Long-Term Reliability of PV Module Based on Ni-Cu-Ag Plated Solar Cells, Demonstrated

scatterometry, Solar Cells, Perovskite

Today, at the SiliconPV conference, nano-electronic research center imec and Besi, a leading manufacturer of assembly equipment for the semiconductor industry, announced that they have demonstrated long-term reliability of their 60-cells Ni/Cu/Ag plated solar module, passing 600 thermal cycles, three times the IEC61215 specification, with only minimal power loss of one percent.

The module consists of 60 front side laser ablated and Ni-Cu-Ag plated p-type Cz-Si cells. The plating was done in an industrial Meco vertical plating tool (Direct Plating Line) followed by annealing in an inline belt furnace. Cells were interconnected using a standard solder and lamination process. Thermal cycling tests (-40°C to + 85°C) carried out on the full 60 cell module resulted in an overall power loss of only one percent after 600 hours—three times the standard IEC61215 test protocol. Previous damp heat testing on 30 cells in mini modules successfully passed 1.5X standard IEC61215 specification. These test results prove the long-term reliability potential of imec’s and Besi’s Cu-plated cells and modules, as they have now outperformed the industrial standard for reliability, which requires less than five percent loss relative to initial power after 200 thermal cycles or 1000hrs damp heat testing.

“We are very pleased with this superb result”, says Richard Russell, prinicpal scientist at imec. “It proofs our unique and excellent know how on how to make reliable Ni-Cu-Ag plated solar cells and modules with an industrial manufacturing process.”

“These results confidently prove that modules featuring on-copper plated cells are reliable and outperform IEC61215 life test criteria,” stated Martijn Zwegers, product manager solar at Besi. “This breakthrough gives further momentum to the industry acceptance of Ni-Cu-Ag plating as a low-cost alternative to front side screen printing of Ag pastes.”

About Besi
Besi is a leading supplier of semiconductor assembly equipment for the global semiconductor and electronics industries offering high levels of accuracy, productivity and reliability at a low cost of ownership. The Company develops leading edge assembly processes and equipment for leadframe, substrate and wafer level packaging applications in a wide range of end-user markets including electronics, mobile internet, computer, automotive, industrial, LED and solar energy. Customers are primarily leading semiconductor manufacturers, assembly subcontractors and electronics and industrial companies. Besi’s ordinary shares are listed on Euronext Amsterdam (symbol: BESI), its Level 1 ADRs participate in the Nasdaq International program (OTC: BESIY) and its headquarters are located in Duiven, the Netherlands. For more information, please visit our website at www.besi.com.
Meco Equipment Engineers (a wholly owned subsidiary of Besi) is a world-leading supplier of plating equipment (with an installed base of more than 800 systems in 34 countries) for the semiconductor, solar, connector and film & foil industry. Over the years, these systems have established an international reputation for high performance, outstanding reliability, top quality and the best cost-of-ownership.

About imec
imec performs world-leading research in nanoelectronics. Imec leverages its scientific knowledge with the innovative power of its global partnerships in ICT, healthcare and energy. imec delivers industry-relevant technology solutions. In a unique high-tech environment, its international top talent is committed to providing the building blocks for a better life in a sustainable society. imec is headquartered in Leuven, Belgium, and has offices in Belgium, the Netherlands, Taiwan, USA, China, India and Japan. Its staff of about 2,300 people includes almost 700 industrial residents and guest researchers. In 2014, imec’s revenue (P&L) totaled 363 million euro. Further information on imec can be found at www.imec.be. Stay up to date about what’s happening at imec with the monthly imec magazine, available for tablets and smartphones (as an app for iOS and Android), or via the website www.imec.be/imecmagazine