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Building-integrated photovoltaics for facades

Photovoltaics for facades

In addition to manufacturing solar collectors, Schuco's thin-film photovoltaic modules now brings it closer to making building-integrated photovoltaics a permanent feature of building facades.

Germany's Federal Minister of Economics Dr Karl-Theodor zu Guttenberg gave the official go-ahead for Malibu and Co KG's production plant to begin manufacturing novel solar thin-film modules in Sulzetal (Osterweddingen) near Magdeburg.

Malibu and Co KG is a joint venture, with E.ON AG and Schuco International KG.

At the thin-film production plant installed here by Applied Materials, PV modules can be manufactured from especially large glass panels up to 5.7m (2.20 x 2.60m) in size.

As a result, the costs for producing solar modules are lower and the production efficiency is enhanced considerably.

The plant has an annual capacity of 40MW.

Thin-film solar cells is a pioneering technology.

Amorphous silicon is utilized in thin-film cells.

Therefore - in contrast to conventional mono- and polycrystalline cells - layer thicknesses of just a few micrometers are sufficient for a solar cell and an efficiency of around 7 per cent can be achieved at present.

Consequently, substantial amounts of expensive raw materials can be saved.

The 5.7m-large modules with an output of up to 460W per module are suited for use as a facade element.

Such modules are also being used increasingly in large installations, as the now completed initial building phase of the E.ON's first solar park in Le Lauzet in southern France shows.

In the future, solar energy will be able to be tapped worldwide in entirely new dimensions.

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