Today, June 12, Q-Cells AG from Thalheim (Germany) could announce a number it can be proud of: The company has produced its 100 millionth solar cell.
Not even five years after the first cell left the production facilities, employees and guests of the world´s second largest producer of solar cells could celebrate the jubilee product today. Laid side by side, the cells would cover about 375 World Championship soccer pitches. Currently QCells produces about 160,000 of the blue cells, a number rising with every increase of production capacity. In the past years, output has more than doubled every year. While in 2002 about 3.65 million cells left the factory, this number has risen to more than 46 million in 2005.
„We are very delighted to having reached this number, especially as no one anticipated five years ago that we would have produced 100 million cells by mid-2006“, said Anton Milner, CEO of Q-Cells AG, on the occasion of a small celebration in production line IV. “Every one of these cells is a step towards a sustainable and reliable energy supply.”
Despite this impressive figure Q-Cells and the whole sector are still only at the beginning of its development. This year alone Q-Cells will increase its production capacity from currently 257 Megawattpeak (MWp) to 336 MWp. For the year 2006 Q-Cells expects an annual production of 255 MWp, and 2007 this figure is due to rise to 316 MWp.
It is, however, not the only goal to increase the number of cells produced. More than 80 scientists in Q-Cells´ Research & Development department are working on increasing the efficiency of each cell and to make cells thinner. That way both the output of each cell and the total capacity can be increased. This serves the paramount goal of Q-Cells: to reduce the costs of photovoltaics rapidly and permanently so as to make solar energy competitive on the electricity market.
Furthermore, Q-Cells is working on developping and commercializing both new generations of silicon wafer-based high efficiency cells and new thin film technologies to complement the silicon wafer technology that will continue to dominate the market in the long run.
The first 100 million cells from Thalheim are a beginning and a stimulation for Q-Cells to continue the rapid growth of the past five years.