Cost Management Tool
Sunwire Calculator Luvata Special Products

Sunwire® is Luvata’s branded photovoltaic solar ribbon. The Sunwire Calculator enables photovoltaic module manufacturers to make more informed decisions concerning their solar ribbon needs. Understanding solar ribbon is critically important to solar module efficiency and life cycle. Solar ribbon width and thickness have to be carefully adapted to accommodate the limitations of module materials. In addition, the yield strength, thickness and width of solar ribbon can directly influence production yields and decrease cell to module (CTM) losses by 20-30%. With the introduction of the Luvata Sunwire Calculator, PV module manufacturers can optimize the amount of Sunwire ribbon per spool to accommodate the speed of tabbing machines and shift changes. In addition, it provides the opportunity to further refine module materials and Sunwire ribbon for improved module efficiency and reduce overall material costs. The Sunwire Calculator requires a few simple details to determine the solar ribbon weight, the ribbon length per spool and even the ribbon length per solar panel. The results are made available immediately and can be emailed directly to an email address. As PV module manufacturers look to reduce usage of silver paste in the cell metallization process, this can increase the number of interconnecting ribbons on the cell. This offers lower costs, while improving the efficiency of the solar cells. Playing with the Sunwire Calculator to determine the solar ribbon weight based on the copper width, copper thickness or coating thickness or the length of Sunwire depending on the number of cells and busbars per cells will help PV module manufactures determine the optimal results. Judge’s remark: Luvata’s Sunwire Calculator helps manufacturer’s to optimize their use of silver paste and other expensive consumables to lower costs and improve overall efficiency.

R&D Award
Technology to create efficient bright green colored solar panels AMOLF, the University of Amsterdam (UvA) and ECN

Researchers from AMOLF, the University of Amsterdam (UvA) and ECN have developed a technology to create efficient bright green coloured solar panels. Arrays of silicon nanoparticles integrated in the front module glass of a silicon heterojunction solar cell scatter a narrow band of the solar spectrum and create a green appearance for a wide range of angles. The remainder of the solar spectrum is efficiently coupled into the solar cell. The current generated by the solar panel is only reduced by 10%. The realization of efficient colourful solar panels is an important step for the integration of solar panels into the built environment and landscape. Judge’s remark: While the benefits of renewable energy remain undeniable, it is also true that the aesthetic visual appeal of PV panels does affect consumer purchasing; the development of colorized cells with minimal generation loss should have ongoing market appeal.

Solar PV Material Award
ELASTOSIL® Solar Wacker Chemie AG

A pioneering manufacturer of solar-technology products, WACKER is an important partner to the solar and photovoltaic industries, with extensive expertise in the field. WACKER supports the globally expanding PV market by supplying high-quality and innovative silicone rubber grades. Specifically developed for bonding and encapsulating solar cells, silicone grades feature tailored properties. Exhibiting excellent weathering and radiation resistance, silicones are innovative products that meet the solar industry’s high requirements. WACKER easily satisfies global demand, as well. After all, our silicones are available anytime around the world and can be easily customized to individual needs. There are plenty of advantages to be had from using WACKER’s silicones to laminate flexible and rigid solar modules. Silicone offers a whole series of advantages, including protection against weathering and UV radiation, as well as long-lasting high transparency without yellowing.

nFOG aerosol Beneq

Beneq nFOG™ aerosol thin film coating is an advanced wet film coating technology for deposition of wet-based chemistries at room temperature. It provides an energy efficient and cost-effective high-quality deposition technology alternative, which is not limited by scalability issues. Beneq nFOG also solves another major issue of industrial production of high-quality thin films – with Beneq’s nFOG technology, vacuum production is no longer needed. Beneq nFOG aerosol thin film coating offers a combination that cannot be achieved with any other wet film coating technology - the quality of spin coating with the scalability of spray coating. The Beneq nFOG technology has been successfully used for producing anti-reflective coatings, protective coatings, hydrophobic coatings, anti-fog coatings and hydrophilic coatings on a multitude of substrate materials of all sizes.

HERAEUS SOL9641B Silver Paste Heraeus Photovoltaics

Heraeus SOL9641B series is based on the brand-new glass chemistry for ULDE (Ultra Lightly Doped Emitter), combined with the latest improvement in organic vehicle system for UFL (ultra-fineline) printing. Customers report that SOL9641B has excellent metallization contact on ULDE mono and multi crystalline solar cells. SOL9641B is a revolutionary design as a “Product Platform”, not just a product family. Such unique paste chemistry has a wide firing window toward lower temperature side, which makes this series well-performed on PERC (Passivated Emitter Rear Contact) solar cells. The 9641B formulation design strategy also allows their local PML (Product Modification Labs) to do quick and efficient customization for versatile applications and customer requests. On mono- and multi-crystalline ULDE and PERC cells Heraeus’ SOL9641B series with improved finger geometry helps boosting efficiencies significantly by up to 0.2%. Better metallization contact and less shading enable this efficiency boost. The metallization paste demonstrates superior contact behavior on demanding emitters such as ultra-lightly doped emitters (ULDE). In addition, the organic vehicle system for ultra-fine line printing has been improved. A unique glass frit developed and produced by exclusively Heraeus Photovoltaics enables a wider firing window toward lower temperature side. It is tailored to the low temperature processing needs of PERC solar cells and can be paired with the award winning SOL326 PERC backside paste to realize higher efficiencies and mass production yield. Judge’s remark: Heraeus demonstrates its continued global leadership in solar PV materials with its latest paste that is ideal for PERC and other lower temperature firing requirements.

