First SEMI Thin Film Photovoltaic Standard Published

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First SEMI Thin Film Photovoltaic Standard Published

By Kenichiro Okuda, Manager, Japan Standards

SEMI has published its first Standard specific to thin film photovoltaic (PV) manufacturing, SEMI PV4-0710: Specification for Range of 5th Generation Substrate Sizes for Thin Film Photovoltaic Application. Development of this Standard was led by the Japan PV Materials Task Force, and the Standard was approved by the global Photovoltaic Standards Committee. SEMI PV4 provides a range of sizes for so-called “5th generation” substrates, which are commonly used for PV thin film applications. (“5th generation” is a term originated by the LCD industry to define glass substrate size.)

The thin film PV industry currently uses varying substrate dimensions, and developing PV manufacturing equipment for multiple substrate sizes is considered a significant waste of resources. As an effort to reduce the number of substrate sizes, SEMI PV4 is expected to reduce equipment cost (including automated material handling systems), improve equipment time to market, and broaden the range of equipment offerings. This Standard may also be used as a reference for panel transportation as well as onsite installation.

For more information about SEMI PV4 and other PV standardization activities in Japan, please contact Ken Okuda at

Photovoltaic Standards at SEMI

For over 35 years, the SEMI International Standards Program has been well known for developing global consensus standards for the semiconductor industry. Less well-known, but now increasing in visibility, is the long SEMI history of developing PV Standards, leveraging the many similarities that PV manufacturing has to that of the semiconductor and FPD industries. The first SEMI Photovoltaic Standard, M6, Specification for Silicon Wafers for Use as Photovoltaic Solar Cells, was published in 1981. With a global infrastructure serving major PV manufacturing regions, PV Standardization activity at SEMI is now taking center stage.

Charter of the Photovoltaic Standards Committee

Explore, evaluate, discuss, and create consensus-based standard measurement methods, specifications, guidelines, and practices that, through voluntary compliance, will promote mutual understanding and improved communication between users and suppliers of photovoltaic manufacturing equipment, materials and services to enhance the manufacturing efficiency and capability to reduce manufacturing cost of the photovoltaic industry.

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Committees are now active in Europe, Japan, North America, and Taiwan, and a Working Group is forming in China. Over 400 technical experts from leading companies in all segments of the photovoltaic supply chain are currently involved in PV Standards efforts at SEMI. Join them in this important effort. Registration is free and only takes a few minutes. Register at