Solar In Your Community – Suniva Solar Panel ManufacturingPosted on Wednesday, June 12th, 2013 at 1:52 pm by Solar Energy USA
Did you know there is a solar panel manufacturing plant in Norcross, Georgia?
Suniva is the leading American manufacturer of high-efficiency, cost-competitive PV solar cells and modules (panels). The company is known worldwide for its high-quality solar products, patented low-cost manufacturing technology, and long-term reliable performance.
Founded in 2007, Suniva’s leading American-made solar panel manufacturing process comes from the leading PV research lab, UCEP, the University Center of Excellence for Photovoltaics at Georgia Tech, just 12 miles away from the Suniva plant in Norcross. Suniva’s founder and CTO, Dr. Ajeet Rohatgi, is a Regents’ Professor and a Georgia Power Distinguished Professor in the School of Electrical Engineering at the Georgia Institute of Technology (Georgia Tech), where he joined the ECE faculty in 1985. He is highly regarded as one of the world’s leading research scientists in photovoltaic (PV) technology, and is the founding director of UCEP at Georgia Tech.
Under Dr. Rohatgi’s leadership, Suniva has accomplished several solar industry firsts and achievements in manufacturing, technology, research, and development, including the fastest ramp-up to 100MW production in the industry; the raising of $130 million in capital following the formation of Suniva in 2007; the successful production of cell efficiencies exceeding 19% and R&D cell efficiencies exceeding 20%.
Located in Norcross, the Suniva solar manufacturing plant is a solar powered facility with EV charging stations located in the parking lot.
Suniva differentiates their organization from the competition by using highly automated manufacturing, assembly, and quality control testing processes. According to their website, “Suniva takes pride in having one of the most experienced PV teams in the world to lead the research, design and manufacture of PV cells and modules. Our Quality Assurance team works diligently every day to apply our decades worth of expertise by producing some of the highest quality, highest powered modules on the market, complete with an industry-leading 25 year linear power warranty, and 10 year workmanship warranty.”
Check out the following cool video about Suniva:
Solar Cell and Solar Panel Manufacturing Process
First, silicon wafers are cleaned by ultrasound. Then, once cleaned and dried, they are chemically treated with phosphorous at very exact levels. The solar cells then get heated and tested for responsiveness, followed by an etching process designed to stimulate cells for maximum sunlight absorption. Next, semi-conductive materials are applied to the cells using silver and aluminum in a gooey, plasma-like form. Suniva solar cells are unique because they are designed with soldiered wires in a way that makes electrons jump. The design uses broken up wires which saves materials (silver) and also reduces cost, as opposed to other manufactures who use continuous lines of silver.
Suniva’s company policy does not allow any photos or videos to be taken inside the solar panel manufacturing (for fear of losing trade secrets), but you can watch the following video from Discovery to get a better idea of how solar cells are arranged into solar panels:
Suniva is the first company to successfully integrate ion implantation into the process flow to manufacture its latest generation cell product – ARTisun Select. ARTisun Select consistently achieves 19% conversion efficiencies, and is made using low-cost manufacturing techniques, which enables us to offer our customers an affordable, high quality product that far surpasses the competition. These cells are used in the higher power Optimus solar module line.
Where other manufactures may less scientifically group together solar cells to make up a solar module, Suniva solar cells are grouped in batches based on efficiency ratings. A standard solar panel can have an efficiency rating from 14%-19%. By grouping only ”like” cells Suniva can minimize concerns about a panel burning out. Remember: the higher efficiency of the cell, the more power can be harnessed from a module, resulting in higher power density and lower balance of systems costs.
All modules are produced under Suniva’s direct supervision in an ISO 9001 certified facility. Suniva modules have recorded over 500 rounds of thermal cycling and 2000 hours of damp heat with modules still going strong!
Solar module tests include but are not limited to:
- Salt spray exposure
- Coating durability
- High humidity exposure
- Frost exposure and rapid thermal cycling
- Hail test
- Boiling water
- Outdoor exposure
Solar Energy USA is proud to offer high quality solar panels like the one shown above from our local solar manufacturing partner Suniva. By selling and installing solar panels that come from a local vendor we can support the local economy and workers, as well as reduce the overall carbon footprint associated with a specific Georgia solar energy project.
Interested in adding a Suniva solar panel system to your home or business? Contact us – we would love to answer all of your questions and show you how much you can save with solar!