|Over the past decade, crystalline silicon has solidified itself as the dominant photovoltaic technology. To maintain technology leadership in a world of rising thin-film module efficiencies, silicon must reinvent itself once again, reducing cost while maintaining high performance and reliability.
To meet this challenge, lower-cost feedstock materials are entering commercial production, including upgraded metallurgical route and modified Siemens. Kerfless methods for fabricating thin wafers promise to reduce the grams of silicon per peak watt by >2x. Novel methods for nucleating thin layers of silicon offer disruptive avenues with inherent cost and performance advantages.
While multiple technology pathways exist to reach $1/Wp installed PV system costs using silicon, fundamental scientific and engineering challenges must be overcome. Because the solar cell efficiency is strongly affected by the quality of the crystalline silicon, the development of the silicon materials technology, from the feedstock to crystal growth and wafering, is extremely important. It is therefore essential to exchange scientific information among world-wide specialists in physics as well as materials science and technology for crystalline Si solar cells.
To facilitate this exchange of information, Japan Society for the Promotion of Science 161 Committee and IMR of Tohoku University of Japan organized the 1st International Workshop on Science and Technology of Crystalline Si Solar Cells in Sendai, Japan on Oct. 2-3, 2006. The 2nd workshop was organized by Xiamen University in China on Dec. 9-12, 2007. The third workshop was held in Trondheim, Norway June 3-5, 2009. The 4th workshop was held in Taipei, Taiwan Oct. 27-29, 2010, organized by the Green Energy & Environment Research Laboratories of Industrial technology Research Institute (ITRI) and National Taiwan University. The 5th workshop came to Boston, USA November 1-3, 2011, organized by the PVLab of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. The 6th will be organized in France by Dr. Anis Jouini in November 2012.