Product Reviews

  • plant design that combines First Solar’s thin-film CdTe modules with GE’s new ProSolar 1500 Volt inverter/transformer system, which is claim

    First Solar and GE develop next-generation PV power plant

    19 March 2014, 17:28

    First Solar and GE’s Power Conversion business are utilizing their recently established technology and commercial partnership to develop a more cost effective and productive utility-scale PV power plant design that combines First Solar’s thin-film CdTe modules with GE’s new ProSolar 1500 Volt inverter/transformer system, which is claimed to be the largest inverter in the industry capable of accommodating 1,500 volt DC solar arrays.

  • The combination of the flexible grid and the segmented fingers results in lower resistive losses thereby increasing cell and module efficien

    GTAT ‘Merlin’ metallisation and interconnect technology reduces silver paste needs by 80%

    13 March 2014, 18:21 | Comments (2)

    GT Advanced Technologies (GTAT) has announced an innovative cell metallisation and interconnect technology, dubbed ‘Merlin’ that is expected to provide substantial savings in both the manufacture and installation of solar modules. A key component of the new technology includes a flexible grid that replaces conventional two and three silver bus bars, while significantly reducing solver paste consumption.

  • JA Solar’s PERCIUM cell has surpassed a conversion efficiency of 20.3%, 1.3% higher than average mono-Si

    JA Solar’s ‘PERCIUM’ mono-Si modules surpass 20% conversion efficiencies

    27 February 2014, 12:37 | Comments (2)

    JA Solar is rolling-out globally a new series of high performance solar cells and modules in 2014. Highlights included the launch of its monocrystalline silicon (mono-Si) solar cell (156x156 mm2), ‘PERCIUM’ with 20%-plus conversion efficiency.

  • Sunny Boy 240 is designed for easy installation and connection due to the ready-made, easily identifiable plugs, pre-assembled AC cables and

    SMA Solar claims 50% less components in Sunny Boy 240 microinverter

    17 February 2014, 19:26 | Comments (1)

    SMA Solar Technology has launched a next-generation microinverter that claims to have 50% less component content than competitor versions. The ‘Sunny Boy 240’ microinverter is billed to be easy-to-install and provides an expandable modular solution for PV systems.

  • The latest rendition is said to assure layer adhesion that works after 3500 h damp heat testing.

    Isovoltaic’s ‘ICOSOLAR’ TPA HR backsheet offers harsh climate protection

    14 February 2014, 13:04

    Isovoltaic’s recently introduced PV module backsheet combines both ‘Tedlar’ and ‘Polyamide’ materials to provide improved characteristics for field durability and module efficiency increase, especially in challenging conditions.

  • The LGate 120 is a one-piece completely under glass meter which installs easily using a standard socket base. Performance data is uploaded i

    Locus Energy offers PV system fleet operators enhanced data collection

    28 January 2014, 17:23

    Locus Energy has introduced its next-generation of smart meters designed to allow solar installers and asset managers to more easily collect, monitor and analyse performance data from both residential and light commercial solar PV systems. The LGate 120 and 320 are the first cellular smart meters designed specifically to measure the performance of PV installations.

  • A new ‘FlexReportXL’ report generator produces plant performance reports that can include information from other sources, such as forecasts

    Skytron adds performance and planning enhancements to ‘PVGuard’ power plant software

    24 January 2014, 18:30

    Skytron energy has made considerable performance upgrades to its monitoring, control and supervision solutions for PV power plants. The ‘PVGuard’ Supervision Platform has been enhanced with improved SCADA software capabilities for energy production planning, performance analysis and system integration.

  • Eyelit has started the general availability of version 5.1 of its ‘Eyelit Manufacturing’ suite of MES (Manufacturing Execution System) softw

    Eyelit launches Version 5.1 of MES with capability to manage R&D products

    14 January 2014, 17:29

    Eyelit has started the general availability of version 5.1 of its ‘Eyelit Manufacturing’ suite of MES (Manufacturing Execution System) software with key enhancements that enable engineers to quickly configure special instructions and processing that enforce special work requests (SWRs) for research and development projects.

  • The new M215 includes Integrated Ground technology

    Enphase offers simpler microinverter installation and operational software management

    14 January 2014, 16:55

    Enphase Energy has introduced new hardware and software products that are claimed to lower solar system installation and operations costs for solar professionals.

