Composite Material Reduces Cost of Solar Panels

August 12, 2014

Yingli Solar

Yingli Green Energy, the largest vertically integrated photovoltaic module manufacturer in the world, known as “Yingli Solar,” announced that they have successfully completed trial production of monocrystalline ingots for solar panels using new material technology.

Instead of using traditional graphite crucibles when pulling monocrystalline ingots, Yingli experimented with crucibles made from a carbon-carbon (C-C) composite material. Yingli’s initial estimates suggest that the new material could reduce manufacturing costs for solar panels by nearly 0.01 USD per watt.

CivicSolar defines monocrystalline silicon as silicon that “is created by slowly pulling a monocrystalline silicon seed crystal out of melted monocrystalline silicon using the Czochralski method to form an ingot of silicon. A seed crystal is a small piece of silicon which is used as a foundation for the molten molecules. By having a foundation, the molten molecules are able to connect together faster to form an ingot.”

While graphite crucibles are currently the most commonly used type of crucible in monocrystalline ingot formation, they are known to have low strength, short lifetimes, and a high risk of silicon leakage, because the crucibles are prone to cracking during the heating process.

Carbon-carbon composite crucibles are not as vulnerable to these risks because they are made from a reinforced carbon fiber matrix that is low-density, high-strength, with high thermal conductivity, thermal shock resistance, and dimensional stability.

Transitioning to carbon-carbon composite crucibles will reduce the per-unit cost of furnace crucibles, improve the stability of crystal pulling, and increase the utilization rate of monocrystalline silicon ingots by approximately 3%.

Mr. Liansheng Miao, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Yingli Green Energy, commented, “Our pursuit of innovative manufacturing processes has played a key role in Yingli’s growth trajectory. As the world’s largest vertically integrated PV manufacturer, we are dedicated to continuous improvement on our manufacturing lines and frequently experiment with new material and technologies. Our priorities are to improve efficiency, reduce costs, and deliver high product quality, so that we can maximize value for our global partners and bring affordable green energy to all.”

Source: PR Newswire

Image: Yingli Solar




Dawn Killough

has over 15 years experience in the construction industry and is the author of Green Building Design 101, an e-book available from Amazon. She is a LEED AP and Certified Green Building Advisor, and has worked on the LEED Certification of three projects in Salem, Oregon.