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Energy Express

  • Editor: Bernard Kippelen
  • Vol. 18, Iss. S3 — Sep. 13, 2010
  • pp: A477–A486
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Commercial status of thin-film photovoltaic devices and materials

Johanna Schmidtke  »View Author Affiliations


Optics Express, Vol. 18, Issue S3, pp. A477-A486 (2010)
http://dx.doi.org/10.1364/OE.18.00A477


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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

1. Introduction

Driven by government incentives and subsidies, the photovoltaic (PV) industry has experienced rapid growth in the past decade. The introduction of feed-in-tariff (FiT) schemes in Germany [1

1. Erneuerbare-Energien-Gesetz (Renewable Energy Resources Act), Germany, Apr. 2000.

] and Spain [2

2. Royal Decree 2818/1998, Spain, Dec. 1998.

,3

3. Royal Decree 436/2004, Spain, Mar.2004.

] opened the opportunity for residential, commercial, industrial, and financial investors to profit from solar installations, and as a result, drove demand for PV products. To date, the bulk of this demand has been met by crystalline silicon (x-Si) materials suppliers (including polysilicon, ingot, wafer, cell, and module producers) and has led to the high-value initial public offerings (IPOs) of firms such as Q-Cells (€242 million) in 2005 and Wacker Chemie (€153 million) in 2007. In addition, the multi-billion-dollar PV opportunity drew the attention of venture capital (VC) and private equity firms, which poured $4.7 billion into cleantech firms in 2008 in the U.S. alone [4

4. Ernst and Young press release, “Record year for US cleantech investments with $4.7 billion raised from venture capital in 2008,” 3 Feb. 2009. www.ey.com/US/en/Newsroom/News-releases/Record-year-for-US-cleantech-investments-with-4-billion-raised-from-venture-capital-in-2008-03-02-09DC.

]. In early 2008, market pricing for standard x-Si modules stood well above $3.00/Wp, while high-purity polysilicon sold for more than $400/kg [5

5. Lux Research internal data.

]. By late 2008, however, the combination of a) the rapid expansion of capacity in the crystalline silicon value chain from 2006; b) the sudden introduction of a 500 MW limit to Spain’s FiT program for PV; and c) the global financial crisis led to an oversupply within the PV market. As a result, x-Si PV module pricing fell between 40% and 50% from late 2008 to early 2010, large public firms experienced more than 50% reduction in market capitalization, and VC investors pulled back from the field [5

5. Lux Research internal data.

].

Within this dynamic background, thin-film PV technology developers have worked to introduce modules to the residential, commercial, and utility on-grid solar energy markets. In addition, firms have introduced new flexible thin-film PV modules for a range of applications, including portable PV and building-integrated PV (BIPV) products as well as the more conventional on-grid markets. Despite advances in efficiency and production cost by the incumbent x-Si manufacturers over the past decade, some thin-film PV firms have achieved significant commercial success. This review will survey the commercial status of thin-film PV technologies on the market today, including thin-film silicon, cadmium telluride, copper indium gallium diselenide, and organic PV. As a complete survey of all thin-film PV 1developers is too lengthy for the scope of this review, we highlight representative firms for each technology type to demonstrate the efficiencies, deposition processes, module form factors, and nominal production capacities of the commercial thin-film PV market.

2. Thin-film silicon (TF-Si) modules

With initial demonstrations stemming back to 1969 [6

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

,7

7. 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]

], TF-Si developers have the longest history of commercial production among thin-film PV technologies on the market today. The firms offering TF-Si modules to the market have developed a wide range of technical variations on the commercial scale, including single-junction amorphous silicon (a-Si), dual-junction a-Si/a-Si, tandem-junction microcrystalline silicon-amorphous silicon (commonly named “micromorph”), and triple-junction germanium-doped amorphous silicon (a-Si/a-SiGe/a-SiGe). Representative schematics of these structures are shown in 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].
. In each superstrate design, the transparent conducting oxide (TCO) – typically aluminum-doped zinc oxide (ZnO:Al) – is deposited by atmospheric-pressure CVD (APCVD), low-pressure CVD (LPCVD), or RF sputtering either at the module manufacturer or the glass supplier. The active TF-Si layers are then deposited via plasma-enhanced chemical vapor deposition (PECVD), followed by the deposition of a thin ZnO buffer layer and the backcontact of Al, Ag, or ZnO:Al. For glass/glass module assembly, the individual cells are defined via laser scribing [8

8. 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).

