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Novel cell metallization cuts solar module cost

Posted: 19 Mar 2014     Print Version  Bookmark and Share

Keywords:GT Advanced Technologies  solar module  cell metallization  interconnect 

GT Advanced Technologies Inc. has announced what it describes as an innovative cell metallization and interconnect technology that promises savings in both the manufacture and installation of solar modules. The company estimates that solar total system costs of today are about $2.90/Wp but the Merlin technology can reduce the total system cost by more than 10 per cent.

The Merlin technology, which includes a flexible grid that replaces the three silver bus bars, will reduce the amount of expensive silver paste while improving panel efficiency. Merlin could reduce silver content by up to 80 per cent, the company stated. The modules are expected to be more reliable and durable and enable form factors that are lighter and easier to handle resulting in lower shipment and installations costs.

GT's patented Merlin technology integrates into existing cell and module manufacturing lines with simple changes to the screen used for patterning segmented fingers onto the solar cell. The segmented fingers are thinner and produce less shading than conventional fingers. The combination of the flexible grid and the segmented fingers results in lower resistive losses thereby increasing cell and module efficiency. Additionally, the on-cell and cell-to-cell interconnect features of the grid make the module substantially more resilient when subjected to temperature cycling and mechanical flexing. Merlin technology will enable customers to design highly reliable, lightweight, lower cost modules that are less expensive to install.

GT, which has filed 12 patents relating to the Merlin technology, plans to commission its first grid manufacturing line in 2H14. The Merlin solution is scheduled to be commercially available in 2015.

- Paul Buckley
  EE Times Europe





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