PV Manufacturing Seminar

Dr. Jeff Cotter will present a seminar on Engineering in Photovoltaic Factories

Wednesday, July 11th, 12:30 pm
MacroTechnology Works, room 2423


The photovoltaics industry has finally reached the level of maturity where mass manufacturing of low-cost, high-quality solar cells and modules is a reality. Gigawatt sized factory clusters are being built, multi-hundred megawatt systems are being installed, and the holy grail of grid parity solar electricity is right around the corner. Even so, there is still a great deal of vital engineering work to be done – to reduce costs across the value chain, to improve product quality and performance, and to enhance product reliability. This kind of engineering work, however, pursues ever smaller signals within a hectic and dynamic manufacturing environment, and so engineers and managers must have a solid understanding of efficient statistical methods to plan and execute and analyze the results of engineering work, so that the correct decisions are made with minimum effort and disruption. Furthermore, engineers can also pursue ever small cost improvements, especially when small cost gains are leveraged across huge manufacturing volumes. So, engineers and managers must also have a solid understanding of the cost structure of the products they're making.
This talk will highlight a few examples of the kinds of work engineers do in a manufacturing environment, then showcase the Virtual Cell Factory project, under development at Arizona State University and the University of Delaware, that aims to expose undergraduate engineering students with an interest in photovoltaics to the interesting world of PV manufacturing engineering and science. The talk will also preview a new course - running at ASU this coming fall - that will teach engineering students about PV manufacturing engineering and science.

Dr. Jeff Cotter has been working in solar photovoltaics for 20+ years, including research and development, tertiary education and high-volume manufacturing. For the past 5 years, he was Director of the technology deployment team at Sunpower Manufacturing Limited, in the Philippines, where he and his team introduced Sunpower’s Gen II, 22.4% efficient silicon solar cell from R&D into manufacturing. The Gen II reached almost 1.5 GW of annual production in 2011. Before joining Sunpower, he was an Associate Professor at the University of New South Wales, where he was a co-founder of the School of Photovoltaics and Renewable Energy Engineering – the world’s first undergraduate degree programs in Photovoltaics and Renewable Energy. He is the author of the On-line Virtual World Solar Challenge Game, the On-line Virtual Survivor Sustainability Game, the RaySim technical ray-tracing program, the Virtual Solar Cell Factory Server Application and the Virtual Manufacturing Engineering System Client Application. He is also the author of the Virtual MES Workbook series of books on PV manufacturing science, technology and engineering.