Requires Subscription: Photovoltaics International Archive

Industry-academia partnership helps drive commercialization of new thin-film silicon technology

Share on facebook
Facebook
Share on twitter
Twitter
Share on linkedin
LinkedIn
Share on reddit
Reddit
Share on email
Email

By Subhendu Guha, Chairman Emeritus, United Solar Ovonic; David Cohen, Professor, University of Oregon; Eric A. Schiff, Professor, Syracuse University; Paul Stradins, Scientist, National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL); P. Craig Taylor, Professor, Colorado School of Mines; Jeffrey Yang, Senior VP of Technology, United Solar Ovonic

The low material cost and proven manufacturability of thin-film silicon has made this material very attractive for low-cost photovoltaics (PV). It is widely recognized that increasing the light-to-electricity conversion efficiency will play a critical role in expanding the acceptance of these products. The first commercial thin-film silicon solar cell consisted of a singlejunction structure using amorphous silicon; multijunction cells incorporating amorphous silicon and silicon germanium were later used to further improve efficiency. An even later development was the incorporation of nanocrystalline silicon as an active layer. This very interesting material, which consists of nanocrystallites embedded in an amorphous tissue, has already given rise to a significant increase in the performance of these multijunction cells. Most recently, some very innovative light-trapping concepts have been suggested that can improve the efficiency further. Both these topics, however, have required expertise not readily available within one organization. A thin-film silicon team has been established under a US Department of Energy’s Solar America Initiative programme to address the material, device and manufacturability issues for this technology. United Solar Ovonic is the team leader, with Colorado School of Mines, University of Oregon, Syracuse University and the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) as members. The collaborative effort has resulted in a new understanding of the material and devices; innovative light trapping ideas were developed, and worldrecord initial efficiencies of 16.3% for small-area cells and 12% for large-area encapsulated cells were reached. Of equal importance is United Solar’s decision to introduce this technology into production. This paper presents the important technical results obtained under this programme and will discuss future directions.

L3dwLWNvbnRlbnQvdXBsb2Fkcy9sZWdhY3ktcHVibGljYXRpb24tcGRmcy8yMTUzOTdmYmUwLWluZHVzdHJ5YWNhZGVtaWEtcGFydG5lcnNoaXAtaGVscHMtZHJpdmUtY29tbWVyY2lhbGl6YXRpb24tb2YtbmV3LXRoaW5maWxtLXNpbGljb24tdGVjaG5vbG9neS5wZGY=

Published In

Photovoltaics International Archive
Our largest issue to date at 224 pages, the 13th edition of the Photovoltaics International journal features a focus on myriad topics including wafering and wire-sawing thermodynamics, the passivation benefits of ALD, reactive magnetron sputtering, PV module degradation and inverter certification. Contributors include imec, Fraunhofer IST, Motech Industries, PI Berlin, University of Toledo and CH2M HILL.

Read Next

Photovoltaics International Archive
Photovoltaics International Papers, PV Modules
With mature product offerings now available from several of the leading industrial PV equipment and tool manufacturers, and latest-generation ECAs available from suppliers, this article aims to provide important background information on ECAs, as well as give a brief overview of some of the challenges and cutting-edge developments in ECA-related PV applications.
Photovoltaics International Archive
Cell Processing, Photovoltaics International Papers
This paper reviews those associated fabrication technologies for the mass production of Ni/Cu-plated contacts. The technologies currently in use in the PV industry for plated contacts, as well as the developing technologies having high scaling-up potential, will be reviewed. In addition, the future requirements for plating metallization will be discussed.
Photovoltaics International Archive
Cell Processing, Photovoltaics International Papers
This paper discusses what is actually behind these announcements and how an evolutionary industry sector such as PVis becoming, it seems, decidedly revolutionary with large jumps in efficiency.
Photovoltaics International Archive
Cell Processing, Photovoltaics International Papers
This paper presents an analysis and the results of extensive simulations of the efficiency limits and roadmap to 25.5% of a tunnel oxide passivated contact (TOPCon) solar cell, on the basis of an efficiency level of 25.21% (designed area, identified by ISFH) achieved through three years of continuous technical optimization on a pilot line at Longi.
Photovoltaics International Archive
Cell Processing, Photovoltaics International Papers
The development of new ways of increasing the production throughput for passivated emitter and rear cells (PERCs), as the major solar cell technology in the global market, is an area of great interest to the PV community. This paper presents approaches for significantly increasing the throughput of PERC production processes. The main focus is on the tube furnace processes for the emitter formation and oxidation, with the introduction of the High Temperature Stack Oxidation (HiTSOx) approach. Additional approaches that are currently under investigation at Fraunhofer ISE for increasing the throughput for wet-chemical, printing and laser processes will also be briefly outlined.
Photovoltaics International Archive
Cell Processing, Photovoltaics International Papers
The holy grail of every solar cell producer is the creation of a lowcost interdigitated back-contact (IBC) solar cell with an efficiency greater than 25%, a goal that can be found in almost every roadmap presentation. In this paper it will be shown that we are not far away from achieving this target, since IBC devices, with different process complexities, are already in production at several companies.

Subscribe to Newsletter

Upcoming Events

Solar Media Events
June 7, 2022
Leonardo Royal London City, London, UK
Solar Media Events
June 14, 2022
Napa, USA
Solar Media Events
June 22, 2022
Sheraton Austin Hotel at the Capitol, Austin, Texas