Applied Materials Selected by Moser Baer to Deliver Generation 8.5 Thin Film Solar Production Line

March 07, 2007 by Jeff Shepard

Applied Materials, Inc. announced that it has been selected by Moser Baer India Ltd. to develop and install in New Delhi, India, what the companies claim is the world’s first Generation (Gen) 8.5 Thin Film Solar Module Production Line. This first Gen 8.5 line will manufacture photovoltaic (PV) solar modules using ultra-large 5.7m2 substrates (2.2m x 2.6m). These glass panels, which the company claims are four times bigger than today’s largest solar panel substrates, are expected to drive down panel production costs and help reduce the overall cost of solar electricity.

"This contract represents a significant collaboration between companies in the U.S and India to establish the first truly modern solar facility in India using semiconductor manufacturing processes," said Mr. Ravi Khanna, CEO, Moser Baer Photo Voltaic Business. "We are focused on developing and manufacturing innovative products that are intended to significantly reduce electric power and utility costs and provide a cost-effective option for clean renewable energy. In light of its extensive experience in providing process expertise to chipmakers and large area substrate manufacturing technology to the flat panel display industry, we are confident Applied Materials can help us rapidly realize our plan to get to a 200 megawatt factory by 2009."

Applied’s Thin Film Solar Module Production Line is expected to be delivered in the second half of calendar 2007. Applied’s contract with Moser Baer is for a fully-integrated production line including CVD(Chemical Vapor Deposition), PVD(Physical Vapor Deposition), laser scribing, factory software, automation and other supporting technologies required to establish a solar panel manufacturing facility with a rated initial capacity of 40MW per year. Applied’s Gen 8.5 Line is designed for flexibility because production output can be configured for final product sizes from 1.4m2 to 5.7m2. Current thin film production lines are configured for panel sizes limited to dimensions less than 1.5m2.

"This contract heralds Applied’s entry into the delivery of full production lines to solar customers – and signals a critical milestone for the solar industry in the drive to reduce the cost of solar cells by using larger substrates," said Mark Pinto, Senior Vice President and General Manager of Applied’s New Business and New Products Group. "We are excited to have this contract from Moser Baer; their extensive experience in high volume manufacturing will be key to enabling cost reduction. India holds tremendous potential both as a worldwide hub for solar panel production and as an end market for photovoltaic electric power."