Centrotherm to showcase CIGS technology advancements
The company will present its low cost thin film technologies at EU PVSEC, taking place between September 5 to 8, 2011, in Hamburg.
At this year's 26th European Photovoltaic Solar Energy Conference and Exhibition, centrotherm photovoltaics AG is presenting technology and systems boosting efficiency along the photovoltaic value chain.
There is great demand for efficiency enhancements and lower operating costs in view of the intensely competitive market environment among solar cell and module manufacturers. The globally leading technology and equipment provider is responding to these demands from its customers with state-of-the-art production systems and corresponding upgrade and retrofit packages.
In the Thin Film area, two news items are set to form the focus of positive discussion: centrotherm photovoltaics has successfully concluded the development of its new second-generation selenium (Se) systems to manufacture CIGS thin film modules. The systems have reached and exceeded the planned performance improvements in terms of homogeneity and uptime in acceptance tests at Blaubeuren, Germany. These systems will also be offered in the future as single equipment items to produce thin film modules. Centrotherm photovoltaics' selenium and sputtering systems comprise key equipment items to manufacture thin film modules that can be adapted in line with customer wishes.
The second news item comes from the Far East: the efficiency of the CIGS thin film module from centrotherm photovoltaics' production line at Sunshine in Taiwan has been continuously enhanced in the direction of 11 percent. The modules (1,400 x 1,100 mm²) can achieve output of more than 150 W peak. The developers have also paid particular attention to the environmental aspect of the centrotherm CIGS technology: the process management utilises nonhazardous and recyclable elementary selenium instead of highly toxic hydrogen selenide (H2Se).
GP Solar GmbH, a wholly-owned centrotherm photovoltaics subsidiary, is taking the opportunities offered by the EU PVSEC to showcase three innovations for the quality assurance of solar cells and modules. With the GP Solar Inspect CHROME, a completely revised product line for in-line measuring technology is being launched on the market that is distinguished by numerous improvements in terms of hardware and software.
An in-house development in the camera optics area enables the spectral analysis of wafers, cells and modules, and thereby the highest level of measuring precision for innovative processes such as selective emitters or rear side contacts. The new software enables the live defect analysis of up to 600 samples, and renders the smallest process problems visible. The software will also be fitted with a Chinese-language user interface in the future.
The GP TOPO-D .Scan represents a global product innovation: this is an in-line inspection system that measures the entire topography of wafers and solar cells on a 3-D basis. Measurement occurs within one second without interrupting the production process.
The GP TF-SENSE .Scan is a high-quality inspection system that offers 100 percent inspection of thin film modules. A particular attraction of this technology is that each individual substrate can be measured without a detrimental effect on the production cycle. All of these developments share the ability to immediately identify the smallest defects. This reduces rejections, resulting in verifiably lower production costs. These inspection systems can be integrated flexibly, very rapidly and easily within production processes.
FHR Anlagenbau, a wholly-owned centrotherm photovoltaics subsidiary, is demonstrating its expertise in the flexible photovoltaic area with corresponding foil coating solutions. The roll-to-roll system concepts that deploy PVD or PECVD technology, and which have been developed on a customer-specific basis, are appropriate for various substrate materials and diverse solar cell concepts.
FHR boasts major know-how particularly in the area of foil of solar cells that are based on CIGS and a-Si, and regards itself as in a leading position globally in this context. FHR is reporting great success in accompanying several international customers in taking the step from pilot production to mass production, including some very successful partnerships in China. The flexible, light and unbreakable cells are also particularly suited to large industrial roofs, and applications such as the textile, automotive and aerospace industries. Thin film solar cells generated using this roll-to-roll procedure are unrivalled when it comes to uneven surfaces.
"As a solar pioneer and technology leader, we are pleased to set benchmarks at the EU PVSEC in Hamburg with efficiency-enhancing developments in all business areas," was how Fath explained his company's involvement. "It is our constant aim to further expand our customers' advantage with respect to cost-leadership and efficiency in this context. New customers benefit in terms of the latest production systems, and our existing customers benefit from our upgrade packages."
The 26th EU PVSEC taking place through September 5-8, 2011, will be held at the CCH Congress Centre & Trade Fair, Hamburg. Centrotherm will exhibit its products at Hall A1, Stand A1/B2.