Cost Management Tool
Sunwire Calculator

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

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
HERAEUS SOL9641B Silver Paste

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
A+A+A+ sun simulator

With the A+A+A+ sun simulator backend-solution MBJ Solutions GmbH offers a very compact solution for the inspection of solar modules at the end of the line. Besides an innovative TUV certified A+A+A+ LED solar simulator, the system includes an isolation test and an electroluminescence test on a very small footprint. The second-generation triple A+ LED solar simulator is prepared for the new standard Ed. 3. It already includes the increased requirements for the spectral distribution and the option for an enlarged spectrum below 400 nm and above 1000 nm. The isolation and grounding test for framed modules can be integrated in the solar simulator. For unframed glass-glass modules modules the isolation test is moved into a separate station. The electroluminescence inspection is a separate unit following directly after the sun simulator. For the EL test MBJ relies on the proven technology of the EL-quickline series. These systems can be easily adapted to the customer needs. By variation of the camera setup a pixel resolution of 180 µm and cycle times of less than 20 sec can be realized. Such a setup makes the entire system a useful component in fully automatic lines with short cycle times and automated evaluation. MBJ Solutions GmbH has effectively leveraged the versatility of LED technology to create a new type of solar simulator that not only adheres to the highest standards but accomplishes this in a small footprint for superior manufacturing floor efficiency.

Solar PV Process Award
SENperc PV

SENTECH SENperc PV is a system for quality control in photovoltaics. It guarantees the efficiency and quality of PERC solar cell manufacturing. PERC cells consist of multiple layers, their properties and interdependences are generating more energy than conventional cells. For the quality control of PERC cells, it is necessary to precisely control the properties of the back side passivation layers by means of an optical, nondestructive measurement. The SENperc PV is the solution. The advantages of this innovative SENperc PV system are easy recipe based operation and statistical process control for quality control in industrial PERC cell manufacturing and the direct and long-term feedback to the operator for immediate intervention. Judge’s comment :Quality and cost competitiveness are key solar panel success metrics as supported by the SENTECH SENperc PV optical measurement system that provides direct feedback to the operator for higher throughout and quality assurance.

Silicon Module Award
TwinPeak 2

REC has worked extremely hard to extend the module power output achievable with the multicrystalline silicon cell platform to levels thought impossible with this technology just a few years ago. The company has made an immense effort to evolve and introduce a number of innovations to both its 60-cell and 72-cell mc-Si solar modules, which when combined mean that its mc-Si solar modules can strongly compete on power with competitive monocrystalline products. By advancing mc-Si technology, REC is aiming to provide customers with high power products at very competitive prices, helping to reduce BOS costs and lower LCOE for investors in PV. With the TwinPeak 2 developments, REC has achieved this at the same time as delivering more power per m² - generating the same amount of power with fewer modules, or generating higher system yields from the same surface area. Judge’s remark: REC’s TwinPeak 2 exemplifies efforts to increase mc-Si efficiency to the point it rivals that of monocrystalline PV products while reducing the number of modules needed to generate energy, or increase yields by utilizing a similar surface area.

Thin Film Module Award
CIGS photovoltaic technology

Flisom was founded in 2005 as a spin-off of the Laboratory of Solid State Physics of the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology Zurich (ETH Zurich) – a scientific institution with global renown. For several years, the company remained in stealth mode, working closely together with Swiss Federal Laboratories for Materials Science and Technology to design and improve its core technology. Flisom’s solar modules are potentially a global game-changer in the Buildings, Transportation and Speciality Solutions sectors as they are beautifully-designed, fully flexible, rollable, lightweight. Flisom modules have achieved a world-record conversion efficiency of 20.4% in a flexible CIGS solar cell - the highest efficiency and greatest flexibility of any thin-film solar technology. They have been developed over the past decade with the support of Tata Industries and the Swiss Federal Laboratories for Materials Science and Technology (EMPA). Flisom has developed a line of proprietary manufacturing equipment and components- a ‘roll to roll’ manufacturing process that allows production from cell to solar module in one single factory. The system allows use of fewer and better materials across less manufacturing steps, as well as giving better process controls over the whole value chain. The process meansthey can now efficiently bring CIGS thin-film solar cells to market. Why is this so important? The properties of CIGS solar films enable new applications, which need flexibility, light weight, thinness and durability. These benefits open up a whole new world of applications from automotive sun roofs, to solar powered watches and building facades. CIGS films can offer better aesthetics, better low light performance and quite importantly, a new degree of customization compared to traditional crystalline-silicon solar panels. Quite simply, the technology can bring solar power to many new industries which was not possible before with traditional solar panels. Flisom is pioneering the use of CIGS based flexible solar power in these new industries. In the aerospace sector, for example, we are working with a customer to develop a high-altitude long endurance, lightweight and efficient solar power application. The weight of our customised solar film for the client is under 200gms/m2 with possible power density of 780W/kg. This actually represents an over 50x power to weight ratio of regular solar panels. The technology has the potential to support the environmental evolution of the automotive sector and aid the adoption of electric vehicles. Solar power for vehicles can offer a longer range for electric cars, power for electronics and help manufacturers meet increasing standards for lower emissions. The lightness of the films offer the highest power to weight ratio and the flexibility and thinness of the film 30 µm will ensure negligible drag and help its easy integration onto the vehicles’ surfaces. The absence of glass or other material that can crack or break from vibration also guarantees durability and sustained performance. Furthermore, thin films offer far superior aesthetics for vehicles, integrating well with the dark shades of car sunroofs. Incorporating the solar modules into the car's electric system can be easily done using a charge controller, which will stabilize the voltage of the module to allow the battery to be charged with the generated green energy. Depending on the number of solar panels installed and the orientation, multiple charge controllers might be required to achieve the highest energy generation. This approach will work for both electric and combustion vehicles. In both cases the range of the vehicle will be increased as fuel/power consumption will be reduced by the amount of the generated solar energy. Another major consumer of power is buildings and therefore it is important that advances in solar power technology offer more solar applications for this sector. Unfortunately, the heavy rigid solar panels limit solar applications to rooftops of buildings. Lightweight, and ultra-thin, flexible CIGS solar panels can be applied on all surfaces of the buildings including a far wider range of roofs and most façade elements. With innovative installation methods like adhesives, the panels can be bonded on Aluminum, EPDM, TPO or bituminous roofs, offering flexible lightweight solar installations. I believe that flexible solar technology truly has the potential to shape the future of building integrated solar energy generation. Flexible solar technology can revolutionise the solar power sector and enable many new applications across the sectors that most need them. Because of product development cycles, there will of course be a certain gestation period for many of these sectors and products (such as aerospace and automotive ) but they will become major multi-billion dollar solar markets in the coming years. The potential for growth of the solar film sector is exponential. Flexible and thin solar films have the potential to revolutionise how solar power can be used in different applications. Judge’s remark: Filsom’s 20.4 percent conversion efficiency in its latest CIGS thin-film solar cells matches the generating capacity of heavier, more fragile crystalline solar cells, which could dramatically increase the market potential for thin-film technology.