From Innovation to Commercialization – the Story of Solar Cells

Subhendu Guha United Solar Ovonic

Evolution of Invention of Solar Cell

1839 : Becquerel observed photovoltaic action in an electrolytic cell 1876: Adams and Day discovered PV effect in solid Selenium 1925: Czochralski grew single crystal silicon 1940-1950: Golden era of semiconductor research including invention of pn junction and transistor 1954: First silicon solar cell demonstrated with 4.5% efficiency

New York Times - 1954
“…the beginning of a new era, leading eventually to the realization of harnessing the almost limitless energy of the sun for the uses of civilization.”

Pearson, Chapin and Fuller, 1954 Inventor of Si solar cell

Bell lab document

2

Phases of Commercialization
1956 Searching for Applications During the first years after the discovery of the silicon solar cell, its prohibitive cost kept it out of the electrical power market. Desperate to find commercial outlets for solar cells, novelty items such as toys and radios run by solar cells were manufactured and sold as this advertisement illustrates. Late 1950s - Saved by the Space Race Dr. Hans Ziegler advocated for powering satellites with silicon solar cells. Solar cells used in Vanguard satellite

3

Phases of Commercialization

Early 1970s - The First Mass Earth Market Solar cells power navigation warning lights and horns on most off-shore gas and oil rigs throughout the world

1980s - Electrifying the Unelectrified A common sight in French Polynesia: solar modules on thatched roofs

1980s - Solarizing the Electrified Solar electric modules cover the rooftops of this apartment complex in Bremen, Germany

4

Shipment Growth and Price Reduction
PV is a $50 billion business today; the shipment has gone up 3000 times and price has come down by a factor of 20 in the last three decades

1000 PV module price ($/W)

100000

10000

100
1000

MW
100

10
10

1
1970 1975 1980 1985 1990 1995 2000 2005

1 2010

Years
5

Topics to Discuss

•Semiconductor physics •Solar cells •Different materials for solar cells •Thin film silicon solar cell •Building-integrated photovoltaic •Future direction

6

Physics of Semiconductor

Intrinsic semiconductor

n-type semiconductor

p-type semiconductor

PN junction

7

Physics of Solar Cell

Light creates electron-hole pair

Photons are absorbed to create free carriers; these are transported to the contacts

You can connect several solar cells in series and encapsulate to complete the module

8

Materials for High Efficiency Cells

Requirement for high efficiency solar cell •Optimum bandgap to match the solar spectrum •High quality material so that the electron-hole pairs can be transported to the contacts without recombination

Si GaAs CdTe

9

Global Shipment by Technology

Silicon technology still dominates the market
Source: PV News, May 2011

United Solar is the third largest thin film silicon solar cell manufacturer

10

Other Technologies are Gaining Traction

Total

6000

Announced 2012 Capacity (MW)

5000 4000

Total

Glass

Glass

Flexible

Flexible

2000 1000 0

Total

3000

Glass

Flexible

a-Si

CdTe

CIGS

Other

Announced production Capacities - 2010

Glass Flexible

Total

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Major Players
C-Si or pc-Si
Sharp SolarPower Kyocera BP Solar Q-Cells Mitsubishi SolarWorld Panasonic (Sanyo) Schott Solar Isofoton Motech Suntech Evergreen Solar JA Solar

Thin Film Si
United Solar Kaneka Fuji Electric Sharp Mitsubisihi Schott Solar Trony EPV PowerFilm AMAT licensees Orelikon licensees

CIGS
Nanosolar Avancis Solar Frontier Wurth Solar Global Solar Honda Soltec

CdTe
First Solar Antec Solar Abound Solar PrimeStar Solar Calyxo

There are currently more than 300 companies developing or producing solar cells. With prices continuing to decrease, and more companies entering the market, many small companies and start-ups are likely to fail
Ref: Carlson, APS Meeting, 2010
12

Global Cell Production

U.S. lags behind in both production and deployment

13

Manufacturing of Silicon Solar Cell

Growth of polysilicon chunks/grains Deposition of anti-reflection coating and sintering Interconnect and encapsulate

Growth of silicon ingots Screenprinting/evapo ration of contacts

Slicing into wafers and etching

Diffusion of impurities

Apply junction boxes and test

Ship

14

Silicon Solar Cell

Cell process steps and structure

15

High Efficiency Devices

BURIED CONTACT

BACK CONTACT

PERL (PASSIVATED EMITTER)

16

CdTe Solar Cell

Recognized as a semiconductor with near-ideal bandgap match to solar spectrum

• • • • •

1960’s 1981 1992 2002 2009

: Solar cells made by GE, Matsushita, Monosolar : Kodak enters the field with 10% efficiency : University of South Florida demonstrates 15% cell : 7% products available from First Solar : First Solar emerges as the world’s largest PV manufacturer

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CdTe Cell Structure

Glass Tin Oxide CdS CdTe Interface layer Metal

Wet chemical process* Closed space sublimation, vapor transport*

Sputtering*

* Other processes are also used

18

Monolithic Module

19

CIGS Solar Cell

Of all the thin film technologies, CIGS has received a great deal of efficiency because of high efficiency obtained in the laboratory. Manufacturing has been a challenge. Degradation due to moisture is another issue • 1973 : First thin film CIS solar cell demonstrated •1980’s: Boeing leads efforts in CIS cells; ARCO Solar joins the race •1990’s: NREL demonstrates high efficiency solar cells •2000 – 2010: Many companies enter the field Manufacturing process •Co-evaporation •Sputtering •Sputtering followed by selenization •Electroplating •Ink-growth

