Applied Materials’ SunFab aims to revolutionize solar module manufacturing

SunFab can be configured with single or tandem junction technology (Image: Applied Materials)

September 4, 2007 — Applied Materials Inc. has announced its new SunFab thin film manufacturing line, which it says is the world’s first and only integrated line for producing thin film silicon solar modules using 5.7 square meter glass panels. These ultra-large substrates, sized at 2.2m x 2.6m, are four times bigger than today’s largest thin film solar production panels.

According to Applied, the SunFab line defines a new standard that can be replicated by customers around the globe to rapidly establish solar panel manufacturing capacity and achieve the lowest production cost per watt to drive down the cost of solar electricity.

SunFab can be configured with single or tandem junction technology and is designed to produce enough solar modules in a year to generate up to 75 megawatts (MW) of electrical power. Using 5.7m2 panels, the SunFab Line promises to reduce the cost of utility-scale and building-integrated photovoltaic (BIPV) system installations by more than 20%. Applied has already received multiple contracts for its SunFab Thin Film Line from customers in Europe and Asia.

“We’ve built on our years of experience in semiconductor and flat panel display manufacturing to create the solar industry’s first standardized thin film solution for making solar modules using cost-efficient, ultra-large glass panels,” said Dr. Mark Pinto, senior vice president, chief technology officer and general manager of Applied’s Energy and Environmental Solutions group. “With this state-of-the-art thin film production line and Applied’s global service capabilities, we are well-positioned to accelerate the growth of the solar market by providing an unprecedented ‘cost per watt’ through standardization, scale and efficiency.”

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