• Our Members

Our Members

Our Supply Chain

Suppliers across the thin-film PV value chain form the backbone of the industry and have been key to technological advances and successes. From raw material production to providing manufacturing tools, equipment and balance of system (BOS) components, thin-film PV suppliers contribute to the continuous and automated production process and help drive down capital costs, increase throughput and improve module efficiencies and reliability.

 

 


Raw Material Supplier


Module Manufacturer


Research & Development



Raw Material Supplier


Equipment Supplier


Equipment Manufacturer


Module Manufacturer


Research & Development



Raw Material Supplier


Equipment Supplier


Module Manufacturer


 

Industry Members

First Solar is a leading global provider of PV solar energy solutions with 25GW sold in more than 35 countries. We design, manufacture and sell PV solar modules with an advanced thin-film semiconductor technology and we develop, design, construct, and sell PV power plants that primarily use the solar modules we manufacture. We provide operations and maintenance (O&M) services; we also provide global recycling services to plant owners that use the solar modules we manufacture. Our power plant offerings decarbonise and diversify the global energy portfolio and reduce the impact of fuel-price volatility. From raw material sourcing through end-of-life module recycling, First Solar’s solar PV modules and systems protect and enhance the environment.

First Solar’s 5GW of installed capacity in Europe produces enough electricity to power more than 1.5 million average homes and displaces nearly 1 million metric tons of CO2 per year.

 

© First Solar

Calyxo GmbH is one of the leading German manufacturers of highly innovative cadmium telluride (CdTe) thin-film solar modules and a supplier of turnkey photovoltaic systems.

Company history

Since its foundation in 2005 at the Solar Valley in Bitterfeld-Wolfen, the company has been growing steadily and currently employs 175 people.

Together with the American parent company Solar Fields, research and rapid further development of the Calyxo CdTe technology are being driven forward. This technology features a huge potential for cost reduction in the field of solar power generation.

© Calyxo

Solibro GmbH is one of the world‘s leading manufacturers of CIGS thin-film modules, with a production capacity of 145 MW. Solibro has headquarters in Thalheim, Germany and a research site in Uppsala, Sweden, both of which work to develop trailblazing solutions for the company‘s CIGS products. Solibro supplies products that are sustainable and cost-effective, with extraordinary aesthetics and top quality “Made in Germany” status.

© Solibro

5N Plus is a Canadian producer of high-purity metals and compounds for electronics including thin-film PV applications. The company is a leading supplier of cadmium telluride (CdTe) as well as gallium, indium, selenium and related compounds which are critical components of thin-film PV technologies. 5N Plus also offers recycling services for the recovery of various metals from industrial byproducts and concentrates for sustainable use in CdTe and CIGS PV modules.

 

@ 5N Plus

Company History

5N Plus derives its name from the purity of its products which are more than 99.999 % pure (5 nines or 5N+). 5N Plus was founded in Montréal, Canada in 2000 by former-ANRAD Corporation (formerly Noranda Advanced Materials) employees led by Jacques L’Écuyer who decided to start their own company through a management buy-out of certain assets. In 2007, 5N Plus began constructing a manufacturing facility in Eisenhüttenstadt, Germany, ideally suited for the production and recycling of products for the solar industry. Today, 5N Plus is a leading producer of specialty metal and chemical products for the thin-film PV industry. The company employs nearly 700 people worldwide and operates manufacturing facilities and sales offices across Europe, the Americas and Asia.

© 5N Plus

Oxford PV is based in Oxford (UK) and near Berlin (Germany) and is the pioneer and technology leader in the field of perovskite solar cells.

Commercial size perovskite-silicon solar cell

The company is commercialising perovskite-silicon tandem solar cells. This technology can be built into standard PV modules and generates significantly more energy with a lower cost, than conventional silicon PV. 

Oxford PV is building a volume production line at the company’s factory in Germany. The production line equipment is being supplied by Meyer Burger – a leading photovoltaic equipment supplier. 

Oxford PV’s first commercial product is expected in the market mid-2021.

Company history

Oxford PV was established in 2010 as a spin-out from Professor Henry Snaith’s lab at the University of Oxford. 

In 2014, the company's focus moved to perovskite-silicon tandem solar cell research, and in 2017, the first industry-sized perovskite-silicon tandem solar cell was produced. 

Today, Oxford PV has the largest team globally, exclusively focused on developing and commercialising a perovskite-based solar cell technology, with over 300 related patents. 

Investors include Equinor, Legal & General Capital, Goldwind, and Meyer Burger.

Oxford PV’s perovskite-silicon tandem solar cell technology has achieved a certified efficiency of 28%, and its efficiency roadmap extends to the mid-30s.

© Oxford PV

Saule Technologies develops innovative solar cells based on perovskite materials. It has pioneered the use of ink-jet printing for the production of flexible, lightweight, ultrathin, and semi-transparent photovoltaic modules. The use of perovskite materials allows Saule Technologies to inkjet-print solar cells on basically any surface which can produce energy even when the exposure to light is limited.