20

Cell Structure and Manufacturing

Zinc Oxide CdS

Wet chemical process*

CIGS

Co-evaporation, sputtering, plating*

Mo Metal/glass

Sputtering*

* Other processes are also used

Manufacturing: Laser-integrated or cell interconnected

21

Amorphous Silicon

1969: First report of amorphous silicon (a-Si) thin film deposited by glow-discharge decomposition of silane: Chittick, STL, U.K. 1974: Report by Walter Spear of University of Dundee that a-Si has low defect states in the band gap 1975: Report by Walter Spear that a-Si can be doped n-type or p-type 1976: First solar cell made at RCA laboratory by David Carlson (2% efficiency) 1977: Report of light-induced degradation of a-Si by Dave Staebler and Chris Wronski of RCA 1979: First a-Si alloy solar cell for calculators introduced in the market 1981: ECD/Uni-Solar enters the field 2010 : 1300 MW global manufacturing

22

From Innovation to Commercialization

2 MW Machine

Prototype Machine 5 MW Machine Auburn Hills facility (1&2) 60MW

Acquisition of Solar Integrated Technologies

1981

1986

1991

1994

1996

1997

2003

2007

2009

0.5 MW Machine NREL validation

Building-integrated (BIPV) product

Greenville 120 MW

More than 65 issued U.S. Patents
23

Amorphous Silicon

Advantages • Low material cost • Short energy pay back time • Superior high temperature performance • Environmentally safe • Rugged and flexible products

Challenges • Light-to-electricity conversion efficiency • Manufacturability

24

Amorphous Silicon
GROWTH OF AMORPHOUS SILICON USING HYDROGEN DILUTION
SUBSTRATE GAS (SiH4) HEATER

The best material is grown with hydrogen dilution of the active gas. As the hydrogen dilution increases, there is a transition from amorphous to nanocrystalline structure. The highest quality materials for both the nanocrystalline and amorphous phases are obtained near the edge of this transition. Materials grown on both sides of the edge are receiving a great deal of attention for solar cell applications.

RF POWER

TO
VACUU M

SiH4 --- Si + 2H2 Deposition of amorphous SiH alloy

18

µc-Si:H regime

a-Si:H regime

Hydrogen Content [at.-%]

14

10

6 IR ERDA 2 1 10 Silane Concentration [%] 100

25

Amorphous Materials • Unlike crystals, amorphous or disordered materials do not have any long-range order. There is no periodicity in the arrangement of the atoms.
° • ° °• ° • ° °• °• •° °• ° • ° •° °• °• ° • °

Crystals ° Amorphous •

26

What Does Disorder Cause?

• Weak bonds, dangling bonds, band tails - these defects impede carrier transport • Facilitates efficient light absorption - allows use of thin film

27

27

How to Improve Efficiency?
• Have better order with more stable structure - Role of hydrogen dilution • Use multijunction cells to facilitate better absorption

Blue Green
Nano -crystalline

Red Reflector

28

Manufacturing

Amorphous Silicon Alloy Triple-Junction Cell Processor
Six rolls of stainless steel, each 2.5 km long, processed in a single run in 65 hours.

29

From Lab to Production

Small area machine 2” by 2” substrate

Large area machine 15” by 14” substrate

Large-area machine (3 14” webs)

Roll-to-roll production machine
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United Solar- A Differentiated Product

Conventional Solar Cells

UNI-SOLAR® Laminates

31

Competitive Advantages

Low-impact solar roof solution Lightweight, durable, flexible Ideal for Building Integrated (BIPV) Easy to install Removable New lightweight BAPV application

Photo courtesy Solar Integrated

32

UNI-SOLAR Largest Rooftop Solar Installations

GM Facility / Zaragoza, Spain / 11.8 MW

Enel Green Power / Nola, Italy / 25 MW

Tesco | Fresh & Easy / Riverside, CA / 2 MW

Posco Warehouse / Pohang, South Korea / 1 MW
37

Improved Light Trapping: Back Reflector

Cross-section of a solar cell Anti-reflective coating Blue light-absorbing cell Green light-absorbing cell Red light-absorbing cell Back reflector Stainless steel substrate

Improved Light Trapping

Back reflector

38

Nano Technology

Results in greater stability and higher conversion efficiency

Anti-reflective coating Blue light-absorbing cell Green light-absorbing cell Red light-absorbing cell Back reflector Stainless steel substrate Nano Technology replaces green and red lightabsorbing layers

• Compatible with a-Si alloy deposition • Ideal for middle and bottom cells of multi-junction structure • Improved light absorption and no light-induced degradation of nano layers has resulted in conversion efficiency of 12% in in the lab
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Global Shipment of PV
8000 7000 6000 5000

INCENTIVE DRIVEN GROWTH

JAP ITA ROE USA ROW Germa ny Spain

MW

4000 3000 2000 1000 0 2004 2005 2006 2007 2008 2009

40

Challenge for PV--How to Reach Grid Parity

Cost per kW hour
(in constant 2005 US dollars)

$1.00 $0.80 $0.60 $0.40 $0.20 $0.00 1990
Grid parity

Cost of solar electricity is decreasing every year. We are on our path to grid parity.

2000
Year

2010
Source: Solar America Initiative

2020

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Problems with Conventional Fuel
• Pollution The power plants emit mercury and sulphur dioxide resulting in acid rain. There is particulate (soot) emission, too. The pollution causes diseases having a severe impact on the economy. • Global Warming The emission of greenhouse gases like CO2 and NOx lead to global warming; research studies attribute many of the recent severe weather calamities to global warming. • Energy Poverty There are 2 billion people in the world without access to electricity. Distributed power in the form of renewables like PV is the only option for them.

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“In the end, more than they wanted freedom, they wanted a comfortable life-and they lost both comfort and freedom. When the Athenians wanted not to give to society but for society to give to them, when the freedom they wished for most was freedom from responsibility, then Athens ceased to be free” – Edith Hamilton
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