Tokyo, Japan – June 23, 2009 – ULVAC, Inc. (President & CEO: Hidenori Suwa; headquarters: 2500 Hagizono, Chigasaki, Kanagawa, Japan), a supplier of the amorphous-silicon (a-Si) thin-film photovoltaic modules production turnkey line, announces it has developed a new PE-CVD system for microcrystal (µc)-Si, model CIM-1400, which can achieve a 30% increase of the conversion efficiency and a 10% reduction of the manufacturing cost per watt (Wp) compared with the a-Si photovoltaic modules. This new system will be utilized to the tandem type thin-film silicon photovoltaic modules production turnkey line
Though the a-Si thin-film photovoltaic modules are made from silicon, an abundant and secure material resource, even they use only a small amount of silicon: that is, one hundredth or less of the crystalline silicon photovoltaic cells. For this reason, a-Si thin-film photovoltaic modules have received widespread attention as a product that will become the mainstream of photovoltaic cell in the future, and are being developed all over the world. However, since a-Si thin-film photovoltaic modules have a lower photoelectric conversion efficiency than crystalline photovoltaic modules, efforts have been made to develop the technologies and manufacturing equipment for tandem type thin-film photovoltaic modules, which have a µc-Si layer added to an a-Si thin-film solar cell (a-Si layer). So far, however, no practicable and productive technologies for manufacturing equipment have been developed until today.
In this situation, ULVAC, Inc. has developed a new PE-CVD system for µc-Si, model CIM-1400. This system for the first time, allows productive high efficient µc-Si film formation, which can allow light from the red to infrared wavelengths to be converted to electricity. By incorporating this new CIM-1400 PE-CVD system to the production turnkey line for tandem type thin-film silicon photovoltaic modules, power output will be improved by 30% or more compared to a-Si thin-film photovoltaic modules.
The following lists the features of the new PE-CVD system “CIM-1400”, and “CIM-1400” utilized tandem type thin-film silicon photovoltaic modules production turnkey line.
For this system, a Generation 5.5 size glass substrate, a common glass substrate for thin-film silicon photovoltaic modules, is used.
1. High productivity for high-performance tandem type thin-film silicon Photovoltaic modules
The performances of tandem type thin-film silicon photovoltaic modules produced by “CIM-1400” utilized tandem type thin-film Production turnkey line is:
• Cell conversion efficiency: 9% (in the aperture area)
• Average module power output: 130Wp (Annual productivity: 32.5 MW)
2. Innovative PE-CVD system for microcrystals
To produce high-performance thin-film silicon photovoltaic modules, the silicon thin films needs to be formed at a low deposition rate. In addition, to form µc-Si thin films with high conversion efficiency, a thicker film is required compare to the a-Si thin film. Therefore, theoretically large quantities of PE-CVD systems have been required. The ULVAC's highly innovative breakthrough new PE-CVD system “CIM-1400” enables to process six glass substrates at the same time, achieving high productivity at a low deposition rate and this tandem type thin film silicon photovoltaic modules Production turnkey line is operated with a throughput every 90 seconds per substrate.
3. Manufacturing cost per watt (Wp) is reduced by up to 10% compared with a-Si thin-film photovoltaic modules
This breakthrough enables the annual productivity (power output) of the modules to be increased from 25 MW (a-Si thin film photovoltaic modules) to 32.5 MW (tandem type photovoltaic modules) maximizing the investment productivity more than the investment cost required for the PE-CVD system “CIM-1400”.
The new innovative PE-CVD system “CIM-1400” and the tandem type photovoltaic modules production turnkey line has successfully reduced the manufacturing cost per watt for the first time in the world, by replacing the a-Si thin-film photovoltaic modules with the tandem type thin-film photovoltaic modules.
The PE-CVD system “CIM-1400” and tandem type photovoltaic modules production turnkey line will be released on July 1, 2009.
ULVAC, Inc. will continue to pursue new innovative technology including multiple area development such as manufacturing equipment, manufacturing technologies, new materials to improve investment productivity of thin-film silicon Photovoltaic modules.
ULVAC, Inc. FPD・PV Global Business Unit fpd_info