Front grid metallization of silicon solar cells

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In order to ensure higher penetration of photovoltaics in the energy market and have an immediate impact in addressing the challenges of energy crisis and climate change, this thesis research

In order to ensure higher penetration of photovoltaics in the energy market and have an immediate impact in addressing the challenges of energy crisis and climate change, this thesis research focusses on improving the efficiency of the diffused junction silicon solar cells of an already existing line with established processes. Thus, the baseline processes are first made stable and demonstrated as a pilot line at the Solar Power Lab at ASU, to be used as a backbone on which further improvements could be made. Of the several factors that affect the solar cell efficiency, improvement of short circuit current by reduction of the shading losses is chosen to achieve the improvement.

The shading losses are reduced by lowering the finger width of the solar cell .This reduction of the front metal coverage causes an increase in the series resistance, thereby adversely affecting the fill factor and hence efficiency. To overcome this problem, double printing method is explored to be used for front grid metallization. Before its implementation, it is important to accurately understand the effect of reducing the finger width on the series resistance. Hence, series resistance models are modified from the existing generic model and developed to capture the effects of screen-printing. To have minimum power loss in the solar cell, finger spacing is optimized for the front grid design with each of the finger widths chosen, which are narrower than the baseline finger width. A commercial software package called Griddler is used to predict the results of the model developed to capture effects of screen-printing.

The process for double printing with accurate alignment for finger width down to 50um is developed. After designing the screens for optimized front grid, solar cells are fabricated using both single printing and double printing methods and an improvement of efficiency from 17.2% to 17.8%, with peak efficiency of 18% is demonstrated.