Solar production line supplier Oerlikon Solar gets International Electrotechnical Commission certification
- Category: Solar
07 May 2009
- Published on Thursday, 07 May 2009 12:50
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Swiss thin-film solar photovoltaic (PV) production line supplier Oerlikon Solar has received its TUV Rheinland’s International Electrotechnical Certification (IEC), which allows Oerlikon Solar’s customers to speed up the certification of their solar modules.
International standards certifier, TUV Rheinland, issued Oerlikon Solar a master certificate for its Micromorph thin-film silicon solar PV production line and modules. Companies using Oerlikon Solar’s Micromorph production lines for their thin-film solar modules can shorten their certification time from six months to less than six weeks. Certification is valid worldwide. The master certificate was issued after Oerlikon’s Micromorph panels successfully completed the IEC 61646 Module Performance Test and the IEC 61730 Module Safety test after months of rigorous testing by TUV Rheinland. Tests included accelerated life tests for climate, such as coldness, warmth, and humidity; UV exposure; and mechanical impact tests from simulated hail, wind suction, wind pressure, and snow. All tests were passed successfully.
Oerlikon Solar’s tandem-junction Micromorph process can improve solar thin-film cell efficiency by up to 50%. The process adds a second microcrystalline absorber to the amorphous silicon layer, which additionally converts the red and near-infrared light spectrum, thereby boosting efficiency. Micromorph technology also bolsters the overall power of the module, which brings down the cost-per-watt manufacturing for Oerlikon customers.
Oerlikon Solar’s first customer for Micromorph technology is Inventux in Germany, which had the installation completed in early 2008. The Inventux 1.4 square-meter thin-film modules have exceeded a 9% stabilized efficiency rating when high-volume production panels were tested. The modules were also rated as having over 120 watts in power output. Inventux passed the IEC 61646 certification by TUV Rheinland, and was the first European manufacturer to achieve it for tandem thin-film silicon solar modules.
Oerlikon Solar is currently installing additional production for several customers. Four Micromorph factories are having production ramped: Auria Solar, Chint, Heliosphera and Pramac. Other recent production line sales include Sun Well Solar, ersol GmbH, SCHOTT Solar AG, Pramac SpA, and Gadir Solar. Oerlikon Solar has increased its customers’ thin-film production capacity by 240 megawatts-peaks (MWp) in 2009, and has shipped production lines with a total capacity of 600 MWp over the last two years.
Oerlikon Solar provides fully-automated production lines, which are designed to decrease unit costs, be high yielding, have a high uptime, and be low maintenance. Oerlikon uses a Low Pressure Chemical Vapor Deposition (LPCVD) process, which is used to create a Transparent Conductive Oxide (TCO) layer. This scatters light, it is better for light transmission, and it improves the overall efficiency of the solar cell. Oerlikon Solar provides customers with both amorphous and high-efficiency Micromorph® tandem technology. The production lines are modular, so these can be upgraded or expanded for capacity or new technology adaptation.
Oerlikon Solar is part of the Oerlikon Corporation, a company that specializes in machine and plant engineering. The company is involved in industries, such as textile manufacture, drive systems, vacuum systems, and precision systems. The company has a global workforce of 18,500 people spread over 170 locations in 37 countries. The company is headquartered in Trubbach, Switzerland. Oerlikon is listed on the Swiss Exchange as OERL.
Mike R. Lopez