By Nande van Aken, Director of Production Engineering, SOLON SE; Bodo von Moltke, Head of the Panel Pre-Development Department, SOLON SE; Dr. Kai Siemer, Director of Product Development, SOLON SE
Over the past few decades, the PV equipment manufacturing market has seen a significant change in technologies. Cell sizes are being increased, while cell thickness has decreased at an ever-increasing speed of technological innovation, from 4” 340µm cells in the 1990s to 6”+ 180µm being the current industry standard. Thin-film modules pose completely new challenges to module manufacturing technology with a strong integration of the manufacturing of the active layers into the module production flow. This articles analyses the pros and cons of an increased level of line integration from the viewpoint of an established PV module producer.