Abstract

We present a review of commercial thin-film photovoltaic (PV) technologies and products. After a brief introduction of recent dynamics in the on-grid PV market, we provide an overview of commercial thin-film silicon, cadmium telluride, copper indium gallium diselenide, and organic PV modules – including representative efficiencies, deposition processes, module form factors, and nominal production capacities available for production today. Finally, we discuss the technical, production, and market targets of thin-film PV module developers.

© 2010 OSA

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  53. “Facts and figures about Würth Solar,” accessed on July 12, 2010. www.wuerth-solar.com/web/en/index.php/show/media/import/solar/2010/MAI10_Daten_Fakten_Wuerth_Solar_EN.pdf .
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2010 (2)

M. A. Green, K. Emery, Y. Hishikawa, and W. Warta, “Solar cell efficiency tables (version 35),” Prog. Photovolt. Res. Appl. 18(2), 144–150 (2010).
[CrossRef]

A. J. Heeger, “Semiconducting polymers: the Third Generation,” Chem. Soc. Rev. 39(7), 2354–2371 (2010).
[CrossRef] [PubMed]

2008 (1)

T. H. Reilly, J. van de Lagemaat, R. C. Tenent, A. J. Morfa, and K. L. Rowlen, “Surface-plasmon enhanced transparent electrodes in organic photovoltaics,” Appl. Phys. Lett. 92(24), 243304 (2008).
[CrossRef]

2004 (1)

X. Wu, “High-efficiency polycrystalline CdTe thin-film solar cells,” Sol. Energy 77(6), 803–814 (2004).
[CrossRef]

1972 (1)

W. Spear and P. LeComber, “Investigation of the localised state distribution in amorphous Si films,” J. Non-Cryst. Solids 8–10, 727–738 (1972).
[CrossRef]

1969 (1)

R. Chittick, J. Alexander, and H. Sterling, “The preparation and properties of amorphous silicon,” J. Electrochem. Soc. 116(1), 77–81 (1969).
[CrossRef]

Alexander, J.

R. Chittick, J. Alexander, and H. Sterling, “The preparation and properties of amorphous silicon,” J. Electrochem. Soc. 116(1), 77–81 (1969).
[CrossRef]

Chittick, R.

R. Chittick, J. Alexander, and H. Sterling, “The preparation and properties of amorphous silicon,” J. Electrochem. Soc. 116(1), 77–81 (1969).
[CrossRef]

Emery, K.

M. A. Green, K. Emery, Y. Hishikawa, and W. Warta, “Solar cell efficiency tables (version 35),” Prog. Photovolt. Res. Appl. 18(2), 144–150 (2010).
[CrossRef]

Green, M. A.

M. A. Green, K. Emery, Y. Hishikawa, and W. Warta, “Solar cell efficiency tables (version 35),” Prog. Photovolt. Res. Appl. 18(2), 144–150 (2010).
[CrossRef]

Heeger, A. J.

A. J. Heeger, “Semiconducting polymers: the Third Generation,” Chem. Soc. Rev. 39(7), 2354–2371 (2010).
[CrossRef] [PubMed]

Hishikawa, Y.

M. A. Green, K. Emery, Y. Hishikawa, and W. Warta, “Solar cell efficiency tables (version 35),” Prog. Photovolt. Res. Appl. 18(2), 144–150 (2010).
[CrossRef]

LeComber, P.

W. Spear and P. LeComber, “Investigation of the localised state distribution in amorphous Si films,” J. Non-Cryst. Solids 8–10, 727–738 (1972).
[CrossRef]

Morfa, A. J.

T. H. Reilly, J. van de Lagemaat, R. C. Tenent, A. J. Morfa, and K. L. Rowlen, “Surface-plasmon enhanced transparent electrodes in organic photovoltaics,” Appl. Phys. Lett. 92(24), 243304 (2008).
[CrossRef]

Reilly, T. H.

T. H. Reilly, J. van de Lagemaat, R. C. Tenent, A. J. Morfa, and K. L. Rowlen, “Surface-plasmon enhanced transparent electrodes in organic photovoltaics,” Appl. Phys. Lett. 92(24), 243304 (2008).
[CrossRef]

Rowlen, K. L.

T. H. Reilly, J. van de Lagemaat, R. C. Tenent, A. J. Morfa, and K. L. Rowlen, “Surface-plasmon enhanced transparent electrodes in organic photovoltaics,” Appl. Phys. Lett. 92(24), 243304 (2008).
[CrossRef]

Spear, W.

W. Spear and P. LeComber, “Investigation of the localised state distribution in amorphous Si films,” J. Non-Cryst. Solids 8–10, 727–738 (1972).
[CrossRef]

Sterling, H.

