(19)
(11)EP 2 546 889 B1

(12)EUROPEAN PATENT SPECIFICATION

(45)Mention of the grant of the patent:
17.06.2020 Bulletin 2020/25

(21)Application number: 11005666.0

(22)Date of filing:  12.07.2011
(51)International Patent Classification (IPC): 
H01L 31/05(2014.01)
H01L 31/048(2014.01)
H01L 31/0224(2006.01)
H01L 27/142(2014.01)

(54)

Solar cell assembly and method of fabrication of solar cell assembly

Solarzellenbaugruppe und Verfahren zur Herstellung einer Solarzellenbaugruppe

Ensemble de cellules solaires et procédé de fabrication d'ensemble de cellules solaires


(84)Designated Contracting States:
AL AT BE BG CH CY CZ DE DK EE ES FI FR GB GR HR HU IE IS IT LI LT LU LV MC MK MT NL NO PL PT RO RS SE SI SK SM TR

(43)Date of publication of application:
16.01.2013 Bulletin 2013/03

(73)Proprietor: Airbus Defence and Space GmbH
82024 Taufkirchen (DE)

(72)Inventor:
  • Zimmermann, Claus, Dr.
    81371 München (DE)

(74)Representative: Schicker, Silvia 
Wuesthoff & Wuesthoff Patentanwälte PartG mbB Schweigerstraße 2
81541 München
81541 München (DE)


(56)References cited: : 
EP-A1- 1 030 376
WO-A1-99/62125
WO-A2-99/60606
US-A1- 2002 144 724
US-B1- 6 248 948
EP-A2- 1 693 899
WO-A1-2010/116973
DE-A1-102007 011 403
US-A1- 2011 100 412
  
      
    Note: Within nine months from the publication of the mention of the grant of the European patent, any person may give notice to the European Patent Office of opposition to the European patent granted. Notice of opposition shall be filed in a written reasoned statement. It shall not be deemed to have been filed until the opposition fee has been paid. (Art. 99(1) European Patent Convention).


    Description

    TECHNOLOGICAL BACKGROUND



    [0001] The present invention is directed to a solar cell as defined in the preamble of claim 1. It is further directed to a solar cell assembly of such solar cells and to a method of manufacturing a solar cell assembly.

    BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION



    [0002] The present invention comprises a new efficient method to manufacture a solar cell with electrical contacts of both polarities on the front surface, improved design features for a spatial arrangement of a plurality of this type of solar cells into a photovoltaic assembly as well as an automated manufacturing flow possible with this arrangement. The features of this invention, which is mainly focused on solar cell and solar cell assemblies for space use, but not necessarily limited to it, will become evident in a comparison with the prior art.

    PRIOR ART



    [0003] For power generation in space, multi-junction solar cells based on III-V semiconductors with current efficiencies between 25 - 30 % are used. Further efficiency increase is likely to occur with adapted designs in the future.

    [0004] A cross section through a prior art triple junction (TJ) cell is illustrated in Fig.1. The vertical dimensions are not to scale and laterally the cell extends further to the right.

    [0005] In such a triple junction solar cell design, three p-n-junctions 1, 2, 3 are stacked on top of each other, such that the band gap of the semiconductor materials constituting the junctions decreases from the top to the bottom of the cell. A Germanium wafer 4, typically 80 - 150 µm thick, serves as the substrate of the cell. A p-n-junction 3 is created, some µm from the wafer front surface by diffusion. On top of the wafer, two more p-n-junctions 1, 2 are grown from III-V semiconductor materials. It is implicitly understood here as well as in the following that tunnel junctions are included between each p-n-junction. In addition, several additional layers functioning for example as back surface fields, buffer layers, reflectors are included in the actual device. These however, are not relevant in the frame of this invention and are therefore neither referenced in Fig. 1 nor in the following. The top most cell layer is passivated on the surface by a transparent window layer 5. In this configuration the three p-n-junctions are located within a depth of approximately 10 µm from the cell surface.

    [0006] The cell shape has then to be isolated from the usually circular Germanium wafer and the epitaxially grown junctions on top of it. The cell circumference is defined by etching a so called "mesa" groove 6, sufficiently deep (e.g. 10 µm in this example) to separate all three p-n-junctions. The remaining electrically inactive Germanium wafer is then separated mechanically by dicing, i.e. by sawing along a cut line 7.

    [0007] Then electrical contacts have to be applied to the cell. The rear side contact 8 is usually completely metalized with any metal system able to form an ohmic contact to the cell. The front side contact 9 is produced similarly. Due to the fact, however, that light has to enter the cell from the front, the front side contact is shaped in the form of narrow grid fingers 100 (Fig. 2), which are connected among each other and finally to a number of front side contact pads 10 used for the external cell connection. A typical layout is illustrated in Fig. 2.

    [0008] Underneath the front side grid another doped semiconductor layer is present, the so called cap layer 11, primarily to serve as additional protection of the cell during attachment of external electrical connections on the contact pads 10 by methods such as soldering or welding. To minimize light reflections, an antireflection coating 12 is deposited on the cell front side.

