The future of solar is black, not green; China pushes into polysilicon production

October 20 2008 / by Garry Golden
Category: Energy   Year: 2011   Rating: 1

The color of solar is black, not green. And the future of the solar industry depends largely on our ability to produce and re-purpose this black piece of ‘polycrystaline’ material at a low cost.

China is now expanding its polysilicon production capacity with the hope of becoming a low cost manufacturing base for the global solar energy industry.

3 Types of Solar
The solar industry can be divided into three growth areas. ‘Solar thermal’ taps the power of the sun to heat liquid filled tubes that generate steam for electricity producing turbines. ‘Thin film’ solar is based on flexible, durable strips of plastic solar cells that can be integrated into materials used in buildings and products. And then there is the familiar (higher efficiency) ‘solar panel’ based on glass modules that convert photons into electricity. The key ingrediant in these ‘crystal’ solar panels is black polysilicon.

Chinese-Italian contract for solar wafers
The industry’s growth depends largely on the ability to expand polysilicon materials that go into solar wafers at a low cost. The key for solar panel makers is to sign long term, fixed price contracts.

China-based LDK Solar Co has announced a seven-year contract to supply multicrystalline solar wafers to Italy-based Helios Technology

Beginning in 2009, LDK Solar will deliver approximately 70 MW of multicrystalline silicon solar wafers over a seven-year period and extending through 2015.

LDK Solar’s headquarters and manufacturing facilities are located in China, with operations in Sunnyvale, California.

Press release

Image – Wikimedia

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