Building 100% Automation Equipment in All Processes to Produce PV module -- Solar Park Korea is a company established on the basis of Inmaek Co., Ltd. a manufacturer of automation equipment. Born in 2007 on the basis of automation equipment technology of Inmaek accumulated for more than 30 years, Solar Park Korea built 100% automation equipment in all processes to produce PV module by investing approximately USD 40 million. Cooperating with Solar World AG, Germany, the global maker of PV module, it produces the PV module of the highest quality by combining the know-how with automation equipment.
The base of automation system know-how accumulated for more than 30 years
As the embryo of Solar Park Korea, Inmaek Co., Ltd is a company established in 1981 and specialized in the area of ‘Automation Robot System’ of high quality. Keeping partnership with leading Korean large enterprise for some 30 years, it is supplying automation production equipment to the production facilities of LCD/TV/air-conditioner/refrigerator, etc. It has supplied some 2,450 Inmaek automation systems to overseas plant of domestic companies in 22 countries including Europe, USA, Japan, China, etc. A staff of Solar Park Korea said “Thanks to the automation system of high quality shown by Inmaek, we have been able to keep close relation with domestic large companies which are currently known as global business. The experience and know-how accumulated for 30 years are the fundamental on which Solar Park Korea could be established.”
Solar Park Korea was established on the basis of designing, building and operating PV power plant in Gochang, Korea in 2007. Gochang Solar Park, a power plant in the scale of 15MW was completed in 2008. Planning to build module plant in Asia in 2008, Solar World AG established Solar World Korea, a J/V company of 50:50 when constructing Gochang Solar Park as it made much of the tie to sell module of Solar World AG and the full automation technology for 30 years. Then, it completed the 1st plant of Solar World Korea in December, 2008. Acquiring the production capacity of 250MW in 2009, the 1st plant commenced mass production, the quantity of which was mostly exported to Solar World AG Germany.
Assuming the share of Solar World AG, Germany in 50% invested to Solar World Korea in July 2011, Solar Park Korea possessed share in 100% to become independent as genuine Korean company. Then, the company name was changed to Solar Park Korea. As the 2nd plant was completed in April, 2012, the production line was extended to 300MW. Adding the 1st and 2nd plant of the full automation of the highest level in the world, the production capacity of crystalline silicon PV module amounts to 550MW, the largest scale in the country. Further, Solar Park Korea plans to extend the scale of plant up to more than 2GW by 2015.
Plan to possess full automation plant and to extend the production capacity to 2GW
The merit of Solar Park Korea is to carry on main process that decides module quality in full automation. It is the own technology of this company that automates interconnection process which connects bus bar & junction box/frame attaching process. All processes can trace when, how and with which raw materials each individual product is produced through ‘MES(Manufacturing Execution System)’. ‘EL’ is inspected in 2 steps before/after lamination process to completely prevent micro crack that potentially lowers output. Further, process is inspected at each step to produce the products of consistent and high quality, e.g., inspection of imported raw materials, ‘String’ inspection, inspection of micro crack through ‘EL’, inspection before and after laminating, output inspection and forwarding inspection. Especially, whether ‘String’ is exactly attached is inspected through ‘Cell’ inspection and ‘String Vision’ by ‘Cell Vision’ at the production step of ‘String’. The reliability of product is enhanced by performing ‘EL’ inspection before and after laminating.
To ensure reliable quality, ‘Damp Heat’ test has been performed in the condition more rigorous than IEC standard by 3 times for 25 years, ‘Wet Leakage’ test is performed independently and all modules are tested in the condition more rigorous than IEC standard, namely they are wholly immersed in the tank filled with water instead of spraying water with sprayer, the IEC standard. LPE is also maintained and controlled by Solar Park Korea below 1% on the basis of 72 cells. Further, all production processes are thoroughly separated from laminating room & post process room and isolated by ‘Clean Room’ to prevent contact with foreign substances such as dust, powder, etc. The staff of this company stressed the excellence of automation by saying “If touching cell before lamination process, the possibility of potential defect which cannot be visually checked will be very high. Further, the uneven soldering may reduce the output."
Ensuring price competitiveness with the product of high quality and the highest production technology
The produced modules were mostly supplied to Solar World AG and sold in the market at premium price. Although they were sold well in 2008~2009, the up phase of PV industry, irrespective of module quality, quality was constantly controlled to sell products at high price instead of selling large quantity.
A staff of Solar Park Korea told “Solar World module showed the best performance in the output test managed by Photon magazine for 2 consecutive years in 2008 and 2009.” Then, he added “We can make the best module compared to our competitors by using cell in the same grade due to Assembling Technology instead of cell.” Further, he emphasized, “Since Assembly Technology is the most significant factor in module output, Solar Park Korea attained the highest quality by rigorous quality control of Germany accumulated so to full automation."
