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IRSA Final DR 18/12/09 09:32 Page 22
Optical Inspection
Thin-film solar
Issue VI 2009
for thin-film solar modules in use
Improving efficiency and cost is the holy grail of all PV manufacturers and
this no different for thin film solar manufacturing. With an array of materials
and complex manufacturing procedures it is imperative that manufacturers keep and eye and control over all aspects of the manufacturing process.
ISRA discuss the importance of optical inspection in the production flow
and provide case study details on one of their own products.
hin-film solar cells are playing an environment. The manufacturing process itself can
increasingly important role in the be carried out at low temperatures. The thin-film
photovoltaic industry. Even though the availability of technology makes it possible to connect the solar
the materials used for these kinds of solar cells is cells to solar modules in series. This allows a
practically unlimited, the processing steps during the simplified adaptation of the module voltage.
manufacturing of solar cells are still quite
complicated and require that the quality process be Efficient and precise automatic inspection
monitored one hundred percent of the time. This is The latest developments in this process allow
why it is a good idea to make use of a camera- special coatings made of zinc oxide to be used for
based in-line inspection system after each important thin solar glass. These transparent and conductive
production segment so that it is assured that only layers – also known as TCO – increase the
completely inspected parts that have been found to efficiency of photovoltaic systems by nearly 5%.
be ok continue on to the next processing step. In The size of the glass surfaces being produced is
doing so, the fully automated inspection with 100% becoming larger and in the generation 8.5 are
defect recognition combined with tools for reaching sizes of 2.2 m x 2.6 m. In the process,
processing optimization will maximize the rate of quality inspection requires particular attention to
return of the production equipment. ensure that the high demands placed on the
photovoltaic industry are met. The POWERSCAN
Thin-film solar technology is playing an systems by ISRA VISION offer an efficient and
increasingly more important role when it comes to precise automatic inspection. These systems can
manufacturing solar cells. Solar cells or be integrated into a variety of different processing
photovoltaic cells are electrical components that steps within the process chain. Directly after the
make use of the photoelectrical effect to convert washing sequence for the solar cell raw materials
the radiation energy of sunlight directly into electric and before the high-quality coating sequence, they
energy. One issue that has been contributing to reliably detect typical glass defects and specific
the growing use of this technology is the fact that defects such as shells and breakouts on the
the availability of the materials used, such as edges. Defective material can be discharged
silicon, is practically unlimited. Solar modules are immediately and never reaches the high-quality
made of component parts that are harmless to the coating process.
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