6 April 2010


AZUR wins Solar Power Industry Growth Leadership Award from Frost & Sullivan 

Based on its recent analysis of the solar power industry, Frost & Sullivan has recognized AZUR SPACE Solar Power GmbH of Heilbronn, Germany with the ‘2009 World Solar Power Industry Growth Leadership Award’, which is presented each year to the firm that has demonstrated excellence in capturing the highest annual compound growth rate for the last three years.

Starting as a part of Telefunken GmbH in 1964, AZUR SPACE provides high-performance silicon and gallium arsenide solar cells for first space applications and latterly also terrestrial applications. The firm introduced silicon solar cells for space applications in Europe in 1964 as well as multi-crystalline silicon solar cells worldwide in 1974, and developed the first fully automated production line using screen-printing technology in 1983. It also introduced 18%-efficient silicon solar cells in 1986, followed by GaAs solar cells in 2001. AZUR SPACE claims to be the sole producer of GaAs solar cells in Europe (and one of only three worldwide), and has equipped more than 360 satellites with its solar cells.

“The company’s cell production for satellite application ranges from the standard silicon cells to the very high efficiency GaAs cells with more than 30% efficiency in space that includes not only protection diodes but also maximized end-of-life efficiency and power-to-weight ratios,” says Frost & Sullivan research analyst Suchismita Das. “The range of Si cells produced by AZUR SPACE also includes highly specialized ones for deep space missions.” 

At present, only triple-junction cells of the gallium indium phosphide (GaInP)/GaAs/Ge kind are in production, used not only for space applications but also for custom-designed terrestrial concentrated PV (CPV) systems.

Currently, 38%-efficient solar cells for terrestrial CPV applications are in production. However, AZUR SPACE is leveraging its close ties with the Fraunhofer Institute for Solar Energy Systems ISE in Freiburg, Germany to develop and launch 40%-efficient CPV cells for terrestrial applications next year. In the longer term, 50%-efficient cells should be possible, which will result in about 35% AC overall system efficiency, reckons the firm.

AZUR SPACE produces its Si and GaAs cells in an integral fabrication plant with a production area of 4500m2 and an annual cell capacity equivalent to 350kW. The company is ISO 9001, ISO 14001 and OHSAS 18001 certified, and has qualified for re-certification as per requirements.

AZUR SPACE is also planning to enter the healthcare market by researching ways to use its GaAs technology for medical applications such as x-ray detectors. The firm has already won a medical innovation award from the German Ministry of Research.

See related item:

AXT wins 5-year Ge substrate contract from AZUR SPACE

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