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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.
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 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.
Bruker has launched its Photoconductive Atomic Force Microscopy (pcAFM) module for its ‘Dimension Icon’ platform that enables sample illumination while performing nanoscale electrical characterization. In conjunction with Bruker’s ‘PeakForce TUNA’ technology, is claimed to provide the highest resolution photoconductivity and correlated nanomechanical mapping for research on fragile organic photovoltaic (OPV) device samples.
Konica Minolta Sensing Americas has introduced the AK-300 PV Reference Cell, which is claimed to be the world’s first for dye-sensitized solar cells. The AK-300 was developed in conjunction with the National Institute of Advanced Industrial Science and Technology (AIST) and utilized Konica Minolta Sensing’s advanced optical filter technology. The reference cell has been designed using an optical filter mounted on a stable crystalline silicon solar cell rather than using traditional dye materials.
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.
Oerlikon Solar’s 2nd generation ThinFab turnkey system is claimed to enable a CapEx reduction of more than 20%. The estimated price for the complete end-to-end production line is just US$1/Wp including engineering support and performance guarantees. The production line is claimed to produce high quality thin film silicon modules for cost of around $ 0.5/Wp (€ 0.35/Wp), a new record-low in the solar industry.
Tanaka Precious Metals has introduced what it claims is the world’s first conductive silver ink capable of forming electronic circuits using only hardening by ultraviolet (UV) light without the need for hardening by heating. A total of three silver inks using different types of resin and reaction initiator will be available and users can select the materials according to their manufacturing equipment and application.
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.
Sentech Instruments, a manufacturer of advanced quality control instrumentation for thin film metrology applications, has developed a transparent conductive oxide (TCO) inspection tool that offers uniformity mapping of film thickness and spectrally resolved haze H(λ) on glass sheets of all standard glass sizes.
Edwards has introduced a patented hot trap designed to thermally decompose the liquid diethyl zinc (DEZ) used in depositing some transparent conductive oxide (TCO) films in thin film solar manufacturing.
Konica Minolta Sensing Americas has introduced the AK Series of new photovoltaic reference cells to the US market. The AK reference cells are used as a standard point of calibration to ensure consistent measurements of newly developed photovoltaic cells.
Centrosolar has developed a new installation option for the flexible thin-film solar module, TF Multi Professional, produced by United Solar Ovonic. This means the large-surface module can be installed on roofs covered with trapezoidal sheet metal. Up until now, installation has been possible only on plastic foil roofs, according to the company.
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.
National Semiconductor has released the ‘SolarMagic’ ‘MYPVDATA’ Solar Operations Center (SOC). The software as a service (SaaS) offering helps users analyze data collected from the PV array by delivering information through an easy-to-use web-interface.
Enercon Industries Corporation is introducing the new ‘Plasma4’ in-line atmospheric plasma surface treatment system for the cleaning and functionalizing of roll-to-roll materials used for fabricating photovoltaic systems.
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.
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.
Chroma ATE is launching phase-II of its solar manufacturing solutions by introducing its automated & completely integrated solar module assembly line for both thin film and c-Si cell technologies.
DAS Environmental Expert has developed an integrated and compact solution for the abatement of waste gas, waste water and fine dust created during the production of silicon based thin film modules.
DuPont Circuit & Packaging Materials announces the commercial availability of DuPont ‘Kapton’ polyimide films
High-purity fluorine gas (F2) is the highest performing cleaning gas available. Onsite generation of the gas has been developed by Linde, delivering high-purity F2 on demand and at low pressure, eliminating the need for large-volume/high-pressure storage and ensuring safe and reliable supply to CVD process tools.
Delivering an alternative to high-temperature solder processes, Henkel has developed Hysol Eccobond CA3556HF, a silver-filled electrically conductive adhesive designed to offer fast cure at low temperature. The material is also designed for high-throughput production processes and applications that dictate high peel strength, such as the assembly of PV modules.
Soliant Energy has launched its next generation CPV commercial rooftop solar energy solution, the SE-1000X. The SE-1000X features eight CPV modules per tracking panel and delivers 504W. This high power coupled with the integrated ‘TipTilt Tracking’ is claimed to generate the greatest amount of energy, at the lowest price per kWh (kilowatt) for commercial rooftop installations. The SE-1000X maximizes energy production per rooftop square foot when compared to flat-panel solar rooftop solutions.
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: Dow Chemical has launched it ‘Enlight’ polyolefin encapsulant films, which are claimed to enhance efficiencies in PV module production and lead to lower conversion costs. The films also can provide greater module stability and improved electrical performance versus traditional encapsulants, such as EVA-based products, which improves the reliability and extends the service life of PV modules. The new encapsulant films are suitable for c-Si and thin-film modules.
Product Briefing Outline: Umicore Precious Metals Refining has introduced a CIGS production scrap recycling service with an initial capacity of 50Mt per annum. This new service allows the recycling of production waste (e.g. chamber residues) generated by CIGS solar cell producers, and valorizes copper, indium, gallium and selenium.
Product Briefing Outline: Solar Metrology has expanded its SMX XRF tool portfolio for film composition and thickness measurement of CIGS photovoltaic deposition processes with the addition of the System SMX- Linear ISI. SMX LINEAR ISI is said to be fast, flexible and easily integrated into any vacuum deposition tool, vacuum process station, or point of a vacuum process line.
Product Briefing Outline: Festo has developed the Sliding Fork, an innovative way of transporting glass. This unique servo-pneumatic handling system is particularly suitable for vacuum applications and is totally leak-proof, dynamic, with extreme torsional rigidity.
Product Briefing Outline: Craic Technologies has launched the 20/20 PV Microspectrometer, which is designed to measure UV-visible NIR-range transmission, absorbance, reflectance, and emission and fluorescence spectra of sample areas smaller than a micron in width. The thickness of thin films and colour spaces can also be determined. The 20/20 PV system is claimed to be the most powerful instrument from Craic Technologies.
Product Briefing Outline: Trumpf is offering user-oriented microprocessing lasers from the TruMicro Series 3000, 5000 and 7000 for an increasing number of applications for thin-film processes, including CIGS patterning steps.