martes, enero 30, 2007

Thin-Film Solar Cells: Sharp develops Mass-Production Technology for Triple-Junction-Technology

Sharp Corporation has developed mass-production technology for stacked triple-junction thin-film solar cells, the company reports in a press release. Sharp turned a conventional two-active-layer structure (amorphous silicon plus microcrystalline silicon) into a triple-junction structure with amorphous silicon (two active layers) and microcrystalline silicon (single active layer). This new architecture boosts cell conversion efficiency from 11 % to 13 % and module conversion efficiency from 8.6 % to 10%. Industrial production is slated to begin in May 2007 at Sharp’s Katsuragi Plant in Nara Prefecture.
Creating two amorphous silicon active layers significantly increases voltage levels, and structuring the cell to have three active layers in combination with microcrystalline silicon decreases light-induced degradation (drop in conversion efficiency)The result is high conversion efficiencies at the top levels in the industry, with cell conversion efficiency at 13% and module conversion efficiency at 10%, Sharp emphasizes.Image: Prototype of a Triple-Junction Solar Cell by Sharp. Source: Sharp Corporation.
Large-scale production without additional equipmentNormally, the shift from a two-layer structure to a three-layer structure would demand an increase in production equipment, but these newly developed thin-film solar cells can be fabricated on the same equipment as conventional tandem (two-layer) cells, Sharp illustrates. Consequently, the shift to multiple active layers enables increases in conversion efficiencies and thus a lower price per watt without the need for expensive, large-scale equipment. In addition, using this triple-junction thin-film solar cell in Sharp’s Lumiwall Illuminating Solar Panel, a combination of solar module and LEDs, or in transparent thin-film solar modules designed for use as architectural elements, will enable higher power output. Expectations are high that this new development will expand the range of applications for these products even further.Sharp has ranked No. 1 in the world for solar cell production for the past six years in a row. As the world leader, Sharp will press ahead in the future with aggressive development of thin-film solar cells in addition to crystalline solar cells based on technological capabilities accumulated over long years of experience in this field.

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