  • The HIT-N245 module

    Panasonic’s upgraded HIT PV module available with 19.4 % conversion efficiency

    09 January 2014, 13:44

    Panasonic has launched the ‘HIT-N245’ and ‘HIT-N240’ PV modules. The HIT-N245 module has a conversion efficiency of 19.4% and comes with several upgraded features intended to provide overall improved operational performance, notably for residential rooftop markets.

  • Dow Corning’s silicone-based, next-generation Electrically Conductive Adhesive (ECA) ‘PV-5802’ will be used in Tianwei New Energy’s Metal Wr

    Dow Corning’s silicone-based ECA designed for MWT cell designs

    06 January 2014, 14:50

    Dow Corning’s silicone-based, next-generation Electrically Conductive Adhesive (ECA) ‘PV-5802’ will be used in Tianwei New Energy’s Metal Wrap Through (MWT) module production line, developed by ECN of the Netherlands. PV-5802 is said to provide improved electrical properties and stability, which will greatly enhance the electrical performance, reliability and durability of MWT modules.

  • The GCL ‘Monocrystalline G2’ wafer is claimed to be comparable in conversion efficiencies with that of conventional Czochralski-based monoc

    GCL-Poly’s quasi-mono wafer ‘G2’ offers comparable performance to monocystalline

    06 January 2014, 14:45

    GCL-Poly Energy Holdings has started commercial mass production for its second-generation quasi-monocrystalline silicon wafer product. The GCL ‘Monocrystalline G2’ wafer is claimed to be comparable in conversion efficiencies with that of conventional Czochralski-based monocrystalline wafers.

  • FLEXcon has expanded its solar module backsheet ‘multiGUARD’ offering with the addition of Black/White and Black/Black products.

    FLEXcon offer black backsheet for aesthetically demanding PV module markets

    03 December 2013, 13:35

    FLEXcon has expanded its solar module backsheet ‘multiGUARD’ offering with the addition of Black/White and Black/Black products. The new, more aesthetically pleasing black backsheet products appeal to the high-end commercial market and a much greater portion of the residential market.

  • 3D-Micromac relies on its ‘on-the-fly’ technology, which is claimed to offer the highest productivity with an excellent price-performance ra

    3D-Micromac’s PERC cell process offers improved price to performance ratio

    03 December 2013, 13:28

    3D-Micromac has developed a novel, highly productive laser system for opening the rear sides of PERC cells. Innovative on-the-fly technology makes it possible to achieve an improved cost-benefit ratio. The system is modular, combinable with different laser-source technologies, and achieves a typical efficiency increase up to one percentage point.

  • A key feature of the broad Protect PV inverter line is a power stack with advanced measuring and control technology enabling DC input voltag

    SPI 2013: AEG Power Solutions offering compact outdoor central inverters

    21 October 2013, 08:32

    AEG Power Solutions (AEG PS), a global provider of power electronics for renewable energies, introduces two new members of its broad inverter line for the Americas market.

  • Since the mechanism is frictionless, less force is required to move a tracker - which means that no external power source is required to mov

    Scorpius Trackers Vader-xFP tracking system uses frictionless technology and no bearings

    13 September 2013, 12:28

    Scorpius Trackers claims to be the first company to have pioneered a frictionless pivot system that does not require bearings for free movement in solar tracking systems. The Vader-xFP tracking system is claimed to have zero wear and tear of mechanical parts with less than 0.1% of the generated power being consumed for tracking a >1MW PV power plant.

  • SmartWafers comprise a 30 micron high quality multicrystalline silicon active layer.

    Scifiniti’s SmartWafer’ technology reduces high purity silicon usage by more than 90%

    13 September 2013, 12:23

    US start-up, Scifiniti is developing a low-cost ‘SmartWafer’ that is claimed to enhance the performance and significantly lower the cost of silicon-based products.

