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Thin Film Solar Cell Technologies

Thin Film Solar Cell(TFSC) over Crystalline Silicon-Based Cell Generic Advantages of a TFSC Common Features in TFSC Overview of 3 most popular TF technologies, i.e. CIGS, Amorphous-Si, CdTe. Thin Film Photovoltaic (PV) Cells Market Analysis to 2020

Why Thin Film ?

Primary objective is to reduce the cost of PV modules. Current cost of Si wafer-based modules is in the range of 4$/W to 5$/W. Thin Film have the potential to bring down the cost to 1$/W. High Temperature performance

Generic Advantages of Thin Film Technologies

Low Material consumption (1um to 5um thickness). Shorter Energy payback period. Monolithic integration(refers to the process in which solar cells are connected in series during fabrication to make a module).

Tunable material properties(both electrical and optical properties depend on the structure and composition of the films which can be controlled at the time of deposition). Low Fabrication Temperature Processes(<500C compared to 800C to 1000C of wafer-based si). allows the use of cheap substrate such as glass, plastic and stainless steel foils. Transparent Modules can be made which can be used in buildings providing both light and electricity during day time.

Common Features of Thin Film tech..

Use of Transparent Conductive Oxide(TCO). Hetero-junction. CdTe and CIGS both uses hetero-junction with CdS(intrinsic n-type). Substrate configuration

Thin Film Module manufacturing

Categories of Thin Films

Thin Film Solar Cells are usually categorized according to the photovoltaic material used. The following catgories exist: Copper indium gallium selenide (CIS or CIGS) Cadmium Telluride (CdTe) Thin-film silicon (TF-Si) Dye-sensitized solar cell (DSC) Organic solar cell .

CIGS (CuIn1-xGaxSe2 ) Solar Cell Technology

Chalcopyrite structure
Direct band gap Eg(x) 1.04 - 1.7 eV

High absorption coefficient

Can be printed onto glass and metal Cell conversion efficiency upto 20% Module conversion efficiency upto 15.7%

CIGS Device Structure

ZnO, ITO 2500 CdS 700

1-2.5 m

Mo 0.5-1 m Glass, Metal Foil, Plastics

CIGS solar cell band diagram

Concerns with CIGS technology

Firstly the use of Cd(a toxic and heavy metal) in the cell which could be harmful. Another concern is the less availability of some ingredient materials, e.g. In

Amorphous Silicon Solar Cells

The term amorphous commonly applied to non-crystalline materials Amorphous silicon (a-Si) is disordered thin-film PV material Material properties are significantly different from those of c-Si Incomplete structure or Structural defects Unsatisfied or dangling bonds. Passivation of dangling bonds with atomic hydrogen Cell Conversion Efficiency 13%

a-Si contains significant percentage of hydrogen atoms Hydrogen atoms bonded into a-Si structure. Dangling bonds reduces to 1015/cm3 from 1021/cm3 Improvement of the electronic properties of the material. Known as hydrogenated amorphous silicon, or a-Si:H.

Sturcture of a-Si:H
Single Junction Solar Cell Double Junction Solar Cell Multi-Junction Solar Cell

Optical Properties
Absorption coefficient () a-Si:H absorbs visible light 10 times more than c-Si a-Si:H has like direct band gap

Alloying with C or Ge

StaeblerWronski Effect
Efficiency decreases on light exposure Breaking of weak bonds in the network of a-Si:H Efficiency drops to 10-20% in 1000 hours of light exposure Current density decreases by increasing number of junctions

Instable Staebler-Wronski Effect

Reducing SWE
Use Micro-crystalline Silicon (CSi) C-Si has higher electron mobility due to crystalline structure Band Gap is approx. equal to c-Si (1.1-1.2 eV) Combines in thin layers with a-Si a-Si absorbs visible and C-Si absorbs infrared Efficiency increases for same thickness of a-Si based Cell Tandem Cell

CdTe Solar Cell Technology

Cd (Cadmium, group II) and Te (Tellerium, group VI) is a binary semiconductor. Active material in CdTe solar cell technology Direct Band-gap material, Eg = 1.45eV High absorption coefficient, a >1x104 cm-1 Chemically and thermally stable

Record cell efficiency 16.5 % (NREL)

Module conversion efficiency 10.6%

Solar Cell Structure

CdTe is a p-type material Separation of the photo-generated carriers performed via a p-CdTe/n-CdS hetero-junction CdS Band Gap Eg =2.42eV

Thin Film Photovoltaic (PV) Cells Market Analysis to 2020

Thin Film Market Share

CIGS The future market leader

Why Use Thin Film over Silicon? What are Generic Advantages of any TFSC The Common Features in TFSC Overview of 3 most popular TF technologies, i.e. CIGS, Amorphous-Si, CdTe. Thin Film Photovoltaic (PV) Cells Market Analysis to 2020

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