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Cell metallisation tech drives system costs down

Posted: 19 Mar 2014 ?? ?Print Version ?Bookmark and Share

Keywords:silver? metallisation? cell? solar?

GT Advanced Technologies Inc. has developed a cell metallisation and interconnect technology, which cuts the $2.90/Wp total system costs by more than 10 per cent.

The Merlin technology minimises the consumption of expensive silver paste by replacing the three silver bus bars with a flexible grid. The modules are expected to enable lighter form factors with as much as 80 per cent silver content trimmed down.

"Our Merlin technology uses mature, proven manufacturing processes to produce the flexible grids and we are confident that we can scale grid production to meet the requirements of the solar industry," said Tom Gutierrez, GT's president and CEO.

The patented Merlin technology integrates into existing cell and module manufacturing lines with simple changes to the screen used for patterning segmented fingers onto the solar cell. The segmented fingers are thinner and produce less shading than conventional fingers.

The combination of the flexible grid and the segmented fingers results in lower resistive losses thereby increasing cell and module efficiency. Additionally, the on-cell and cell-to-cell interconnect features of the grid make the module substantially more resilient when subjected to temperature cycling and mechanical flexing. Merlin technology will enable customers to design highly reliable, lightweight, lower cost modules that are less expensive to install.

The company has already filed 12 patents relating to the Merlin technology and plans to commission its first grid manufacturing line in the second half of this year. The technology, meanwhile, is scheduled to be commercially available in 2015.

- Paul Buckley
??EE Times Europe

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