Oerlikon Solar has reached two milestones in its efforts to advance silicon thin-film photovoltaic technology and manufacturing. The company has launched an advanced production line offering called “ThinFab” capable of hitting manufacturing costs of €0.50/Wp (US$0.64) and, in cooperation with glass partner Corning, has achieved NREL-confirmed record stabilized conversion efficiencies of 11.9% on its champion micromorph tandem-junction thin-film solar cells.
The company touts a range of improvements incorporated in the ThinFab line, including increased annual production capacity to 120MW; new-generation PECVD, TCO, laser scribing, and back-end moduling equipment; thinner cell structures with reduced gas consumption and degradation; stabilized module efficiency of 10% on a 143Wp module; and a novel low-voltage module design.
Specific enhancements include throughputs up to 100% higher than previous generation tools, 40% lower cost of ownership metrics, extended maintenance cycles, 30% lower facility energy costs, decreased scribe separation and better laser process stability, and best-in-class transmittance and light-trapping capabilities in the transparent conductive oxide layer.
The company claims its production plants have some of the lowest energy consumption rates in the industry, and that it has reduced the energy payback time of its silicon thin-film modules to less than one year.
The newly enhanced capabilities are not limited to new clientele, as Oerlikon Solar said that its existing customers can also benefit from the many technical improvements, with the company planning to introduce upgrade packages that will enable better performance, higher output, and improved efficiencies of existing production lines.
Oerlikon Solar is exhibiting at the 25th European Photovoltaic Solar Energy Conference and Exhibition in Hall 2, level 2, booth B8.