Enel Green Power readies bifacial solar module factory expansion, set to be largest in Europe

Micromac laser cutter
The microCELL MCS laser cutting system from 3D-Micromac leverages the company’s innovative TLS (thermal laser separation) process for cell separation.

Enel Green Power‘s TANGO 3-Gigawatt (GW) solar plant expansion project is underway at its 3Sun Gigafactory in Catania, Sicily, which is set to become Europe’s largest factory producing high-performance bifacial PV modules. The company just placed a multi-system order with 3D-Micromac AG for its microCELL MCS to handle the high-throughput laser cutting of Enel’s high-efficiency heterojunction solar cells.

The microCELL MCS systems, purchased by Bottero S.p.A., as the engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) contractor for the expansion project. One of the key reasons cited by Bottero in selecting 3D-Micromac is its patented thermal laser separation (TLS) process, which is utilized by the microCELL MCS to provide ablation-free cell cutting – minimizing power losses and providing superior edge quality for heat-sensitive heterojunction cells over traditional laser scribe and break processes.

Since its debut in 2016, more than 16 GW worth of TLS equipment has been installed worldwide.

“3D-Micromac’s microCELL systems are proven in heterojunction solar module and cell manufacturing, and all of our experience from these past installations will be fully utilized to support this major expansion project,” stated Uwe Wagner, CEO of 3D-Micromac. “As the Enel TANGO project shows, the future of the PV industry in Europe is very bright, and 3D-Micromac looks forward to being a strong partner in supporting the growth of the PV market in Europe, as well as around the globe.”

The microCELL MCS laser cutting system has a throughput of more than 6,000 wafers per hour (full-cells) and is capable of cutting mono-crystalline as well as polycrystalline silicon square and pseudo-square wafers ranging in sizes from M2 to M12/G12 into half-cells or shingled cells without compromising throughput or yield.

The system uses 3D-Micromac’s innovative TLS process for cell separation. The ablation-free technique guarantees an excellent edge quality. As a result, separated cells have up to 30 percent higher mechanical strength compared to ablative laser processes and enable a lower power degradation over the solar module’s life cycle. By significantly reducing edge recombination losses and setting the stage for cutting edge passivation, TLS has been shown to achieve a module power gain of at least 2W.

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