Chinese renewable energy news outlets have recently reported that Wonder Solar, a Chinese manufacturer of chemicals, printing pastes, and PV modules, has signed an agreement to build a manufacturing base for perovskite PV cells in Hubei Province. The base is situated in the Gedian Development Zone, or within the city of Ezhou. Wonder Solar has told local media that its core mission is to create new paths for solar PV to reach grid parity by offering high-efficiency, low-cost, and stable PV technologies.
The construction of the base, which covers an area of 100 mu, will be implemented in two phases. In the first phase, Wonder Solar will first build a 200MW trial production line for its printable perovskite PV cells. After the trial production line has demonstrated successful operation, it will be scaled up to 10GW to meet the immediate market demand. Wonder Solar estimates that a fully completed 10GW production line will generate an annual revenue of around RMB 10 billion and employ more than 500 people.
Established in 2016 as a spin-off entity from Huazhong University of Science and Technology, Wonder Solar possesses key technological patents for a printable mesoscopic perovskite PV cell. It built the world’s largest perovskite PV module that has an area size of 3,600 square centimeters as well as the world’s first 10kW-level demonstration project (sized 110 square meters) for the perovskite PV technology. The company touts that it is leading internationally in the development of perovskite cells with respect to cost control, surface area, and material stability. The manufacturing base in Hubei is thus the culmination of Wonder Solar’s ongoing in-house R&D that is being built upon the company’s own intellectual property.
According to an article from Nature published in 2019, numerous companies around the world are now racing to develop perovskite PV cells because this technology offers higher conversion efficiency, lower cost, and structural flexibility. However, there are significant barriers to the commercialization of perovskite cells. For instance, perovskite materials are generally not durable, and they can contain toxic metals such as lead. Also, depositing a uniformed layer of perovskite material over a large area is a challenging task. Currently, some cell manufacturers that are interested in the technology have adopted a tandem cell design that comprises a layer of perovskite material on top of another layer of active material (usually silicon).