Applied Materials has received International Electrotechnical Commission certification for both the single- and tandem-junction versions of the 5.7 m2 solar photovoltaic modules produced by its SunFab thin film line. Tests run by TÜV InterCert confirmed that the large-area amorphous-silicon panels meet IEC standards 61646 and 61730.
“Applied’s 5.7 m2 modules are four times bigger than anything we’ve ever tested,” said Feridoon Sergizzarea, president/CEO of TÜV InterCert. “We made modifications to the laboratory and added equipment to enable us to test modules this large. Creating a PV product of this size that can pass all of the IEC tests while maintaining mechanical and electrical integrity is an impressive feat of engineering.”
The quarter-sized 1.4 m2 modules produced on the SunFab TFPV line received IEC certification earlier this year. However, a full-size 5.7 m2 panel designed to maintain high power output while subjected to years of exposure to sunlight, extreme temperatures, wind and precipitation was a new challenge.
Applied’ says that its technology and engineering expertise in flat-panel display and architectural glass systems enabled it to deliver the critical uniform conversion properties required across large areas. An integrated bonded rail support structure strengthens the module, allowing it to withstand wind and seismic loads while enabling the reduction of installation costs by greatly simplifying the mounting structure.
“We expect 5.7 m2 modules to become the standard for utility-scale PV power,” said Randhir Thakur, senior VP/GM of Applied’s display and SunFab solar business group. “Applying SunFab technology to ultralarge modules creates an unprecedented opportunity to reduce both manufacturing and installation costs, transforming solar PV into a long-term solution to provide the world with affordable energy from a renewable source.”