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These disks act as energy sources for a wide variety of uses, including: calculators and other small devices; telecommunications; rooftop panels on individual houses; and for lighting, pumping, and medical refrigeration for villages in developing countries. Solar cells in the form of large arrays are used to power satellites and, in rare cases, to provide electricity for power plants. When research into electricity began and simple batteries were being made and studied, research into solar electricity followed amazingly quickly. As early as 1839, Antoine-Cesar Becquerel exposed a chemical battery to the sun to see it produce voltage. This first conversion of sunlight to electricity was one percent efficient. That is, one percent of the incoming sunlight was converted into electricity. Willoughby Smith in 1873 discovered that selenium was sensitive to light; in 1877 Adams and Day noted that selenium, when exposed to light, produced an electrical current. Charles Fritts, in the 1880s, also used gold-coated selenium to make the first solar cell, again only one percent efficient. Nevertheless, Fritts considered his cells to be revolutionary. He envisioned free solar energy to be a means of decentralization, predicting that solar cells would replace power plants with individually powered residences. With Albert Einstein's explanation in 1905 of the photoelectric effect—metal absorbs energy from light and will retain that energy until too much light hits it—hope soared anew that solar electricity at higher efficiencies would become feasible. Little progress was made, however, until research into diodes and transistors yielded the knowledge necessary for Bell scientists Gordon Pearson, Darryl Chapin, and Cal Fuller to produce a silicon solar cell of four percent efficiency in 1954. Further work brought the cell's efficiency up to 15 percent. Solar cells were first used in the rural and isolated city of Americus, Georgia as a power source for a telephone relay system, where it was used successfully for many years. A type of solar cell to fully meet domestic energy needs has not as yet been developed, but solar cells have become successful in providing energy for artificial satellites. Fuel systems and regular batteries were too heavy in a program where every ounce mattered. Solar cells provide more energy per ounce of weight than all other conventional energy sources, and they are costeffective. Only a few large scale photovoltaic power systems have been set up. Most efforts lean toward providing solar cell technology to remote places that have no other means of sophisticated power. About 50 megawatts are installed each year, yet solar cells provide only about. 1 percent of all electricity now being produced. Supporters of solar energy claim that the amount of solar radiation reaching the Earth's surface each year could easily provide all our energy needs several times over, yet solar cells have a long way to go before they fulfill Charles Fritts's dream of free, fully accessible solar electricity.
The basic component of a solar cell is pure silicon, which is not pure in its natural state.
To make solar cells, the raw materials—silicon dioxide of either quartzite gravel or crushed quartz—are first placed into an electric arc furnace, where a carbon arc is applied to release the oxygen. The products are carbon dioxide and molten silicon. At this point, the silicon is still not pure enough to be used for solor cells and requires further purification. Pure silicon is derived from such silicon dioxides as quartzite gravel (the purest silica) or crushed quartz. The resulting pure silicon is then doped (treated with) with phosphorous and boron to produce an excess of electrons and a deficiency of electrons respectively to make a semiconductor capable of conducting electricity. The silicon disks are shiny and require an antireflective coating, usually titanium dioxide. The solar module consists of the silicon semiconductor surrounded by protective material in a metal frame. The protective material consists of an encapsulant of transparent silicon rubber or butyryl plastic (commonly used in automobile windshields) bonded around the cells, which are then embedded in ethylene vinyl acetate. A polyester film (such as mylar or tedlar) makes up the backing. A glass cover is found on terrestrial arrays, a lightweight plastic cover on satellite arrays. The electronic parts are standard and consist mostly of copper. The frame is either steel or aluminum. Silicon is used as the cement to put it all together.
The Manufacturing Process
Purifying the silicon
1 The silicon dioxide of either quartzite gravel or crushed quartz is placed into an electric arc furnace. A carbon arc is then applied to release the oxygen. The products are carbon dioxide and molten silicon. This simple process yields silicon with one percent impurity, useful in many industries but not the solar cell industry. 2 The 99 percent pure silicon is purified even further using the floating zone technique. A rod of impure silicon is passed through a heated zone several times in the same direction. This procedure "drags" the impurities toward one end with each pass. At a specific point, the silicon is deemed pure, and the impure end is removed.
Making single crystal silicon
3 Solar cells are made from silicon boules, polycrystalline structures that have the atomic structure of a single crystal. The most commonly used process for creating the boule is called the Czochralski method. In this process, a seed crystal of silicon is dipped into melted polycrystalline silicon. As the seed crystal is withdrawn and rotated, a cylindrical ingot or "boule" of silicon is formed. The ingot withdrawn is unusually pure, because impurities tend to remain in the liquid.
Making silicon wafers
4 From the boule, silicon wafers are sliced one at a time using a circular saw whose inner diameter cuts into the rod, or many at once with a multiwire saw. (A diamond saw produces cuts that are as wide as the wafer—. 5 millimeter thick.) Only about one-half of the silicon is lost from the boule to the finished circular wafer—more if the wafer is then cut to be rectangular or hexagonal. Rectangular or hexagonal wafers are sometimes used in solar cells because they can be fitted together perfectly, thereby utilizing all available space on the front surface of the solar cell.
After the initial purification, the silicon is further refined in a floating zone process. In this process, a silicon rod is passed through a heated zone several times, which serves to 'drag" the impurities toward one end of the rod. The impure end can then be removed. Next, a silicon seed crystal is put into a Czochralski growth apparatus, where it is dipped
into melted polycrystalline silicon. The seed crystal rotates as it is withdrawn, forming a cylindrical ingot of very pure silicon. Wafers are then sliced out of the ingot.
5 The wafers are then polished to remove saw marks. (It has recently been found that rougher cells absorb light more effectively, therefore some manufacturers have chosen not to polish the wafer.)
6 The traditional way of doping (adding impurities to) silicon wafers with boron and phosphorous is to introduce a small amount of boron during the Czochralski process in step #3 above. The wafers are then sealed back to back and placed in a furnace to be heated to slightly below the melting point of silicon (2,570 degrees Fahrenheit or 1,410 degrees Celsius) in the presence of phosphorous gas. The phosphorous atoms "burrow" into the silicon, which is more porous because it is close to becoming a liquid. The temperature and time given to the process is carefully controlled to ensure a uniform junction of proper depth. A more recent way of doping silicon with phosphorous is to use a small particle accelerator to shoot phosphorous ions into the ingot. By controlling the speed of the ions, it is possible to control their penetrating depth. This new process, however, has generally not been accepted by commercial manufacturers.
Placing electrical contacts
7 Electrical contacts connect each solar cell to another and to the receiver of produced current. The contacts must be very thin (at least in the front) so as not to block sunlight to the cell. Metals such as palladium/silver, nickel, or copper are vacuum-evaporated
or merely deposited on the exposed portion of cells that have been partially covered with wax. an anti-reflective coating is put on the silicon wafer. In this process. The cells are encapsulated in ethylene vinyl acetate and placed in a metal frame that has a mylar backsheet and glass cover. while the rest of the cell is exposed to the metal. The material used for coating is either heated until its molecules boil off and travel to the silicon and condense. or the material undergoes sputtering. Yet another method is to allow the silicon itself to react with oxygen- . it can reflect up to 35 percent of the sunlight. To reduce the amount of sunlight lost. a high voltage knocks molecules off the material and deposits them onto the silicon at the opposite electrode. through a photoresist. The most commonly used coatings are titanium dioxide and silicon oxide. 8 After the contacts are in place. silkscreened. thin strips ("fingers") are placed between cells. The most commonly used strips are tin-coated copper. All three methods involve a system in which the part of the cell on which a contact is not desired is protected. The anti-reflective coating 9 Because pure silicon is shiny. though others are used.This illustration shows the makeup of a typical solar cell.
the future can only improve. This problem has been alleviated by providing shunt diodes that reduce dangerously high voltages to the cell. The silicon itself is tested for purity. Encapsulating the cell 10 The finished solar cells are then encapsulated. Some experts predict it will be a billion-dollar industry by the year 2000. pressure. and quantities of dopants are continuously monitored. and resistivity. and etching. crystal orientation.or nitrogen-containing gases to form silicon dioxide or silicon nitride. During the entire silicon disk manufacturing process. voltage. sealed into silicon rubber or ethylene vinyl acetate. Quality Control Quality control is important in solar cell manufacture because discrepancy in the many processes and factors can adversely affect the overall efficiency of the cells. Finished silicon disks are inspected for any damage. twisting. An earlier problem with solar cells was a tendency to stop working when partially shaded. the temperature. The cells are also exposed to heat and cold and tested against vibration. in which finished modules are placed where they will actually be used. or bending that might have occurred during sawing. The encapsulated solar cells are then placed into an aluminum frame that has a mylar or tedlar backsheet and a glass or plastic cover. flaking. that is. and hail. Steps are also taken to ensure that impurities in the air and on working surfaces are kept to a minimum. inefficient solar cells. The Low Cost Solar Array Project (initiated by the United States Department of Energy in the late 1970s) sponsored private research that aimed to lower the cost of solar cells. The completed semiconductors must then undergo electrical tests to see that the current. This provides the researcher with the best data for determining the efficiency of a solar cell under ambient conditions and the solar cell's effective lifetime. The primary research goal is to find ways to improve the efficiency of each solar cell over a longer lifetime. and resistance for each meet appropriate standards. polishing. speed. Shunt resistance must then be tested using partially shaded junctions. the most important factors of all. Manufacturers also test for the presence of oxygen (which affects its strength and resistance to warp) and carbon (which causes defects). This prediction is supported by evidence of more rooftop photovoltaic systems being developed in . An important test of solar modules involves providing test cells with conditions and intensity of light that they will encounter under normal conditions and then checking to see that they perform well. The final test for solar modules is field site testing. The Future Considering the present state of relatively expensive. Commercial solar cell manufacturers use silicon nitride.
