CIS solar cell fab cluster plans demo line in 3 years

The “CIS Cluster Tool” project aims to develop better manufacturing processes for copper indium selenide (CIS) and copper indium gallium selenide (CIGS) thin film solar cells, as part of Germany’s “Photovoltaics Innovations Alliance.”

July 26, 2011 — Collaborators in the German photovoltaics industry launched the “CIS Cluster Tool” project to develop better manufacturing processes for copper indium selenide (CIS) and copper indium gallium selenide (CIGS) thin film solar cells, as part of the “Photovoltaics Innovations Alliance.” Germany is one of the world’s largest established solar photovoltaics consumers.

The German Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF) and the Federal Ministry of the Environment, Nature Conservation and Nuclear Safety (BMU) announced the “Photovoltaic Innovations Alliance” sponsorship program last year, and selected the CIS PV development cluster from over 100 applications.

The CIS cluster will research manufacturing techniques with an eye to improving solar cell efficiency, ramping up manufacturing throughput, reduced cost/Watt, and applicability in industrial volume manufacturing. The group will then convert its findings into a new manufacturing process in a planned demonstration plant.

Main charters:

  • Research into in-line-capable rapid thermal processing (RTP) and other manufacturing steps.
  • Combination of selenide coating with RTP of CIS semiconductors to improve process control.
  • New in-situ analytics to better process control and enhance physicochemical process understanding.

Partners in the CIS Cluster Tool joint project include AVANCIS GmbH & Co. KG (manufacturer of CIS photovoltaic modules), SINGULUS TECHNOLOGIES AG (plant tools), HERAEUS Noblelight GmbH (infrared heat technology) and the IfG Institute for Scientific Instruments GmbH (innovative measurement techniques).

The project has 3 years of funding from the “Photovoltaic Innovations Alliance,” which is EUR2.9 million, along with contributions of the participating companies.

AVANCIS develops and manufactures CIS photovoltaic modules and is a part of the global Saint-Gobain Group. The innovative manufacturing process relies on the second-generation CIS technology developed by the AVANCIS research & development department in Munich. Learn more at

SINGULUS makes vacuum coating systems, wet chemical in-line cell cleaning and etching systems, and new thin film solar cell manufacturing processes. Learn more at

Heraeus Noblelight GmbH manufactures specialized light sources. The Industrial Process Technology Division in Kleinostheim develops, produces and sells infrared emitters and systems for modern heating process in industrial production. More information at

The IfG Institute for Scientific Instruments GmbH is a medium-sized enterprise, whose core competence is the development and industrial production of micro and nano-structured glass as high precision capillary optics for beam shaping of x-rays, as well as devices and components for x-ray analysis, especially process-oriented in- and off-line metrology. Learn more at

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