High-Efficiency Polycrystalline CdS/CdTe Solar Cells on Buffered Commercial TCO-Coated Glass

E. Colegrove, R. Banai, C. Blissett, C. Buurma, J. Ellsworth, M. Morley, S. Barnes, C. Gilmore, J. D. Bergeson, R. Dhere, M. Scott, T. Gessert, Siva Sivananthan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

32 Scopus Citations


Multiple polycrystalline CdS/CdTe solar cells with efficiencies greater than 15% were produced on buffered, commercially available Pilkington TEC Glass at EPIR Technologies, Inc. (EPIR, Bolingbrook, IL) and verified by the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL). n-CdS and p-CdTe were grown by chemical bath deposition (CBD) and close space sublimation, respectively. Samples with sputter-deposited CdS were also investigated. Initial results indicate that this is a viable dry-process alternative to CBD for production-scale processing. Published results for polycrystalline CdS/CdTe solar cells with high efficiencies are typically based on cells using research-grade transparent conducting oxides (TCOs) requiring high-temperature processing inconducive to low-cost manufacturing. EPIR's results for cells on commercial glass were obtained by implementing a high-resistivity SnO2 buffer layer and by optimizing the CdS window layer thickness. The high-resistivity buffer layer prevents the formation of CdTe-TCO junctions, thereby maintaining a high open-circuit voltage and fill factor, whereas using a thin CdS layer reduces absorption losses and improves the short-circuit current density. EPIR's best device demonstrated an NREL-verified efficiency of 15.3%. The mean efficiency of hundreds of cells produced with a buffer layer between December 2010 and June 2011 is 14.4%. Quantum efficiency results are presented to demonstrate EPIR's progress toward NREL's best-published results.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)2833-2837
Number of pages5
JournalJournal of Electronic Materials
Issue number10
StatePublished - 2012
Externally publishedYes

NREL Publication Number

  • NREL/JA-5200-56827


  • Buffer layer
  • CdS
  • CdTe
  • Commercial
  • Polycrystalline
  • Solar
  • TCO


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