By Jef Poortmans, Director, Department of Solar and Organic Technologies, IMEC; Kris Baert, R&D Project Manager, IMEC; Philip Pieters, Business Development Director of Energy, IMEC
To make solar energy cost effective, the photovoltaic (PV) industry has to reduce its manufacturing costs well below 1€/Wp. To reach this cost target, roadmaps for c-Si technology foresee a drastic reduction in the amount of high-purity Si used and an increase in solar cell efficiencies beyond 20%. But this requires advanced cell concepts that put more stringent requirements on process steps such as doping, cleaning and surface passivation. Several processes in the technology and analysis toolbox of microelectronics offer opportunities to meet these stringent requirements. In this paper, we give examples of recent progress in solar cell development that has been achieved by implementing CMOS-like process steps, and we discuss how these processes can be attuned to the needs and benefits of the solar industry.