JA rapidly ramps PERCIUM lines

JA Solar has kicked off mass production of its next-generation PERCIUM cells, and will have four fabrication lines running by the end of the year – and eight by the end of 2015.

That would give the company a PERCIUM production capacity of 170MW by the end of 2014, and 350MW by the end of next year.

JA’s PERCIUM cells are the industry’s first p-type PV cells to boast an average conversion efficiency higher than 20%, with their performance currently standing at 20.4%, according to the Chinese company.

By comparison, the average conversion efficiency of JA’s CYPRESS2 line of cells presently stands at 19.4% for monocrystalline cells, and 17.9% for multicrystalline.

JA, the world’s second largest maker of PV cells (after Yingli), says that by the end of this week it will begin mass production of modules using its PERCIUM cells. The modules will have an average power rating of 285W, expected to reach 290W by year end.

Despite a revived push by some PV manufacturers in recent years into n-type cells – which are seen as having better potential over the long run for reaching higher conversion efficiencies – p-type cells remain the industry standard.

With module prices having largely stabilsed, and many industry players having returned to profitability, technological advancement has returned to the fore within the module sector. JA’s PERCIUM cells use passivated backside and local back surface field (BSF) technology, boosting their performance in low-light settings.

JA expects to ship as much as 2.9GW of cells and modules this year, most of it based on older technology.

Over the past few years JA has successfully transformed into one of the world’s largest module manufacturers, expanding from its historic role as a cell maker.

Profit-making JA has a number of factories in China, and is currently ramping up its first overseas plant – in South Africa.