ULVAC, Inc. (Headquarters: Chigasaki, Kanagawa; President & CEO: Hidenori Suwa) is to launch the "MPEC-opt1300," a local efficiency/haze measurement system capable of measuring local photoelectric conversion efficiency within a module and evaluating the TCO (transparent conductive oxide) haze in a tandem type thin-film solar cell manufacturing process.
In June 2009, ULVAC launched the "MPEC-1300," a thin-film characteristics evaluation system for use on tandem type thin-film solar cells. The newly launched "MPEC-opt1300," on the other hand, measures optical characteristics such as the local photoelectric conversion efficiency (referred to as "efficiency" below) and haze.
Tandem type thin-film solar cells have the merit of requiring substantially less silicon than crystalline silicon solar cells, and have therefore been the focus of much attention. However, if tandem type thin-film solar cells are to grow in popularity, efficiency gains will be required. To resolve such issues, it is necessary to evaluate the efficiency distribution within a large-area module. Until now, this was only possible by manual methods, and a great deal of time and effort to perform the evaluation. Hence, there was a need for a measuring system capable of easily and quickly evaluating efficiency distribution.
Previously, the process for evaluating the efficiency distribution involved
1. preparation of an evaluation substrate; 2. forming a mini cell (forming electrodes, cutting substrate, insulation processing, and soldering); 3. measurement, and 4. data totaling, and therefore required a great deal of time and manual work. In contrast, the "MPEC-opt1300" local efficiency/haze measurement system for tandem type thin-film solar cells uses a newly developed mini-cell forming function (patented) with a laser, to form mini-cells without cutting the substrate and evaluate the efficiency distribution.
Moreover, with recipe settings allowing the system to automatically perform everything from mini-cell formation to distribution measurement and mapping display, although the evaluation of 7 points on the substrate by the conventional manual method took 65 minutes, the system can shorten this to 8 minutes, 1/8 of the previous time.
As well as handling conventional evaluation substrates, the system can handle normal module substrates. This makes it possible to perform evaluations directly from the production line or compare evaluation results with results from a solar simulator used for line inspection.
Besides mini-cell formation and local efficiency measurement functions, the system is equipped with a haze measurement function and shunt resistance measurement function. It is also capable of measuring and evaluating entire substrate surfaces of 1100 mm × 1400 mm in size.
1. Mini-cell formation function
Besides operating on evaluation substrates, the system can, through use of a laser and an original (patented) method of insulating the sample from its surroundings, form mini-cells in desired positions on the normal module substrate without cutting.
2. Local efficiency measurement
Includes built-in small solar simulator, enabling measurement of I-V characteristics (Photo/Dark selectable) of mini-cells formed at freely selected positions on the substrate, and mapping of efficiency (Eff). Besides efficiency, the system is capable of evaluating the short-circuit current (Jsc), open-circuit voltage (Voc), fill factor (FF), maximum power (Pmax), shunt resistance (Rsh), series resistance (Rs), etc.
3. Haze measurement function
Measures TCO haze values and displays mapping of distribution within substrate. Besides TCO haze values, the system can analyze total transmittance, diffuse transmittance, and parallel light transmittance.
4. Shunt measurement and repair function
Measures distribution of shunt resistance within cells. Optionally equipped with a multi-probe head for measuring shunt resistance of multiple cells in a single operation and a repair function using a laser.
5. Combined analysis software (optional)
This optional software is capable of combining film-thickness data and crystallinity distribution data measured with the "MPEC-1300" thin-film characteristics evaluation system and the efficiency and haze data obtained using this system.
The "MPEC-opt1300" local efficiency/haze measurement system will be launched on July 1, 2010. At a price (including options) of 84 million yen, we forecast sales of five systems in the first year.
We will introduce the system in the ULVAC booth (No. P-D601) at PV Japan 2010, Pacifico Yokohama between June 30 (Wed) and July 2 (Fri).
ULVAC, Inc. Components Division compo_info