  • The 3.0 MegaWattBlock uses a maximum voltage of 1500 Volt. Developed in co-operation with GE and PADCON, the 1500 V inverter system reduces

    BELECTRIC’s 3.0 ‘MegaWattBlock’ PV plant offers high grid stability

    04 September 2013, 11:52

    BELECTRIC’s new 3.0 MegaWattBlock is claimed to set new standards in solar power production. The power plant unit is designed to create electricity at the lowest possible levelized costs of electricity (LCOE). On a par with the functionality of large conventional power plants, the grid-stabilizing plant technology is designed to intelligently integrate renewable energy sources in existing power grids.

  • The Hybrid Renewable Energy Forecaster represents advancements in weather modeling technology, stemming from innovations such as ‘Deep Thund

    IBM offers big data analytics and weather modeling to tackle intermittence issues of renewables

    12 August 2013, 10:40

    IBM has introduced an advanced power and weather modeling technology that will help utilities increase the reliability of renewable energy resources. The solution combines weather prediction and analytics to accurately forecast the availability solar PV energy. The Hybrid Renewable Energy Forecasting” (HyRef) technology uses weather modeling capabilities, advanced cloud imaging technology and sky-facing cameras to track cloud movements, while sensors on the turbines monitor wind speed, temperature and direction.

  • The SolarMax 360 TS-SV central inverter comes with an increased minimum input voltage and greater output voltage, enabling a rated output po

    The SolarMax 360 TS-SV central inverter provides PV plant flexibility and yield optimization

    11 July 2013, 14:47

    The SolarMax 360 TS-SV central inverter from Sputnik Engineering AG and the TS-SV Compact Station, with a rated output power of 720kW, are designed as a cost effective solution for large PV power plants. The 360TS-SV has a European efficiency of 97.4%.

  • The system fully replaces slow, error-prone and costly off-line analysis methods.

    Meyer Burger and LayTec team on first fully integrated EVA cross-linking metrology solution

    04 July 2013, 11:18

    Meyer Burger and LayTec have collaborated to produce the world’s first fully integrated EVA cross-linking metrology solution for PV module production lines.

  • PV backsheet material is specifically designed for copper-based back-contact solar cell module lamination.

    KREMPEL offers rear-side contacting backsheet material

    27 June 2013, 13:04

    Designed for solar modules with cells for rear-side contacting, ‘AKACON BCF’ PV backsheet is being offered by the KREMPEL Group and is ready for volume production. The backsheet comes with a copper layer and is structured according to customer’s design for back-contact cells.

  • The inspection system can be used for both mono and multicrystalline silicon cells. Its throughput achieves more than 2,400/h, and the sorti

    Camera system from VITRONIC provides retrofit solar cell colour classification

    30 May 2013, 12:54

    VINSPEC solar VCOFLC1 camera system from VITRONIC enables exact and reliable front print and color inspection.

  • The WV-9000 is Class 100 Cleanroom safe and comes standard with long-life pump and push-button wafer tip pen – VWP-500-2.5mm.

    Virtual Industries new WAFER-VAC wafer handling system offers wide applications

    23 May 2013, 13:43

    Virtual Industries, a supplier of manual vacuum handling solutions, has made available its new general-purpose wafer vacuum handling tool, ‘WAFER-VAC’ system with 8” molded wafer tip (WV-9000-MW8).

  • Designers can program the RD-195 to optimize the balance between arc-detection accuracy and false detection prevention to meet their system

    TI offers first reconfigurable DC arc detect reference solution

    16 May 2013, 11:32

    Texas Instruments has introduced the industry’s first fully programmable DC arc detect reference solution. The RD-195 makes it faster and easier for designers to address a growing need to safeguard high-power DC systems against the catastrophic damage that can result from arc faults.

  • HelioSeal PVS 120 is a butyl rubber based hot melt framing sealant which is delivered ready-to-use.

    Kömmerling’s ‘HelioSeal’ PVS 120 provides superior water and moisture vapour tightness frame sealing

    16 May 2013, 11:25

    Kömmerling has launched its new butyl based framing sealant ‘HelioSeal’ PVS 120. In contrast to existing framing sealants on the market HelioSeal PVS 120 is claimed to provide immediate green strength and superior water and moisture vapour tightness, while being hot applied and able to be used by hand or in fully automated high speed production lines.