    [0009] It is immediately obvious and can be seen in Fig. 3 that for these epitaxially grown cells 200 the two electrical cell contacts are located on different cell surfaces. For simplicity, the back contact is referred to as the (+) contact in the following, whereas the (-) contact is on the front. Since the output of a single cell, e.g. 0.5 A at 2.3 V for the cells outlined above, is incompatible with the requirements of the power subsystem, these cells have to be connected in series and in parallel to increase the output voltage and current as shown in Fig. 3.

    [0010] The primary element for solar arrays in space is a connection of typical 30 or 60 cells in series for required bus voltages of 50 or 100 V. Several of these elements, called "strings" are then connected in parallel at their ends with the inclusion of blocking diodes to sections and deliver currents around 10 A. The strings are placed on a common insulating substrate 201. Together with the electrical parallel connection of the strings this forms the photovoltaic assembly (PVA). Solar arrays for space use are for example sandwich panels with a carbon fibre face sheet and an aluminium honeycomb core with a Kapton front side insulation. These substrates have large thermal expansion mismatch relative to the cells. During eclipse phases with temperature fluctuations up to 200 °C the gap 202 between two cells varies by several 10 µm, exposing any electrical connection between two cells to significant cyclic stress. To cope with this, it is state of the art to use 10 - 20 µm thick metal foils like Silver (Ag), Gold (Au), silver-plated Molybdenum (Mo), silver-plated nickel-cobalt ferrous alloy (e.g. known under the trademark "Kovar" and having a low coefficient of thermal expansion), etc. to bridge the gap between two cells.

    [0011] With the electrical cell contacts on opposite sides in the prior art embodiments, the electrical series connection naturally has to be performed from the front side contact pad 10 of one cell to the rear side 203 of the adjacent cell. To minimize the stresses induced into the interconnector material due to the thermally induced gap variation, the interconnector 204 is S-shaped, protruding significantly above the cell.

    [0012] Another important consideration in this stringing operation is directed to reverse voltages. For individual cells in a string operating conditions can occur, where particular cells are exposed to a reverse voltage. III-V multi-junction cells, however, can only tolerate a limited reverse voltage. Each cell thus has to be protected from excessive reverse voltage by a diode of opposite polarity compared to the cell which is connected in parallel.

    [0013] There are several concepts to achieve this, for example growing a diode of opposite polarity separately on a part of the cell surface. The befit of these diode designs is that they are easily connected, e.g. only a connection to the neighbouring front side contact pad has to be made. These diodes protect the cell they are grown on. It will become clear in the following that the cells with this type of diodes do not require any additional diode related consideration in the frame of this invention and are therefore not discussed further.

    [0014] The drawback of these monolithically grown diodes is that they require several additional growth steps during cell manufacturing, which makes the cell considerably more expensive.

    [0015] Another diode concept frequently used is much simpler to implement, but more complicated to interconnect. A limited area of the cell 101, as shown in Fig. 2, preferably at the cell edge, is electrically isolated by a mesa groove etch 6, which separates all three junctions. This cell area is thus electrically isolated from the rest of the cell, only contacted to the (+) polarity of the cell. By depositing a metal contact 102 on top of it, a (-) contact is provided. Optionally several of these diode p-n-junctions can be etched away to reduce the diode voltage. Due to the fact that the diode created out of cell material in this fashion has the same polarity as the cell, it cannot protect the cell it is located in. Rather an electrical connection has to be made by another S shaped interconnector 205 from the front side contact of the diode 102 to the rear side 206 of the neighbouring cell.

    [0016] To limit radiation damage of the cells in space, all active cell and diode areas should be shielded. Usually a 100 µm thick cerium doped cover glass 207 is used. These are bonded with transparent silicone adhesive 208 to the cell front side. Another silicone adhesive 209 is used for bonding the cells onto the substrate 201. Based on this photovoltaic assembly (PVA) design it is obvious for persons skilled in the art that the manufacturing flow has to involve different steps of manufacturing subassemblies and is hard to fully automate.

    [0017] Usually the interconnectors of diode and cell are welded to the cell first. Then the cover glass is bonded onto the cell to form a cover integrated cell (CIC). These steps are usually fully automated. Then the CICs have to be positioned with the cover glass facing downwards onto a suitable welding plate and the diode and power interconnectors have to be aligned on the appropriate cell rear side, which is a cumbersome manual process. Note that diode and power interconnectors go to the rear side of different cells. Then all rear side interconnections are performed, again automatically, e.g. by welding.

    [0018] All subsequent manufacturing steps are then again performed manually. The string of cells created in this way is turned upside down again, by affixing it to a temporary transport plate. Then it is placed with the cover glass front side onto an adhesive foil, which supports the strings during the lay down process. For lay down, a room temperature curing silicone adhesive is applied onto the cell rear side, for example by screen printing, which assures a well defined adhesive thickness. Within the appropriate window of the adhesive's viscosity time curve, the strings are placed onto the support structure. During curing, pressure is applied onto the cells by enclosing the cell in an appropriate fashion and evacuating this area. After complete curing of the adhesive, the self adhesive foil is removed from the front side of the CICs.

    [0019] It is obvious that this process is very complicated and time consuming and requires several steps that have to be carried out manually.

    [0020] EP 1 693 899 A2 is directed to a solar cell arrangement comprising a plurality of solar cells which are electrically interconnected wherein each solar cell has its electrical contact pads for both polarities provided on the front side of the solar cell. After the plurality of solar cells have been electrically interconnected a transparent protective member of glass is adhered to the surface of the sunlight entering side of the solar cells.

