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Solar module production method reduces cost

A process for solar photovoltaic (PV) module production developed by Bystronic Glass and Fraunhofer ISE could reduce production times and cost.

By Kari Williamson

Tobias Neff, Solar Production Manager at Bystronic Glass, says: “The TPledge technology reduces the costs of the module production by 30-40% - at an aspired cycle time of 45 seconds per module line. As a result, the overall costs of a PV module can – depending upon the cost proportion of the solar cells – be reduced by approximately 14%.”

The TPledge solar PV module utilises local fixing of the cell array without lamination and a glass edge sealing. In a test performed at Fraunhofer, 1636 x 985 mm modules were subjected to a mechanical load test up to 2400 N/m2 and a hail impact test with ball speeds of 23 m/s – without detecting any loss in performance.

The simplified modular structure and the new production technology means the wafer-based solar PV module can be produced both quicker and less expensively than standard wafers modules.

“The cell array is locally fixed between two glass plates,” adds Dr Harry Wirth, Head of Group Photovoltaic Modules, Systems and Reliability at Fraunhofer ISE. The utilisation of foils and the association laminating are not necessary.”

The edge sealing is carried out via the application of the thermoplastic material TPS at 130°C, which eliminates the need for an additional aluminium frame.

In series production, the solar PV modules can be made in less than one minute, whereas normally 16 minutes are needed under a standard procedure.

Bystronic and Fraunhofer ISE plan to make 200 of the solar PV modules in 2012 for the facade of a new Institute laboratory.

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Photovoltaics (PV)