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.
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.
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.
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.
Engineered Conductive Materials (ECM) has developed a new fast curing conductive adhesive CA-100 for stringing and bussing next-generation CIGS solar modules. This material formulation is optimized for improved conductivity and stability on molybdenum and other substrates used in thin-film manufacturing.
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.
Plansee High Performance Materials has added MoNa sputtering targets with high purity and a uniform and fine-grained microstructure to its product offering. Tests in cooperation with the Swiss EMPA institute have claimed the MoNa targets to be superior to alternative targets. Using Na-doped molybdenum layers, the efficiency of CIGS solar cells are said to have been significantly improved.
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.
Singulus Technologies has launched an enhanced wet-chemical processing system for thin film solar module manufacturing dubbed the ‘VITRUM’ GEN 2. Singulus claims the upgraded system offers substantial cost-saving potential and can easily be integrated into already existing manufacturing lines.
Singulus Technologies has made significant improvements to its TENUIS platform for wet-chemical coating of thin-film solar modules made of copper-indium-gallium-diselenide (CIGS) on glass. The TENUIS GEN 2 system incorporates new and unique concepts in terms of dosing and temperature control, while reducing the process time by up to 20%. The floor-space requirements of the modular system have also been reduced by 30%.
LayTec launched a new in-line metrology system ‘PearL’ at the Intersolar Europe 2011. PearL is an optical in-line monitoring system, measuring photoluminescence spectra of CIGS thin-film modules in production lines and is part of the LayTec product line for solar applications. Photoluminescence spectra allow a fast detection of the effective Ga content of the absorber during the production process. A product option for CdTe absorbers is also available.
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.
Solyndra has launched the Solyndra 200 Series ‘Metal Roof Solution.’ The unique non-penetrating adjustable mounting system is designed to meet the additional solar installation challenges posed by metal roofs. Metal roofs make up a significant and growing portion of the large, low-sloped, commercial, industrial and agricultural rooftop markets.
Solyndra has developed a new solar application for agricultural greenhouse and shade structures that takes advantage of light being able to pass through Solyndra’s proven tubular thin-film PV panel design. Research CeRSAA in Italy and the Department of Plant Sciences, University of California, Davis, have confirmed the improved nature of the panel design and its ability to support crop growth underneath while generating electricity.
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.
Honda Soltec will release a new thin-film solar cell with an even more compact design than the current model to allow efficient installation on a wide range of roof shapes. The module conversion efficiency of the new solar cell module is expected to exceed 13.0%, ranking it among the world’s most efficient CIGS-based thin-film solar cells.
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.
Solyndra has announced the first major upgrade to its CIGS cylindrical thin-film modules. The Solyndra 200 Series requires no tools for commercial flat rooftop installation and is the fastest and easiest-to-install. Improved light collection makes the 200 Series rated as high as 220Wp and is larger in size (2.28 m x 1.09 m x 0.06 m) than its predecessor.