    [0021] DE 10 2007 011 403 A1 discloses a similar embodiment of a plurality of electrically interconnected solar cells which are mounted to a rigid carrier structure and which are covered by a transparent front shield.

    [0022] US 2002/0144724 A1 discloses a solar cell having a front-mounted bypass diode wherein the solar cell is provided with at least two front surface contacts of different polarity. This known solar cell has no protection against any destroying radiation so that this solar cell cannot be used in space.

    [0023] EP 1 030 376 A1 is directed to a solar cell panel comprising a plurality of electrically interconnected solar cells which are together covered by a common cover glass sheet. The cover glass sheet has slit-like cuts along boundary lines between the solar cells on one of the cover glass surfaces. These slit-like cuts allow the cover glass to break between the adjacent solar cells when the cover glass sheet is subjected to an excessive stress.

    [0024] WO 2010/116973, WO 99/60606 and US 6,248,948 B1 are also directed to solar cell arrangements in which the single solar cells are electrically connected together and wherein the solar cells are commonly covered by a cover glass. Also these solar cell arrangements are due to their large cover glass not suitable for use in space.

    BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE INVENTION



    [0025] It is an object of the present invention to provide a solar cell assembly of at least two interconnectable solar cells which can be easily and economically manufactured and which are able to be used in space. It is a further object of the present invention to provide a manufacturing method for such a solar cell assembly. The term solar cell assembly denotes a spatial arrangement of a plurality of solar cells or CICs, i.e. solar cells equipped with interconnector and cover glass.

    [0026] The first object of the invention which is directed to a solar cell assembly is achieved by a solar cell assembly with the features of claim 1 or alternatively with the features of claim 2.

    [0027] The object of the present invention which is directed to the solar cell assembly is solved in case of an assembly of at least three interconnectable solar cells according to the features of claim 1 when the solar cells form a row of solar cells and alternatively by a solar cell assembly of at least three interconnectable solar cells with the features of claim 2 when the solar cells form an array of solar cells.

    [0028] Placing an electric contact point which is electrically connected to the second electric contact through the rear portion of the substrate on the bottom surface of the groove according to the features of the characterizing portion of claim 1 so that the contact point of the second electric contact is facing to the front side of the solar cell makes the contacts of both polarities accessible from the front side of the solar cell so that contact bonding steps during the manufacturing process of a solar cell array of such an inventive solar cell can be carried out without turning the solar cell. This reduces the handling steps during the manufacturing process and thus accelerates the manufacturing process of a solar cell assembly. Furthermore, the contacts of both polarities of the solar cells in a solar cell assembly are accessible from the front side so that testing and repairing of single solar cells in a solar cell assembly is made very easy. A cover glass is provided on the front surface of the front layer and said cover glass is provided with cut-outs at the positions of the second electric contact point, the cut-outs having preferably the same size as a contact pad of the electric contact. The provision of this cover glass limits radiation damage of the cells when the solar cell is used in space.

    [0029] According to the first version of the assembly (claimed in claim 1) first and second electric contact pads of the first and second electric contacts, respectively, of each solar cell are positioned so that a first electric contact pad of a first solar cell is placed close to a second electric contact pad of an adjacent solar cell and a second electric contact pad of said first solar cell is placed close to a first electric contact pad of a further adjacent solar cell when said solar cells form a row of solar cells.

    [0030] In the second, alternative version (claimed in claim 2) the first and second electric contacts pads of the first and second electric contacts, respectively, of each solar cell are positioned so that a first electric contact pad of a first solar cell is placed close to a second electric contact pad of an adjacent solar cell and a second electric contact pad of said first solar cell is placed close to a first electric contact pad of a further adjacent solar cell when said solar cells form an array of solar cells;

    [0031] In both versions interconnectors are provided to connect each first electric contact pad of said first solar cell with the adjacent second electric contact pad of said adjacent solar cell and to connect each second electric contact pad of said first solar cell with the adjacent first electric contact pad of said further adjacent solar cell and the size of each interconnector is such that no element of the interconnector protrudes from the front surfaces of the solar cells connected by said interconnector.

    [0032] This particular provision of the first and second contact pads of the electric contacts of the solar cells which are all accessible from the front side thereof and the size of each interconnector such that no element of the interconnector protrudes from the front surfaces of the solar cells connected by the interconnector leads to a solar cell assembly in which the cell to cell interconnectors are completely protected from mechanical damage during all solar array manufacturing and cleaning steps.

    [0033] In the solar cell assembly where a cover glass is provided on the front surface of the front layer each interconnector is provided with a cover member covering the front surface of the interconnector. This feature protects also the connector region against ion erosion (sputtering) from ion thrusters.

    [0034] The provision of a cover member covering the front surface to the interconnector between two solar cells is an important inventive feature because this cover member closes the gap between the glass covers of two adjacent solar cells above the interconnector. Thus, not only the solar cells are protected against destructive radiation in space but also the interconnectors are protected thereagainst by the cover member. This modular structure of the cover glasses and cover members provides a certain flexibility to the whole solar cell assembly on the one hand and protects the solar cells and the interconnectors between the solar cells against destructive space radiation.

