In an effort to increase efficiencies and reduce integration costs, the fast-growing Photovoltaic (PV) Manufacturing community has initiated the development and implementation of industry-wide standards. At the equipment level, the connectivity standard, based on GEM/SECS (SEMI E30), PV2 - Equipment Communication Interface Standard for PV Production Systems, was approved in June 2009.
Download the white paper on "Maintaining Quality & Performance in your PVECI and GEM Standard Implementation."
The PV Industry & Standards
The Photovoltaic (PV) industry is a dynamic and fast growing industry that is focused on reducing the cost per kilowatt of power. The PV industry is aggressively developing the implementation of equipment-level standards in an effort to increase productivity and decrease operational costs.
“Standards in photovoltaic are essential for the industry in order to lower trade barriers and to reduce the cost of ownership for cell and module manufacturers of their production facilities. Both elements are key to reach competitiveness of the photovoltaic industry in a global energy market.” -- Dr. Ossenbrink, Unit Head Renewable Energies of the European Commission Joint Research Center [SEMI, P039751]
The SEMI® organization has promoted the use of standards for this market. By providing recommendations, guidance and expertise in standards development and deployment, SEMI can help the PV manufacturing community leverage the work that has already been done in similar industries to improve its efficiency and production.
PV Equipment Communication Standards Development
Discussions began in 2006 regarding the need for standardized IT (Information Technology) interfaces that enable “sophisticated quality assurance, traceability and advanced process control strategies” [Photovoltaics International, PVI02-07_04]. In September 2007, the Photovoltaic Equipment Interface Specification (PV-EIS) PV-EIS Task Force was formed with the sole purpose of defining the interface between the equipment and the Manufacturing Execution System (MES). Members of the task force included representation from PV manufacturers, equipment suppliers, third-party software providers and research institutes. The committee was led by co-chairs, Thomas Vonderstrass of Solarworld Industries USA and Mathias Glaser of Manz Automation AG; and coached by Stefan Rein of Fraunhofer ISE and Matthias Meier of Fraunhofer IPA.
The task force created two working sub-teams to evaluate existing solutions and the requirements of the industry. Several existing solutions, such as SECS/GEM, EDA, OPC-UA, and XML, were evaluated based on functionality, reliability, extendibility and the ability to be integrated in different environments. The evaluation of both teams resulted in the decision to build upon the SEMI SECS/GEM standards (SEMI E30) already being implemented in the semiconductor industry.
“The SECS/GEM approach... offers a platform of well-established standards, existing tools and libraries, and a proven track record of successful implementation over many years.” - SEMI Document #4557 Guide for PV Equipment Communication Interfaces (PVECI)
Back to top