After years of development, Taiwanese equipment manufacturer Archers Systems has successfully manufactured equipment for heterojunction (HJT) solar cells at an international level. Archers Systems has received orders from Taiwan's Neo Solar Power (NSP), and it estimated that its earliest mass production phase will start in the fourth quarter this year to produce N-type monocrystalline HJT cell. The initial planning for capacity is 40~60MW.
Development of Key Equipment Stimulated HJT's Demand
The key equipment of Archers Systems' HJT production systems is a plasma enhanced chemical vapor deposition (PECVD) equipment and a new-type TCO coater with RPD technology. They can increase HJT cells' absolute conversion efficiency by 1%. Chiam Wu, Chairman in Archers Systems announced that Archers Systems has received orders from NSP, TSMC Solar, and SolarCity/Silevo.
Lulu Chen, Vice President of Advanced Solar Cell Technology Project in Archers Systems, explained that N-type HJT cells have the following advantages: low temperature manufacturing processing, low energy consumption when manufacturing, high conversion efficiency, no light induced degradation (LID-free), and no potential induced degradation (PID free). Their temperature coefficient is low. Therefore, under a high temperature environment, HJT cells’ performance in terms of power generating is superior to conventional c-Si cells. Furthermore, bifacial HJT PV cells’ conversion efficiency will further skyrocket to 24~27%.
After collaborating with Taiwan’s leading manufacturer NSP, Archers Systems has planned to expand capacity. Chiam Wu stated, the company will launch two phases of private placement to collect US$100 million this year for future R&D efforts and capacity expansions. Archers Systems aims at reaching US$1 billion of market capitalization and US$300 million of annual revenue by the year of 2020, reveled Wu.
Chose HJT to secure an advantageous position in PV industry: NSP
Sam Hong, CEO of NSP, said, “since two to three years ago, NSP has collaborated with the local manufacturer Archers Systems develop HJT cell technology.” NSP is projected to formally begin mass production of the first batch of HJT cells in the fourth quarter this year in Taiwan. The PV cells’ conversion efficiency will reach 23%, and its capacity will be 40~60MW. After packaging the HJT cells into modules, a 60-cell module's wattage will reach 325W.
Sam Hong expressed highly confident of high efficiency products. What matters more is whether the prices are competitive enough. Hence, the first phase of mass production will be a test to the PV market. If the yield rates are good enough, NSP will expand the capacity.
Bob Chen, Vice President, Cell Business Unit of NSP, emphasized that the major purpose of investing in production of HJT cells is to secure NSP’s leading position for PV technology and patents of manufacturing processes.
“Considering the issues of PID, LID, and power generation decay under high operating temperature, N-type monocrystalline HJT cells’ power generating cost per unit of installation is far superior than existing P-type PERC cells’,” said Bob Chen.
Lulu Chen explained, Archers Systems's HJT equipment manufacturing will take about six months from receiving orders to shipping out. From fine tuning & calibrating to start massive production, it will take at least three months. As a result, HJT equipment buyers from ordering equipment to physically massive production will need nine months as fast as possible.
(top photo: Left, Sam Hong, CEO of NSP; Right, Chaim Wu, Chairman of Archers Systems)