Product Briefing Outline: Schenk Vision has launched the I-V Curve Tracer from the SolarMeasure product family that enables correlation of optical inspection and efficiency tests (I-V curve) for thin-film PV production lines. Schenk has developed a new technology that is complimentary to flashers but enables an early feedback on the module efficiency.
Problem: ‘Indirect metrology tests’, for example the measurement of pinhole density, layer thickness or haze monitoring, enable the manufacturer to evaluate the module quality and give an early warning as soon as a process step no longer meets the preset tolerances. These indirect measurements alone cannot make a prediction about the final electrical efficiency of the solar panel. As today’s sun simulators or flashers are normally installed only at the very end of the production line when low quality modules have already gone through expensive back-end processing.
Solution: I-V Curve Tracer is intended to meet challenges that flashers cannot overcome on a thin-film PV production line. Unlike conventional flasher-tests, this measurement can be performed in-line before the lamination step and can, thus, serve as a GO/NO-GO tester to decide whether a panel is further processed. By matching the efficiency results with data from the indirect measurements of the SolarInspect and SolarMeasure systems, manufacturers can make immediate and long-term correlations between local defects and panel efficiency. Corrective actions can be taken as early as possible and production costs can be reduced.
Applications: Measures the I-V curves of thin-film modules before lamination.
Platform: The fully automated system is based on a proprietary LED illumination technology which enables an evaluation of the electrical characteristics of the entire thin-film panel, as well as the detection of local variations. It enables uniquely electrical characterization by: Space-Resolved Measurement; Wavelength-Resolved Measurement and Irradiance-Resolved Measurement.
Availability: September 2009 onwards.