SOLAR CELL PROCESSING: Kinetics puts “clean” in solar

“Clean” is about more than the energy produced, as Kinetics’ successful production of millions of cells clearly demonstrates.

PV processing requires increasingly delicate substrates to generate the energy output needed from installed cells. At the same time, the necessary chemical processing tools must balance the cost of ownership and operation while continuing to improve yields at every stage and step. Kinetics, as a leader in tool automation, has developed three guiding principles to help customers achieve their goals.

PRINCIPLE #1: Take on the “chunk challenge”

Etching and cleaning raw silicon “chunks” is a more significant stage than many companies anticipate. Usually requiring a dilute cleaning solution with ultrasonic agitation, this multistep processing must be both thorough and efficient. Often, the finer points of this “rough” cleaning are overlooked, including the integrity of the final rinse and dry steps.

PRINCIPLE #2:  Keep it moving with the carriers

For subsequent silicon (Si) substrate processing steps performed on blank poly or monocrystaline Si substrates after wire sawing, process cassettes keep things moving. As Kinetics has discovered, the efficiency and accuracy of this step affect the outcome, whether a manually-loaded process station is used or higher volumes dictate the use of robotics: Alignment is key, flow remains important, and chemistry can be critical.

PRINCIPLE #3: Done doesn’t mean finished

After the solar cell circuitry is printed or otherwise applied onto the blank Si substrates, specialty cleaning or treatment is often mandated. Here, the pressure to achieve throughput goals can compromise processing integrity and negatively impact yields. Varying times, chemistry and handling methods helps optimize PV production, reducing the amount of burdensome rework or costly rejection of entire panels.

Kinetics has applied these principles to two platforms of tools, both the Solar Cell Process Tools as well as Solar Queen Automated Systems. Learning more about them and their ability to enhance accuracy, yield, and volume with a click here.