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17 April 2013

Singulus presents full equipment range for key CIGS solar panel production steps

At the SNEC’s International Photovoltaic Power Generation Conference & Exhibition (SNEC PV Power EXPO 2013) in Shanghai, China (13-16 May), Singulus Technolgies AG of Kahl am Main, Germany outlined how it is able to provide all relevant production lines and expertise for reducing production costs, increasing cell performance, and enhancing cell output in copper indium gallium diselenide (CIGS) photovoltaic solar module production.

In particular, for developing CIGS solar cells with a 300mm x 300mm substrate size, Singulus now offers a modular cluster-type tool, with which innovative and large-scale implementable production processes for CIGS solar cells can be developed, targeting new process combinations. Many R&D areas are manifesting the demand for such cost-efficient development tools, says Singulus.

CISARIS rapid thermal processing

The CISARIS oven from Singulus is an inline rapid thermal processing (RTP) tool, designed for CIGSSe absorber formation on large-area glass substrates. The process can safely handle thermal processing of large glass substrates of over 1m2 at temperatures up to 600°C under toxic and corrosive gas atmospheres. High heating and cooling rates, combined with what is claimed to be excellent temperature and gas homogeneity during all process stages, are the key factors that allow the formation of an optimal CIGSSe absorber required for the production of high-efficiency solar modules, says Singulus.

CISARIS consists of a handling station, a vacuum-tight process section, and a return conveyor, and is optimized for the mass production of CIS solar modules. CISARIS can provide an annual production capacity of over 25MWp. 

Sputtering systems

Singulus is also offering new processing systems for vacuum coating CIGS thin-film solar cells. The systems respond to the demand in the PV industry for the development and production tools that enhance thin-film solar cell efficiency while cutting production costs, says the firm. For PV technology, Singulus develops and manufactures coating systems that can apply special layers and layer systems on different materials. Also, Inline sputter systems are significant in current thin-film solar cell production, notes the firm.

New wet process equipment for CdS/alternative buffer layers

Singulus also presented a new development for efficient wet-chemical coating of CIGS-on-glass solar modules: the second generation of the TENUIS production line is built on a modular cluster basis and enables both significant savings in floor space and the simultaneous one-side coating of two substrates, says the firm. Singulus offers wet processing systems from R&D use through pilot use to the full production range (60MW, 120MW, 180MW and more).

Due to new and unique concepts in terms of dosing and temperature control, Singulus claims that it has reduced the process time by up to 20%, yielding considerably higher production output.

Inline wet process equipment, etching, cleaning & single-side coating

Singulus says that the modular design of its VITRUM II inline wet process equipment allows easy integration of different process steps according to the requirements of CIGS, amorphous silicon (a-Si) or cadmium telluride (CdTe) technology (etching, rear side and substrate edge etching, cleaning, and single-side coating).

The VITRUM II’s design features similar piping for all liquid circuits and generously dimensioned installation compartments for optimized maintenance, says the firm. Singulus says that the design of the VITRUM GEN 2 improves accessibility for optimized maintenance work in a large installation cabinet. It also offers a high cycle rate and is easy to integrate into existing production lines, the firm adds.

The second-generation VITRUM enables homogeneous, reliable and reproducible etching, claims Singulus. It also features further advantages compared with a dipping bath, such as a higher etch length and concentration, a higher process speed of up to 5m/min, and minimized carryover, it is claimed.

Tags: Singulus CIGS/CIS PV


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