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.
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.
DuPont Microcircuit Materials (MCM) has introduced ‘DuPont Solamet PV416’ photovoltaic metallization paste used to raise the efficiency of thin film photovoltaic cells. The front-side silver paste material has the capability to be processed at temperatures below 140°C, and is designed to provide improved contact resistance, conductivity, adhesion and fine line resolution when printed on Transparent Conductive Oxides (TCOs). The new paste has been claimed to have boosted CIGS thin-film manufacturer, Midsummer AB’s cell efficiencies by as much as 0.5%.
ULVAC Technologies has introduced the UNECS-2000 spectroscopic ellipsometer for the high speed measurement of film thickness and optical constants of thin films in R&D applications.
Dr Schenk has developed a high-speed, non-destructive measurement of I-V curves of thin-film modules prior to the lamination step. The SolarMeasure I-V Curve Tracer evaluates the characteristics of every individual cell on the complete thin-film panel and detects local variations. These measurements can be taken in-line and the results serve as a GO/NO-GO test of whether a panel should be processed further.
The photovoltaic-TPA (Thermo Plastic Applicator) from Bystronic glass group is a machine designed for the encapsulation and sealing of thin-film photovoltaic modules. The machine is claimed to be the first machine of this type that is capable of working in 24-hour operation without any interruption.
The NSG Group is a leader in TCO (transparent conductive oxide) coated glass for thin-film photovoltaic applications. Its ‘TEC’ product range is a group of products, including a comprehensive range of TCO coated glass, optimized to suit a variety of thin-film photovoltaic technologies.
Manz AG has launched an XRF-inline quality system (IQ-XRF) as an extension of its Manz IQ Series. The fully automated x-ray fluorescence system has been designed to qualify various deposition process steps in photovoltaic production lines. Two of these XRF-systems were recently integrated into a photovoltaic line and show their ability to perform in 24/7 operations.
With the FPI solar series, dr. schwab IT has developed metrology systems covering all aspects of the production process for thin-film panel manufacturing. The new system meets volume production speed requirements with full surface measurement for quality assurance as well as continuous monitoring of all process parameters helping to increase productivity and yield of production lines.
Gerold’s HMA-system automatically applies liquid butyl (hot-melt) for edge-sealing of thin-film modules, replacing the need for butyl tape, which has limiting use factors in high-volume production applications. Gerold claims the HMA-system offers more economical packing drums, less waste, and improved product quality.
Tosoh SMD has introduced new transparent conducting oxide (TCO) sputtering targets that achieve higher solar cell efficiency than standard targets. Tosoh’s new TCO targets are available in planar and rotary configurations and are composed of either traditional indium tin oxide (ITO) or aluminum zinc oxide (AZO).
DuPont Photovoltaic Solutions has introduced the ‘PV5400’ series thin ionomer-based encapsulant sheets designed to protect sensitive thin-film solar modules, while offering manufacturers new ways to cut costs, speed throughput and deliver more power over the life of each unit.
The small and compact TRUMPF TruMicro Series 3000 with wavelengths of 1064 and 532 nanometres are designed for P1, P2 and P3 patterning.
Atlumin Energy has begun fabricating monolithic `barking’ (dog bone) rotary molybdenum sputtering targets for solar thin-film module manufacturing. Barking targets offer superior material utilization, while monolithic targets offer higher density and higher purity than traditionally fabricated targets.
Evonik has introduced a highly transparent and also weathering-resistant barrier film based on polymethylmethacrylate (PMMA) that can replace glass plates as a front cover.
Product Briefing Outline: 3M has introduced its Ultra Barrier Solar Film for flexible thin-film technologies into volume manufacturing. The product is the result of more than a decade of development in transparent barrier technology, having the potential to drastically reduce the total system costs for rooftop solar installations. The film’s unique module form factor also offers an array of niche applications.
Product Briefing Outline: Solar Metrology has expanded its portfolio of System SMX thin-film composition and thickness measurement tools with the introduction of model SMX-ILH (in-line X-ray head) tool, which is designed for in-line composition and thickness control of CIGS and CdTe photovoltaic thin film depositions.
Product Briefing Outline: BrightView Systems has unveiled the InSight M Series, which it claims to be the world’s first in-line process control and optimization tool developed specifically to address the challenges faced by thin-film solar cell manufacturers. The Wide Area Metrology (WAM) system provides continuous monitoring and whole-panel mapping of critical material and process parameters at full production throughput and for 100% of manufactured panels.
Product Briefing Outline: J.A. Woollam has integrated its Flying M-2000 Spectroscopic Ellipsometer into a mapping tool for thin-film uniformity measurements over the entire PV panel. The high accuracy and wide spectral coverage of the M-2000 ensure that every layer in a thin film stack can be measured, while new automation has been designed to ensure fast, precise measurements over the entire panel.