and Italy. Additional innovations including minimizing shade and focusing sunlight through prismatic lenses. Already. Innovations in solar cell technology include developing and manufacturing cheaper alternatives to the expensive crystalline silicon cells. These alternatives include solar windows that mimic photosynthesis. The Manufacturing Process of solar cell http://www. This involves layers of different materials (notably. A few experts foresee the adaptation of hybrid houses. a solar power satellite that beams power to Earth solar array farms.html#ixzz0sLdZuY7K .com/Volume-1/Solar-Cell.such countries as Japan.material. passive solar heating. and smaller cells made from tiny. Read more: How solar cell is made . and the Philippines (all three assisted by American companies) are building plants that will manufacture solar cells. structure. Egypt. and solar cells for reduced energy needs. that is. houses that utilize solar water heaters. Most current research aims for reducing solar cell cost or increasing efficiency. and even a space colony that will manufacture solar arrays to be used on Earth. manufacture. gallium arsenide and silicon) that absorb light at different frequencies. Another view concerns the space shuttle placing more and more solar arrays into orbit. making. steps. parts. Plans to begin the manufacture of solar cells have been established in Mexico and China. used. Raw Materials. thereby increasing the amount of sunlight effectively used for electricity production. Germany. Botswana. Likewise. procedure. industry. amorphous silicon and polycrystalline silicon are gaining popularity at the expense of single crystal silicon. amorphous silicon balls.madehow.
1.6. solar modules.2 Thermodynamic efficiency limit o 4.6.1 Energy conversion efficiency o 220.127.116.11. The energy generated this way is an example of solar energy (also known as solar power).6.5 Shunt resistance 3. Sometimes the term solar cell is reserved for devices intended specifically to capture energy from sunlight such as solar panels and solar cells.1 Characteristic equation 3.2 Effect of physical size 3.1 Open-circuit voltage and short-circuit current 3.6 Reverse saturation current 3. Assemblies of cells are used to make solar panels. or photovoltaic arrays. Photovoltaics is the field of technology and research related to the application of solar cells in producing electricity for practical use.A solar cell is a device that converts the energy of sunlight directly into electricity by the photovoltaic effect.2 Photogeneration of charge carriers o 3. while the term photovoltaic cell is used when the light source is unspecified.6.1 Simple explanation o 18.104.22.168 Equivalent circuit of a solar cell 3.3 Quantum efficiency .1.6.3 Cell temperature 22.214.171.124 Series resistance 3.5 Connection to an external load o 3.7 Ideality factor 4 Solar cell efficiency factors o 4. A solar cell made from a monocrystalline silicon wafer Contents [hide] 1 History of solar cells 2 Applications and implementations 3 Theory o 3.3 Charge carrier separation o 3.4 The p-n junction o 3.1.
10 3D solar cells o 12.1 Crystalline silicon o 6.2 Thin-film solar cells 5.5 Fill factor 126.96.36.199 Thin-film processing o 12.1 Record efficiencies 5.2.11 Metamaterials o 12.4 Light-absorbing dyes (DSSC) 6.2 Copper-Indium Selenide 6.5 Nanoparticle processing o 12.12 Photovoltaic thermal hybrid 13 Validation.3 Crystalline Silicon 6 Light-absorbing materials o 6.2.2 United States 14 See also 15 References o o o . 4.1 Nanocrystalline solar cells 7 Concentrating photovoltaics (CPV) 8 Silicon solar cell device manufacture 9 Miniaturization 10 Lifespan 11 Costs o 11.3 Gallium arsenide multijunction 6.6 Transparent conductors o 12.3 Metamorphic multijunction solar cell o 188.8.131.52 Multiple-junction solar cells 5. certification and manufacturers o 13.9 UV solar cells o 12.1.4 Polymer processing o 12.7 Silicon wafer-based solar cells o 12.1 Cadmium telluride solar cell 6.6 Silicon thin films 6.6 Comparison of energy conversion efficiencies 4.1 Silicon processing o 12.2 Thin films 6.2.8 Infrared solar cells o 12.1.1 Solar cells and energy payback 5 High-efficiency cells o 5.2.5 Organic/polymer solar cells 184.108.40.206 Low-cost solar cell 12 Current research on materials and devices o 12.1 Bulk 6.1 Slicing costs o 11.1 China o 13.4 Maximum-power point 4.6.
The device was only around 1% efficient. with Megawatt solar power generating plants having now been built. by Charles Fritts. the volt. who coated the semiconductor selenium with an extremely thin layer of gold to form the junctions. it was not until 1883 that the first solar cell was built. However. 16 External links  History of solar cells Main article: Timeline of solar cells The term "photovoltaic" comes from the Greek φῶς (phōs) meaning "light". Albert Einstein explained the photoelectric effect in 1905 for which he received the Nobel prize in Physics in 1921. Subsequently Russian physicist Aleksandr Stoletov built the first solar cell based on the outer photoelectric effect (discovered by Heinrich Hertz earlier in 1887). The term "photo-voltaic" has been in use in English since 1849.  Applications and implementations Polycrystaline photovoltaic cells laminated to backing material in a module . The highly efficient solar cell was first developed by Chapin. remarkable progress has been made. Fuller and Pearson in 1954 using a diffused silicon p-n junction. from the name of the Italian physicist Volta. which was discovered while working on the series of advances that would lead to the transistor. is named. E. In the past four decades. and "voltaic". The photovoltaic effect was first recognized in 1839 by French physicist A. Becquerel. after whom a unit of electromotive force. Russell Ohl patented the modern junction semiconductor solar cell in 1946. meaning electric.
Solar cells can also be applied to other electronics devices to make it self-power sustainable in the sun.  Theory See also: Electromotive force#Solar cell  Simple explanation 1. 3. Photons in sunlight hit the solar panel and are absorbed by semiconducting materials.Polycrystalline photovoltaic cells Main article: photovoltaic array Solar cells are often electrically connected and encapsulated as a module. solar bike light and solar camping lanterns that people can adopt for daily use. . In order to calculate the typical energy needs of the application. to create an array with the desired peak DC voltage and current. kilowatt-hours or kilowatthours per day is often used.). etc. batteries are used to store the energy that is not needed immediately. the electricity is most often fed into the electricity grid using inverters (grid-connected photovoltaic systems). such as silicon.8 kWh per day (24 hours x 1 kW x 20% = 4. in stand-alone systems. or both. the electrons are only allowed to move in a single direction. An array of solar cells converts solar energy into a usable amount of direct current (DC) electricity. hail. allowing light to pass while protecting the semiconductor wafers from the elements (rain. There are solar cell phone chargers. so that each peak kilowatt of solar array output power corresponds to energy production of 4. a measurement in watt-hours. allowing them to flow through the material to produce electricity. Electrons (negatively charged) are knocked loose from their atoms. A common rule of thumb is that average power is equal to 20% of peak power. Solar cells are also usually connected in series in modules. 2. Due to the special composition of solar cells. in series or parallel. creating an additive voltage. Connecting cells in parallel will yield a higher current. Photovoltaic modules often have a sheet of glass on the front (sun up) side.8 kWh). To make practical use of the solar-generated energy. Modules are then interconnected. The power output of a solar array is measured in watts or kilowatts.
However.  Charge carrier separation There are two main modes for charge carrier separation in a solar cell: 1. When a photon is absorbed. diffusion of carriers from zones of high carrier concentration to zones of low carrier concentration (following a gradient of electrochemical potential). and hence unable to move far. and as such. driven by an electrostatic field established across the device 2. and the dominant mode of separation is via charge carrier diffusion. depending on the band structure. it can be said that photons absorbed in the semiconductor create mobile electronhole pairs. the photon can be absorbed by the silicon. the photon can pass straight through the silicon — this (generally) happens for lower energy photons. and in this way a hole can move through the lattice." leaving another hole behind. The energy given to it by the photon "excites" it into the conduction band. However. one of three things can happen: 1. and is tightly bound in covalent bonds between neighboring atoms. Usually this electron is in the valence band. a general electrostatic field has been confirmed to be absent. the solar frequency spectrum approximates a black body spectrum at ~6000 K. Photogeneration of charge carriers When a photon hits a piece of silicon. drift of carriers. These higher energy photons will be absorbed by the solar cell. 2. the photon can reflect off the surface. its energy is given to an electron in the crystal lattice. but the difference in energy between these photons and the silicon band gap is converted into heat (via lattice vibrations — called phonons) rather than into usable electrical energy. A photon need only have greater energy than that of the band gap in order to excite an electron from the valence band into the conduction band. 3. The presence of a missing covalent bond allows the bonded electrons of neighboring atoms to move into the "hole. The covalent bond that the electron was previously a part of now has one fewer electron — this is known as a hole. Thus. In the widely used p-n junction solar cells. the dominant mode of charge carrier separation is by drift. if the photon energy is higher than the silicon band gap value.  The p-n junction Main articles: semiconductor and p-n junction . This generates an electron-hole pair and sometimes heat. where it is free to move around within the semiconductor. much of the solar radiation reaching the Earth is composed of photons with energies greater than the band gap of silicon. in non-p-n-junction solar cells (typical of the third generation solar cell research such as dye and polymer solar cells).
