Techno-Economic Analysis of Three Different Substrate Removal and Reuse Strategies for III-V Solar Cells

J. Scott Ward, Timothy Remo, Kelsey Horowitz, Michael Woodhouse, Bhushan Sopori, Kaitlyn VanSant, Paul Basore

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115 Scopus Citations


The high cost of wafers suitable for epitaxial deposition of III-V solar cells has been a primary barrier to widespread use of these cells in low-concentration and one-sun terrestrial solar applications. A possible solution is to reuse the substrate many times, thus spreading its cost across many cells. We performed a bottom-up techno-economic analysis of three different strategies for substrate reuse in high-volume manufacturing: epitaxial lift-off, spalling, and the use of a porous germanium release layer. The analysis shows that the potential cost reduction resulting from substrate reuse is limited in all three strategies––not by the number of reuse cycles achievable, but by the costs that are incurred in each cycle to prepare the substrate for another epitaxial deposition. The dominant substrate-preparation cost component is different for each of the three strategies, and the cost-ranking of these strategies is subject to change if future developments substantially reduce the cost of epitaxial deposition.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)1284-1292
Number of pages9
JournalProgress in Photovoltaics: Research and Applications
Issue number9
StatePublished - 2016

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
Copyright © 2016 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.

NREL Publication Number

  • NREL/JA-5J00-64862


  • III-V
  • photovoltaics
  • reuse
  • substrate


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