PVI Issue

Photovoltaics International Volume 7

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The seventh edition of Photovoltaics International was published in February 2010. This edition features a wafering focus from REC Wafer and SINTEF on how to improve cell efficiencies. In addition, EPIA provides in-depth analysis of feed-in-tariff schemes in our Market Watch; and in Cell Processing Fraunhofer ISE overcomes challenges in back-side metallization.

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In this issue...

PVI Paper
Photovoltaics International Papers, PV Modules
In today’s PV modules, the solar cells are commonly encapsulated in EVA. During lamination EVA undergoes a crosslinking reaction. From a practical point of view, two major interests arise. For quality control purposes, one needs to know the degree of curing of the EVA encapsulant after lamination. The focus in process optimization is on understanding the kinetics of the crosslinking as a chemical reaction. If this is known (and proven), one can predict appropriate crosslinking conditions (i.e. lamination temperature and time) that have to be matched to reach a certain degree of crosslinking. This contribution mostly deals with this latter aspect. DSC as well as DMA data and model-free kinetics were used in this study to establish the kinetics of the EVA crosslinking process. It was found that both techniques adequately predict the degree of crosslinking for any temperature as a function of the curing time.
PVI Paper
Fab & Facilities, Photovoltaics International Papers
Development of fine-line crystalline silicon solar cells is a potential direction for application of high-efficiency and low-cost solar cells in the industry. Fine-line mask-free metallization offers huge potential to increase cell efficiency by reducing metal shadowing losses and surface recombination losses. At China Sunergy, three promising approaches for fine-line crystalline silicon solar cells are currently undergoing research, including processes such as laser doping selective emitter (LDSE) technology, inkjet or aerosol jet printing of metal paste and upgraded screen-printing technology. This paper presents the basic investigations of these three manufacturing technologies, singling out the technology that presents the most potential for further application.
PVI Paper
Materials, Photovoltaics International Papers
With growth in 2009 suffering from recession and an ongoing credit crunch, this paper presents a review of the key trends in cell and module manufacture for the crystalline silicon (c-Si) PV module market. The c-Si segment remains the largest segment, and is competing effectively with less mature thin-film technologies. PV is still a largely uneconomic way to generate power, and requires subsidy to maintain sales volume and growth. While subsidies exist, the industry treads the narrow path of growing at a healthy clip, developing robust technology and business models, and mapping paths to profitable business without subsidies once PV installations become economically viable.
PVI Paper
Photovoltaics International Papers, PV Modules
Solar enterprises will each be faced with the occasional surplus or lack of solar modules in their lifetimes. In these instances, it is useful to adjust these stock levels at short notice, thus creating a spot market. Spot markets serve the short-term trade of different products, where the seller is able to permanently or temporarily offset surplus, while buyers are able to access attractive offers on surplus stocks and supplement existing supply arrangements as a last resort.
PVI Paper
Cell Processing, Photovoltaics International Papers
This paper, the second in a series covering cost of ownership studies for photovoltaics [1], examines the need for saw damage removal and the follow-on processes of precleaning, texturization, and cleaning. The process considerations for wet and plasma approaches are further discussed before taking a detailed look at texturization using random pyramid formation. The paper will conclude with a view of current and future wet process techniques and a cost of ownership case study using Akrion Systems’ GAMA-Solar as an example.
PVI Paper
Photovoltaics International Papers, Thin Film
Chemical stoichiometry along with depth profiling and metallic contamination is of considerable interest for photovoltaic thin films. Conversion efficiency can be affected for example if primary components, e.g. Cd and Te, are not present at proper ratios. Moreover, amorphous silicon can vary substantially between sources and deposition technique, and qualitative comparison of trace metallic contaminants may not be sufficient to ensure final thin-film quality. This discussion presents data from atomic emission and mass spectrometry techniques that quantitatively and accurately describe both bulk and trace elemental compositions in photovoltaic materials, various thin-film matrices, and the final thin-film cell and module.
PVI Paper
Fab & Facilities, Photovoltaics International Papers
PV manufacturers can quickly reduce their costs, and increase their yields, by using SEMI standards that were originally designed to help semiconductor fabs deal with power glitches and power costs. SEMI, the global industry association serving the manufacturing supply chains for the microelectronic, display and photovoltaic industries, has two well-established electric power standards that could prove especially useful for PV manufacturing: SEMI F47, which helps equipment deal with power disturbances, and SEMI E3, which helps users understand how much electric power is used in their recipes. This paper provides a method of lowering costs and increasing yield by applying these standards in the PV manufacturing industry.
PVI Paper
Materials, Photovoltaics International Papers
Heat transfer and control of the temperature field are important in the production of silicon solar cell wafers. Present work focuses on the first steps of the production chain, i.e. crystallization and wafering. For the crystallization process, control of heat transfer is crucial for the ingot quality in terms of grain structure, impurity distribution, particle formation, and ingot stresses. Heat transfer is also important during subsequent processes, in particular the wire sawing of the silicon blocks into wafers. The paper emphasises the role of heat transfer and explains the consequences for these processes. Examples from experimental trials and measurements are combined with models and simulation methods.
PVI Paper
Photovoltaics International Papers, Power Generation
Building integrated PV | Despite plenty of hype, BIPV has remained a niche segment in the solar business, held back by a combination of high costs and low efficiencies. But as Ben Willis hears, the high-profile entry of Tesla on to the BIPV scene could herald the start of a new era for the sector. In late October, with all the usual fanfare that accompanies an Elon Musk announcement, the CEO of EV and battery storage manufacturer, Tesla, took to the stage to lift the lid on a heavily trailed new product. Most of Musk’s recent utterances on energy have been about storage, particularly Tesla’s high-profile foray into the world of stationary storage through its Powerwall battery system. But this was something a bit different – a buildingintegrated PV (BIPV) product designed to emulate various kinds of roofing tile and eliminate the need for clunky conventional roof-mounted modules once and for all.
