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The PV Value Chain

PV Value Chain

The Photovoltaics value chain tracks all distinct processes required to build a pv system. In the case of crystalline silicon modules, it involves reducing sand to raw silicon followed by purification, wafer cutting, doping, cleaning and coating. These are cells which are subsequently connected and laminated to form a module, which is to be assembled in array and combined with electrical components to make a system.

The thin-film value chain is much shorter, as the modules are manufactured in one single step from raw silicon and other compounds by depositing the photovoltaic material and other chemicals on glass or plastic.

In concentrating photovoltaics, either crystalline silicon cells or thin-fim substrates need to be combined with optical systems for concentration, cooling sink and in-built tracker before it can be assembled into an array.

A complex value chain, as is the case with concentrating photovoltaics, makes for a much more complex supply chain.

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