A robust solder joint in crystalline silicon solar cell assembly is necessary to ensure its thermo-mechanical reliability. The solder joint formed using optimal parameter setting accumulates minimal creep strain energy density which leads to longer fatigue life. In this study, thermo-mechanical reliability of solder joint in crystalline silicon solar cell assembly is evaluated using finite element modelling (FEM) and Taguchi method. Geometric models of the crystalline silicon solar cell assembly are built and subjected to accelerated thermal cycling utilizing IEC 61215 standard for photovoltaic panels. In order to obtain the model with minimum accumulated creep strain energy density, the L9 (33) orthogonal array was applied to Taguchi design of experiments (DOE) to investigate the effects of IMC thickness (IMCT), solder joint width (SJW) and solder joint thickness (SJT) on the thermo-mechanical reliability of solder joints. The solder material used in this study is Sn3.8Ag0.7Cu and its non-linear creep deformation is simulated using Garofalo-Arrhenius creep model. The results obtained indicate that solder joint thickness has the most significant effect on the thermo-mechanical reliability of solder joints. Analysis of results selected towards thermo-mechanical reliability improvement shows the design with optimal parameter setting to be: solder joint thickness — 20 μm, solder joint width — 1000 μm, and IMC thickness — 2.5 μm. Furthermore, the optimized model has the least damage in the solder joint and shows a reduction of 47.96% in accumulated creep strain energy density per cycle compared to the worst case original model. Moreover, the optimized model has 16,264 cycles to failure compared with the expected 13,688 cycles to failure of a PV module designed to last for 25 years.
Zarmai, M. T., Ekere, N. N., Oduoza, C. F., & Amalu, E. (2015). Optimization of thermo-mechanical reliability of solder joints in crystalline silicon solar cell assembly. Microelectronics Reliability, -. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.microrel.2015.12.031