Blyth, United Kingdom
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Devenport S.,Solar Capture Technologies | Morrison D.,Solar Capture Technologies | Dunnill S.,Solar Capture Technologies | Baistow I.,Solar Capture Technologies | And 4 more authors.
Energy Materials: Materials Science and Engineering for Energy Systems | Year: 2014

The use of high purity nickel silicon nano-inks represents a new approach to the design of conductive electrode structures, with potential to reduce electrode cost by up to 75% by reducing silver usage. In addition to reducing manufacturing costs, utilising nickel silicon inks would greatly improve product throughput. However, careful design and incorporation of a nickel barrier layer are required to prevent copper poisoning of the solar cell. Once proven, this technology could be readily incorporated into existing production facilities (the majority of solar cell process tooling remaining as standard), thereby providing a ready route to a mass market. The status of the Innovate UK funded Propress R&D project is reported and the specialised equipment, nano-inks and processes developed are described. An evaluation of the cell efficiencies obtained using this alternative cell processing technology is presented, alongside stability and performance data. © W. S. Maney & Son Ltd. 2014.


Grant
Agency: European Commission | Branch: FP7 | Program: CP | Phase: ENERGY.2010.2.1-1 | Award Amount: 7.02M | Year: 2010

The overall objective of the current project is a significant contribution to the dissemination of PV in order to improve the sustainability of the European energy supply and to strengthen the situation of the European PV industry. The approach to reach this overall objective is the development of solar cells which are substantially thinner than todays common practice. We will reduce the current solar cell thickness of typically 180 m down to a minimum of 50 m. At the same time we target to produce solar cells with high efficiencies in the range of 20% light conversion rate into power. The processes will be optimized and transferred into a pilot production line aiming at an efficiency of 19.5% on wafers of 100 m thickness at a yield that is comparable to the one in standard production lines. This shall help to drive down production costs significantly and save Si resources from todays 8 grams per watt to 3 grams per watt. In more detail the following topics are addressed: Wafering from Si ingots, surface passivation, light trapping, solar cell and module processing and handling of the thin wafers The partners of this project form an outstanding consortium to reach the project goals, including four leading European R&D institutes as well as four companies with recorded and published expertise in the field of thin solar cells and modules and handling of such. The project is structured in 10 work packages covering the process chain from wafer to module and the transfer into pilot production already at mid term as well as integral eco-assessment and management tasks.


Terheiden B.,University of Konstanz | Ballmann T.,Hanwha Q Cells GmbH | Horbelt R.,University of Konstanz | Schiele Y.,University of Konstanz | And 27 more authors.
Physica Status Solidi (A) Applications and Materials Science | Year: 2015

Reducing wafer thickness while increasing power conversion efficiency is the most effective way to reduce cost per Watt of a silicon photovoltaic module. Within the European project 20 percent efficiency on less than 100-μm-thick, industrially feasible crystalline silicon solar cells ("20plms"), we study the whole process chain for thin wafers, from wafering to module integration and life-cycle analysis. We investigate three different solar cell fabrication routes, categorized according to the temperature of the junction formation process and the wafer doping type: p-type silicon high temperature, n-type silicon high temperature and n-type silicon low temperature. For each route, an efficiency of 19.5% or greater is achieved on wafers less than 100 μm thick, with a maximum efficiency of 21.1% on an 80-μm-thick wafer. The n-type high temperature route is then transferred to a pilot production line, and a median solar cell efficiency of 20.0% is demonstrated on 100-μm-thick wafers. © 2014 Wiley-VCH Verlag GmbH & Co. KGaA.


Dunnill S.,Solar Capture Technologies | Brugnetti I.,University of Applied Sciences and Arts Southern Switzerland | Colla M.,University of Applied Sciences and Arts Southern Switzerland | Valente A.,University of Applied Sciences and Arts Southern Switzerland | And 2 more authors.
Smart Innovation, Systems and Technologies | Year: 2016

The demand for non-standard, custom design, solar products is rapidly increasing with a growing number of companies wanting to incorporate sustainable energy solutions into their products. The FP7 funded white’R project aims to move away from the current manual assembly processes by developing a new automated manufacturing tool, capable of tabbing and stringing a wide variety of different size and shape solar cells. The island will have the capability of scanning incoming solar cells to be (dis)assembled and associate them to a number of tasks to be executed. It will also have the intelligence to automatically recognise, select and configure the proper “Plug & Produce” (P&P) equipment to be used for the operations. To date, a reference model has been created, detailing current production processes, considered products and foreseen equipment, in order to support the configurable implementation of the island. Designs for the fixturing and storage systems along with the end effectors have been produced. © Springer International Publishing Switzerland 2016.


