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Applied Materials, Inc. recently announced that both the single- and tandem-junction solar photovoltaic (PV) modules produced by its SunFab™ thin film line have met the 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 modules.
“IEC certification is recognized around the world as the gold standard for solar PV,” said Randhir Thakur, Ph.D., 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. 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 (1.1 x 1.3 m). Module manufacturers can produce four panels of this size from each 5.7 m2 substrate processed by the SunFab line to achieve high production and cost efficiencies. Certification of full-size 5.7 m2 modules, which are ideally suited for utility-scale applications, is expected in the first half of 2009.
The company’s website is located at www.appliedmaterials.com.