Intevac books PVD equipment order from Tier-1 manufacturer

The adoption of high efficiency cell technologies is continuing deliver orders to diverse PV equipment suppliers, with the latest announced order coming from America’s Intevac. The Santa Clara-based firm will supply an unspecified number of PVD tools for the production of, what it describes as, “advanced silicon solar cell designs.”

While Intevac does not name the manufacturer to which it will supply the tooling, it is clear that a number of large cell and module producers are adopting and increasing manufacturing capacity for a range of next-generation deposition technologies for the manufacturer of PERC, heterojunction or IBC PV cells. These manufacturers include SunPower from the U.S., Japan’s Kyocera, Korea’s LG Solar and Hanwha Q Cells and Germany’s SolarWorld.

U.S. lease provider SolarCity is another interesting entrant to the manufacturing space, with the company currently placing orders for high efficiency cell production, for its acquired Silevo technology, for a manufacturing site in Buffalo, New York. pv magazine understands that a number of large equipment orders for cutting edge cell equipment has been placed with a number of suppliers.

“The MATRIX PVD system order we are announcing today from yet another Tier-1 solar cell manufacturer demonstrates the significant progress we have made in our Thin film equipment growth strategy,” said Intevac’s president and CEO Wendell Blonigan. “We are leveraging Intevac’s production-proven capabilities in our core technologies, in this case our PVD sputtering technology, and extending those capabilities into adjacent markets.”

Blonigan’s statement reflects a wider equipment trend in that thin film equipment suppliers are developing processes and tools that equally can be applied to c-Si cell manufacturing. One such company is Germany’s Von Ardenne that, having supplied First Solar with deposition technology for many years, is attempting to increase its supply of the c-Si market with its XEA|nova tool.

Intevac says that its Matrix platform has a carrier system that can work with a variety of substrate sizes and can perform double sided deposition, both horizontally and vertically, without breaking vacuum.

The timeline for delivery of this most recent order has not been announced.