Helping PV cell manufacturers lower the cost of cell production
Solar energy is proving to be a viable solution to the growing demand for clean,
renewable energy generation. Thin-film layer depositions play a key role in the fabrication of efficient solar cells. Bekaert is proud to play an active role in the manufacturing of these solar cells as part of its commitment to the renewable energy markets and a greener environment. Its advanced rotating magnetron technology is currently enabling PV cell manufacturers to move into the volume manufacturing phase in a cost effective way – while at the same time optimizing cell performance.
“To make solar a viable energy option we need to bring down the cost of cells per Watt,” says Koen Staelens, Product Market Manager at Bekaert Sputter Products. He adds: “The use of rotating magnetrons for thin-film deposition is playing a major role in achieving this goal. “Higher target utilization and deposition rates, higher process stability, higher sputter efficiency and reduced coater downtime all combine to bring down the overall cost of PV cell production.”
With more than 550 rotating cathodes and over 4,500 of its magnetrons running around the clock, Bekaert claims a firm leadership role in this market. By offering both innovative hardware and a growing range of high quality targets – specifically developed for the PV market – the company offers its clients a one-stop-shop for both new and existing coating lines. Both hardware and sputter targets are backed up by Bekaert’s worldwide support structure which ensures around-the-clock support from local frontline service teams.
Pushing the boundaries of performance
By working closely with their customers and developing both the sputter hardware and the targets, Bekaert is in the position to push the performance boundaries.
“We work closely with our customers to understand their individual material requirements,” says Staelens. “In many cases our R&D team undertakes in-house sputter testing as well as engineering at customer sites resulting in a customized solution. We are also continuously improving the sputter hardware to deal with different target materials and thickness."
Bekaert's rotatable sputtering solutions at Intersolar
At this year’s show, Bekaert will demonstrate its Compact End Block (CEB), which is ideal for medium-power applications and renowned for its reliability, solid, robust design and outstanding performance. Bekaert will also show its Magnet Bar AMB V3, with its unique cooling concept and optimized magnet architecture, resulting in better sputter uniformity, higher target utilization and superior reproducibility. Also on display will be the latest in its range of rotatable sputter targets, including the one-piece AZO (Zinc Oxide doped with Aluminum oxide) rotatable target, which was successfully introduced recently. All rotatable targets are one-piece targets which ensure a more stable process.
Intersolar North America takes place in San Francisco’s Monscone Center West Hall, San Francisco, California, from July 13 - 15, 2010. Recognized as the premier platform for the solar industry in North America, the combined exhibition and conference focuses on photovoltaics, solar thermal technology and solar architecture. By bringing companies together to form strategic relationships, the show organizers aim to facilitate innovation and prosperity and drive forward the implementation of solar as a significant global energy source.
Bekaert will be present at booth # 9546 with its latest sputter solutions.
Visit the website at http://www.bekaert.com