Low cost high efficiency screen printed solar cells on Cz and epitaxial silicon
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The objective of this research is to achieve high-efficiency, low-cost, commercial-ready, screen-printed Silicon (Si) solar cells by reducing material costs and raising cell efficiencies. Two specific solutions to material cost reduction are implemented in this thesis. The first one is low to medium concentrator (2-20 suns) Si solar cells. By using some optics to concentrate sunlight, the same amount of output power can be achieved with cell area reduced by a factor equal to the concentration ratio. Since the cost of optics is less than the semiconductor material, electricity price from the concentrator photovoltaics (PV) system is therefore reduced. The second solution is the use of epitaxially grown Si (epi-Si) wafers. This epi-Si technology bypasses three costly process steps (the need for polycrystalline silicon feedstock, ingot growth, and wafer slicing) compared to the traditional Si wafer technology and therefore reduces the material cost by up to 50% in a finished PV module. In addition, high efficiency Si solar cells with reduced metal contact recombination are studied and modeled by implementation of passivated contacts composed of tunnel oxide, n+ polycrystalline Si and metal on top of n-type Si absorber to reduce the cost ($/Wp) of PV module.