SHORTLIST 2011

PV Materials Enabling Award

 
3M
Solar Mirror Film 1100
 
GP Solar GmbH
GP ALKA-TEX .Plus
 
Saint Gobain Solar
SolarBond® InFrame
 

Thin Film Innovation Award

 
Abound Solar
AB1-series modules and manufacturing process
 
3M
Ultra Barrier Solar Film
 
THINFAB
 
Dipartimento di Ingegneria Elettrica, Universita di Bologna
A New Approch to Valence and Conduction Band Grading in CIGS Thin Film Solar Cells
 

Silicon Innovation Award

 
REC's "fluidized bed reactor" (FBR) process
 
SCHOTT Solar AG
Silicon Innovation
 
AEG Power Solutions GmbH
Thyrobox PI
 

Industry Development Award

 
All Eco Energy
Turnkey Solutions in the PV industry
 /td>
Solar Radome
 
SEMI PV Group
International Technology Roadmap for PV (ITRPV)
 
Matrix 2.0
 
Petra Solar
SunWave System
 
Wagner Academy Solar Training School
 /td>
SPG Solar, Inc.
Floatovoltaics®
 

PV Tool Award

 
Eclipse
 
Edwards Vacuum, Ltd
STP-iXA 2206/iXA3306 Family of MagLevTurbomolecular Pumps
 
GP Solar GmbH
GP ISO-TEST .Waf
 
plasmasun®
 

PV Process Improvement Award

 
EVA extrusion line
 
Crosslight
APSYS TCAD modelling tool
 
Vincent Industrie & Appollon Solar
New Industrial Cells Encapsulation (NICE)
 
Meier Solar Solutions GmbH
STACOLAM
 >
Rehm Thermal Oxidizer
 
Soldering Table
 

PV Balance of System Award

 
HaoSolar
Solar Tracking System
 
SMA Solar Technology AG
SUNNY BOY 3000TL / 4000TL / 5000TL
 
Zep Solar
Zep Groove
 

Energy Usage Enabling Award

 
Duo 360 micro inverter
 
APT44GA60BD30C
 
Solar-Log with Easy Installation
 
Xtreme Power
Dynamic Power Resource
 

Module Manufacturing Innovation Award

 
Circadian Solar
Ultra Power Density
 
Conergy Deutschland GmbH
ConergyPowerPlus
 
SOLYNDRA
Cylindrical Modules
 
Thousand Suns
Solarpod
 
"Excellence At Each Step" Manufacturing
 

Rural Electrification Development Award

 
Bergen Associates Pvt Ltd
JHARGAON Project
 
WASPAM: A PROJECT FOR 15 YEARS
 
Thousand Suns
Solarpod
 
Turnkey Supplier Award
 
Technology and System Capability
 
THINFAB
 
Soitec
Concentrix Concentrating Photovoltaic (CPV) technology
 

Project Development Award

 
KPCL
Successful installation of 3MW solar PV plants in Karnataka state.
 
Petra Solar
SunWave System
 >
SPG Solar, Inc.
The Fischer Properties Depot Park Brownfields to Greenfields Project
 

PV Materials Enabling Award


3M
Solar Mirror Film 1100

Description

Solar Mirror Film 1100 is a flexible, reflective film designed to provide a high-performance, durable and cost-competitive solution for use in Concentrating Solar Power (CSP) installations.

Product Challenge

The primary roadblock to expanding the CSP market lies in the high cost and low durability of glass mirrors.

Problem Solved

Solar Mirror Film 1100 is 75% lighter and 15 % cheaper than glass mirrors while maintaining a reflectance of more than 93 % over 14 years.

Noteworthy

Solar Mirror Film 1100 is the result of extensive materials research, in-field studies and cooperative work with the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) dating back to the early 1990s.

Product In Detail

3M Solar Mirror Film 1100 combines a tough and durable polymer front-side with silver as its highly reflective layer. The film is then coated with a pressure-sensitive adhesive on the backside, which includes a liner. An opaque pre-mask on the front surface protects Solar Mirror Film 1100 during assembly. The film is also lead-free, circumventing the environmental challenges associated with the disposal of traditional mirrors.

Innovation

Solar Mirror Film 1100 has proven to hold a variety of benefits for solar concentrating applications. The film exhibits a total hemispherical reflectance greater than 94 % and a specular reflectance above 95 % (at 25 milliradian acceptance angle), making it suitable for a broad range of solar concentrating applications. Furthermore, testing with the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) has demonstrated the films ability to maintain reflectance of more than 93 % over 14 years.

When Introduced

3M Solar Mirror Film 1100 was commercially introduced in 2010.

Customer Benefits

3M Solar Mirror Film 1100 enables greater design flexibility than standard glass, allowing for larger geometry reflectors than previously possible. The lightweight, large-area assemblies possible with Solar Mirror Film 1100 have the potential to reduce the total installed cost of CSP systems by more than 15 %. Additionally, reflective film-based reflectors are up to 75 % lighter than glass mirrors, significantly reducing transportation costs while easing the installation process.



GP Solar GmbH
GP ALKA-TEX .Plus

Description

GP ALKA-TEX .Plus is a surface active additive for the improvement of the alkaline texturing of monocrystalline silicon wafers. The addition of this product to the standard alkaline texture process with KOH/NaOH and IPA (2-propanol) increases the optical yield of the solar cell due to a more homogeneous surface structure. The cell efficiencies can be increased by around 0.3% absolute.

Product Challenge

One problem of the standard alkaline texture process with KOH/NaOH and IPA is a small process window. With the standard alkaline texturing process it is impossible to adjust one recipe for different wafer qualities. There are always significant differences in the texture quality from wafer to wafer. The challenge is to develop a stable, reproducible and reliable process with better optical characteristics. Another challenge is to decrease the total costs of the texturing process by increasing the throughput and minimizing the consumption of chemicals.

Problem Solved

With GP ALKA-TEX .Plus one texture recipe works for different wafer qualities. The number of recipes is reduced to a basic recipe by making only small adjustments. Moreover the appearance of the texture can be improved. The wafer surface becomes more homogenous and the amount of defects can be reduced. On the other hand the bath life time can be increased significantly and the process time could be reduced, which allows a higher throughput and leads to a lower total chemical consumption. A positive side-effect is the fact that the lower consumptions cause less impact on the environment.

Noteworthy

The use of GP ALKA-TEX .Plus allows a better controlling of the texturing process. This process makes a stable run to run repeatability possible. The pyramid size which has a great impact of the optical yield and therefore of the cell efficiency is tunable with GP ALKA-TEX .Plus. Moreover, defects and contamination on the surface can be handled and removed during the texturing process.

Product In Detail

The first step in the silicon solar cell production is the texture. The two main processes are the alkaline texturing for monocrystalline wafers and the acid texturing for multicrystalline wafers. This first step removes the saw damage of the wafer and creates a homogenous surface with low reflectivity. In the standard alkaline texturing process, KOH or NaOH and IPA are used at a process temperature of 80°C in order to etch the surface anisotropically, resulting in a pyramid-shaped surface. The lifetime of one bath is with ~4 to ~30 runs relatively low, for the most wafer qualities a different recipe is needed, and the process is not very reproducible. The product GP ALKA-TEX .Plus is a chemical additive that improves the alkaline texturing of monocrystalline silicon wafers. Its addition to the bath mainly results in a very homogenous silicon surface with a lower reflectivity compared to the standard alkaline process. These improved optical characteristics increase the total efficiency of the cells. Another big advantage of GP ALKA-TEX .Plus is that the number of recipes for different wafer qualities can be reduced to a basic recipe. In addition, the process in general can be controlled more easily and with a more stable run to run repeatability when using GP ALKA-TEX .Plus. The additive also allows a tunable pyramid size and reduces the amount of chemicals required. Furthermore, the lifetime of the alkaline bath is increased significantly to approximately 30-60 runs. Together with the reduced process time the throughput increases. It is an ESH (environmental, safety and health) compliant as well as a water soluble additive. The appearance of the additive is liquid with a boiling point of 100°C and a density of ~1.1 g/cm3. The waste disposal procedures are the same as for the alkaline texturing bath.

Innovation

GP ALKA-TEX .Plus solves the main problems of the standard alkaline texturing process. These disadvantages are short bath life times, significant differences in the texture performance with different wafer qualities and visible defects on the wafer surface. Moreover the additive has several positive side-effects which are shorter process times, less chemical consumption and most important for a higher cell efficiency an increased optical yield. There are no disadvantages of the product known, and due to the many advantages the total cost of ownership of the texturing process is better with GP ALKA-TEX .Plus than without it.

When Introduced

GP ALKA-TEX .Plus was introduced to the market in March 2009.

Customer Benefits

The customers benefit from a higher efficiency of the solar module. The improved front side of the solar cells leads to a higher optical yield. The cost savings of a lower chemical consumption and a higher throughput of wafers should also be noticeable in the module price.

Click here to download product information (PDF)


plasmasun®

Description

plasmasun® is a new and unique metallization tool for in-line processing of silicon solar cells. The unique metallization system has been developed for rear busbardesposition based on our patented plasmadust® coating technology which is a combination of cold plasma and specific micro scale powders under ambient pressure. The system allows depositing metal films with a thickness of 1 up to 100 µm.

Challenge

Creating a new, more greencoating technology for solar cell production was our main target. Towards this goal it´s another challenge to gain more cell efficiency due to a totally new metallization process. In addition our product should be able to reduce process costs for rear side busbar metallization of silicon wafers as well as the footprint compared with existing screen printing and drying combinations significantly. Actual used screen printing technology is based on expensive Si and Al pastes. They contain none environmentally sound solvents. Layers coated with plasmasun® have to feature high conductivity, adhesion (onto Si and Al), solderability.

Problem Solved

The named challenges are solved directly by our new technology. Screenprinters use solvent-based pastes. Using powders plasmasun® is solvent free and thus more green. Pastes are expensive because of a high proportion of silver. We offer more favorable and cheaper microscale metal powders (Ag@Sn / Cu). This leads to a 50% cost reduction. Thin wafers have to face pressure during screenprinting which means a mechanical stress and can lead to wafer breakage. Our product offers a contact-free metallization and reduces waste rate. After screenprinting the layers have to get dry during fast firing. This step is not necessary with plasmasun®.

Noteworthy

Reinhausen Plasma developed this revolutionary low temperature coating process being the first company to bring a new metallization solution based on cold.active plasma combined with microscale powders for more efficient and green production to the photovoltaic market. Compared to PVD processes the technology allows in-line metallization under ambient pressure.

In Detail

The plasmasun® - tool has been specially developed for the rear coating of solar wafers. It enables the application of a freely selectable number of busbars onto mono and polycrystalline wafers of any size and thickness. The position of our solution is before laser edge isolation and the final testing and sorting step. It is possible using the dry, solvent-free coating process to deposit various solderable metal alloys as micropowders directly onto the aluminium and silizium layer from a cold.active plasma at atmospheric pressure. This may be in the form of lines or dots according to the cell design. Regardless of the busbar's shape, it is possible to achieve reliably reproducible layer thicknesses that exhibit adhesion values greater than 2 N in the peel test. The Regensburg-based company has developed a further plasma generator for layer deposition which works at ambient pressure and in which it is possible to control the energy input into the plasma over wide areas. This means that the temperature of the plasma hitting the surface of the solar wafer can be kept very low: it is measurably below 100 °C. The result is very gentle coating of the substrate with a comparatively low energy requirement. The principle of the developed powder feeding technology was therefore to destroy the agglomerates by a mixture of mechanical and pneumatical energy and feed the powder dust continuously into the plasma plume. This principle allows an adjustable, continuous powder flow into the plasma plume which is a necessary condition for coating reproducible layers. Specially developed atomizer/conveyor technology ensures a continuous supply of the coating powder. At the same time, the powder agglomerates are only broken up by the input of energy immediately prior to their injection into the plasma jet. This ensures that the powder particles are introduced into the plasma absolutely evenly. The particle flow can be adjusted according to the specific requirements. Powders of copper and tin as well as silver alloys are currently available as coating materials for the application of busbars. Compared to conventional silver pastes, this means noticeable cost savings because considerably less silver or no silver at all is required in the plasmadust process. Copper, for example, offers greater wettability and adhesive strength at lower costs. Tin, as the most cost-effective alternative, also delivers impressive results.

Innovation

The plasmasun® system should not be confused with thermal spraying or PVD-sputtering processes. Thermal spraying works with a plasma temperature beyond 10.000°C, with high currents >100A and Granulates D50 around 50µm. plasmasun® works with D50 around 100nm  20 µm pulsed currents below 10A and heats up the surface of the substrate at an average of 70°C. This is why the plasma is called cold. PVD solutions are based on vacuum chambers. Generating vacuum is intensive in time, money and in addition slowing down cycle-times. Another advantage of plasmasun®: Tin based alloys or copper layers can be directly deposited onto the Al-layer without damaging the cell.

When Introduced

We introduced the coating system to the market in 2010.

Customer Benefits

Customers benefit from a 50% cost reduction for rearsidebusbar deposition process compared to screenprinting. They profit from more environmentally sound cell metallization technology. A pre- and aftertreatment, especially fast fining is not needed. The output of plasmasun® is on the same level as state of the art printers. It can be fully integrated in-line and reduces the footprint compared to screenprinting and drying combination. According to the possibility to deposit directly on the Al-layer there is high potential to gain more efficiency of the cell.

Patents

The following patents had been awarded: Pulverdispergierer DE 102009032908.0-51 Pulverdispergierer INT PCT/EP2010/059452 Metallisierung DE 102010032187.7 GepulsterPlasmaerzeuger DE 102009015510.4 GepulsterPlasmaerzeuger INT PCT/EP2010/053816


Saint Gobain Solar
SolarBond® InFrame

Description

SolarBond® InFrame is an intelligent, innovative and instant solution for solar module manufacturing. An advanced framing concept for automated PV assembly lines, it is a revolutionary material developed by Saint-Gobain Solar. It combines the best attributes of liquid silicone sealants and frame tapes to create a pumpable material with the immediate adhesion advantage of tape solutions. This technology provides a fast; clean application for a durable seal that ensures a high-quality solar module, all while minimizing the costs associated with waste and production inefficiencies.

Product Challenge

SolarBond® InFrame helps manufacturer’s meets growing demand for solar modules while minimizing waste and related costs.

Problem Solved

SolarBond® InFrame is applied warm in a continuous motion, ensuring both accuracy and high bonding strength immediately after contact with the glass, backsheet and frame. This eliminates the setting time needed for silicone products to cure by offering the instant adhesion of frame tapes coupled with a highly automated application process, shortening production cycles, reducing product waste and minimizing the associated production costs. Additionally, the precision application eliminates the cleaning labour and costs incurred by the runoff cause by silicone sealants. The foamed material fills the aluminium channel in the frame completely, even in the corners, eliminating the risk of water collecting in the frame as experienced with tape solutions. What results is a strong, long-term, weather-resistant bond for a durable final product. Used with Saint-Gobain Solar’s patented single-piece frame, it also reduces the number of corner keys required for framing the module, using just one instead of four as required for both, tapes and silicones, further reducing module costs.

Noteworthy

SolarBond® InFrame is the only framing solution of its kind on the market today. It is the first of its kind to combine the pumpable application of liquid silicone with the instant adhesion of tapes in such a unique automated application.

Product in Detail

SolarBond® InFrame is a new generation framing material that brings increased performance while reducing the overall production costs for PV module manufacturers. It is heated, foamed and extruded directly into the frame channel using an automated system (robot or fixed nozzle under moving frames). Frame and module assembly should be completed within two minutes of sealant application. Once assembled, modules can be handled immediately. The foamed material is non-toxic, environmentally friendly and does not require special ventilation to meet industry safety standards. The material does not contain any substance subject to declaration in the International Material Data System list. No special labelling is required to comply with EC Guidelines. Foaming saves costs in two ways. First, the reduction in density reduces material usage and lowers sealant cost per module. Foaming is achieved using conventional foaming equipment designed for reactive materials. Additionally, the risk of overflowing the channel after the laminate is inserted into the frame is minimized as the foamed material will not be displaced (unlike non-foamed wet sealant materials). No overflow means no need for post processing cleaning, lower labour cost and no production bottlenecks. SolarBond® InFrame is processed like a hot melt adhesive providing for excellent wetting of different surfaces and high initial adhesion. Designed with optimum open time (1-2 minutes), the material has very short time to set once the laminate is inserted (under 15 seconds), thus enabling modules to be handled immediately after framing is completed. Chemical crosslinking then further improves adhesion and internal strength providing for excellent long-term performance, even after exposure to severe environmental conditions.

Innovation

Incorporating SolarBond® InFrame into a PV module manufacturing line presents several long-term advantages: 
Minimizes labour and waste Conventional liquid silicone solutions can leak out of the frame joint area when the module is inserted, requiring extensive cleaning. SolarBond® InFrame is foamed during the application process, allowing the material to compress internally without displacing onto the module. With no mess, manufacturers can forgo the costly labour of cleaning the module and disposing of the excess sealant, reducing overall costs and material waste.

Allows high-speed production, ideal for advanced lines.
Developed for the factory of the future, SolarBond® InFrame allows an automated process for framing solar modules. Cycle times less than 35 seconds are now achievable. In addition, instant adhesion allows modules to be handled immediately and transported with no movement in the frame, ensuring a high-quality product.

Reduces costs by minimizing production inefficiencies caused by slower acting adhesives and reducing labour, SolarBond® InFrame presents significant cost savings, helping PV module manufacturers to produce high-quality products faster and at a lesser expense than with traditional framing solutions. In addition, used with Saint-Gobain Solar’s patented single-piece frame, it also reduces the number of corner keys required for framing the module, using just one instead of four as required for both tapes and silicones, further reducing module costs.

When Introduced

The product was launched in September 2010 at EU PVSEC 2010. It was re-launched under the new brand name SolarBond® InFrame in June 2011 at Intersolar.

Click here to download product information (PDF)


Thin Film Innovation Award


Abound Solar
AB1-series modules and manufacturing process

Description

Abound Solar manufactures solar photovoltaic (PV) modules in the U.S. using proprietary, high-quality, low-cost solar manufacturing technology. Its modules are backed by a robust 25-year power output warranty and are UL, CE and CEC listed. Abound modules are each 26lb (12kg), ~24 x 48(60cm x 120cm) and can be installed by a single person. Each module has a tempered back glass and heat-strengthened front glass, both of which provide superior physical strength. Its frameless design prevents moisture and soil pooling at low angles and facilitates snow clearing, and it’s the proprietary TruLock edge-seal makes it highly robust and resistant to moisture ingress. Abound modules are compatible with racking from Schletter, Sunlink, FlexRack, APAlternatives, Unirac, DPW and more. The semiconductor, cadmium telluride (CdTe) thin-film, is the fastest growing, most successful semiconductor on the market. Proven stable and reliable in the long run, it allows for ~10% module efficiency with line-of-sight to the teens and is compatible with inverters from most leading manufacturers. Abounds facility is fully-automated, converting glass and semiconductor materials into complete modules beneath its roof. This enables tighter quality control and reduces waste. A glass panel enters the factory every 10 seconds and emerges as a completed module two hours later.

Product Challenge

Abounds CdTe thin-film PV modules address a number of solar industry and market challenges, including perhaps the greatest obstacle of all: the conventionally high cost of solar technology. Abound Solars modules offer the lowest-cost solar technology. Abound also addresses the other common challenge of maximizing module and system efficiency. For example, although crystalline silicon PV modules make up 80 % of the solar market, its performance wanes in both high temperature and low-light conditions. Abounds modules perform better than crystalline silicon in such conditions. Additionally, the company’s industry-leading recycling program addresses environmental concerns of module materials.

Problem Solved

Cost: CdTe thin-film modules offer the lowest-cost solar technology, allowing systems using Abounds modules to deliver the lowest levelized cost of electricity. Abound manufacturing process also provides a cost advantage over competitors because it can produce millions of modules per year at an industry-leading low cost. Performance: Abounds modules produce more energy than crystalline silicon in hot, cloudy environments, resulting in greater electricity output per watt of installed capacity. Environment: Abounds industry-leading module recycling program is pre-funded by Abound for full cradle-to-cradle stewardship. Abounds modules also offer the fastest energy payback and lowest carbon footprint in the industry.

Noteworthy

Various thin-film module manufacturers have struggled in their efforts to commercialize complex and expensive production technologies as production ramps take longer than expected and venture capital and other sources of funding run dry. Abounds module production process, a closed-space deposition of the cadmium telluride semiconductor film without the traditional industry lamination process, has enabled Abound to a ramp module conversion efficiency from 6% to 10%, as well as increase production throughput up to 2.5 MW/month faster than competitors. The proprietary manufacturing process also results in faster throughput, higher yields, and lower manufacturing and capital equipment costs than other thin-film products.

Product in Detail

Abound ensures that both the manufacturing process and the product are optimized in order to deliver a cost advantage over competitors. Product: Abound SolarsCdTe thin-film modules offer class-leading efficiencies of greater than 10 % at industry-leading low prices. The company’s modules are frameless, glass-glass modules that are optimized for large-scale commercial and utility installations to reduce the cost of solar PV. They feature lower voltages and high-performance ratios in a robust, all-back module. The modules have better performance in low-light and high-temperature conditions than crystalline silicon. They eliminate the risk of underperformance, have tight power output bins (+2.5 / -0 W) and better field performance. The TruLock seal provides enhanced dual moisture and vapour barrier which increases reliability and module life for long-term installations. In addition, its lower voltages at a given power output enable longer module strings and lower balance of system costs. Its industry-leading warranty provides five year materials and workmanship and a 25-year power output guarantee for 90 % of nominal output during first 10 years, and 80 % over 25 years. Manufacturing process: As panel manufacturers hunt for costs to eliminate, some have cut back on product testing, quality control and certification. Abounds streamlined manufacturing process, on the other hand, eliminates several steps that contribute to lowered cost, without sacrificing quality. Abounds manufacturing process can be divided into two general sections: Front End and Back End. The Front-End consists of the following steps: Prior to the semiconductor tool  glass loading, washing, and scribing  Semiconductor tool  deposition of the CdS and CdTe layers and other proprietary treatments  After the semiconductor tool  rinse, scribing, sputtering of back metal contact, scribing, and laser edge deletion. The Back-End system consists of the encapsulation of the semiconductor layers, performance measurements, electrical integrity tests, labelling and packaging. Variance in production processes is an inherent characteristic that needs to be managed in any successful high-volume manufacturing line. Abound has implemented in-line metrology as a baseline capability within its factory to minimize the impact on quality such variances may have. The fundamental goal is to control processes from within the tools themselves and to employ preventative systems at the tool control level to maintain highly robust processes. This approach is a key aspect of the process and product development procedure that starts with a product/process FMEA to identify key risks. Once key production risks have been identified, the process controls and critical metrology points are defined to mitigate those risks and to measure in real-time critical aspects of product quality. Another example of how Abounds manufacturing process reduces costs: one of our strategic partners is a leader in the glass industry that has helped us understand how to manage the volatility in glass, our largest cost component. In addition, thanks to a $400 million U.S. Department of Energy loan guarantee, Abound is currently building the largest thin-film solar module manufacturing plant in the United States. This scaling will allow for a further reduction of costs that will also reflect in retail prices of Abounds product.