p-n junctions of silicon solar cells are not made in this way. The voltage measured is equal to the difference in the quasi Fermi levels of the minority carriers. When the electrons diffuse across the p-n junction. The diffusion of carriers does not happen indefinitely. This region where electrons and holes have diffused across the junction is called the depletion region because it no longer contains any mobile charge carriers. because charges build up on either side of the junction and create an electric field. one can imagine bringing a layer of n-type silicon into direct contact with a layer of p-type silicon.e. If a piece of p-type silicon is placed in intimate contact with a piece of n-type silicon. i. that opposes and eventually balances out the diffusion of electron and holes.  Connection to an external load Ohmic metal-semiconductor contacts are made to both the n-type and p-type sides of the solar cell. Electrons that are created on the n-type side. electrons in the p-type portion and holes in the n-type portion. may travel through the wire. but rather by diffusing an n-type dopant into one side of a p-type wafer (or vice versa).  Equivalent circuit of a solar cell The equivalent circuit of a solar cell . known as drift current.The most commonly known solar cell is configured as a large-area p-n junction made from silicon. they recombine with a hole that was either created as an electron-hole pair on the p-type side of the solar cell. and continue through the wire until they reach the p-type semiconductor-metal contact. and the electrodes connected to an external load. It is also known as the space charge region. however. or have been "collected" by the junction and swept onto the n-type side. then a diffusion of electrons occurs from the region of high electron concentration (the n-type side of the junction) into the region of low electron concentration (p-type side of the junction). power the load. Here. The electric field creates a diode that promotes charge flow. or a hole that was swept across the junction from the n-type side after being created there. As a simplification. In practice. they recombine with holes on the p-type side.
on the right. minus that which flows through the diode.The schematic symbol of a solar cell To understand the electronic behavior of a solar cell. it is useful to create a model which is electrically equivalent. minus that which flows through the shunt resistor: I = IL − ID − ISH where I = output current (amperes) IL = photogenerated current (amperes) ID = diode current (amperes) ISH = shunt current (amperes). in practice no solar cell is ideal. By the Shockley diode equation. The current through these elements is governed by the voltage across them: Vj = V + IRS where Vj = voltage across both diode and resistor RSH (volts) V = voltage across the output terminals (volts) I = output current (amperes) RS = series resistance (Ω).  Characteristic equation From the equivalent circuit it is evident that the current produced by the solar cell is equal to that produced by the current source. An ideal solar cell may be modelled by a current source in parallel with a diode. so a shunt resistance and a series resistance component are added to the model. the current diverted through the diode is: . The resulting equivalent circuit of a solar cell is shown on the left. is the schematic representation of a solar cell for use in circuit diagrams. Also shown. and is based on discrete electrical components whose behavior is well known.
volts. The two alternatives are identities.) Since the parameters I0. they yield precisely the same results. that is. where I0 = reverse saturation current (amperes) n = diode ideality factor (1 for an ideal diode) q = elementary charge k = Boltzmann's constant T = absolute temperature At 25°C. the most common application of the characteristic equation is nonlinear regression to extract the values of these parameters on the basis of their combined effect on solar cell behavior.  Open-circuit voltage and short-circuit current . In principle. n. it is easily solved using numerical methods. and RSH cannot be measured directly. which relates solar cell parameters to the output current and voltage: An alternative derivation produces an equation similar in appearance. because the equation involves I on both sides in a transcendental function the equation has no general analytical solution. However. By Ohm's law. RS. even without a solution it is physically instructive. the current diverted through the shunt resistor is: where RSH = shunt resistance (Ω). (A general analytical solution to the equation is possible using Lambert's W function. but with V on the left-hand side. but since Lambert's W generally itself must be solved numerically this is a technicality. Furthermore. Substituting these into the first equation produces the characteristic equation of a solar cell. However. given a particular operating voltage V the equation may be solved to determine the operating current I at that voltage.
where all cells tend to be the same size. in principle. which can make numerical extraction of them simpler and more accurate even with naive solution methods. RS. One is that since cell characteristics are referenced to a common cross-sectional area they may be compared for cells of different physical dimensions. While this is of limited benefit in a manufacturing setting. Recombination and contamination of the junction tend to be greatest at the perimeter of the cell. I = 0 and the voltage across the output terminals is defined as the open-circuit voltage. or current produced per unit cell area: where J = current density (amperes/cm2) JL = photogenerated current density (amperes/cm2) J0 = reverse saturation current density (amperes/cm2) rS = specific series resistance (Ω-cm2) rSH = specific shunt resistance (Ω-cm2). There are practical limitations of this formulation. It can be shown that for a high-quality solar cell (low RS and I0. V = 0 and the current I through the terminals is defined as the short-circuit current. so very small cells may exhibit higher values of J0 or lower values of RSH than larger cells that are otherwise . a cell with twice the surface area of another will. This formulation has several advantages. Assuming the shunt resistance is high enough to neglect the final term of the characteristic equation. it is useful in research and in comparing cells between manufacturers. It will also have half the RS and RSH because it has twice the cross-sectional area through which current can flow. the open-circuit voltage VOC is: Similarly. the characteristic equation is frequently written in terms of current density. For instance. For this reason.When the cell is operated at open circuit. In comparing otherwise identical cells. and RSH are dependent upon the physical size of the solar cell. certain parasitic effects grow in importance as cell sizes shrink and can affect the extracted parameter values. have double the I0 because it has twice the junction area across which current can leak. Another advantage is that the density equation naturally scales the parameter values to similar orders of magnitude. and high RSH) the short-circuit current ISC is:  Effect of physical size The values of I0. when the cell is operated at short circuit.
the value of I0 increases exponentially with T. temperature affects all of the terms. though the rate for the highest-efficiency crystalline silicon cells is around 0. the rate for amorphous silicon solar cells is 0. While increasing T reduces the magnitude of the exponent in the characteristic equation.20-0. comparisons between cells must be made cautiously and with these effects in mind. By way of comparison.30%/°C. depending on how the cell is made. via T in the exponential term. and indirectly via its effect on I0 (strictly speaking. This effect is slight. However.50%/°C and most amorphous cells decline by 0.50%/°C. since the change in voltage is much stronger than the change in current. The net effect is to reduce VOC (the open-circuit voltage) linearly with increasing temperature.identical. that is. . The figure above shows I-V curves that might typically be seen for a crystalline silicon solar cell at various temperatures. This approach should only be used for comparing solar cells with comparable layout.25%/°C. however: about 0. For instance. In such cases. For most crystalline silicon solar cells the reduction is about 0.15-0. but these two far more significantly than the others).  Cell temperature Effect of temperature on the current-voltage characteristics of a solar cell Temperature affects the characteristic equation in two ways: directly. cells with higher values of VOC suffer smaller reductions in voltage with increasing temperature. The amount of photogenerated current IL increases slightly with increasing temperature because of an increase in the number of thermally generated carriers in the cell.065%/°C for crystalline silicon cells and 0. The overall effect of temperature on cell efficiency can be computed using these factors in combination with the characteristic equation. a comparison between primarily quadratical solar cells like typical crystalline silicon solar cells and narrow but long solar cells like typical thin film solar cells can lead to wrong assumptions caused by the different kinds of current paths and therefore the influence of for instance a distributed series resistance rS. the overall effect on efficiency tends to be similar to that on voltage.09% for amorphous silicon cells. The magnitude of this reduction is inversely proportional to VOC. Most crystalline silicon solar cells decline in efficiency by 0.35%/°C.
Losses caused by series resistance are in a first approximation given by Ploss=VRsI=I2RS and increase quadratically with (photo-)current.  Shunt resistance Effect of shunt resistance on the current–voltage characteristics of a solar cell As shunt resistance decreases. the voltage drop between the junction voltage and the terminal voltage becomes greater for the same flow of current. producing a significant decrease in the terminal current I and a slight reduction in VOC. series resistance dominates and the behavior of the solar cell resembles that of a resistor. These effects are shown for crystalline silicon solar cells in the I-V curves displayed in the figure to the right. a badly shunted solar cell will take on operating . the short-circuit current. Very high values of RS will also produce a significant reduction in ISC. The result is that the current-controlled portion of the I-V curve begins to sag toward the origin. The result is that the voltage-controlled portion of the I-V curve begins to sag toward the origin. Series resistance Effect of series resistance on the current-voltage characteristics of a solar cell As series resistance increases. in these regimes. the current diverted through the shunt resistor increases for a given level of junction voltage. producing a significant decrease in the terminal voltage V and a slight reduction in ISC. Much as in the case of a high series resistance. Series resistance losses are therefore most important at high illumination intensities. Very low values of RSH will produce a significant reduction in VOC.
The effect of reverse saturation current on the I-V curve of a crystalline silicon solar cell are shown in the figure to the right. an increase in I0 produces a reduction in VOC proportional to the inverse of the logarithm of the increase.  Ideality factor Effect of ideality factor on the current-voltage characteristics of a solar cell . This explains mathematically the reason for the reduction in VOC that accompanies increases in temperature described above.  Reverse saturation current Effect of reverse saturation current on the current-voltage characteristics of a solar cell If one assumes infinite shunt resistance. These effects are shown for crystalline silicon solar cells in the I-V curves displayed in the figure to the right.characteristics similar to those of a resistor. reverse saturation current is a measure of the "leakage" of carriers across the p-n junction in reverse bias. Physically. This leakage is a result of carrier recombination in the neutral regions on either side of the junction. the characteristic equation can be solved for VOC: Thus.
device operation may be dominated by recombination in the space-charge region. A solar cell's energy conversion efficiency (η. . Pm. when a solar cell is connected to an electrical circuit. n = 2. in W/m2) under standard test conditions (STC) and the surface area of the solar cell (Ac in m2).The ideality factor (also called the emissivity factor) is a fitting parameter that describes how closely the diode's behavior matches that predicted by theory. which assumes the p-n junction of the diode is an infinite plane and no recombination occurs within the space-charge region. The net effect. This is characterized by a significant increase in I0 as well as an increase in ideality factor to n ≈ 2. therefore. well approximate an infinite plane and will usually exhibit near-ideal behavior under Standard Test Condition (n ≈ 1). I0 is the more significant factor and the result is a reduction in voltage. Typically. which are quite large compared to conventional diodes. "eta"). however.  Solar cell efficiency factors  Energy conversion efficiency Main article: Energy conversion efficiency Dust often accumulates on the glass of solar panels seen here as black dots. A perfect match to theory is indicated when n = 1. The effect of changing ideality factor independently of all other parameters is shown for a crystalline silicon solar cell in the I-V curves displayed in the figure to the right. divided by the input light irradiance (E. The latter tends to increase solar cell output voltage while the former acts to erode it. is a combination of the increase in voltage shown for increasing n in the figure to the right and the decrease in voltage shown for increasing I0 in the figure above. Most solar cells. however. is the percentage of power converted (from absorbed light to electrical energy) and collected. Under certain operating conditions. When recombination in the space-charge region dominate other recombination. This term is calculated using the ratio of the maximum power point.
