How to Print 2000 Miles of Solar Cells a Year

You're looking at the Applied Bacini Pegaso—one of the most productive solar cell printing lines on the planet—fabricating electrical circuits on both sides of a solar cell. And by productive, I mean 20 million cells a year, enough to power 10,000 typical US homes.


Two cassettes—each holding 40 Photovoltaic wafers—are loaded into the system every 100 seconds. The Pegaso's wafer-handling mechanism moves wafers between two independent conveyor tracks to optimize output—it can finish a solar cell every 1.2 seconds when running at maximum capacity—where they travel to the screen printer.

There, dual print heads force conductive silver paste through special screens to create micron-level contact lines on the wafer. These print heads can adjust printing parameters "on-the-fly" between wafers. Once they pass an initial wave of inspection, the wafers are flash baked to dry and slightly harden the contact lines before being shuttled to a higher temperature furnace that then fires the metal into the silicon.


After they've cooled, they then undergo a second round of inspections and testing—first through an optical scanner to ensure the contact lines are accurate, then through an IV tester to confirm the power output. The solar cells are then sorted by their level of efficiency in the IV test and packaged for distribution. [Applied Materials]

Monster Machines is all about the most exceptional machines in the world, from massive gadgets of destruction to tiny machines of precision, and everything in between.

You can keep up with Andrew Tarantola, the author of this post, on Twitter, Facebook, or Google+.


Share This Story

Get our newsletter


I looked on the site, but I would love to see some examples of installed systems and their cost along with their energy return. I want solar powering my home, bad.