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Posted: September 19, 2009
Live PV Demo by Oerlikon at European Photovoltaic Solar Energy Conference
(Nanowerk News) At this year’s European Photovoltaic Solar Energy Conference in Hamburg, Germany, live runs of crystalline solar cells will be demonstrated by Oerlikon Systems, a leading provider of nano-Technology manufacturing solutions. The live demo of the new SOLARIS coating system (booth B6/26) highlights the system’s growing popularity within the PV industry.
“Right now, we have a large number of clients around the world qualifying processes on the SOLARIS,” adds Andreas Dill, Head of Oerlikon Systems. “And the market interest continues to boom.”
Similar in design to high throughput production systems used in the optical disc industry for DVD and Blu-ray discs, SOLARIS is a high-speed single wafer sputtering system that can be easily configured for emerging nanotechnology and clean energy applications, but the combination of low power consumption, small footprint and high uptime make it an ideal solution for PV production.
Helping improve solar cell quality and efficiency
The production costs of solar energy depend not only on cell efficiency but also on the productivity of the manufacturing process for solar cells. The system design of the SOLARIS will help the solar industry quickly implement cleaner, more cost-efficient and more reliable production processes that are superior to conventional batch processing platforms. Also, the combination of six process chambers, ‘single substrate’ handling, a wide range of layer materials, and high throughput – 1,200 wafers per hour – will contribute to a noticeable increase in solar cell quality and efficiency, helping reduce overall production costs.
"If we want to significantly reduce costs for solar power to grid parity, we not only have to improve the cell itself but must also rethink production", states Andreas Dill. “Existing standard fabrication methods for coating crystalline solar cells are based on complex processes with high demands made on cleaning and manual maintenance. SOLARIS works much more efficiently.”
For example, crystalline solar cells require an anti-reflective layer on the front and a contact layer on the backside. AR layers are currently coated with PECVD processes and the backside contacts are screen-printed; conventional production equipment has a very large footprint, must be cleaned and maintained frequently and requires additional costly equipment like scrubbers; consumables are also expensive, adding to solar cell production costs. SOLARIS utilizes a clean PVD process and does not require greenhouse gases or any other additional equipment.
Oerlikon is one of the world's leading international high-tech industrial groups specializing in machine and plant engineering. The company is a leader in the field of industrial solutions and innovative technologies for textile manufacture, thin-film solar and thin-film coating, drive, precision and vacuum systems. With roots in Switzerland and a long tradition stretching back 100 years, Oerlikon is a global player with a workforce of more than 16000 at 158 locations in 37 different countries. The company's sales amounted to CHF 4.8 billion in 2008 and it ranks either first or second in the respective global markets.