The increasing attention to global warming and the commitment to combating it, combined with uncertainties in world markets for fossil fuels, have made for a huge upsurge in the growth of renewable energy sources, the greatest of which is solar power. Estimates are that the energy consumption of the earth in one year is less than energy provided by the sun in just one hour, so the potential of solar energy is nearly beyond measure. Making its use economical – capturing, converting and storing it — relative to other alternatives has been the ongoing challenge.
Laserod began working on R&D projects with solar panel designers nearly twenty years ago, developing laser ablation technique to isolate layers and electrodes on silicon/glass solar collecting panels. In the ensuing years, China established numerous solar panel factories, which has greatly accelerated a reduction in the cost of solar panels from $75 per watt of power to where today the average price is as low as $2-3 per watt of installed solar capacity.
With steady growth in c-Si solar cell production, lasers continue to be considered for improving cell performance. Growth areas for laser processing include laser-fired contacts (LFC), laser-grooved buried contact (LGBC), and metal/emitter wrap-through (M/EWT). One very common laser process used extensively in c-Si solar cell manufacturing is laser edge isolation.
Various varieties of laser in the Laserod lab are used to explore more efficient solar technologies. Diode-pumped solid state (DPSS) lasers are often the best for the surface scribing of Si thin film solar devices. Q-switched lasers are used for the scribe processes that separate the large planar device into an array of interconnected photovoltaic cells. These scribe processes involve the removal of various thin film (0.2 – 3.0 μm typical) materials with minimal collateral damage to the glass substrate or other films.
Laserod welcomes the opportunity to work with your company to further the benefit of laser technology in the rapidly expanding world of solar energy.