A report that details the processes undertaken, outcomes, transferability of ideas and lessons learned in developing a novel plasma and wet etch process with a cell efficiency on monocrystalline silicon cell of up to 19%.
The project aimed at testing novel texturing methods for advanced cell concepts, with a view to new developments in wafer and cell processing. The strengths of the project lay in the collaboration between the equipment manufacturers (Roth& Rau), the cell manufacturer (Suntech) and the process development teams at Suntech R&D Australia and Fraunhofer ISE (FhISE). This team formed through this collaboration was uniquely placed, to develop new processes and demonstrate their application in manufacturing. We were able to source new manufacturing relevant materials, run controlled tests with novel processes alongside well established standards, and complete processing in a full manufacturing environment.
Cells process on the manufacturing lines showed improvements of the standard processes, with the average efficiency of 17.6% for the new processes being 0.5% absolute better than the standard process. The efficiency improvements achieved are small (3% relative), but the maturity of the processes and the certainty of the outcome mean that the small improvements are very relevant for manufacturing. Cost effective improvements of 3% relative per annum are typical of the incremental improvements that have taken manufacturing cell efficiencies from 14% to 19% over the last ten years.
A knowledge sharing workshop at the end of the project brought together the international project participants and allowed for public dissemination of the research outcomes.