© Saule technologies - Lightweight and semi-transparent perovskite solar module

 

Saule Technologies aims to make solar power accessible to everyone and believes it can achieve this by offering low-cost products on a global scale.

 

Saule Technologies was conceived in 2013, when a young PhD student at the University of Valencia in Spain, Olga Malinkiewicz, invented a unique method to produce solar cells by coating perovskites on flexible foils. Olga soon realised that her breakthrough could impact the world on a massive scale, but that she couldn’t do it alone. Luckily, she met Piotr Krych and Artur Kupczunas and together, they officially started Saule Technologies.

 

Since then, Saule Technologies has continued to develop perovskite applications. In 2016, it created the first real-life application of perovskite solar cells - a mobile phone charger that operates under artificial light. This was closely followed by further innovations such as an A4, flexible, perovskite solar module inkjet printed on an ultrathin plastic foil, and an A4 semi-transparent perovskite module. These developments allowed Saule to sign industrial contracts with big players - such as Skanska and Ergis - and initiate product development. In a short period of time, the efficiency of solar modules improved beyond 10 %, and the first BIPV demonstrator was installed already by the end of 2018. In 2019, the main focus was on developing the first ever production line in the world that is capable of ink-jet printing perovskite solar modules – up to an area of 1 m2.  In 2020, Saule is planning to release the first industrial sized modules aiming at IoT applications.z

Solliance Solar Research, with locations in the Netherlands, Belgium and Germany, plays a leading role in the worldwide research and development of thin-film solar technology. Solliance Solar Research is a joint collaboration between industrial, R&D institutional and academic partners and was founded with the aim to combine forces in research on the next generation, thin-film solar cells.

 

Solliance Solar Research works, amongst others, in enabling seamless integration of thin-film solar on every surface, including buildings and transport. The main Solliance labs have approximately 5000 square meters of lab and pilot production space, hosting semi-industrial test facilities for the production of thin-film PV modules as well as advanced testing and characterisation tools. Science and industry come together to develop and further improve production processes.

Company history


Solliance Solar Research was founded with the support of the Dutch Province of North-Brabant in 2010 by the former ECN (Energy research Centre of the Netherlands, since 2018 part of TNO), TNO (Dutch Organisation for Applied science), the Eindhoven University of Technology and Holst Centre and was soon strengthened further with the Belgian imec (Interuniversity Microelectronics Centre), German ForschungsZentrum Jülich, the Belgian University of Hasselt and the Dutch Universities of Delft, Twente and Groningen. Last ten years, over 130 companies joined and reinforced Solliance Soar Research to play a significant role in global research into the solar technology of the future.

 

© Solliance Solar Research

NICE Solar Energy is a joint venture established by the National Institute of Clean and Low Carbon Energy (NICE) of China Energy Group, Shanghai Electric Group, Manz AG, and Beijing Future Science Park.

 

This JV was settled through the acquisition of Manz CIGS Technology GmbH (MCT, formerly known as Wuerth Solar) and sealed the decision to push and accelerate the further development of CIGS (copper-indium-gallium-selenide) technology. This German subsidiary in Schwabisch Hall, now operating as NICE Solar Energy GmbH, actively pursues its R&D activities based on outstanding expertise gathered from more than 25 years in the field of CIGS technology. Meanwhile, a second pilot production line with capacity of 44 MWp/a will operate in Beijing to support and accelerate developments and thus enhance the full technological potential of CIGS.

 

By integrating Chinese and German resources, NICE Solar Energy has built an international R&D technical team led by highly talented and passionate CIGS experts. The foundation of two CIGS R&D centers in Germany and in China (NICE Solar Energy Co., Ltd.) has enabled NICE Solar Energy to significantly accelerate R&D and establish its evolution into a global leading research institution for CIGS thin-film technology, covering areas ranging from R&D of cells to mass production of CIGS modules.

 

NICE Solar Energy focuses on the advancement of CIGS technology and promotes the continuous improvement of photoelectric conversion efficiency of CIGS solar modules by optimising the production process, improving yield, and reducing production costs. The company has gained extensive experience in the development of Building-Integrated Photovoltaic solutions (BIPV), large-scale PV power plants, and PV application systems, and proactively seeks and identifies development opportunities. Based on its exclusive strategic partnership with ZSW, a well-known European R&D institution, NICE Solar Energy has become a world leader in CIGS solar cells, reaching a laboratory conversion efficiency with its R&D partner ZSW Stuttgart of 22.6%. This successful partnership led to the achievement of a new world record for CIGS module efficiency of 17.6% in December 2019 realised in is line in Schwabisch Hall.

 

Backed by the support and resource advantages of the majority shareholder China Energy Group and the other shareholders, NICE Solar Energy benefits from international cooperation in the fields of technology, equipment, raw materials, and CIGS solar applications such as BIPV. This strengthens its efforts to advance the industrialisation of CIGS technology in China.

