In 2003, the total accumulated global production capacity of photovoltaic (PV) systems was approximately 1GW. Fast forward to today and it is approaching 1000 GW – a thousandfold increase in only 20 years.
Improved economies of scale driven by technological innovation in production processes, materials, and energy storage have made solar widely accessible. Combined with an increasingly climate-conscious public and the support of government policies and incentive schemes and adoption has gone through the roof – literally. In just a couple decades, solar has catapulted from a niche industry associated with hot climates to a mainstream energy solution embraced as high north as Svalbard island in the Arctic (where the airport’s rooftop installation supplies 75% of the airport’s power needs on a sunny day).
Photovoltaic (PV) cells form the building blocks of solar panels and rely on high purity quartz in their production. Our quartz is used primarily for the manufacture of fused quartz crucibles. Monocrystalline ingots are grown in quartz crucibles with the Czochralski method. These ingots are then sliced into wafers before being processed into cells using high purity quartz glassware and finally arranged into modules.
The most efficient solar modules can generate over 400W per hour - a third of an average home's power needs.