Wafer texturing is one of the first steps in creating a solar cell from a silicon wafer. The texturing roughens or etches the solar cell surface, to improve the cell’s performance by reducing light lost from reflection and trapping light in the solar cell.
Improved wafering processes using better quality silicon material and advanced cell processing holds the key to the improved cost effectiveness of solar energy. Development is also required in the texture processes that introduces light trapping in the wafer.
The project looked at improving cell manufacturing with new texture processes and extending cell manufacturing processes to include new wafering techniques. The project brought together Australian and German research and manufacturing partners to test new approaches on Chinese manufacturing lines.
In this project:
- Novel plasma texturing resulted in efficiencies in manufacturing production that are comparable with cells produced using standard cell line processes on slurry sawn wafers.
- Progress was made with applying novel plasma texturing to new wafer production methods with the aim of delivering a new technology that will result in lower manufacturing cost through increased yield.
- The characterisation of the anti-reflection process was improved through the development of a new in-line monitoring tool.
Report: Novel Texture Processes for The Latest Wafer and Advanced Cell Concepts
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%.
In this project, Suntech R&D Australia worked with the German institute Fraunhofer ISE and company Roth & Rau and developed a new process and tool to enhance solar cell efficiency which would reduce cost. This was done by improving the wafer texturing process for the latest industrial wafers and advanced solar cells.
The new processes and tools developed for wafer texturing, included the use of a high energy plasma to roughen the surface, physical etching and changes to the ingredients in the chemical etch.
The interaction of process improvements with other solar cell processing sequences were also assessed in particular new wafering techniques.
Improving the performance of the texture processes or reducing its cost will increase the amount of energy generated for each dollar spent by the customer.
This encourages more use of renewable energy, thus reducing our reliance on non-renewable energy sources.