• A cheaper, faster and greener solar panel manufacturing process

    The cleaning performance of three different fluorine-containing precursors – sulphur hexafluoride (SF6), nitrogen trifluoride (NF3) and molecular fluorine (F2) – is compared from theoretical, experimental and commercial points of view. Experiments were performed using an Oerlikon Solar KAI Gen 5 (1300mm × 1100mm) R&D platform. For the experiments with F2, an ‘on-site/on-demand’ generator from The Linde Group was installed at the Oerlikon Solar facility in Trübbach, Switzerland. The SF6-based cleaning process was found to be up to 75% less efficient than the corresponding NF3 or F2 process. A comparison between NF3 and F2 indicates that a significantly larger process window is available for reactor cleaning when F2 is used in place of NF3. This leads to both time and gas mass savings, improving productivity and bringing down the cost of ownership of the reactor cleaning process. As a direct consequence, Oerlikon Solar has decided to transfer the process to their production KAI MT plasma-enhanced chemical vapour deposition (PECVD) platforms.

  • How automation can benefit the PV industry

    Although the different roadmaps for PV vary somewhat from each other, the bottom line always remains the same: exponential growth is predicted over the next 5–10 years. The latest cell technologies meet the demand for grid parity even in central Europe and PV will therefore continue to be the most popular source of renewable energy. In consequence, the whole PV industry has developed from a niche product towards mass production. Every player along the entire value chain is now faced with the need to stay profitable while meeting the ever-increasing demands of the market. Implementing suitable automation can improve competitiveness and thus pave the way to becoming or remaining successful in this turbulent market.

  • International technology roadmap for PV: Results 2011

  • US environmental permitting for PV manufacturing facilities – requirements & strategies for success

  • Environmental footprinting of photovoltaic module production

  • Integral characterization: Traceability from feedstock to cell

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Publications

  • 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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