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SPI 2010: LG Electronics launches solar product technology onslaught on U.S.

Oct 22, 2010 - Mark Osborne -

Like other major consumer driven electronics firms based in Korea, LG Electronics sees the solar energy market across residential, commercial and utilities as key sectors for business growth. At Solar Power International 2010, LG is launching a slew of advanced high-performance solar modules from crystalline to thin film. The company is targeting its global solar business to reach US$2.4 billion in revenue by 2015 by investing US$820 million over the next five years in its solar cell research and manufacturing, in order to increase production capacity to more than 1GW.

"The U.S. is one of the fastest growing solar markets in the world and is expected to grow significantly over the next several years, in part due to federal and state incentives," noted Geoff Slevin, VP, solar division, LG Electronics North America. (Slevin joined LG this year from Carlisle Energy Services and BP Solar.) "LG's commitment to solar in the U.S. comes at just the right time to meet market demand for solar power with high-quality, sustainable and innovative products that consumers and businesses alike have come to expect from a global technology leader."

Although LG’s high-power monocrystalline module (using its second-generation process technology) will not be available until sometime in 2011, it packs many features that are required to be classed at the leading-edge of mainstream sector of the market.

LG said it was using reactive ion etching (RIE) on the wafers to create a uniform roughness on the surface to boost light capture. RIE processes are common in the semiconductor industry to create and enhance features fabricated to make the semiconductor.

The company is also employing metal wrap through (MWT) technology, which can remove the wide ribbon on the front of a multicrystalline module, adding cell surface area for higher efficiencies. The multicrystalline module is also claimed to have tackled light induced degradation (LID).

Coupled to what the company describes as a unique lightweight anodized frame design with improved drainage and toughness, LG is attempting to hit all market segments as hard as possible.

On the thin-film front, LG said that it will market an 11.1% tandem-junction silicon thin-film module for commercial and utility-scale markets. However, LG did not reveal shipments dates.

With the move by Samsung to enter the solar cell market and Hyundai Heavy Industries already entering the module market, the major Korea-based electronics firms have set their sights on solar, and North America is a clear battleground going forward.


Updated: 2003/07/28