    [0035] It is very advantageous when the cover member is mounted to the interconnector in a flexible manner. This will allow a relative lateral movement of the cover member and the interconnector in case of thermal expansion of the cells.

    [0036] In a preferred embodiment at least one intermediate layer comprising a p-n-junction is provided between said substrate and said front layer wherein said p-n-junction separates the at least one intermediate layer into a front portion having said first doping and a rear portion having said second doping and wherein said intermediate layer front portion is averted from said substrate front portion. Such a multi-layer solar cell is more efficient.

    [0037] Preferably, said groove is provided on a lateral side of the solar cell so that it also opens to the lateral side. This embodiment allows a lateral contacting of the solar cell.

    [0038] Further preferred embodiments are characterized in that the front surface of the front layer is at least partially provided with an antireflection coating. Additionally or alternatively said bottom surface of the groove is provided around a contact pad of said second electric contact point at least partially with an antireflection coating. These antireflection coatings are provided to minimize light reflexions.

    [0039] Preferably, said solar cell is a III-V triple junction cell wherein said substrate is a Germanium wafer.

    [0040] In a preferred embodiment said interconnectors are formed in U-shape or W-shape configuration. Such a bent interconnector is able to compensate thermal extensions.

    [0041] Preferably each interconnector comprises a plurality of grid fingers, each of which is contacted separately to the associated electric contact pad. This type of connector provides redundancy against disconnection because each grid finger is connected separately to the associated contact pad.

    [0042] In another preferred solar cell assembly according to the invention, where the cover glass is provided on the front surface of the front layer of each solar cell, the front surface of said cover glass is provided with a conductive coating which is connected to a metalized portion of a side wall of the cover glass adjacent to the groove accommodating one of the second electric contact pads and said metalized portion is electrically connected to said first electric contact pad. This embodiment provides an easy and safe way of grounding the conductive coating of the cover glass.

    [0043] Preferably the free end of the interconnector is bent towards the front side of the solar cell (e.g. upwardly bent), and the bent portion of the interconnector electrically contacts the metalized portion of the side wall when the interconnector is fixed to said electric contact pad. It is also advantageous when the bent portion of the interconnector is formed with grid fingers at the free end thereof. This design provides redundancy as at least one of the grid fingers needs to be in contact with the metalized portion. The bent portion is integrally formed in the region of the elbow-like bending and connects the grid fingers of the bent portion and, if so provided, also the grid fingers which are provided to be contacted to the contact pad.

    [0044] The object directed to the manufacturing method of a solar cell assembly is achieved by a method according to claim 16. This method comprises the steps of
    1. a) providing a solar cell;
    2. b) applying an adhesive, preferably a vulcanizing silicone adhesive, to the rear side of the solar cell, at least at positions underneath all front side contact pads;
    3. c) placing the solar cell with the rear side thereof onto a support structure;
    4. d) curing the adhesive by applying heat and or pressure onto the support structure with the solar cell placed thereon;
    5. e) repeating steps a) to d) with another solar cell which is placed in step c) so that associated contact pads which are to be interconnected are positioned close to one another;
    6. f) placing and welding the interconnectors in order to connect associated contact pads;
    7. g) repeating steps e) and f) until the desired number of solar cells is mounted to the support structure and electrically interconnected;
    8. h) placing and mounting a cover member over each interconnector to cover the front surface of the interconnector.


    [0045] This inventive manufacturing method for a solar cell assembly allows fast and reliable automatic manufacturing of the solar cell assembly.

    [0046] Dividing step d) into two sub-steps of

    d1) first curing the adhesive at the positions underneath all front side contact pad locations;

    d2) thereafter curing the adhesive at remaining adhesive positions,

    and providing an additional step of testing the mechanical and/or electrical integrity of the solar cell between step d1) and step d2) allows carrying out a testing step before the solar cell is completely fixed to the support structure. In case a failure is detected in the tested solar cell, the solar cell can be easily removed and replaced by another solar cell because the adhesive at the remaining adhesive positions is not cured and is thus still flexible.

    BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS



    [0047] The invention will hereinafter be described by means of examples with reference to the drawings in which
    Fig. 1
    shows a cross sectional view through a prior art triple junction solar cell;
    Fig. 2
    shows a top view on a layout of a front side grid on the solar cell;
    Fig. 3
    shows a prior art example of interconnecting individual cells into a photovoltaic assembly for space use;
    Fig. 4
    shows a cross sectional view through a solar cell according to the invention;
    Fig. 5
    shows a top view on the solar cell of Fig. 4 and on a cover glass therefore;
    Fig. 6
    shows a detailed cross sectional view through the solar cell of Fig. 4 at a contact location with a welding tool;
    Fig. 7
    shows examples of interconnector shapes of a solar cell array according to the invention;
    Fig. 8
    shows an ion erosion protected interconnector in a solar cell array according to the invention;
    Fig. 9
    shows an example of grounding conductively coated cover glasses;
    Fig. 10
    is an illustration of a cell repair process for a solar cell assembly possible in conjunction with solar cell according to the invention;
    Fig. 11
    shows an example of an automated string manufacturing process for a solar cell assembly according to the invention; and
    Fig. 12
    shows a one step integration process for a solar cell assembly according to the invention.

