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Initiated by TNO-OTB Solar, TMC professionals were involved in an assessment of technology for process control and measurement to optimize production processes and thereby reduce the costs of solar cells and panels.

After a qualitative and quantitative analysis of field results of the solar cell and module production process, critical process variables were established. The latter have a large impact on production quality and costs. Besides this process control, several measuring technologies and equipment are investigated or developed. These were already existing technologies or equipment that were evaluated or improved (solar cell tester, electro- and photoluminescence). On top of that, new ideas were explored (photocopier tester, inductive measurement of interconnection, solar simulator based on LEDs). Finally, the successful technology of the inductive measurement of the interconnection was used for designing a working and validated prototype that was presented on the PVSEC exhibition in Hamburg.

Several TMC Solar experts contributed to the research and lead work packages and projects.

ZonProM lead to several interesting new technologies ready to bring on the market. The photocopier technology to detect the efficiency in an early stage of the production process has been patented. Activities like wafer tracking, solar simulator for modules based on LEDs and optimization of line logistics are taken up for additional research. The handheld inductive interconnection tester was presented at an exhibition and is now in the commercialisation phase, while the in-line tester is being further developed.

Hand scanner
Hand scanner for inductive interconnection tester shown by E. Widlak (Rimas) and E. van den Eijnden (TNO).

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