Solar Park Korea is currently striving to find new market with strategy to deliver the product of high quality to customer at the competitive price supported by the highest Assembly Technology.
A staff of company said “Some 98% of main customers of Solar World Korea are in Europe including Germany, Italy, Bulgaria, etc. As Solar Park Korea becomes independent, it is making best effort to find new market in Europe and USA.” Meanwhile, Solar Park Korea is implementing 10-years product warranty and 25-years output warranty for the produced module. Further, it is trying to contract insurance with German insurer, ‘Munich RE’. The coverage of insurance is all products produced in the plant of Solar Park Korea. Needless to say, products produced under OEM/ODM are also included. As the plant was evaluated to be the best plant within top 3 among all 100 customers of ‘Munich RE’ by actual investigation and evaluation of the plant, exceptionally low premium rate is expected to be applied on the basis of such evaluation. A staff of Solar Park Korea added, “The insurance of Munich RE is a way to compensate customers for any problem or accident of our products in the context of car insurance."
Devote to the Production of Genuine Module
Many Korean and overseas PV module makers are producing wafer and cell. Recently, they tend to diversify businesses to project development and ‘EPC’. However, the policy of Solar Park Korea is to devote to the production of genuine module. A staff of company said, “We can consider investment in kind when participating in project depending on market trend. However, we will devote to the production of PV module of the best quality in the world by concentrating on the production of module.” The most significant matter of PV module is the basic principle of keeping products of the highest performance for 25 years.
The PID test of TUV SUD for single and multiple crystalline modules
Solar Park Korea, a company of renewable energy specialized in the production of PV module, announced that its module successfully passed the PID (Potential Induced Degradation) test of TUV SUD(German Technology Inspection Association), the international certifier of safety standard.
PID test is to test potential degradation of performance to keep the performance of module for 25 years. In PID test, the main test item is to measure degradation of PV module output under severe environment (high voltage, high temperature, and high humidity). Especially, PID is the most significant factor among the claims raised by customers where PV module is installed. As power is reduced by more than 50%, it is recognized as serious issue by PV Generation Company. The PID test of Solar Park Korea was done by PIB(Photovoltaic Institute Berlin), the reputed PV(Photovoltaic) tester of Germany.
The rapid degradation of performance or inability to generate electricity of modules installed 10~20 years ago frequently occur in many places in Japan and Germany, the advanced country of PV. Especially, PV panel exposed to high humidity suffers serious reduction of performance. As the global PV makers obliged to warrant quality for 25 years are in difficult situation like bankruptcy, it is doubtful whether the installed module can keep performance for 25 years. Thus, the numerical value of durability test of module for PID phenomenon becomes very important checking items for consumers buying PV module. As a result, PID test emerges as important solution and preventive measure.
To measure the durability of PID, PV module is tested as it is exposed to the environment with high voltage of 1,000 volt, high temperature of 60 degree and relative humidity of 85% for 96 hours. If the output of PV module measured at the beginning and end of test varies by more than 5%, it does not pass the test. This PID test is done for 5 Solar Park Korea PV modules (2 modules of 60 cells single crystalline silicon PV, 3 modules of 60 cells multi crystalline silicon PV). The test result was delivered by TUV SUD on September 26 and all tested modules were classified as ‘A’ grade quality. Further, no output degradation was found in the final measurement, showing the highest level of 0%.
To warrant quality for 25 years, Solar Park Korea uses excellent raw materials with durability against PID and product of constant quality is produced by total process automation. Further, quality is strictly controlled in the production with 7 equipments and 7 inspectors visually inspected them in details. Especially, the 4 reliability inspection is internally tested at the condition more rigorous than international standard by 3 times, PID test was successfully completed.
With respect to this matter, the CEO of Solar Park Korea, Chairman Park Hyun Woo said “Solar Park Korea is much satisfied with this test result. Considering that this PID test is very significant, our quality department performed own PID test of module to ensure good result. The production process automated in 100% further elevates the completion level of Solar Park Korea module and warrants constant production of product of high quality. Such fully automated production system is the base for our module to pass this test. Solar Park Korea always strives to provide product of high quality to meet the reliance of customers."
About Solar Park Korea:
Having production capacity of 600MW, Solar Park Korea, a PV(Photovoltaic) module maker has its head office and plant in Wanju, Jeollabuk-do province and business office in Gangnam, Seoul, Korea. Established on the experience to produce automatic production equipment for 25 years, the R&D department and laboratory of Solar Park Korea always monitor production line to prevent abnormality of production system and to push forward the development of their own technology.