    DESCRIPTION OF PREFERRED EMBODIMENTS



    [0048] The solar cell C shown in Fig. 4 is made of a semiconductor substrate 4 having a front surface 4' and a rear surface 4". A first p-n-junction 3 is provided in the substrate 4 close to the front surface 4' thereof. The p-n-junction 3 separates the substrate into a front portion having a first doping n and a rear portion having a second doping p.

    [0049] Fig. 4 illustrates the proposed technique of a solar cell C according to this invention to establish a contact point 304 of a rear side contact 8 on the cell front side. The contact point 304 is electrically connected via a rear portion 303 of the substrate 4 to the rear side contact 8 by exploiting the high conductivity of the Germanium substrate 4. The drawing is not to scale and the solar cell C shown in Fig. 4 serves illustration purposes only. The invention is in no way limited to this particular cell type or geometry. Features of the solar cell C according to the invention which resemble features of the prior art solar cell shown in Figs. 1 and 2 have been allotted the same reference numerals and for their description reference is made to the description of Figs. 1 and 2.

    [0050] ""A front layer 1' comprising a p-n-junction 1 is provided on the front surface of the substrate 4, wherein the p-n-junction separates the front layer 1' into a front portion having the first doping n and a rear portion having the second doping p. The front layer's front portion is averted from the substrate front portion 306.

    [0051] An intermediate layer 2' comprising a p-n-junction 2 is provided between said substrate 4 and said front layer 1'. The p-n-junction separates the intermediate layer 2' into a front portion having the first doping n and a rear portion having the second doping p. The intermediate layer's front portion is averted from the substrate front portion.

    [0052] First electric contacts 9 are provided on the front side C' of the solar cell C in the form of grid fingers and are electrically connected to the front portion of the front layer 1'. These grid finger contacts are connected to a plurality of contact pads 10 which are disposed on a lateral side of the front surface of the solar cell C.

    [0053] Second electric contact pads 304' forming the contact points 304 are provided so that they are accessible form the front side C' of the solar cell C as will be described below. These second electric contact pads 304' are electrically connected to the rear portion 303 of the substrate 4. The second electric contact pads 304' are placed on the bottom surface of a groove 305 which opens to the front side C' of the solar cell C and which extends to the rear portion 303 of the substrate 4. Groove 305 opens also to lateral side 7' of cell C.

    [0054] To provide the contact groove 305 for the second, rear side contact pad 304' the epitaxy is etched at 301 to about 10 µm, whereas the width of the groove 305 forming a contact pad area 302 for the contact pad 304' of contact point 304 is a one hundred times as large. The height 7 of the remaining wafer is in the order of 100 µm.

    [0055] The first element of this invention involves an efficient way to establish an independent (+) contact point 304 at the location 300 on the cell front side C' as well, next to the (-) contact pad 10 already present there. In other words, the contact which is in the prior art present on the cell rear side is moved to the front side C'. This is achieved as shown in Fig. 4 by relying on the conductivity of the p doped Germanium wafer 4 itself. It has to be noted that the polarity of the contacts and the associated doping (p or n) in Fig. 4 just serves as an example. Opposite polarities are of course feasible as well.

    [0056] Over a sufficiently large area 302, e.g. 8 x 1.2 mm2, the entire epitaxy is etched away to form the groove 305 of a height 301 down to the p doped rear portion 303 of the Germanium substrate 4. The same etch processes used to establish the mesa groove 6 at the cell edge or to isolate the integrated diode can be applied here as well. The metal contact pad 304' is then deposited on the p doped rear portion 303 of the Germanium substrate 4 and serves as a contact pad for an external cell connector.

    [0057] Typically the same ohmic contact pad system is used for the cell front side contact 9 and contact pad 10 (interfacing for example to the n doped Ga(In)As based cap layer) as for a cell rear side contact 8 (interfacing to the p doped Germanium). Therefore both front side contacts can also be deposited in on step on the cell front side. The Germanium substrate in state of the art triple junction cells is fairly highly doped, resulting in specific resistances in the 10 mΩcm range (Ref.: C. G. Zimmermann, Journal of Applied Physics, 100, 023714, 2006). Assuming a thickness of the Germanium wafer of 140 µm and three (+) contact pads 304' with an area of 7 mm2 each, the resistance R of this current path through the Germanium wafer equates to



    [0058] With typical cell currents around 0.5 A, this results in a negligible voltage loss below 1 mV. The high conductivity of the Germanium substrate is thus exploited to establish (+) front side contact points 304 for the rear contact 8 on the cell as the main feature of this design.

    [0059] Other approaches of the prior art, for example for Si solar cells with a Si wafer of much higher resistance, require an additional conductive member at the cell edge to establish the front side contacts. Most notably this is suggested in US 3,527,619 A. Although the cell emitter including the p-n-junction is etched away in this prior art approach as well, the sole purpose of this etching is to avoid the necessity for an additional insulating layer between the wrapped around conductive surface and the cell edge; without this etching the cell would be short circuited at the cell edge in this prior art approach.

    [0060] The rear side metallization at rear side contact 8, which is typically equally thick as the front side metallization at front side contact 9 to ensure the same properties at the contact pad location, might be in addition reduced in thickness, depending on the amount of additional ohmic losses tolerable. The antireflection coating 12 in the (+) contact area 302 is optional.

