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Research Papers

The Application of Novel Platinum-Reinforced Tin-Silver-Copper Solder to Bifacial Photovoltaic Module for Improvement of Yield and Reliability

[+] Author and Article Information
Chin Kim Lo

Faculty of Engineering and Science,
Universiti Tunku Abdul Rahman,
Jalan Genting Klang,
Kuala Lumpur 53300, Malaysia
e-mail: ukwn.cklo@gmail.com

Yun Seng Lim

Faculty of Engineering and Science,
Universiti Tunku Abdul Rahman,
Jalan Genting Klang,
Kuala Lumpur 53300, Malaysia
e-mail: yslim@utar.edu.my

Mee Chu Wong, Yee Kai Tian

Faculty of Engineering and Science,
Universiti Tunku Abdul Rahman,
Jalan Genting Klang,
Kuala Lumpur 53300, Malaysia
e-mail: mcwong@utar.edu.my

Contributed by the Solar Energy Division of ASME for publication in the JOURNAL OF SOLAR ENERGY ENGINEERING. Manuscript received August 8, 2013; final manuscript received March 14, 2014; published online May 13, 2014. Assoc. Editor: Santiago Silvestre.

J. Sol. Energy Eng 136(4), 041001 (May 13, 2014) (9 pages) Paper No: SOL-13-1220; doi: 10.1115/1.4027265 History: Received August 08, 2013; Revised March 14, 2014

The characteristics of solder joints between the busbars of solar cells and copper ribbons can affect the performance of a photovoltaic (PV) module significantly. The resistivity of the joints and the intermetallic compound structures within the joints are the two main characteristics that impose a substantial impact on the yield and the reliability of the PV module. In this paper, we aim to present and analyze a novel platinum-reinforced tin-silver-copper (Sn-3.8Ag-0.7Cu-0.2Pt) as the lead-free solder material to connect copper ribbons to the metallization of bifacial solar cells. The performance of the PV module using platinum-reinforced solder is investigated by constructing two bifacial PV modules using the popular lead-free Sn-3.8Ag-0.7Cu solder and Sn-3.8Ag-0.7Cu-0.2Pt solder, respectively. Micrographs of the joints are obtained to show that the platinum-reinforced solder joint has fewer voids and a more evenly distributed and thinner intermetallic layer than that of a conventional SnAgCu solder joint. As a result, the physical attachment between the busbars and the ribbon using SnAgCuPt solder is stronger than that using SnAgCu solder. The power outputs of both PV modules are measured together with two commercial PV modules under the sun using an IV plotter. The results show that the total energy yield of the bifacial PV module with the new solder is about 6–10% higher than that with the conventional SnAgCu solder. The energy yield of the bifacial PV module using SnAgCuPt solder is 35.8% and 0.2% higher than that of the commercially available monofacial polycrystalline and monocrystalline PV modules, respectively.

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Figures

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Fig. 1

Illustration of the solder joint resistance measurement experiment

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Fig. 2

Simplified model for the solar cell busbar with two pieces of copper ribbon

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Fig. 3

A bifacial solar cell encapsulated between two glasses

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Fig. 4

Bifacial PV module prototypes with mirrors at the bottom

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Fig. 5

Single diode equivalent circuit

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Fig. 6

Optical and SEM micrographs at the SnAgCu solder joint

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Fig. 7

Optical and SEM micrographs at the SnAgCuPt solder joint

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Fig. 8

Energy-dispersive X-ray spectroscopy spectrums for the intermetallic compounds formed in the solder/substrate interface

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Fig. 9

SEM micrographs at the solder/copper interface

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Fig. 10

SEM micrographs at the solder/silver interface

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Fig. 11

PV modules output power with plane mirror below the two PV modules

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Fig. 12

PV modules output power with black surface below the two PV modules

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Fig. 13

Front side SnAgCuPt contact resistance with different weight percentage of Pt

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Fig. 14

Output power of monofacial polycrystalline and bifacial PV modules soldered using SnAgCuPt

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Fig. 15

Output power of monofacial monocrystalline and bifacial PV modules soldered using SnAgCuPt

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