Fraunhofer FEP will present new thin film processes that could
drastically reduce the cost of producing solar cells. Thin film
photovoltaic technology offers huge potential for producing PV modules
at lower cost and with efficient utilization of resources. At PVSEC
2011 (Photovoltaic Solar Energy Conference and Exhibition) the
Fraunhofer Institute for Electron Beam and Plasma Technology FEP will
present new, favorable-cost manufacturing processes for PV cells.
Thin film solar cells consist of several layers having different
functions. The light-absorbing layer is in the center, encapsulation
layers on the outer sides protect the solar cell against
environmental influences, and contact layers divert the resulting
Using its broad technology portfolio the Fraunhofer FEP is able to
deposit these layers on large surfaces on an industrial scale.
The objective of the Fraunhofer FEP in Dresden is to apply layers of
excellent quality at higher production rates than currently employed
production processes in order to ultimately reduce the production costs.
Dr. Torsten Kopte, contact person for solar energy at the Fraunhofer
FEP, believes thin film technology has enormous potential: "Currently
photovoltaic modules cost several hundred euros per square meter. In
the future we expect that vacuum-based coating technologies which we
use at the Fraunhofer FEP will allow the production cost of
photovoltaic modules to be reduced by at least 90%."
The scientists at Fraunhofer FEP have already achieved promising
results for depositing back contacts. They have successfully deposited
molybdenum layers for so-called CIGS thin film cells, having ten times
higher productivity than competing technologies. Dr. Jens-Peter
Heinß, scientist at the Fraunhofer FEP, believes there is still
further potential for improvement: "The high deposition rate of 60
nanometers per second is just an intermediate result and I am sure that
we can increase this further. For the time being, it is essential for
us that the layer properties and efficiency of the cells remained
qualitatively equivalent to those of slower processes."
Homepage of the institution: http://www.fep.fraunhofer.de/