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Ramping a novel cadmium telluride thin-film solar photovoltaic module production process

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By Kurt Barth, Founder, Abound Solar; Mark Chen, Director of Marketing, Abound Solar

Thin-film solar photovoltaic technology offers the benefits of low-cost and high-volume production. Yet numerous thin-film PV startups have struggled in their efforts to commercialize complex, expensive production technologies, as production ramps have taken longer than expected, and venture capital and other sources of funding have run dry. This article describes a proprietary cadmium telluride (CdTe) thin-film module production process commercialized by Abound Solar: heated-pocket deposition (HPD) of the semiconductor layer, and the replacement of a traditional lamination process with a novel edge seal. The simple production process has resulted in a fast ramp of module efficiency and throughput. The paper will also describe how the process also results in fast throughput, high yields, and low manufacturing and capital equipment costs.

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The ninth edition of Photovoltaics International was published in August 2010. It features Fraunhofer IISB looking at advanced process control techniques in Cell Processing, NREL gives an atmospheric thin-film deposition technique overview, and in Power Generation REC looks at reducing BOS costs with new technology and economies of scale.

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