Pasan develops cutting-edge technology for long-term satellite energy supply for Thales Alenia Space

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The Pasan company, a 100% subsidiary of 3S Industries AG, has developed a special solar panel tester for Thales Alenia Space, the leading developer of satellites and components for space technology. The new device simulates the characteristics of the sun in space very accurately. This guarantees that only the most productive panels are put into operation to supply the satellites with energy, thus ensuring the longevity of the satellites. Terrestrial customers also benefit from the newly developed advanced technology, since expertise from the project is employed directly in the development of new products – in particular in the area of thin-film technology.

With the new technology from Pasan, Thales Alenia Space tests the productivity of solar panels which are designed to supply satellites in space with the energy they require. Highly accurate tests guarantee long-term, smooth operation of the expensive satellites, which have an average life of between ten and fifteen years. With efficiency levels of around 40%, the solar panels in space have to have a significantly higher output than conventional panels. Even small reductions in the output of the panels can prevent the satellites from functioning properly long-term, which can lead to large losses for the operators.

Thales Alenia Space usually tests the output of reference panels with the help of a balloon at a height of about 10,000 m. With Pasan’s new tester Thales now can simulate the sun’s spectrum in space very accurately. This means that whole series of panels can be tested very reliably on the ground. In its satellites Thales Alenia Space uses solar panels with so-called triple solar cells, which are composed of three cells from different semi-conductors stacked one on top of the other. Testing the special high-performance solar cells in conditions similar to those in space requires a tester which is above-average in terms of both homogenity and spectrum. This is where Pasan has developed a new, unique solution which can also be used for conventional thin-film applications. This way many other customers can benefit from this high-tech development project.

The newly developed tester flashes light onto up to 20 m2 panels with an intensity which is 1.4 times greater than light on Earth. “We are proud of the fact that we could successfully develop this space application and deliver it to Thales Alenia Space for the beginning of our anniversary year 2009,” says Andreas von Känel, Pasan’s CEO. “The knowledge we have gained lives on in our devices for conventional applications,” says von Känel.

Pasan has been developing testers for research and industrial applications for 25 years. Because of the unique quality of their light spectrum and their extreme uniformity and stability, sun simulators from Pasan give customers throughout the world - and more recently in space – very accurate measurements.

3S Industries AG

The solar concern 3S with its holding company 3S Industries and its subsidiaries Somont, 3S Swiss Solar Systems and Pasan, is the world's market leader for production equipment for the manufacture of solar modules. The Group covers the entire value-creation chain of solar module production and combines the key competences in the fields of soldering, laminating and testing under a single roof. Production installations from the solar concern guarantee stable, reliable processes, a high throughput and outstanding product quality with low wastage and high up-times.

With the automatic string soldering machines from Somont, the laminating lines from 3S Swiss Solar Systems and the testers from Pasan, customers around the globe produce solar modules whose performance, useful life, quality and output match the highest demands. The range encompasses individual machines as well as turnkey production lines with varying degrees of automation. 3S Swiss Solar Systems also develops and produces advanced, building-integrated solar systems for roofs, facades and shading solutions and makes full use of its comprehensive know-how in photovoltaics and production technology.

The headquarters of 3S Industries as well as the factories operated by 3S Swiss Solar Systems are located in Switzerland. The domicile and factory of Pasan is also in Switzerland, whereas Somont is located in Germany. The solar concern is also present with a subsidiary in the USA.

Contact 3S Industries AG:

Dr. Anja Knaus
Head of Corporate Communications
Schachenweg 24
CH 3250 Lyss
fon +41(0)32 391 1136 fax +41(0)32 391 1112
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