    [0061] With respect to the spatial arrangement of the (+) contact pad location, there is complete flexibility. In a non-rectangular cell, e.g. a cell with cropped corners, the cropped corner region can be a preferred location of the contact pads or welding pads. At these locations the possibility exists to use part of the circular wafer region unsuitable as solar cell itself for the contact pad and thus minimize the loss in additional cell area.

    [0062] In Fig. 5 a spatial arrangement of the additional (+) contacts 400, 401 on the cell front side together with an adapted layout of a cover glass 403 is shown.

    [0063] A more conventional placement of the (+) contacts 400 for a 8 x 4 cm2 sized triple junction cell with three (-) contact pads 10 and an integrated diode 102 is illustrated in Fig. 5. For interconnection of the diode of the neighbouring cell, a fourth (+) contact 401 is required. Assuming that 10 mm2 of active cell area are etched away for a 7 mm2 contact pad, which ensures sufficient distance of the contact pad metal to the open p-n-junctions, 1.3 % of the cell area is lost due to the placement of the (+) contacts on the cell front side. Of course the horizontal collecting gridline 100 has to be shaped around (see at 402) the contact pad required for the optional diode contact 401.

    [0064] The cover glass 403 is adapted for this top contact solar cell design such that this cell is still compatible with the state of the art sequential manufacturing flow. As already outlined in the description of the prior art, the cells have to be protected by a cover glass to survive the radiation environment in space. For example in the geostationary orbit characterized by a high dose of low energy protons a cell would suffer severe damage within weeks if even the smallest cell area were to be left uncovered. Therefore the entire active cell area as well as the integrated diode has to be covered up to the very edge in the top contact solar cells when the cells are designated for space use. This requirement, however, does not apply to the (+) contacts on the front. Since no active cell area is present at these locations, these can remain completely uncovered.

    [0065] So the basic cover glass layout in conjunction with the top contact cell design is identical to the standard cover glass geometry with additional cut-outs 404 matching exactly the location and size of the (+) contact pads 400, 401.

    [0066] In Fig. 6 an enlarged detailed cross-sectional view through the solar cell is shown wherein the cover glass at a (+) contact location is illustrated. The cover glass 403 overlooks at 405 the active cell area 406 completely and thus ensures complete protection of the active cell from particle radiation. Similar as in the standard manufacturing flow outlined before, interconnectors are attached to the (-) contacts first. Then the cover glass 403 is bonded with transparent silicone adhesive 208. The cut-outs 404 leave ample space around the (+) contact pads, e.g. for welding electrodes 407 such that the (+) interconnector 408 welding can be performed after cover glass bonding.

    [0067] In this way, the top or front contact cell and subsequently the top or front contact solar cell cover glass unit (CIC) is compatible with the state of the art manufacturing flow and allows for a range of design, measurement and manufacturing features of the photovoltaic assembly (PVA) that are also part of the present invention.

    [0068] Fig. 7 shows examples of interconnector shapes adapted to the front contact solar cell according to this invention. It is to be noted that the dimensions are not to scale: the cell to cell distance 501 is typically 5-10 times as large as the cell height 502.

    [0069] Since the contact pads 304' and 10 of two adjacent cells are roughly on equal height, merely differing by the height of the epitaxy 500 that was etched away for the (+) contact, no S-shaped interconnector loop is required anymore. The shape of the thermal expansion loop can be rather confined to the space that is defined by the inter cell gap 501 (i.e. the distance between two adjacent cells in a string configuration) and the height of the cell 502. Examples for proposed shapes are a "U"-shaped interconnector geometry 503 or a "W"-shaped interconnector geometry 504 as shown in Fig. 7. Other shapes are possible which are all characterized by the fact that they have no element above the height of the solar cell 502 at all. In this way the cell to cell interconnector 503, 504 is completely protected from mechanical damage, like bending, during all solar array manufacturing and cleaning steps. This is an important advantage, since several interconnector concepts use fairly soft and thin metal foils, which are capable of surviving a large number of thermal cycles if their designed shape remains undistorted. Accidental changes in shape introduce stress concentration points that dramatically reduce the lifetime of the interconnector. The completely protected shape according to this invention thus has the potential of being able to use some shape sensitive interconnector materials for mission requiring a high number of thermal cycles.

    [0070] Care has to be taken that the end 505 of the interconnector 503, 504 does not come in contact with the open p-n-junctions 506 of the cell. Therefore the end of the interconnector can be optionally bend upwards by 90° (as shown at 507) which mitigates any possibility for it to touch the p-n-junctions 506, since the interconnector is stopped by the cover glass 403 and is thus distant from the side wall of groove 500' which accommodates contact 304 like in the example of Figure 4.

    [0071] It is immediately obvious to persons skilled in the art that with this solar cell assembly design, individual solar cells as well as individual diodes can be easily measured electrically even in higher assembly stages, e.g. within a string or on a photovoltaic assembly, by placing measurement electrodes on the appropriate (+) contacts on two adjacent cells. In contrast, this is not possible in the standard prior art design where all front side contacts are covered and the rear side contacts are not accessible.

