This report provides an overview of the project’s progress along with details of the key highlights and lessons learnt to date.
This Project aims to reduce the cost of current silicon solar photovoltaics (PV) manufacturing technology through the development and application of novel production line equipment based on low-cost consumer electronics technology. These low-cost tools will work as direct, drop-in replacements to conventional higher cost niche PV production equipment.
The Project identifies three forms of consumer electronics technology that will be optimised with the aim of reducing the cost of solar PV device fabrication processes and quality control. These form the three technology streams of the Project:
- Microwave heating, using the same technology as found in most kitchens, will be investigated as a low-cost and more energy efficient replacement of various thermal processes in PV production, such as dopant diffusion, contact formation, and hydrogenation.
- Flatbed scanner technology, used in most office environments, will be used to enable rapid yet comprehensive measurement of silicon texturing processes.
- Thermal imagers, such as devices now available as mobile phone attachments, will be adapted for the detection of silicon wafer defects.
This report is the interim public dissemination report, submitted at the midway point of the project. It provides an updated overview of the project’s progress along with details of the key highlights and lessons learnt so far.