Research Papers

Small-Volume Fabrication of a 144-Cell Assembly for High-Concentrating Photovoltaic Receivers

[+] Author and Article Information
Leonardo Micheli

Environment and Sustainability Institute,
University of Exeter,
Penryn TR10 9FE, UK
e-mail: l.micheli@exeter.ac.uk

Eduardo F. Fernández

Environment and Sustainability Institute,
University of Exeter,
Penryn TR10 9FE, UK
e-mail: E.Fernandez-Fernandez2@exeter.ac.uk

Nabin Sarmah

Department of Energy,
Tezpur University,
Tezpur, Assam 784168, India
e-mail: nabin@tezu.ernet.in

S. Senthilarasu

Environment and Sustainability
Institute, University of Exeter,
Penryn TR10 9FE, UK
e-mail: S.Sundaram@exeter.ac.uk

K. S. Reddy

Department of Mechanical Engineering,
Indian Institute of Technology Madras,
Chennai 600036, India
e-mail: ksreddy@iitm.ac.in

Tapas K. Mallick

Environment and Sustainability Institute,
University of Exeter,
Penryn TR10 9FE, UK
e-mail: T.K.Mallick@exeter.ac.uk

1Corresponding author.

Contributed by the Solar Energy Division of ASME for publication in the JOURNAL OF SOLAR ENERGY ENGINEERING: INCLUDING WIND ENERGY AND BUILDING ENERGY CONSERVATION. Manuscript received February 5, 2015; final manuscript received February 9, 2016; published online March 16, 2016. Assoc. Editor: Carlos F. M. Coimbra.

J. Sol. Energy Eng 138(3), 031008 (Mar 16, 2016) (10 pages) Paper No: SOL-15-1027; doi: 10.1115/1.4032887 History: Received February 05, 2015; Revised February 09, 2016

Concentrating photovoltaic (CPV) is a solution that is gaining attention worldwide as a potential global player in the future energy market. Despite the impressive development in terms of CPV cell efficiency recorded in the last few years, a lack of information on the module's manufacturing is still registered among the documents available in literature. This work describes the challenges faced to fabricate a densely packed cell assembly for 500× CPV applications. The reasons behind the choice of components, materials, and processes are highlighted, and all the solutions applied to overtake the problems experienced after the prototype's production are reported. This article explains all the stages required to achieve a successful fabrication, proven by the results of quality tests and experimental investigations conducted on the prototype. The reliability of the components and the interconnectors is successfully assessed through standard mechanical destructive tests, and an indoor characterization is conducted to investigate the electrical performance. The fabricated cell assembly shows a fill factor as high as 84%, which proves the low series resistance and the lack of mismatches. The outputs are compared with those of commercial assemblies. A cost breakdown is reported and commented: a cost of $0.79/Wp has been required to fabricate each of the cell assembly described in this paper. This value has been found to be positively affected by the economy of scale: a larger number of assemblies produced would have reduced it by 17%.

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Fig. 1

Schematic of the system: a parabolic 3 m × 3 m mirror reflects the light onto the receiver, composed by the secondary concentrators, the homogenizers, the cell assembly, and the active cooling

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Fig. 2

The IMS, covered by a thin green electric resistive layer, during the population process: the solder has been dispensed and the components are being placed

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Fig. 4

Optical transmittance of a 3-mm thick Sylgard poured on a 2-mm Borofloat glass between 250 and 2200 nm. It is compared with the transmittance of the bare 2-mm Borofloat glass. The EQE of the cell used in this application has been added to the graph.

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Fig. 5

SEM cross-sectional photomicrograph of the cell assembly

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Fig. 6

Causes of the wire breaking during the wire bond pull test results

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Fig. 7

Comparison of I–V curves for two 144-cell assemblies at 1× under 1000 W/m2 DNI, AM1.5, and 28 °C temperature. The series of the 3C42 cell assembly presented in this paper are named as A and B. The series of the 3C40 cell assembly presented in Ref. [45] are named as A* and B*.

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Fig. 8

Comparison between the geometries of the prototype and the final board. Dimensions are in millimeter.

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Fig. 9

Particulars of the edges of the boards: the prototype design (a) and the improved one (b)

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Fig. 10

The standoff placed on a cell assembly (a) and two packed assemblies (b)

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Fig. 11

Cost breakdown of the produced cell assembly



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