The ASCEMUS project has been initiated by PV cell and system manufacturers (BP Solar, Eurosolare S.p.A and Shell Solar Energy) including the leading European research groups in the field of low cost solar cell processing (IMEC and University of Konstanz) and wafer manufacturer (Bayer AG). The main objective is to create the efficiency break-through of the industrial multicrystalline solar cells and modules produced in Europe. The project will start with the selection and testing of these laboratory solar cell processing steps which give the highest chances for a rapid improvement of the cost performance ratio. A compromise between the final cell efficiency and the capability for a low cost mass production will be emphasised. The ultimate goal is an integral, low cost, high efficiency solar cell process with well defined fabrication steps tested for implementation in the industrial environment.
Apart from the solar cell process itself much attention will be paid to module fabrication since the process of integrating solar cells in a module, contributes with one third to the overall module cost.
The expected technical achievements of the projects can be summarised:
1. Development of the wafering technique of larger area (up to 150 x 150 mm2) and thin (200 micrometers) multicrystalline silicon wafers.
2. Thorough testing and optimisation with respect towards implementation into mass production lines of the following, multicrystalline cell processing steps which are crucial for efficiency improvement
- uniform texturization process: chemical, mechanical or plasma - high efficient emitter diffusion process: homogeneous and selective emitter - surface and bulk passivation by means of PECVD SiNx
- fine line screen printing of contacts
- light trapping
3. Combining the most efficient processing steps developed on laboratory and pilot line scale into an industrially compatible integral process:
- simplification of the industrial solar cell process by incorporation of coprocessing techniques
- thorough test on the pilot and production line with respect to efficiency, reproducibility, spreading and through-put.
4. Development of new module type with a simplified manufacturing process and high packing density
The quantified objectives of the project are summarised below:
- cell efficiency from production line: 16% (cell area 125 x 125 mm2 ).
- best solar cell efficiency in a pre-production(pilot) line: 17%.
- module power of 36 cells in series of 85 Wp(16% efficient cell) and 90 Wp (17% efficient cell) respectively.
- cost target of 1 ECU/Wp within the APAS/MUSIC cost model (production scenario of 500MWp/year) .
Achievements of the project objective will bring the following benefits for all project partners:
- improved cell efficiency and decreased cost/Wp will increase the PV market share of BP Solar, Shell Solar, Eurosolare and Bayer.
- IMEC and University of Konstanz will be able to transfer processes developed on laboratory or pilot line scale into industrial production environment
Since the project programmeis defined in such a way that it includes testing of the developed processes on production lines, a large scale solar cell production based on project results could start immediately after the project completion.
Funding SchemeCSC - Cost-sharing contracts