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Journal of Photonics for Energy • Open Access

Brief review of cadmium telluride-based photovoltaic technologies
Author(s): Bülent M. Başol; Brian McCandless

Paper Abstract

Cadmium telluride (CdTe) is the most commercially successful thin-film photovoltaic technology. Development of CdTe as a solar cell material dates back to the early 1980s when ∼10% efficient devices were demonstrated. Implementation of better quality glass, more transparent conductive oxides, introduction of a high-resistivity transparent film under the CdS junction-partner, higher deposition temperatures, and improved Cl-treatment, doping, and contacting approaches yielded <16% efficient cells in the early 2000s. Around the same time period, use of a photoresist plug monolithic integration process facilitated the demonstration of the first 11% efficient module. The most dramatic advancements in CdTe device efficiencies were made during the 2013 to 2014 time frame when small-area cell conversion efficiency was raised to 20% range and a champion module efficiency of 17% was reported. CdTe technology is attractive in terms of its limited life-cycle greenhouse gas and heavy metal emissions, small carbon footprint, and short energy payback times. Limited Te availability is a challenge for the growth of this technology unless Te utilization rates are greatly enhanced along with device efficiencies.

Paper Details

Date Published: 27 June 2014
PDF: 11 pages
J. Photon. Energy. 4(1) 040996 doi: 10.1117/1.JPE.4.040996
Published in: Journal of Photonics for Energy Volume 4, Issue 1
Show Author Affiliations
Bülent M. Başol, EncoreSolar, Inc. (United States)
Brian McCandless, Univ. of Delaware (United States)


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