Thus.  Quantum efficiency Main article: Quantum efficiency of a solar cell As described above. but also make up minor portions of the quantum efficiency. when a photon is absorbed by a solar cell it can produce a pair of free charge carriers. Recombination losses make up a portion of the quantum efficiency. When a photon of greater energy is absorbed. this process is then called . the carrier may give up its energy and once again become bound to an atom within the solar cell without being collected. Photons with an energy below the band gap of the absorber material cannot generate a hole-electron pair. such a carrier is said to be collected. under these conditions a solar cell of 12% efficiency with a 100 cm2 (0. quantum efficiency. other parameters are measured instead: thermodynamic efficiency.2 watts of power. The excess kinetic energy is converted to heat through phonon interactions as the kinetic energy of the carriers slows to equilibrium velocity.5 (AM1. Reflectance losses are a portion of the quantum efficiency under "external quantum efficiency". One of the carriers (the minority carrier) may then be able to reach the p-n junction and contribute to the current produced by the solar cell. VOC ratio. and are therefore subject to the "thermodynamic efficiency limit". These correspond to the irradiance and spectrum of sunlight incident on a clear day upon a sun-facing 37°-tilted surface with the sun at an angle of 41. i.01 m2) surface area can be expected to produce approximately 1. Resistive losses are predominantly categorized under fill factor. Solar cells with multiple band gap absorber materials are able to more efficiently convert the solar spectrum. only a fraction of the energy above the band gap can be converted to useful output. an electron-hole pair. and fill factor. Alternatively. Due to the difficulty in measuring these parameters directly. charge carrier separation efficiency and conductive efficiency. VOC ratio. VOC ratio. the excess energy above the band gap is converted to kinetic energy of the carrier combination. and fill factor.5) spectrum.81° above the horizon. the solar spectrum may be broken down into smaller bins where the thermodynamic efficiency limit is higher for each bin. This condition approximately represents solar noon near the spring and autumn equinoxes in the continental United States with surface of the cell aimed directly at the sun.   Thermodynamic efficiency limit Solar cells operate as quantum energy conversion devices. The efficiency of a solar cell may be broken down into reflectance efficiency. For photons with an energy above the band gap energy.STC specifies a temperature of 25 °C and an irradiance of 1000 W/m2 with an air mass 1. thermodynamic efficiency.e. By using multiple band gaps. and so their energy is not converted to useful output and only generates heat if absorbed. The overall efficiency is the product of each of these individual efficiencies.
internal quantum efficiency is related to external quantum efficiency by the reflectance (R) and the transmittance (T) of the solar cell by IQE = EQE / (1 − R − T). even with 25 °C air temperature. External quantum efficiency (EQE) is the fraction of incident photons that are converted to electrical current. while the open-circuit voltage (VOC) may drop only 10% with a 80% drop in illumination. The carriers that recombine do not contribute to the generation of electrical current. at 25 °C cell temperature. quantum efficiency is most usefully expressed as a spectral measurement (that is. Maximum power (with 45 °C cell temperature) is typically produced with 75% to 80% of the open-circuit voltage (0. the point that maximizes V×I. that is. until the short-circuit current is approached (Isc). monocrystalline silicon solar cell. The usable power output could thus drop from 70% of the VOC x ISC product to 50% or even as little as 25%. can be seriously distorting their actual performance.e. (The output power is zero in both the short circuit and open circuit extremes).. . as a function of photon wavelength or energy). spectral measurements of quantum efficiency can yield valuable information about the quality of the semiconductor bulk and surfaces. a maximum power point tracker tracks the instantaneous power by continually measuring the voltage and current (and hence. reducing the open-circuit voltage to 0. Please note that for a thick bulk Si solar cell T is approximately zero and is therefore in practical cases often neglected. A high quality. Mathematically. collected carriers) when the cell is operated under short circuit conditions. the load for which the cell can deliver maximum electrical power at that level of irradiation. without giving load curves. while internal quantum efficiency (IQE) is the fraction of absorbed photons that are converted to electrical current. The short-circuit current (Isc) from a cell is nearly proportional to the illumination. Quantum efficiency refers to the percentage of photons that are converted to electric current (i. Furthermore. By increasing the resistive load on an irradiated cell continuously from zero (a short circuit) to a very high value (an open circuit) one can determine the maximum-power point. as it does not convey information about the fraction of power that is converted by the solar cell. Lower-quality cells have a more rapid drop in voltage with increasing current and could produce only 1/2 VOC at 1/2 ISC. Quantum efficiency should not be confused with energy conversion efficiency. power transfer). The cell temperature in full sunlight. For systems large enough to justify the extra expense.60 volts open-circuit (VOC). and uses this information to dynamically adjust the load so the maximum power is always transferred. may produce 0.43 volts in this case) and 90% of the short-circuit current. The maximum power point of a photovoltaic varies with incident illumination. The voltage drops modestly. Since some wavelengths are absorbed more effectively than others in most semiconductors. Vendors who rate their solar cell "power" only as VOC x ISC.recombination since one electron and one hole recombine and thereby annihilate the associated free charge.  Maximum-power point A solar cell may operate over a wide range of voltages (V) and currents (I). with this type of cell.55 volts per cell. will probably be close to 45 °C. regardless of the variation in lighting. This output can be up to 70% of the VOC x ISC product.
spatial distribution of power. and pushing the cells output power closer towards its theoretical maximum. Multiplying the spectral differences by the quantum efficiency of the solar cell in question will yield the efficiency of the device. The resistive load is varied until the peak or maximum power point (MPP) is achieved. IEC standard 61215 is used to compare the performance of cells and is designed around terrestrial. a spectral distribution close to solar radiation through AM (airmass) of 1. a silicon solar cell in space might have an efficiency of 14% at AM0. This is the ratio of the maximum power point divided by the open circuit voltage (Voc) and the short circuit current (Isc): The fill factor is directly affected by the values of the cells series and shunt resistance.7% with multiple-junction research lab cells and 42. In space. Increasing the shunt resistance (Rsh) and decreasing the series resistance (Rs) will lead to higher fill factor. on earth. Simply. thus resulting in greater efficiency. but have an efficiency of 16% on earth at AM 1. a system was devised to calculate this filtering effect. Solar cell efficiencies vary from 6% for amorphous silicon-based solar cells to 40. using its standard temperature and conditions (STC): irradiance) of 1 kW/m2. with air filtering the incoming light. the spectrum of the sun is relatively unfiltered. Air mass has an effect on power output. including spectral distribution. The same standard is used for measuring the power and efficiency of PV modules.  Comparison of energy conversion efficiencies Main article: Photovoltaics Energy conversion efficiency is measured by dividing the electrical power produced by the cell by the light power falling on the cell. temperate conditions. Fill factor Another defining term in the overall behavior of a solar cell is the fill factor (FF). Many factors influence the electrical power output.5. to approximately Air Mass 1. Solar cell energy conversion efficiencies for commercially available multicrystalline Si solar cells are around 14-19%.5 and a cell temperature 25 °C.8% with multiple dies assembled into a hybrid package. the solar spectrum changes. The power at this point is recorded as Watt-peak (Wp). For example. temperature. Terrestrial efficiencies typically are greater than space efficiencies. and resistive load applied to the cell. However. while only delivering about four times the electrical power.5 on Earth. The highest efficiency cells have not always been the most economical — for example a 30% efficient multijunction cell based on exotic materials such as gallium arsenide or indium selenide and produced in low volume might well cost one hundred times as much as an 8% efficient amorphous silicon cell in mass production. . To account for the spectral differences. where there is no atmosphere. the filtering effect ranges from Air Mass 0 (AM0) in space.
