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Technology transfer challenges in the manufacturing of a-Si tandem solar cells

  • D. E. Carlson (a1), G. Ganguly (a1), G. Lin (a1), M. Gleaton (a1), M. Bennett (a1) and R. R. Arya (a1)...

Abstract

BP Solar started commercial production of amorphous silicon tandem solar cells in Toano, Virginia in 1997. The scale-up process has involved overcoming technology challenges in several areas. It was necessary to develop high speed, multiple-beam laser scribing systems that could pattern photovoltaic modules over an area of 0.8 square meters with close dimensional tolerances. In addition, the deposition rate of amorphous silicon was doubled while production was being ramped up, and the deposition system was modified to meet capacity requirements. The utilization of the germane feedstock gas was increased by about 25% in order to reduce material costs. In addition, the dimensional tolerances of the deposition system geometry were determined and controlled in order to assure uniform deposition of the amorphous silicon alloys. Effects of contaminants (such as pump oils and residual dopants) on device performance were quantified. Sources of debris that could cause shunts and shorts in the devices were identified and minimized. Current research efforts are focused on further increases in the amorphous silicon deposition rate, improvements in device performance and the development of in-situ diagnostic tools to monitor and control the manufacturing process.

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