    [0072] An even more important consideration is the interaction of the solar cells in a solar array with energetic ions emitted by ion thrusters used for example for attitude control of the satellite. Typically Xenon ions with energies around 100 eV are incident on the inner panels of the solar cells. The tolerance of an array to such conditions is determined above all by the erosion occurring on the solar cell interconnectors. Interruption of those separates the electrical network and results in the loss of entire strings. By confining the interconnector to the inter cell gap as outlined above, the view factor to the Xenon ions is greatly reduced and thus the critical dose of Xenon ions resulting in an unacceptable erosion of material by sputtering is increased.

    [0073] A further protection is possible, as illustrated in Fig. 8, by bonding of an additional cover glass piece 600 by e.g. silicone adhesive 601 on the open (+) contact pads 304' after the interconnector 503 has been attached. This cover glass piece extends into the inter cell gap 501 and protects the interconnector 503 below from the energetic ions. The contraction of the inter cell gap 501 due to operating temperatures in orbit above the manufacturing temperature of the array is taken up by the flexible cover glass adhesive 601 and a gap 603 on the inner end of the (+) contact.

    [0074] Since the attachment point 604 of interconnector 503 and contact pad 304', e.g. the weld spot, is located underneath the cover glass, the electrically relevant portion of the interconnector is protected. Due to the small dimensions of this additional cover glass piece, which is understood to cover the entire width of the interconnector, e.g. 8 x 2 mm, the bonding process is most convenient if it is performed in an automated way.

    [0075] In some solar array designs the front side of the cover glass has to be equipped with a conductive coating 700 as shown in Fig. 9. In state of the art cover glass designs, this conductive coating is connected to a metalized region on the cover glass side 701. The cell design of this inventive example provides a very easy grounding method of these cover glasses, if the metalized region is positioned in the cut-outs of the cover glass around the (+) contacts. Basis is the interconnector with the 90° bend 702 described with respect to Fig. 7. The upright portion 703 is connected to the metalized cover glass edge 701 by a conductive silicone adhesive 704, like the one available under the trade names NuSil CV2646 or NuSil CV1500.

    [0076] The interconnector is usually not composed of a continuous sheet, but rather consists of individual grid fingers 705, which are contacted separately at a contact position 706 to the contact pad for redundancy reasons. In the area of the 90° bend 707, the interconnector becomes continuous again in the proposed design, before ending again in individual fingers 708. The space between the individual fingers 709 in the upright part of the interconnector finger allows the conductive adhesive to contact the metalized glass, whereas the continuous part in the area of the 90° bend 707 prevents the adhesive from touching and thus shorting the open p-n-junctions 506.

    [0077] The solar cell assembly design with the (+) contacts on the front has in addition the advantage of providing a better repair method in case a solar cell has to be replaced within a string of solar cells due to cell damage. The solar cells in a string are bonded with silicone adhesive 800 to the carbon fibre support structure 801. In case of damage to one solar cell 802, this cell has to be removed and replaced by a new one. In the prior art this is can only be achieved by welding the interconnectors of the replacement solar cell to the interconnectors of the two neighbouring solar cells of the solar cell assembly. While this repair method is still compatible with the new design, the top contact solar cell has the possibility of an improved repair method in which the interconnector is not affected by the repair process at all. This has the advantage, in contrast to the prior art, that its fatigue behaviour is not changed.

    [0078] This repair process which is enabled by the inventive design of the solar cells and solar cell assemblies is illustrated in Fig. 10. The interconnector 803 is removed from the (+) contact of the cell 804 to the left by separating the original contact section 604 from the contact pad 304' as is shown at 805. Care is taken in this case, that the contact pad 304' is not damaged, i.e. that all damage is contained in the interconnector 803 which is not required anymore. Once a new solar cell has been bonded to the structure instead of solar cell 802, its interconnector is again welded to the contact pad 304' of cell 804 at a slightly offset location 806.

    [0079] The interconnector 807 to the solar cell 808 to the right is removed in a similar fashion from the contact pad 304' of cell 802 as is shown at 809. In this case, however, care is taken during separating the original contact section 604 to contain all damage in the contact pad 304' and not in the interconnector 807. Once the new solar cell has been bonded at the location of solar cell 802, the interconnector 807 is welded to the contact pad 304' of the replacement cell at a slightly offset location 810.

    [0080] In this way, the electrically active part of the left hand side interconnector 803 and the right hand side interconnector 807 remain completely unaffected by the repair process. The only prerequisite of this repair method is that silicone adhesive 800 is present underneath the location of the respective contact pads of solar cell 802 and solar cell 804 to support the cell during the contacting (e.g. welding) operation.

    [0081] As outlined previously, the interconnection of single CICs into a string is hard to fully automate in the prior art, since the CICs have to be turned upside down and the interconnectors have to be placed at the respective rear side positions. In the frame of the present invention, the CICs can be placed directly onto a suitable positioning plate 900, on which the exact cell positions are marked by appropriate grooves 901 or similar fixations.

    [0082] As illustrated in Fig. 11, a CIC 902 is laterally positioned. The next CIC 903 in a solar cell array of string form is automatically placed (arrow 904) at its position which simultaneously places its interconnectors 905 at the correct welding pad position 906 of the CIC 902. Merely the diode interconnector 907 of CIC 902 has to be temporarily moved out of the way (arrow 908) during the placement of CIC 903. This can be accomplished easily by compressed air (nozzle 909) or any other device that bends the diode interconnector 907 upwards. The contacting of the CICs e.g. by welding with welding electrodes 910, can then also be performed automatically.

