Development of n+np+ solar cells in 100 µm thick silicon wafers

<p></p><p>ABSTRACT In the solar cell production cost, the silicon wafer represents roughly 50 % of the final value of the device. To lower the costs, the reduction of the current wafer thickness from 180-200 µm to 100-120 µm has been proposed. Although the p-type silicon is used to manufacture solar cells, it is susceptible to degradation due to boron-oxygen interaction. The devices manufactured in n-type silicon wafers doped with phosphorus do not present such degradation and has the potential of achieving higher efficiencies due to the larger minority charge carrier lifetime. The aim of this work is to present the development of n+np+ solar cells fabricated in Cz silicon wafers 100 μm thick. Thin devices were manufactured with the n+np+ structure and compared to n+pp+ devices manufactured in standard thick wafers. The average efficiency of (14.6 ± 0.4) % was achieved and the most efficient device reached 15.3%. The efficiency was lower than obtained with n+pp+ thick devices, which presented 16.2 %. The main parameter that reduced the efficiency of thin cells was the fill factor, which reached a maximum value of 0.748. Although the efficiency reached by thin n-type devices was worse than thick p-type ones, the former achieved a low mass/power ratio of 1.5 g/W, which is approximately 53 % lower than that obtained from thick p-type devices.</p><p></p>