PP5.2a PV Factory

Project Coordinator: 
Alison Lennon
Chief Investigators: 
Dr Alison Lennon, Dr Keith McIntosh, Mr Ben Sudbury
Associate Investigators: 
Dr Stuart Bowden

This project is reported annually under AUSIAPV International Activities.

The UNSW node is working with AUSIAPV collaborator, QESST, based at Arizona State University, and PV Lighthouse to enhance, upgrade and make generally available UNSW's Virtual Production Line education and training tool.

The project has created a software platform called the Virtual Production Environment (VPE). The VPE will be a free online resource for the PV industry that will facilitate education and R&D by allowing users to (i) simulate the steps of a solar cell production line, (ii) access libraries of PV information, (iii) contribute to an integrated model of solar cell manufacturing, and (iv) evaluate innovation in terms of manufacturing cost. It will initially incorporate UNSW's Virtual Production Line for screen-printed crystalline silicon solar cells, used for several years in the UNSW undergraduate and postgraduate courses, SOLA3020, PV Technology & Manufacturing and SOLA9006, Solar Cell Technology and Manufacturing.

The VPE will provide an interactive, practical, and engaging approach to teaching PV manufacturing. It will allow students, trainees, and the general public to create and operate virtual production lines, thereby learning how solar cells are made, and how production steps affect yields, throughput, costs and efficiency. The VPE will contain a centralised library of information relevant to solar cell manufacturing and operation, and it will provide a portal through which educators can administer courses on PV manufacturing. The VPE will also increase ACAP's capacity to share research. It will allow PV engineers to rapidly access, evaluate, and disseminate data and algorithms; to contribute to a fully integrated model of cell operation; to identify gaps in knowledge; and to evaluate innovation in terms of manufacturing costs.