ersol & SCHOTT Solar Forge Alliance For Joint Development Of Micromorphous Thin-Film Technology

February 05, 2008 by Jeff Shepard

ersol Thin Film GmbH, a subsidiary of ersol Solar Energy AG (ersol), and SCHOTT Solar GmbH, have concluded a cooperative agreement under which they will jointly develop micromorphous technology for thin-film solar cells.

The two companies will be combining their resources in the area of research and development with the aim of achieving faster product maturity and hence a leading market position in micromorphous solar modules. The companies expect that substantial advantages can be anticipated from the merging of development activities in a location-independent project, e.g. shorter time-to-market for new products with optimized use of development resources.

"Both companies – SCHOTT Solar und ersol Thin Film – will profit from this research alliance. We are anticipating a market lead of both partners in micromorphous thin-film modules based on our proven amorphous silicon technology," stated Dr Martin Heming, Managing Director of SCHOTT Solar GmbH.

Both ersol Thin Film and SCHOTT Solar have already begun with the market launch of amorphous thin-film technology in the 1.4 sqm Gen 5 format. SCHOTT Solar has been successfully marketing SCHOTT ASI® thin film modules for a number of years. ersol Thin Film markets its amorphous modules under the brand name Nova®-T series. Parallel to this, the company will now be pushing ahead with the development of micromorphous technology as the "next generation of silicon-based thin-film technology". Deposit plants already existing for amorphous production permit conversion to the manufacture of microcrystalline cells.

In the event that the project is a success, the preliminary work already performed will enable the development alliance to become one of the first companies to market this new technology in Europe as a product. In contrast to the simple amorphous version, the micromorphous thin-film module has a double-layer structure consisting of an amorphous and a microcrystalline silicon film. The arrangement results in improved exploitation of sunlight, because the two silicon layers convert the whole light spectrum into power.

"We believe that this so-called micromorphous tandem cell can achieve up to 50 % increase in module efficiency, and therefore also in the module yield in comparison to amorphous technology," explained Dr. Christian Koitzsch, Managing Director Technology of ersol Thin Film GmbH.