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Home > Worldwide PV Report > Business & Company

centrotherm photovoltaics AG: High-Tech Ideas to Lower PV Production Costs

Dr. Peter Fath, Chief Technical Officer of centrotherm photovoltaics AG, talks about what’s recently launched and what’s next at the leading technology and equipment provider for the photovoltaic sector.

Reported by Jeanny H. Lim (swied@infothe.com)


What new products or services have you launched recently?

In the Solar Cell & Module division, we have launched the ‘c.NITE Inline’ PECVD system, the ‘c.FIRE’ fast firing furnace and the ‘c.LAS’ laser system for high-efficient laser applications (e.g., selective emitter and rear side technologies). In the Silicon & Wafer division, we have introduced our multi-crystalline ingot furnace and key equipment for ingot squaring and brick cropping. In the Thin Film division, our subsidiary FHR Anlagenbau has recently presented a new generation of roll-to-roll foil coating systems. With the ‘GP ISO- TEST .Waf’ and the ‘GP TF-EYE’, our subsidiary GP Solar has launched two inspection systems.


What’s next? Do you have any new products being introduced this year?

We will introduce our new centaurus technology which will on the one hand be integrated into our solar cell turnkey lines and on the other hand be available as upgrade package for established production lines. centaurus technology is characterized by a local aluminium back surface field and improved rear side passivation and can boost efficiency up to 19.5% on mono material.


What is your priority this year, business-wise and technology-wise?

With the opening of our new Solar Innovation Center in Constance, Germany, we will be able to ensure the technology development and even faster innovation cycles for our customers.

The main focus is on driving down our customers’ production costs with our equipment and technology. Over the coming month, we anticipate increased demand for our upgrade technologies.


What is your company’s roadmap for the coming years?

We will focus on increasing the cell efficiency following our ‘Solar Cell Efficiency Roadmap’ and on reducing the costs along the value chain, especially by integrating the production (integrated factory).


What is your competitive advantage over other players in the market?

We offer key equipment and technology along the entire photovoltaic value chain. Furthermore, we have a strong customer base and more than 30 years of experience in the industry.


What kinds of advances have there been recently in terms of PV production equipment technology?

Using our cost-effective selective emitter with laser diffusion in combination with our centaurus rear side technology, we have reached a level of 20% cell efficiency in the laboratory.


What’s next at centrotherm as you strive to improve your technologies and drive solar manufacturing innovation?

We have driven down production costs of PV modules and we believe PV electricity will be competitive against conventional energy sources as well as against other renewable energies.


Which specific country/region are you targeting for growth?

We are targeting established markets like China, Taiwan and India. Additionally we see business potential in growth markets like Brazil and the MENA region.


What is your perspective on the market drivers for your high-tech production equipment for PV at this time?

The manufacturers need to drive down their production costs in order to sustain competitiveness. This pressure creates demand for high-tech production equipment.

With our evolutionary development of technology and upgrade packages, we enable our customers to achieve cost reduction and producing on a state-of-the-art level in the long run.


Jeanny H. Lim is Editor-in-Chief of InterPV. Send your comments to swied@infothe.com.



Who is Dr. Peter Fath?


Dr. Peter Fath is Chief Technical Officer of centrotherm photovoltaics AG. Dr. Peter Fath (born in 1967), a member of centrotherm photovoltaics AG’s Management Board since May 2008, is responsible for the technology and research & development area. He is also Co-Founder of centrotherm’s 100% subsidiary GP Solar GmbH and was until May 2009 its Managing Director.

In his last position, Dr. Fath was active as head of research and development at the solar company Sunways AG. He looks back on over 17 years’ experience in photovoltaics in the areas of R&D, engineering, technology transfer and consulting. Dr. Fath publishes regularly, and holds numerous international patents. In addition, he has various administrative and supervisory board mandates both in Germany and abroad. Dr. Fath studied physics at the University of Constance, where he also gained his doctorate in 1998.



For more information, please send your e-mails to pved@infothe.com.

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