The results of the APAS study MUSIC-FM in which the manufacturing costs for thin-film solar modules at an annual capacity of 500MWp were calculated, has shown that a large cost contribution is given by the standard encapsulation process. it was proposed that a conformal costing (either a single layer or multiple layers) deposit by fast and low processes shall replace the combination of cover glass and polymer encapsulant. Materials and processes to realize these alternative encapsulations are the objectives of the project. The state-of the -art encapsulation which is presently used for CIS (CuInSe2) as well as for CdTe (and aSi) modules will be the standard all the new encapsulants to be developed will be compared with. The specifications to be met are given in the international standard IEC 1646.
The approach of the proposed project is to use a conformal coating which allows continuous processes, reduces weight and energy consumption. There are several possible alternatives :
- Organic-inorganic nanocomposites and laminated coatings for long term corrosion and mechanical protection of CIS and CdTe solar modules - Organic coatings formed by plasmapolymerisation
- Polymeric organic coatings deposited from solutions and suspensions - Conformal coating with parylene, a polymer substance used in electronics as one of the best conformal coatings for components and printed circuit boards - High-rate plasma deposition of inorganic compounds with known barrier properties as they are used in the microelectronics and display industry : silicon oxide and nitride, glasses like PSG and BPSG, also including graded coatings.
It is also intended to combine two or more of these layers to form layered structures or to combine the described layers with plastic or glass foils resp. to form multiple layers to combine the properties of the single coatings and to adapt the properties of the modules to specific applications.
EXPECTED ACHIEVEMENTS AND EXPLOITATION PLANS
After successful completion of the project the partners will be able to produce low-cost thin-film solar modules based in CIS and CdTe-technology, which will be stable enough for the major part of applications. Due to the lower production costs the alternative encapsulation technology will help to proliferate photovoltaics in the future. there is also an exploitation potential outside PV since hermetic coatings are required in electronics, sensor technology and others.
Funding SchemeCSC - Cost-sharing contracts
66123 43 Saarbrücken