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© Fraunhofer IST

© Matthias Heyde, Fraunhofer
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Quality assurance in developing and testing modules

With the currentmass production at a scale of hundreds of megawatts per year and factory, inline measurement technology and quality assurance are becoming increasingly important. Fraunhofer ISE has therefore developed instruments for controlling quality in solar cell production. These are particularly concerned with which parameters measurable in the process correlate with the performance of the produced cells and which parameters need to be controlled because critical deviations cause problems with downstream technological stages. Processes have been developed and tested for measuring the layer resistance of the emitter, the carrier lifetime of the base material and part-processed solar cells, as well as the performance losses caused by parasitic resistances.

The ISFH is researching suitable algorithms for simultaneously evaluating the results from different measurement processes. With new, camera-based measurement methods, the points where losses occur can be localised. A new combined analysis device will integrate all necessary measurement processes and enable extensive automation of the measurements.

A standardisation project being conducted by the ISE together with industry partners and Physikalisch- Technische Bundesanstalt (PTB) is aimed at classifying the cells from German manufacturers much more precisely. Here it has been possible to increase the absolute preciseness of the reference cells calibrated by the ISE for the industry to attain a new, internationally leading standard.

The reliability of PV modules is being investigated by the Fraunhofer Institute for Solar Energy Systems (ISE), the Fraunhofer Institute for Mechanics of Materials (IWM) and TÜV Rheinland. Since modules with innovative, costcutting materialsmust be capable of withstanding several decades of weathering, their usability and resistance under artificial weathering is being tested under accelerated conditions and verified for different climates.

In order to keep up with the rapid technological developments in the industry, the processing and characterisation technologies at the leading industry-level German research laboratories at the ISE, ISFH und the University of Konstanz are being updated. The ISE’s Photovoltaic Technology Evaluations Center (PV-TEC) is both a research factory for solar cells and an evaluation centre for innovative production process technologies. The ISE’s newly established Module Technology Center (MTC) is concerned with developing processes for connection and sealing technologies, developing modules for future cell generations, quality assurance in production and material testing. At the ISFH, an industrially relevant infrastructure has been established for large-scale process technologies for thin solar cells and industry-level laser processes. A state-of-the-art solar cell production line is used for optimising the manufacturing processes.

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