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Baseline meets innovation: Technology transfer for high-efficiency thin-film Si and CIGS modules at PVcomB

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By Björn Rau, Technology Manager / Deputy Director, Helmholtz-Zentrum Berlin für Materialien und Energie GmbH/PVcomB; Felice Friedrich, Head of Analytics Group, Technical University Berlin/PVcomB; Niklas Papathanasiou, Head of CIGS Solar Cell Development, Helmholtz-Zentrum Berlin für Materialien und Energie GmbH/PVcomB; Christof Schultz, Engineer, HTW Laser Research Group, University of Applied Sciences Berlin (HTW)/PVcomB; Bernd Stannowski, Head of TF Si R&D Group, Helmholtz-Zentrum Berlin für Materialien und Energie GmbH/PVcomB; Bernd Szyszka, Professor, Technical University Berlin/PVcomB; Rutger Schlatmann, Helmholtz-Zentrum Berlin für Materialien und Energie GmbH/PVcomB, Director, University of Applied Sciences Berlin (HTW)/PVcomB

Thin-film PV modules are one of the most sustainable options for the generation of electricity, with low material consumption and short energy-payback times. Both of these factors are essential for paving the way towards a terawatt PV market. However, the cost-competitive production of PV modules has become extremely difficult, and module producers are facing huge challenges. A rapid technology transfer from research to industry is therefore required in order to introduce innovations for lower production costs and higher conversion efficiencies. At the Competence Centre Thin-Film- and Nanotechnology for Photovoltaics Berlin (PVcomB), founded by the Helmholtz-Zentrum Berlin (HZB) and the Technical University Berlin, two R&D lines for 30 x 30cm2 modules based on thin-film silicon and copper indium gallium (di)selenide (CIGS) respectively are operated. Robust baseline processes on a high efficiency level, combined with advanced process and device analytics, have been established as a basis for the introduction and development of further innovative technology steps, and their transfer to industry.

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The seventeenth edition of Photovoltaics International applauds new markets emerging to plug the deployment gaps left by countries such as Spain, the Czech Republic and Italy. Profitless prosperity is the way Mark Osborne, Senior News Editor at PV-Tech.org characterises the PV manufacturing supply chain at the moment. In this issue the Fraunhofer ISE presents an overview of MWT technologies and calls on manufacturers to “quickly bring these techniques to industrialisation”. Additionally back contact cells and modules are featured extensively with valuable contributions from IMEC/ECN and the ISFH.

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