Innovation

The innovative aspect of Abounds manufacturing technology is the use of a proprietary closed space sublimation process (CSS) in the semiconductor manufacturing step. The use of CSS enables a once-through steady state thin-film photovoltaic process within a single tool. As a result of our novel manufacturing process, our production is significantly less complex, faster and more efficient than all other thin-film PV manufacturers. Compared to competing CdTe module manufacturers, Abound has optimized its manufacturing and assembly process such that it eliminates five steps (edge grind, chemical etching, photoresist scribe fill, interfacial layer and post metal heat treat), combines six wet and dry semiconductor processes into one single step of semiconductor coating with one tool without breaking vacuum, and improves two back-end module assembly steps (edge delete and module encapsulation). All of this allows for the significant reduction of manufacturing costs without doing away with quality control.

When Introduced

Abound Solar’s AB1-series modules were introduced to the market in January 2010.

Customer Benefits

Abound’s low-cost manufacturing and assembly processes allow for the modules to be sold to customers at industry-leading costs. Abound Solar is actively working with customer and partners in the Abound Alliance to optimize the system designs and components to reduce the cost of installation. For example, Abound recently signed a deal with Thesan, an Italian roofing and PV specialist. They have designed a mounting system specifically for Abound Solar modules that reduces installation time by over 50% compared to existing solutions.

Click here to download product information (PDF)


3M
Ultra Barrier Solar Film

Product Challenge

For years, solar companies have searched for ways to produce lightweight, flexible modules that are cheaper to ship and easier to install. These efforts have been hindered by a lack of affordable, quality glass substitutes.

Problem Solved

3M Ultra Barrier Solar Film efficiently replaces glass layers to enable lower manufacturing, shipping and balance of systems (BOS) costs.

Noteworthy

The product is the result of more than a decade of development in transparent barrier technology.

Product in Detail

Typical solar modules are created by sandwiching cells between two pieces of glass. This method leads to bulky, rigid modules that can be expensive to ship and install. Designed to address the needs of flexible thin film solar manufacturers, 3M Ultra Barrier Solar Film acts as a replacement for glass. The result is a product with high light transmission, superb moisture barrier performance, and unparalleled durability. 3M Ultra Barrier Solar Film has proven to provide moisture vapor transmission rates (MVTR) below 5 * 10-4 g/m2/day.

Innovation

Compared with glass-glass modules, the large-area, lightweight, flexible PV modules manufactured with 3M Ultra Barrier Solar Film can achieve lower balance of systems (BOS) costs by requiring less installation time, removing the need for metal racking and reducing logistics expenses.

When Introduced

3M Ultra Barrier Solar Film first appeared on the market in 2010.

Customer Benefits

3M Ultra Barrier Solar Film facilitates lower module manufacturing costs by allowing manufacturers to produce large area modules, effectively reducing costs associated with module production by assembling them in a continuous, roll-to-roll process.

Click here to download product information (PDF)

THINFAB

Product Description

Oerlikon Solars next generation fab THINFAB will enable total module production cost at or below 0.5 €/Wp and a 120 MWp output capacity. Oerlikon recognized that for PV to become a significant source for energy amongst the traditional energy sources, solar power had to become economically viable. With the THINFAB with module manufacturing cost at 0.5 €/Wp, energy can be produced at 0.10 €/kWh in for example Southern Europe. In many regions of the world this allows energy production at or below grid parity level. Due to highest equipment availability, reduced process steps in the backend and highly optimized line concept (to balance frontend and backend takt times), Oerlikon Solars THINFAB reaches highest uptime with lowest non-productive time. The performance figures of this thin film silicon turnkey solution are as following: - Module Efficiency 10 % - Yield 97 % - Annual Output 120 MWp - 0.5 €/Wp

Product Challenge

Oerlikon Solars THINFAB addresses the challenge to reduce manufacturing cost by 60%. The first generation of thin film silicon manufacturing lines launched 2007 allowed modules to be produced at approximately 1.2 €/Wp. To reach grid parity level in sunny regions to make solar power economically viable, manufacturing cost have to cut down to no more than 0.5 €/Wp.

Problem Solved

Oerlikon Solars next generation fab THINFAB will enable total module production costs at or below 0.5 €/Wp and 120 MWp output capacity. With the THINFAB with module manufacturing cost at or below 0.5 €/Wp, energy can be produced at 0.10 €/kWh in for example Southern Europe. In many regions of the world this allows energy production at or below grid parity level.

Noteworthy

The key performance drivers to make solar power economically viable are module efficiency, high productivity of the manufacturing line and low module material costs. Recent champion modules on full scale with over 11 % initial efficiency and the world record stable cell efficiency for Micromorph® of over 11.8 % form the foundation for 10 % efficiency in average production. In less than 3 years since the market introduction of Oerlikon Solars Micromorph® technology 2007 in Milan the productivity of an Oerlikon Solar fab has been increased by more than 100 % which helps to significantly drive down the CAPEX per Wp. The continuous optimization of core equipment, line concept, module design and qualification of new materials drives down costs and increases the manufacturing robustness by simplifying the production steps.

Product In Detail

Oerlikon Solar has demonstrated ground-breaking milestones for the highest efficiency thin film silicon technology worldwide. To achieve highest efficiency modules in a cost effective mass production, several improvements in layer technology and module design had to be combined within the Oerlikon Solars THINFAB. 1) Thinnest Absorber The quality of the absorber layer and consequently the degradation of the efficiency of the cell are influenced by different factors. One factor is the deposition process, a second factor is the deposition rate (typically layers deposited at lower rate have higher quality) and a third factor is the layer thickness. Oerlikon Solar found in its THINK THIN strategy a match between increased efficiency and cost effective mass production. Thin absorber layers allow for reduced deposition rate and thus improved material quality; in parallel, time gas and energy consumption are lower and the light induced degradation is reduced. The net result is higher stabilized module efficiency. 2) Thinnest Laser Dead Band Oerlikon Solar introduces the next generation of laser scribing systems with eight beam high-speed processing for more than 2x increase in throughput and improvement of scribing accuracy to reduce laser dead band to 180 um. Highly accurate laser scribing systems maximize the active area of the module by reducing the area lost to the cell interconnects. c) Highest Front Contact Transmittance Oerlikon Solars TCO provides high total transmittance of over 86 % in the visible and near infrared spectrum range and recipe tunable surface morphology enabling light scattering with haze between 10 and 25 % and tunable sheet resistance between 10 and 25 Square Ohm Best in class transmission and enhanced light scattering are the perquisites to get the maximum amount of light into the absorber and allow further reduction of the absorber thickness. d) KAI MT The core of the Oerlikons THINFAB remains the absorber deposition tool. All key technologies and improvements from the previous generation KAI 1200 like 40 MHz VHF technology and Isothermal Plasmabox® were adapted to the next generation KAI MT. The KAI MT is designed to serve the low cost demands for mass production. By implementing a third process chamber the deposition area is increased by 50 % from 28 m2 to 42 m2. Doubled cleaning speed is achieved by improving the design through shortening vacuum pipes and implementing a remote plasma source (RPS). The combination of amorphous and Micromorph® layer deposition in one single process equipment eliminates the breaking of vacuum between top and bottom cell depositions which leads to improved process control. e) Backend Equipment With the THINFAB Oerlikon Solar launches the second generation of backend with a multiple contacted low voltage module design. The new edge isolation system allows a smaller accurately removed edge area with high isolation and improved module active area. Full automation avoids handling errors and results in robust manufacturing processes and high module reliability. g) Yield The yield improvement of the end-to-end solution is a significant lever to reduce overall production cost. Thanks to the high robustness of thin film silicon process technology together with Oerlikon Solars industry proven mass production equipment and smart line concept, Oerlikon Solar's THINFAB guarantees best in class yield of over 97 % in average. h) Lowest material cost As over 50 % of the module costs can be attributed to direct materials (e.g. glass, foil, junction-box, etc.) these represent large cost reduction potential. As the equipment and technology provider Oerlikon Solar does not limit cost reduction initiatives to deposition technology and equipment innovations, but also drives the development of the module design towards more lean (thin) architectures and evaluates and qualifies new material suppliers.

Innovation

With Oerlikon Solars THINFAB thin film silicon solar power becomes economically viable first time. In less than 3 years since the market introduction of Oerlikon Solars Micromorph® technology 2007 in Milan the productivity of an Oerlikon Solar fab has been increased by more than 100 % which helps to significantly drive down the CAPEX per Wp. The continuous optimization of module design and qualification of new materials drives down costs and increases the manufacturing robustness by simplifying the production steps. Radical innovations in the core equipment of the end-to-end manufacturing line contribute to the reduction in cost per Wp by offering higher efficiency, higher throughput per capital invested as well as lower energy and material consumption. Oerlikon Solars unique line concept includes but is not limited to improved central handling system renewed manufacturing execution system and considers all aspects of material logistics. In a cross-functional development approach every detail is optimized for the THINFAB, Oerlikon Solars most advanced turnkey photovoltaic thin film silicon manufacturing line.

When Introduced

25th EU PVSEC 2010, Valencia 6th of September 2010

Customer Benefits

With the THINFAB with module manufacturing cost at or below 0.5 €/Wp, energy can be produced at 0.10 €/kWh in for example Southern Europe. In many regions of the world this allows energy production at or below grid parity level. Therefore thin film silicon solar power becomes economically viable first time.

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Dipartimento di Ingegneria Elettrica, Universita di Bologna
A New Approch to Valence and Conduction Band Grading in CIGS Thin Film Solar Cells

Cu (In,Ga)(S,Se2) (CIGS) thin film solar cells have low cost and potentially high efficiency. The record efficiency of about 19.9% has been achieved in laboratory scale . To improve the device performance, the electronic and optical properties of the cell have to be optimized. Band gap grading of the cell materials is effective on reducing the recombination losses and amplifying the carrier collection in the cell. In this paper, we briefly review the characteristics of the last proposed graded band-gap profiles and then, due to valence and conduction band widening effects on the performance parameters of the cell, we present a new graded profile in which the band gap widening of the absorber is included both in Conduction Band (CB) and Valence Band (VB). Widening the band edges at front and back regions of the cell is considered. Furthermore, we discuss the benefits of the CB grading of the window material near the interface region to enhance the carrier passivation and transferring through the cell

Normal Grading: In this case, the bandgap of the absorber linearly increases to the back contact and creates a gradient in the quasi electrical field through the cell. Therefore, at the back contact the recombination rate reduces but the Open-Circuit Voltage (VOC) increases which cause to the small enhancement in efficiency. Unfortunately, the Short-Circuit Current density (Jsc) decreases steadily by linearly increasing the band gap as the absorption coefficient depending on position decreases. 
Reverse grading: With gradually decreasing the bandgap of the absorber toward the back contact, the Voc of the cell is high due to widened band gap and lower recombination rate. In this profile, JSC increases steadily due to increase in the absorption for smaller band gaps, but it is not significant due to reduced probability of the electron collection affected by a reverse quasi-electrical field through the cell. 
Double grading: In this profile, bandgap of the absorber decreases from front surface to an optimum minimum position and then increases to back contact. Front grading repels minority carriers away from the interface and back grading increases the band gap which enhances the carrier collection. Therefore, the internal quantum efficiency and position dependent light absorption is increased and improve the Jsc.

The other possibility to grade the band gap can be grading the VB of the absorber. In this case, we can lower the saturation current in the SCR and enhance the hole transfer in the absorber edges. In these cases, the band gap of the absorber at the surface region of the cell is at least 0.1 eV greater than that of the bulk region. For example, this shift in the VB can be produced by Cu-poor surface phases (i.e. by Cu(In,Ga)3Se5 or by intentional Ga/In/Se/S grading. VB widening is effective on the main parameters of the cell, where the Voc will improve by enlarging the barrier high at the surface. This is due to the hole concentration which is a limiting parameter for recombination rate on the junction surface and can be controlled by VB grading. When sufficient holes are supplied at the interface, they can limit the Voc. From the curves, we prove that the VB widening will improve the cell parameters by reducing the carrier loss and hole depletion at the surface regions (Fig. 1, left).


Figure. 1: VB offset effect on cell parameters (left), proposed GB profile (right).

Therefore, based on the above approaches, we present an improved graded profile, (Fig. 1, right) which consider the real changes in VB and CB together. At front region of this profile, VB widening will enlarge the hole depletion as a limiting factor for Voc, CB grading will reduce the recombination rate of the carriers at the interface. At the back region, VB grading will enhance the transfer ability of the majority carriers and CB will improve carrier collection probability of the carriers to contribute to the current. However, this profile can better define the grading changes on the valence and conduction bands, i.e., for a S-graded absorber material. We also discuss the possibility of the grading the front region of the window layer to enhance the passivation and transferring of the electrons coming from the absorber. This is an effective factor on the performance of the CIGS solar cells where the CB offset between the window layer and absorber layer at the interface can affect on the flow of the electrons from the absorber to the window.

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Silicon Innovation Award


REC's "fluidized bed reactor" (FBR) process

Description

RECs proprietary Fluidized Bed Reactor (FBR) process represents the cutting edge technology in silicon production. After 15 years of R&D, REC has developed a process that produces silicon in a continuous process (vs. a batch process) and results in a ready-to-use output that requires no post-processing. The NextSi Granular Polysilicon, which is produced by the environmentally-conscious FBR process gives REC-produced solar modules an industry-leading payback time of one year, 20% less time than competing products

Challenge

A major part of the energy consumption associated with producing solar cells is related to the purification of silicon. The "Fluidized Bed Reactor" (FBR) technology, used by REC for the silicon purification process, consumes significantly less energy for producing high purity silicon used for high performance solar products. Moreover, the FBR process lowers the cost of making solar products, whilst saving large amounts of electricity.

Problem Solved

With the "Fluidized Bed Reactor (FBR) process, REC can produce solar-grade silicon, while using 80-90% less energy than the traditional Siemens method for converting silane gas to high purity silicon. Firstly, it does not waste energy by placing heated gas and silicon in contact with cold surfaces. Secondly, it produces more silicon per cubic meter of reactor space because the silicon crystals have a larger total surface area than the rods used in the Siemens process. Thirdly, it is a continuous process rather than a batch process so there is less wasted downtime or setup effort required. And finally, unlike other processes which require the breaking of polysilicon rods, FBR granular is harvested in a ready to use form.

Noteworthy

RECs Fluidized Bed Reactor (FBR) process uses less energy to produce silicon than competing technologies, making it a more environmentally-sound choice. It also gives a payback time of one year, 20% less time than competing products. The company is also committed to reducing waste, using closed processes wherever possible and capturing 95-99% of the remaining production by-products and repurposing them. REC also uses only hydroelectric and wind power to power the production process.

In Detail

The basic technology behind RECs Fluidized Bed Reactor(FBR) process is as follows:  Reactor bed is heated and fluidized  solid particles in constant motion  Process gases are introduced from bottom of reactor  Polysilicon seed crystals are introduced from the top of the reactor  Thermal decomposition of silane gas onto polysilicon on seed crystalsPolysilicon crystals grow in diameter then drop from bottom of reactor due to force of gravity When comparing the FBR process to the existing, traditional silicon production process, the differences are as follows: RECs Proprietary FBR Process  Low Energy Consumption  Continuous Process  Output Is Ready To Use  High Logistics Efficiency Consistent Form Factor  Flowable Form Factor - High Automation Potential  High Process Efficiency Traditional Process  High Energy Consumption  Batch Process  Output Requires Post Processing Higher Manufacturing Cost  Lower Logistics Efficiency  Irregular Form Factor Non-Flowable Form Factor - Lower Automation Potential  Lower Process Efficiency

Innovation

RECs Fluidized Bed Reactor (FBR) process requires less energy to produce than other silicon production processes, giving REC silicon modules an industry-leading payback time of one year. The process produces silicon in a continuous process (vs. a batch process) and results in a ready-to-use output that requires no post-processing. RECs Fluidized Bed Reactor (FBR) process produces NextSigranular polysilicon, which is easier to handle. The FBR process is an efficient, continuous production cycle and has a ready-to-use output product, as opposed to existing solutions which are inefficient batch production and require additional post-production processing. Improved logistics automation (no manual breaking or packaging) reduces the potential for external contamination resulting in poorer product quality and performance. Granular polysilicon is packaged in bulk containers and because they round and can flow freely, it enables automated material transport and crucible loading. These factors combined amount to a significant reduction in the cost of solar ingot manufacturing compared to the traditional method further reducing the cost of solar energy. Moreover, there are a number of technological advantages to the RECs Fluidized Bed Reactor (FBR) process.

Practical manufacturing advantages include:

  • Large surface area for deposition
  • Excellent gas / solids contact
  • Efficient energy transfer
  • Uniform temperatures
  • Continuous operation
  • High gas throughput
  • Higher silane concentrations
  • Compact design Uniform output

When Introduced

The silicon purification process, utilizing a Fluidized Bed Reactor (FBR), was launch in March 2010. REC Silicons FBR products are targeted to supplement or replace all existing and emerging crystalline based photovoltaic polysilicon requirements.

Customer Benefits

Overall, the RECs Fluidized Bed Reactor (FBR) process is an economically-sound choice because it maximizes productivity. Advantages of FBR-produced silicon include: Increased Process Efficiency maximizes crucible load, ability to top-off and/or recharge crucible, highly repeatable, controlled process, mitigates process problems, increases productivity Optimized logistics reduces amount of shipping and handling, increases operational efficiency, High Automation Potential reduces handling, increases operational efficiency, increases productivity


SCHOTT Solar AG
Silicon Innovation

The solar manufacturer from Mainz, Germany, SCHOTT Solar, has developed a new technique that will allow for high-performance multi crystalline solar cells to be manufactured on a large-scale industrial basis. The solar cells produced in an industrial environment achieve peak efficiency of above 18 %. In combination with improved module technology, record efficiency of 17.6 %t was achieved on the surface of the aperture and confirmed independently by ESTI (European Solar Test Installation).

The innovative high-performance cells used in the champion module feature a front side that corresponds with the current standard in industrial manufacturing. The backside, on the other hand, has been passivated by using a combination of different dielectric layers that feature local contacts, better known in the industry as the PERC structure.

Commercially available multi crystalline silicon wafers from its subsidiary SCHOTT Solar Wafer GmbH in thicknesses of 180-200 µm are the starting material. This made it possible for the researchers who work for the Mainz-based company to produce cells in the standard size 156x156mm² that offer efficiency of more than 18 % in pilot production. Conventional silkscreen printing technology was then used to create the contacts. According to the solar manufacturer, this technique successfully links new manufacturing steps with a mature and cost-efficient production sequence.

New approaches to increasing performance were used during manufacturing of these modules to reduce both optical and electrical losses while the solar cell was being turned into a module. Confirmed efficiency of 17.6 % that the world that has never seen before was achieved using a conventional layout involving 60 multi crystalline cells.

The photovoltaic industry is still pursuing two basic approaches when it comes to lowering costs even further: improving the production processes, on the one hand, and increasing efficiency, on the other.

This innovative approach to industrial manufacturing of high-performance cells and modules, will help achieve higher efficiency."

AEG Power Solutions
Thyrobox™ PI

AEG Power Solutions (AEG PS) Thyrobox™ PI power system sets efficiency standards in polysilicon production.

Using proprietary technology developed by AEG PS, the Thyrobox™ PI, allows manufacturers of polysilicon, to increase the production output of their existing polysilicon reactors by 10% to 20%, depending on reactor configuration and process condition.

Polysilicon is the base material used in the manufacturing of solar cells. With decreasing poly silicon prices, manufactures are under ever increasing pressure to lower operational manufacturing costs. Thyrobox™ PI can easily be added to existing AEG Power Solutions Thyrobox power systems. That way it allows for permanently lowered operational costs with minimal investment as no new or additional deposition reactors are needed. In addition to increased polysilicon productivity the Thyrobox™ PI reduces internal thermal stresses thus preventing rod cracks, allows for more uniform growth, improves rod joint bridge shaping and minimizes hot spots.

AEG Power Solutions partnered with GT Solar to offer the Thyrobox™ PI as part of a turnkey solution using GTSolar's SDR™ series of CVD reactors. This next generation power system is designed to be integrated with GT's SDR-400 to enable reactor capacities over 500 MTA

The vision is to deliver sustained value to customers by lowering the cost of PV manufacturing.

Industry Development Award


All Eco Energy

Description

Chris Sutor of All Eco Energy has worked tirelessly to build a company which supplies quality products to the industry on a wholesale basis as well as completing residential and commercial installations. From a standing start the company has installed over 500 installations in 6 months and is now offering the Free carbon Solar programme removing the final barrier for commercial organisations to join in with the solar revolution, the upfront cost. All this has been done without any outside help and in the most positive and gentle manner.

Challenge

Removing the barrier of cost to commercial organisations.

Problem Solved

Funding is used to provide the equipment, the FIT is used to pay the funding and so the virtuous circle continues.

Noteworthy

It allows commercial organisations to reduce their carbon footprint without any investment.

Product In Detail

All Eco Energy check the suitability of the roof then take out a lease on the roof (paying the legal costs of the client). This helps the UK hit its targets re the reduction of CO2, it helps educate the persons within the organisations who take it up and promotes the whole programme of the local production of electricity in a carbon Free manner.

Innovation

This whole programme is not dependant on any grants other than the fit and thier are few barriers to the scheme.

Customer Benefits

Customer benefit with carbon free electricity at no cost to themselves and the scheme is self financing.

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Description

A novel planar antenna by using a panel of photovoltaic cells as a metamaterial FSS radome for dual-band operation is presented (the prototype of product is shown in Fig.1 of attached file). A 10-Watt, 72-cell unmodified commercial photovoltaic panel is applied as a transparent layer in the first operation band and as a semi-transparent layer for λ/2 Fabry-Pérot cavity in the second operation band to achieve high antenna gain. The proposed prototype achieves remarkable 17.3 dBi and 6.6 dBi antenna gain at 3.5 GHz and 1.23 GHz, respectively by feeding a dual-band dipole. With the aid of PV panel, the antenna can support an upper band at about 3550 MHz to cover the WiMAX 3.5 GHz (3400-3600 MHz) operation band and a lower band at about 1185 MHz to cover the 70 MHz operation bandwidth. The very combination of photovoltaic cell and antenna exhibits high fill factor, high-gain, and simple construction characteristics. This integration of PV panel and antenna is suitable for outdoor wireless communication devices such as IEEE 802.11 a/b or WiMAX (IEEE 802.16e) access points, 3GPP LTE femtocells.

Challenge

The main challenge is to overcome the EM interference when conducting the integration of antenna and PV panels. Since the conductivity of a commercial PV cell is so high to about 100-200 s/m that it is treated as a conductor which will block the EM wave when incidents into the PV panels. To treat the PV panel as an interference load or as a RF antenna ground is currently, the only solution to reach the coexistence of the PV panel and antenna. Therefore, a unique method is proposed to solve the integration of PV panel and antenna EM compatible issue. The goal is to maintain both the PV panel and the antenna area ratio.

Problem Solved

Inspired by the concept of metamaterialFabry-Pérot resonator, we treat the PV cell as a sub-wavelength periodic structure which having the proper frequency selective characteristic in the desired operation band and construct a novel high gain antenna. A dual-band high-gain antenna is fabricated in a very reasonable, area-saving manner without any major modification of PV cells construction. In other words, the filling factor (or area ratio) of PV cell can be well-maintained in our proposed integration design. That also means it contains the same optical efficiency as the ordinary PV cell. In addition, owing to the PV-cell-FSS arrangement and the proper calculation of Fabry-Pérot resonance condition, its very promising for antenna gain improvement (~10 dB comparing to an ordinary single patch antenna) and industrial manufacturing.

