IEEE Transactions on Components, Packaging and Manufacturing Technology vol:1 issue:9 pages:1319-1327
This paper proposes a novel concept for integrating ultrathin solar cells into modules. It is conceived as a method for fabricating solar panels starting from back-contact crystalline silicon solar cells. However, compared to the current state of the art in module manufacturing for back-contact solar cells, this novel concept aims at improvements in performance, reliability, and cost through the use of an alternative encapsulant, namely silicones as opposed to ethylene vinyl acetate, an alternative deposition technology, being wet coating as opposed to dry lamination; and alternative module-level metallization techniques, as opposed to cell-level tabbing-stringing or conductive foil interconnects. The process flow is proposed, and the materials and fabrication technologies are discussed. As the durability of the module, translated into the module's lifetime, is very important in the targeted application, namely solar cell modules, modeling and reliability testing results and considerations are presented to illustrate how the experimental development process may be guided by experience and theoretical derivations. Finally, feasibility is demonstrated in some first proofs of the concept, and an outlook is given pointing out the direction for further research.