  • Gallium arsenide nanowires are fabricated via a high-throughput process called ‘Aerotaxy’ invented by company founder and Lund University pr

    Sol Voltaics gallium arsenide nanomaterial to be low-cost ink process for solar cells

    09 May 2013, 10:36

    Start-up Sol Voltaics has unveiled ‘SolInk’, which is claimed to be an economical nanomaterial that promises to increase the efficiency of crystalline silicon or thin-film solar modules by up to 25% or more. Gallium arsenide nanowires are fabricated via a high-throughput process called ‘Aerotaxy’ invented by company founder and Lund University professor Lars Samuelson.

  • The new thin (35mm) frame design features a high-tech aluminum alloy that allows for wind loads of up to 5,400 Pa while reducing module weig

    Hanwha Q CELLS ‘Q.PRO-G3’ series module comes in a lighter and slimmer design

    02 May 2013, 13:35

    Hanwha Q CELLS has introduced its versatile polycrystalline-based ‘Q.PRO-G3’ series module. Using its ‘Q.ANTUM’ high-efficiency solar cell technology (19.5% conversion efficiencies) and performance induced degradation (PID) free technology, the module also employs a lighter and slimmer design, using higher tensile aluminum frame.

  • Manufacturing the Solar Future: a snapshot of a vibrant industry.

    Manufacturing the Solar Future: a snapshot of a vibrant industry

    25 April 2013, 15:23

    PV-Tech’s publisher Solar Media has recently produced the 2013 Production Annual, which brings together the best of our Photovoltaics International articles from the last year. Jef Poortmans, director of PV technologies at IMEC, offers his thoughts on what insights the annual offers into the state of PV technology.

  • The system offers a thermal conductivity of 0.7 W/mK together with a mix viscosity of only 1900 mPa s at room temperature.

    Huntsman develops a new encapsulating system for PV Inverters

    18 April 2013, 11:06

    Huntsman Advanced Materials has launched a new product for potting of solar inverters. The polyurethane system ‘Arathane’ CW 5660 / HY 5610 has been designed to meet the key requirements of inverters for PV applications. Fast processing, high thermal endurance combined with low temperature flexibility and high thermal conductivity are the key features of the new system.

  • The all-black module's change in appearance results from the use of an advanced, all-black edge seal technology combined with an innovative

    First Solar’s ‘Series 3’ CdTe thin-film module platform offers harsh environment capability

    18 April 2013, 10:58

    First Solar has launched a new evolution of its Series 3 CdTe thin-film PV module platform. The ‘Series 3 Black’ is said to incorporate First Solar’s latest advances in conversion efficiency as well as additional features to enhance its performance in utility-scale power plants.

  • The Enecsys second generation microinverter is currently offered in single versions in increments from 240W up to 300W maximum AC output.

    Enecsys’ second gen microinverter claims 33% improvement in maximum power output

    11 April 2013, 08:27

    Enecsys has introduced its second generation microinverter platform, including a new communications gateway and online monitoring service. The microinverter technology is said to power scale up to 300W AC enabling the use of many high powered 60-cell modules, providing maximum energy harvest in the smallest footprint.

  • Solar Cube calculates the ‘zenith angle’ and the ‘azimuth angle’, which together specify the exact position of the sun in the sky to withi

    IMO offers off the shelf controller designed for axis PV systems

    11 April 2013, 08:21

    The IMO Solar Cube has been developed by IMO Precision Controls as an easy to set up solar tracking and measurement controller with the flexibility to adapt to either one or two axis PV module installations to track the sun’s movement.

  • PSE AG has developed a new test stand, ‘Degratest Labtool,’ designed for the testing of light induced degradation (LID) effect of silicon so

    PSE provides analysis of solar cells light-induced degradation

    04 April 2013, 13:18

    PSE AG has developed a new test stand, Degratest Labtool, designed for the testing of the light-induced degradation (LID) effect on silicon solar cells. The testing technology monitors and records degradation effects, and offers manufacturers and research institutions a fast and reliable tool for testing and developing solar cells. The LID test system was developed at ISC Konstance.

  • The EddyCus Thin-Film lab employs the eddy current method that utilizes local conductivity variations of the test objects for the characteri

    ‘EddyCus Thin-Film’ lab designed for contactless real-time thickness

    21 March 2013, 11:10

    SURAGUS GmbH, a spin-off from the Fraunhofer Institute for Non-Destructive Testing Dresden, offers the ‘EddyCus Thin-Film lab’ specifically for contactless real-time thickness and sheet resistance determination of low and high conductive thin-films on glass, wafer, plastics or foils.

