Inc. announced today that both the single and tandem junction solar photovoltaic
(PV) modules produced by its SunFab™ Thin Film Line have met the stringent
requirements of the International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC) standards
61646 and 61730, certifying that these modules will meet performance and safety
specifications under challenging environmental conditions. The certification
enables Applied's SunFab line customers to accelerate the IEC process,
dramatically reducing time-to-market for their higher-value, fully certified
“IEC certification is recognized around the world as the gold standard
for solar PV,” said Dr. Randhir Thakur, senior vice president and general
manager of Applied Materials' SunFab Thin Film Solar and Display Business
Group. “Achieving this milestone demonstrates our commitment to enabling
our customers' success and validates the performance of our single and
tandem junction technologies and integrated production line processes.”
To be awarded certification, the IEC standards subject PV modules to a series
of harsh tests designed to simulate years of exposure to sunlight, extreme temperatures,
wind and precipitation — factors that can impact long-term reliability.
The IEC 61646 standard for thin film modules tests environmental conditions
and power output, while the IEC 61730 standard mandates additional electrical
and environmental testing to provide assurance of safe operation of a module
throughout its expected lifetime.
The rigorous testing and certification of the SunFab modules was conducted
by TÜV Saarland of Germany, and covers both single junction and higher-efficiency
tandem junction modules in what is currently the most commonly installed size
(1.1m x 1.3m). Module manufacturers can produce four panels of this size from
each 5.7m2 substrate processed by the SunFab line to achieve high production
and cost efficiencies. Certification of full size 5.7m2 modules, which are ideally
suited for utility-scale applications, is expected in the first half of 2009.
The revolutionary Applied SunFab Thin Film Line, announced in 2007, can be
configured with single or tandem junction technology. The line is designed to
rapidly deploy solar manufacturing capacity and achieve the lowest production
cost per watt. Applied is currently ramping customer factories around the globe,
with six customers already producing panels.