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Large-area solar simulators: critical tools for module manufacturing

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By Harvey B. Serreze, Advanced Technology Engineer & Product Manager, Spire Corporation; Roger G. Little, Chief Executive Officer and President, Spire Corporation

The importance of rapid and accurate measurement of the electrical power output and related characteristics of photovoltaic (PV) modules or panels concluding the manufacturing process cannot be overemphasized. Even though these modules will likely be deployed under a variety of outdoor solar illumination conditions, they must be tested under a set of standard conditions to assure consistency of results demanded by both the manufacturer and the customer. The ability to provide a measurement tool for this critical manufacturing step that possesses the proper specifications and qualities, ranging from spectral accuracy to ease-of-use, is imperative.

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The first edition of the Photovoltaics International journal, published in August 2008, was created in response to what was deemed to be a growing need for an unbiased technical publication for the solar cell and module manufacturing industry. With this in mind, the first edition of Photovoltaics International saw the commissioning of papers from a wide range of sectors, such as NREL’s overview of the CPV sector, IMEC’s thin-film efficiency gains via plasma texturing, site selection with IBM PLI, Q-Cells on silicon nitride thin films and Navigant Consulting’s market overview.

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