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Posted: June 18, 2008
Nanosolar Achieves 1GW CIGS Deposition Throughput
(Nanowerk News) Nanosolar reports a major milestone in solar technology: The solar industry’s first 1GW production tool.
Most production tools in the solar industry tend to have 10-30MW in annual production capacity. How is it possible to have a single tool with Gigawatt throughput?
This feat is fundamentally enabled through the proprietary nanoparticle ink Nanosolar has developed. It allows the company to deliver efficient solar cells (presently up to more than 14%) that are simply printed.
Printing is a simple, fast, and robust coating process that in particular eliminates the need for expensive high-vacuum chambers and the kinds of high-vacuum based deposition techniques from industries where there’s a lot more $/sqm available for competitive manufacturing cost.
Nanosolar's 1GW CIGS coater cost $1.65 million. At the 100 feet-per-minute speed shown in the video, that’s an astonishing two orders of magnitude more capital efficient than a high-vacuum process: a twenty times slower high-vacuum tool would have cost about ten times as much per tool.
The same coating technique works in principle for speeds up to 2000 feet-per-minute too. Interestingly, Nanosolar found that the faster the speed, the better the coating.