Noteworthy

The Electromagnetic inference must be taken into account while constructing the PV-Antenna integrating structure. In our proposed design, the parameters of PV-Cell area ratio has been improved to 90% and the antenna efficiency to more than 80% in contrast of 20% and 39% from SOLANT project supported by the European Space Agency[1] whose PV cell and antenna are arranged in interlacing mode , 50% and 50% from Institute for Solar Energy Supply Technology (ISET)[2] as an antenna radiator and 90% and 32% of Dublin Institute of Technology [3] as an antenna ground. For more detailed structure, please see our comparison table 1 in the attached PDF file. It should be noted that the PV panels/cells area ratio and antenna efficiency is a trade off in all of the designs in [1-3]. None of them can be treated as well arranged matrix in sub-wavelength periodic structure.

In Detail

Under the huge demand of alternative energy resources, the deploying area of photovoltaic (PV) panels increases dramatically. However, the roofs of buildings in urban area are sometimes mounted with wireless communication infrastructures, such as base stations for cellular phones, point-topoint transfer spots, satellite receivers, radio communication stations and wireless TV receiving antennas, etc. PV cells and wireless communication infrastructures scramble for the roof area and interfere with each other in the point of view of operation. It’s necessary to integrate these two equipments to maximize the usage of valuable roof area. The design procedure of our product prototype (full picture is shown in Fig.3) is as follows: First we calculate the electromagnetic characteristic (in GHz band) of PV panels. In the attached PDF file, Fig. 2(a) and (b) shows the detailed structure of the poly-Si PV cell element in our EM model, which includes cover glass (thick of 2 mm), Poly-Si layers contained with P-N junctions, finger electrodes and bus-bar, back electrodes and cell-to-cell connecting electrodes. Although the real structure is composed of thin layered fine finger electrodes, to reduce the computing time, they can be ignored as show in Fig. 2 (c). Furthermore, rectangular metallic patch linked with straight metal strip with poly-Si layer and glass cover is also removed, as show in Fig. 2 (d). Fig. 3 shows the reflection and transmission response of the 80 mm × 28 mm unit-cell with periodic boundary conditions. The plane wave is normally incident to the structures and the E-field is polarized in the x-direction. It is seen that two pass-bands are existed and centred at about 1.2 GHz and 3.5 GHz in the observation of frequency range. It also can be observed that responses of these two different models (Fig. 2(c) and Fig. 2(d)) only exhibit slight frequency shift, which generally represent that both of them are suitable for full wave simulation. This is because the particle structures of PV cells are too small with respect to the operation frequency to affect our simulation results. According to our frequency selective unit-cell analysis, the PV panels EM-wave transmission response exhibits multiple pass bands. Our design can have antenna operate at 1.2/3.5 GHz. Secondary, we select first pass band (1.20 GHz) and second pass band (3.50 GHz) as our dual-band operation frequencies. Considering the finite panel size compared to the wavelength at low frequency and the different transmission characteristics of PV cell, we use different mechanisms for each band. At 3.50 GHz, the transmission level of unit-cell is not very high, but the panel size reaches 4.20λ0 × 3.73λ0. In this configuration, Fabry-Pérot cavity mechanism is applied to achieve high antenna gain. The parallelepiped FabryPérot cavity is composed of one semi-transparent surface, one reflective mirror surface and a suitable gap, usually half-wavelength, in-between. The PV panel is treated as a semi-transparent surface. A copper plate, served as reflective mirror, is parallel placed beneath the PV panel with 44 mm (approximate 0.5 wavelength at 3.50 GHz) air gap. A central fed microwave power propagates transversely with slow-varying phase to fill in the cavity and achieve high gain. At 1.20 GHz, the PV panel only reaches the size of 1.44;0 × 1.28;0. It’s hard to apply resonant cavity for this small size. Fortunately, the transmission level is so high that we can treat PV panel as a transparent radome at this band. The parallelepiped structure is not in the state of resonance at this frequency. It becomes a simple antenna with a back-reflector. It should be noted that the PV panel remains unchanged in our design in order to retain its optical efficiency.

Innovation

Our technology is Electromagnetic Metamaterial. Since the pioneer theoretical work by Veselago in 1968 [4] and later the experimental realization by Smith et al. [5], there has been an exploding research interest in metamaterialsubstances that exhibit simultaneously negative permittivity and permeability. This is mainly due to the fact that this new class of artificial material opens up new opportunities in EM design that were not possible before. Researchers have been done and applied in not only fundamental electromagnetic theory but also applied to variety of RF applications. One of those popular studies is metamaterial high gain antenna structure. A FSS (frequency selective surface) is used in these works as a semi-transparent layer at desired operating band to cover on a large reflective ground surface with a single feeding element, which could be a patch-type or dipole-type antenna. Related methods to improve antenna performance by using metamaterial super-strate can be approximately differentiated into three categories according to the antenna height, which are half-wavelength designs [6-9], quarter-wavelength designs [10-11] and the lowest height profile (smaller than 0.1 wavelength) designs [12-13] respectively. The proposed structure with the aid of PV panel given in Fig. 4 was fabricated and studied. Full models are simulated by commercial EM software, Ansys HFSS. Loss of materials and conductivity of PV cells are all taken into consideration. Fig. 5 shows the measured S-parameter of the proposed structure. It can be clearly seen that two resonate modes, which are centred at about 1185 MHz (dipole mode) and 3550 MHz (FabryPérot mode) are excited successfully. For the frequencies over the obtained operating band formed by the two modes, the impedance matching is all better than 3:1 VSWR. The fractional bandwidth of lower mode is about 5.9% (70 MHz) and the upper bandwidth is about 7.3% (260 MHz), which can cover the WiMAX 3.5 GHz (3400-3660 MHz) operation. The simulated and measured radiation patterns at 1.2 GHz and 3.5 GHz, around the centre frequencies of the excited dipole and FabryPérot modes for the proposed antenna are presented in Fig. 6. Also, the radiating patterns over those two modes across the operating band are studied. Although similar results are obtained yet they are not shown for brevity. The gain variation characteristics of the proposed antenna are also studied (Fig. 7), it could be observed that the proposed structure performs a peak gain of 17.3 dBi at 3.50 GHz and 6.6 dBi at 1.23 GHz in broadside direction. Fig.8 shows the distributions of E-field. The E field magnitude is strongest at the centre of the superstrateand the spread of the E-field strength is even throughout the entire superstrate. In other words, the superstrate and substrate well perform a role as a cavity capturing an electromagnetic energy. Unique Antenna-PV-Panel integration technology originated from metamaterialFabryPérot cavity which is capable of 1.2/3.5 GHz dual-band operation is proposed. Extraordinary integration of proposed antenna structure shortens the distance between antenna and PV panel to 1/2 wavelength of 3.5 GHz, which is half-wavelength resonant mode of FabryPérot cavity can be achieved and mutual interference could be eliminated as well by using this technology. Both very high antenna gain of 17.8 dBi in secondary operation band and remaining the same PV panel performance could be achieved comparing with current known literature. In addition, this work successfully turns a PV panel into an integrated dual-band antenna with very little additional structures and fabrication cost, which makes it very promising for industrial manufacturing. Furthermore, this concept could be applied to another type of solar cell, such as thin-film PV cell.

When Introduced

The prototype of product has been constructed at year end of 2010.

Customer Benefits

1. High antenna efficiency Novel high efficiency PV-panel-Antenna Integration technology will create a brand new market.

2. Small form factor PV-panel and antenna are stacked and integrated perfectly with each other without sacrificing any performance.

3. Cost-effective the manufacturing process of PV-cell remains unchanged which means no additional cost will happen.

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SEMI PV Group
International Technology Roadmap for PV (ITRPV)

Description

Leading crystalline silicon (c-Si) wafer, solar cell and module manufacturers are working on a technology roadmap for c-Si photovoltaics (PV). The aim of this roadmap is to inform suppliers and customers and set a basis to intensify the dialog about required improvements and standards. Between 2011 and 2014 new technologies need to be implemented in production. Details of requirements for advancement of c-Si solar cell manufacturing will be described and technological barriers will be identified. This information shall enable future growth and significant cost reduction per piece.

Product Challenge

The International Technology Roadmap for PV does provide important and significant key parameters of todays solar cell mass production showing their development for the upcoming years.

Problem Solved

The International Technology Roadmap for Photovoltaics (ITRPV) organized by the Crystalline Silicon PV Technology and Manufacturing (CTM) Group* aims to inform suppliers and customers about expected technology trends in the field of crystalline silicon (c-Si) photovoltaics and sets a basis to intensify the dialog on required improvements and standards.

Noteworthy

Currently no technology roadmap for PV is exists on the market.

In Detail

The International Technology Roadmap for Photovoltaics (ITRPV) organized by the Crystalline Silicon PV Technology and Manufacturing (CTM) Group* aims to inform suppliers and customers about expected technology trends in the field of crystalline silicon (c-Si) photovoltaics and sets a basis to intensify the dialog on required improvements and standards. The present second edition of the ITRPV was jointly prepared by leading European c-Si solar cell manufacturers, module manufacturers, and wafer suppliers. Feedback and input from various institutes, equipment suppliers and providers of production materials was also included. The present publication consequently covers a wider range of the PV value chain compared to the first edition. Due to the historical learning curve as well as industry growth, the specific costs per Watt peak (Wp) of PV modules are expected to decrease by 8%-12% per year. This corresponds to a significant cost reduction per module. To reach this purpose, current technology will be optimized, but new technologies also need to be implemented in production between 2013 and 2015. Detailed requirements for c-Si solar cell manufacturing such as more effective use of material, more productive manufacturing equipment and more advanced processes are given in key parameters. This not only affects the cell production but also the complete value chain. One example is the wafer dimension: to be able to handle thinner and larger wafers, not only the method of making the wafer needs to be modified, but also the cell process and the technology to build the module - rear contact cells will probably be used. In case of cell size the inverter also needs to be adapted to a new current/voltage range. The roadmap activity is carried out in cooperation with SEMI PV Group and updated information will be published each year in Spring to ensure good communication between manufacturers and suppliers throughout the value chain.

Innovation

The experience in the semiconductor and other related industries has clearly shown the necessity of a roadmap. The ITRPV is the international approach of combining technical visions along the supply chain.

When Introduced

The first edition was published during the 4th PV Fab Managers Forum in March 2010, the second edition was recently published during the 5th PV Fab Managers Forum in March 2011.

Customer Benefits

The ITRPV indicates at an early stage the technological development of the mass production of solar cells and modules. This allows any supplier to react early on future market needs.

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Matrix 2.0

Description

Matrix 2.0 - is an unique interactive tool is becoming the industrys central resource for information as to how PV is manufactured and how companies fit within the complete value chain of manufacturers, suppliers and users of PV equipment. The Matrix remains at www.matrix.ipvea.org, it will be also soon accessible via an app for mobile devices, such as the iPhone, iPad, Android phone or a Blackberry.

Challenge

Matrix 2.0 organizes solar technology into four main segments: silicon, organic, R&D, and installation & power generation. Each illustrated segment expands to show categories within that technology.

Problem Solved

Matrix 2.0 For example, silicon expands to raw material to wafer, wafer to cell and cell to modules. From there, each subsection further breaks down. This is beneficial because it simplifies technology and allows visitors to find specific information and locate key suppliers, who can now more easily interact with each other companies.

Noteworthy

As far as we know, there is no other tool similar to the Matrix 2.0 relating to any industry.

Customer Benefits

One stop shop for information


Petra Solar
SunWave System

Description

Combining highly distributed solar generation with smart grid functionality; Petra SolarsSunWave system mounts on existing public infrastructure, including 95,000 utility poles (and counting) across New Jersey. Petra Solar leverages existing public infrastructure to provide scalable, utility-grade clean power along with smart grid benefits.

Product Challenge

Until now, solar power has only truly been economic in large solar arrays, but these are subject to land use battles, their power output can be affected by local weather events (such as passing clouds), and their value proposition is almost entirely defined by the cost of solar panels.

Problem Solved

Petra Solar pioneers a new technology and a completely new value proposition by combining widely distributed solar generation (not affected by local weather; no new transmission lines required) with smart grid infrastructure. The technology pairs well with utility customers business models, scales gracefully, and improves grid reliability and disaster preparedness.

Noteworthy

We create the equivalent of hundreds of football fields of solar arrays out of thin air and offer smart grid functionality without an expensive overhaul. What once required tremendous amounts of space is achievable in dense cities where power demands are high and a smart grid is critical.

Product In Detail

Petra Solar pioneers a cutting-edge approach to solar power generation and smart grid deployment. Its technology is being leveraged right now to create innovative solar, smart grid, and grid reliability solutions for utilities filling a unique niche with close to immediate dispatchability. For decades, the approach to harnessing the power of the sun has been to install large solar arrays: hundreds of panels in a field. Petra Solar explodes that model: its SunWave system installs on existing utility poles and attaches to existing lines, feeding renewable energy directly into the electric grid without need for new sites or transmission. This use of existing assets for solar power eliminates the need to acquire and permit vast tracts of land and avoids other costs and difficulties that often impede the deployment of renewable energy. SunWave systems do not only generate clean, renewable energy, but also serve as intelligent units that communicate with each other and with the grid to build a Smart Grid infrastructure. It improves the efficiency and reliability of the grid by providing two-way communication and control between the solar generators in the field and a utilitys control center. The system monitors grid operations and provides distributed reactive power compensation, as well as volt-VAR optimization. These capabilities bring the performance of the grid into the 21st century, whereby installation costs are shared with renewable power generation lines on a utility balance sheet.

Innovation

Petra Solar is the first company to implement virtual power plants, or highly geographically distributed renewable energy generation systems. The level of distribution of a solar generation system is its best insurance against intermittency, i.e., how much the system is limited by passing clouds or storms. By mounting solar panels on utility poles throughout a utilitys territory (which can even include an entire state), the company achieves a level of distribution never before met by a unified solar project. Further, these virtual power plants are packaged in a new, compelling value proposition that combines power generation, smart grid functionality, and siting/permiting cost savings, which are better suited to the particular needs of utilities than any existing solar generation offering. SunWave is also novel because it reacts to similarly novel times in the utility industry. With the advent of electric vehicles and other technology that places new demands on the electric grid, utilities will increasingly focus on enabling smart grid solutions that will facilitate grid reliability and stability. Petra Solar has pioneered a partnership approach with utilities to address, maintain and improve power quality and reliability.

When Introduced

The product was initially released May 2008.

Customer Benefits

At the most basic level, we see the SunWave solution paving the way for two main changes in the field: the evolution of solar powers value proposition to include other functionalities (such as smart grid) and greater distribution of renewable energy generation. Both offer such clear technical and economic benefits that they cannot be ignored for long, and we enjoy a position of first mover in both areas of change. This unique packaged approach to distributed energy generation with smart grid capabilities allows for more effective use of public infrastructure to enable efficient, effective data gathering and communications, as well as an ability to recover quickly when emergencies strike. This means that as utilities seek to invest in solutions that will help to upgrade the electric grid into a smart, responsive system, they have access to a future-proof solution that ensures more reliable delivery of energy. Moreover, the technology also offers utilities an easy toehold on the smart, renewable energy grid of the future. A recent Electric Power Resources Institute (EPRI) 2011 report states that a complete smart grid overhaul of our existing transmission and distribution electric system will cost upwards of $476 billion  a daunting task but necessary to ensure a secure energy future. However, compared to an expected $2 trillion ROI over time after these upgrades have been performed, Petra Solars solution eases critical pain points in an enormous market that enables profitable, direct utility ownership of solar. This unique combination accelerates ROI and payback to become the natural path of least resistance that leverages the utility core business model to build Smart Grid infrastructure of tomorrow. SunWave also advances smart grid functionality. For example, its dynamic reactive power control automatically offsets abnormal voltage fluctuation from the power supply, making it much more difficult to cripple the entire grid by localizing system failures in the event of disaster. This is of particular interest to the industry in light of the recent earthquake in Japan.


Wagner Academy Solar Training School

Description

Wagner Solar UK Ltd has set up a training school for UK based solar installers. This training school is specifically aimed at solar installers who are already MCS accredited. The training school is run at different venues depending on the content and number of people expected to attend. As a company, we have invested considerably in resources / material, for example we have built 2 indoor training roofs to provide practical hands-on training. All our courses are offered free of charge on a first come first served basis.

Challenge

Currently, the majority of solar training schools in the UK are specifically focused on MCS accreditation training. As commercially run training schools, these establishments must operate to make a profit, so have commercial partnerships in place for supply of training technology etc. With commercial partnerships in place, unsurprisingly the schools are failing to provide an unbiased view of the industry. Once the installer is accredited, they have a narrow view of the industry. This is one challenge. Another is the pace of advance currently being experienced by the solar industry, which leaves these freshly accredited installers behind, as they struggle to build up experience. Our training school is specifically focused on already accredited installers to provide them with ongoing training.

Problem Solved

As a distributor, we are in a unique position with direct relationships with global manufacturers. Our intention is to invite manufacturers to our training, for them to give product training themselves. Working with a range of manufacturers covering different types of technology, we are playing a role in giving installers a holistic overview of the industry. We have carefully selected our suppliers based on quality and performance, so we believe that this initiative will play its role in delivering quality to the industry.

Noteworthy

We are operating in the field of microgeneration. The vast majority of installation outfits are small local companies who do more than just install. These companies are responsible for marketing their services, advising customers on technology/options and selling solar into the mass market. As a result, they shoulder a great responsibility for ensuring the process is carried out professionally and correctly. If not, they will taint the industry and paint a negative picture in the minds of the general public. Our training school therefore plays a role in delivering education and knowledge to the installer, so they in turn can do so in their role of speaking to the general public - outcome is a better quality industry for all concerned.

In Detail

Broadly speaking, our PV training covers two main areas. The first is advanced installation training. When individuals wish to become an installer of solar, they will usually attend a course run by a training school somewhere in the country. These schools will teach the individual how to mount a PV system on a roof, how to wire / connect it to an inverter and how to connect it to the grid. They will rarely speak about calculations. A PV system must remain on the roof for 25 years and beyond to outlast the FIT. This means it must withstand extreme weather conditions such as heavy snow / extreme wind. The last think we want is for systems to fall off roofs in 10 years time, so we must train installers to calculate weather loads, tension and expansion from changing temperature. The installation element of our training is designed to teach calculations, since we expect installers to complete a safe and quality assured installation. The second area of our training covers product training. Product technology is advancing so quickly that it is difficult for all installers to keep up. We have decided to use our position as a distributor to facilitate conversation between manufacturers and installers, by way of inviting manufacturers to sessions to provide product training. This allows installers to learn about the discrete benefits of products which in turn will allow them to use/install them at an optimum level. This benefits homeowners with having a fine tuned system that produces maximum possible electricity. An additional benefit to this exchange is the possibility for manufacturers to learn about installers' challenges directly from the installers themselves, so that feedback can be incorporated in future product development.
Innovation

We have decided to specifically open the training school to target already accredited solar installers. Once the MCS accreditation is complete, installers are alone. It is up to them to source product, market their services, advice homeowners about technology and sell/install a solar system. Our training school is unique in that now, the installers are no longer alone. They have the possibility to keep up with product technology / advanced installation techniques through attendance, which ultimately will help the industry at large by delivering a better quality image, service and reputation.

When Introduced

Wagner Solar UK Ltd is the UK subsidiary of Wagner & Co, the German Solar company. Our parent company has been involved in providing training for over a decade now. Many of our in-house trainers who train installers in the UK come from our HQ, so we have the advantage of years of experience which is well appreciated in the current young market.

Customer Benefits

A key intention of our training is to openly share knowledge and information to create a better quality industry. As it is the installer who markets their services to homeowners, advises homeowners about technology and ultimately sells/installs a solar system, by improving quality in the industry, we are benefiting customers (homeowners) from having a better installed and better performing solar system.

Click here to download product information (PDF)


SPG Solar, Inc.
Floatovoltaics®

Description

When SPG Solar Inc.®, the company that introduced the worlds first operational floating solar array in 2007, announced earlier this year the availability of its next generation in floating solar technology, SPG SolarsFloatovoltaics®, it generated worldwide interest in the solar industry and international media coverage, ranging from the New York Times

http://www.nytimes.com/2011/04/20/business/energy-environment/20float.html) to Forbes Magazine. (http://blogs.forbes.com/kerryadolan/2011/04/20/solars-new-twist-panels-that-float-on-water) This floating solar technology makes it possible to float solar power generating systems on water. Floatovoltaics has changed the way solar power is now considered, making it an option where never before possible. SPG Solar Floatovoltaics ® makes it possible for commercial and government users with little available rooftop or land space to float solar on water instead, and at the same time gain triple benefits: conserving land and water, while generating clean, renewable energy. Using proven and cost effective floating technology; fresh water irrigation ponds, lakes, or reservoirs become revenue-generating, power producing platforms.

Challenge

The challenges of developing large-scale renewable energy solutions where land and rooftop space are at a premium and for conserving increasingly scarce water resources around the world.

Problem Solved

The solutions provided SPG SolarsFloatovoltaics include: 1. Eliminates the need for land or rooftops. 2. Reduces water evaporation under the floating arrays by up to 70 percent. 3. Improves water quality by providing coverage from the sun that minimizes algae growth and reduces the need for water treatment chemicals and associated labor costs. 4. Provides shade below the panels, lowering the water temperature and 5. Improves power output from the solar panels up to 1% more power generated using Floatovoltaics. SPG Solar Floatovoltaics provides these solar generated power solutions agribusinesses, water agencies, wastewater treatment facilities, mining ponds, and hydroelectric reservoirs and utilities; among others.

Noteworthy

SPG SolarsFloatovoltaics®, has changed the way solar power is now considered, making it an option where never before possible. Solar customers around the world can now install a floating system that is priced competitively to ground based, single axis tracking solar systems.

In Detail

1. Structure a. Steel frame with HDPE floatation b. All steel is Galvalume (AZ-55) or hot dip galvanized c. No structural steel is in contact with water 2. Engineering a. Designed per 2010 IBC, 85mph, Exposure C b. All electrical components are NEMA 4X or IP67/68 c. Reports available: d. ZFA Structural Engineers (stamped) e. Bill Brooks Electrical Engineering (stamped) f. JDH Corrosion Engineering (stamped) g. Environ Environmental Engineering h. MDI Marine Electrical, shock 3. Flotation a. HDPE is NSF approved. NSF approval of the finished product is in process. b. 100% recyclable and approved by the U.S. Corp of Engineers c. The marine wire is typically submerged but can be floated with HDPE floats to avoid contact with water if necessary d. Only other components in contact with the water are polyester mooring line, galvanized steel cables and shackles, and aluminum grounding plates 4. Array Layout and Site Parameters a. 3acres per MW b. pH between 6.0-10 c. No walkway to the array for security, safety and cost d. Accommodate a wide water level variation e. Mooring can be installed on land or submerged 5. Maintenance a. Standard 10 year comprehensive O&M contract with annual inspection included in system cost. Extended O&M is available. b. Wires protected from abrasion c. Wireway protected by steel shed d. Stainless, brass and galvanized mooring hardware e. Upsized polyester mooring line with UV protection f. No additional maintenance is expected with Floatovoltaicsvs. other PV deployment systems

Innovation

Redesigned and engineered to be cost competitive, SPG Solar Floatovoltaics� makes it possible for commercial, industrial and government users with little available rooftop or land space to float solar on water.

