Substitution of niche-market PV production tools with cost-effective consumer-electronics technology

Project: Research

Project Details


This project will dramatically lower the cost of current silicon PV manufacturing technology through the development and application of novel production line equipment based on low-cost consumer electronics technology. These low-cost tools will work as direct, drop-in replacements to select, conventional high-cost specialized equipment. The project identifies three forms of consumer electronics technology that will be optimized to reduce the cost of PV device processing and quality control. In each case, the established broad consumer market of these technologies has led to mass-production and thus dramatically reduced component costs.
Microwave heating, using the same technology as found in most kitchens, will be investigated as a low-cost and more energy efficient replacement of various thermal processes in PV production, such as dopant diffusion, contact formation, and hydrogenation. Flatbed scanner technology, used in most office environments, will be used to enable rapid yet comprehensive measurement of texture uniformity. Finally, low-cost thermal imagers, such as devices now available as mobile phone add-ons, will be adapted for the detection of wafer defects. This work directly builds upon the outcomes of previous ACAP and ARENA funded projects.
Short titleARENA_DP2020
Effective start/end date10/10/209/10/22