they generate significantly more energy over their lifetime than the energy expended in producing them. per unit area. this means that modern solar cells are net energy producers. per unit weight of the cell. and increase the efficiency of a one sun GaAs cell from 31% at AM 1. As of 2005.30 US$/kWh (0. The cost can be compared to prevailing retail electric pricing (as of 2005). photovoltaic electricity generation costs ranged from ~0. i.25 €/kWh) in regions of high solar irradiation. increasing the efficiency of a solar cell without decreasing the total cost per kilowatt-hour is not more economical.5 to 35%. the technology has progressed significantly. but generally speaking the overall system efficiency is important. or per unit energy produced by the cell.However. whether or not "efficiency" matters depends on whether "cost" is defined as cost per unit of sunlight falling on the cell. However. These socalled "concentrator systems" have only begun to become cost-competitive as a result of the development of high efficiency GaAs cells.60 US$/kWh (0.50 US$/kWh worldwide. efficiencies were much lower than today and lifetimes were shorter. Thus. which varied from between 0. See Solar_cell#Concentrating photovoltaics (CPV) below and Concentrating solar power (CSP). This electricity is generally fed into the electrical grid on the customer's side of the meter. Much of the industry is focused on the most cost efficient technologies in terms of cost per generated power.achieve significantly shorter energy payback times than conventional systems (often < 1 year). (Note: in addition to solar irradiance profiles.50 €/kWh) (central Europe) down to ~0. typically photogenerated carriers are increased. With a typical lifetime of 20 to 30 years. these costs/kWh calculations will vary depending on assumptions for years of useful life of a system. Most c-Si panels are warranted for 25 years and should see 35+ years of useful life. there is a way to "boost" solar power. In . defined as the recovery time required for generating the energy spent for manufacturing of the respective technical energy systems. it may well have cost more energy to make a cell than it could generate in a lifetime. In the meantime.e. thin-film technologies despite having comparatively low conversion efficiencies . A common method used to express economic costs of electricity-generating systems is to calculate a price per delivered kilowatt-hour (kWh). when silicon cells were twice as thick. and the energy payback time. By increasing the light intensity. Using the commercially available solar cells (as of 2006) and system technology leads to system efficiencies between 5 and 19%.04 and 0. The increase in intensity is typically accomplished by using concentrating optics. A typical concentrator system may use a light intensity 6-400 times the sun. The two main strategies to bring down the cost of photovoltaic electricity are increasing the efficiency of the cells and decreasing their cost per unit area. The solar cell efficiency in combination with the available irradiation has a major influence on the costs.  High-efficiency cells High-efficiency solar cells are a class of solar cell that can generate more electricity per incident solar power unit (watt/watt). since sunlight is free. resulting in increased efficiency by up to 15%. Generally.)  Solar cells and energy payback Further information: Low-cost photovoltaic cell In the 1990s. of a modern photovoltaic module is typically from 1 to 4 years depending on the module type and location.
cells. the Fraunhofer Institute for Solar Energy Systems.1. both from the academic and economic points of view. The efficiency should be measured under real conditions and the basic parameters that need to be evaluated are the short circuit current. The chart at the right illustrates the best laboratory efficiencies obtained for various materials and technologies.8. NREL claims that the other implementations have not been put under standardized tests and.8%. respectively. and 40.  Thin-film solar cells Main article: Thin film solar cell . Spectrolab also claims commercial availability of cells at nearly 42% efficiency in a triple junction design.  Record efficiencies  Multiple-junction solar cells Main article: Multijunction solar cell The record for multiple junction solar cells is disputed. although the Fraunhofer Institute is among those three facilities. i. NREL claims it is one of only three laboratories in the world capable of conducting valid tests. one square cm. the challenge of increasing the photovoltaic efficiency is thus of great interest.situations where much of the cost of a solar system scales with its area (so that one is effectively "paying" for sunlight). in the case of the University of Delaware project. represents only hypothetical efficiencies of a panel that has not been fully assembled. and NREL all claim the world record title at 42. 41.e. generally this is done on very small. Commercial efficiencies are significantly lower. Teams led by the University of Delaware. Many groups have published papers claiming possibility of high efficiencies after conducting optical measurements under many hypothetical conditions. open circuit voltage.
As of 28 April 2010. These CIGS films have been grown by physical vapour deposition in a three-stage coevaporation process. the highest reported efficiency for thin film solar cells based on CdTe is 18%. Light absorbing materials can often be used in multiple physical configurations to take advantage of different light absorption and charge separation mechanisms. Most of the commercial production of thin film solar is CdTe with an efficiency of 11%. Crystalline silicon devices are approaching the theoretical limiting efficiency of 29% and achieve an energy payback period of 1–2 years. Photovoltaic panels are normally made of either silicon or thin-film cells: . the other 85% is crystalline silicon. also known as CIGS (also see CIGS solar cells). some solar cells are optimized for light absorption beyond Earth's atmosphere as well.In 2002.  Crystalline Silicon Main article: Crystalline silicon The highest efficiencies on silicon have been achieved on monocrystalline cells. The materials used in solar cells tend to have the property of preferentially absorbing the wavelengths of solar light that reach the Earth surface. The US national renewable energy research facility NREL achieved an efficiency of 19. Thin film solar has approximately 15% marketshare. The University of New South Wales has achieved 25% efficiency on monocrystalline silicon in the lab. which was achieved by research at Sheffield Hallam University. Ga and Se evaporation again. The highest commercial efficiency (22%) is produced by SunPower.1% efficiency. although this has not been confirmed by an external test laboratory. which uses expensive. technology that has been commercialized through its partnership with Suntech Power. In this process In. NREL has since developed a robot that builds and analyzes the efficiency of thin-film solar cells with the goal of increasing the efficiency by testing the cells in different situations. Ga and Se are evaporated in the first step.  Light-absorbing materials Main article: Absorption (electromagnetic radiation) All solar cells require a light absorbing material contained within the cell structure to absorb photons and generate electrons via the photovoltaic effect. However. high-quality silicon wafers. in the second step it is followed by Cu and Se co-evaporation and in the last step terminated by In.9% for the solar cells based on copper indium gallium selenide thin films. ZSW in Stuttgart have released a statement claiming they have created CIGS-based cells with a new record 20.
Bulk silicon is separated into multiple categories according to crystallinity and crystal size in the resulting ingot. and because they are cut from cylindrical ingots. or wafer. in each of these approaches. 1. ribbon.Many currently available solar cells are configured as bulk materials that are subsequently cut into wafers and treated in a "top-down" method of synthesis (silicon being the most prevalent bulk material). monocrystalline silicon (c-Si): often made using the Czochralski process. Single-crystal wafer cells tend to be expensive. also known as "solar grade silicon". and list of silicon producers Basic structure of a silicon based solar cell and its working mechanism. In other words. organic dyes. while a third group are configured as nanocrystals and used as quantum dots (electron-confined nanoparticles) embedded in a supporting matrix in a "bottom-up" approach. .  Bulk These bulk technologies are often referred to as wafer-based manufacturing. and organic polymers) that are deposited on supporting substrates. Other materials are configured as thin-films (inorganic layers. Silicon remains the only material that is wellresearched in both bulk (also called wafer-based) and thin-film configurations. the most prevalent bulk material for solar cells is crystalline silicon (abbreviated as a group as c-Si). self-supporting wafers between 180 to 240 micrometers thick are processed and then soldered together to form a solar cell module. Hence most c-Si panels have uncovered gaps at the four corners of the cells.  Crystalline silicon Main articles: Crystalline silicon. Silicon. do not completely cover a square solar cell module without a substantial waste of refined silicon. By far.
Poly-Si cells are less expensive to produce than single crystal silicon cells. but save on production costs due to a great reduction in silicon waste. Ribbon silicon is a type of multicrystalline silicon: it is formed by drawing flat thin films from molten silicon and results in a multicrystalline structure. although many multi-layer thin films have efficiencies above those of bulk silicon wafers. US DOE data shows that there were a higher number of multicrystalline sales than monocrystalline silicon sales. it has been shown that the release of cadmium to the atmosphere is impossible during normal operation of the cells and is unlikely during ﬁres in residential roofs.2. The perception of the toxicity of CdTe is based on the toxicity of elemental cadmium. While the toxicity of CdTe is presently under debate.or multicrystalline silicon (poly-Si or mc-Si): made from cast square ingots — large blocks of molten silicon carefully cooled and solidified. Poly. a square meter of CdTe contains approximately the same amount of Cd as a single C cell Nickel-cadmium battery. These cells have lower efficiencies than poly-Si. CdTe is easier to deposit and more suitable for large-scale production. Furthermore. in a more stable and less soluble form. 3. Compared to other thin-film materials.  Thin films Main article: Thin film solar cell The various thin-film technologies currently being developed reduce the amount (or mass) of light absorbing material required in creating a solar cell. They have become popular compared to wafer silicon due to lower costs and advantages including flexibility. This can lead to reduced processing costs from that of bulk materials (in the case of silicon thin films) but also tends to reduce energy conversion efficiency (an average 7 to 10% efficiency).  Cadmium telluride solar cell Main article: Cadmium telluride photovoltaics A cadmium telluride solar cell is a solar cell based on cadmium telluride.  Copper-Indium Selenide Main article: Copper indium gallium selenide solar cell . but are less efficient. lighter weights. an efficient lightabsorbing material for thin-film cells. as this approach does not require sawing from ingots. and ease of integration. There has been much discussion of the toxicity of CdTe-based solar cells. a heavy metal that is a cumulative poison.
The best efficiency of a thin-film solar cell as of March 2008 was 19. or copper indium/gallium diselenide.15 eV. However. which can be modelled as a simple p-n junction (see under semiconductor). VI) elements in the periodic table that have photovoltaic effect The materials based on CuInSe2 that are of interest for photovoltaic applications include several elements from groups I. CGS solar cells (which have a bandgap of ~1. Unlike the conventional silicon based solar cell. thus increasing the open-circuit voltage. The use of gallium increases the optical bandgap of the CIGS layer as compared to pure CIS. Manufacturing techniques vary and include the use of Ultrasonic Nozzles for material deposition. Se allows for better uniformity across the layer and so the number of recombination sites in the film are reduced which benefits the quantum efficiency and thus the conversion efficiency. CIGS mentioned below is a variation of CIS. Approximately 70% of indium currently produced is used by the flatscreen monitor industry.9% with CIGS absorber layer. CIGS solar cells with higher Ga amounts have lower efficiency.5% for pure CGS and 10. For comparison.Possible combinations of (I. CIS films (no Ga) achieved greater than 14% efficiency. For example. often abbreviated by the chemical formula CuInxGa(1-x)Se2. The first large-scale production of CIS modules was started in 2006 in Germany by Würth Solar. gallium is added to replace indium due to gallium's relative availability to indium.2% for surface-modified CGS. these cells are best described by a more complex heterojunction model. the material is referred to as CIGS. When gallium is substituted for some of the indium in CIS. III and VI in the periodic table. manufacturing costs of CIS solar cells at present are high when compared with amorphous silicon solar cells but continuing work is leading to more cost-effective production processes. III. CIS is an abbreviation for general chalcopyrite films of copper indium selenide (CuInSe2). the atomic ratio for Ga in the >19% efficient CIGS solar cells is ~7%. which corresponds to a bandgap of ~1.   Gallium arsenide multijunction Main article: Multijunction photovoltaic cell . These semiconductors are especially attractive for thin film solar cell application because of their high optical absorption coefficients and versatile optical and electrical characteristics which can in principle be manipulated and tuned for a specific need in a given device. but decreasing the short circuit current. Higher efficiencies (around 30%) can be obtained by using optics to concentrate the incident light or by using multi-junction tandem solar cells. In another point of view. Producing 2 GW of CIGS cells (roughly the amount of silicon cells produced in 2006) would use about 10% of the indium produced in 2004. However. silicon solar cells used up 33% of the world's electronic grade silicon production in 2006. Electro-Plating in other efficient technology to apply the CI(G)S layer. Some investors in solar technology worry that production of CIGS cells will be limited by the availability of indium. a solid mixture of the semiconductors CuInSe2 and CuGaSe2.7 eV have a record efficiency of 9.