When Introduced

SPG Solar Inc.®, the company that introduced the worlds first operational floating solar array in 2007 at the Far Niente Winery in California, introduced this reengineered, redesigned, cost competitive next generation of floating solar in January of 2011


PV Tool Award


Eclipse

Description

DEK Solar is the global provider of screen printing equipment and processes for fuel cell and solar cell manufacture. The Eclipse platform is a very high throughput complete metallization solution for commercial solar cell production.

Challenge

Given the growing importance of solar as an alternative energy source, manufacturers around the world are facing a demand to supply silicon solar cells in abundance. They need to maximise utilisation, yield and productivity whilst also achieving a low total cost of ownership. Additionally, as market demand continues to fluctuate, manufacturers need to be available to scale production as necessary. New processes that reduce shadowing of the cell surface boost cell efficiency, and these demand special applications capability and absolute print precision. Eclipse helps to address each of these challenges.

Problem Solved

Fully modular & configurable metallization line allow manufacturers to scale production from 1200 to 3600 wafers per hour, as demand dictates Parallel print head processing options maximise productive uptime  Integrated vision inspection for ultimate process and quality control  Fast yet sensitive handling; high speed, zero edge contact for negligible breakage rates  Multiple conveying, flipping, buffering & stacking options  Superior positional accuracy for high yield precision  Industry-leading repeatability for Print on Print applications; capability (PoP) - +/- 12.5 microns at 2 Cpk  Selective Emitter Accuracy - +/- 12.5 microns at 2 Cpk  Multi-language intuitive GUI control  industry-leading delivery times backed up by worldwide service teams and 24/7 spare parts availability

Noteworthy

Eclipses primary advantage lies in an unprecedented and highly flexible modular design concept. Featuring a series of field-retrofittable process modules, Eclipse enables manufacturers to easily scale production to 1200, 2400 or 3600 wph as demand dictates. Furthermore, for manufacturers who foresee a production ramp, the metallization line can be designed accordingly, by inserting spacer process modules equipped with conveyors where future production modules will be added in. When production demands an increased throughput capability, these spacers can simply be swapped out for additional functional capacity. The primary process modules, including the print head and unloader, incorporate full control systems and are designated as master units. Additional field retrofittable process expansion modules operate as secondary slaves, hooking up to the master control units in the primary modules. By eliminating the cost of additional control units, the scaling process is simple, fast and cost effective. With the Eclipse platform, manufacturers can plan an easy, non-disruptive, cost-effective scale up and future proofed path.

In Detail

Deploying patented multiple print heads operating in parallel for its high throughput configurations, Eclipse maximises productivity; if one head halts for operator attention the others continue to print, boosting operational efficiency and dramatically reducing downtime. Eclipse features a series of field-retrofittable process modules that allow manufacturers to scale production from 1200 to 2400 or 3600 wafers per hour, as demand dictates. In its smallest configuration, the Eclipse 1200, a single print head operates at six-sigma accuracies, delivering handling and process functionality that maximises yields at throughputs of 1200 wph. Scaling up to 2400 or 3600 wph, the user simply deploys additional print head and loader modules. Here, Eclipse extends the end-of-line productivity benefit beyond higher throughput multiple print heads operate independently in parallel to all but eliminate downtime. If one printer halts for attention, the others continue to print. With the Eclipse platform, manufacturers can plan an easy, nondisruptive and cost-effective scale-up path. An Eclipse line can be configured with spacer modules for future capacity. Spacer modules feature conveyors, and are simply replaced on-site with slave printer and loader modules that link to the existing master modules, boosting throughput capability and eliminating changes to factory plant and utility supplies. On the production floor, resolute productivity is the target for the Eclipse platform. The intrinsic repeatability that comes from ±12.5 micron accuracy and 2 Cpk capability is vital to confidently process finer lines and print twice or more with absolute repeatability to create higher aspect ratio conductors. To safeguard the high yields manufacturers expect, Eclipse features a pioneering perforated belted platen that cuts breakage to less than 0.2%, even with wafers of 120 microns (well below the industry norm). Wafers are transported to the print area and anchored using vacuum hold-down. The belt also self-cleans, using dynamic contamination control to remove particulates and present a clean surface. To fully exploit the platforms accuracy, twin cameras precisely align wafers using edge detection for standard printing or fiducials for intricate processes like print-on- print. Coupled with print speeds up to 600mm per second and innovative zero-edge contact handling, Eclipse guarantees exceptional output. Such productivity, modularity and field-scalability backed by worldwide service teams and 24/7 spare parts availability  make the Eclipse platform the ideal choice for manufacturers chasing demanding production targets today and into the future.

Innovation

Perhaps the most compelling aspect of Eclipse is the fact that it has been designed with change very much in mind. Todays manufacturers know that their future success lies in being ready to embrace and run with changing circumstances, be they new market demands, technologies, customer locations, government policy or any of the myriad factors that impact the solar industry. Recognising this, DEK Solar has developed a solution that can be reconfigured on an ongoing basis according to budgetary and production needs. After all, why should a manufacturer invest in equipment before it is really necessary? This unique approach to manufacturing configurability satisfies the demands of even the most progressive solar cell manufacturers, allowing them to protect their initial investments into the future, no matter how unclear that future may be, and enabling them to build their capabilities as their needs grow, with a selection of capabilities that make Eclipse quite simply the most versatile, best-designed metallisation solution for the solar industry today.

When Introduced

The Eclipse platform was introduced at EU PVSEC in September 2010

Customer Benefits

Customers benefit from DEKs process knowledge and applications expertise, which has been gathered over more than 40 years. Eclipse adds value by maximising utilisation, yield and productivity. DEKs global infrastructure, built expressly to support DEKs print platforms and process products in every market sector and any part of the world, gives customers confidence that support and parts are available whenever they need it.


Edwards Vacuum, Ltd
STP-iXA 2206/iXA3306 Family of MagLevTurbomolecular Pumps

Description

The STP-iXA2206/iXA3306 are a family of fully-integrated magnetically-levitated turbomolecular vacuum pumps developed for CIGS solar, glass coating, semiconductor and LCD applications. The iXA 3306 offers an industry-leading pumping performance of 3200 liters per second and improved throughput at high gas flows. The STP-iXA2206 offers a pumping performance of up to 2200 liters per second. These mag-levturbopumps have a small footprint and are easy to install. They feature an integrated onboard controller that eliminates the need for control rack unit mounting and a connection cable between the pump and the control unit, saving installation time, space and cost. Their compact design and size compatibility with previous models simplifies upgrades from existing pumps.

Challenge

They specifically address the risk to aluminium pump parts posed by the use of gallium and selenium in CIGS manufacturing operations. These two elements readily diffuse into aluminium, reducing its strength. In the case of rapidly spinning pump rotors, this can lead to catastrophic failure. Critical aluminium parts in this family of pumps are coated with nickel which protects against damage. In addition, they offer a hot running option that reduces the risk of undesirable deposition on pump surfaces.

Problem Solved

The STP-iXA2206/iXA3206 address this problem by coating critical aluminum pump parts with nickel, which protects against gallium and selenium diffusion, and with their hot running option. This option, which permits operation at precisely controlled elevated temperatures, without degrading pumping capability, has been shown to extend pump lifetimes by two times or more, depending on the gas being pumped.

Noteworthy

They are fully integrated mag-lev TMP pumps that deliver best-in-class performance in an easy-to-install pump with a small footprint that can provide a pumping solution to all application tools. They have integrated controllers that allow the tool manufacturer to save valuable rack space, while eliminating cumbersome cable runs. They have been optimized for CIGS manufacturing applications.

Product In Detail

Magnetically levitated turbomolecular pumps use a proven vacuum-pumping technology that is already in wide use in the semiconductor and flat panel industries. This type of vacuum pump employs a multi-axis magnetic bearing system to suspend the rotor during operation, requiring no lubrication eliminating any risk of contamination, while also minimizing friction, vibration, noise and maintenance requirements. Pump noise and vibration increase the cost and complexity of the vacuum system by requiring the pump to be installed farther from the process tool. Excessive noise is also a hazard to personnel. Mag-lev TMPs offer longer maintenance intervals than ball-bearing turbo pumps, while providing a cleaner vacuum environment than diffusion pumps. They also deliver extended operating lifetimes. Edward�siXA TMPs, for example, have a mean time between failures greater than 9.5 years. Their ability to rapidly evacuate the process chamber to the desired level of vacuum also helps reduce process time. Unlike ball bearing pumps, mag-lev TMPs can be installed in any configuration, including inverted mounting. This provides greater installation ease and flexibility, as well as helping to save valuable factory real estate. Advance mag lev TMPs incorporate built-in diagnostic capabilities that provide real-time information regarding pump health and rotor balance, preventing unforeseen maintenance problems, thereby increasing process tool uptime. They also integrate the controller and power supply, reducing space requirements and eliminating awkward cable runs. Mag-lev TMPs are very energy efficient, consuming only 230 W at a pumping speed of 3,000 slm. A diffusion pump uses 5,000 W at the same speed. Given the geographic location of many solar manufacturing operations, pumps should be designed to handle humid, dusty conditions. The International Protection Rating, defined in international standard IEC 60529, classifies the degree of protection provided against the intrusion of solid objects, dust, accidental contact and water in electrical enclosures. Pumps rated IP54 are certified to offer protection against dust (IP5) and against water spray (IP4). Such pumps can be safely used in humid and dusty environments and help reduce air conditioning requirements within the fab.

Innovation

The combination of high technology features, IP54 rating, and materials compatibility combined into a single package is special in itself, but when coupled with superior flow capability, the STP-iXA2206/3306 series of pumps provides significant advantages to users.

When Introduced

Dec. 1, 2010

Customer Benefits

The nickel coating on critical pump parts, combined with the hot running option can double the operating lifetime of the pump. They also offer best-in-class pumping performance, a superior vacuum environment, and extended maintenance intervals, all of which help reduce manufacturing costs. At the same time, these pumps are easy to install, in a variety of configurations, and have a small footprint, thereby helping to save valuable fab real estate, as well as installation costs.

Click here to download product information (.DOC)


GP Solar GmbH
GP ISO-TEST .Waf

Description

The GP ISO-TEST .Waf is a compact tool for testing the isolation resistance between front side and rear side of diffused wafers after wet chemical edge isolation. The testing tool is a successor of GP Solars existing measuring tool GP ISO-TEST .Waf. In addition to a completely new design, the measuring tool offers numerous updates in technology and handling. The system is an ad-line tool for fast process control and optimization of wet chemical edge isolation process. It is specially recognized in semi-automated production lines with easy option to sample wafer and test during process run.

Challenge

The p/n junction for light-generated charge carriers is usually created by diffusion of phosophor. During the process an unwanted emitter is created on the back of the cell which if not separated from the front could cause a short circuit. For etch isolation, plasma etching as well as wet chemical etching is applied directly after diffusion. The most problematic topic is secure contacting of the wafer to measure isolation quality. The GP ISO-TEST .Waf is specially designed for testing edge isolation directly after the wet chemical or plasma-based process to improve the stability of the isolation process and increase the yield.

Problem Solved

The tool features two plates made of synthetic material with leveled metallic contact tips for monitoring the edge isolation directly after diffusion with the top contacts integrated into the swinging closing lids. The special design of the contacting unit achieves almost zero breaking losses. A proprietary electronic control box was designed for measuring by adjusted, constant current. Up to 4 different currents can be applied to the tips and the edge resistance for all four edges can be measured and displayed separately and interconnected in parallel.

Noteworthy

There is no product in the market which may be compared to GP ISO-TEST .Waf. It tests edge isolation by wet chemical etching reliably. The soft- and hardware design allows detailed classification settings for process engineers and very easy operation procedures. Therefore it is a reliable easy-to-use tool for operators in PV production. The GP ISO-TEST .Waf may be used inline as well as separately. 

Product In Detail

The GP ISO-TEST .Waf is a reliable contacting tool for testing the wafer edge isolation resistance between front side and rear side of diffused wafers after wet chemical edge isolation. Spring loaded contact pins which are recessed in suspended plates contact the wafer from top to bottom directly after diffusion. The top contacting pins are integrated into the swinging closing lids. Measurement electronics, control buttons and the graphical display are integrated in the unit. All functions are configurable in a guided setup mode. For testing the isolation resistance, the wafers are placed into the GP ISO-TEST .Waf in a position defined by mechanical position bars. The measurement starts automatically when the contact tips contact the wafer surface after closing the flexible lid. A constant current is applied to the tips and the edge resistance may be measured simultaneously or parallel for all edges. The results are displayed instantaneously. By configuring limited measuring values the sample classification based on the defined limits can be indicated with colored LED and acoustical signal.

Innovation

The GP measuring tool is the first and only inspection system on the market to measure the edge isolation process by wet chemical etching. The GP ISO-TEST .Waf is unique and captivates with its design and the ease of handling. The measuring tool delivers reliable process monitoring result and increases production efficiency.

When Introduced

The predecessor was introduced in 2002. The successor GP ISO-TEST .Waf entered the market in February 2011.

Customer Benefits

The customers benefit from reliable results, easy handling and improved wafer quality.


PV Process Improvement Award


EVA extrusion line

Description

Extrusion system for manufacturing EVA encapsulant

Product Challenge

The production of EVA on conventional extrusion systems which are using calendars the production speed is limited because the EVA film is very sensitive to get tension included. This tension leads to a strong shrinkage after heat up the film again during the laminating process. Conventional extrusion systems are using annealing ovens to eliminate the shrinkage. The Breyer "process unit" allows a higher speed compared to a calendar production by keeping the tension resp the shrinkage much lower. No annealing devices are necessary. Due to a special surface of the EVA film no interlayer or carrier paper is necessary. In this way the new process safes space, resources and energy.

Problem Solved

In the downstream process the way of cooling in the especially developed process unit avoids the later shrinkage. By special screw and flat die design the material will be molten very carefully.

Product in Detail

Extrusion of 300 - 600 kg/h, using filtering systems and meltpump for a low temperature production.Carefully cool down of the melt when applying to the cooling surface. This in general allows a low tension resp low shrinkage extrusion.

Innovation

No calendar, no annealing, no interlayer, no carrier layer is necessary.

When Introduced

End of 2009

Customer Benefits

Customer can produce an encapsulation film with higher quality. Means the film has lower shrinkage, does not need interlayer film or carrier paper. The system consumes lower energy as regular extrusion systems because no annealing is necessary

Click here to download product information (PDF)


Crosslight
APSYS TCAD modelling tool

Description

APSYS is a TCAD modelling tool designed for the semiconductor industry. It includes many advanced models and can provide accurate predictions of semiconductor device behaviour. This can be used to optimize device design and test new ideas while avoiding the expenses of experimental trial-and-error.

Challenge

In multi-junction III-V concentrator solar cells, it is important to match the current of all the sub-cells to reach maximum efficiency. This can depend on a number of factors including the layer thicknesses, material quality, doping profiles, incoming light spectrum, etc...

Problem Solved

APSYS can include all important effects in the model and predict the I-V curve, EQE spectrum and internal temperature and current flow of the device. It can help a cell designer optimize their design and investigate the causes of device failures.

Noteworthy

APSYS has very reliable interband tunnelling models with numerical convergence and physical accuracy that are superior to that of our competitors. APSYS is also capable of 3D modeling and is the only TCAD solver that can boast of hardware GPU acceleration to speed up computations of large problems.

In Detail

APSYS is based on a finite element solution of the Poisson and drift-diffusion equations. It includes a number of important physical models including but not limited to: trap (SRH), radiative and Auger recombination mechanisms, interband and intraband quantum tunnelling. It also includes quantum mechanical solvers for quantum wells and quantum dots Optical modelling is done using a plane wave transfer matrix method for layered structure and finite-difference time-domain (FDTD) for textured surfaces.

Innovation

APSYS is known for its very efficient mesh allocation mechanisms and its sturdy numerical convergence under a variety of bias conditions.

When Introduced

APSYS was introduced around 1995. However, the numerical models needed to model III-V multi-junction concentrator cells were introduced in 2006.

Customer Benefits

Customers benefit from being able to optimize their device designs without having to pay for numerous wafer growths to iteratively improve the design using experiments. It can also help investigate the causes of device failures or explain various phenomenons that might not be apparent in simpler analytical models.

Click here to download product information (PDF)


Vincent Industrie & Appollon Solar
New Industrial Cells Encapsulation (NICE)

New Industrial Cells Encapsulation (NICE) process represents an innovative and alternative to the module encapsulation.

The key elements of this technology, compared to the state-of-the-art EVA based lamination technology for the manufacturing of PV modules, are:

  • Implementation of an air and humidity tight sealing technology with an organic material derived from the family of poly-isobutylene, that is deposited in form of a narrow ribbon around the perimeter of the module’s supporting sheets (glass/glass, or glass/metal), creating a strong adhesive contact between these two sheets.
  • Solder free, low resistivity serial interconnection of the cells by creating an under pressure within the sealed-off space between the two supporting sheets of the module, which establishes a pressure contact between metal interconnectors and the conducting paths of the solar cells.
  • Suppression of EVA lamination : inert gas inside the module to avoid cells and connectors' corrosion


The major advantages of this technology are following :

  • 30% direct cost reduction of module manufacturing
  • 100% automation, cycle time reduction per module from > 10 to 2 minutes
  • New sealing process and material for improved humidity tightness
  • Better long term module performance stability than EVA lamination
  • Full recyclable modules

The Nice Module production line is designed to produce double glass and glass/metal modules up to 6x10 cells with front and back contracts or or with back contacts only, as well as thin modules.


Meier Solar Solutions GmbH
STACOLAM

Description

The STACOLAM is a highly efficient encapsulation system for solar modules and PV equipment. This Meier Solar Solutions innovation is a 10-level stack laminator for thin-film and crystalline processes that replaces more than four conventional laminators.

Challenge

Solar module material is extremely sensitive. However, laminating the modules can ensure a longer service life. The aim is to protect them from the negative effects of weather.

Problem solved

The laminator encapsulates and laminates the sensitive material of the modules, thereby providing long-term protection of the solar modules from the negative effects of weather.

Noteworthy

The new STACOLAM stack laminator is the most effective laminator worldwide, capable of laminating 1.1 million modules in a single year.

In detail.

The STACOLAM is a highly efficient encapsulation system for solar modules and PV equipment. This Meier Solar Solutions innovation is a 10-level stack laminator for thin-film and crystalline processes that replaces more than four conventional laminators. The STACOLAM stack laminator represents the latest generation in laminating and encapsulating technology and is justifiably considered to be a stepping stone to the future. With up to ten levels, the STACOLAM can achieve a capacity of 250 MW per year, making it the most effective laminator worldwide. The STACOLAM can simultaneously laminate a total of 40 modules per cycle with just about the same space requirements as a conventional laminator. The STACOLAM boasts a yearly capacity of 1.1 million modules.

Countless technical features make the STACOLAM, which is available in a range of sizes, unique throughout the industry. An easy-to-remove membrane frame and cutting-edge heating plate technology mean the STACOLAM is extremely simple to service, saving time and money. A servo motor ensures high-precision positioning of the solar modules. STACOLAM also boasts an extremely fast transport rate (max. 25 m/min.). An active pneumatic pin hub at every level ensures the required laminating process reliability. Thanks to technical improvements, the STACOLAM provides our customers with immense advantages in terms of space, speed and encapsulating capacity. Furthermore, it improves environmental and working conditions for our partners and clients over the long term.

Introduced to market

The first STACOLAM was launched onto the market in 2007.

Customers benefit

The new STACOLAM provides our customers with immense advantages in terms of space, speed and encapsulating capacity, whilst improving environmental and working conditions for our partners and clients.


Rehm Thermal Oxidiser

Description

A new thermal oxidation process from Rehm Thermal Systems has eliminated the challenge of residue contamination from photovoltaic metallization. In order to minimise maintenance and provide a cleaner process chamber, Rehm has created the Thermal Oxidiser to enhance the performance of its RDS Drying Systems. Thermal oxidation is a process during which the volatile organic constituents and the hydrocarbons (VOCs) in the metallization pastes react with oxygen, and are decomposed. The goal is to burn the long-chain molecules in the vapour or smoke and transform them into readily volatile, non-condensable substances. These are then easily discharged from the system, to significantly reduce the potential of condensation and in turn, minimise system maintenance. Due to the arrangement of the heater and the granulate pack in Rehm�s RDS Drying Systems results in a very compact, thermal reactor which requires little additional energy to reduce energy consumption even further. Rehm�s thermal oxidation process involves heating the gas to a temperature greater than 500°C. The molecules crack at these high temperatures and combine with atmospheric oxygen which is present within the system. In order to oxidise hydrocarbons in an energy-efficient manner at low reaction temperatures of approximately 500°C, catalyzers are installed downstream from the heating chamber. This results in a thermal reactor which is dimensioned for solar dryers such that a gas exchanger of greater than 40-fold assures reliable removal of the vapour or smoke which occurs in the process chamber.

Challenge

During the 200°C to 350°C curing process involved in metallization, significant quantities of vapour and smoke are produced which must be reliably exhausted from the process chamber in order to avoid contamination and yield loss. However, since there is a wide variation in paste compositions associated with solar metallization, it is not always possible to customise a suitably effective filter or condenser to manage the released vapour or smoke.

Problem Solved

The introduction of Rehms Thermal Oxidiser uses an innovative thermal oxidation process to reduce emissions from solar dryers and firing systems during the metallization of crystalline solar cells. With the Thermal Oxidiser, emissions remain well below the statutory limitations for emissions of pollutants  e.g. TA-Luft, Germanys Clean Air Act. The collection efficiency reaches 99.5%, making a significant contribution to lower maintenance costs for solar dryers and firing systems.

Noteworthy

In general, thermal oxidation systems can be used for almost all organic pollutants and are thus a very good alternative to condensate discharges. The main advantage over the condensate separation is significantly reduced maintenance costs of solar dryers and firing systems.