R. Chittick, J. Alexander, and H. Sterling, “The preparation and properties of amorphous silicon,” J. Electrochem. Soc. 116(1), 77–81 (1969).
[CrossRef]

Tenent, R. C.

T. H. Reilly, J. van de Lagemaat, R. C. Tenent, A. J. Morfa, and K. L. Rowlen, “Surface-plasmon enhanced transparent electrodes in organic photovoltaics,” Appl. Phys. Lett. 92(24), 243304 (2008).
[CrossRef]

van de Lagemaat, J.

T. H. Reilly, J. van de Lagemaat, R. C. Tenent, A. J. Morfa, and K. L. Rowlen, “Surface-plasmon enhanced transparent electrodes in organic photovoltaics,” Appl. Phys. Lett. 92(24), 243304 (2008).
[CrossRef]

Warta, W.

M. A. Green, K. Emery, Y. Hishikawa, and W. Warta, “Solar cell efficiency tables (version 35),” Prog. Photovolt. Res. Appl. 18(2), 144–150 (2010).
[CrossRef]

Wu, X.

X. Wu, “High-efficiency polycrystalline CdTe thin-film solar cells,” Sol. Energy 77(6), 803–814 (2004).
[CrossRef]

Appl. Phys. Lett. (1)

T. H. Reilly, J. van de Lagemaat, R. C. Tenent, A. J. Morfa, and K. L. Rowlen, “Surface-plasmon enhanced transparent electrodes in organic photovoltaics,” Appl. Phys. Lett. 92(24), 243304 (2008).
[CrossRef]

Chem. Soc. Rev. (1)

A. J. Heeger, “Semiconducting polymers: the Third Generation,” Chem. Soc. Rev. 39(7), 2354–2371 (2010).
[CrossRef] [PubMed]

J. Electrochem. Soc. (1)

R. Chittick, J. Alexander, and H. Sterling, “The preparation and properties of amorphous silicon,” J. Electrochem. Soc. 116(1), 77–81 (1969).
[CrossRef]

J. Non-Cryst. Solids (1)

W. Spear and P. LeComber, “Investigation of the localised state distribution in amorphous Si films,” J. Non-Cryst. Solids 8–10, 727–738 (1972).
[CrossRef]

Prog. Photovolt. Res. Appl. (1)

M. A. Green, K. Emery, Y. Hishikawa, and W. Warta, “Solar cell efficiency tables (version 35),” Prog. Photovolt. Res. Appl. 18(2), 144–150 (2010).
[CrossRef]

Sol. Energy (1)

X. Wu, “High-efficiency polycrystalline CdTe thin-film solar cells,” Sol. Energy 77(6), 803–814 (2004).
[CrossRef]

Other (55)

Product datasheet, “CDTE thin film solar model CX1,”Calyxo GmbH, accessed on 12 July 2010. www.calyxo.com/medien_cdte/produkte/cx35-65/download/datenblatt_calyxo_eng.pdf .

R. Gillete, “Q1 2010 Performance Summary, Market, and Project Update,” First Solar Q1 2010 Earnings Call, April 2010.

“Q-Cells SE Financial year 2009,” Q-Cells Presentation Annual Report 2009, March 2010. http://www.q-cells.com/medien/ir/praesentationen/2010/10_03_24_annual_report_2009.pdf .

B. Sohn, “Sustainability, Module Cost and Systems,” First Solar Analyst/Investor Meeting, Las Vegas, NV, U.S.A. 24 Jun. 2009.

U.S. Department of Energy press release, “President Obama Announces $400 million Conditional Commitment Offer to Support Solar Panel Manufacturing,” Jun. 2010. www.lgprogram.energy.gov/press/070310.pdf

Lux Research analysis of data Capital IQ. www.capitaliq.com .

Product datasheet, “WavSol Light 24-volt Specification Sheet,” Ascent Solar, accessed on 12 July 2010. www.ascentsolar.com/datasheets/ .

Ascent Solar press release, “Ascent Solar commences initial production from its FAB 2 production plant,” 12 May 2010. http://investors.ascentsolar.com/releasedetail.cfm?ReleaseID=468941 .

Product datasheet, “Powermax datasheet,” AVANCIS GmbH, accessed on 12 July 2010. www.avancis.de/en/products/buy-our-products .

Global Solar press release, “NREL says Global Solar first to exceed 13% efficiencies for CIGS on flex stainless-steel substrate,” 25 Feb. 2010. http://www.globalsolar.com/en/press/in-the-news/87-nrel-says-global-solar-first-to-exceed-13-efficiencies-for-cigs-on-flex-stainless-steel-substrate.html .