Beattie N.S.,Northumbria University | Zoppi G.,Northumbria University | See P.,National Physical Laboratory United Kingdom | Farrer I.,University of Cambridge | And 4 more authors.
Solar Energy Materials and Solar Cells | Year: 2014

The performance of InAs/GaAs quantum dot solar cells was investigated up to an optical concentration of 500-suns. A high temperature spacer layer between successive layers of quantum dots was used to reduce the degradation in the open circuit voltage relative to a control device without quantum dots. This improvement is explained using optical data while structural imaging of quantum dot stacks confirm that the devices are not limited by strain. The evolution of the open circuit voltage as a function of number of suns concentration was observed to be nearly ideal when compared with a high performance single junction GaAs solar cell. Analysis of Suns-Voc measurements reveal diode ideality factors as low as 1.16 which is indicative of a low concentration of defects in the devices. © 2014 The Authors.


Grant
Agency: GTR | Branch: Innovate UK | Program: | Phase: Smart - Proof of Concept | Award Amount: 59.70K | Year: 2012

Concentrator Photovoltaics (CPV) is a promising technology for countries with high direct sunlight. The potential cost of energy (pence per kWh of electricity generated) is low compared to standard flat plate modules. The team at Narec Solar’s Photovoltaic Technology Centre (PVTC) have been providing silicon based solar cells designed to operate under concentration for over five years to more than 80 international companies, universities and institutions. In addition to silicon solar cell manufacture and development, NSL manufacture one sun modules for applications such as off grid emergency roadside telephones and traffic management products. In this project NSL will utilise their extensive cell and module manufacturing experience to develop proof of concept modules for CPV. CPV modules require specialised design since concentrated sunlight leads to higher cell temperatures and more rapid UV degradation of films and adhesives, compared to one sun conditions. Following thorough research, experimentation and testing, module components such as front sheets, back sheets and encapsulant will be selected for proof of concept CPV modules. These modules will be designed for a number of different cells operating at varying concentrations of sunlight and they will be environmentally tested to ensure long term reliability.


Grant
Agency: European Commission | Branch: FP7 | Program: CP-TP | Phase: FoF.NMP.2013-2 | Award Amount: 9.65M | Year: 2013

The young optoelectronic industry has critical mass and already impacts for more than the 10% on the European economy, employing 290 000 people and guarantees a stable double digit growth in current and coming years. Europe is playing a leading role in R&D (>1,000 research organization active) and is still able to face Far East and American competitors in manufacturing. whiteR is a necessary action to translate this R&D excellence into future leadership in manufacturing high value added optoelectronic devices. whiteR production island aims to make a move away from the manual assembly processes that have characterized the industry for decades to high-accuracy, high-yield, automated methods. The new manufacturing concept is based on the combination of fully automated, self contained, white room modules whose components - robots, end effectors, transport, handling and tooling systems - are conceived as Plug&Produce mechatronic sub-modules properly configured coherently with the production requirements. The technical objectives of whiteR system are: 50% reduction of cost compared to current productions system; 30% set-up and ramp-up time reduction by self adaptive reconfigurability; All components of the production system reusable re-assembled and upgraded in a new different system; Creation of a EU/International standard for optoelectronic package configuration. The achievement of the objectives will be demonstrated by 2 different demonstrators where the same whiteR island will be reconfigured to be used in two different real industrial environments related to the laser processing (Prima Power) and the solar energy systems (NSL). whiteR team forms a lean and efficient organization linking together 3 academic and research institutions to 10 industrial partners from 5 different countries, including both system development companies and industrial end users.


Grant
Agency: GTR | Branch: Innovate UK | Program: | Phase: Collaborative Research & Development | Award Amount: 192.46K | Year: 2015

Awaiting Public Project Summary


Grant
Agency: GTR | Branch: Innovate UK | Program: | Phase: Collaborative Research & Development | Award Amount: 209.01K | Year: 2014

There is a global drive to lower the cost of solar generated electricity. The cost per watt peak (€/Wp) can be reduced by increasing PV efficiency, reducing cost of Balance of the System (BOS) and minimizing the module costs. Module assembly is material extensive and constitutes a significant part of the price. Currently, 3mm glass is the usual predominant cover of solar modules and it implies 30% of the price. Reduction of encapsulant materials can help to minimize the foot print of the solar panel by minimized cost over the whole chain from raw materials to installation. The aim of the project is to exploit the development of 1mm toughened glass as encapsulant to produce a light weight, low cost PV module with enhanced efficiency. To be able to reach that goal, we have constituted a consortium including necessary expertise. In the project glass materials with various properties will be developed, the toughening and treatment of thin glass will be investigated, new coatings to improve the glass materials physical properties will be developed and prototypes will be assembled. Three slogans have been defined to explain the aim of the project that also connects with the project acronym LIMES. - “Towards ultrathin glass-glass modules” - “Towards eliminating the transmission limit of solar glasses - “Towards ultra-robust module designs with extended lifetime LIMES aims at promoting excellence in research and innovation in order to enhance the competitiveness of European industry and increase the energy produced by sustainable solar power in the future. Results and technological advances will be disseminated by publications, seminars, conferences and reports. The results in terms of prototypes are expected to lead to patents. The initial route to market is through demonstration of new off-grid PV modules and if successful proven case histories will be presented to the BIPV industry.


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