ASE is a member of the international technology collaborative SCHOTT Group. ASE supplies components for almost all photovoltaic and solar thermal applications with fully-integrated production of silicon wafers, solar cells and modules, thin-film modules based on amorphous silicon, and receivers for solar thermal power plants. 50 to 300 watt high-output modules.

Thin film technology involves fixing an active semiconductor film on to the carrier medium (substrate).

The natural semiconductor silicon is the most suitable for thin-film technology. Amorphous silicon has no crystalline structure and so can be vaporized in ultra thin films on glass.

Schott Solar Panels

Schott is another glass maker turned solar panel manufacturer. As mentioned elsewhere on our site, glass makers are ideally positioned to transition into solar panel manufacturers. The similarities between glass making and panel making are quite striking, and they begin at the source of their product.

The source for both glass and solar panels is silicon, which is a material that is fairly abundant on earth. The most common form is silica, or sand. However, for both panel and glass making purposes, silica is not a pure enough form of the element to properly function. The impurities in unrefined sand based glass would cause bubbles, seams, and other visible imperfections. In a solar panel, it would cause electrical instabilities that can end up rendering the entire array non-functional.

That similarity is one of the reasons Schott and other glass makers are so well equipped to manufacture solar panels. They have decades upon decades of experience in purifying silicon to a degree that is necessary for fine glassware. They simply had to hire engineers to turn their purified silicon into panels capable of creating electricity, which is a much smaller investment than trying to vertically integrate a panel manufacturing process from scratch.

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