Solar PV Equipment Award
Midsummer DUO Midsummer AB

The Midsummer DUO is a compact, fully automatic deposition system for CIGS solar cell manufacturing. It’s designed for high throughput, operational stability, optimized layer uniformity and superior material utilization. The DUO tool deposits the complete material stack in an unbroken vacuum chain. All materials are deposited by sputtering onto flexible stainless steel substrates using a Cadmium free process. The unbroken vacuum chain allows for less stringent clean room conditions. Unlike Roll-to-Roll solutions, the Midsummer tool produces individual cells on punched 156x156 mm stainless steel substrates. This allows for making flexible modules while keeping cell uniformity and performance at an optimum to reduce manufacturing costs. Small vacuum chambers and gate valves enable target and shield change time of less than 5 minutes vacuum to vacuum. Bar coded substrates ensures that all processing data for each cell is recorded for QC and for product development. As a Midsummer customer you test, verify performance and accept the equipment at our factory prior to delivery. This is unique to Midsummer and ensures the quality of equipment and process as well as a short start up time.

XEA|nova® inline wafer coating system Von Ardenne

The XEA|nova® is an inline wafer coating system with a carrier return transport. It is specifically designed for high-efficiency solar applications such as TCO and metal layers for heterojunction solar cells (HJT). However, it is also suited for other small substrates. With this tool, even very thin substrates can be treated on both sides without breaking the vacuum or flipping the substrates. These outstanding features of the XEA|nova® enable sequenced but also simultaneous treatments of both substrate surfaces. The XEA|nova® can be equipped with rotatable magnetrons for sputtering and with various evaporation sources, such as electron beam guns. Special pre treatment of the substrates like cleaning or etching can either take place under vacuum or before the substrate enters the vacuum. The XEA|nova® benefits from our experience gained from more than 140 coating systems that we have delivered to the photovoltaics industry. It is the perfect choice for customers looking for highly productive and flexible production equipment combined with proven technology and design.

Dual Lane Metallization Line Alignus ASYS

The dual lane metallization line Alignus 1.5s underlines the philosophy of the ASYS group in terms of PV-automation. Following the slogan “we count down”, ASYS is focusing on reducing cycle times of every process step in the line. The new Alignus 1.5s, according the name, comes up with a cycle time of 1.5 seconds and generates an output of 4,800 wafer per hour. The new line marks the beginning of the time-reducing process in ASYS metallization lines. The Alignus 1.5s features further benefits: As the cells are aligned without any wafer edge contact, breakage rates could now be reduced substantially. Additionally, the cell testing platform has been re-designed to process all kind of cell technologies at reduced stress. Hence it as well contributes to higher productivity. The stress reduction is achieved by the usage of a motorized contacting unit, thus contact resistance is minimized. Furthermore, the new tester is easily adjustable to 2 up to 6 busbars and therefore provides highest flexibility in the contacting process. Also in the process step “testing” cycle time has been optimized: now the cell is aligned in parallel to the testing. Thus cycle time is reduced however the machine still operates with highest accuracy. The I-V test system of the Alignus 1.5s is provided by the ASYS subsidiary company BOTEST, who is market leader in testing of all kinds of different cell types. Service requests can be forwarded directly to ASYS, who will guarantee quick support for fastest re-implementing of the machine. Besides, the Autohead print head is now included in the screen printers as standard. As the vertical movement is motorized, e.g. the down stop position, it can be regulated more accurately and without any manual intervention of the operator. The squeegee position is programmable and will adjust automatically to wafer height. Another benefit of the Autohead is the locked recipe set-up. As further programmed recipe data is saved, it can be recalled effortlessly. This enables higher repeatability rates and an improved screen lifetime. ASYS metallization lines, Alignus 1.5s supports single side operation which additionally simplifies the job of the operator, saves manpower and allows tight installation of metallization lines in the plant. Thus ASYS metallization lines claim less space at same productivity. ASYS Group is working on a self-organized production to the greatest possible extent, which comes along with the Industry 4.0 approach. ASYS metallization lines are meanwhile “PULSE ready”, meaning line control and operation can be regulated via smart devices. The PULSE app “Alertsinfo” provides messages about machine status and warnings or machine stoppings on tablets and smart watches. The app generates a list with prioritized tasks and supplies support information. Hence, the operator now receives all kind of machine signals directly on the wrist and can react to warnings and machine stops efficiently. Handling modules can be directly controlled from the tablet which makes long distance paths obsolete and saves time. The award-winning PULSE software has already been installed in several PV-production plants. Evaluations at customer site confirm significant reduction of line stops and essential growth in production whilst the operator is evidently relieved.