In Detail

The composition of pastes for the metallisation of solar cells can be highly varied. This does not concern the actual metal content (silver or aluminium powder) but the other additives that are key to the printing properties of the paste and the baking and sintering characteristics. The proportion of these substances can be up to about 25 % by weight, of which the largest share is the organic medium in which the solids (metal powders, metal oxides, inorganic binders such as glass frit) are dispersed. Typically, after being printed onto the solar cell, the paste is dried at temperatures from 200 to 350 °C and, in a subsequent firing process, baked into the solar cell at temperatures of 800 to 1000 °C. During drying and firing of the pastes, fumes and smoke are generated. These must be safely extracted from the process chamber to avoid contamination of the system as far as possible. The fumes/smoke arise from the volatile components of the organic medium, which can consist of various organic liquids that typically also contain thickeners and stabilisers. The operator of a conveyor dryer does not usually know the exact composition of the metallisation paste used and its volatile constituents. Therefore, a filter/collection unit for the vapours/fumes cannot be custom-made, but must be designed for a broad range of deposition of various ingredients. At the same time, it need be expected that after passing through the filter/collection unit, the emissions will fall substantially below the limitations set by legislation. Very often, so-called condensate separators are used in this process. On the one hand, the collection efficiency is limited, and on the other hand, the mandatory disposal of the accumulated condensates is expensive. For these reasons, Rehm has taken the known method of thermal oxidation for solar systems and implemented it in an innovative way. The thermal oxidation is a process that takes the volatile organic components and hydrocarbons from the metallisation paste and binds them with oxygen, essentially breaking them down into water vapour and carbon dioxide. The goal is to burn the long-chain molecules in the vapours/fumes and convert them into easily volatile substances that condense only with difficulty. These can then be easily removed from the system, which thus drastically reduces the potential for condensation within the drying system. The thermal oxidation is initiated by the heat of the exhaust gas at a temperature >750 °C. At the high temperatures the molecules break down and bind to the available oxygen in the system. To achieve these high temperatures, Rehm deploys strictly electrical heating systems; the use of open flames is deliberately avoided. The risk of NOx gases forming is thus ruled out as far as possible. With thermal oxidation, emissions are well below the legal limits set for emissions (e.g. Germanys Clean Air Act). Good separation behaviour was achieved not only for volatile organic hydrocarbons (VOCs), but also for the particulate distribution. A clean gas value of particles below 0.2 microns was gravimetrically determined by ILK (the Institute of Air Handling and Refrigeration in Dresden) to be about 2 mg/m³. The oxidiser also copes well with different concentrations, as other measurements by ILK document. At five times the concentration of the model pollutant toluene, the collection efficiency remained > 99.5 %. The oxidiser contributes significantly to minimising the condensation potential, thus significantly reducing the cost of maintenance for dryer systems. As no more condensate can be formed on the clean gas side, the main extraction system of the fabrication plant remains visibly cleaner. A highly positive side effect is the markedly lower odour of solar dryers with an integrated oxidiser.

Innovation

In general, thermal oxidation systems can be used for almost all organic pollutants and are thus a very good alternative to condensate discharges. The main advantage over the condensate separation is significantly reduced maintenance costs of solar dryers and firing systems.

When Introduced

Operating since January 2011.

Customer Benefits

The main advantages of thermal oxidation are:  Reduction in maintenance costs, no disposal of condensate  Secure compliance with the legal requirements for emissions  Universally applicable for various metallisation pastes  Proven, broadband method Robust systems engineering  Low energy consumption, low operating costs  Decreased odour of solar dryers

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Soldering Table

Description

The soldering table is a stand-alone soldering station for solar cells (identical soldering station as the Somont stringers) for material testing and qualification under production conditions. The station is compact and cost-efficient. New materials (cells, ribbons, flux) can be tested and verified much faster. This leads to a drastic time and cost reduction for the development process which would be normally carried out on the production machines.

Challenge

Until now the R&D departments have been faced with following issue: If there has been f.i. a new cell development, this new cell has to be tested for solderability on the stringer. But the production has the target to produce a certain amount of modules/day. Consequently it is difficult for the R&D to get valuable production time on a stringer for testing new materials (cells, ribbons, flux...)

Problem Solved

The soldering station is a cost and space-saving solution for every laboratory /development department. The station delivers excellent quality soldering results with high peeling forces. New developments (cells, ribbons, pastes, flux) can be tested more intense and without any time pressure on the soldering table and verified much faster afterwards on the stringer. This leads to a drastic cost reduction.

Noteworthy

The soldering table is a compact, cost-efficient tool, which can be set up in every laboratory/development department. We have not found a similar product on the market.

Product In Detail

The soldering table is a self-contained soldering station for solar cells at which materials can be tested under conditions similar to those of actual production, since the soldering unit is identical to those on Somont stringers. Thanks to its compact size and economical price, the new equipment is suitable for use in any laboratory or development unit. Newly developed technology and/or materials can be tested and subsequently verified on the stringer much more quickly than was previously possible. This results in drastically reducing the time and costs in terms of the equipment and production capacity required for development processes. Until now, for example, development departments were always faced with the problem that the solderability of new solar cells for the market had to be tested directly on the stringer in the companys production line. This meant that valuable production time was lost for testing purposes. The new soldering table allows fast, and cost-effective verification of new developments (solar cells, ribbons, flux, pastes etc.) without having to interrupt production. There will no longer be a conflict of interest between development and production departments, and large numbers of materials will be able to be tested without any time pressure.

Innovation

The soldering table is the ideal tool for various target customers: For module, cell, ribbon, flux, paste manufacturers as well as institutes and laboratories. Until now most of the above mentioned target customers have tested/soldered their new developed materials manually or as mentioned under point 1 on a stringer which is very expensive and difficult to get the testing time of the production. To draw conclusions from manual soldering/testing for later automated stringer production is therefore difficult. With the soldering table the customer receive high quality and reproducible soldering results with excellent peeling forces due to Somont Soft Touch Soldering. Testing phases can be done more cost effective (no more valuabe production time on the stringer is necessary anymore). Consequently testing phases can be done more intense without any time pressure. It is time saving as the customer does not need to wait to get a stringer in the production for his testing periods. Thus new developments can be introduced on the market faster.

Customer Benefits

The customer benefits are: - Cost effective - no loss of valuable production time / output - High quality and reproducible soldering results with excellent peeling forces due to Somont Soft Touch Soldering - Recipe pre-qualification and simulation - all stringer recipes can be pre-tested --> faster material validations are possible - Time saving for the R&D department - no more conflict of interests between R&D and production, no more waiting to get a stringer for testing new materials --> new developments can be introduced much faster on the market than in the past - Flexible - a variety of different materials can be tested without any time pressure, test phases can be done more intense - Easy to handle due to intuitive HMI (same as on Somont stringers) to set up parameters - Space saving - can be set up in any laboratory or development department - Fast reaction time to material changes - innovations on the market can be introduced and tested immediately

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PV Balance of System


HaoSolar
Solar Tracking System

Description

HaoSolar was the single source provider of Solar Trackers for this project. CGNPC/Enfinity provided the complete solar solution to the National Energy Adminstration in the winning bid, which utilized all solar tracking technology from HaoSolar. The National Energy Administrations focus was to deliver the FIT Tariff standard that would be used to provide guidelines for future solar subsidies in China. From a technology standpoint, there was no uniform technology that would enable dual use of solar technology. The technological issues stemmed from either being able to facilitate optical or time tracking, but not both. This becomes an issue as Hybrid technology is necessary so that when solar energy is blocked because of environmental issues such as cloud coverage, snow or other elements, it becomes important to enable optical tracking. Tracking technology allows for 40% greater output with solar. So when energy consumption is encumbered, it has a dramatic effect on the overall output. There are many constraints as to why optical and timing technology cannot be integrated starting with the integration between Oracle Middleware and Java.

Challenge

CGNPC/Enfinity is a central corporation under the leadership of the SASAC with nuclear power as its core business. It is the only clean energy corporation in China which centers its business on solar power. HaoSolar developed the Hybrid solar tracking system, which resulted in Chinas largest and first Photovotaic power station. This is the largest solar tracking system to have ever been implemented in Asia. The challenge addressed was the National Energy Administration embarked on establishing the FIT Tariff for PR China.

Problem Solved

HaoSolars Hybrid tracking technology has allowed for 70% greater throughput of clean energy in Solar investments. This project was the largest clean energy project in Asia from a solar perspective and the only project to use Hybrid technology. By being able to shift from carbon emission production to solar energy production, the benefit is net gain of cleaner environment both for the current and future generation. HaoSolars integration and technological development of the optical and time tracking system will allow greater reliance on solar technology in the future because of the associated return on investment.

Noteworthy

The SETT project was the catalyst for solar growth in not just Dunghaung, but for greater P.R. China. This project is the largest solar project in the country as well as the APAC region. By showing that both the project is doable but also that it is financially viable, it opens the doors for future clean energy projects of similar magnitude. HaoSolar was instrumental in both the design and implementation of the project. By integrating optical and timing technology, which have not been integrated until now, there is a much greater business case to be made for solar technology and tracking. HaoSolars research and design of the Hybrid tracker was the tip of the spear that drove this project. HaoSolar is the only tracking company to build and implement this solution to the market.

Product In Detail

The Solar Environmental Technology Transformation Project (SETT) benefited current and future clean energy production at a macro level, and also from a micro level at a country perspective. The innovations and product design are ground breaking for both what the are and what they accomplished. At a macro level, China has an extensive carbon footprint that has grown significantly in the last decade. The Netherlands Environmental Assessment Agency noted that China had 9% growth in emissions and has overtaken the US as the world's greatest greenhouse gas polluter. At a macro level from a global perspective, clean energy has the greatest impact starting with China. Solar energy is one of the primary channels to reduce emissions. HaoSolars Hybrid tracking technology has allowed for 70% greater throughput of clean energy in Solar investments. This project was the largest clean energy project in Asia from a solar perspective and the only project to use Hybrid technology. By being able to shift from carbon emission production to solar energy production, the benefit is net gain of cleaner environment both for the current and future generation. HaoSolars integration and technological development of the optical and time tracking system will allow greater reliance on solar technology in the future because of the associated return on investment. In addition, this project provided the overall FIT Tariff standard that would be used to provide guidelines for future solar subsidies in China. Solar Environmental Technology Transformation Project provided the baseline that will be used in all solar projects in China for the next 25 years. At a micro level, HaoSolar has had a direct impact on the Dunhuang region of China. There is a greater reliance on solar technology in this region because of the sparse and rural nature of the population. By implementing solar tracking, large parts of the region have access to clean energy that would have been previously un-serviced. Also, with the Solar Environmental Technology Transformation Project, investors in the Dunghaung region are now incentivized by the province to invest in solar technology. Before the project, the incentive did not exist. This is seen to be a catalyst for future solar projects both in the short-term and long-term.

Innovation

The other element is the proprietary Siemens PLC software which does not natively have PIPS or AIAs into the other platforms. Technology Solution: One of the major business drivers for this project was related to a limited architecture that did not support CGNPC/Enfinitys future growth. Implementation of SOA provided the scalable foundation required to create and maintain improved product master data without impacting the current solar architecture. Flexible and Scalable Architecture  Implementation of Oracle SOA provided CGNPC/Enfinity with the option of integrating most of their spoke systems with the PDH (SOR) in real-time, enabling the organization to execute transactions at a faster pace. This ability to execute environmental transactions allowed for quick response on the Hybrid technology that was implemented. Energy Quality  Improved the solar output rate to 74% for all newly-created Hybrid Tracking Systems by using a business-driven rules engine. Prior to go live, SKU data was inaccurate and as a result, many downstream systems, processes and customer-satisfaction issues were present. With the Siemens PLC integration, timing and optical integration, solar output and tracking were increased dramatically. The Hybrid system also allowed for an override of the timing element so that all external factors ranging from snow and wind to the cloud halo effect would be optimized. Efficiency  Activities related to managing the new Hybrid system was also minimized as all manual processes of checking and validating solar tracking positioning were now not necessary.

When Introduced

The product was introduced to market in July 2011

Customer Benefits

This project benefits society in 2 ways. The first it increases overall clean energy output, thereby reducing reliance on carbon producing energy. The second is that with the Hybrid technology in this project, it provides greater incentives and ROI so that clean energy will be financially viable for future investors.


SMA Solar Technology AG
SUNNY BOY 3000TL / 4000TL / 5000TL

Description

Communicative, user-friendly and efficient - this Sunny Boy sets standards in its class. A modern graphic display, simplified installation, delivery of daily yield values even after sunset and wireless communication via Bluetoothfulfill almost any wish. With the new OptiTrac Global Peak shade management and an optimum efficiency of 97 %, the inverters ensure optimum solar yield. As transformerless, multi-string device, the Sunny Boy provides maximum flexibility, and is the first choice for demanding PV array designs

High yields

  • Maximum efficiency of 97 %
  • Multi-string technology*
  • Transformerless, with H5 topology
  • Shade management with OptiTrac Global Peak

Reliable

  • Integrated ESS DC switch-disconnector

Informative

  • Simple country configuration
  • Bluetooth technology as standard
  • Graphic display
  • Multi-function relay included

Simple

  • Easily accessible connection area
  • Cable connection without tools
  • SUNCLIX DC plug-in system

Zep Solar
Zep Groove

Description

Zep Solar is accelerating the adoption of solar energy by trimming bulk and cost from the equation  making it easier to design, ship, warehouse and install PV systems. At the heart of its product suite is its innovative framing design, called the Zep Groove. This T-shaped groove is manufactured directly into the modules frame and enables ZepSolars interlocking line of PV installation hardware to quickly mate with the module of a roof or a ground-mounted system. This module-integrated mounting solution eliminates the need for conventional mounting rails and separate grounding hardware, streamlining the installation process and bringing down the total system cost. Aiming to establish the Zep Groove as a ubiquitous industry standard, Zep Solar currently licenses its framing design to leading PV module manufacturers worldwide, including Canadian Solar, Centrosolar, Eco-Kinetics, ET Solar, Trina Solar and Upsolar. The company has three products on the market targeting tiled, sloped and flat roof applications  and is developing additional products to meet the needs of the growing solar industry. Key parts of ZepSolars offering, aside from the Zep Groove frame, include the interlocks to string together and automatically ground the panels, wire clips for anchoring the cable wires, and an array skirt that gives the front and public-facing part of the system a more polished look. Together, the Zep Systems drastically reduce the materials count, the time needed to install PV arrays and most importantly, cost.

Challenge

Accounting for one-third or more of the cost of a residential or commercial rooftop system, reducing the costs associated with the installation process is critical to bringing solar costs down and stimulating demand. Currently, there are far too many materials, such as heavy aluminium rails used to mount a system, and considerable labour, time and logistics dedicated to those materials. While mounting equipment and other system components have traditionally taken the backseat to cell design or efficiency concerns, module manufacturers and installers are increasingly looking to streamline and standardize the installation process to bring down total system cost.

Problem Solved

Each solar module has a frame that resembles the traditional aluminium railing used to mount them. Utilizing the frames intrinsic strength and structure, Zep Solar created a module-integrated innovation that dramatically streamlines the installation process to lower the cost of solar. Collaborating with module manufacturers, Zep Solar is redesigning frames so they contain a Zep Groove, eliminating the necessity of a rail. While very simple in its implementation, this T-shaped groove has specialized properties that enable rapid coupling with ZepSolars hardware  reducing many of the tools and parts required to mount a system while simultaneously accomplishing structural and grounding connections.

Noteworthy

Currently, there are no standards for racking systems and components  leading to regionalized racking solutions that are ill equipped to be adopted at the global scale. In order to bring down the overall cost of solar systems, it is imperative that the industry adopts standards for PV installations. Licensing their novel Zep Groove frame design to major module manufacturers, Zep Solar is creating a cross-vendor standard approach that resembles the breakthrough of the USB port for electronics  a standard interface that is shared and agreed upon by all competitors that lays the foundation for further technology advances. As such, Zep Solar is establishing the first technology standard for PV installations  lowering costs and enhancing the value and flexibility of installations across the board.

Product In Detail

Until recently, the solar industry has been focused on driving down module prices while driving up efficiency. However, as these prices plummet, materials and labour have gradually crept up to over one third of the total system cost. Roughly 40 % of the labour in a project goes to setting up the mounting gear and wiring, accounting for 25 % of the total installation cost. Not only is there a growing urgency to control material costs and keep balance-of-system (BOS) from becoming the most expensive part of the PV system, but there is also the need to add value to the process  reducing the time needed to install an array. As such, the new focus for the industry has become BOS. With the solar industry focused on reducing the price of PV systems, ZepSolars solution meets market demand for more nimble, faster-to-install racking systems that cut costs. The inspiration for Zep Solar came from CTO and founder Jack West, a seasoned designer and installer of PV solar systems. Jack found that installations were very inefficient and required an alarming amount of materials, especially aluminum rails, to fix modules to a roof or ground-mounted structure. Jacks innovation was to redesign the frames so that they contain a T-shaped channel, called a Zep Groove, allowing the module to easily mate with ZepSolars hardware. Utilizing this compact and easy-to-use hardware, ZepSolars product suite eliminates the need for conventional mounting rails and separate grounding hardware. Beyond grounding improvements, eliminating rails gets the system most flush to the roof. Additionally, the Zep Groove enables the integration of other attachments, such as a cosmetic skirt  enabling a clean and attractive look. Currently, the company has three products on the market  Zep System I for tile roofs, Zep System II for slopped roofs and Zep System III for flat roofs  each featuring an ultra low parts count and enabling a five times faster installation on the roof. Across the board, the Zep Solar product suite can save 50 % in installation cost and up to 75 % in time and labour, which averages out to over $0.50/Watt for an installed system. Zep System I offers the fastest and least expensive way to install PV arrays for flush-mount tile roof applications. With its ability to optimize attachment point spacing, Zep System I can offer a 25 % reduction in roof attachment points  dramatically reducing the amount of time spent on the roof. Poised for significant market traction in Europe and the southwest United States, this product offers a cost-effective and streamlined alternative for this challenging application. An auto-grounded residential solution, Zep System II eliminates the need for rails and separate grounding hardware while offering a more aesthetic look. Zep System II is designed for flush-mount applications on a slopped roof, and has shown to reduce parts counts by up to 87 %. Designed for commercial and flat roof projects, Zep System III offers the same core features and benefits as the Zep System II. With far less complexity than conventional systems, Zep III delivers both labour and logistics savings for commercial PV projects and accelerates the installation process for commercial-scale systems. Zep System III eliminates the need for mounting rails, requires very few parts and simultaneously accomplishes structural and grounding connections.

Innovation

ZepSolars fundamental innovation is to identity that solar modules already contain a element that resembles an aluminum rail  the frame  demonstrating considerable stiffness, strength and structure that are sought in todays mounting structures. Zep Solar is the first company to re-architect the modules frame, introducing a design overhaul that addresses both materials and labour costs. Rather than replacing bolts with clip-together hardware, Zep Solar has held onto bolts and eliminated the rest of the big pieces  a move that seems to mock industry heavyweights. By building the mounting system into the modules frames, they fulfill the structural demands that would otherwise call for a heavy aluminium rail. As such, Zep Solar has created a simple, yet fundamental, platform change for solar modules frame design, allowing it to easily mate with hardware.

When Introduced

Zep Solar first introduced product to the market in October 2009.

Customer Benefits

For PV module manufacturers, carrying the Zep Groove banner offers very distinctive and differentiated brand while adding value to the module. Being Zep Compatible enables manufactures to pass down cost savings and logistics improvements to installers, developers and distributors and increase customer loyalty. Against the backdrop of increased competition between integrators, ZepSolars product suite offers installers a cost-effective point of differentiation that encourages business growth. By offering a module-integrated solution, featuring less heavy parts and tools, ZepSolars solution enables both streamlined installations and streamlined internal processes  reducing inventory headaches and costs. Also, with fewer heavy parts and less time on the roof, Zep Solar offers the industrys most safe and robust grounding solution. Finally, the elimination of heavy aluminum rails allows the installer to innovate on the roof and create a more flexible design. As such, the installer is able to offer the cost-competitive price while enhancing the systems quality and aesthetics.

Energy Usage Enabling Award


Duo 360 micro inverter

Description

The Enecsys Duo 360 micro inverter marks a breakthrough in solar PV inverter design. For the first time, it makes the cost of solar PV systems based on micro inverters comparable to those based on string inverters. This achievement builds upon other industry firsts by Enecsys since the introduction of the companys first micro inverter at Intersolar in June 2010: - the first commercially available micro inverter to match the 25-year service life of solar modules, an achievement made possible by the elimination of life-limiting components (electrolytic capacitors and opto-couplers) through an innovative, patented design - the first micro inverter to be commercially available in both North America and Europe - the first micro inverter without electrolytic capacitors to achieve UL 1741 certification - The only micro inverter to be recognized with an innovation award from the prestigious Cleantech Forum in Monaco Enecsys micro inverters mount on the rails behind solar modules and convert DC to AC from one solar module or, in the case of the Duo, from two modules. This eliminates the need for the string inverter used in conventional solar PV architectures. Advantages include: - up to 20% higher energy harvest over the life of the system, depending on the site and system configuration. - greatly enhanced system lifetime and reliability due to the removal of life-limiting components found in other inverters, including all string inverters - simplified PV array design and installation - greater safety because no dangerous high voltage DC is present, and smart monitoring, down to the level of individual modules

Product Challenge

To create a micro inverter that matches the service life and reliability of solar modules at a price that makes systems based on micro inverters cost-comparable with those based on traditional string inverters.

Problem Solved

The 25-year service life of Enecsys micro inverters has been achieved by a patented topology that removes life-limiting electrolytic capacitors. Capacitors store energy. Enecsys patented a way to reduce the required total capacitance by an order of magnitude. This enabled use of long-life plastic film capacitors, which have a service life four times longer than electrolytic types. Each Enecsys Duo accepts DC input from two modules, enabling maximum power point tracking for both. The Enecsys Duo therefore reduces hardware and installation costs compared with using one micro inverter per module.

Noteworthy

In addition to delivering all the benefits of micro inverter architectures at comparable cost to solar PV systems based on string inverters, Enecsys micro inverters are unique in maintaining full performance over an operating temperature range of -40 to +85 degrees C, reflecting the real-world operating conditions to which they are exposed. The reliability of Enecsys micro inverters has been verified using industry-standard test methods including HALT and HTOL. The inverters have also undergone thermal cycling to IEC61215, the same tests applied to solar PV modules.

In Detail

The inverter design created by Enecsys uses a two-stage configuration. The key innovation is that the bulk energy storage is re-located to a point between first and second stages, rather than at the input. Directly connected to the PV module is a voltage-amplification stage  which is in effect, a high-operating-frequency DC/DC converter, that steps up the module output to a much higher DC level  an average level of about 405V. Then, this DC link feeds a second stage called a Buck-CSI. This provides voltage step-down (because the DC link voltage is always above the mains AC peak level) and current shaping, driving a power transistor (MOSFET) to feed power out to the grid. The design massively reduces the value of storage capacitor it needs, in two ways. Firstly, it exploits the fundamental relationship that stored energy is proportional to the square of voltage. (E = CV2/2, where C is capacitance.) The higher voltage of the DC link means a much lower value for C, for the same available energy. In a further innovative step, Enecsys' engineers designed the Buck-CSI stage to be tolerant of a very high level of ripple on its input. In a conventional design, the bulk storage capacitor would be required to smooth the ripple to negligible levels to ensure correct operation of the output stage; this unique design can tolerate as much as 120V of ripple on the DC link.

Innovation

The outcome is a design in which the largest, bulk-capacitor needed, for an inverter rated at 240W output, is around 30 µF. This brings it within the scope of robust and reliable capacitor technologies that avoid all of the problems associated with electrolytic types. Enecsys has used polyester film capacitors. A custom capacitor was needed to achieve a low-profile for the assembled inverter of just 30mm  available space in the mounting area behind PV modules is very limited. As well as providing the necessary density in a small space, the polyester film type has the required ripple-current rating.

When Introduced

The Enecsys Duo was introduced to key partners in February 2011 and publicly announced at Ecobuild (London), March 1, 2011.

Customer Benefits

System users enjoy 5 to 20% reduction in the levelised cost of energy over the life of their solar PV systems, compared with conventional systems using string inverters. Installers benefit from simplified PV array design and installation. Modules don't have to be matched, there is maximum roof-space utilization, and modules can be mounted in multiple planes/orientations. No special DC isolation circuits are needed. The elimination of high voltage DC wiring also makes the system safer for end users, installers and, in the event of a building fire, for fire-fighters.