] and the module is encapsulated using either a polyvinyl butyral (PVB) (typical) or ethylene vinyl acetate (EVA) laminate and a top cover glass.

The number of firms producing TF-Si PV modules has grown rapidly since 2005, as early developers such as Kaneka, Sharp, and United Solar Ovonic (Energy Conversion Devices) have been joined by customers of Applied Materials, Oerlikon, and Ulvac, each of which offers a complete “turn-key” module production system for either single-junction a-Si and/or micromorph modules. As shown in Table 1

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

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, the majority of TF-Si developers serving the market offer glass/glass module designs and achieve stabilized efficiencies from 6% for single-junction a-Si up to 9% to 10% for commercial high-performance micromorph modules or demonstration triple-junction a-SiGe mini-modules. In 2009, while the global announced TF-Si module capacity reached more than 1,000 MW across all TF-Si technology types at more than 80 firms, the total TF-Si installations were less than 300 MW, indicating a low utilization rate of most TF-Si production facilities [12

12. Lux Research internal data.

]. Turn-key customers, in particular, have struggled to reach profitability due to the cost of materials, low module efficiency, high capital costs, and limited market for modules. In March 2010, Sunfilm, an Applied Materials TF-Si equipment customer, filed for insolvency, and in July 2010 Applied Materials announced the discontinuation of its SunFab fully-integrated production line to new customers [13

13. 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 =.

].

To address these challenges, TF-Si module producers continue to develop more efficient commercial products while targeting lower materials costs. Key developments include the broader introduction of triple-junction TF-Si architectures, improved light-trapping in the TCO, reduced active layer thickness, and nano-crystalline silicon (nc-Si) active layers. Sharp, which expanded its annual TF-Si production capacity by 160 MW in early 2010 (as part of a 1,000 MW module production facility [23

23. 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/.

]), produces module efficiencies of 9.9% using a tandem-junction micromorph architecture [14

14. 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.

] and will target commercial production of triple-junction TF-Si architectures as early as 2011 [24

24. 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/.

]. Likewise, Kaneka, which introduced a 9.0% efficient μc-Si/a-Si commercial module in December 2009 [18

18. 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.

], has demonstrated an 11.7% efficient submodule [22

22. 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]

]. In addition, turn-key equipment developer Oerlikon has set out a roadmap for commercial modules with an efficiency of more than 10% at a module production cost of $0.70/Wp by the end of 2010, including a reduction in the active layer thickness [25

25. 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.

]. Among flexible module developers, Uni-Solar has pushed research-level performance higher by demonstrating a triple-junction a-Si/nc-Si/nc-Si sub-module with an efficiency of 12.5% on stainless steel foil over a 0.27 cm2 area [22

22. 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]

].

3. Cadmium telluride (CdTe) thin-film modules

Commercially, cadmium telluride (CdTe) thin-film PV modules have seen the greatest success among thin-film PV technologies to date. In 2009, commercial CdTe module sales surpassed 1,000 MW, led singularly by First Solar. Building on the earlier work of Harold McMaster at Solar Cells Inc. (SCI), First Solar was incorporated in 1999 and today is the largest PV module producer in the world [26

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

] and achieves the lowest reported module production costs of $0.76/Wp [27

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

] of any PV module producer. Commercial PV modules use a standard superstrate structure as shown in 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].
. Starting with a TCO-coated glass (typically fluorine-doped tin oxide), the cadmium sulfide (CdS) and CdTe layers are sequentially added via a vapor-transport deposition or closed-space sublimation process [28

28. 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.

]. The CdTe active layer is then treated at 400 °C to 450 °C in a CdCl2 atmosphere, after which a carbon-based paste containing Cu is added and annealed before the final backside Al electrode is added. Commercial module assembly includes a P1, P2, and P3 laser scribe as well as encapsulation using an EVA encapsulant and a cover glass. In 2010, standard commercial CdTe modules achieve 11.2% conversion efficiency as reported by First Solar [27

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

].

