Solar

Sunfilm Plans to Reduce the Cost of Solar Panel Manufacturing

Good Energies and NorSun have established Sunfilm AG to manufacture the world’s first 5.7-square meter (m2) tandem thin-film photovoltaic modules on glass substrates on a production line supplied by Applied Materials, Inc.

Sunfilm “could change the way solar energy is viewed,” said Dr. Sven Hansen, Good Energies’ Chief Investment Officer. “We believe that solar energy is of paramount importance for our energy future. However, we need to stay focused on bringing the cost down. This venture aims at grid parity.” Applied Material’s production line will use new tandem cell technology — a dual-junction approach that combines an amorphous silicon top film to absorb short wavelengths of light with a microcrystalline silicon bottom layer to absorb longer wavelengths. These tandem cells are expected to deliver higher energy conversion efficiencies at a cost per Watt that is comparable to that of single junction technologies. By coupling tandem technology with ultra-large 5.7-m2 substrates, Sunfilm expects to substantially reduce the cost of solar panel manufacturing. “The Good Energies and NorSun teams have proven that they can shape the industry — and we look forward to working with them to deliver leading-edge, cost-efficient PV module technology,” Dr. Mark Pinto, Senior Vice President and General Manager of Applied’s New Business and New Products Group. Sunfilm AG is currently designing the building and facilities for its first PV line and will start construction work in Q2/2007 on its local site. Sunfilm’s contract with Applied is for a fully integrated equipment line for an ultra-large panel tandem module factory with a nominal rated capacity of 60 megawatts per year. This project will be supported with grants from the State of Saxony and is due to be operational in 2008/2009. “With this initiative, we introduce second-generation solar energy technology,” said Dr. Alf Bjoerseth, founder and board member of NorSun.