 

© NICE Solar Energy HQ Schwäbisch Hall, Germany

Von Ardenne is an industry-leading coating equipment manufacturer based in Dresden, Germany. The company supplies highly productive inline coaters in all customary sizes for TCO layers, backside contacts and semiconductor layers based on CIS or CdTe. VON ARDENNE’s high-speed coating and deposition equipment has played a crucial role in enabling the thin-film PV industry to grow rapidly.  VON ARDENNE’s magnetron sputtering technology enables the even and precise deposition of semiconductor materials onto sheets of glass or other large-area substrates and ensures both a high manufacturing throughput at optimised costs and consistently high quality.

 
Von Ardenne’s magnetron sputtering technology “sputters” the coating material (known as the target) by bombarding it with positive gas ions in a medium vacuum. The coating material particles evenly condense onto the substrate as a continuous thin-film.
 
VONARDENNE PIAnova Glass Coating System

© VON ARDENNE Corporate Archive

 
Company history

VON ARDENNE GmbH was founded in 1991 as a spin-off company of the former Dresden-based Manfred von Ardenne Research Institute. Manfred von Ardenne was a German physicist who developed the world’s first fully electronic television in 1930. Since its inception, von Ardenne’s Research Institute focused on practical research and development projects that could make the biggest economic impact and be directly applied to the production line. VON ARDENNE GmbH carried the institute’s technological principles to the manufacturing line where it develops and manufactures industrial equipment for vacuum coatings on substrates such as glass, wafers, metal strip and polymer films. Today, VON ARDENNE is the leading provider of glass coating systems and equipment for thin-film PV, with more than 650 employees worldwide.

 

VONARDENNE Production Site Dresden Weissig

© VON ARDENNE Corporate Archive

LPKF is a German manufacturer of thin-film PV laser and mechanical structuring tools. LPKF’s high precision high speed laser scribing technology enables cost-effective industrial-scale thin-film PV production. During manufacturing, laser scribes are used to monolithically interconnect the individual solar cells and improve the efficiency of thin-film PV modules through better area utilisation and minimal area losses. LPKF’s laser scriber enables parallel lasers to simultaneously deliver multiple structures, allowing for maximum manufacturing throughput and low production costs.

Company History

LPKF Laser & Electronics AG was founded in 1976 in Garbsen, Germany. LPKF originally began developing and manufacturing precision machines and technologies for the production of circuit board prototypes. Today, LPKF is one of the world’s leading companies in laser micromaterial processing and its laser systems are used in the electronics and automobile industries, medical and plastics technology and in the production of thin-film solar cells.  LPKF operates globally with approximately 780 employees.

 

LPKF1

@ LPKF

Grenzebach manages the entire process of fully automating solar production plants – from factory simulation to installation and commissioning. The company’s expertise lies in the highly precise and gentle treatment of sensitive substrates. This concept also applies to fully automated solutions for the mirrors used in solar-thermal power plants (CSP) and concentrator module manufacturing (CPV). Grenzebach specialises in applications featuring precise and delicate joining with ac-curacies down to 20 µm, contact-free handling and advanced inspection systems. ISO 5 clean environment, SEMI and UL are standard at Grenzebach. Worldwide, more than 40 Grenzebach thin-film lines have been installed for CIGS and CdTe technologies. The portfolio ranges from conveyance and buffering technology to in-house developed MES systems.

Front end

The front end of the line produces the substrate. In addition to tracking the substrate ID, the temperature and cleanroom parameters are monitored. The state-of-the-art inspection systems ensure a high-quality standard. Storage systems for interim buffering at the coating and structuring processes in-crease the overall throughput through the front end.

Back end

In the back end of line, the module is produced from the individual substrates. Laser edge deletion, film unwinding, pairing, film trimming, and J-Box installation are key processes of the back end. Tailored back rail applications, as well as packaging and warehouse systems, complete the back-end product range.

 

Grenzebach Solar Roboter 2

© Grenzebach

Coating

To support the high-volume production of any of the present thin-film PV technologies Grenzebach supplies large area sputter deposition tools. The main targeted product technologies are back- and front contact coatings including various metal, transparent conductive oxides (TCO – e.g. AZO, ITO, GZO) and absorber layers for e.g. CIGS and CdTe manufacturing lines. All deposition tools employ PVD coating technologies (physical vapour deposition) and are tailored according to  customer needs. The combination of a tailor-made solution based on industrial proven high-volume production tools assures utmost high yield and quality of the coating line.

Company History

Grenzebach Maschinenbau GmbH was founded in 1920 as a family-owned agricultural machine repair shop located in the small village of Hamlar, Germany.  In the 1970s, Grenzebach developed the world’s first processing systems to fully automate the float glass production process and went on to become the world’s leading production line automation specialist. Today, Grenzebach is a global company with 1,500 employees and seven production lines across three continents.

 

Grenzebach Solar Roboter 3

© Grenzebach

Share on twitter
Share on linkedin
Share on facebook