Discover our upstream and downstream technical journals
Imec said that its Ni-Cu-Ag plated p-type Cz-Si cells, using Meco’s ‘Direct Plating Line’ technology, followed by annealing in an inline belt furnace and interconnected with standard soldering and lamination processes were able to pass a number of IEC61215 tests with results inline with conventional modules. Image: Meco

Imec said that its Ni-Cu-Ag plated p-type Cz-Si cells, using Meco’s ‘Direct Plating Line’ technology, followed by annealing in an inline belt furnace and interconnected with standard soldering and lamination processes were able to pass a number of IEC61215 tests with results inline with conventional modules. Image: Meco

Nanoelectronics research centre imec said that copper-based solar cells have reached the same reliability standards as traditional silver-based solar cells in recently completed rapid-cycle testing of a limited number of specially prepared modules. 

Imec said that its Ni-Cu-Ag plated p-type Cz-Si cells, using Meco’s ‘Direct Plating Line’ technology, followed by annealing in an inline belt furnace and interconnected with standard soldering and lamination processes were able to pass a number of IEC61215 tests with results inline with conventional modules. 

“We are very pleased with this result”, stated Richard Russell, principal engineer at imec. “It demonstrates our industrial leading knowledge on how to make reliable Ni/Cu/Ag plated solar cells and modules with a low cost industrial manufacturing process.”

“After the excellent result of the 600 thermal cycle test earlier this year on one module, we are delighted to confirm that these results can be repeated on a larger set of 5 modules” stated Martijn Zwegers, product manager solar at Besi. “Furthermore it indicates that modules with Cu plated cells lead to industry standard reliability, paving the way for Ni/Cu/Ag plated cells as a viable, low-cost alternative to front side screen printing of Ag pastes.”

Two of five modules were said to have been subjected to 600 thermal cycles (-40°C to +85°C) and said to have passed this test three times. 

A module was also subjected to a 1000h damp-heat test (85°C, 85 percent RH) with no power loss (0.1 percent gain), and two of the five modules were submitted to a serial testing of 15kWh UV-conditioning followed by 50 temperature cycles, followed by 10 humidity-freeze-test cycle. According to imec the overall power losses were only 0.5% and 3.0%, well within the less than 5% losses allowed for standard modules. 

Ni/Cu/Ag plated cells are expected to become mainstream when SolarCity/Tesla start migrating process technology from its Silevo subsidiary to support the production ramp at its Buffalo fab in New York State, sometime in 2017. 

Tags: c-si manufacturing, pv modules, copper plating, meco, imec, silevo, tesla, solarcity

Solar Media Events

PV ModuleTech

Mar 10 - Mar 12, 2021

Penang, Malaysia (also available virtually)

Understand fully the technical and logistical supply chains that determine the production and performance of solar modules, including all related factors impacting quality, reliability & bankability. This event will be run as a live event in Penang for delegates able to attend and will also welcome virtual delegates via streamed content and online networking.

Find out more

Solar Media Events

PV CellTech

Oct 27 - Oct 29, 2020

Virtual Event

Going into its fifth year over 200 delegates from 150 companies and 20 countries representing the PV supply chain will gather (virtually, due to COVID-19) for 3 days to discuss the technology roadmaps for PV cell advancement in GW markets. The scope of the event has been expanded this year, to cover developments in wafer supply and thin-film investments and technologies alongside all the regular benefits to all stakeholders tracking PV technology and investment trends for the next 5 years.

Find out more

Comments