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Published: March 26, 2016

Q. Which Alconox detergents can best clean glass or metal that has a photovoltaic surface?

 A. Thin film solar module manufacturing requires scrupulously clean substrates in order to optimize the yield of efficient photovoltaic surface.  By optimizing yield, the cost of producing solar electricity can be reduced so that it can reach parity with the cost of producing electricity on the grid as other forms of energy costs rise.

Thin film photovoltaic cells are made by vapor deposition of silicon (Si) or Cadmium/Telluride (CdTe) layers on transparent metal oxide coated glass superstrates; or by vapor deposition of copper, indium, gallium selenide (CIGS) on thin metal film.  In either case, the glass or metal must be clean and free of particulates and oils that will interfere with proper film deposition and electrically isolated solar cell formation.

When glass superstrates are laser scribed to form isolated cells, any particulates on the bare glass or oxide coatings can result in poorly formed scribe barriers that cause short circuits and inefficient performance of the resulting cell.  Substrates must be clean before and after laser scribing.

Detojet detergent is recommended for use in cleaning glass and coated glass substrates before or after laser etching.  Large conveyorized spray and roller brush washing units are used. Citrajet is recommended for metal substrate cleaning.

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