Photovoltaics Technology and Manufacturing

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You've seen the headlines: "Global Energy Demand Expected to Soar by 2030." "Escalating Oil Prices Threaten Economic Recovery." According to the US Department of Energy, the demand for energy in the United States alone will swell by 32% by the year 2020,1 and the Energy Information Administration projects a 44% increase in world oil consumption by 2030.2 Solar power -- the clean, renewable energy source of the future -- is becoming more and more crucial to our economic and environmental welfare.

Since the 1970s, stunning breakthroughs in photovoltaic technology have made clean, light-generated electricity more feasible and economical. As many companies rapidly introduce new technologies to harness solar power, tracking developments -- let alone understanding them -- can be daunting. Semitracks' one-day Photovoltaics Technology and Manufacturing course analyzes and distills the most important aspects of this complex technology.

What Will I Learn By Taking This Class?

The course covers silicon semiconductor photovoltaics technology and fabrication processes through twelve major topic areas, listed below.

  1. Characteristics of Solar Radiation. Participants learn about incoming solar radiation, the spectrum, as well as direct and diffuse radiation.
  2. Semiconductor Material Properties. Participants will learn about the behavior of holes and electrons in semiconductor material. They will also learn about generation/recombination processes, reflection, and absorption in semiconductor materials.
  3. Junction Properties. Participants learn about homo and heterojunctions. They will also learn about quantum efficiencies and develop an equivalent circuit for a solar cell. This will help explain the efficiency and losses that occur.
  4. Efficiency and Losses. Participants learn about the efficiency limits for black-body cells. They will also learn about short circuit and open circuit effects, fill factor losses, and the effects of temperature on solar cells.
  5. Design of Silicon Cells. Participants learn techniques employed to maximize cell performance along with their associated trade-offs.
  6. High Efficiency Designs. Participants learn the semiconductor properties that affect efficiency and how to gain the most from a technology. This includes surface recombination effects, doping, junction depth, substrate doping, thickness, and other module effects.
  7. Silicon Solar Cell Fabrication. Participants learn how solar cells are manufactured. The instructor discusses both baseline manufacturing and advanced manufacturing processes.
  8. Module Manufacture. Packaging the cells so that they are protected from the environment and so that the user is protected from electrical shock.
  9. Module Circuit Design. Interconnection of solar cells or modules which do not have identical properties or which experience different conditions from one another in a way to minimize mismatch losses.
  10. Heat Dissipation in PV Modules. Methods to predict and minimize heat buildup in PV modules to maximize their electrical output.
  11. Module Degradation and Failure Modes. A PV module's operating life is largely determined by the stability and resistance to corrosion of the materials from which it is constructed.
  12. Measurement of Solar Cell Efficiency. Standardized testing allows the comparison of devices manufactured at different laboratories with different technologies to be compared.

In addition, course notes will be provided which offer hundreds of pages of reference material that the participant can apply during his daily activities.

The courses are necessary for every manager, engineer, and technician entering the photovoltaic field, whether they are working directly for a photovoltaic manufacturer or system integrator or selling to PV manufacturers.

Course Objectives

  1. The seminar will provide participants with an overview of 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 efficiency.
  5. The participant will be able to make informed decisions regarding a particular solar cell technology.
  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 in the context of the industry.

Instructional Strategy

Our courses are dynamic. We use a combination of instruction by lecture, problem solving, and question/answer sessions to give you the tools you need to excel in the photovoltaics industry. From the very first moments of the seminar until the last sentence of the training, the driving instructional factor is application. The course notes offer hundreds of pages of reference material that the participants can apply during their daily activities.

Our instructors are internationally recognized experts. Our instructors have years of current and relevant experience in their fields. They're focused on answering your questions and teaching you what you need to know.

Instructor Profile

Douglas Ruby, Ph.D.

douglas.ruby

Douglas Ruby is a consultant to the Photovoltaics Industry. He has initiated and successfully conducted direct industry joint experiments with most major US Si solar cell manufacturers, resulting in numerous publications and several process improvements adopted by industry into manufacturing production lines. Doug received a Bachelor of Science in Physics from MIT and an M.S. and Ph.D. in Physics from the University of Illinois.

Doug worked for Sandia National Laboratories in Albuquerque, New Mexico for over 22 years. He served as the Team Leader of PV Cell Development Team and $2M/year semiconductor fabrication facility. He directed 7 team members, authored the annual operating plan, and directed all PV cell research projects. Doug also served as the Director of the Crystalline Silicon Research Cooperative, a government/industry consortium for mutually beneficial research consisting of representatives from the entire US Si-PV manufacturing and research communities. He functioned as a contract monitor and advisor for several R & D contracts in the DOE Concentrator Initiative Program from 1990 to 1993, and was closely involved with and provided technical feedback to manufacturers developing Concentrator Photovoltaics systems.

Doug has served as an area chairman of the IEEE PV Specialists Conference in Silicon Cell Processing and has authored and co-authored numerous technical papers on photovoltaic technologies.

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