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Posted: May 6, 2009
Oerlikon Solar's Micromorph Technology Now IEC Certified by TUV Rheinland
(Nanowerk News) Today Oerlikon Solar announced that it passed all tests required for its Micromorph® thin-film silicon solar PV modules to receive TÜV Rheinland’s IEC certification. The TÜV master certificate enables Oerlikon Solar’s customers to accelerate their own IEC certification process, reducing time-to-market for certified high-performance modules from six months to less than six weeks. The certification is valid worldwide and is just one part of the established portfolio of solutions Oerlikon Solar offers its customers to enable rapid ramp-ups to mass production of thin-film solar PV modules.
“Oerlikon Solar enables its customers to significantly reduce their time to market for IEC certified modules, and guarantees leading module performance with the highest levels of reliability and cost-effective processes,” said Jeannine Sargent, CEO of Oerlikon Solar.
Oerlikon successfully completed both IEC 61646 (Module Performance Test) and IEC 61730 (Module Safety Test). TÜV Rheinland, recognized globally for its module certification, put the modules through months of rigorous testing before issuing the IEC master certificate. Accelerated life tests for climate (changing of climates, coldness, warmth, humidity) and UV exposure were conducted in addition to mechanical impact tests (hail, wind suction, wind pressure, snow). All tests were passed successfully.
“We believe Oerlikon Solar is one of the premier equipment and module technology providers in the thin-film silicon solar PV market. They have proven their ability to scale a world-class technology and process to mass production, and passed all of our tests,” states Willi Vaassen, Head of Renewable Energy division, TÜV Rheinland.
Leading Efficiency and Power Output
Oerlikon’s tandem-junction Micromorph® process improves solar cell efficiency by up to 50 percent and increases overall module power, offering a key competitive advantage for solar PV manufacturers. The Micromorph® process significantly boosts solar cell efficiency by adding a second microcrystalline absorber to the amorphous silicon (a-Si) layer. This layer converts the energy of the red- and near-infrared spectrum, yielding efficiency gains of up to 50 percent. The Micromorph® technology also bolsters overall module power, enabling customers to produce high-performance thin-film silicon solar PV modules at competitive cost.
In early 2008 Oerlikon Solar implemented the world’s first Micromorph® production line at its customer Inventux in Berlin, Germany, and rapidly brought it to full production. “We were extremely impressed at how quickly and professionally Oerlikon Solar’s expert team was able to ready our factory for mass production and further enhance module performance,” said Volko Loewenstein, chairman of Inventux.
Oerlikon Solar is currently in the process of ramping four additional Micromorph® factories (Auria Solar, Chint, Heliosphera, Pramac), as well as two factories using its Amorph technology (Tianwei, Gadir). The combined 2009 ramp projects represent a production capacity of over 240 MWp globally bringing the cumulative shipped capacity of Oerlikon Solar to 600 MWp in the last two years.
Record Performance & IEC Certification
Just recently, Inventux announced record efficiencies achieved in real-time mass production. All panels where produced with Oerlikon Solar’s proprietary Micromorph® tandem junction technology. The 1.4 square-meter modules exceeded 9 percent stabilized efficiency during the course of high-volume production and reached over 120 watt power output. On April 27, 2009, Inventux successfully passed all tests required for certification to IEC 61646 by TÜV Rheinland. This achievement reflects the first for a European based manufacturer of tandem thin film silicon modules.
Expanding Customer and Partner Relationships
A growing number of global customers are ramping up Oerlikon Solar’s leading thin-film solar PV technology. Recent sales to customers include Tianwei and Chint (Mainland China), Sun Well Solar and Auria Solar Co. Ltd. (Taiwan), Inventux, ersol Thin Film GmbH, SCHOTT Solar AG (Germany), Pramac SpA (Italy), Gadir Solar (Spain) and Heliosphera (Greece).
Oerlikon Solar has significant partnerships with leading industrial partners such as Tokyo Electron (sales and customer service) and Flextronics (manufacturing) to guarantee comprehensive customer service and support and rapid scalability throughout different geographies.