Sonnenbühl, Germany [RenewableEnergyWorld.com] Schiller Automation and Merck this week, announced the official start of construction on a line for edge isolation of crystalline silicon wafers. SolarEtch SiD from the isishape etching paste program developed by Merck will be used in the process. The concept increases overall solar cell efficiency, the companies said. Laboratory tests on several thousand wafers have successfully confirmed the increase in efficiency through the use of SolarEtch materials.
The process, designed by Merck and Schiller, involves a comprehensive wet chemical isolation and laser isolation. With the newly developed application concept, isishape SolarEtch SiD can be applied to the back of the wafer quickly and selectively.
“The success of environmentally friendly photovoltaics ultimately depends on solar cell production costs. The edge isolation process we have developed significantly improves the ratio of efficiency to production costs,” said Dr. Ingo Köhler, head of R&D structuring solutions at Merck.
The new concept has been laboratory tested together with various partners from industry and academia. A prototype of the production equipment is now being constructed for a pilot line.
Already in the pilot phase, Merck is able to produce customer-specific wafers under mass production conditions. The development of mass production equipment with a throughput of approximately 3,600 wafers per hour is planned for the next phase.