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 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 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%.
Meyer Burger and LayTec have collaborated to produce the world’s first fully integrated EVA cross-linking metrology solution for PV module production lines.
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.
VINSPEC solar VCOFLC1 camera system from VITRONIC enables exact and reliable front print and color inspection.
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).
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 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.
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.
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.
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.
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 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.
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. 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.
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 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.
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 for greater comparison with real world conditions.
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.
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.
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 believes the new system is one of the fastest and most versatile combined tabber and stringers, available on the market.
With the SamBa series of low-light cameras, Sensovation is able to offer sensitivity in the near-IR range at high speed that enables industrial testing applications such as electroluminescence imaging of solar sells and modules. SamBa Ci is a 2 MPixel, high sensitivity camera optimised for high-throughput EL-based inspection.
Bentek Solar has claimed to have developed and introduced the ‘PV 101 MDSS’ as a cost-effective Multiple Disconnect Safety System (MDSS), which is designed to provide safety and code compliance for PV installations in the US under National Electrical Code (NEC) 2011 rules.
The ‘Safire’ firing furnace, together with the ‘DriTech’ dryer, were designed by Despatch Industries to provide PV manufacturers with the ability to properly segment, control and adjust key process parameters. The Safire design features dual, independent chambers with no lane-to-lane influences that are claimed to provide the greatest degree of firing repeatability and capability for cell efficiency optimisation.
Vesuvius, which provides an extended range of refractory products used in the manufacturing of thin film and polycrystalline solar panels has introduced the ‘SOLAR Crucible MLC,’ a crucible used for the fusion and the crystallization of polysilicon in the manufacturing of mono-like silicon ingots. The system has been specially engineered to match mono-like special requirements.
The CISARIS oven from Singulus Technologies is an in-line rapid thermal processing equipment, designed for the CIGSSe absorber formation on large area glass substrates. The main features of the CISARIS include a high uptime and mechanical yield, as well as a fast cycle time, which, in combination with the robust selenisation process, lead to a production capacity of over 25 MWp per year.
A thermoplastic encapsulant from Wacker, ‘TECTOSIL’ has proved to offer protection against potential-induced degradation (PID), according to tests carried-out by Photovoltaik-Institut Berlin. The testers confirmed that such modules do not display leakage currents due to PID when using the thermoplastic silicone elastomer sheet in the encapsulation of PV modules.
The RENA RS 690-DW was developed to achieve diamond wire sawing with highest wafer quality at the lowest Cost of Ownership (CoO). Depending on process parameters a claimed throughput greater than 15 MW/a can be realised. Features such as optimised wire guide axis distance, high wire speed and reduced cutting time are designed to support improved wafer quality and throughput.
ISRA SOLAR VISION, a business unit of ISRA VISION AG, is featuring a new generation of contactless photoluminescence (PL) inspection systems, including the high-accuracy, high-speed inspection of solar cells and wafers. The new SOLARSCAN-YIELDMASTER PL is claimed to provide the industry’s fastest contactless photoluminescence inspection with the lowest false detection rates and the most accurate defect classification for the mass production of solar cells.
Manz AG has complemented its range of products for the thin-film solar market with a vacuum system for vertically coating substrates. The new coating system, ISS 1200 is a compact and modular inline sputter system (ISS) that allows manufacturers to get a better rate of raw material utilization and is part of the Manz ‘Total Fab Solution’ for thin-film panel manufacturers. In early September 2012, Manz presented a thin-film solar panel with an efficiency of 14.6%, breaking the previous world record.
DuPont Microcircuit Materials (MCM) has introduced its next-generation frontside metallization pastes for crystalline silicon solar cells. ‘DuPont Solamet PV18x’ series photovoltaic metallization pastes are claimed to offer PV manufacturers improved productivity beyond that provided by the ‘Solamet PV17x’ series. ‘Solamet PV18A’ is claimed to be the first metallization paste tailored for optimal performance on mono-crystalline wafers with enhanced Lightly Doped Emitters (LDEs).
Growatt North America has unveiled a new ‘High Frequency Series’ of residential solar PV string inverters, and their light commercial ‘TL3 Series’ string inverters during SPI 2012. The HF Series inverters are initially offered in 2.0kW, 2.5kW, and 3.0kW power classes, while the TL3 Series inverters are initially offered in 10kW, 12kW, 18kW, and 20kW power classes.
Atonometrics, a developer of PV test and measurement technologies, has developed a new suite of product offerings, which include the Irradiance Measurement System, the PV Module Soiling Measurement System and the PV Module Degradation Measurement System. By quantifying the effects of various elements on PV plant performance using on-site testing, the tools allow operators to mitigate risk and maximize return on investment.