New Technology Reduces Cost of Solar Cell Manufacture on SunFab Line

Applied Materials, Inc. announced today that it has significantly lowered the cost for customers to manufacture solar photovoltaic (PV) panels on its SunFab Thin Film Line using its next-generation module technology. Executing on its aggressive cost-cutting roadmap, Applied has leveraged economies of scale with leading suppliers and has introduced key process efficiencies that reduce the cost of materials by 22%. In addition, SunFab panels using these new materials and processes have received IEC certification for aperture area conversion efficiencies of up to 9.7%, enabling customers to advance panel performance to this level without requiring additional certification.

"This achievement demonstrates Applied's ongoing commitment to reducing the cost of manufacturing panels with our SunFab Thin Film Line to $1/watt and below," said Tom Lacey, vice president and general manager of Applied Materials' SunFab Thin Film Solar Group. "Applied Materials has a unique ability to accelerate solar PV through its 5.7m2 panel size standard, innovative technology and line performance improvements, and also through its expanding global SunFab footprint that enables economies of scale by aggregating the needs of multiple customers."

In order to achieve these cost reductions, Applied worked with leading, high-quality materials suppliers on behalf of its customers to secure lower pricing in key raw materials such as transparent conductive glass and laminating films. Applied also engineered and validated more efficient processes that significantly decrease materials consumption.

Applied's receipt of advance IEC certification for panels produced on SunFab lines using this next-generation module package of materials and process changes will help accelerate customers' time to market for their new panels. The IEC certification was awarded to both single and tandem junction modules in all panel sizes by TÜV InterCert, demonstrating that, like the original SunFab panels, modules produced with this next-generation technology can meet performance and safety specifications under challenging environmental conditions.

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