Industry Tradeshow EU PVSEC: New sales potential due to PV production innovations and cross-sector technology transfer

(PresseBox) ( Reutlingen, )
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- Solar energy with Manz CIGS-Technology: unsubsidized and globally competitive
- Significant efficiency increase, lower investment and production costs for PV manufacturers
- Additional revenue potential through successful technology transfer

Manz AG, one of the world's leading high-tech mechanical engineering companies with an extensive technology portfolio for the three strategic business units "Display", "Solar" and "Battery", has introduced technical innovations for the photovoltaic sector, at the end of September on the "Photovoltaic Solar Energy Conference and Exhibition (EU PVSEC)" in Frankfurt . The company is therewith offering solar producers the opportunity to reduce further production costs for cells and modules and increase profitability. In the expected industry upswing Manz also sees great revenue potential for itself.

Early in September, the high-tech engineering company succeeded in boosting the efficiency of CIGS thin film solar modules to an unprecedented record of 14.6% on total module surface. Thanks to this technological breakthrough solar modules produced on the Manz CIGSfab, provide electricity in the future which will cost, depending on the location, only between 4 euro cents (Spain) and 8 euro cents (Germany) per kilowatt-hour This means, the cost of solar power is now at a similar cost level as electricity from fossil power plants and is significantly less expensive than electricity from offshore wind parks. Dieter Manz, company founder and CEO of Manz AG commented as follows: "With the results that we have achieved, solar electricity, even without state subsidies, is now globally competitive with electricity from fossil fuel power plants. Hence, the growth of the solar market is no longer dependent on state financial support. Further, we have significantly reduced investment costs for a CIGSfab through new developments in the process systems area. We are convinced that our technology has the potential to herald a revolution in the solar sector." Thin film solar module production costs amount to only USD 0.55/Wp for a 200 MW system. In the case of production systems in the gigawatt range, the costs can even be reduced below USD 0.40/Wp.

The product range of Manz AG within the thin film production chain is complemented by an innovative vertical vacuum coating system, which Manz also introduced at the EU PVSECV in Frankfurt. This Inline Sputter System (ISS), which functions according to the physical vapour deposition (PVD) principle, enables higher throughput rates with lower maintenance expenditure. The system can also be integrated into existing production lines due to its modular construction, thereby helping PV manufacturers to cut production costs even further. Dieter Manz identifies sales potential not only within the solar industry, however: "Sputter systems can be used not only in the PV industry, but also in other high-tech sectors such as the production of displays, touch panels and OLEDs. We are currently working on a system to produce OLED lighting substrats in an initial customer project. Not only do we prove our innovative leadership in the thin film technology area with the vacuum coating technology that we have presented, but also our successful technology transfer principle within different industries."

Along with this technological breakthrough for CIGS thin film solar modules, Manz AG has presented new production processes for next-generation crystalline solar cells. Manz AG unveiled a fully automated vacuum coating system for the front and rear side passivation of crystalline solar cells at the EU PVSEC in Frankfurt. Here, passivation is achieved in plasma-enhanced chemical vapour deposition (PECVD). The PECVD system coats the silicon wafers' front and rear sides at a throughput rate of 1,200 wafers/hour in a vertical position, and is distinguished by the best possible coating properties. Along with the significant increase of the efficiency of mono- and multi-crystalline solar cells, a further reduction in production costs is also achieved. "With the new PECVD system, we now cover all significant process steps in the production of crystalline solar cells," noted Dieter Manz. He went on to add: "The system can also be integrated seamlessly into existing production lines, thereby allowing solar cell manufacturers to cut production costs, and as a result to improve the profitability of their existing lines. Because that's what it's all about: further reducing costs per watt."

"Overall, we are excellently positioned for the future with the solutions that we have presented in the crystalline solar cell and thin film solar module areas," Dieter Manz went on to note, voicing his conviction as follows: "The next innovation cycle of the solar sector will come – and we will be one of its winners with our innovative product portfolio."
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