Crystalline Silicon Solar Cells: Leapfrogging the Barriers; Preprint

    Research output: Contribution to conferencePaper


    Silicon solar cell technology has greatly advanced in the last three decades -- from merely concepts to a full-fledged industry. The performances of commercial cells and modules are now at levels that would have been very difficult to imagine just a few years back. At the same time, PV energy sales are expected reach 1 GW/yr in the near future, and there has been a rapid drop in the selling-priceof PV modules. This is indeed astounding progress. However, this path has not been easy or free from obstacles and bottlenecks. There have been numerous difficulties and barriers in the science and technology of photovoltaics, as well as on the business end. For example, there have been times of insufficient funding, limited R&D resources for universities and laboratories, and a shortage offeedstock. Si-PV has overcome these hurdles and many other barriers. The PV industry has weaned itself away from the microelectronics technology, many new techniques of crystal growth and low-cost cell fabrication methods (suitable for PV) have been successfully applied, and mc-Si cells are nearing the efficiencies of CZ-Si wafers. On a more technical side, perhaps the most intriguingachievement is the development of the science and technology for making high-efficiency cells on low-quality material through gettering and impurity/defect passivation. Si-PV is continually on the path to lower costs and to be competitive with conventional sources of electric energy. Hopefully, this most significant barrier, of meeting the conventional energy cost, will be surmounted in the nearfuture.
    Original languageAmerican English
    Number of pages4
    StatePublished - 2004
    Event14th Workshop on Crystalline Silicon Solar Cells and Modules - Winter Park, Colorado
    Duration: 8 Aug 200411 Aug 2004


    Conference14th Workshop on Crystalline Silicon Solar Cells and Modules
    CityWinter Park, Colorado

    NREL Publication Number

    • NREL/CP-520-36675


    • crystal growth
    • crystalline silicon (x-Si) (c-Si)
    • defects
    • device process
    • impurities
    • materials and processes
    • microelectronics
    • module
    • passivation
    • photovoltaics (PV)
    • PV
    • solar cells


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