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Proceedings Paper

Production Of Tandem Amorphous Silicon Alloy Solar Cells In A Continuous Roll-To-Roll Process
Author(s): Masat Izu; Stanford R. Ovshinsky
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Paper Abstract

A roll-to-roll plasma deposition machine for depositing multi-layered amorphous alloys has been developed. The plasma deposition machine (approximately 35 ft. long) has multiple deposition areas and processes 16-inch wide stainless steel substrate continuously. Amorphous photovoltaic thin films (less than 1pm) having a six layered structure (PINPIN) are deposited on a roll of 16-inch wide 1000 ft. long stainless steel substrate, continu-ously, in a single pass. Mass production of low-cost tandem amorphous solar cells utilizing roll-to-roll processes is now possible. A commercial plant utilizing this plasma deposition machine for manufacturing tandem amorphous silicon alloy solar cells is now in operation. At Energy Conversion Devices, Inc. (ECD), one of the major tasks of the photovoltaic group has been the scale-up of the plasma deposition process for the production of amorphous silicon alloy solar cells. Our object has been to develop the most cost effective way of producing amorphous silicon alloy solar cells having the highest efficiency. The amorphous silicon alloy solar cell which we produce has the following layer structure: 1. Thin steel substrate. 2. Multi-layered photovoltaic amorphous silicon alloy layers (approximately 1pm thick; tandem cells have six layers). 3. ITO. 4. Grid pattern. 5. Encapsulant. The deposition of the amorphous layer is technologically the key process. It was clear to us from the beginning of this scale-up program that amorphous silicon alloy solar cells produced in wide width, continuous roll-to-roll production process would be ultimate lowest cost solar cells according to the following reasons. First of all, the material cost of our solar cells is low because: (1) the total thickness of active material is less than 1pm, and the material usage is very small; (2) silicon, fluorine, hydrogen, and other materials used in the device are abundant and low cost; (3) thin, low-cost substrate is used; and (4) product yield is high. In addition, the development of high efficiency cells in future time will further reduce the material cost. Secondly, the labor cost associated with the production of our solar cells is low because our process utilizes simple, high production rate, highly automated processing for the complete fabrication of photovoltaic modules. Specifically, six layers of tandem amorphous silicon alloy solar cell are plasma-deposited on a roll of wide stainless steel substrate, continuously in a single pass. Over one order of magnitude increase in the line speed is straightforward from an engineering point of view. Other downstream process steps for the fabrication of photovoltaic modules also utilize simple, high production rate, highly automated machineries.

Paper Details

Date Published: 8 September 1983
PDF: 5 pages
Proc. SPIE 0407, Photovoltaics for Solar Energy Applications II, (8 September 1983); doi: 10.1117/12.935686
Show Author Affiliations
Masat Izu, Energy Conversion Devices, Inc. (United States)
Stanford R. Ovshinsky, Energy Conversion Devices, Inc. (United States)

Published in SPIE Proceedings Vol. 0407:
Photovoltaics for Solar Energy Applications II
David Adler, Editor(s)

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