Veeco Instruments Inc. (Nasdaq: VECO), announced the introduction of its FastLine™ platform of Glass Coating Systems, leveraging Veeco's proven PV-Series™ Thermal Deposition Sources. Veeco's new FastLine platform is designed for high throughput, low cost of ownership production of CIGS (copper, indium, gallium and selenium) solar cells.
Piero Sferlazzo, Ph.D., Senior Vice President of Veeco's Solar Equipment business, commented, "Veeco is now the only equipment company offering integrated production-scale solutions for CIGS manufacturing on glass using thermal evaporation sources for the CIGS/absorber layer. Customers can now choose Veeco to provide comprehensive, fully integrated equipment to manufacture CIGS solar cells, whether they choose to use our FastLine systems for glass or our FastFlex™ systems for flexible substrates."
Thermal evaporation, as compared to other deposition methods, produces the highest efficiency thin film solar cells and has the lowest materials costs with high material utilization driving down the manufacturing cost per watt. Veeco's FastLine systems can handle up to thirty 1.1m x 1.4m glass panels/hour. The modular architecture of the system allows customers to scale their output according to their needs.
The U.S. Department of Energy's National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) has claimed a world record for CIGS thin-film solar cell conversion efficiency of 19.9 percent. The conversion efficiency for CIGS is now close to that of multi-crystalline silicon-based solar cells, according to NREL. This achievement was hailed as an important milestone because the efficiency of thin film solar cells is now achieving its goal of matching silicon in performance.