V. Probst, F. Hergert, B. Walther, R. Thyen, G. Batereau-Neumann, B. Neumann, A. Windeck, T. Letzig, and A. Gerlach, “High performance CIS solar modules: Status of production and development at Johanna Solar Technology,” presented at the 24th. European Photovoltaic Solar Energy Conference, Hamburg, Germany, 21–25 Sept. 2009. www.johanna-solar.com/downloads/EUPVSEC_2009_Johanna_Solar.pdf .

Product datasheet, “Obsidian CIS thin film module C100-A1,” Johanna Solar Technology, accessed on 12 July 2010. www.johanna-solar.com/en/downloads/datasheet_JST_V1.3_03-2010.pdf .

Miasolé press release, “Miasolé sets world record for highest efficiency of commercial scale thin-film solar modules,” 10 Jun. 2010. www.miasole.com/_assets/PDFs/MiaSole_release_June_10_2010.pdf .

Nanosolar press release, “Nanosolar completes panel factory, commences serial production,” 9 Sept. 2009. www.nanosolar.com/company/blog#66 .

Product datasheet, “Nanosolar utility panel,” Nanosolar Inc., accessed on 12 July 2010. www.nanosolar.com/sites/default/files/Nanosolar_Utility_Panel_Data_Sheet_r2.0.pdf .

Product datasheet, “SF70-US-B” and “SF85-US-B,” Solar Frontier, accessed on 12 July 2010. www.solar-frontier.com/Brochure/brochure-US.html .

Product datasheet, “SF 140 Photovoltaic module preliminary data,” Solar Frontier, accessed on 12 July 2010. www.solar-frontier.com/UserFiles/file/060210_SF140_Datasheet.pdf .

“Q-Cells Annual General Meeting,” presented in Leipzig, Germany on 24 Jun. 2010. www.q-cells.com/medien/ir/hauptversammlung/2010/agm_presentation_2010.pdf .

Product datasheet, “Q.Smart 70-90,” Q-Cells, accessed on 12 July 2010. www.q-cells.com/medien/media_download/data_sheets/Q-Cells_QSMART_data_sheet_EN.pdf

Solyndra press release, “Solyndra breaks ground on new 500 MW solar plant,” 4 Sept. 2009. www.solyndra.com/News/Press-Release-090409 .

B. Dimmler, “CIS competition with other thin film technologies,” presented at the 1st Turkish Solar Energy Conference and Exhibition, 29–30 July 2010. www.gunam.metu.edu.tr/solartr1/ .

“Facts and figures about Würth Solar,” accessed on July 12, 2010. www.wuerth-solar.com/web/en/index.php/show/media/import/solar/2010/MAI10_Daten_Fakten_Wuerth_Solar_EN.pdf .

G24 Innovations press release, “G24i ships world’s first commercial application of DSSC,” 12 Oct. 2009. www.g24i.com/press,g24i-ships-worlds-first-commercial-application-of-dssc,172.html .

Presentations from the Organic PV Solar Summit Japan 09, Tokyo, Japan, 2–3 Sept. 2009. www.opvtoday.com/japan09/program.shtml .

S. Golay, J. Meier, S. Dubail, S. Faÿ, U. Kroll, and A. Shah, “First pin/pin Micromorph modules by laser patterning,” Proc. 28th IEEE Photovol. Spec.Conf., 1456–1459 (2000).

“SunFab Brochure,” Applied Materials, accessed on 12 July 2010. www.appliedmaterials.com/products/assets/solar_assets/sunfab_product_brochure_en.pdf .

“Auria micromorph thin-film photovoltaic modules,” accessed on 12 July 2010. www.auriasolar.com/html/tech.html .

S. J. Jones, J. Doehler, M. Izu, T. Liu, D. Tsu, J. Steele, and R. Capangpangan, “Development of optically enhanced back reflectors and improved deposition processes for amorphous silicon-based photovoltaics technologies,” Annual Technical Status Report under subcontract ZDJ-2–30630–22, Energy Conversion Devices, 15 Jun. 2004. www.nrel.gov/pv/thin_film/docs/ecd2ad.pdf .

Lux Research internal data.

Sunfilm press release, “Sunfilm prepares strategic realignment by filing for insolvency,” 26 Mar. 26, 2009. www.sunfilm.com/en/communication/index.php?id=35 . Applied Materials press release, “Applied Materials announced restructuring of energy and environmental solutions segment,” 21 Jul. 2010. http://phx.corporate-ir.net/phoenix.zhtml?c=112059&p=irol-newsArticle_print&ID=1450012&highlight =.

Product datasheet, “Utility Solar Product Brochure: NA-V142H5/NA-V135H5”, Sharp Electronics Corporation, accessed on 12 July 2010. www.sharpusa.com/SolarElectricity/SolarProducts/UtilityScaleProducts.aspx .

Product brochure, “Schott ASI 95-103 data sheet EN 0510,” Schott Solar AG, accessed on 12 July 2010. www.schottsolar.com/global/products/photovoltaics/schott-asi-100/ .

