Despite the demise of Applied Materials’ SunFab a-Si business, Oerlikon clearly believes there’s a future forthe oft pilloried a-Si photovoltaic technology — and the firm continues to make aggressive cost and performance claims.
Today, at the Valencia Spain solar show, Oerlikon Solar is unveilingnew technology that looks to drive down cost and increase efficiency inits thin film solar production lines. The rechristened "ThinFab"includes a number of changes to the equipment and process:
- Improved PECVD, TCO and laser processes improve line yield and product performance
- Thinner cell structures yield reduced degradation and reduced gas consumption
- 10 percent stabilized module efficiency (in the 143 watt module)
- A new 48 volt module replaces a 132 volt design and allows more modules per string and a reduced wiring cost
- Higher performance backsheet reduces manufacturing steps
- Better scribing reduces "dead zones"
According to Oerlikon’s Chris O’Brien, these advances will put Oerlikon into a cost leadership position in PV.
O’Brien made the bold promise of 50 Euro cents per watt ($0.64 perwatt) product cost and 10 percent efficiency by the end of this year.