While First Solar has dominated the CdTe field, additional companies continue to develop commercial CdTe modules as shown in Table 2

Table 2. Example commercial cadmium telluride PV modules by developer

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. Abound Solar is actively ramping a 65 MW commercial production line to produce glass/glass superstrate CdTe modules based on a closed-space sublimation deposition process, and targets an average module efficiency in June 2010 of 10% [29

29. J. Hawkins, “Scaling up CdTe supply and demand,” presented at the Photovoltaics Summit 2010, San Diego, CA, U.S.A., 5–6 May 2010.

]. Unlike First Solar, Abound Solar encapsulates modules using a silicone edge seal with desiccated polyisobutylene (PIB) inserts, as depicted in Fig. 2(b) [29

29. J. Hawkins, “Scaling up CdTe supply and demand,” presented at the Photovoltaics Summit 2010, San Diego, CA, U.S.A., 5–6 May 2010.

]. Primestar Solar, which is majority-owned by General Electric, is expected to enter production in 2011 [30

30. Primestar Solar press release, “GE becomes majority shareholder in emerging solar technology company,” 11 Jun. 2008. http://www.primestarsolar.com/solar-energy-news/_pdf/2008-06-11 Becomes Majority Shareholder in Emerging Solar Technology ...pdf

] to commercialize the technology originally developed by Wu [31

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

] and then licensed by the firm. Wu and colleagues modified the CdTe superstrate structure – specifically introducing a Cd2SnO4 TCO, a ZnSnOx buffer layer, and a CdS:O window layer, as shown in Fig. 2(c) – to achieve a record cell efficiency of 16.5%.

While CdTe developers currently achieve the lowest production costs on the market, they continued development in both efficiency and costs are pursued to remain competitive in the thin-film PV and overall PV markets. First Solar targets production costs as low as $0.52/Wp by 2014, of which 18%-25% of the cost improvement will stem from efficiency improvements [35

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

]. Likewise, Abound Solar targets production costs near $0.65/Wp in 2012 [29

29. J. Hawkins, “Scaling up CdTe supply and demand,” presented at the Photovoltaics Summit 2010, San Diego, CA, U.S.A., 5–6 May 2010.

] and has received a U.S. Department of Energy Loan Guarantee to expand its module production capacity by 840 MW [36

36. 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

].

4. Copper indium gallium diselenide (CIGS) thin-film modules

Copper indium gallium diselenide (CIGS) developers have garnered significant interest and financial investment since 2003 and 2004, when firms such as Nanosolar and Miasolé began raising Series A financing. Since then, interest in CIGS-based firms has grown tremendously, with investments in individual firms, including Heliovolt, Miasolé, Nanosolar, SoloPower, Solyndra, and Sulfurcell Solartechnik, reaching well over $100 million per firm [37

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

]. The active layers of the CIGS substrate device structures as shown in 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.
– including the sputtered back Mo electrode, a Cu(In,Ga)Se2 layer, a thin buffer layer (typically CdS deposited by chemical bath deposition [CBD], also ZnS or Zn[O,H,S] by CBD, or sputtered CdS), and a sputtered TCO front contact (typically ZnO/ZnO:Al or ZnO/ITO) – is consistent across most CIGS developers. However, both the method of CIGS deposition and the final module assembly vary widely among the producers.

Table 3

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

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summarizes the deposition process, reported efficiencies, module form factor, efficiency, and announced capacity for representative developers of CIGS modules. For example, Solyndra, Solibro, and Global Solar all pursue a co-evaporation process in which elemental sources of Cu, In, and Ga are thermally evaporated onto the substrate within a selenium-containing atmosphere. Using this physical vapor deposition process, CIGS developers have achieved commercial glass/glass modules with module efficiencies greater than 10% in 2010. Other firms have pursued a sputtering deposition process, including a) a two-step process in which a Cu-In-Ga precursor is deposited initially via RF sputtering and then selenized in the temperature range of 450-550 °C in a selenium environment (typically an elemental selenium vapor), or b) a one-step reactive sputtering deposition, in which elemental Cu, In, and Ga are sputtered within a selenium environment to form the CIGS layer directly. In addition, some commercial CIGS PV module developers use an electrochemical deposition process to deposit CIGS, as well as a two-step process in which nanometer (nm)-scale or micrometer (μm)-scale particles are deposited via a printing step and then selenized using rapid thermal processing (RTP), either with or without a selenium atmosphere to control selenium loss during the high-temperature processing.

