Etude de la métallisation de la face avant des cellules photovoltaïques en silicium

Abstract : At an industrial scale, the front side metallization of solar cells is performed by screen printing for 40 years. A silver-based paste is printed before a high temperature annealing. This simple and robust process enables a high throughput. However, the metallization is a critical step in production lines. On the one hand, the contact properties affect the final cell performances. On the other hand, the photovoltaic industry already accounts for 7% of the world's silver consumption. With the expected exponential growth of this sector, the mass of silver per cell becomes crucial as it governs their final cost. Consequently, it is mandatory to optimize the screen printing process to limit the amount of deposited silver and maximize the solar cell efficiency. The first part of this study focused on these two aspects. First, the rheological behavior of screen printing pastes is investigated. Then, a multifactorial study is combined with power loss simulations to assess the effect of screen printing parameters on the cell efficiency and the deposited silver mass. Besides, these studies have lead to an average cell efficiency of 19,0% at an industrial scale. To ensure the photovoltaic industry growth, the screen printing process should be replaced in coming years. Indeed, the heterogeneous contact microstructure causes significant electrical losses in comparison to high-efficiency cells. Moreover, the limited resolution of this process does no longer allow a contact width reduction, which has a direct impact on the optical losses and the silver mass per cell. Finally, the simultaneous optimization of the electrical and geometrical contact properties is difficult at an industrial scale. The seed and plate concept is an innovative solution that overcomes these limitations. First, a seed layer is printed to reduce the initial contact width and improve its interface with the cell. Then, a second layer is electrolytically grown to improve the conductivity and the height of the metal grid. Besides, this step enables an accurate control of the deposited silver amount. Several solutions are available to print the first layer. Because of a high throughput and flexibility, the flexographic printing process seems particularly well suited to meet the seed layer requirements at an industrial level. The second part of this study focuses on the development of this process. First, the rheological behavior of several inks is studied. Secondly, the flexographic printing process is adapted to print fine lines that can be thickened by light induced plating (LIP). The potential of this metallization scheme is then assessed using a simulation of cell performances and silver consumption. Finally, a promising 17,9% cell efficiency demonstrates the concept feasibility.
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Sébastien Thibert. Etude de la métallisation de la face avant des cellules photovoltaïques en silicium. Génie des procédés. Université de Grenoble, 2014. Français. ⟨NNT : 2014GRENI025⟩. ⟨tel-01127018⟩

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