Economic Advantages of Dry-Etched Black Silicon in Passivated Emitter Rear Cell (PERC) Photovoltaic Manufacturing

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Researchers

Research units

  • Michigan Technological University

Abstract

Industrial Czochralski silicon (Cz-Si) photovoltaic (PV) efficiencies have routinely reached >20% with the passivated emitter rear cell (PERC) design. Nanostructuring silicon (black-Si) by dry-etching decreases surface reflectance, allows diamond saw wafering, enhances metal gettering and may prevent power conversion efficiency degradation under light exposure. Black-Si allows a potential for >20% PERC cells using cheaper multicrystalline silicon (mc-Si) materials, although dry-etching is widely considered too expensive for industrial application. This study analyzes this economic potential by comparing costs of standard texturized Cz-Si and black mc-Si PERC cells. Manufacturing sequences are divided into steps, and costs per unit power are individually calculated for all different steps. Baseline costs for each step are calculated and a sensitivity analysis run for a theoretical 1 GW/year manufacturing plant, combining data from literature and industry. The results show an increase in the overall cell processing costs between 15.8% and 25.1% due to the combination of black-Si etching and passivation by double-side atomic layer deposition. Despite this increase, the cost per unit power of the overall PERC cell drops by 10.8%. This is a significant cost saving and thus energy policies are reviewed to overcome challenges to accelerating deployment of black mc-Si PERC across the PV industry.

Details

Original languageEnglish
Article number2337
Number of pages18
JournalEnergies
Volume11
Issue number9
Publication statusPublished - 5 Sep 2018
MoE publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed

    Research areas

  • black silicon, economics, manufacturing costs, multicrystalline silicon, passivated emitter rear cell, PERC, silicon solar cells, photovoltaic, photovoltaic manufacturing

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