EQ In Exclusive Conversation With Mr. Kaien Chang , Vice President of Technology – Oversea , Solamet – EQ Mag Pro
1. Could you please tell us about yourself and the company?
My name is Kaien Chang. Vice President of Technology – Oversea. In charge of R&D and technical support globally outside of China. About 18 years of experience in Thick film paste technology, 14 years in photovoltaic metallization paste.
My name is KF Wong. International Sales Director. Managing customers globally outside of China. 20 years commercial experience in the Photovoltaic industry.
We used to be well-known as DuPont Solamet® metallization paste business and now we are a brand new company called “Solamet” since 1st July, 2021, Jiangsu Suote Electronic Materials Co., Ltd. successfully acquired the entirety of DuPont Solamet® Photovoltaic Paste Business, including all of its IP portfolio, said Solamet vice president of technology-oversea Kaien Chang.
2. What is New Solamet?
New Solamet inherited the best from DuPont including R&D capability, IP coverage, global support and brand impact in the world but we are now putting everything together and focusing on only one area of expertise – The Photovoltaic Industry. This will make the new Solamet more focused, stronger and faster. For example, we used to have to have over 1 month lead time in DuPont, now it’s several days for China customers and less than 2 weeks for oversea customers, said Solamet international sales director KF Wong.
3. Could you please comment on IP protection?
Solamet vice president of technology-oversea Kaien Chang says that they have over 100 active patents and key granted patents have >10 years of remaining life. Solamet’s IP based on the Pb-Te-O frit technology is the keystone to the PV paste industry. Nearly all p-type Si solar cells today and most n-type based solar cells in ramping-up use Solamet® innovations. We hold the strongest and broadest IP portfolios in the industry and continue to take effective actions to protect our IP worldwide since it’s the fundamental to support the innovation of metallization paste and it’s so key to help the PV industry continue to boost power and lower the cost.
4. How would you comment on the global PV cell manufacturing trend? And what role Solamet can play in it?
As the trend for global carbon neutrality and the tight demand of energy from uncertainties like war, people now understand renewable energy is so critical. We are seeing every country & region would like to set up their own capacity and capability to secure energy supply including US, Europe and India. Because of this, the Solamet team can perfectly leverage our metallization experience and knowledge via a worldwide reach team with on-site support. By doing this, we can help oversea cell customers to extremely shorten their learning curve for the metallization process to achieve first tier performance at the earliest. Our dedicated team with a complete function to serve oversea customers including sales, R&D, technical service, CSR. Probably the only one paste supplier to have a technical center outside of China dedicatedly serving oversea customers. Furthermore, we have plans to set up a 2nd MFG site in Taiwan to better serve oversea customers and also mitigate the supply risk, said Solamet vice president of technology-oversea Kaien Chang.
5. New technology – is there any new offering from Solamet for new cell technology platforms like TOPCON and HJT?
Solamet vice president of technology-oversea Kaien Chang also said that 2022 is the exciting year that we saw the real booming for advanced cell technology including N TOPCon & HJT. We expected over 80 GW capacity with around 20 GW real output for N type by the end of 2022. We at Solamet continue to work with those pioneers to release the full eff. potential of N type cell. For N TOPCon front-side, Solamet provided the first N type front-side metallization commercial solution in the market back to 2016, and the first metallization paste solution to its earlier version called N PERT cells developed by Yingli. We now offer customized N TOPCon front-side paste via different frit composition and selection of Al powder in order to meet different boron doped emitter requirements to contact and passivation damage. We also provide alternative metallization solutions, such as Al-free front-side, carrier injections, selective emitter approaches, which may overcome some of the shortcomings of N TOPCon front-side. For the TOPCon rear-side, we are continuing to leverage our Pb-Te-O frit technology by tailoring its composition to control the etching of SiN without damage to the poly Si layer. For HJT, our new offering is focusing on dual printing.
Through successful Ag and vehicle innovation without using large flake Ag in our finger, our finger enables fine line and high-speed printing, which enables laydown reduction just like current p type front-side paste. It solves one of current HJT paste’s biggest issues, which is Ag paste cost. Furthermore, Solamet also completed initial technical reserve for next generation low temperature paste, which is able to be cured at 120~130degC and it had demonstrated leading performance at several customers in the application of perovskite tandem cell. Besides advanced cell structure, we also continue supporting current mainstream PERC mono FS paste development by customization for different customers especially in India since we know now it’s in a critical moment of transition from multi to PERC mono for most of India cell makers. As previously mentioned by our sales director, Solamet is probably the only one who has a dedicated R&D & technical service resource outside of China to support oversea customers.
6. What’s the view for other metallization processes like plating, laser transfer etc. vs. screen printing?
We suppose the printing process will still be mainstream for more than 5 years. It’s still possible that plating/laser transfer will be adopted for some niche market. But when we trace back the development of the PV industry, we can clearly see that Levelized cost of energy is the most important index. To achieve better LCOE, production throughput, yield is extremely critical. And I believe plating, laser transfer are not yet to approve its above two performances in the market. Not to mention there is still environmental impact concern for plating, says Kaien Chang.
7. How do you think your company is moving towards your mission?
To this Solamet vice president of technology-oversea Kaien Chang mentioned that their mission is to support continuous reduction of LCOE of solar power to achieve grid parity in order to ensure a sustainable energy future for mankind. Now we see it has been achieved in some countries/regions. And we Solamet is committed to continue to invest in the innovation of metallization technologies for eff. improvement and cost reduction no matter for p type PERC or advanced N type to achieve grid parity globally. To achieve this ultimate goal, Our company actually continues to upgrade our global teams’ capability in terms of technical support and commercial service via setting up the worldwide reach network.