Thin-Film Photovoltaics Reliability

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Thin Film Photovoltaics Reliability is a one-day course that goes in depth to describe thin-film photovoltaic reliability. This course is designed for every manager, engineer, and technician entering the photovoltaic field, whether it be working directly for a photovoltaic manufacturer, system integrator, or selling to the PV manufacturers.

What Will I Learn By Taking This Class?

Participants learn to the basics of thin film photovoltaics: the technology, the fabrication processes, and reliability. The course covers seven major topic areas.

  1. Introduction and History of Solar Cells. Participants learn about the history and development path behind thin-film photovoltaics.
  2. Thin-film Device and Module Manufacturing. Participants will learn how thin-film solar cells are manufactured. They discuss the fabrication, packaging and module assembly steps.
  3. Thin-film Device Physics. Participants learn how the solar cell operates. They learn about the properties that make a cell efficient and low loss.
  4. Thin-film Reliability Testing. Participants learn about the tests currently performed on solar cells and modules to ascertain their reliability. They learn how the industry makes measurements and analyzes the results.
  5. Design of Experiments. Participants learn how to design experiments to help optimize cell durability.
  6. Data Management Systems. Participants investigate the data management systems for correlating cell fabrication and reliability, and how to trace data from the manufacturer to the module assembler and into field use.
  7. Case Studies. Participants cover several case studies involving CdTe and CIGS thin-film cell reliability issues.

Course Objectives

  1. The seminar will provide participants with an overview of the photovoltaic technologies and manufacturing methods.
  2. The participant will be able to understand the properties of a variety of photovoltaic cells.
  3. The seminar will identify the major issues associated with cell efficiencies.
  4. The seminar will also identify the major tradeoffs associated with each technology and reliability.
  5. The participant will be able to understand how to ascertain the reliability of PV modules from reliability test methods.
  6. The participant will be able to make informed decisions regarding manufacturing processes for various silicon solar cell technologies.
  7. The participant will be able to understand his/her role regarding reliability/durability of PV modules.

Course Outline

  1. Introduction and history of polycrystalline thin-film solar cells
  2. Thin-film module manufacturing
    1. Introduction
    2. Thin-film manufacturing
    3. Module assembly
    4. Testing
  3. Thin-film device physics
    1. Solar Cell Operation
      1. Ideal Solar Cells
      2. Solar Cell Structure
      3. Light Generated Current
      4. Collection Probability
      5. Quantum Efficiency
      6. Spectral Response
      7. Photovoltaic Effect
    2. Solar Cell Parameters
      1. IV Curve
      2. Short-Circuit Current
      3. Open-Circuit Voltage
      4. Fill Factor
      5. Efficiency
    3. Resistive Effects
      1. Characteristic Resistance
      2. Effect of Parasitic Resistances
      3. Series Resistances
      4. Shunt Resistances
      5. Impact of Both Resistances
  4. Thin-film device fabrication
    1. Substrate Material
    2. Thin-film Growth/Deposition
    3. Texturing
    4. Diffusion
    5. Isolation
    6. Anti-Reflection Coating
  5. Thin-film device durability procedures, measurements and analysis
    1. Similarities/differences with modules
  6. Design-of-Experiment (DOE) techniques for optimizing cell durability
  7. Data management systems for correlating cell fabrication and cell durability
  8. Thin-film cell hysteresis – observations and correlations
  9. Case studies involving CdTe and CIGS thin film cellsSolar Cell Properties

Instructional Strategy

By using a combination of instruction by lecture, problem solving and question/answer sessions, and participants will learn practical information about the solar photovoltaic industry. From the very first moments of the seminar until the last sentence of the training, the driving instructional factor is application. We use instructors who are internationally recognized experts in their fields that have years of experience (both current and relevant) in this field.

Instructor Profile

Dave Albin, Ph.D.

dave.albin

Dr. Albin is a senior scientist at the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) in Golden, CO USA. He has over 25 years experience in CdTe and Cu(In,Ga)Se2 thin film cell R&D. He has designed and built numerous thin film deposition and treatment systems, developed device modeling and fabrication data management software, and pioneered research in understanding degradation in polycrystalline, thin-film solar cells. His external activities include organizing solar cell reliability activities for the Society of Photo-Optical Instrumentation Engineers (SPIE) and the IEEE International Physics of Reliability (IRPS) and working with numerous international companies through privately-funded agreements.

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