Linde to Supply Italy’s First Thin-Film Solar Cell Plant with Environmentally Friendly Gases

27 May 2009 by

Linde Gases, a division of The Linde Group, today announced that it has been awarded the exclusive contract to supply high purity gases to Italy’s first thin-film solar module manufacturing plant. The Moncada Energy Group s.r.l., a leading private producer of renewable energy in Italy, is building the plant in Campofranco (Sicily).

Under this agreement, Linde Gas Italia, a member of The Linde Group, will provide Moncada with turnkey installation of the plant’s bulk and specialty gases supply systems. On an ongoing basis, it will also deliver nitrogen (N2), hydrogen (H2), silane (SiH4) and chamber cleaning gases which are essential to making thin-film solar cells.

“Linde Gas Italia is excited to partner with Moncada to expand Italy's growing infrastructure of renewable energy installations,” said Fabrizio Elia, CEO of Linde Gas Italia. “Our collaboration with Moncada echoes our commitment to deliver innovative environmentally friendly processes, and it also builds on our aim to make solar energy more affordable for mass consumption – at par with the grid.”

Linde was selected based on its proven supply capability and strong global market position in turnkey solutions for thin-film solar module manufacturing. Its established R&D programme, which is focused on reducing production costs and delivering environmentally friendly solutions, was also key to the contract win. Linde has developed a process that can replace the powerful greenhouse gas nitrogen trifluoride (NF3) with pure fluorine (F2), which does not contribute to global warming.

Moncada’s thin-film PV plant in Campofranco, which becomes fully-operational in 2010, will produce large 5.7m2 single junction photovoltaic modules. The facility is expected to have an annual output capacity of 40MWp.

“Moncada’s mission is to enable the environmentally friendly and cost-effective production and installation of solar panels. Linde’s proven technology expertise mirrors our ambition to quickly achieve grid parity in Italy,” said Salvatore Moncada, CEO and founder of Moncada Energy Group. “Partnering with experts from The Linde Group and Applied Materials, Moncada is firmly placed to fuel the boom phase for renewable energy in Italy.”

Linde is the leading supplier of fluorine, producing it on-site, on-demand and at very low pressures. Developed in the late 1990s, this proven technology has been installed at more than 20 semiconductor, LCD and solar cell production sites, including Toshiba Matsushita Display, Samsung, and LG.