Heterojunction technology: The path to high efficiency in mass production

By Igor Shakhray, Hevel Group; Alexey Abramov, Hevel Group; Sergey Abolmasov, Hevel Group; Ekaterina Terukova, Hevel Group; Dmitriy Andronikov, Hevel Group

Heterojunction technology is currently a hot topic actively discussed in the silicon PV community. Hevel recently became one of the first companies to adopt its old micromorph module line for manufacturing high-efficiency silicon heterojunction (SHJ) solar cells and modules. On the basis of Hevel’s own experience, this paper looks at all the production steps involved, from wafer texturing through to final module assembly.

Efficiency and cost effectiveness of large-area perovskite-based tandem solar cells

By Manoj Jaysankar; Tom Aernouts

Tandem solar cells combine several solar cells with different photoabsorbers, stacked in a descending order of bandgap energies. They come in many flavours, but one promising combination is a bottom cell of c-Si or copper indium gallium selenide (CIGS) and a top cell of perovskite. Perovskite solar cells are thin-film solar cells with many advantages, such as a low-cost, high-throughput sheet-to-sheet and rollto- roll production, and a tuneable bandgap. Their long-term instability, however, is a challenge that needs to be overcome in order to make these cells a success. In this paper it is demonstrated that, by combining comprehensive loss-reduction strategies with effective large-area fabrication, perovskite-based tandem solar modules have the potential to yield power conversion efficiencies (PCEs) that are significantly higher (PCE of up to 45%) than those of established PV technologies, and can be manufactured on an industrial scale.

Towards the next generation of highefficiency Cu(In,Ga)Se2 thin-film solar cells – Sharc25

By Wolfram Witte; Philip Jackson; Stephan Buecheler; Romain Carron; Susanne Siebentritt; Florian Werner; Sébastien Duguay; Arantxa Vilalta-Clemente; Roberto Menozzi; Giovanna Sozzi; Emilie Bourgeois; Giedrius Degutis; Marcus Bär; Thomas Kunze; Sascha Sadewasser; Nicoleta Nicoara; Martti J. Puska; Maria Malitckaya; Ayodhya Nath Tiwari

The EU Horizon Sharc25 project has provided deep insights into highly efficient Cu(In,Ga)Se2 (CIGSe) thin-film solar cells fabricated by lowand high-temperature co-evaporation using advanced characterization methods, analytical tools, device simulation, and density functional theory modelling. This complementary approach led to a continuous knowledgedriven development and improvement of the CIGSe absorber. Based on optimized chemical composition, profiles, and alkali metal post-deposition treatments (PDT) using KF, RbF, and CsF, the CIGSe cell efficiency could be substantially increased to a record value of 22.6%. Due to additional modifications at the absorber/emitter (replacement of standard buffer system by a combination of thin CdS and TiO2) and back contact/ absorber (introduction of Al back reflector in combination with InZnO diffusion barrier) interfaces, in particular the short-circuit current could be increased. Furthermore, passivation layers in combination with point contact schemes at the CIGSe front and back side were developed and are still under investigation.

Four-terminal perovskite/c-Si tandem PV technology

By Dong Zhang, ECN part of TNO – Solliance, Eindhoven; Stefan Luxembourg, ECN part of TNO, Petten, The Netherlands; Gianluca Coletti, ECN part of TNO, Petten, The Netherlands; Sjoerd Veenstra, ECN part of TNO – Solliance, Eindhoven; Bart Geerligs, ECN part of TNO, Petten, The Netherlands

Two factors have coincided to stimulate the recent spur in interest for hybrid tandem PV technology based on crystalline silicon – the fact that balance-of-system (BOS) costs are increasingly dominating turnkey system costs, which strengthens the effect of high efficiency in reducing Wp costs, and the discovery of perovskite solar cells as a promising low-cost wide-band-gap partner for crystalline silicon (c-Si). This paper presents the progress and analysis of four-terminal (4T) perovskite/c-Si tandem technology at ECN part of TNO, with perovskite technology development carried out within the Solliance research organization.