Product datasheet, “Sichere Anlange – hoge Ertage. Bosch Solar Module μm-Si,” Bosch Solar Thin Film GmbH, accessed on 12 July 2010. www.bosch-solarenergy.de/fileadmin/downloads/Datenblaetter/Bosch_Solar_Module___m_Si_deutsch.pdf .

Product datasheet, “Model G-EA060,” Kaneka, accessed on 12 July 2010. www.pv.kaneka.co.jp/products/index.html .

Kaneka press release, “Kaneka introduces a newly developed Hybrid PV module to the US market and opens a US office in Texas,” 1 Dec. 2009. www.pv.kaneka.co.jp/press_release/091201.html .

Product datasheet, “MPV-S – Our a-Si Thin Film PV module,” Masdar PV GmbH, accessed on 12 July 2010. www.masdarpv.com/fileadmin/daten/pdfs/Datenblaetter/DA_SQSPEN_1.2.pdf .

Product datasheet, “Solar laminate PVL-Series Model: PVL-144,” United Solar Ovonic, accessed on July 12 July 2010. www.uni-solar.com/wp-content/uploads/pdf/PVL-144_EN.pdf .

“Energy Conversion Devices Technology Roadmap Update,” Energy Conversion Devices presentation, June 2010. www.uni-solar.com/wp-content/uploads/pdf/FINAL_TR_Presentation_6_1_10.pdf .

M. Osborn, “Sharp starts production at 1 GW capacity thin-film plant,” PV-tech.org, Mar. 2010. www.pv-tech.org/news/_a/sharp_starts_production_at_1gw_capacity_thin_film_plant/ .

M. Osborne, “Sharp to produce tandem a-Si thin film cells with 10% conversion efficiencies; rising to 12%,” Pv-tech.org, 9 Sept. 2009. www.pv-tech.org/news/_a/sharp_to_produce_tandem_a-si_thin_film_cells_with_10_conversion_efficiencie/ .

C. Constantine, “Thinner, Faster, More Efficient: Manufacturing Equipment Drives Thin Film Silicon PV Growth,” presented at the Photovoltaic Summit 2010, San Diego, CA, U.S.A., May 2010.

T. Sullivan, A. Soare, J.P. Schmidtke, “Lux Research Solar Supply Tracker,” Lux Research, June 2010.

R. Gillete, “Q2 2010 Performance Summary, Market, and Project Update,” First Solar Q2 2010 Earnings Call, July 2010.

R. Noufi, and K. Zweibel, “High-efficiency CDTE and CIGS thin-film solar cells: highlights and challenges,” Conference Record of the 2006 IEEE 4th World Conference on Photovoltaic Energy Conversion (Waikoloa, Hawaii, 2006), pp 317–320.

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Figures (4)

Fig. 1
Fig. 1

Schematics of example commercial thin-film silicon PV module device structures. (a) A single-junction a-Si PV module with Al back contact (e.g. Applied Materials a-Si turn-key products [9]) (b) Dual-junction a-Si/a-Si module, (c) Tandem-junction a-Si/μc-Si “micromorph” PV module with ZnO:Al backcontact and white paste reflector (e.g. Oerlikon micromorph turn-key products [10]), and (d) Triple-junction a-Si/a-SiGe/a-SiGe PV cell built on stainless steel foil (e.g. Uni-Solar (Energy Conversion Devices)) [11].

Fig. 2
Fig. 2

Schematics of example commercial CdTe module device structures. (a) Glass/glass CdTe PV module using commercial SnO2:F-coated glass and incorporating an EVA laminate [28]. (b) CdTe PV module structure incorporating a silicone edge seal with desiccated polyisobutylene (PIB) inserts (e.g. Abound Solar [29]), and (c) CdTe PV module structure incorporating the high-performance design reported by Wu that utilizes a Cd2SnO4 TCO layer [31].

Fig. 3
Fig. 3

Schematics of example commercial CIGS module device structures. (a) CIGS module architecture, including a CdS buffer layer deposited via chemical bath deposition [28] and (b) A flexible module design, including front contact gridlines of Ag paste and alternative module laminates, where indicated.

Fig. 4
Fig. 4

Schematics of example OPV cells and module device structures. (a) Polymer/fullerene bulk-heterojunction PV cell, (b) DSSC device incorporating a liquid electrolyte, and (c) an example multilayer, co-evaporated organic small-molecule device.

Tables (4)

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Table 1 Example commercial thin-film silicon PV modules by developer

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Table 2 Example commercial cadmium telluride PV modules by developer

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Table 3 Example commercial copper indium gallium diselenide (CIGS) PV modules by developer

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Table 4 Example OPV and DSSC PV cells and modules by developer

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