Cell Processing

Photovoltaics International Archive
Cell Processing, Photovoltaics International Papers
Inline processing, one of the fastest-growing production processes for crystalline silicon solar cells, uses continuously operated belt furnaces to achieve higher overall throughput compared with traditional batch processing. A second, major advantage of inline processing is improved manufacturing yields through reduced breakage of today’s thinner, increasingly delicate wafers. This is accomplished by eliminating several handling steps unique to batch processing techniques. This paper describes the influence of ECN-Clean, as developed by Mallinckrodt Baker and ECN in 2006, whose application increases the efficiency of solar cells produced using inline processing by approximately 0.3 percent absolute, compared with standard inline processing.
Photovoltaics International Archive
Cell Processing, Photovoltaics International Papers
A vast majority of silicon solar cells are manufactured using silver paste that is screen printed onto the front side of the wafer and fired to form the front-side contact. Though this method is well established within the industry, it continues to present several areas for potential efficiency improvements. The Fraunhofer Institute [1] has, among others, studied the potential of using electrodeposition of silver on top of the front side silver paste as a way to improve the front-side contact and increase cell efficiency. These results have shown cell efficiency increases of up to 0.4% absolute. This type of improvement has captured the interest of many manufacturers, but there has been a hesitancy to adopt electrodeposition as there is uncertainty as to what they can expect on their cells. Since efficiency gains are dependent upon many factors that can be unique to an individual cell, this paper provides a much-needed exploration of the potential effects of electrodeposition of silver in a way that isolates its effects from that of other factors.
Photovoltaics International Archive
Cell Processing, Photovoltaics International Papers
The deposition of thin films is a key technology for a large variety of technical and scientific applications. Among them is the deposition of silicon nitride (SiNx) to passivate the surface of silicon solar cells. The SiN film serves several purposes. It is a broadband anti-reflection layer, it serves to saturate dangling bonds and/or other surface states of the silicon, and last but not least, it is a protection layer to prevent alkali ions and other impurities from diffusing into the silicon causing perturbations of the performance of the solar cell. This multitude of properties to be fulfilled at the same time often causes difficulties in assessing the effect of a single process parameter, let alone the task of optimizing the SiN film in all required aspects at the same time. The aforementioned technical features of the SiN film provide the very property that largely determines the aesthetically pleasing appearance of a cell, and hence a PV module, as the colour of the module is determined by the cell composition. In order to complicate things further, there are numerous deposition techniques being applied both on a scientific level as well as in production environments.
Photovoltaics International Archive
Cell Processing, Photovoltaics International Papers
Si etch processes are vital steps in Si solar cell manufacturing. They are used for saw damage removal, surface texturing and parasitic junction removal. The next generation of Si solar cells, featuring thinner wafers and passivated rear surface, will pose more stringent demands on those steps. Surface decoupling (achieving different surface treatments on the front and the rear) has to be achieved while minimizing Si consumption. Plasma texturing is an emerging technique that appears very promising in that respect, as efficiencies as high as 17.4 % have been achieved on screenprinted multicrystalline Si solar cells incorporating this process.
Photovoltaics International Archive
Cell Processing, Photovoltaics International Papers
Standardized requirements for the quality of PV modules, solar cells and wafers are given in the according IEC norms (e.g., IEC 61215, 61646, and IEC 61730 for modules). However, the manufacturers of cells purchasing wafers and the module manufacturers purchasing cells want information beyond the final check of the product and to monitor each step during the production process to identify harsh handling and/or machine faults at the earliest stage possible. With consequential improvements of the process enabled, continuous improvements in throughput and yield improvement of the factory are likely, also allowing an early feedback on quality issues to the raw material supplier. Furthermore, by knowing all characteristics and factors of the cell and the module, prediction of electrical energy yield during the life cycle of a PV power plant is becoming more accurate and more reliable.
Photovoltaics International Archive
Cell Processing, Photovoltaics International Papers
Increasing the efficiency and yield of production line processes forms an integral part of PV manufacturers’ technology roadmaps. For their next generation production lines, non-contact processing equipment is considered essential. This prioritizes laser-based processing, already established at several steps in c-Si and Thin-Film cell manufacturing. This paper summarizes the key issues when using lasers within PV production lines.

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