Volume production of customized organic photovoltaics

By Sri Vishnu Subramaniam; Grzegorz Andrzej Potoczny; Tobias Sauermann, OPVIUS GmbH, Kitzingen, Germany

To realize power generation everywhere, customers and designers are eager for PV solutions offering total design freedom for seamless integration into everyday life. This trend becomes even more important if the ‘mega city’ development is taken into account: more and more people will live in city environments in the future while classical PV technologies do not offer proper solutions for this context.

PID issues in thin-film PV plants

By Thomas Weber, PI Photovoltaik-Institut Berlin AG (PI Berlin); Steven Xuereb , PI Photovoltaik-Institut Berlin AG (PI Berlin); Cyril Hinz, PI Photovoltaik-Institut Berlin AG (PI Berlin); Mathias Leers, PI Photovoltaik-Institut Berlin AG (PI Berlin); Lars Podlowski, PI Photovoltaik-Institut Berlin AG (PI Berlin)

Nowadays, there is a worldwide production capacity of about 5GW of thin-film module technology. In total, an estimated cumulative installed capacity of 15 to 24GW exists (5-8% of 300GW installed worldwide in 2016). But how serious is the threat of PID in this thin-film fleet?

Optimization potential of the wire sawing process for multicrystalline silicon

By Thomas Kaden, studied applied natural science at TU Bergakademie Freiberg and received his Ph.D. in physics in the photovoltaics group of Prof. H.J. Möller.; Elena Ershova, holds a diploma in information technology and systems from TU Wolodga (Russia) and performed the majority of experiments presented here during her bachelor thesis at Fraunhofer THM.; Marcel Fuchs, worked as an operator in wafer and solar cell production and was production supervisor of a wafering company before he joined Fraunhofer THM as senior technician in wafering in 2012.; Rajko B. Buchwald, studied applied natural science at the TU Bergakademie Freiberg. He received his Ph.D. in 2010. In 2010 he joined Fraunhofer THM in Freiberg.

Today, silicon solar cells are still produced in almost equal shares from mono- and multi-crystalline silicon wafers. The authors here look at the scope for efficiencies in the wire sawing process for multi-crystalline silicon.

Progress and trends in CIGS and perovskite/CIGS PV

By Dr. Shiro Nishiwaki, received his Ph.D degree in engineering in 1996 from the Hokkaido University, Sapporo, Japan. Prior to joining the Laboratory for Thin Films and Photovoltaics at Empa in 2008 he worked at Matsushita Electric Co. Ltd., Advanced Technology Research Laboratories, Kyoto, Japan (1997 - 2000), Optoelectronics Division of Electrotechnical Laboratory (present name: National Institute of Advanced Industrial Science and Technology (AIST), Ibaraki, Japan (2000), Hahn- Meitner-Institute, Abt SE2, Berlin, Germany (2000 - 2004), Institute of Energy Conversion, Newark, USA (2004 – Dec. 31, 2007). His; Thomas Feurer, received his master degree in physics from the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology (ETH) Zurich in 2014. He started his Ph.D at the Laboratory for Thin Films and Photovoltaics at Empa subsequently. His current research is focused on low bandgap CIGS solar cells and tandem devices with perovskite top cells.; Fan Fu, received his master degree in materials science from Wuhan University of Technology (China) in 2013.; Stefano Pisoni, received his master degree in 2015 from the Polytechnic of Milan with master thesis project at University of Oxford. He is working at the Laboratory for Thin Films and Photovoltaics for his doctoral thesis.; Dr. Stephan Buecheler, studied physics at ETH Zurich and received his diploma in 2007.; Prof. Dr. Ayodhya N. Tiwari, received his M.Sc. from the University of Roorkee, India in 1981, and his Ph.D. from the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) Delhi in 1986.

