Glass washing challenges in thin-film PV production

Published: May 1, 2010

By Eric Maiser, Managing Director, VDMA; Iris Minten, Public Relations/Online Communication, Bystronic glass; Karl-Heinz Menauer, Managing Director, ACI-ecotec; Egbert Wenninger, Head of the Grenzebach Group Glass Technology Sales Division, Grenzebach Maschinenbau

Thin-film module production has proven itself as a forerunner in the race to drive down costs for photovoltaics. The type of semiconductor material used is the most differentiating factor for thin-film photovoltaics, playing the decisive role for determining which core processes are employed and what type of equipment is used. This explains why discussions related to thin-film costs and technologies usually focus on the semiconductor type. However, the effects of glass production, processing and handling are often underestimated: factors such as scaling, yield, unit cost and total cost of ownership of the equipment are defined by the glass-production side of the industry. This paper discusses the challenges faced in glass washing and handling in thin-film PV production.

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