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Survey of thin film photovoltaics in Germany

: Sittinger, V.; Diehl, W.; Szyszka, B.

Society of Vacuum Coaters -SVC-, Albuquerque/NM:
Society of Vacuum Coaters. 52nd Annual Technical Conference 2009. Proceedings : May 9-14, 2009, Santa Clara, CA USA
Albuquerque: SVC, 2009
ISBN: 978-1-878068-29-3
Society of Vacuum Coaters (Annual Technical Conference) <52, 2009, Santa Clara/Calif.>
Fraunhofer IST ()

Within the scope of limited non-renewable energy sources and the restricted capacity of the ecosystem for greenhouse gases and nuclear waste, sustainability is one important target for the future. Different energy scenarios show the huge potential of the photovoltaic at solving energy problems.
Accordingly, during the last decade PV had an average growth rate of over 45% per year. In 2008 the world-wide production of solar cells has grown to 7.9 GW [1]. And more than 12% of the recent production involves thin film technologies. These technologies have a high potential for cost reduction. The so called second generation of thin film solar cells based on a-Si:H/µc-Si:H, Cu(In,Ga)(Se,S)2 or CdTe have material thicknesses of a few microns as a result of their direct band gap. The possibility of monolithic circuit integration offers an additional cost reduction potential as well as the use of large areas. Additional short energy pay back time is given. Above, new products e.g. flexible solar cells are possible. Nowadays roughly 150 companies are working in this field. Especially in Germany there are many companies focusing on thin film solar cells. Some of them have already started mass production.
Schott Solar GmbH and Ersol Thin Film GmbH (takeover by Bosch GmbH) with the a-Si technology are collaborating in the development of a-Si/µ-Si tandem technology. The US company First Solar produces in Germany using the CdTe technology and the company, Roth & Rau will offer turn key lines for this technology in the near further. Würth Solar GmbH is using the Cu(In,Ga)Se2 technology. There are further varying production lines under construction by companies for example at Avancis, Sulfurcell, Johanna Solar, and Solarion GmbH. Furthermore, the previously biggest company in the world wide solar market QCells started up different subsidiary companies for applying all these technologies (Sontor, Calyxo, Solibro). The company centrotherm build up the first 50 MW turnkey lines. And still, there are many companies even starting to ramp up production lines. An overview of the research activity in different companies and with different thin film technologies will be given as well as different manufacturing and production processes.