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APT44GA60BD30C

Description

The Microsemi new MOS 8 Process for High Performance, High Voltage Mosfets and IGBTs offer a wide range of solutions. In particular the APT44GA60xxxx IGBTs variants have been optimized for low frequency operation (10 KHz  30 KHz), where conduction loss dominates overall system losses. The MOS 8 PT IGBT portfolio already provides low conduction loss options at 2.0 V (600 VBR(CES)) and 2.5 V (900 VBR(CES)). Microsemi's ultra fast reverse recovery DQ diode is incorporated as an anti-parallel free wheeling diode. However, the new APT44GA60BD30C reduces the 600V designs to 1.5 V Vce(sat), the APT44GA60BC1 further reduces the 600V design to 1.05V Vce(sat) where switching frequency is lowest, further increasing efficiency of the inverter. In addition, these parts also- provides low cost, simple gate driver circuitry, Fast switching, Ultra fast recovery Combi diode for both hard switching and zero-voltage-switching (ZVS) topologies resulting in an efficient, easy to design part for photovoltaic power inverters

Challenge

This addresses the markets needs for ever higher photovoltaic inverter efficiency. With lower Vce(sat) and the various optimizations, these parts enable the capability to squeeze that little bit extra out of the inverter.

Problem Solved

The new APT44GA60BD30C and APT44GA60BC1 reduce the 600V designs to 1.5 V Vce(sat) and 1.05V Vce(sat) further increasing efficiency of the inverter. In addition, they provides low cost, simple gate driver circuitry, Fast switching, Ultra fast recovery Combi diode for hard switching or zero-voltage-switching (ZVS) topologies.

Noteworthy

We are the first and only company to enable 600V inverter designs with three variants of Vce (sat) vs frequency of a device with an optimized range with 2.0 V Vce(sat), 1.5 Vce(sat) and 1.05 V Vce(sat), further increasing the efficiency of the inverter, enabling further increases in overall system efficiency for 600V designs. Unlike competitive parts that waste energy by having sub-optimal Vce(sat) vs frequency trade-off the APT44GA60xxxx series tradeoffs are highly optimized, dissipating less power, requiring a smaller heatsink and increasing energy out. After all, efficiency is- the name of the game.

In Detail

We achieve all the capabilities mentioned above by having the highest packing density, deep JFET implant, lowest source and gate width pitch and the narrowest gate width. As a result, we can enable 600V inverter designs with optimized Vce(sat) further increasing the efficiency of the inverter, enabling further increases in overall system efficiency for 600V designs.

Innovation

We are the first and only company to enable 600V inverter designs with a range of 3 optimized Vce(sat) for different frequency solutions further increasing the efficiency of the inverter, enabling further increases in overall system efficiency for 600V designs. All this with excellent noise and oscillation immunity.

When Introduced

May 17, 2010.

Customer Benefits

In addition to the low Vce(sat)s, customers also get the added benefit of lower cost than the higher voltage competition, Simple gate driver circuitry, Fast switching, Ultra fast recovery Combi diode for either hard switched or zero-voltage-switching (ZVS) topologies, and the aforementioned low Vce (sat)s for lower losses, less generated heat, and hence, more power out instead of lost in the inverter

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Solar-Log with Easy Installation

Description

Solar-Log is a complete monitoring system that can work with most inverters available on the market. The system monitors the power production of a PV plant and gathers detailed status information from the inverters through the corresponding inverter protocols. Usually the configuration of monitoring systems requires IT know-how, since a monitoring system is also an IT product. By means of the inverter-independent Solar-Log system, the installer only has to learn one system to be able to provide a monitoring system for all customers, even those with different inverter installations. There usually still is, however, inverter specific configuration required on site via laptop. To make the local installation easier and to minimize the effort on site, Solar-Log introduced a so called Easy Installation process. This method makes the installation much easier by doing inverter detection and establishing internet connection to the Solar-Log portal automatically. On site, an installer needs only to connect the data logger to the inverter by data cable and connect the data logger to a router. Once these basic connections have been established, the data logger configuration starts automatically by identifying all connected inverters. This works even with different manufacturers connected to the Solar-Log. The data logger also establishes the connection to the internet and does an anonymous internet registration. The progress of these steps is indicated by LEDs on the Solar-Log data logger. The installer can then do the final configuration remotely at the office.

Challenge

The advantages of an inverter-independent system are multiple. An installer only needs to learn one single product to provide a monitoring system for all of his customers, even those having different inverters. Nevertheless, the system still requires a certain amount of study. A monitoring system must generally be simple enough to be installed without requiring a great deal of effort. Since a monitoring device is an IT product, a certain amount of IT know-how must usually be available. The Solar-Log Easy installation, on the other hand, reduces the installation effort of the monitoring device to a minimum, allowing any PV plant installer to install the monitoring device without much training. Additional installation details can then be configured remotely.

Problem Solved

The Solar-Log Easy Installation process performs the main configuration automatically after the logger has been connected to the inverter and to the router. The Solar-Log identifies the connected inverter and uses automatically the correct inverter protocol. By means of DHCP, the Solar-Logestablishes the connection to the router and registers to a portal to be able to find the logger for further remote configuration at the office. Every process step in this auto configuration is indicated by LEDs so that an installer can know the status of the process. The successful configuration is indicated by an LED.

Noteworthy

We are the only company that offers compatibility to such a huge number of inverters. The Solar-Log implements the various protocols of the inverters in order to provide the highest depth of data. Nevertheless, the installation must be simple enough, regardless of the number of supported inverters. Solar-Log has therefore introduced the automatic installation of the device which minimizes the installation effort to keep the whole monitoring setup as simple as possible. Basically, the Solar-Log is the logger with the highest data depth, and the logger with one of the simplest installations.

In Detail

The Solar-Log is compatible with more than 50 inverter manufacturers on the market by having implemented all the corresponding protocols of the inverters. With the implementation of these protocols, the Solar-Log offers a maximum of depth of data to monitor the PV plant. A configuration of a data logger with such a high number of inverter compatibility would usually require a more complex installation and in-depth training of the installer. Solar-Log solved this problem by implementing automatic inverter detection and configuration which allows the installer to install the product without much training or IT knowledge. The installer need to connect the inverter with the data bus. Ready-to-use cables are available or, alternatively, a detailed description of the cable configuration is enclosed with the data logger for self-made cables. After the correct connection of the inverter to the data logger, the installer needs to establish a connection to the internet via a router. This can be established by Ethernet cabling or Wifi. Once this basic work is done, the automatic configuration can start. The Solar-Log identifies all connected inverters and does the required configuration automatically. The successful configuration is indicated by an LED. The second part of the configuration is the internet connection. Using the default configuration of Solar-Log with DHCP and a router with enabled DHCP, the Solar-Log connects to the Internet via the router. This step is indicated by another LED. At step 2, the Solar-Log registers itself anonymously on a Solar-Log WEB registration server. Once this registration is finished, it is indicated by the LED as well. The installer then needs to note the serial number and the easy code and is then free to leave the plant since the configuration can be finalized in the office remotely. SolareDatensystem GmbH offers two portals. One for the installer and his customers and one for independent end customers. To use any one of these two portals, the installer can transfer the Solar-Log configuration from the anonymous registration portal to the respective portal by entering the serial number and the easy code. He can then personalize the Solar-Log, do the web configuration, and change certain settings in the data logger remotely. This whole process reduces the effort of the installation of a monitoring system for a PV plant to a minimum.

Innovation

The innovation of easy installation serves to reduce the complexity of a monitoring system able to collect all data from inverters by implementing the inverter protocol and thus provide a high depth of data. All inverter-specific settings are done automatically to simplify the installation process. Only basic knowledge is required to install the monitoring. The time required at the plant site is reduced to the cabling. The whole costs of monitoring are also thereby reduced.

When Introduced

The Solar-Log was introduced to the market in 2005. The enhanced Easy Installation procedure has been introduced this year.

Customer Benefits

Installers can offer and install a monitoring system with minimum effort. An easy and quick installation reduces the costs of installing a monitoring system and make a PV plant even more profitable.


Xtreme Power
Dynamic Power Resource

Description

The Dynamic Power Resource is an energy storage and power management system designed to help utilities, independent power producers and renewable energy project developers more easily integrate renewable energy onto the grid.

Challenge

Utilities and independent power producers (IPPs) are seeking ways to efficiently and affordably integrate solar energy, as well as a means to effectively manage existing resources. Energy storage and power management systems are crucial in capturing clean energy for integration and deployment. However, energy storage has historically been expensive and difficult to merge with existing transmission and distribution infrastructure.

Problem Solved

The Dynamic Power Resource manages fluctuations in supply versus demand and automatically responds to discrepancies to ensure utilities can supply consistent, stable power on demand.

Noteworthy

The dry cell battery storage technology in the Dynamic Power Resource has no siting or transportation restrictions, and the entire system works in conjunction with existing resources, requiring no expensive infrastructure overhaul. The technology is also scalable in terms of both power rating and storage capacity to meet diverse customer needs.

Product In Detail

The Dynamic Power Resource is an energy storage and power management system, coupling advanced battery technology (XPs proprietary PowerCells) with custom-built power electronics capable of responding within a matter of microseconds. The fully automated system can be used in a variety of applications. Renewable energy integration: As more and more utility-scale renewable energy projects come online around the world, one of the major challenges facing utilities and independent power producers (IPPs) is finding an effective way to incorporate variable resources (wind and solar) into their day-ahead schedules. The Dynamic Power Resource vigilantly monitors the farms output level and compares it to the electrical load at a given moment, absorbing or releasing power as needed. With ramp rate control, resource shaping and curtailment mitigation, Xtreme Powers system helps to turn variable renewables into firm, dispatchable assets. Ancillary services: The Dynamic Power Resource can also increase the reliability of the existing electrical grid through a variety of services, including responsive reserves, frequency regulation and voltage response. In the case of rolling blackouts, as witnessed early this year throughout Texas, the Dynamic Power Resource can provide emergency backup power at a moments notice without the need for expensive and fossil fuel-reliant generators. Transmission and Distribution: Whereas traditional transmission and distribution upgrades require significant time and economic resources, a Dynamic Power Resource can act as a cost-effective means to incrementally increase power capabilities for areas with slowly-expanding demands. A system can also be sited at the substation level to meet infrequent but extreme periods of demand, helping to avoid blackouts and/or the need to build and operate costly peaking power plants. Microgrids: Dynamic Power Resources can be built on a smaller scale to bring power to remote regions with little or no access to the electrical grid, as well as to power critical facilities and operations on military bases to strengthen readiness and security.

Innovation

A wide variety of energy storage options are currently available, including flywheels, pumped hydro, and numerous battery compositions. However, the majority of providers offer only a storage component, meaning the technologies are often restricted to providing only off-peak to on-peak applications. Conversely, Xtreme Power's Dynamic Power Resource is a comprehensive system, providing storage capabilities as well as highly responsive power electronics and system controls. In offering a fully automated, multi-functional technology, Xtreme Power has become the optimal choice for utilities, IPPs and renewable energy integrators nationwide. Dynamic Power Resources also prove advantageous over competing technologies in several key areas: Safety and Siting: Competing energy storage technologies each face challenges in terms of permitting and siting. Methods such as pumped hydro are limited by the specific geographies required for use, and traditional battery-based storage methods present safety concerns due to their potentially hazardous chemical compositions (lead-acid, sodium-sulfur, lithium-ion, etc.). In contrast, Xtreme Power's non-toxic PowerCells are a dry cell technology, meaning they contain no gels, liquids or pastes. The dry cell batteries are primarily composed of ballistic-grade fiber and alloy-based bi-polar plates, enabling a very low internal resistance and ambient temperatures during charge and discharge periods. As a result, PowerCells can be safely stacked and housed in nondescript buildings at substations or at the site of renewable energy installations. PowerCells are also produced with 95% recyclable materials and are collected by Xtreme Power at end-of-life to create new batteries. Performance: PowerCells are a hybrid technology, combining the power capabilities of capacitors and energy density of batteries. As previously noted, the PowerCells have a very low internal resistance, enabling them to charge and discharge rapidly for an industry-leading efficiency of approximately 98 percent. Size: While most providers take a one size fits all approach to storage, Xtreme Power can configure power rating (measured in megawatts) and storage capabilities (measured in megawatt-hours) independently, allowing the company to customize each Dynamic Power Resource to the needs of a particular customer. Additionally, the uniform characteristics of PowerCells enable Xtreme Power to configure immense systems in parallel, with 24,000 PowerCells racked together in the companys largest project to date.

When Introduced

The Dynamic Power Resource has been tested and optimized for several years, with a pilot project installed at the South Pole in late 2006. The first commercial Dynamic Power Resource was a 1.5 MW system implemented on a renewable energy project in 2009. Since that time, the Dynamic Power Resource has been installed at a variety of solar energy farms across the United States, including La Ola, the largest solar farm in Hawaii. Additional solar storage projects are located at Fords Michigan Assembly Plant, Xcel EnergysSolarTAC site in Colorado and the Kauai Island Utility Cooperatives (KIUC) Koloa substation.

Customer Benefits

Xtreme Powers Dynamic Power Resource is a cost-effective technology, both in terms of upfront capital and long-term expenditure. The systems high round-trip efficiency permits a lifecycle/cost ratio superior to those of competing storage technologies. Additionally, the Dynamic Power Resource works in conjunction with existing utility hardware and software and operates automatically, meaning it can be implemented without expensive infrastructure overhaul.


Module Manufacturing Innovation Award


Circadian Solar
Ultra Power Density

Description

Circadian Solar, the concentrated photovoltaics (CPV) provider, has achieved world-class DC module efficiency by adopting its Ultra Power Density approach, in which all aspects of system design are engineered holistically to deliver the lowest possible cost of electricity generated. Focusing on the design at the full system level ensures that the CPV modules work most efficiently as part of the complete system. Circadians Ultra Power Density approach is driven by the goal of producing a system that delivers reliable, clean electricity efficiently at an optimal cost. Circadians approach is key to achieving this goal and the Circadian CPV system has been designed from the outset to maximise output power with respect to other system parameters, particularly unit cost, weight, footprint, lifetime and maintenance requirements.

Challenge

The most important challenge for the solar industry, and particularly the CPV industry, is to achieve the minimum possible levelised cost of electricity (LCOE). Having already achieved LCOEs lower than those for off-grid diesel generators, the next, key milestone is to achieve LCOEs lower than those for electricity grids, i.e. to achieve grid parity. Circadian Solars Ultra Power Density approach is directed specifically at this objective.

Problem Solved

Circadian Solars Ultra Power Density approach tackles the issue of LCOE in two ways. Firstly, by focusing on design at the full system level, it ensures that overall system efficiency is optimised, delivering the maximum electrical power from the available solar radiation. The second is by reducing costs - both system costs and operational costs. By focusing on the overall system design, the Ultra Power Density approach ensures that not only is performance optimised, minimising the use of materials, but that the system is also designed for large scale manufacturing - critical for achieving the economies of scale required.

Noteworthy

Circadian Solars Ultra Power Density approach is unique - and more than just promoting a high level design approach. Ultra Power Density necessitated that Circadian started its CPV system design from a blank piece of paper, rather than starting by optimising a particular component. As a result the Ultra Power Density approach enables the best combination of elements throughout the system.

In Detail

There are two aspects to the Ultra Power Density approach. The first is the optimisation of system efficiency, to deliver the maximum electrical power from the available solar radiation. The second is the reduction of cost including both system cost, and operating and maintenance (O&M) costs over the system lifetime. In each case there are many individual factors to consider. For example to maximise efficiency some of the key considerations are: - Cell efficiency - A significant element which must match the system optics, and minimise losses. - High efficiency optics - The primary lens is designed to focus the maximum amount of sunlight incident onto the photovoltaic cell via a Secondary Optical Element (SOE), optimising the optical aperture/focal length with respect to chromatic and geometric aberrations. - Thermal management - The photovoltaic cells operate under more than 600 suns concentration, and highly efficient heat-sinking is required to minimise losses due to heating of the cells. - Automated precision assembly - Optics and module housing must be aligned extremely accurately in relation to the cell, so that the sunlight is focussed entirely within the footprint of the cell. - Accurate tracker - Each multi-junction cell needs to be accurately aligned with the sun at all times. The mechanical structure of the tracker and control software must ensure optimal alignment even during strong winds, so that solar conversion efficiency and power output remain high. Likewise, there are several elements that specifically relate to minimising system cost. Some of the key factors are: - Cell cost - Minimising the cell costs can have an important effect on the projected costs of a complete CPV system. - Lightweight structure - Focussing on making the system lightweight results in the minimum use of materials, and therefore their cost. - Design for manufacture - The system must be designed with a clear recognition of the very high manufacturing throughput required to meet the enormous market demand; from the resultant volumes the economies of scale lead to significant cost reductions beyond those from design to cost measures. However, to achieve the optimum overall system design there are many conflicts between each of these elements that must be traded off against each other to find an optimum balance between all of the factors. For instance the overall concentration factor of the system is a critical design decision. Increasing the concentration factor decreases the quantity of cell material, the number of SOEs and associated PCB assemblies required for the system, and therefore reduces the system cost. However, increasing the concentration factor also (i) increases the thermal load on the cell, thereby increasing thermal losses and (ii) worsens the tolerance requirements on all mechanical alignments. Another key example is the overall system size. Increasing system size allows a greater number of modules to be attached to a single tracker structure, thereby amortising the non-module cost, such as the gearbox and inverters, over a larger number of lenses, cells etc. However, very large systems are prone to deflections at the periphery of the array due to the wind that lead to misalignments and loss of electrical power. They also require a much heavier duty (and expensive) supporting structure and gearbox. The Ultra Power Density approach has been implemented by Circadian Solar to tackle these issues more comprehensively than ever before. This has made it possible to achieve the best possible balance in the system and ultimately to achieve the best overall efficiency and lowest LCOE.

Innovation

The Ultra Power Density process is novel in the completeness with which it implements holistic design ideas. Many CPV systems have been designed with some element of system level thinking, however, no other company in the CPV sector has deployed the concept so fully. The Ultra Power Density has been deployed by Circadian Solar specifically to find technology enhancements both large and, just as importantly, incremental. Indeed often the smallest incremental improvement can have a significant impact through the whole system and give a better LCOE. LCOE is ultimately the figure that is the most important commercially. While cell efficiencies and other technical capabilities are important in isolation, once these elements are part of a bigger CPV system they are of less individual significance. The Ultra Power Density approach is geared to ensure that lower LCOE is the main overarching objective in every step of the design process.

When Introduced

Circadians CPV systems will be launched in 2012. Circadian is currently in the system qualification phase of development with three live trials at test sites in Lisbon, Cyprus and Saudi Arabia.

Customer Benefits

Customers / end-users will benefit from the prospect of clean, carbon-free electricity for the same cost as grid electricity.

Click here to download product information (PDF)


Conergy Deutschland GmbH
ConergyPowerPlus

Description

The ConergyPowerPlus module is among the best of its class. With a load capacity of 6000 Pascal the module can withstand a weight load of 550 kg per square meter. However, the robust workmanship doesn’t necessarily mean difficult installation. Thanks to the 3.2mm solar glass of the PowerPlus module, the weight has been reduced to a manageable 19.6kg, but without the usual drawbacks of mechanical stability. Panels can be installed horizontally and vertically which allows higher performance, flexibility and yield with the same amount of space. All modules are produced with premium quality components and materials in a fully automated, certified and quality-assured production process. This way, customers can be assured of outstanding power and performance levels. With up to 240 Wp rated capacity there are positive efficiency tolerances of up to plus 2.5% on top of rated efficiency, a 10 years product warranty, a hollow-chamber-free, torsion-resistant frame, and a purpose-built junction box, which is fire-safe due to its soldered junctions inside of the box make this product a truly safe investment. A winning argument for the UK market: TÜV Rheinland certified the excellent low-light behavior of the PowerPlus module. Results have shown that the modules efficiency increases with decreasing solar irradiation. Plant operators can produce up to 3% more yield with ConergyPowerPlus. Thanks to the high quality and outstanding and awarded attributes the return rate on ConergyPowerPlus modules is 0.0037%.

Challenge

In the UK, very good low-light performance of a module is a prerequisite to ensure high yields and investment returns. Robust workmanship and high load capacity is crucial for areas with strong winds and heavy winters are also a necessity. Modules that are used in more rural areas on barn roofs for instance need to be resistant to chemical stress (ammonia rich air) and also the use in coastal areas can be an issue if the module is not able to deal with salty sea air.

Problem Solved

The ConergyPowerPlus had outstanding result in low-light performance test and 3% more yield can be achieved, even with decreasing solar irradiation. Robust workmanship and high load capacity is crucial for areas with strong winds and heavy winters. ConergyPowerPlus withstands extreme weather conditions without damage. Additionally the module has passed the DLG ammonia test and it can withstand chemical stress for over 20 years without performance loss. In coastal regions modules are exposed to salty sea air, quality and efficiency needs to remain unaffected. PowerPlus modules passed the TÜV Rheinland salt spray test

Noteworthy

In conjunction with Huber and Suhner, the leading global supplier of components and systems for electrical and optical connectivity, Conergy produced a unique plug connector with integrated twist lock. The waterproof, soldered and sealed junction box is particularly secure, and with its passively cooled 3-bypass diodes and rear ventilation, it ensures the highest yields, even in unfavorable ambient conditions.

In Detail

The ConergyPowerPlus module is among the best of its class. With a load capacity of 6000 Pascal the module can withstand a weight load of 550 kg per square meter. In other words: more than eleven people could safely stand on top of the panel without causing any damage. The Conergy module can therefore withstand the most extreme ambient conditions including high snow wind loads  and that even though it among the lightest of its class. The module was the first module to be awarded with the large hailstone test. During the test the module was bombarded with 55mm diameter hailstones and an impact speed of approx. 70mph. The module was able to withstand unharmed. The experts at Conergy have put a lot of work into further optimising the premium module: it is now significantly easier to handle with its weight reduced by around 10% to manageable 19.6 kg. This module combines outstanding characteristics compared to its competitors. The significantly reduced weight is a huge advantage when it comes to installation. But its manageable weight is not the only characteristic that makes this premium module special. The module is produced in fully automated production lines at Conergys Frankfurt (Oder) facility. Thanks to its extended clamping area, it can be installed both horizontally and vertically in roof-mounted systems. This allows for higher flexibility for layout planning and considerably better use of available space. The result: clear benefits for the customer - improved aesthetics and higher performance and yield with the same amount of space. In addition to its latest product features, the ConergyPowerPlus module will continue to offer the same quality characteristics that have earned it its top market position. All modules are produced with premium quality components and materials in a fully automated, certified and quality-assured production process. This way, customers can be assured of outstanding power and performance levels. Positive efficiency tolerances of up to plus 2.5% on top of rated efficiency, a 10 years product warranty, a hollow-chamber-free, torsion-resistant frame, and a purpose-built junction box, which is fire-safe due to its soldered junctions inside of the box make this product a truly safe investment. A winning argument for the UK market: TÜV Rheinland certified the excellent low-light behavior of the PowerPlus module. Results have shown that the modules efficiency increases with decreasing solar irradiation. Plant operators can produce up to 3% more yield with ConergyPowerPlus. Ammonia-rich barn air, or salty sea air  the Conergy module withstands even the most extreme conditions and proves once again its premium quality. The PowerPlus modules passed the DLG (Deutsche LandwirtschaftsGesellschaft - German Agricultural Association) ammonia test with flying colors: experts have found that these modules can withstand chemical stresses caused by barn air without any loss of performance  and that for over 20 years. And also in coastal regions, where modules are constantly exposed to salty sea air, their quality and efficiency remain unaffected: it is therefore not surprising that the PowerPlus modules passed the TÜV Rheinland salt spray test (IEC61701) already back in 2009.

