The identification, adoption and utilisation of reliable interconnection technology to assembly crystalline silicon solar cells in photovoltaic (PV) module are critical to ensure that the device performs continually up to 20 years of its design life span. With report that 40.7% of this type of PV module fails at interconnection coupled with recent reports of increase in such failure in the tropics, the review of interconnection technologies employed in crystalline silicon solar cells manufacture has become imperative. Such review is capable of providing information that can improve the reliability of the system when adopted which in turn will increase silicon PV module production share more than the current value of 90.956%. This review presents the characteristics of interconnect contacts in conventional cells and other unconventional crystalline silicon cells. It compares series resistance, shadowing losses and the induced thermo-mechanical stress in the interconnection for each interconnection technique employed. The paper also reviews interconnection technologies in these assemblies and presents a comparison of their concept, cell type, joint type, manufacturing techniques and production status. Moreover, the study reviews and discusses the material and technological reliability challenges of silicon solar cells interconnection. The review identifies laser soldering technology as one which has the potential of making interconnection with higher reliability when compared with conventional soldering technology. It was found that this technology supports the current design trend of thinner, wider and cheaper crystalline silicon solar cells significantly whilst producing interconnection that experience relatively lower induced thermo-mechanical stress. The authors recommend that wider acceptance and usage of laser soldering technology could improve the performance and consequently extend the mean-time-to-failure (MTTF) of photovoltaic modules in general and particularly the ones which operates in the tropics. This will enable improvement in the reliability of PV modules for sustainable energy generation.
|Publication status||Published - 15 May 2015|