In addition to the range of CIGS deposition processes used in commercial CIGS PV module production, the form factor and substrate choice varies widely. Rigid soda lime glass sheets, soda lime glass tubes, stainless steel foil, aluminum foil, and polyimide foil are all used as the substrate for commercial cells and modules today. Firms such as Solibro or Solar Frontier that use rigid glass sheet substrates use P1, P2 and P3 laser scribing steps to isolate individual cells over the module deposition area, and then encapsulate the device using a polymer laminate and a top cover glass. Developers using flexible foils (metal- or polymer-based) use a wider range of module assembly methods and module form factors. Some – such as Miasolé, Global Solar, and Nanosolar – cut individual cells from the flexible foil following the deposition of the TCO layer, then sort the cells according to efficiency and string similar cells using conductive pastes, tapes, adhesives, or wires to form the final cell array of the module. Other firms using insolating flexible substrates (e.g. polyimide) use mechanical and/or laser scribing to define and connect cells via monolithic integration, including Ascent Solar.

The majority of CIGS developers are introducing their first commercial products in 2009 and 2010, and actual production levels are far less than the announced capacities. Nevertheless, these same firms are also pushing forward technical and cost improvements to CIGS cell and module designs. In particular, CIGS firms are developing thinner active layers; alternative buffer layers to a) replace CdS to eliminate the use of cadmium or b) eliminate the “wet” CBD process; new transparent conducting oxides or TCO alternatives; alternate cell stringing architectures to improve light absorption and minimize electrical losses; and improved laminates and barrier films to improve device efficiency and lifetime, particularly in flexible module formats.

5. Organic photovoltaics (OPV) and dye-sensitized solar cell (DSSC)

Among thin-film technologies, OPV and DSSC are the newest entrants to the commercial PV product market. As shown in 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.
, the technologies under commercial development include: a) dye-sensitized solar cells (DSSCs) utilizing a liquid electrolyte, b) polymer-based bulk-heterojunction PV cells, and c) small-molecule, bulk-heterojunction evaporated multilayer cells. Among DSSC developers, G24 Innovations (G24i) was the first to bring products to market, including both flexible modules for integration with consumer products (e.g. laptop bags) and glass/glass portable chargers for personal electronics [54

54. 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.

]. While the record DSSC efficiencies are over 10%, commercial product efficiencies are far lower. For example, while Solarmer and Heliatek have each demonstrated OPV cells with better than 7% cell efficiency – in a polymer bulk-heterojunction and small-molecule evaporated bulk-heterojunction cell, respectively – the few of OPV commercial modules available are approximately 2% efficient.

The low efficiency of OPV modules has limited commercial uptake, though café umbrella, portable chargers, and BIPV products have been demonstrated. And while OPV efficiencies commercially lag behind their inorganic counterparts, a range of corporations are actively developing OPV technologies, including Sharp, Sony, Mitsubishi Chemical, Toyo Seikan Group, and Sumitomo Chemical [55

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

]. The bulk of the development to date has focused on the chemistry of the organic donor and acceptor materials, solvent selection to optimize printing processes, and modified electrodes or interfaces (e.g. electrode structures to introduce of surface-plasmons) to enhance performance of OPV devices [56

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

,57

57. 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]

].

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

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6. Summary

The wide range of firms pursuing commercial production of thin-film PV modules has experienced varied success in the PV market. On one hand, First Solar has led the path to low cost production and dominated the global on-grid utility-scale, ground-mounted installation market, while Uni-Solar has become the largest provider of flexible PV modules [26

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

]. On the other, most CIGS developers have installed few certified commercial products to date, while OPV manufacturers are still developing their first commercial products. As the overall solar market becomes increasingly crowded with vertically integrated companies boasting large production capacities (e.g. 1,000 MW to 2,000 MW annual production each), new entrants will need to pursue a wider range of applications to build sales and gain market share. Today’s thin-film PV developers target on-grid, ground-mounted, utility-scale and commercial/residential rooftop installations as well as off-grid portable power applications for consumer goods, camping, military, and automobile applications. In addition, thin-film PV developers serve BIPV applications, from flexible shingles for residential roofs, lightweight PV modules for flat commercial rooftops, and opaque and semi-transparent façade, balcony, and shading structures.