thus generating electricity from as much of the solar energy as possible. but at present. germanium metal prices have risen substantially to $1000– $1200 per kg this year. the dyes in these cells also suffer from degradation under heat and UV light. This type of cell allows a more flexible use of materials. are seeing demand rapidly rise. Those materials include gallium (4N. with the potential for lower processing costs than those used for bulk solar cells. The Dutch Radboud University Nijmegen set the record for thin film solar cell efficiency using a single junction GaAs to 25. gallium arsenide GaAs. 6N and 7N) and germanium. The semiconductors are carefully chosen to absorb nearly all of the solar spectrum. and is typically manufactured by screen printing and/or use of Ultrasonic Nozzles. for example. and germanium Ge pn junctions. Each type of semiconductor will have a characteristic band gap energy which.8% in August 2008 using only 4 µm thick GaAs layer which can be transferred from a wafer base to glass or plastic film. and GaInP2. The photogenerated electrons from the light absorbing dye are passed on to the n-type TiO2. The dye-sensitized solar cell depends on a mesoporous layer of nanoparticulate titanium dioxide to greatly amplify the surface area (200–300 m2/g TiO2. and the cell casing is difficult to seal due to the . Triple-junction GaAs solar cells were also being used as the power source of the Dutch four-time World Solar Challenge winners Nuna in 2005 and 2007. arsenic (4N. the cost of 4N gallium metal has risen from about $350 per kg to $680 per kg.High-efficiency multijunction cells were originally developed for special applications such as satellites and space exploration. to absorb electromagnetic radiation over a portion of the spectrum. or more precisely. and the holes are passed to an electrolyte on the other side of the dye. Ge. loosely speaking. which can be liquid or solid.  Light-absorbing dyes (DSSC) Main article: Dye-sensitized solar cells Typically a ruthenium metalorganic dye (Ru-centered) is used as a monolayer of light-absorbing material. and also by the Dutch solar cars Solutra (2005) and Twente One (2007). 6N and 7N Ga).12/2007). series connected. The circuit is completed by a redox couple in the electrolyte. these products are critical to the entire substrate manufacturing industry. and boron oxide. Tandem solar cells based on monolithic. A triple-junction cell. their use in terrestrial concentrators might be the lowest cost alternative in terms of $/kWh and $/W. gallium indium phosphide (GaInP). as compared to approximately 10 m2/g of flat single crystal). pyrolitic boron nitride (pBN) crucibles for growing crystals. This technology is currently being utilized in the Mars rover missions. These multijunction cells consist of multiple thin films produced using metalorganic vapour phase epitaxy. However. causes it to absorb light most efficiently at a certain color. reaching a record high of 40. Additionally. may consist of the semiconductors: GaAs.7% efficiency under "500-sun" solar concentration and laboratory conditions. In just the past 12 months (12/2006 . GaAs based multijunction devices are the most efficient solar cells to date.
one which acts as an electron donor and the other as an acceptor. Nanocrystalline silicon (nc-Si or nc-Si:H). Amorphous silicon has a higher bandgap (1. These types of silicon present dangling and twisted bonds. The solar cells made from these materials tend to have lower energy conversion efficiency than bulk silicon. The first commercial shipment of DSSC solar modules occurred in July 2009 from G24i Innovations (www. Energy conversion efficiencies achieved to date using conductive polymers are low compared to inorganic materials. Depending on the deposition parameters. this can yield: 1. which means it absorbs the visible part of the solar spectrum more strongly than the infrared portion of the spectrum. These devices differ from inorganic semiconductor solar cells in that they do not rely on the large built-in electric field of a PN junction to separate the electrons and holes created when photons are absorbed.  Organic/polymer solar cells Organic solar cells and polymer solar cells are built from thin films (typically 100 nm) of organic semiconductors such as polymers and small-molecule compounds like polyphenylene vinylene. the nc-Si and a-Si can . this is a popular emerging technology with some commercial impact forecast within this decade. It has been found that protocrystalline silicon with a low volume fraction of nanocrystalline silicon is optimal for high open circuit voltage. sometimes in the form of bulk heterojunctions. Amorphous silicon (a-Si or a-Si:H) 2. Protocrystalline silicon or 3.1 eV). which results in deep defects (energy levels in the bandgap) as well as deformation of the valence and conduction bands (band tails). it improved quickly in the last few years and the highest NREL (National Renewable Energy Laboratory) certified efficiency has reached 6.com). and are separated when the exciton diffuses to the donor-acceptor interface. In addition. When a photon is converted into an electron hole pair. The quantum efficiency of thin film solar cells is also lower due to reduced number of collected charge carriers per incident photon.  Silicon thin films Silicon thin-film cells are mainly deposited by chemical vapor deposition (typically plasmaenhanced (PE-CVD)) from silane gas and hydrogen gas. the charges tend to remain bound in the form of an exciton. The short exciton diffusion lengths of most polymer systems tend to limit the efficiency of such devices. copper phthalocyanine (a blue or green organic pigment) and carbon fullerenes and fullerene derivatives such as PCBM. also called microcrystalline silicon.7 eV) than crystalline silicon (c-Si) (1. but are also less expensive to produce. However. these cells could be beneficial for some applications where mechanical flexibility and disposability are important.77%.solvents used in assembly.g24i. Nanostructured interfaces. The active region of an organic device consists of two materials. As nc-Si has about the same bandgap as c-Si. In spite of the above. typically in the donor material. can improve performance.
In particular. represent a new architecture for solar cells and potentially high efficiency. single-nanocrystal ('channel') devices. A silicon thin film technology is being developed for building integrated photovoltaics (BIPV) in the form of semi-transparent solar cells which can be applied as window glazing. Thermal processing techniques can significantly enhance the crystal quality of the silicon and thereby lead to higher efficiencies of the final solar cells. Schema of Concentrating photovoltaics  Concentrating photovoltaics (CPV) See also: Solar concentrator . the typical exciton diffusion length. Recently. Light trapping schemes where the weakly absorbed long wavelength light is obliquely coupled into the silicon and traverses the film several times can significantly enhance the absorption of sunlight in the thin silicon films. creating a layered cell called a tandem cell. an array of single p-n junctions between the electrodes and separated by a period of about a diffusion length.advantageously be combined in thin layers. Using nanocrystals allows one to design architectures on the length scale of nanometers. The top cell in a-Si absorbs the visible light and leaves the infrared part of the spectrum for the bottom cell in nc-Si. These cells function as window tinting while generating electricity. solutions to overcome the limitations of thin-film crystalline silicon have been developed.  Nanocrystalline solar cells Main article: Nanocrystal solar cell These structures make use of some of the same thin-film light absorbing materials but are overlain as an extremely thin absorber on a supporting matrix of conductive polymer or mesoporous metal oxide having a very high surface area to increase internal reflections (and hence increase the probability of light absorption).
the stringent requirements for cleanliness and quality control of semiconductor fabrication are a little more relaxed for solar cells. planned to come online in 2008 and be completed by 2013. All concentration systems need a one axis or more often two axis tracking system for high precision. Despite the advantages of CPV technologies their application has been limited by the costs of focusing.  Silicon solar cell device manufacture Solar-powered scientific calculator Because solar cells are semiconductor devices. 2006. On October 25. they share many of the same processing and manufacturing techniques as other semiconductor devices such as computer and memory chips. Most commercial producers are developing systems that concentrate between 400 and 1000 suns. sun tracking and cooling equipment. increasing the concentration ratio improves the performance of high efficiency photovoltaic cells. However. Additionally. The primary attraction of CPV systems is their reduced usage of semiconducting material which is expensive and currently in short supply. since most systems only use direct sunlight and need to aim at the sun with errors of less than 3 degrees. at 154 MW. Single crystalline wafers which are used in the semiconductor industry can be made into excellent high efficiency solar cells. Poly-crystalline silicon wafers are made by wire-sawing block-cast silicon ingots into very thin (180 to 350 micrometer) slices or wafers. To make a . the Australian federal government and the Victorian state government together with photovoltaic technology company Solar Systems announced a project using this technology.Concentrating photovoltaic systems use a large area of lenses or mirrors to focus sunlight on a small area of photovoltaic cells. but they are generally considered to be too expensive for large-scale mass production. The wafers are usually lightly p-type doped. Solar power station in Victoria. Most large-scale commercial solar cell factories today make screen printed poly-crystalline silicon solar cells. would be ten times larger than the largest current photovoltaic plant in the world. High concentration means a hundred or more times direct sunlight is focused when compared with crystalline silicon panels. This plant.
