Taiwan-based solar cell producer TSEC Corporation is pitching its future competitiveness on plans to migrate to advanced N-type monocrystalline heterojunction (HJ) and advanced multicrystalline PERC (Passivated Emitter Rear Cell) technology over the next few years.
Speaking to PV Tech at their production plant in Hsinchu, Taiwan management noted that its strategy was to be a global supplier of high-quality leading-edge solar cells in both multicrystalline and monocrystalline forms.
Although the US anti-dumping ruling has impacted Taiwan’s solar cell producers, Robin Chien, vice president global business at TSEC noted that being a global supplier, operating in the majority of markets serviceable minimised the impact of any protectionist actions, especially for a manufacturer offering high-quality, high-efficiency products.
“TSEC focuses on quality manufacturing and as a global supplier is supplying customers in Japan, China as well as in Europe,” noted Chien.
Not all of its multiple clients are simply module assemblers as TSEC has supplied a number of tier-1 integrated PV manufacturers, due to the increasing production imbalances seen at integrated manufacturers in recent years.
TSEC was one of the last companies to be formed in Taiwan specialising in solar cells in 2010 and therefore benefited from adopting then available leading-edge production equipment and not saddled with legacy tools.
Demand for TSEC’s cells has remained strong according to Chien and was ranked 24th fastest growing company in the Deloitte 2014 Technology Fast 500 awards.
Chien backed this up by highlighting that the company was planning to expand solar cell capacity by 500MW in 2017, taking current nameplate capacity from 700MW to 1,200MW, while having an in house capacity capability of 1,500MW.
Currently, TSEC has about 20% of its production allocated to monocrystalline cell production and the remaining 80% allocated to multicrystalline production. Around 96% of shipments are solar cells with the remaining share split between modules and systems.
TSEC like other solar cell producers in Taiwan does have a sprinkling of PV module capacity, which Chien said would be expanded in 2015 to 150MW, up from only 80MW currently.
However, the planned cell expansions may seem further out to be meaningful at this time but TSEC is planning the expansion to coincide with the migration to next-generation multicrystalline P-type PERC and N-type HJ technology.
This is to be accompanied with module capacity increasing to 500MW beginning in 2017.
Currently, TSEC’s ‘V Cell’ series PERC mono cells have surpassed conversion efficiencies of 20.6% and are 100% PID (Potential Induced Degradation) free, backed by a string of independent testing houses.
On the multi PERC V Cell side, TSEC has achieved efficiencies of 18.8% and like the mono cells backed by 1,000-hour PID tests.
The company relies on DuPont’s ‘Solamet’ metallization pastes that have been optimized to TSEC’s PERC process. In February, 2015 DuPont announced that TSEC’s mono V-Cell manufacturing process has achieved 21% cell efficiencies, the highest claimed for this type of cell.
New Solamet silver pastes used on the front and rear side of the cells were said to have enabled TSEC an additional 0.15% conversion efficiency, supporting power output of its V-Series modules to more than 300 watts and 360 watts in 60-cell and 72-cell configurations, respectively. TSEC is also migrating from two bus bar design to three.
As has become the norm, TSEC has branched out into the downstream PV project business, primarily within the domestic market with projects pegged below 5MW. However, TSEC has ambitions of expanding its EPC business and has recently added offices in Los Angeles and Tokyo to expand overseas.
At scale with leading-edge mainstream cell and module production, TSEC is taking the high-ground on technology to provide future success, which it hopes will be supported financially by plans for an IPO in the later half of 2015.
TSEC relying on advanced cell migration strategy to remain competitive