PVI Paper
Photovoltaics International Papers, Power Generation
The current feed-in tariff (FiT) scheme in Italy has so far resulted in a total installed PV capacity just above 600MWp. The majority of those installations (77%) are building-adapted (BAPV) or building-integrated (BIPV) thanks to the higher incentives provided compared to non-integrated ground-mounted plants. Moreover, there are special premiums on top of the basic FiT, such as when asbestos roofings are replaced with PV modules. On the one hand, this makes the Italian PV market very attractive for those players specialized in roof applications, while on the other, it represents an opportunity and a strong motivation for both the installers and the manufacturers to explore innovative and standardized BIPV solutions and materials. Will this trend continue in the years to come?
PVI Paper
Photovoltaics International Papers, PV Modules
The main goal of the solar industry is to reach grid parity as soon as possible. This can be achieved by reducing the manufacturing costs, by increasing conversion efficiencies and/or by improving the lifetime of solar modules. Driving down the cost of modules is not straightforward. Commercially available PV modules are typically sold with 20-year warranties, and changing these materials for economic reasons requires extensive material testing and recertification of the new module design. In the following sections, we will focus on the cost drivers of module manufacturing processes and how that could evolve into new module designs.
PVI Paper
Photovoltaics International Papers, Thin Film
The recent photovoltaic industry shakeout which started around Q3 2008 has faced the overcapacity, credit crunch, and economic crisis that significantly declined the average selling price by 50 - 65%, including the price of thin-film photovoltaic modules. The changing business environment has put significant pressure on all PV manufacturing technologies but more candidly on amorphous silicon thin-film single-junction module manufacturers to advance and scale up the device efficiency and aggressively drive cost reduction. This paper outlines the approach taken at Moser Baer Photovoltaic Technologies India Limited (PVTIL), including process optimization and device management strategies, to enhance the module efficiency (total area) of the single-junction amorphous silicon quarter size, 1.43m2, substrate as manufactured using Applied Materials’ SunFab line.
PVI Paper
Photovoltaics International Papers, Power Generation
To date, the United States’ photovoltaic markets have largely been driven by net-metered residential and commercial customer projects, in large part due to federal, state, and utility incentives (see Fig. 1). The rapid growth of the commercial market in particular can almost entirely be attributed to the development of the well-known ‘solar-services’ business model, also known as the solar performance or the third-party solar model, which began in the early 2000s. In short, the commercial solar market surpassed the residential sector, and in 2008 represented only 10% of the number of installations but well over two-thirds of the annual grid-connected megawatts in the U.S. PV market [1]. This article will provide background information on the U.S. solar markets, and define what a utility solar business model is and the drivers of different model types.
PVI Paper
Cell Processing, Photovoltaics International Papers
In today’s market, crystalline silicon wafer technology dominates industrial solar cell production. Common devices feature opposing electrodes that are situated at the front and rear surface of the wafer and subsequent front-to-rear interconnection is used for module assembly. This paper reflects the functions which have to be fulfilled for the back-side contact of the solar cell as well as challenges and advances for the two basic classes: full-area and local rear contact formation. While full-area contacting has proven to be a reliable technology for industrial production, local contacting through dielectric layers has yet to be put through its paces in industrial implementation.
PVI Paper
Cell Processing, Photovoltaics International Papers
The PV industry is expected to eventually reduce its manufacturing costs well below €1/Wp. Major technological changes lie ahead of us for manufacturing wafers, solar cells and modules if this cost target is to be met. In order to focus R&D efforts amongst the myriad options, and to speed up the learning curve, the PV industry (equipment vendors, material suppliers and PV manufacturers) may benefit from collaborative efforts guided by an ITRS-like roadmap. In this paper we present the IMEC roadmap, the target of which is to reduce drastically the amount of pure Si needed per Wp by combining efficiencies beyond 20% with aggressive reductions in wafer thicknesses.
PVI Paper
Photovoltaics International Papers, Thin Film
It is widely acknowledged that, without government subsidies, solar power still cannot compete effectively with conventional sources of electrical energy. As the industry strives to make solar electricity affordable and as a viable alternative to fossil fuels, solar power technology companies are diligently moving towards reducing the manufacturing cost for solar modules. In the case of thin-film solar cells in particular, as a benchmark, the cost of for solar power must be reduced for it to be competitive or to attain grid parity. This paper presents a number of opinions from industry leaders on how best to decrease this vital cost.
PVI Paper
Materials, Photovoltaics International Papers
An improved understanding of multicrystalline wafer quality can explain variations in cell performance across multicrystalline silicon blocks. Infrared scanning can detect precipitates in a silicon block, while photoluminescence combined with defect etching can reveal needle-like precipitates along the grain boundaries. Such precipitates typically lead to reduced shunt resistance. Crystallographic defects that lower the current collection and the final cell efficiency can also be identified. Understanding the influence of these defects is important for the development of a crystallisation technology that results in a substantially better cell efficiency. The use of the improved material quality in an innovative cell and module technology have led to the world record module efficiency of 17%. This paper will illustrate one example of how an improved understanding of multicrystalline wafer quality can explain the variations in cell performance.
PVI Paper
Market Watch, Photovoltaics International Papers
The uttermost importance of the regulation framework to trigger the development of a PV market has been recognized these last years in many European countries. For policymakers today one of the key questions is making the best choice to initiate and stimulate PV markets. In the aftermath of the financial crisis, EPIA has launched the PV Observatory initiative. It aims at analyzing the current state of regulatory frameworks in a set of countries, starting with the main European PV markets.

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