Development of Low-Cost, Crack-Tolerant Metallization Using Screen Printing

Byron McDanold, Timothy Silverman, Omar Abudayyeh, Andre Chavez, John Chavez, Sang Han, Francesco Zimbardi, Brian Rounsaville, Vijay Upadhyaya, Ajeet Rohatgi

Research output: Contribution to conferencePaperpeer-review

2 Scopus Citations


One of the ways to reduce the cost of solar electricity to 3¢/kWh, thus reaching parity with fossil-fuel-based generation, is to reduce the degradation rate of solar modules and extend their lifetime well beyond 30 years. The extended module lifetime in turn can positively influence the financial model and the bankability of utility-scale PV projects. Today, the highest-riskpriority solar module degradation mechanism is what is known as hot spots, often induced by cell cracks. In order to address this degradation mechanism, we make use of low-cost, multi-walled carbon nanotubes embedded in commercial screen-printable silver pastes. When the carbon nanotubes are properly functionalized and appropriately incorporated into commercial silver pastes, the resulting metal contacts on solar cells, after screen-printing and firing, show exceptional fracture toughness. These composite metal contacts possess increased ductility, electrical gap-bridging capability up to 50 μm, and "self-healing" to regain electrical continuity even after cycles of complete electrical failure under extreme strain.

Original languageAmerican English
Number of pages5
StatePublished - Jun 2019
Event46th IEEE Photovoltaic Specialists Conference, PVSC 2019 - Chicago, United States
Duration: 16 Jun 201921 Jun 2019


Conference46th IEEE Photovoltaic Specialists Conference, PVSC 2019
Country/TerritoryUnited States

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2019 IEEE.

NREL Publication Number

  • NREL/CP-5K00-76280


  • cracks
  • ductility
  • fracture toughness
  • multi-wall carbon nanotubes
  • printing
  • silver
  • solar cells


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