Laser Material Processing in Crystalline Silicon Photovoltaics

Alphonze Niyibizi


Lasers play a major part in the processing of the numerous materials used in engineering and manufacturing. The range of processes in which lasers are involved is ever increasing. One of the areas in which laser has recently found application is in energy systems. With the dwindling non-renewable sources of energy such as fossil fuels and increasing demand of electricity, there is increasing interest in addressing the energy problem through development of systems for renewable energy alternatives such as solar energy. Though solar energy is readily available and has no adverse effects on environment such as pollution and greenhouse effects, it has not been fully exploited due to a number of challenges. Some of these challenges include high capital cost and the low conversion efficiency. Therefore photovoltaic industry has taken advantage of the benefits inherent in laser technology, namely accuracy, cost-efficiency, and flexibility that are critical in manufacturing today. This paper presents a review of the various production and assembly methods employed in the manufacture of solar panels where laser technology plays a predominant and the types of lasers are preferred along the photovoltaic production chain from the silicon raw material to the finished laminated solar modules.


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