  • In addition to yield predictions and inverter setup, the new version of Polysun 6 is claimed to provide the optimal PV module layout on the

    ‘Polysun 6’ PV planner upgraded for battery employed self-consumption analysis

    21 March 2013, 11:05

    Vela Solaris has introduced ‘Polysun 6’ PV planner software that includes new features that ease the daily work of solar system planners as well as being enhanced to provide simulation analysis of battery storage requirements for self-consumption.

  • Datapaq has launched a tailored version of its SolarPaq temperature profiling system for contact paste drying processes.

    Datapaq temperature profiling system for contact paste drying

    14 March 2013, 13:07

    Datapaq has launched a tailored version of its SolarPaq temperature profiling system for contact paste drying processes.

  • Engineered Conductive Materials is offering the ‘DB-1569-1’ low temperature curing conductive adhesive for use in organic photovoltaics (OPV

    Engineered Conductive Materials offers low-temperature curing conductive adhesive for OPV

    21 February 2013, 17:06

    Engineered Conductive Materials is offering the ‘DB-1569-1’ low temperature curing conductive adhesive for use in organic photovoltaics (OPV). This material formulation has been optimized for improved conductivity and stability on various substrates when cured at 80°C or higher.

  • The SCANalign system consists of a software package with an intuitive graphical user interface, a camera, a camera adapter, an illumination

    Scanlab’s ‘SCANalign’ vision system tailored to solar cell processing

    21 February 2013, 10:48

    Scanlab has broadened its offering with ‘SCANalign,’ a vision system tailored specifically to the demands of laser processing steps used in solar cell fabrication steps.

  • Meyer Burger’s patented ‘SmartWire Connection Technology’ (SWCT) is designed to replace conventional silver-based busbars on solar cells usi

    Meyer Burger offers fine-line copper wires connect for 5% higher power output of solar cells

    11 February 2013, 12:52 | Comments (3)

    Meyer Burger’s patented ‘SmartWire Connection Technology’ (SWCT) is designed to replace conventional silver-based busbars on solar cells using thin copper wires on both sides of the cell. Typically, 30 very fine copper wires are used for cell connection generating up to 2,000 contact points per cell that provide 5% higher power output compared to best-in-class 3BB (three busbar) technology, while reducing production costs.

  • By reducing the module's glass thickness from the industry standard of 3.2mm to 2.5mm, and applying an antireflective coating to the front g

    Trina Solar to offer its first dual rated frameless module for harsh conditions

    04 February 2013, 16:59 | Comments (1)

    Trina Solar is planning to introduce the 60-cell PDG5, the first in a new line of dual rated frameless modules. The PDG5 is said to be resistant to potential induced degradation (PID) and micro-cracking, and does not require grounding. The PDG5 is optimized for reliable performance under stressful environmental conditions.

  • SoLayTec has introduced its InPassion ALD (Atomic Layer Deposition) tool for depositing Al2O3 in mass production.

    SoLayTec’s ‘InPassion’ ALD system offers superior Al2O3 deposition in mass production

    29 January 2013, 16:26

    SoLayTec has introduced its InPassion ALD (Atomic Layer Deposition) tool for depositing Al2O3 in mass production. Al2O3 is well known in the PV community for highly effective surface passivation properties and negative fixed charge density, which is required for thinner wafer usage. InPassion ALD tool is capable of processing up to 4,500 wph.

  • The 100 Mbit/s bus system provides plant operators with optimum data transmission rates for plant monitoring and fast processing of measured

    SMA’s ‘Cluster Controller’ can monitor 75 string inverters

    29 January 2013, 15:56

    SMA Solar Technology has launched its new SMA ‘Cluster Controller,’ which is designed to support the monitoring and control of decentralized PV power plants in connection with its string inverters up to the megawatt range.

  • Canadian Solar's ResidentialAC system comes with a 25-year long microinverter reliability to match Canadian Solar's module warranty by elimi

    Canadian Solar offers high-performance AC module for faster ROI

    22 January 2013, 17:47

    Canadian Solar has launched its next generation ‘ResidentialAC’ system less than six-months after the initial launch. The upgraded system combines the 250W PV module with its next generation microinverter while maintaining a standard 25-year system performance warranty.

