MacDermid’s HELIOS plating solution replaces silver paste with narrow copper grid conductors

Share on facebook
Share on twitter
Share on linkedin
Share on reddit
Share on email

MacDermid’s HELIOS nickel, copper, and silver wet chemical plating baths, which are a key part of an integrated laser patterning, plating, and thermal anneal system, produces 30µm fingers and 4N pull strengths, while reducing costs by US$0.06/cell.


As the cost of producing silicon solar cells has decreased by US$3/Wp since 2008, the demand for PV has grown 40% CAGR, putting pressure on whether conventional screen-printed silver paste can continue to serve the industry’s future needs. In addition, printing and sintering silver limits the ability to implement thinner wafers and more efficient cell designs, due to physical and thermal stresses.  To address these challenges, PV roadmaps call for copper grid conductors.  Until now, copper conductors suffered adhesion loss, plated on the ARC, and required huge, expensive plating equipment.   


Narrow copper conductors, allowing 50% more light capture, are formed in a 3 step process.  A pico second UV laser ablates the ARC, exposing the silicon.  An inline, conveyorized plating tool deposits 1µm of nickel, 10-15µm of copper, and 0.2µm of silver, using ultra-fast electrodeposition based on innovative formulae. The HELIOS metal grid is quickly annealed, achieving adhesion similar to paste printed conductors.  The nickel achieves a full-area contact to silicon, and the copper reaches conductivity unachievable with paste. Low temperature processing enables all high efficiency cell types, especially PERC, silicon heterojunction, and bi-facial designs.  Conductor material costs are immediately reduced 50%, providing a 1 year return on investment.  To assure reliability, HELIOS conductors were used on production-scale modules tested at Fraunhofer ISE to IEC specifications.  The modules exceeded damp heat and thermal cycle stresses, with no failure after 600 thermal stress cycles.


Mono and multicrystalline silicon cell conductor formation.


Specialized laser patterning is available from our partner in Germany, scaleable to 50 or 100MW installations, with built-in transport.  Conductors are plated using MacDermid’s new HELIOS chemical systems, at extremely high deposition rates, very high purity, and virtually zero plated stress.  Most cells will benefit from horizontal, LIP plating tools with single-sided chemical exposure, and unique brush contact, at 20m length for 100MW.  Some designs will require vertical continuous plating to achieve fast, double-sided deposition.


Currently available

26 January 2022
Join this free webinar for our analysis of the growth of N-Type technology including; new capacity expansions and production output. We'll also be looking at the global manufacturing footprint with forecasts on how much product will be made outside of China this year and which companies are driving technology change across the crystalline silicon value chain.
23 February 2022
Held annually since 2016, the Energy Storage Summit Europe is the place to be for senior stakeholders in the European storage industry. Designed to accelerate deployment of storage, we examine evolving chemistries, business models, project design, revenue stacks and use cases for storage. The 2022 edition will include exclusive content around longer duration solutions, energy strategies for wide-scale deployment of EVs and "EnTech", the event which sits at the intersection of digitisation, decentralisation and decarbonation of the power system. Come to meet TSOs, DSOs, Utilities, Developers, Investors and Lenders and leave with new contacts, partners and a wealth of information.
7 March 2022
Take your chance to join the most powerful platform in the MENA region. Middle East Energy (MEE), Intersolar, and ees, the leading energy exhibitions are joining hands to co-deliver an outstanding renewables and energy storage event at Middle East Energy 2021. Renewables and energy storage at MEE is the largest gathering of solar and renewable energy industry professionals in the Middle East & Africa, offering the most effective trade focused platform to international manufacturers and distributors looking to meet regional buyers.
8 March 2022
As Solar Finance & Investment enters its ninth year, we sit on the cusp of a new power market with solar at its heart. The 2022 edition of the event will build on our years of expertise and relationships to bring investors and lenders together with top developers. Connect with leaders in the field and use exclusive insights to drive investment and development decisions for the future. Meet new and existing project partners at the largest gathering of European solar investors and lenders.
23 March 2022
When it comes to storage, the US market exceeded a gigawatt of advanced energy storage installations (weighted towards lithium ion) at 1.46 GW, more than the previous six years in total! An exponential growth rate could see the market hit 7.5 GW p.a. by 2025. The summit will provide a wealth of content around this vital piece in the US power puzzle, with sessions dedicated to explore how companies are making money from batteries, the latest chemistries and their applications as they apply to different use-cases. We ask how investors can match ESG criteria to batteries and we will bring case studies of successful deployment and project execution onto the stage to examine how you can ensure your own projects are successful.
29 March 2022
Now in its 10th sell-out year, Large Scale Solar returns to Lisbon in 2022. We are excited to gather together face-to-face with the European solar industry as we provide unique and exclusive access to a powerful selection of the market's key stakeholders. Join this elite summit to find out how the market is maturing, which new markets are becoming more exciting, how technology is evolving and who's driving the market forward into the 2020s. Always senior, packed with developers, EPCs, utilities and investors this is the event for companies serious about European solar PV.

Read Next

January 21, 2022
Toronto-based renewables developer Amp Energy has closed on a US$350 million credit facility to advance on a global portfolio of renewables and battery energy storage assets.
January 21, 2022
India is at risk of a supply and demand mismatch for solar equipment if domestic PV manufacturers are unable to meet the quantity and quality required by project developers, Fitch Solutions has warned.
January 21, 2022
The European Commission has launched a public consultation on solar energy on the continent as it continues preparations to publish its solar strategy later this year.
January 21, 2022
US solar installer SunPower is to be hit by a cracking issue discovered in connectors associated with equipment installed in some commercial and industrial (C&I) projects, resulting in charges of around US$31 million.
PV Tech Premium
January 21, 2022
Greece is on track to accelerate solar deployment in the coming years, with the sector boosted by rising demand for renewable offtake agreements from corporations and clean energy policies from the EU, according to the general manager of Greek industrial group Mytilineos’s renewables business.
January 20, 2022
Mississippi authorities have expanded the state’s net metering programme to improve total compensation rates for solar customers and prioritise the adoption of distributed PV for low- to moderate-income (LMI) households.

Subscribe to Newsletter

Upcoming Events

Upcoming Webinars
January 26, 2022
Free Webinar
Solar Media Events
February 23, 2022
London, UK
Solar Media Events
March 8, 2022
London, UK
Solar Media Events
March 23, 2022
Austin, Texas, USA
Solar Media Events
March 29, 2022
Lisbon, Portugal