  The sooner that more of us start to use solar energy, the faster the cost will drop.  More discussions on economic feasibility and various contributing factors will be disclosed in my future posts.  I hope you will have a sunny day, wherever you may be….


Posted by sunisthefuture-Susan Sun Nunamaker,
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