  • The Bifurcated Wormetary gearing combines a right angle worm gear to turn the corner with a pair of efficient planetary gearboxes for a tota

    Dunkermotor’s new ‘Bifurcated Wormetary’ gearmotors provide reliable operation of CSP and PTC power

    03 January 2013, 13:33

    In the field of Concentrated Solar Power (CSP), Parabolic Trough Collector (PTC) technology is one of the most widely used, and Dunkermotor’s new ‘Bifurcated Wormetary’ gearmotors are designed to meet that application’s requirements, while offering several unique benefits.

  • Ecoprogetti’s triple class A sun simulator ‘ECOSUN 10L’ represents a new generation of sun simulator which employs LED’s as the light source

    LED-based sun simulator from ecoprogetti offers high repeatability in compact size

    17 December 2012, 11:26

    Ecoprogetti’s triple class A sun simulator ‘ECOSUN 10L’ represents a new generation of sun simulator which employs LED’s as the light source for greater comparison with real world conditions.

  • PPG Industries announced that it can produce heat-strengthened SOLARPHIRE PV, Solarphire AR/2XAR and Solarphire NaB glasses in thicknesses o

    PPG’s heat-strengthened 2mm glass can reduce module costs and improve efficiency

    12 December 2012, 13:45

    PPG Industries flat glass business unit has said that it can now manufacture heat-strengthened glass in thicknesses of less than 3mm, which makes it among the first major glass manufacturers in North America to offer this capability. PPG offers the SOLARPHIRE glass in heat-strengthened configuration with thicknesses of 2, 2.5 and 2.7mm.

  • All Kipp & Zonen smart radiometers are individually addressable and can be linked together in a multi-drop configuration to a single RS-485

    Kipp & Zonen updates SHP1 smart pyrheliometer to measure DNI

    10 December 2012, 11:06

    Following the success of the SMP series of smart pyranometers released last year, Kipp & Zonen is continuing to develop smart instruments with the launch of its SHP1 smart pyrheliometer, designed for measuring Direct Normal Irradiance (DNI) from the sun, which is essential for concentrating mirror or lens based CSP systems.

  • Because of its suspension and dispersion capabilities, ENLIGHT DC-8300 Coolant is claimed to reduce the percentage of bricks with high thick

    Dow Chemical develops special coolant for improved diamond wire ingot squaring

    10 December 2012, 11:00

    The Dow Chemical Company has developed a diamond wire ingot squaring coolant that improves PV wafer manufacturing efficiency while also improving the sustainability of the production process. ENLIGHT DC-8300 is water-based and provides better cutting precision and efficiency.

  • Mondragon Assembly has launched the new Tabber & Stringer TS 1200 Plus, with a net capacity of 1,300 solar cells soldered per hour.

    Mondragon’s TS 1200 tabber and stringer provides high throughput and versatility

    05 December 2012, 17:40

    Mondragon Assembly has launched the new Tabber & Stringer TS 1200 Plus, with a net capacity of 1,300 solar cells soldered per hour. Mondragon believes the new system is one of the fastest and most versatile combined tabber and stringers, available on the market.

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  • Photovoltaics International 23rd Edition

    This issue of Photovoltaics International, our 23rd, offers key insights into some of the technologies that are ready to move from lab to fab in support of these goals. ISC Konstanz offer a glimpse of what the low-cost, high-efficiency solar cells of the future might look like. On page 35 the institute’s authors give an overview of what they call Konstanz’ “technology zoo”, encompassing their so-called BiSoN, PELICAN and ZEBRA cell concepts, all of which are aimed at increasing energy yield at the lowest possible cost.

  • Manufacturing The Solar Future: The 2013 Production Annual

    In the ever-changing global solar markets, cost reduction and measures to increase cell efficiencies are the key tools available to PV manufacturers to create new opportunities and drive your business to the next level. Manufacturing the Solar Future 2013 is the third in the Photovoltaics International PV Production Annual series, delivering the next instalment of in-depth technical manufacturing information on PV production processes designed to help you gain the competitive edge.

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