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CIGS, CdTe thin-film PV equipment sector emerges, but standardization remains elusive

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By Tom Cheyney, Senior Contributig Editor - USA, Photovotaics International

Although the entire solar manufacturing industry, from raw materials to finished modules, has enjoyed strong double-digit growth rates over the past several years, few sectors have soared like the amorphous-silicon thin-film photovoltaic equipment space. Much of this prodigious multibillion-dollar booking activity can be attributed to the acceptance of the turnkey production packages offered by the likes of Applied Materials, Oerlikon and Ulvac. These suppliers’ plug-and-play, standard toolset solutions are attractive to companies seeking to get into the TFPV module business on a fast track and then scale up their capacities in multimegawatt chunks to achieve grid-competitive cost-per-manufactured-watt metrics.

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The second edition of Photovoltaics International was published in November 2008. It includes the cost benefits of conversion of used 200mm semiconductor fabs for the PV industry by CH2M Hill in Fab & Facilities, in-line plasma-chemical etching from Fraunhofer IWS in Cell Processing and NREL presents design criteria for back- and front-sheet materials in PV Modules.

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