ZnO Transparent conductive oxide for thin film silicon solar cells
There is general agreement that the future production of electric energy has to be renewable and sustainable in the long term. Photovoltaic (PV) is booming with more than 7GW produced in 2008 and will therefore play an important role in the future electricity supply mix. Currently, crystalline silicon (c-Si) dominates the market with a share of about 90%. Reducing the cost per watt peak and energy pay back time of PV was the major concern of the last decade and remains the main challenge today. For that, thin film silicon solar cells has a strong potential because it allies the strength of c-Si (i.e. durability, abundancy, non toxicity) together with reduced material usage, lower temperature processes and monolithic interconnection. One of the technological key points is the transparent conductive oxide (TCO) used for front contact, barrier layer or intermediate reflector. In this paper, we report on the versatility of ZnO grown by low pressure chemical vapor deposition (ZnO LP-CVD) and its application in thin film silicon solar cells. In particular, we focus on the transparency, the morphology of the textured surface and its effects on the light in-coupling for micromorph tandem cells in both the substrate (n-i-p) and superstrate (p-i-n) configurations. The stabilized efficiencies achieved in Neuchâtel are 11.2% and 9.8% for p-i-n (without ARC) and n-i-p (plastic substrate), respectively.