SANTA CLARA, Calif.–(BUSINESS WIRE)–Applied Materials, Inc. has been awarded a milestone contract to provide T-Solar Global S.A. of Spain with Europe’s first thin film solar module production line using ultra-large 5.7m2 (2.2m x 2.6m) glass panels. By scaling to these large-area substrates, the same size used in Generation (Gen) 8.5 flat panel displays, this integrated line can drive down the cost of solar panel manufacturing while doubling rated factory output. For installations such as large commercial rooftops and solar farms – applications that are already growing rapidly as a result of the increased availability of lower-cost thin film solar panels – these ultra-large substrates are expected to enable an additional 25% reduction in the cost of solar electricity.
“We look forward to working with Applied Materials on this vital project,” said Juan Laso, general manager of T-Solar. “This investment, promoted by a consortium of independent investors led by Marcial Portela, with Isolux Corsán construction, engineering and service group as the main shareholder, capitalizes on the rapidly expanding market in Spain for photovoltaic installations. Large-area thin film panels are ideally suited for these open space applications due to their performance in high temperature conditions and cost advantages for large-scale installations.”
T-Solar is expected to produce panels using the thin film production line supplied by Applied by mid-2008. The contract provides that Applied will deliver a fully-integrated equipment line for a solar panel manufacturing facility with a nominal rated capacity of 40 megawatts per year – twice the production size of conventional thin film solar facilities. This line can be configured for end-market product sizes from 1.4m2 to 5.7m2, providing customers with exceptional flexibility.
“We are excited to be part of the first large-scale thin film solar factory in Spain as it leads the way in advancing innovative photovoltaic technology solutions for reducing the cost of electricity,” said Dr. Mark Pinto, senior vice president and general manager of Applied’s New Business and New Products Group. “Based on our extensive experience in providing manufacturing systems for the flat panel display (FPD) industry, we expect similar cost benefits for the solar industry in moving to larger area substrates. Moving from Gen 5 (1.4m2) to Gen 8.5 (5.7m2) panels enabled the FPD industry to reduce capital cost per area by more than 60%.
“Our thin film line will provide T-Solar with state-of-the-art technology and a leading-edge cost advantage that is expected to enable them to accelerate their learning curve and realize a rapid return on investment. No other manufacturer of photovoltaic production equipment worldwide other than Applied is currently in a position to offer a production line for this size of module,” added Dr. Pinto.
Applied Materials, Inc. (Nasdaq:AMAT) is the global leader in Nanomanufacturing Technology™ with a broad portfolio of innovative equipment, service and software products for the fabrication of semiconductor chips, flat panels, solar photovoltaic cells, flexible electronics and energy efficient glass. At Applied Materials, we apply Nanomanufacturing Technology to improve the way people live. Learn more at www.appliedmaterials.com.
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Filed Under: Semiconductor, Materials • advanced