NIR camera for solar cell wafer inspection

The TXG14NIR camera offers enhanced sensitivity in the near infrared (NIR) for automatic inspection of wafers for solar cells, to detect fractures as well as failures in the crystal structure. It provides a significantly higher sensitivity at the required wavelengths, and provides high-resolution images (1392 × 1040 pixels).Baumer Optronic GmbH, Radeberg, Germany; +49/0-3528-4386-0,

The TXG14NIR camera offers enhanced sensitivity in the near infrared (NIR) for automatic inspection of wafers for solar cells, to detect fractures as well as failures in the crystal structure. It provides a significantly higher sensitivity at the required wavelengths, and provides high-resolution images (1392 × 1040 pixels).
Baumer Optronic GmbH, Radeberg, Germany; +49/0-3528-4386-0,

Flexible 260Wp CIGS module 

The UL- and IEC-certified SFX3 is a flexible thin-film CIGS solar power module with up to 12.1% aperture efficiency conversion rate (up from 11.2% six months ago) and capable of producing up to 260Wp, the most powerful available in the market, according to the company. The 0.88m × 3.05m, 6.8kg/15lbs module weighs “slightly less” than 0.5lb/ft2, which is “significantly less” than traditional solar panels that are cumbersome to put on older buildings, the company claims. The modules are now being shipped to customers in Europe, Asia, and North America for use on both low-slope and standing-seam metal roof systems.
SoloPower, San Jose, CA; 408/281-1582

Simulation software for thin-film solar modules 

The INSEL software v8.0.1 (“INtegrated Simulation Environment Language”) is a simulation program to help understand, plan, monitor, and visualize renewable energy systems, with a meteorological database of 2,000 international locations as well as simulation parameters of all solar modules, inverters and thermal collectors that are available worldwide. The new version includes measurement data of thin-film solar cells, which have a stronger irradiance dependence due to the shape of their IV curves—they require more parameters (10 vs. 6) for the simulation process, and the company says it has reduced failure rate of simulating thin-film modules “to about zero percent.” A 30-day trial version is available for download. doppelintegral GmbH,
Stuttgart, Germany; +49/711-62007-180,

UV cure adhesives 

The SolarFast UV high-strength solar bonding tapes are designed for assembly in concentrating and flexible solar cell applications. The system includes a 3.0-mil free film adhesive (SF-1003) and 5.0-mil free film adhesive (SF-1005), both protected by a two-sided 80# release-coated brown kraft liner. The adhesive initially bonds similar to a typical pressure-sensitive adhesive, but the final bond is initiated through UV light; once cured it has extreme heat resistance (>400°F), low creep, and excellent peel.
MACtac, Stow, OH; 800/328-2619,

BIPV modules, install kit 

The TUV-certified REC Peak Energy Integrated Solution is a building-integrated photovoltaic (BIPV) system combining REC’s Peak Energy Series module and Ernst Schweitzer AG’s aluminum Solrif installation system. It is weatherproof and fits directly into the roof, replacing conventional building material in either new roofs or as a retrofit. The aluminum Solrif frame has low profile height for good rear ventilation, is designed for rainwater and snow runoff, and can be installed as easily as roof tiles. The product is now available in France and will be offered in other markets in 1Q11. REC Solar, Sandvika, Norway; +47/67-57-44-50,

Solar energy harvesting SaaS 

The SolarMagic MYPVDATA Solar Operations Center is software-as-a-service, a Web interface to present and help users analyze data collected from the array. New tools include analysis for tracking performance (relative to environmental conditions), progress (relative to a configured budget, and predict future performance), and symmetry (energy harvest by string/unit, indicating array imbalances, detect issues such as excessive dirt or partial shade), as well as a data/reporting function. The company says such a monitoring/management system can help improve energy harvesting by up to 20%. National Semiconductor, Santa Clara, CA; 877/765-6244,

Grid-tie inverters for Ontario 

The Xantrex line of grid-tie solar inverters now includes three models specifically geared to Ontario’s feed-in tariff (FiT) program, with internal transformers that allow grid connections to 600 volts AC power (VAC) for commercial building installations. The GT100 and GT250 offer ultra-efficient design (estimated 96% CEC efficiency) with isolation transformer integrated in the enclosure. The GT500 (96.5% CEC efficiency) has a redesigned enclosure and two-section design with inverter and DC section in one cabinet and AC in another. All three models include AC and DC disconnects and a night-time disconnect, and are available with optional DC combiner boxes with multiple options for fuses, breakers, and string monitoring. Schneider Electric, Rueil-Malmaison, France; 604/218-9027,

Central string monitor

The Sunny Central string monitor is for large-scale PV systems to instantly and accurately detect power deviations so systems owners can reduce suboptimal performance and maintain maximum energy yields. The monitor continuously measures and compares individual string currents, instantly and accurately detects power deviations, and transmits fault data to a WebBox; an email alert is then sent to the system owner. Three models are available (24, 32, or 64-string capability), able to be combined in multiple configurations; up to nine can be connected to a single central inverter. An optional NEMA 3R enclosure allows use in aggressive environments. SMA America, Rocklin, CA; 916/625-0870,

Silicone elastomers for PV panels

The CAF line of one-component silicone elastomers for frame sealing and junction bonding consists of four grades (CAF 505, 510, 520, and 530) which cure at room temperature, offering excellent adhesion (0.9-1.2MPa lap shear strength) to several backsheet materials and also to junction box materials. They also maintain good elasticity over a wide temperature range (-50°C to 180°C) with excellent weatherability and electrical insulation. A separate activated frame sealing material (Sunsil 2030) is a two-component silicone RTV offering 2.0MPa lap shear strength and full cure in 30min. Bluestar Silicones, East Brunswick, NJ; 866/474-6342,

Mag/lev vacuum pumps

Two new models of STP magnetically-levitated turbomolecular pumps, the STP-iXA2206 and STP-iXA3306, offer 3200 l/s max pumping speed, with improved throughput for the 3306 model; it also has a new small power supply incorporated into the onboard controller and temperature management system option. A five-axis magnetic bearing system and new motor and drive system extend maintenance intervals to up to five years. Edwards, West Sussex, UK; +44/0-8459-212223,

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