Innovation

The ConergyPowerPlus module is a module that keeps its promises. Compared to its competitors, it has outstanding results in low-light performance tests, mechanical stability and load capacity tests, ammonia and salt spray tests. ConergyPowerPlus modules can be installed more easily due to reduced weight and installation flexibility  the module can be installed horizontally and vertically. For installer this means quicker turnaround and easier installation, for the customer this means an aesthetically pleasing installation and quicker investment returns. ConergyPowerPlus features extremely high quality and it produced under the strictest German quality guidelines. All components of the product are perfectly matched to ensure higher performance levels and higher yields.

When Introduced

The module was introduced to the UK market in June 2010.

Customer Benefits

All components are produced by one manufactures to the highest German quality guidelines. The product promises long-lasting performance and outstanding investment returns as well as improved aesthetics due to installation flexibility. Outstanding results in quality test assure customers of the quality and robust workmanship.

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SOLYNDRA
Cylindrical Modules

Solyndra designs and manufactures cylindrical modules incorporating copper indium gallium diselenide (CIGS) thin-film technology. The cylindrical modules capture sunlight across a 360-degree photovoltaic surface capable of converting direct, diffuse and reflected sunlight into electricity.

A Solyndra module starts in our front-end facility as a glass tube and passes through an automated manufacturing process and rigorous quality control before emerging as an encapsulated package ready to efficiently convert energy from the sun. There are approximately 23 steps to build and protect the 195 thin-film solar cells created in the manufacture of each module, encompassing cleaning, deposition, scribing, binning, insertion, filling, testing, panel framing and flash testing. Solyndra's has produced over 16 million modules and each day produces approximately 1000 panels or 40,000 modules ramping to more than 3000 panels a day in 2013.

The tubular design of a Solyndra module is "self-tracking". Collecting light around a 360 degree surface allows it to capture more light early and late in the day. with broader shoulders and less peak during the day. This consistent power generation during the day allows the use of a smaller inverter, saving costs and benefits the overall energy yield of a system over time. Because of the design, light snow falls through the Solyndra panels and the panels actually benefit from the increased albedo (reflected light) from a fresh snowfall. Solyndra systems experience less system loss due to snow.


Thousand Suns
Solarpod

Description

Solarpod by Thousand Suns is a portable solar generator and the ideal way to achieve energy self sufficiency. Solarpod by thousandsuns is designed to be able to provide energy self sufficiency in areas where there is either an unreliable or a non-existent grid network. For instance; at your summer beach house in Cornwall or in regular power cut stricken Japan. It is also ideal for the usage on boats, or for on hunting/fishing trip to replace that noisy diesel generator! Solarpod can be completed with optional high performance solar panels and contains the latest in battery and invertor technology. It can power most appliances found in the home, shed, boat and workplace  such as TVs, stereos, games consoles, laptops, fax, power tools etc. It works out of the box, no installation required. This power station can be packed away and relocated with-in minutes. Key features: Compact, Light-weight, Powerful and Green! Cables can connect solar panels directly to Solarpod which contains a high performance, green, Lithium Iron Phosphate battery. Solarpod is fitted with a 400W inverter, a UK 3-pin socket (or local required socket), 2 USB sockets and a 12V Car socket

Challenge

The challenge of being off-grid (temporarily) but you are in need for (green) portable electricity.

Problem Solved

Solarpod offers a solution to be able to have access to electricity in off grid locations or where there is an unreliable grid. By combining an inverter and a green Lithium Iron Phosphate battery in a compact and light weight package, it makes this power house easy to relocate and it is amazingly powerful (up to 400W), as it can power up to a small house!

Noteworthy

We have spend 2 years of R&D on the Solarpod, we have had a stint at Dragons Den and we are the first to bring a portable solar generator to the market as the future of solar (globally) is in off grid solutions.

In Detail

Solarpod by thousandsuns was invented by Thousand Suns 2 years ago by a team of UK bankers. They gave up their high paid jobs to pursue innovation in the green energy business. From experience they noticed that when they went to their small beach bungalows there was no electricity supply, you could attach solar panels on your roof but as you were not there full time, there was a risk in leaving panels behind. Thus, having a background in solar energy, they decided they should invent something that was portable, easy to relocate and powerful enough to provide electricity for the whole bungalow for the weekend, being able to connect this device to a solar panel for recharging or directly from the main would enhance the power house. Up till April 2011 we were making Solarpod 1 by 1 in our office in the City of London, now they are being made in France, by a team of French handicapped. With no paid marketing effort Solarpod received global interest from distributors and today Solarpod is already being distributed and used in Japan, India,Dubai, Germany, Finland, Czech republic, Malta and off course in the UK. The future of Solarpod is together with Solarpod 2 (prototype stage; a cheaper and less powerful version marketed to third world countries/ non-profit organisations) to provide a global off grid solution for all kinds of purposes for the next generation.

Innovation

There is a wide array of generators available even solar generators however they are all huge sized (expensive) power houses. What is novel about Solarpod is the portability, the green aspect (the green battery/ responsible production) and the quality/design. It will help off grid solar go more main stream by appealing to next generation with the brand and design.

When Introduced

Solarpod was globally marketed from December 2010 to the global solar industries/networks. The first Solarpod's were being sold from January 2011 on to retail customers from our company's website and through our network.

Customer Benefits

Solarpod users benefit from Solarpod in many ways. Our Indian users use Solarpod for back up of blood transportation, our Scandinavian users use them for their sheds and bungalows, our UK customers use them for power supply in outside events, education in solar energy for children, for on their yachts and boats all in conjunction with their solar panels

Click here to download product information (PDF)


"Excellence At Each Step" Manufacturing

Description

Upsolar ensures premium module output at affordable prices via its Excellence at Each Step manufacturing philosophy.

Challenge

The majority of module manufacturers can be placed into one of two categories: Low-cost/low-quality, or high-cost/high-quality. This leaves a considerable gap for customers looking to implement quality solar systems at a reasonable cost.

Problem Solved

Upsolars vertically-integrated, precise manufacturing ensures its customers receive high-quality modules at competitive prices.

Noteworthy

Upsolar works in conjunction with the industrys best manufacturers so its team can focus on extensive research and development efforts while producing quality modules.

In Detail

Upsolar ensures premium module output via its vertically-integrated Excellence at Each Step manufacturing philosophy. The process begins at Upsolars Test and Development Centre in Shanghai, where a team of PV experts performs meticulous testing on all module components before selecting the top-tier performers as its suppliers. The next level of testing evaluates prototype modules ability to withstand extreme environments, including temperature variations, high moisture exposure and subjection to ultraviolet rays to optimize both performance and durability. When these prototypes are confirmed to operate at a level consistent with Upsolars high standards, the company then proceeds with commercial-scale production. To keep manufacturing lean and efficient, Upsolar works closely with trusted partners around the world. The company also stations quality control experts at its satellite manufacturing facilities to provide assistance and oversee each step of production. After one final round of sample testing, Upsolars modules are dispatched worldwide.

Innovation

Whereas many module producers focus primarily on the cost of their products, the Upsolar team works closely with its component suppliers and manufacturing partners to oversee the quality of its products at every point in production while keeping an eye to cost as well.

When Introduced

Upsolar has used this process since 2006.

Customer Benefits

Upsolar customers take solace in knowing their products where developed with the best quality/cost ratio available in the industry.


Rural Electrification Development Award


Bergen Associates Pvt Ltd
JHARGAON Project

Description

Jhargaon is a small village located in the state of Jharkhand. The village has 50 households with a population of around 500. Most of them are Below Poverty Lline households. The sole source of income is agriculture but that too was way too low as the paucity of water did not allow them to have more than one crop which was dependent on monsoon. Further, the impact of climate change has been worst felt by the villagers as the erratic monsoon schedules have wrecked havoc on the crops thereby leading to almost no income for the villagers in the last few years. Most of the households even lacked the basic amenities like clean drinking water, healthcare, education, physical infrastructure like roads and bridges and the most important ingredient for development - Electricity. The area is further afflicted by acute Naxal activities retarding economic growth.

Bergen has proactively gone into the village which had no access to electricity and provided a 20kWp Solar Power Plant which gives power to the households for domestic consumption and also provides electricity for irrigation. It also powers a Rice Mill, Flour Mill, and a water filtration plant. The source of power has brought around a mini revolution in the village with each villager getting access to clean and uninterrupted power. The Power Plant has a battery back-up for three days and the material has been sourced from the world over to ensure state-of-the art installation.

The major challenges faced in this regard were:

Getting access to land to build the power plant, for this purpose a local NGO was roped in
To make the villagers aware of the benefits of the plant and also get them to pay for the electricity being used though at a nominal rate
Acute problem of terrorism
Inaccessible regions and area prone to bandhs and closures
Making the plant self-sufficient and sustainable

Bergen has put in place a village energy committee which collects revenues from villagers for the domestic as well as the commercial application and the plant is operated upon by the locals. Further, the revenues so collected are utilized for the upkeep and the maintenance of the plant. The revenue charged from the villagers is nominal and the domestic rate is slightly lower than the commercial rate. The access to power has improved the income levels of the villagers, improved health and has also helped mitigate the Naxal problem to a major extent.

Bergen is the only company to have entered the Rural Electrification Segment in such a big way and in addition, Bergen has also invested its own capital for the construction of the plant. Bergen was the pioneer in rural electrification and the first such project commissioned under it was an 8.67kWp plant in Rampura near Jhansi. In fact, under the aegis of MNRE and the patronage of Hon’ble Member Parliament, Ms Mabel Rebello, Bergen has already executed about 200kWp of rural electrification with others in the pipeline.

Since a deep correlation between Energy and Development has been seen, the potential way to pull the village out from the depths of poverty was to give the people access to a Sustainable Energy Source. The non-availability of the national grid in the region paved the way for the use of Solar Energy as a viable alternative. However, the villagers had to be convinced beforehand about the benefits that would accrue to them after the installation of the power plant. Thus an NGO was roped in to mobilize the villagers so that a sense of ownership could be inculcated and subsequently they agreed to pay for the operating and running cost of electricity that was to be generated. With a view to engage the local youth and people, a Village Energy Committee (VEC) was formed which was entrusted with the task of maintaining and operating the plant and also for the revenue collection. A small corpus was also set up for upkeep and maintenance of the plant being controlled by the VEC.

After a detailed area survey it was envisaged that the village would need a Solar Power Plant of 20kWp capacity keeping in mind their current and future demands. Since its inception the objective was to create a more prosperous and economically independent village thereby freeing them from the clutches of the Naxals. To achieve this, it was imperative to not only give them power but also provide them with a host of other economic opportunities that were directly related to the availability of power, which would eventually make them self sufficient and more prosperous. These included:

  1. Pump for Lift Irrigation
  2. Water Filtration Plant for clean drinking water
  3. Rice Mill and Flour Mill for pounding and grinding
  4. Solar Fridge for storing Life Saving Drugs and Medicines
  5. Community TV

The plant was installed on 30th April, 2010 and has been working ever since without a glitch.

JHARGAON SUMMARY SHEET

Installed Solar PV Module Capacity

20 KWp (18KWp main – 2KWp backup)

Battery Capacity

4000AH - 48V – Main, 600Ah – Backup.

Battery Autonomy

2 DAYS

Designed Load Wattage

13900W

Average Designed Load

3500W/4 HRS/DAY

No Of House Holds

50 NOS

No Of Designed Units/Day

55 UNITS

Individual Loads

 

Fan

47 NOS

Street Light

15 NOS

CommunityBuilding

1 NOS

Water Pump

1 NOS

Pump Capacity

10 HP  3 PHASE

Other Utilities

DC SOLAR FRIDGE - 166 LITERS, RO plant – 3 HP.

Bergen has recognised the need for rural off-grid PV solutions for economic upliftment of the rural masses. The company would like to contribute to the work that needs to be done in order to make PV available for rural areas. Bergen Group in collaboration with Scatec Norway has successfully executed 200kwp of Solar PV Mini Grid Projects in Madhya Pradesh and Uttar Pradesh and also recently built a 20kWp three phase plant in Jhargaon Jharkhand. The Jhargaon Plant was funded 30% by MNRE, 25% by MPLAD fund and 25% by a corporate Coal India. The balance 20% was invested by Bergen. While it is understood that electrification is a governmental responsibility and hence rural electrification will always depend on government funding, the challenge lies in a large-scale roll-out which will make a difference, while at the same time ensure long- term production and sustainability. To achieve this, a closer dialogue and cooperation between the private sector, governments, corporate sector and organisations like Bergen is needed. Bergen has gone that extra mile to ensure that we play a small albeit important role in the alleviation of poverty in this country. For Bergen, it’s not so much as a business proposition rather; it is a commitment to drive down poverty in the villages of the country by providing them with access to clean, abundant and uninterrupted power.

The first plant was commissioned in the year 2009 at Rampura, Jhansi. The Jhargaon plant was commissioned in the year 2010.

  1. Due to the presence of electricity, village children spend more time on studying, develop new skills and hone their existing skills as compared to earlier when they could study only during daylight hours.
  2. The state, which already has a significant number of children suffering from maladies related to high fluoride and other chemical/mineral content in the water, saw a improvement in Healthcare as the water filtration plant has given the villagers access to clean drinking water that is free of harmful minerals and chemicals.
  3. Further, the availability of essential and life saving drugs at their doorstep has increased and it has been estimated that approximately Rs. 1000 is saved on Health Expenditure per year by each household.
  4. Agricultural income has also seen a substantial increase as large acres of land can be irrigated through lift irrigation.
  5. Transition from growing a single crop to Multi Crops has improved their income generation capacities.
  6. Elimination of physical labor for pounding the rice and the wheat due to the installation of rice and wheat mill.
  7. Education & information through computers and TV. Community TV leads to better societal harmony.
  8. The Solar Power plant has helped mitigate the Naxal problem to a major extent by providing a avenue for job creation and hence earning  and now its easier to bring the local youth back into the folds of civilization.
  9.  Employment: - Four  technically educated youth from Jhargaon were skill trained and now are  employed.
  • They are doing installation of solar plants independently at Jarri, in Albert Ekka block.
  • This has also attracted the other youth from Jarri  -two more youth are employed as helpers/assistant to erect the solar plant.             
  1. Further economic activities for generation of employment are on way in this area. 
  • A training centre for training women to learn   Electronic Soldering. 
  • Solar industry in the rural area to manufacture Solar products are part of phase-II at Jhargaon area. 
  • IIT PAN India has already visited the area and planning start a Gurukul for skill development in the area.

WASPAM: A PROJECT FOR 15 YEARS

In this entry we focus in the lessons learned up, until today, from the first steps of the project of WASPAM.

The differential characteristic of this project is related to the base of the international public tender, requiring a turn key project, together with a study to assure the operation and maintenance of the systems during 15 years and a compromise of the supplier to manage the installed systems in a concession procedure.

The base of the operation and maintenance of the system is the capacity of return for the users. Are they capable of assuring minimal annual earnings so other companies are interested in creating infrastructure around these systems? Another key point in the project is the logistics regarding the local operator. The Project is been carried out by a social partner active in the project area, a local installer company, and a PV manufacturer, supplying the financial backing and the technical support. The target of the project is making suitable a concession scheme, in which the user as well as the other players would come out benefiting.

1 INTRODUCTION
The main difference between this project and others is international competitive bidding conditions, not only requesting the supply and installation of the systems, which is a common practice, but also requiring a contractual commitment for the development of a sustainability programme, to assure the operation and management of the systems for 15 years.

 
Figure 1. Project Area

The project has been developed by the Interamerican Development Bank (from here on BID) and the National
Energy Commission (from here on CNE), and requires the amount of 1,040,000 USD of which the BID provides
85% to the CNE through subsidies and the remaining 15% is obtained from the tariff charged to the end users.

2 PROJET ORGANIZATION

For the correct management of the project for these 15 years it was decided to create a consortium formed by the companies ISOFOTON S.A., TECNOSOL and the NGO PANA-PANA, the last two are located in Nicaragua where the project is being carried out.  The project is being carried out in the North Atlantic Autonomous Region (RAAN) Fig. 1, in 31 communities situated along the shore of the Coco River, the natural border between Nicaragua and Honduras and one of the poorest areas in the country.

The area is inhabited by the Miskita tribe, which has its own language (Miskito) and whose knowledge of Spanish is directly proportional to their proximity to the town of WASPAM. They have a subsistence economy based on the harvest of different crops, frijoles, rice and bananas in two annual harvests in April and September. Their crop fields are often in the Honduran area, due to the quality of the land on the other side of the river, however, it is an artificial frontier that divides the Miskita nation and therefore they do not consider it as such.

This short summary has described some of the characteristics of the inhabitants who are the focus of this project. These characteristics are common to many of the areas where this kind of project is implemented, i.e. a subsistence economy based on agriculture, minimum income that is dependent on harvests, with no integration in the government-generated structures in their respective countries, where everyone non Miskito who has the privilege of visiting the area is called Spanish! We will now summarize the components of the consortium and its qualities to carry out this project.

ISOFOTON is responsible for supplying the equipment and the technical management of the installations.
TECNOSOL, official distributor of ISOFOTON in Nicaragua, is responsible for the installation of the solar equipment and systems, under our training and supervision, and it will also be responsible for the supply of all the Balance of the system, wires, switches, lamps (all this material must be local in order to obtain spare parts relatively easily).

PANA-PANA, NGO for the management of microcredits and aid for the inhabitants of the project areas, is responsible for the initial sensitiveness surveys to find users, the creation of the local lighting committees together with the TECNOSOL installers around the area, and the later management of payments from the beneficiaries.
Founded in 1991, PanaPana has a large prestige across the whole installation area, which is very important to establish the necessary links with the beneficiaries. They will be responsible for all dealings with the beneficiaries.
Two of their specialized technicians will be responsible for maintaining the systems. Before starting the installations, they will carry out surveys to evaluate the payment capacities of the possible users. The basis of the operation and maintenance of the systems is the creditworthiness of these users. Are they capable of assuring minimum annual funds to interest companies in creating an infrastructure around the systems? We believe so, and in any case, the study was carried out conscientiously in order to estimate their real creditworthiness, their level of commitment and maintenance of the system. The results show limited creditworthiness and a certain level of debts and arrears. However, as already mentioned, the 5 USD, which they can easily pay each month (their current expense on radio batteries, candles and kerosene for burning is around 7 USD per month). The user has also the possibility of making just 2 payments per year coinciding with income from crop sales.

ISOFOTON provides its experience in implementing a project of this kind as it has installed several hundred systems around the world, however, it also provides financial resources to cover delays in payments (common in these projects) and initial disbursements to cover the project, trips to the area to prepare the offer and meet fellow team members, meetings, etc.

TECNOSOL provides the consortium with its knowledge of the country as well as the entire capacity of its company, warehouses, workforce and office material. TECNOSOL will become the logistic and bureaucratic centre of the project during the Installation phase, however, once all the systems are installed, the consortium office at WASPAM will also start operating, although the neuralgic centre will still be run by TECNOSOL from its office in Managua. As well as this, TECNOSOL has also provided its installation staff, nearly all of whom have over 5 years’ experience in solar installations.

3 OPERATION EXPERIENCE.

Assuring the quality of the equipment installed is essential for the sustainability and viability of the project, due to the fee paid by the user comprises the replacement of the equipment, as well as the cost of the local infrastructure (an office in WASPAM, furniture, rent, staff cost, their travelling expenses), and the recovery of the 15 % that is not subsidised. Due to the absence of long-term studies about components failures rates on installed systems, this data is quite vague; however, we will base ourselves on our own experience to try to work it out.

After the first 6 months of the installation, when we should have detected all the equipment with manufacturing faults or breakage during transport (regulators 0.9 %, modules 0.05 %, batteries 1%, lamps 1.5%), we consider the working life of the equipment to be as follows: Modules: 20 years (assuring 80 % of their nominal power by the end of the 20 years and that they will continue to work) and therefore spare parts will not be considered. Regulators: Annual breakage rate 6.5 %, therefore, we will have to change all the regulators during the 15 years the system will be in operation.

Batteries: We consider a working life of 6 years per battery; therefore, we will change them twice in the 15 years. The battery is deep cycle with a daily design discharge depth of 15 %. The lamps must be changed by the user. The breakage
rate we have calculated is 100% of the ballasts every 5 years, and a tube replacement every 2.5 years. The rest of the material does not need to be replaced, unless there is a natural disaster, like in 1998 when Hurricane Mitch destroyed around 21000 homes1, without actually reaching Nicaragua. The average is one natural disaster every 10 years; other examples are
Hurricane Fifi, September 1974 or Hurricane Joan, October 1988, as we have already mentioned the system must be assured for 15 years. As we have already mentioned, the quality of the equipment is very important, but we must also mention the importance of the quality of the systems installation. From the begining, we focus in the standardization of the electric works, i.e. to fully charge the battery before commissioning the system, to use clips every 30 cm to avoid catenary on the cables, to avoid the wires crossing and to study the location of the generator to avoid shadows. All these issues together with a sheet which reflects the technical characteristics of each installation, should facilitate the Operation and maintenance and help to enlarge the life time of all the components. It is pointed out the installation period is very short, six month for the hole project, due to bidding demands; therefore, we must work at a rate of 12 installations per day, 6 days a week. Also the equipment transport to the communities should be done in a short period, due to the main river is first dry, and after it is not transit able due to the swelling from the rains. For this purpose, a group was formed with 12 very experienced installers (4 of which speak Miskito), an administrative manager (who also speaks Miskito) and a cook; who all had a strong will, as not just anyone can cope with 6 months on a hard bed, eating frijoles with rice for breakfast, lunch and dinner.

5 SYSTEMS DESCRIPTION.

The total number of installations is reflected in the following table.

6 CONCLUSIONS
The success or failure of this project is based on several factors which we will attempt to list below, however, as a
start to these conclusions, we would like to clarify the following point: the special nature of this project should
be the objective used to design all the rural electrification projects. The sustainability of these systems is the key to
the real motivation for this kind of projects, which is none other than the improvement of the living conditions
of the users of the photovoltaic system and not the increase in the statistics of the population with access to
electricity. These are some of the most important factors for the success of the project:
- Design of the system in accordance with the users’ needs. After installing the first 700 systems, whether the system appears to be more or less adjusted to the area, in accordance with the size of the houses and users’ needs.
- Correct operation of the system. All the elements have been fitted to ensure this; however, it is a good idea to evaluate it as a factor of importance.
- Breakage rates of the equipment in accordance with the calculations.
- Absence of theft of the systems.
- Rate of non-payments below 10 % (the first day they went to collect the money the whole village was waiting for them with machetes to avoid payment... problems in the information and adjustment in the first village, in the others we have not had any problems at the moment).
- Adjusting the payments of the tariff to the calculations made, this will enable the office to stay in operation without losses, which is very important for the creation of a self-sustainable market.
- Adjusting the payments to the seasonal income of the users (crops).
- Financial return for the participating companies.
REFERENCES:
1 “El huracán Mitch en Nicaragua.”
Dr. Antonio Arroz Alvarez
Marta Aranda de Wong Valle
Carlos Morales Castillo


Technology and System Capability

Description

M+W Group globally covers the complete added value chain for Photovoltaics with consulting, design, construction and project management, from poly silicon plants to cell and module factories as well as PV power plants. The scope includes the turnkey design, build and technical set-up from smaller pilot lines through to large-scale PV plants, be it c-Si or thin film technology. Currently the scope has been extended to the design of float glass lines with emphasis on the specific requirements of the PV industry. With more than 10 GWp manufacturing capacity designed and built M+W Group is a global market leader in this sector. With a staff of more than 6,000 people spread throughout five continents. M+W Group is able to keep pace with the clients growth strategies and to offer localized expertise around the world. M+W Group had the honour of providing continuous design/build services and accompanying their PV customers on their way from start-up companies to the top ten list of PV players. The high amount of repeat customers emphasizes clients’ satisfaction with M+W Groups work.

