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Applied drives down cost of solar module production

Posted: 05 Sep 2007 ?? ?Print Version ?Bookmark and Share

Keywords:solar module production? Applied SunFab Thin Film Line? glass pane?

Applied Materials has introduced the Applied SunFab Thin Film Line, claimed to be first and only integrated production line for manufacturing thin-film silicon solar modules using 5.7m? glass panels.

These ultralarge substrates, sized at 2.2m x 2.6m, are four times bigger than today's largest thin film solar production panels. The Applied SunFab Line defines a new standard for the industry that can be replicated by customers around the globe to rapidly establish solar panel manufacturing capacity, and achieve the lowest production cost per watt to drive down the cost of solar electricity.

The Applied SunFab Line can be configured with single or tandem junction technology and is designed to produce enough solar modules in a year to generate up to 75mW of electrical power. Using 5.7m? panels, the SunFab Line can reduce the cost of utility-scale and building-integrated photovoltaic system installations by more than 20 percent, the company said.

In addition, the Applied SunFab Line's smart design can deliver leading-edge solar manufacturing capability, using the advanced engineering, process equipment, diagnostics, automation and emissions abatement systems. Applied adapted its production-proven CVD and PVD process systems to build the most critical layers of the module, including its market-leading PECVD system that processes 5.7m? glass substrates for the flat-panel display industry.

"We've built on our years of experience in semiconductor and flat panel display manufacturing to create the solar industry's first standardized thin film solution for making solar modules using cost-efficient, ultra-large glass panels," said Mark Pinto, senior VP, chief technology officer and general manager of Applied's energy and environmental solutions group. "With this state-of-the-art thin film production line and Applied's global service capabilities, we are well-positioned to accelerate the growth of the solar market by providing an unprecedented 'cost per watt' through standardization, scale and efficiency."

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