Some companies use an additional electro-plating step to increase the cell efficiency.solar cell from the wafer. inverters and even storage built in at the chip level. are typically next applied.9 percent efficiency and off-the-shelf commercial modules range from 13 to 20 percent efficient. Usually this contact covers the entire rear side of the cell. LROGC03 type panel is going to have a surface of 41 x 33 millimetres. though in recent years methods of forming them on multicrystalline silicon have been developed. serve to increase the amount of light coupled into the cell. and a grid-like metal contact made up of fine "fingers" and larger "busbars" are screen-printed onto the front surface using a silver paste. It is typically applied in a layer several hundred nanometers thick using plasma-enhanced chemical vapor deposition (PECVD). which increase the amount of light coupled into the solar cell. though in some cell designs it is printed in a grid pattern.e. silicon nitride has gradually replaced titanium dioxide as the antireflection coating of choice because of its excellent surface passivation qualities (i. Tempered glass cannot be used with amorphous silicon cells because of the high temperatures during the deposition process. The wafer then has a full area metal contact made on the back surface.  Miniaturization It has been suggested that this section be split into a new article titled photovoltaic mini and microcell. Over the past decade. a surface diffusion of n-type dopants is performed on the front side of the wafer. it prevents carrier recombination at the surface of the solar cell). and assembled into modules or "solar panels". Such surfaces can usually only be formed on single-crystal silicon. like antireflection coatings. the solar cells are interconnected in series (and/or parallel) by flat wires or metal ribbons. typically aluminium. and a polymer encapsulation on the back. This forms a p-n junction a few hundred nanometers below the surface.  Lifespan Most commercially available solar cells are capable of producing electricity for at least twenty years without a significant decrease in efficiency. The typical warranty given by panel . They have 14. The paste is then fired at several hundred degrees Celsius to form metal electrodes in ohmic contact with the silicon. Glitter photovoltaic cells use 100 times less silicon to generate the same amount of electricity. The rear contact is also formed by screen-printing a metal paste.. Antireflection coatings. Tiny glitter-sized photovoltaic cells (from 14 to 20 micrometers thick) could have intelligent controls. (Discuss) See also: Microelectronic and microelectromechanical system and nanotechnology This section requires expansion. After the metal contacts are made. Solar panels have a sheet of tempered glass on the front. Some solar cells have textured front surfaces that. half the size of the first LROGC02 panel. Polycrystalline paper-thin solar cell extends the operating life of mobile phones and other portable systems.
wherein the output shall not fall below 85% of the rated capacity.manufacturers is for a period of 25 – 30 years.  Current research on materials and devices See also: Timeline of solar cells There are currently many research groups active in the field of photovoltaics in universities and research institutions around the world. and even state by state within various countries. developing new technologies based on new solar cell architectural designs.  Low-cost solar cell Main articles: Dye-sensitized solar cell and low-cost photovoltaic cell Dye-sensitized solar cell. It can be engineered into flexible sheets. The energy payback time will vary depending on the country of application and the level of the feed in tariff. Manufacturing costs are also calculated including the energy required for manufacturing of the cells and modules in a kWh basis. In bulk it should be significantly less expensive than older solid-state cell designs.  Silicon processing . This cell is extremely promising because it is made of low-cost materials and does not need elaborate apparatus to manufacture. Although its conversion efficiency is less than the best thin film cells. This research can be divided into three areas: making current technology solar cells cheaper and/or more efficient to effectively compete with other energy sources. Solar-specific feed in tariffs vary worldwide. and developing new materials to serve as light absorbers and charge carriers. so it can be made in a DIY way allowing more players to produce it than any other type of solar cell. its price/performance ratio should be high enough to allow it to compete with fossil fuel electrical generation. another method of calculating the payback is to use the feed in tariff mechanism in place for power plant remuneration.  Slicing costs University of Utah engineers devised a new way to slice thin wafers of the chemical element germanium for use in the most efficient type of solar power cells.   Costs Cost is established in cost-per-watt and in cost-per-watt in 24 hours for infrared capable photovoltaic cells. These figures are added to the end price for solar investors and the energy payback is calculated from the point of power plant initialization or connection to the grid. and luminescent solar concentrators are considered low-cost solar cells. The new method should lower the cost of such cells by reducing the waste and breakage of the brittle semiconductor.
The current industrial production of silicon is via the reaction between carbon (charcoal) and silica at a temperature around 1700 °C. is by micromachining wafers into very thin. compared to about 60 wafers needed for conventional modules of same power output.1 mm. virtually transparent layers that could be used as transparent architectural coverings. yielding a total exposed silicon surface area of about 2000 cm2 per side. and may therefore offer new opportunities for development of solar cell technologies. about 98% pure) is produced with the emission of about 1. creating a large number of slivers that have a thickness of 50 micrometres and a width equal to the thickness of the original wafer. it takes one to two years for a conventional solar cell to generate as much energy as was used to make the silicon it contains. While this new process is in principle the same as the FFC Cambridge Process which was first discovered in late 1996. known as carbothermic reduction. it remains to be seen if these solutions can achieve a similar market penetration as traditional bulk silicon solar modules.  Thin-film processing Main article: Thin-film Thin-film photovoltaic cells can use less than 1% of the expensive raw material (silicon or other light absorbers) compared to wafer-based solar cells. However. the electrical doping and contacts that were on the face of the wafer are located at the edges of the sliver. . The result is to convert. with a particle size of a few micrometres. and making a multitude of parallel. This has the interesting effect of making the cell sensitive from both the front and rear of the cell (a property known as bifaciality). 2 mm-thick wafer having an exposed silicon surface area of about 175 cm2 per side into about 1000 slivers having dimensions of 100 mm × 2 mm × 0. a 150 mm diameter.5 tonnes of carbon dioxide. Processing silica (SiO2) to produce silicon is a very high energy process . Silicon is a very common element. transverse slices across the wafer. As a result of this rotation. but also to industries surrounding silicon technology as a whole. More energy efficient methods of synthesis are not only beneficial to the solar industry. the interesting laboratory finding is that such electrolytic silicon is in the form of porous silicon which turns readily into a fine powder. but is normally bound in silica. leading to a significant price drop per Watt peak capacity. one silicon wafer is enough to build a 140 watt panel.at current efficiencies. for example. so that the surfaces corresponding to the faces of the original wafer become the edges of the slivers. Solid silica can be directly converted (reduced) to pure silicon by electrolysis in a molten salt bath at a fairly mild temperature (800 to 900 °C). or silica sand. Using this technique.One way of reducing the cost is to develop cheaper methods of obtaining silicon that is sufficiently pure. There are many research groups around the world actively researching different thin-film approaches and/or materials. rather than at the front and rear as in the case of conventional wafer cells. These slices are rotated 90 degrees. each tonne of silicon (metallurgical grade. Another approach is also to reduce the amount of silicon used and thus cost. The technique involves taking a silicon wafer. In this process. typically 1 to 2 mm thick.
organic solar cells generally suffer from degradation upon exposure to UV light.One particularly promising technology is crystalline silicon thin films on glass substrates. N. rigid germanium layer is removed. However. the result is an ultra-light and flexible cell that also converts solar energy with record efficiency (40. The bonds in the polymers. This technology combines the advantages of crystalline silicon as a solar cell material (abundance. which opens a new dimension for new applications. non-toxicity. MacDiarmid and Hideki Shirakawa were awarded a Nobel prize) may lead to the development of much cheaper cells that are based on inexpensive plastics. the cell includes a full range of atomic spacing. Their performance and cost effectiveness is constrained by growing the cells in an upright configuration. In the new method. conventional cells have featured wafers of semiconducting materials with similar crystalline structure. Meanwhile. being highly unsaturated and reactive.  Polymer processing The invention of conductive polymers (for which Alan Heeger. in partnership with the Air Force Research Laboratories Space Vehicles Directorate at Kirtland Air Force Base in Albuquerque. the cells are rigid. making commercial applications difficult. the cell is grown upside down.M. an ultra-light and flexible cell that converts solar energy with record efficiency. Not all of the layers follow the lattice pattern of even atomic spacing. engineering design. heavy and thick with a bottom layer made of germanium. and hence have lifetimes which are far too short to be viable. Instead. are always susceptible to breaking up when radiated with shorter wavelengths. are highly sensitive to atmospheric moisture and oxidation. react more readily with light and oxygen. operation and cost. It represents a new class of solar cells with clear advantages in performance. For decades.8% under 326 suns concentration). including flexible substrates (PET for example). reducing the cell's cost and 94% of its weight. Another interesting aspect of thin-film solar cells is the possibility to deposit the cells on all kind of materials. So most conductive polymers. These layers use high-energy materials with extremely high quality crystals. especially in the upper layers of the cell where most of the power is produced.  Metamorphic multijunction solar cell The National Renewable Energy Laboratory won a R&D Magazine's R&D 100 Awards for its Metamorphic Multijunction Solar Cell. Alan G. The thick. high efficiency. which allows for greater absorption and use of sunlight. the conjugated double bond systems in the polymers which carry the charge. highly efficient solar cell was developed at NREL and is being commercialized by Emcore Corp. of Albuquerque. By turning the conventional approach to cells on its head.. Additionally. The ultra-light. . long-term stability) with the cost savings of using a thin-film approach.