Thin-film solar cells based on chalcopyrite semiconductor Cu(In,Ga) (S,Se)2 compound (hereafter called CIGS or CIGSeS irrespective of the exact composition) have continuously drawn interest because of their progressively increasing high photovoltaic conversion efficiencies and the merits of long-term performance stability, high energy yield, low cost production potentials and other advantages for industrial manufacturing and application of solar.

Innovation for optical, electrical and economic improvement of thin-film PV technology

By Joop van Deelen & Marco Barink, TNO

Innovation in the field of thin-film cells, in addition to economy of scale and the manufacturing learning curve, is an important element in keeping the price of this technology competitive. Most papers on these cells focus on their technology; however, the economic potential of the technology is also important. Of even greater significance, a realistic estimation of the potential, along with the associated costs, of advanced technology, is part of the equation for profitability. Two examples of technology – metallic grids and texturing – are given in this paper; the designs are discussed, and a brief economic analysis is presented for various scenarios of the technologies. Although the profitability of these technologies can be considerable, it is shown that one should be wary of basing decisions purely on potential and on ideal scenarios, and how the cost of a technology can turn a great prospect into a trade-off.

First Solar goes back to the future

By Mark Osborne, senior news editor, Photovoltaics International

Leading CdTe thin-film module producer First Solar is shifting it business emphasis back to module sales after becoming a leading PV project developer as part of a mid-term business plan that takes advantage of its restored cost-per-watt advantage and two new module products that will be introduced in the coming years that are intended to further its competitive position. We analyze the key metrics behind the transition, such as R&D expenditure, module conversion efficiencies and production capabilities and cost reductions.

Solar Frontier in talks over CIS thin-film production plant in Saudi Arabia

By Mark Osborne, Senior News Editor

CIS thin-film module manufacturer Solar Frontier has signed a memorandum of understanding with Saudi Aramco and the Saudi Arabian National Industrial Cluster Development Program (NICDP) on the feasibility of establishing a thin-film module production plant in Saudi Arabia.

Significant progress in CIGS thin-film solar cell technology reported at IWCIGSTech7

By Rutger Schlatmann & Hans Werner Schock, Helmholtz-Zentrum Berlin für Materialien und Energie, Michael Powalla, Centre for Solar Energy and Hydrogen Research Baden-Württemberg (ZSW)

An efficient exchange of knowledge is essential to move the technology forward. In June 2016, the IW-CIGSTech workshop was organized for the seventh consecutive year in a row. This time, the event took place as a parallel event to the EU-PVSEC/Intersolar Europe in Munich. In the workshop, representatives from industry and academia gathered to discuss the latest developments in the fast-developing field of CIGS (Cu(In,Ga)(Se,S)2) based solar cells. As a result of last year’s workshop, a joint, community-wide effort resulted in the broadly acknowledged “White Paper for CIGS thin film solar cell technology”. In this article, we provide a brief impression of the progress and challenges reported in this year’s workshop.

Damp-heat-induced degradation of layers in CIGS solar cells

By Mirjam Theelen, TNO/Solliance

Investors require a guarantee of a minimum lifetime for PV installations. It is tempting to provide such a guarantee for a longer lifetime simply by specifying test conditions that are more and more severe. In this paper it is argued that, with a more detailed understanding of the basic mechanisms determining cell material behaviour under specific exposure conditions, not only can the inherent lifetime of solar cells and modules be improved, but also the predictive value and effectiveness of lifetime testing. An overview of the literature contributions regarding the influence of damp-heat exposure of the layers in Cu(In,Ga)Se2 (CIGS) solar cells is presented.

Predicting moisture-induced degradation of flexible PV modules in the field

By Kedar Hardikar, Todd Krajewski & Kris Toivola, MiaSolé

A critical failure mechanism for PV modules is the degradation in performance as a result of exposure to temperature and humidity. In the case of flexible PV modules, moisture-induced damage becomes a greater concern, since the moisture resistance of barriers and polymer packaging is expected to be lower than that for conventional glass–glass PV products. The work presented here is aimed at establishing, through the use of accelerated testing, the field lifetime of flexible PV modules with regard to moisture-induced degradation.