As shown here, commercial thin-film PV modules across all technologies still trail the performance of crystalline silicon PV modules of 13% to 19% today. To compete continually with crystalline silicon PV incumbents, all thin-film PV developers must pursue performance and production cost improvements. In addition to the improvements of the active device layers, significant cost reductions and performance improvements may arise from developments in the non-active module materials such as glass, glass replacements, laminates, pastes, adhesives, and transparent conducting oxides. In addition, thin-film firms must address concerns over installation costs to stay competitive. Thus, while the commercial success to date of First Solar has demonstrated thin-film PV’s potential to rapidly grow in the global solar market, the greater growth and diversification of commercial thin-film PV products will require further improvements on today’s commercial technologies.

References and links

1.

Erneuerbare-Energien-Gesetz (Renewable Energy Resources Act), Germany, Apr. 2000.

2.

Royal Decree 2818/1998, Spain, Dec. 1998.

3.

Royal Decree 436/2004, Spain, Mar.2004.

4.

Ernst and Young press release, “Record year for US cleantech investments with $4.7 billion raised from venture capital in 2008,” 3 Feb. 2009. www.ey.com/US/en/Newsroom/News-releases/Record-year-for-US-cleantech-investments-with-4-billion-raised-from-venture-capital-in-2008-03-02-09DC.

5.

Lux Research internal data.

6.

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

7.

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]

8.

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).

9.

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

10.

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

11.

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.

12.

Lux Research internal data.

13.

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 =.

14.

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.

15.

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/.

16.

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.

17.

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

18.

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.

19.

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.

20.

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.

21.

“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.

22.

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]

23.

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/.

24.

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/.

25.

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.

26.

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

27.

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

28.

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.

29.

J. Hawkins, “Scaling up CdTe supply and demand,” presented at the Photovoltaics Summit 2010, San Diego, CA, U.S.A., 5–6 May 2010.

30.

Primestar Solar press release, “GE becomes majority shareholder in emerging solar technology company,” 11 Jun. 2008. http://www.primestarsolar.com/solar-energy-news/_pdf/2008-06-11 Becomes Majority Shareholder in Emerging Solar Technology ...pdf

31.

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

32.

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.

33.

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

34.

“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.

35.

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

36.

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

37.

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

38.

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

39.

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.

40.

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

41.

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.

42.

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.

43.

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.

44.

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.

45.

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

46.

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.

47.

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

48.

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.

49.

“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.

50.

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

51.

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

52.

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/.

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.

54.

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.

55.

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

56.

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

57.

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]

58.

Heliatek press release, “Heliatek and IAPP achieve record efficiency levels for organic solar cells,” 4 Sept. 2010. www.heliatek.com/news-13.

59.

Konarka press release, “National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) certifies Konarka’s photovoltaic solar cells at 6.4% record efficiency,” 19 May 2009. www.konarka.com/index.php/site/pressreleasedetail/national_energy_renewable_laboratory_nrel_certifies_konarkas_photovoltaic_s.

60.

Product datasheet, “Konarka Power Plastic 40 Series,” Konarka Inc., accessed on 12 July 2010. www.konarka.com/media/pdf/konarka_40series_04092010.pdf.

61.

T. Cheyney, “Solarmer breaks organic solar PV cell conversion efficiency record, hits NREL-certified 7.9%,” 2 Dec. 2009. www.pv-tech.org/news/_a/solarmer_breaks_organic_solar_pv_cell_conversion_efficiency_record_hits_nre/.

OCIS Codes
(350.6050) Other areas of optics : Solar energy
(310.6845) Thin films : Thin film devices and applications

ToC Category:
Photovoltaics

History
Original Manuscript: July 13, 2010
Revised Manuscript: August 25, 2010
Manuscript Accepted: August 25, 2010
Published: September 10, 2010

Virtual Issues
Focus Issue: Thin-Film Photovoltaic Materials and Devices (2010) Optics Express

Citation
Johanna Schmidtke, "Commercial status of thin-film photovoltaic devices and materials," Opt. Express 18, A477-A486 (2010)
http://www.opticsinfobase.org/oe/abstract.cfm?URI=oe-18-S3-A477


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