Monitoring, Solar


The TS Gold series comes in three versions, with throughputs ranging from 300-600 cells/hour.

The TS Gold series comes in three versions, with throughputs ranging from 300-600 cells/hour. The process is heat-controlled over the soldering station, including the unloading belt, to reduce and prevent thermal stress. An upgraded ribbon unwinding and stretching system permits precise placement, avoiding bowing and misalignment.

P.Energy, Fontaniva, Italy; +39/049-7966-190,

Ingot squarer, grinder

The SiG154H silicon ingot grinder coarses and fine-grinds all four sides and chamfers of a solar silicon ingot (up to 200mm-dia. and 500mm long). Floating head and tail stocks enable automatic centering and secure clamping of the ingot and provide stable attachment for processing. Opposing grind wheels for both coarse and fine finishing enable simultaneous grinding of two opposing sides or chamfers. An optional stocker/loader enables continuous automatic operation. A related ingot squaring system (SiS152H) can be combined to slice off the round surfaces of the ingot to provide a square surface for subsequent grinding.

Okamoto-SED, Santa Clara, CA; 408/654-8400,

High-throughput metallization

The Eclipse incorporates a series of field retrofittable process modules–print head and loader are primary “master units,” with additional modules operating as secondary “slaves”–that enable manufacturers to easily scale production up and down, to 1200, 2400 or 3600 wph. Spacer process modules with conveyors can be deployed at initial installation, then exchanged for additional print capacity when demand dictates. Multiple printheads function independently in parallel to virtually eliminate downtime. The system achieves print-on-print capability of ±12.5μm at 2Cpk.

DEK International, Weymouth, UK; 44/0-1305-760760,

Automated inspection

The iLS-X1 system inspects processed wafers and cells at full line speed (3600 wafers/hour). Automated algorithms extract defect signatures from the 1MP PL images and report the different process defect types seen in cell processes; user-definable classification settings allow users to adjust parameters based on their particular requirements. The system can be mounted above the production conveyer belt at process steps from post diffusion and onwards to finished cells.

BT Imaging, Surry Hills, Australia; 408/858-8801,

Laser micromachining for thin-film materials

The microSPIN laser micromaching system integrates a roll-to-roll transportation system with high-speed picture recognition (roll speed up to 2.8m/s in real time). It can process plastic materials, thin-film layer substrates, or change in-between, also with different material thickness.

3D Micromac AG, St. Charles, MO; 314/323-1819,

Solar MES software

The cmNavigo 3.0 Solar Edition includes existing KPI capability and new ERP integration functions, offering enhanced features for visual real-time line monitoring and enhanced equipment maintenance tracking. Features include visual failure cataloging, and advanced data mining algorithms for fault identification and root cause analysis.

Critial Manufacturing, Portugal, Spain; +35/1-229-446-927,

Thin-blade sawing for silicon blocks

The 72/360 incorporates a new thin-blade sawing technique dimensioned for 10,000-15,000 cuts. A fluid bearing is mounted over supporting parts on the cutting unit, with two sliding elements on both sides of the cutting disc to prevent flutter and vibration and to ensure >0.1° angular deviation. Maximum cutting width is 1.5-1.7mm, with kerf loss reduced by 50% vs. the previous generation tool.

Arnold Gruppe Benson GmbH, Weilburg, Germany; +49/0-6471-9394126,

Solar tracker

The PureTracker HD three-pivot point dual-axis solar tracker, compatible with both PV and CPV panels, is ultra-dense, low profile and cost-effective. It is optimized for rooftop installations, can support up to 800lbs, and may be customized to any deployment scenario, including large-scale utility-level solar farms.

Pure Mechanics, San Francisco, CA; 888-988-9229,

“Barking” moly sputtering targets

Monolithic rotary “barking” (dog-bone configuration) molybdenum/molybdenum sodium sputtering targets offer higher density and purity than traditionally fabricated moly targets, and superior material utilization vs. planar targets. Added thickness at the ends of the target enables compensation for magnetic characteristics of specific sputtering tools. These targets are fabricated as “dog bone” from the start, not machined down.

Atlumin Energy, New Hartford, NY; 408/215-6600,

Laser system for MWT/EWT

The Solas 1800/3600 laser machine enables different processing modules to be integrated for all relevant laser processes: MWT/EWT, selective emitter doping, laser ablation of dielectric layer, laser edge isolation, laser-fired contacts, and thermal laser separation. It can be configured for an R&D system with maximum throughput of 1000 wafers/day, or a fully automatic production machine with >3600 wafers/hour. A “service-friendly” wafer transportation concept can be adapted to the different transport solutions installed in production lines.

Jenoptik Lasers & Material Processing, Jena, Germany; +49/3641-65-4300,

BIPV module

The PowerFLEX CIGS module for building-integrated (rooftops) photovoltaics (BIPV) offers 12.6% aperture efficiency and high power density (300W) in a large format (5.75m x 0.5m). It can be applied flat directly to a roofing surface with no mounting hardware, roof penetration, and no additional wind load. It offers 50% more energy and power than the current amorphous silicon standard, and 50%-100% more power and energy per rooftop than a tilted solar array, the company claims.

Global Solar Energy, Tuscon, AZ; 520/546-6313,

Microinverter for “AC modules”

The Enphase Microinverter achieves record CEC efficiency of 96%, and its design allows for direct integration into solar modules–a simple connector that replaces the junction box–for reduced cost of wiring, grounding, fastening, and other BOS equipment.

Enphase Energy, Petaluma, CA; 877/797-4743,

Non-EVA PV encapsulant sheet

The PV8600 Series modified ionomer encapsulant sheet for amorphous silicon and other thin-film module technologies needs no cure step (unlike EVA), resulting in shorter lamination cycles. Increased moisture resistance improves long-term module reliability. The sheets require no refrigeration or interleafing to prevent blocking, and their stiffer modulus is suited to high-speed automated manufacturing. Other improvements vs. EVA include post-melt toughness, stiffness, and cut resistance.

DuPont Photovoltaic Solutions, Wilmington, DE; 302/992-6660

100-200amp disconnects

The 100 and 200amp disconnect combiners incorporate an integrated 600VDC loadbreak switch into the combiner box to help simplify solar system design and installation. They can be specified with up to 36 input circuits in NEMA-3, 3R, 4, and 4X enclosures.


CIGS module

The WaveSol flexible lightweight CIGS module for BIPV/BAPV offers large format (5×0.6m), high power (320W), high voltage (up to 190V), and high specific power (50 W/kg). 30cm x 60cm building blocks are 4x the size of current building block submodules.

Ascent Solar, Thornton, CO; 720/872-5107, 

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