Wafer, cell and module quality requirements


By Prof. Stefan Krauter, Cofounder, Photovoltaik Institut Berlin AG, TU-Berlin; Paul Grunow, Cofounder, Photovoltaik Institut Berlin AG, TU-Berlin

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.

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The first edition of the Photovoltaics International journal, published in August 2008, was created in response to what was deemed to be a growing need for an unbiased technical publication for the solar cell and module manufacturing industry. With this in mind, the first edition of Photovoltaics International saw the commissioning of papers from a wide range of sectors, such as NREL’s overview of the CPV sector, IMEC’s thin-film efficiency gains via plasma texturing, site selection with IBM PLI, Q-Cells on silicon nitride thin films and Navigant Consulting’s market overview.

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