embedded in conductive polymers or mesoporous metal oxides.  Transparent conductors Main article: Transparent conducting film Many new solar cells use transparent thin films that are also conductors of electrical charge.: ITO thin films can also be used as infrared filters in airplane windows). They require very special deposition conditions at high vacuum. and also serves as an ohmic contact to transport photogenerated charge carriers away from that light-absorbing material. In addition.50 per Watt . carbon nanotubes or quantum dots. The availability of a p-type transparent conductor could lead to new cell designs that simplify manufacturing and improve efficiency. natural gas. The present TCO materials are effective for research.g. the cells can be tuned to absorb different wavelengths.80 (for bulk Si technologies) to about US$ 0.g. Nanotube networks are flexible and can be deposited on surfaces a variety of ways. Although the research is still in its infancy. possibly enabling efficient low-bandgap solar cells. a large body of research is being done all over the world to manufacture silicon wafer-based solar cells at lower cost and to increase the conversion efficiencies without an exorbitant increase in production cost. To achieve this it may be necessary to reduce the cost of installed solar systems from currently about US$ 1. but perhaps are not yet optimized for large-scale photovoltaic production. thin films of many of these materials on conventional silicon solar cells can increase the optical coupling efficiency into the silicon cell. A relatively new area has emerged using carbon nanotube networks as a transparent conductor for organic solar cells. Nanoparticle processing Experimental non-silicon solar panels can be made of quantum heterostructures. nanotube films can be highly transparent in the infrared. The ultimate goal for both waferbased and alternative photovoltaic concepts is to produce solar electricity at a cost comparable to currently market-dominant coal. doped zinc oxide (e. Nanotube networks are p-type conductors. they can sometimes suffer from poor mechanical strength. and include fluorine-doped tin oxide (SnO2:F. and nuclear power in order to make it the leading primary energy source. e. The dual function of a TCO allows light to pass through a substrate window to the active light-absorbing material beneath. These conductive films are also used in the LCD industry for flat panel displays. whereas traditional transparent conductors are exclusively n-type. quantum dot modified photovoltaics may be able to achieve up to 42% energy conversion efficiency due to multiple exciton generation (MEG). Consequently. With some treatment. thus boosting the overall efficiency.g. and most have poor transmittance in the infrared portion of the spectrum (e.  Silicon wafer-based solar cells Despite the numerous attempts at making better solar cells by using new and exotic materials. By varying the size of the quantum dots.: ZnO:Al). This means that most solar cell manufacturers are currently equipped to produce this type of solar cells. The dominant conductive thin films used in research now are transparent conductive oxides (abbreviated "TCO"). These factors make large-scale manufacturing more costly. and indium tin oxide (abbreviated "ITO"). the reality is that the photovoltaics market is still dominated by silicon wafer-based solar cells (firstgeneration solar cells). or "FTO").
the installation surface area could be large. IBM has a semiconductor wafer reclamation process that uses a specialized pattern removal technique to repurpose scrap semiconductor wafers to a form used to manufacture silicon-based solar panels. While methods to convert the energy into usable electricity still need to be developed.peak power. Used to replace conventional window glass. In contrast. leading to potential uses that take advantage of the combined functions of power generation. which garnered two 2007 Nano50 awards. easily fabricated PEDOT:PSS photovoltaic cells are ultraviolet light selective and sensitive. along with partners at Microcontinuum Inc. lighting and temperature control. which the Earth continuously radiates as heat after absorbing energy from the sun during the day. The nanoantennas target mid-infrared rays. the sheets could one day be manufactured as lightweight "skins" that power everything from hybrid cars to computers and iPods with higher efficiency than traditional solar cells. Most conventional solar cells use visible and infrared light to generate electricity. also double-sided nanoantenna sheets can harvest energy from different parts of the Sun's spectrum.  Metamaterials . The new process was recently awarded the ―2007 Most Valuable Pollution Prevention Award‖ from The National Pollution Prevention Roundtable (NPPR). have devised an inexpensive way to produce plastic sheets containing billions of nanoantennas that collect heat energy generated by the sun and other sources. rendering them idle after dark. traditional solar cells can only use visible light. weight and mechanical complexity. in Cambridge.  UV solar cells Japan's National Institute of Advanced Industrial Science and Technology (AIST) has succeeded in developing a transparent solar cell that uses ultraviolet (UV) light to generate electricity but allows visible light to pass through it. The technology is the first step toward a solar energy collector that could be mass-produced on flexible materials. Since a major part of the final cost of a traditional bulk silicon module is related to the high cost of solar grade polysilicon feedstock (about US$ 0. MA and Patrick Pinhero of the University of Missouri.4/Watt peak) there exists substantial drive to make Si solar cells thinner (material savings) or to make solar cells from cheaper upgraded metallurgical silicon (so called "dirty Si"). The new 3D solar cells capture photons from sunlight using an array of miniature ―tower‖ structures that resemble high-rise buildings in a city street grid. Also.  3D solar cells Three-dimensional solar cells that capture nearly all of the light that strikes them and could boost the efficiency of photovoltaic systems while reducing their size.  Infrared solar cells Researchers at Idaho National Laboratory.
 though numerous other nations have or are acquiring significant solar cell production capacity.  Photovoltaic thermal hybrid Main article: Photovoltaic thermal hybrid solar collector Systems which combine photovoltaic with thermal solar. Taiwan and United States. but those with a balance between low-cost production and efficiency high enough to minimize area-related balance of systems cost. Using these. Germany. the advantage of such a system is that the thermal solar part carries heat away and cools the photovoltaic cells. ultimately be the lowest cost net electricity producers. Mainland China. even with cell efficiencies that are lower than those of single-crystal technologies. giving rise to properties not seen in ordinary solids. . While technologies are constantly evolving toward higher efficiencies. There are three reliable certifications of solar equipment: UL and IEEE (both U.S. Solar cells are manufactured primarily in Japan. in fact.  Validation. it is possible to fashion solar cells that are perfect absorbers over a narrow range of wavelengths. Those companies with large scale manufacturing technology for coating inexpensive substrates may. certification and manufacturers National Renewable Energy Laboratory tests and validates solar technologies. standards) and IEC. keeping temperature down lowers the resistance and improves the cell efficiency. the most effective cells for low cost electrical production are not necessarily those with the highest efficiency.Main article: Metamaterial Metamaterials are heterogeneous materials employing the juxtaposition of many microscopic elements.
This is in most cases a n+ doping with phosphorous. The doping is either done by the deposition of a doping glass and following diffusion in a conveyor furnace or in a tube furnace. The doping methode. The main process steps in solar cell production are the preparation of the p/n junction by doping and the metallization or contacting of the photovoltaic cell. using doping glass is simple and can be done in a continuous process in a conveyor furnace. because the doping glass has to be deposited and . a front ohmic contact stripe and fingers. The single side polished or mirror-etched wafers that are used for photovoltaic application have to undergo a doping process first in order to create the photo-active p/n junction. Poly-crystalline material is mostly cut to square wafers with a side length of 125mm or 150mm while mono-crystalline material is used to produce round wafers of 100 . The poly-crystalline or mono-crystalline ingots are cut to wafers.Equipment for Solar Cell Production A typical representative of a silicon solar cell consists of a photoactive p/n junction formed on the surface. Poly-crystalline silicon for photo-voltaic applications is normally produced by casting methods while mono-crystalline silicon is prepared in a Czochralski growing process. and an antireflection coating on the front surface. For silicon solar cell production either poly-crystalline or mono-crystalline material is used. a back ohmic contact that covers the entire back surface.150mm of diameter. Beside that. using Phosporousoxychloride POCl3. However this methode requires two process steps more compared to the POCl3-doping process. further deposition processes are used to establish an antireflection coating or to improve the solar cell setup. Sometimes square material with rounded edges is prepared from round wafers (125mm side length) in order to get a denser packing of the solar cells in the solar module.
This vertical furnace is equipped with a cost saving LGO heating element. In case that the POCl3-doping is used. The furnace model VF1000 is designed as a mini-batch furnace. which gives better process results compared to a horizontal one. but still does not increase much the production costs for . The smallest version of a Koyo Thermo Systems vertical furnace can be very well used especially for the use in research and development of solar cells. For mass production. Koyo Thermo Systems furnace model 206 is designed for this application and for wafers up to 150mm in diameter and fulfills all requirements of this process. vertical furnaces are available. Koyo Thermo Systems developed a special vertical furnace.900C. The price of this unit is similar to the price of a horizontal tube in a horizontal furnace model 206. in the past horizontal furnaces have been selected in most cases for cost reasons and because of the low demands to this process. Typical doping temperatures are 800 . has a manual loading and is therefore very flexible regarding sample sizes. The process performance equals the big production versions of vertical furnaces for IC production. For higher demands to the homogeneity of the doping profile or to the automation level.removed. All normal sizes of solar wafers can be processed in this type of furnace. Nitrogen passes at a well defined temperature through the liquid and is transporting the dopant. They can also save energy and costs for the doping process. Liquid POCl3 is supplied in a bubbler. The LGO heating elements that are used in this furnace have a very low thermal mass and can reduce therefore the process time.
This is the same capacity that you get on a horizontal furnace.solar cells. The firing can be done under exclusion of oxygen or even using a reducing atmosphere (forming gas). Meshbelt transport is used in this soldering furnace. Automation is easier to do on a vertical furnace. This can be done in a Koyo Thermo Systems . Automatic loading and unloading is available as an option. The last step of the manufacturing of crystalline solar cells is the deposition of the anti-reflective coating. Full consideration has been taken on safety mechanisms and for easy handling of the equipment. The meshbelt furnace Koyo Thermo Systems model 47-MT has a proven performance for this process. The finger contacts of the front side consist often of silver. Contacting of the photo cells is done by screen printing of metallic thick film pastes. The furnace has a downstream gas flow and can be run under nitrogen atmosphere or using a reducing atmosphere (forming gas). Temperature is 260 °C. After the testing of the solar cells. In most cases silicon nitride is deposited by PECVDtechnology. This twin furnace loads 3-4 boats in one vertical tube and has therefore a capacity of 600-800 solar cells. The thick film pastes are then fired in a conveyor furnace. they are combined to solar modules in a continuous soldering procedure. . For the backside contacting mostly aluminum paste is used.
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