|尚德太阳能||STP||Solar cells and modules||http://www.suntech-power.com|
|江西赛维LDK太阳能||LDK||Ingots and Wafers (upstream supplier)||http://www.ldksolar.com|
|英利綠色能源(天威英利)||YGE||Ingots, Wafers, Solar Cells, Modules, Systems (vertically integrated)||http://www.yinglisolar.com|
|常州天合||TSL||Ingots, Wafers, Solar Cells, Modules (vertically integrated)||http://www.trinasolar.com|
|江苏林洋新能源||SOLF||Solar cells, modules||http://www.solarfun.cn|
|江苏CSI阿特斯太阳能||CSIQ||Solar cells , modules||http://www.csisolar.com|
Material: Solar cell needs special silicon than regular semiconductor silicon. Now silicon material shortage is prevalent because of solar boom.
Ingots: Raw silicon needs to be converted to crystalline form for semiconductor production. So this step also needs a separate process. They use a process called Czochralski process to grow a crystalline seed into silicon crystal in the melted silicon liquid.
Wafers: Ingots needs to be sawed into very thin slices, called wafers, on which circuits are “printed”. Wafers also need to be processed (e.g. polished, coated) so that it can absorb maximum number of photons. When they saw the ingots, there’s huge loss of materials, typically 50%. Who can save the material the most, they will have an edge to increase gross profit margin. Therefore, some companies are trying to use new special process to saw ingots.
Cells: Cells are wafers printed with VLSI circuits. VLSI circuits are made on wafers with various chemical processes (e.g. there’s a process called CVD, chemical vapor deposition). For
solar cells, metal grids need to be “printed” on wafers to collect electrons.
Modules (太阳能面板): Single cells are assembled into modules, which are why you see some tiling pattern on modules. Interestingly, for monocrystalline cell and multicrystalline cell, the tiling patterns are different.
Systems: Modules are put together to form grids, and accessories need to be attached to form the complete system. Modules may be also integrated to building materials to make them
like regular building materials (STP is doing that).
Who is the major player? They are just manufactures using the same semiconductor process equipments. In this sense, it’s not a very Hi-Tech industry (Just look at STP’s R&D expense just tiny percentage of its sales), and it’s not difficult for other players to enter as well. That’s why there are so many “Solar Projects” in