Challenge

The main challenges for high volume PV manufacturing sites are: - Reduced running costs by advanced engineering as well as by energy saving and recycling technologies. - Smart design to ensure minimum investment. - Using a smart logistic concept to reduce working capital. - Fast track approach to reduce time to market. - Meeting and exceeding EHS and quality standards. - Smart phasing concepts towards multiple GW sites Thanks to its global network of engineers and specialists, M+W Group can make available its global know-how to customers when providing modular or turnkey solutions based on fast track schedules, appropriate quality standards and rigorous adherence to the budget.

Problem Solved

With its integrated project approach M+Ws best-in-class solutions can solve these challenges: - Comprehensive site selection and site development, including all current and future requirements. - Defining production technology and future expansions. - Defining equipment layout and the logistics concept. - Value engineering and Benchmarking - Final design starts in parallel with issuing the building permit documents - Construction starts depending on partial building permission - Global sourcing and volume purchase agreements reduces costs for hardware - In house engineering for water and chemical recycling/reclaim technologies - Advanced energy supply concepts - Mass and energy flow modelling to reduce overall life cycle costing With its long-term experience M+W Group provides best-in-class solutions with optimum flexibility to future expansions, minimum operating costs and fast time-to-market.

Noteworthy

Based on its 11 years of experience in this market M+W Group operates a comprehensive database with the consumption data of the process equipment with real measured consumption data. This enables the company to benchmark the data provided by equipment suppliers with the real consumption data in the very beginning of the project. With this powerful tool M+W Group can design the utility systems according to the technological requirements of the process tools. In several PV projects M+W Group has proved that the terms environmentally benign and cost effective are not a contradiction. For example water reclaim or water/chemical recycling provides a significant reduction of running costs for high volume production sites. M+W Group has developed adequate reclaim and recycling systems. Several of the projects additionally have been designed and executed according to LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) standards.

In Detail

With the experience of more than 40 PV plants designed and built since the year 2000, M+W Group has a vast know-how to solve all challenges in engineering and construction of a PV plant, be it with c-Si or thin film technology. M+W Group covers the entire PV added value chain from poly silicon plants and glass lines to PV power plants. This enables M+W in a unique way to design the customers production sites according to all technology requirements and to implement various synergies from upstream and downstream technologies in each project. The electrical power usage of the process equipment is one example for potential total invest reduction. Due to design factor margins and unknown duty factors or just because of lack of experience the electrical power consumption often is overestimated. Using its comprehensive benchmark database, which includes live measurements of the electrical power consumption after ramping up the production, M+W Group often can show that the actual power consumption is far less than the numbers provided by the suppliers. Due to the correlation between electrical power and related systems like transformers, cooling tower, pumps and piping for the cooling water the design of these systems could be optimized resulting in less and/or smaller facility systems, so that as a result the total invest of the facility systems could be reduced significantly. Vertical integration is another possibility to reduce costs for PV manufacturers. Since the PV industry so far only consumes 2%-3% of the worlds entire glass production the big glass manufacturers did not focus in particular on the specific requirements for glass to be used for PV applications.

The main requirements are: - low iron content for high transmittance of the cover glass - thin glass (2mm) to reduce weight and increase transmittance - specific coatings like ARC (Anti-reflective coatings) and TCO (transparent Conductive Oxide), depending on application. Therefore M+W Group is teaming up with technology partners and offering the design and build of float glass and glass processing lines for the PV industry. Key feature is a smaller float bath with capacities of 120t/day to 200 t/day and customized glass width (e.g. 1,6m) instead of commonly used jumbo glass (3,3m x 6,1m). Such capacities can deliver the glass demand for a 500 MW Thin Film facility. It is expected that due to the integration and focus on PV specific requirements the cost for glass can be reduced 20% to 30%.

Innovation

The advanced portfolio and the in depth technology know-how as offered by M+W Group for design / build services for the entire PV added value chain from Poly Silicon over glass to PV modules and finally PV power plants makes it possible for our customers to benefit from our experience and use all synergies with regard to energy saving potentials and improved logistics for integrated future PV manufacturing sites in the GW scale. This approach will lead to considerable cost reductions not only in initial invest costs but in running costs as well.

When Introduced

Initially this service was introduced to market in 2000. The latest product, which is the design / build of glass lines is being introduced in 2011.

Customer Benefits

The main benefit for customers is that they profit from fast time to market and turnkey-capability due to M+W Groups integrated project approach as well as that M+W Group can offer services for the entire PV added value chain, depending on each customers requirements.


THINFAB

Product Description

Oerlikon Solars next generation fab THINFAB will enable total module production cost at or below 0.5 €/Wp and a 120 MWp output capacity. Oerlikon recognized that for PV to become a significant source for energy amongst the traditional energy sources, solar power had to become economically viable. With the THINFAB with module manufacturing cost at 0.5 €/Wp, energy can be produced at 0.10 €/kWh in for example Southern Europe. In many regions of the world this allows energy production at or below grid parity level. Due to highest equipment availability, reduced process steps in the backend and highly optimized line concept (to balance frontend and backend takt times), Oerlikon Solars THINFAB reaches highest uptime with lowest non-productive time. The performance figures of this thin film silicon turnkey solution are as following: - Module Efficiency 10 % - Yield 97 % - Annual Output 120 MWp - 0.5 €/Wp

Product Challenge

Oerlikon Solars THINFAB addresses the challenge to reduce manufacturing cost by 60%. The first generation of thin film silicon manufacturing lines launched 2007 allowed modules to be produced at approximately 1.2 €/Wp. To reach grid parity level in sunny regions to make solar power economically viable, manufacturing cost have to cut down to no more than 0.5 €/Wp.

Problem Solved

Oerlikon Solars next generation fab THINFAB will enable total module production costs at or below 0.5 €/Wp and 120 MWp output capacity. With the THINFAB with module manufacturing cost at or below 0.5 €/Wp, energy can be produced at 0.10 €/kWh in for example Southern Europe. In many regions of the world this allows energy production at or below grid parity level.

Noteworthy

The key performance drivers to make solar power economically viable are module efficiency, high productivity of the manufacturing line and low module material costs. Recent champion modules on full scale with over 11 % initial efficiency and the world record stable cell efficiency for Micromorph® of over 11.8 % form the foundation for 10 % efficiency in average production. In less than 3 years since the market introduction of Oerlikon Solars Micromorph® technology 2007 in Milan the productivity of an Oerlikon Solar fab has been increased by more than 100 % which helps to significantly drive down the CAPEX per Wp. The continuous optimization of core equipment, line concept, module design and qualification of new materials drives down costs and increases the manufacturing robustness by simplifying the production steps.

Product In Detail

Oerlikon Solar has demonstrated ground-breaking milestones for the highest efficiency thin film silicon technology worldwide. To achieve highest efficiency modules in a cost effective mass production, several improvements in layer technology and module design had to be combined within the Oerlikon Solars THINFAB. 1) Thinnest Absorber The quality of the absorber layer and consequently the degradation of the efficiency of the cell are influenced by different factors. One factor is the deposition process, a second factor is the deposition rate (typically layers deposited at lower rate have higher quality) and a third factor is the layer thickness. Oerlikon Solar found in its THINK THIN strategy a match between increased efficiency and cost effective mass production. Thin absorber layers allow for reduced deposition rate and thus improved material quality; in parallel, time gas and energy consumption are lower and the light induced degradation is reduced. The net result is higher stabilized module efficiency. 2) Thinnest Laser Dead Band Oerlikon Solar introduces the next generation of laser scribing systems with eight beam high-speed processing for more than 2x increase in throughput and improvement of scribing accuracy to reduce laser dead band to 180 um. Highly accurate laser scribing systems maximize the active area of the module by reducing the area lost to the cell interconnects. c) Highest Front Contact Transmittance Oerlikon Solars TCO provides high total transmittance of over 86 % in the visible and near infrared spectrum range and recipe tunable surface morphology enabling light scattering with haze between 10 and 25 % and tunable sheet resistance between 10 and 25 Square Ohm Best in class transmission and enhanced light scattering are the perquisites to get the maximum amount of light into the absorber and allow further reduction of the absorber thickness. d) KAI MT The core of the Oerlikons THINFAB remains the absorber deposition tool. All key technologies and improvements from the previous generation KAI 1200 like 40 MHz VHF technology and Isothermal Plasmabox® were adapted to the next generation KAI MT. The KAI MT is designed to serve the low cost demands for mass production. By implementing a third process chamber the deposition area is increased by 50 % from 28 m2 to 42 m2. Doubled cleaning speed is achieved by improving the design through shortening vacuum pipes and implementing a remote plasma source (RPS). The combination of amorphous and Micromorph® layer deposition in one single process equipment eliminates the breaking of vacuum between top and bottom cell depositions which leads to improved process control. e) Backend Equipment With the THINFAB Oerlikon Solar launches the second generation of backend with a multiple contacted low voltage module design. The new edge isolation system allows a smaller accurately removed edge area with high isolation and improved module active area. Full automation avoids handling errors and results in robust manufacturing processes and high module reliability. g) Yield The yield improvement of the end-to-end solution is a significant lever to reduce overall production cost. Thanks to the high robustness of thin film silicon process technology together with Oerlikon Solars industry proven mass production equipment and smart line concept, Oerlikon Solar's THINFAB guarantees best in class yield of over 97 % in average. h) Lowest material cost As over 50 % of the module costs can be attributed to direct materials (e.g. glass, foil, junction-box, etc.) these represent large cost reduction potential. As the equipment and technology provider Oerlikon Solar does not limit cost reduction initiatives to deposition technology and equipment innovations, but also drives the development of the module design towards more lean (thin) architectures and evaluates and qualifies new material suppliers.

Innovation

With Oerlikon Solars THINFAB thin film silicon solar power becomes economically viable first time. In less than 3 years since the market introduction of Oerlikon Solars Micromorph® technology 2007 in Milan the productivity of an Oerlikon Solar fab has been increased by more than 100 % which helps to significantly drive down the CAPEX per Wp. The continuous optimization of module design and qualification of new materials drives down costs and increases the manufacturing robustness by simplifying the production steps. Radical innovations in the core equipment of the end-to-end manufacturing line contribute to the reduction in cost per Wp by offering higher efficiency, higher throughput per capital invested as well as lower energy and material consumption. Oerlikon Solars unique line concept includes but is not limited to improved central handling system renewed manufacturing execution system and considers all aspects of material logistics. In a cross-functional development approach every detail is optimized for the THINFAB, Oerlikon Solars most advanced turnkey photovoltaic thin film silicon manufacturing line.

When Introduced

25th EU PVSEC 2010, Valencia 6th of September 2010

Customer Benefits

With the THINFAB with module manufacturing cost at or below 0.5 €/Wp, energy can be produced at 0.10 €/kWh in for example Southern Europe. In many regions of the world this allows energy production at or below grid parity level. Therefore thin film silicon solar power becomes economically viable first time.

Click here to download product information (PDF)


Soitec
Concentrix Concentrating Photovoltaic (CPV) technology

Soitec's Concentrix Concentrating Photovoltaic (CPV) technology was created at Germany's Fraunhofer Institute. Every aspect of the technology has been optimized to offer a commercial solution with the most efficient solar energy generation currently available on the market.

Soitec's CPV modules are built on Concentrix technology. They use Fresnel lenses to concentrate sunlight 500 times and focus it onto small, highly efficient multi-junction solar cells. This technology has helped achieve world-leading AC system efficiency increases of 25% in actual operating conditions. This is almost twice as high as the efficiency increases achieved using conventional silicon systems. With the first demonstration systems dating back to 2005, we now have a solid track record with this technology.

Soitec manufactures IEC-certified modules on a fully-automated industrial production line—one of the world's most modern CPV module manufacturing facilities. The modules, based on a simple, yet robust optical concept, are designed for automated mass production at consistently high quality and module efficiency levels. The high degree of automation also allows the building new production lines on a smart copy basis.

The basic research underpinning our Concentrix technology was developed over more than a decade at Germany's Fraunhofer ISE, Europe's largest solar research institute. Fraunhofer ISE has conducted research on CPV cells and systems since the mid-1980s. Since 2002, the Institute's CPV research focus has shifted to the development of CPV manufacturing production technologies compatible with successful industrial commercialization. In 2005, the Institute founded a spin-off, Concentrix Solar, to commercialize the technology. Soitec acquired Concentrix Solar in 2009


Project Development Award


KPCL
Successful installation of 3MW solar PV plants in Karnataka state.

Description

KPCL has successfully installed 3MW solar PV plants at Kolar, Belgaum and Raichur districts of Karnataka state.These projects are first of its kind in India.The specialty of these plants are that they are grid connected and have been proven to be a asuccess.The plants are set up in rural area near load centers.The power generated is evacuated through a 11KV line to nearby 33KV MUSS at village Kerur and supplied through feeder lines to the local villages and the local people are making use of this power for running IP sets and other agricultural activities.

Challenge

i) Establishment o solar plant at a MW scale involves huge investment in the begining for setting up the plant.KPCL has invested approximately Rs 165 crores for setting up the three plants through internal financing. ii)Large area of 15 acres at one place is required for installation of 3MW Solar plant.KPCL has taken Govt land for this purpose through revenue department.As all the three sites were covered by huge trees,clearing of trees was a big challenge.However with support of forest department and Govt of Karnataka,the land as free from vegetation and ensured shadow free area for setting up the plant. iii)Selection of suitable location with nearby 11KV MUSS -KPCL selected these above sites on the basis of the I P set loads connected to the nearest MUSS.KPCL identified a load nearly 3MW(200A) on the connecting MUSS with the support of ESCOM and local people. iv)Preparation of technical document,finalization of EPC contractor, out of 15 tenderers ,obtaining necessary approvals from electrical inspectorate,ESCOM's,liaisoning with various agencies,EPC contractor etc. v)Local people in tehse areas were appraised of the upcoming projects and their purpose of supplying power to the villages. Power generated fom a soalr PV palnt id DC power which in order to be connected to the grisd has to be converted to AC power.Connecting this AC power to the grid was biggest challenge in terms of technology and high capacity inverter.For the first time in the country,250KW inverters have been used to convert DC power to AC power.A dedicated 11KV had to be constructed for efficient usage of power. vi) Electrical equipments such as transformers,HT,LT panels were procured from reputed companies and installed for power evacuation which is first of its kind in the country. vii)SCADA:This plant is provided with a SCADA facility which is connected through an internet to a website via satellite ,since there was no underground cable connection to the plant.However with great persuation with BSNL OFC cable was laid up to the plant from the nearest place and SCADA was made online.

Problem Solved

a) In the present situation when the fossil fuels are depleting at a fast rate, solar and other renewable energies are the best alternative for power generation. This plant is producing daily 15000-18000 units energy which is connected to local villages. Since the load center is very close to the plant there is no transmission loss of energy. The power is consumed within a radius of 15 kms from the plant. The village people are able to switch on their pumpsets during day time without power interruption. KPCL has also conducted an awareness camp for the local farmers, women and children on the best utilization of solar power.These people also are educated as how to reduce the power consumption by using CFL instead of incandescent bulbs. b) About 15 villages in Kolar district and 25 villages in Belgaum districts are powered by these solar plants.

Noteworthy

A) The technology used here is PV crystalline which is adopted for the first time in India, for a MW size plant.. B) The power is evacuated through 11KV line which is connected to 33KV substation. This is a unique feature of the plant. C) SPV plant works at unity pf. The system voltage and power factor have improved in the substation. D) This project supplies power mainly to famers during day time which is helpful for irrigation and agricultural activities. E) The plant generates more than 4mu per annum. F) 15 acres of waste land is used for installing the plant. G) Plant is located near the load center, thereby avoiding transmission loss. h)This plant is provided with a SCADA facility which is connected through an internet to a website via satellite. i)CDM:KPCL is availing carbon credits through CDM process for the energy generated from the solar plan in order to make this plant financially viable. j)Speedy execution:The project was connected to grid in a record period of 6 months.

In Detail

1.01 General scheme of plant: 1.02 The general scheme of the Solar Power System shall be a three megawatt peak capacity. Approximately 15 acres will be available for a 3 megawatt installation. The whole installation shall have a minimum of 25 year design lifetime.The Solar Power System shall be offered in equal sub arrays and the system shall comprise the following major equipment: 1.03 Solar Grid connected inverters of 250 kW capacity each shall be used 1.04 Suitable designed connection to the local 11 kV feeder that will be within approximately 500 metres of the site. 1.05 A SCADA / data logging system to enable control and monitoring of the system locally and remotely to be provided. 1.06 The solar modules will be installed on suitable frames with all interconnection cabling. The DC bus voltage will be in the range of 450 to 750 Volts maximum. 1.07 There will be 12 grid connecting inverters. These will be indoor/outdoor type. 1.08 DC supply shall be provided for control and protection systems and other auxiliaries. 1.09 Module mounting structure shall be designed for simple mechanical and electrical installation. It shall support SPV modules at a given orientation, absorb and transfer the mechanical loads to the ground properly. 1.10 The junction boxes will have suitable cable entry points fitted with cable glands of appropriate sizes for both incoming and out going cables or alternatively the modules may be provided with connector cables. 1.11 1250 KVA , 0.415/11 KV ,50 Hz,3 phase Transformers shall be provided to step up the generated voltage to 11 kv . The transformer shall be provided with neutral grounding resistors 1.12 Operational Strategy: 1.13 The SPV shall be utilized to feed power to the feeder line as identified by KPCL. The solar power shall be fed to the grid connect inverter such that the output power can be delivered directly to the feeder line 1.14 The inverters shall automatically turn on and off successively as the available solar irradiation varies over the day. The inverters shall have all the necessary synchronization equipment installed as necessary. The inverters shall also be configurable to operate on three, two or one phase depending on the grid condition at any time. The voltage range shall be -20% to +15%. Capability to do voltage correction will be an advantage. 2.00 SOLAR PHOTO VOLTAIC MODULES The photovoltaic modules are made of mono-crystalline / poly-crystalline silicon solar cells, which are connected in series to give required output. The interconnected cells are laminated in vacuum to withstand adverse environmental conditions. Module technology having high cell efficiency, reduced size, high reliability, with lesser cost shall be used.

Innovation

KPCL has installed 6000MW of power plants consisting of 3500MW of Thermal and 2500MW of hydro plants.Most of the power generated in Karnataka comes from conventional power plants such as hydro and cola based thermal power plants. Solar power plants of 3MW scale in three districts of Karnataka is a new concept for the first time adopted in the country and has proved successful in catering power to the villages. This power generation from each solar plant reduces emission of CO2 to the extent of 4500 metric tonnes per annum. This plant a green energy base plant and contributes to large extent for reducing global emissions. This plant is based on solar photo voltaic technology and makes use of solar radiation for converting to electricity which is a departure from the conventional method of power generation ( hydro and thermal). Semiconductor material based on silicon which are in the form of cells and modules are used for solar panels to produce electricity. This technology is new in our country even though it is common among European countries. The size of 3MWs,grid connection at 11KV and Dc to AC conversion at MW scale are big achievements of this plant

When Introduced

The planning and preliminary construction works of the 3MW plant started during early 2009 and was commissioned in a record period of one year.

Customer Benefits

More than 4 lakh units of energy is generated annually from this plant and the power is utilized in the local areas for irrigation, agricultural activities and flour mill. It has reduced greatly the burden on the gird power during day time thereby saving generation from hydro and thermal plants.

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SPG Solar, Inc.
The Fischer Properties Depot Park Brownfields to Greenfields Project

Description

A brownfield is an abandoned, idled, or under-used industrial and commercial site where expansion or redevelopment is complicated by real or perceived environmental contamination (such as a landfill and hazardous waste/Superfund sites.) SPG Solar, through the deployment of solar power installations, has started the transformation of these brownfields into productive green ventures, utilizing land space that cannot be used for other applications. Specifically. SPG Solars installation at a former military base (Depot Park) in Northern California demonstrates an in-depth solution to a global problem that is becoming of increasing concern for people, governments and industry around the world.

Challenge

SPG Solars deployment of solar energy installations on brownfields addresses these challenges:  Developing productive usage of land that cannot be used for other purposes.  Air quality  Pressure on municipality and government agency budgets  Job creation

Problem Solved

The Fischer Properties Depot Park Project:  Provides a productive use for a hazardous waste siteland that could not be used for other purposes.  Will save more than 3,000 tons of greenhouse gas emissions annually. Produces enough power to meet approximately 40% of the annual electricity needs at Depot Park. Created nearly 100 jobs

Noteworthy

The installation is one of the largest ground mounted-tracking solar projects in California and the only one located at a Superfund Site within a redeveloped military facility. SPG Solar developed this solar installation in cooperation with state, city and municipal officials. Dick Fischer, president of U.S. National Leasing, owner and manager of Depot Park said, "It serves as a shining example of both alternative energy ingenuity and green energy remediation of a previously contaminated brownfield site. It promotes both the state's climate change initiatives and the city's effort to attract green industry businesses to Sacramento." The project typifies the US Department of Energys initiative to turn brownfields into brightfields. Recognizing the potential impact of solar projects like Fischer Properties Depot Park, the DOE reports that if the 15 million acres of brownfield space in the US alone were converted into brightfields it would provide 3 million megawatts (MWs) of electricity.

In Detail

Project Background The 3 megawatt (MW) DC ground mounted single-axis solar photovoltaic (PV) tracking system is located at Depot Park, the site of the former Sacramento U.S. Army Depot in the heart of the Sacramento Southeast industrial district. Depot Park is owned and managed by Fischer Properties affiliate U.S. National Leasing, LLC (USNL) and provides a home for commercial and industrial tenants within 3 million square feet of industrial warehouse, manufacturing, and office space. The project area has been designated as an enterprise zone and redevelopment area by the State of California and a Clean Energy Green Technology Zone by the City of Sacramento. The project is one of the largest ground mounted tracking solar installations in California and the only such installation located at a CERCLA Superfund Site within a redeveloping military facility. System Size 3 MW DC Output Predicted 5,065,000 kilowatt hours (kWh) annually and 119,310,894 kWh over the lifetime, 25 years of the system Characteristics 12,600 solar (photovoltaic) panels mounted on a SPG Solar TTiSunseeker single-axis ground tracking system covering an area of approximately 15 acres.

When Introduced

December, 2010


Key Dates

Nominations open 1st March 2016
Nominations close 6th May 2016
Voting opens 19th May 2016
Voting closes 14th June 2016
Winners informed 15th June 2016
Awards ceremony 22nd June 2016