    [0083] The welding electrodes 910 can in addition serve to fine adjust the interconnector positions automatically (arrow 911) with the help of a camera based technique (machine vision). The positioning foil is then placed on top of the string and the further solar cell array manufacturing process continues.

    [0084] Finally the top contact solar cell opens up the possibility to integrate the solar cell array in one step by an automated manufacturing sequence directly on a support structure 1000, e.g. the carbon fibre/honeycomb panel as shown in Fig. 12.

    [0085] In this manufacturing flow, silicone adhesive is first applied on the rear side of the individual solar cells 1001, preferably by a dispense technique with dispenser 1002. This technique together with room temperature vulcanizing silicone adhesives (RTVs) which are typically used in solar arrays for space, is hard to apply on larger panels, since the viscosity of the adhesive changes with time and leads to vastly different adhesive conditions during lay down of the first compared to the last string on an large area solar array panel. Applied to single solar cells, however, these problems do not arise.

    [0086] The adhesive pattern 1003 can have any shape, however, an advantageous requirement here is that adhesive is present underneath all front side contact pad locations 1004. The solar cells 1001 are turned upside down and automatically placed onto the structure 1000, and a suitable device, e.g. a metal stamp 1005, cures the adhesive underneath by applying pressure as well as temperature. Typical conditions are T < 100 °C, for less than 1 min and pressures of less than one bar.

    [0087] As soon as there are two solar cells present on the panel, the interconnectors 1006 are placed between the solar cells and welded, e.g. by welding electrodes 1007, to the contact pads. Finally the cover glasses 1008 are bonded to the cells, again after the adhesive has been applied onto it, e.g. with a dispenser 1009. The adhesive can thus be applied by a dispense technique as well, however, it has to be applied as continuous layer in the active region of the solar cell and has to be free of voids in order to minimize transmission losses. In particular this manufacturing method allows covering a plurality of cells 1010 at once with the same, large area cover glass.

    [0088] Optionally, only the adhesive spots 1004 underneath the front side contact pads can be cured first. The interconnection 1006 to the nearest neighbour solar cells is performed subsequently. By placing a contact probe on two front side contact pads of opposite polarity, a check of the mechanical and electrical integrity of the solar cell and the diode is performed, e.g. by electroluminescence imaging and light I-V measurement. Only then the remaining adhesive 1003 is cured thereafter. This has the advantage that the cell can be easier removed in case damage to the cell has been detected, e.g. caused by the welding operation.

    [0089] The present invention thus provides a top contact solar cell. The provision of an electrical contact, originally in the prior art present on the cell rear side, is placed on the cell front side. This inventive technique is suitable for all multi-junction solar cells, having several p-n-junctions stacked on top of each other and a bottom junction of sufficient mechanical stability and conductivity. The rear side contact is established by etching away on a localized area all p-n-junctions, including the emitter of the bottom p-n-junction. The basis of the bottom cell is then equipped with an ohmic contact and establishes a conductive path between cell rear side and front side.

    [0090] The top contact solar cell can be equipped with a cover glass having cut outs around the contacts of the rear side doping provided on the front side of the cell.

    [0091] With these solar cells with integrated cover and interconnectors a solar cell assembly can be manufactured in a manufacturing process which is compatible with the photovoltaic assembly manufacturing processes of the prior arts that existing machinery can be used also with the solar cells according to the invention.

    [0092] Reference numerals in the claims and in the description are provided only for better understanding the invention and shall not limit the scope of the invention which is defined by the claims only.


    Claims

    1. A solar cell assembly of at least two interconnectable solar cells,

    • each solar cell (C; 804, 802, 808; 1010) having a semiconductor substrate (4) with a front surface (4') and a rear surface (4"),

    - wherein a first p-n-junction (3) is provided in the substrate (4) close to the front surface (4') thereof, said p-n-junction separating the substrate into a front portion (306) having a first doping and a rear portion (303) having a second doping;

    - wherein a front layer (1') comprising a further p-n-junction (1) is provided on the front surface (4') of the substrate (4), said p-n-junction separating the front layer (1') into a front portion having said first doping and a rear portion having said second doping and wherein said front layer front portion is averted from said substrate front portion (306);

    - wherein at least one first electric contact (9) is provided on the front side (C') of the solar cell and electrically connected to the front portion of said front layer (1');

    - wherein at least one second electric contact (8) which is provided on the rear side (C") of the solar cell (C) is electrically connected to a contact point (304) provided on the front side (C') of the solar cell (C);

    - wherein said at least one second electric contact point (304) is placed on the bottom surface of a groove (305) which opens to the front side (C') of the solar cell (C) and which extends to the rear portion (303) of the substrate (4) and

    - wherein said electrical connection between the second electric contact (8) and the contact point (304) is provided by the rear portion (303) of the substrate (4);

    - wherein a cover glass (403; 1008) is provided on the front surface of the front layer of each solar cell (804, 802, 808; 1010),

    - wherein said cover glass (403) is provided with cut-outs (404) at the positions of the second electric contact point (304), the cut-outs (404) having preferably the same size as a contact pad (304') of the electric contact (304);

    • wherein in the solar cell assembly

    - first and second electric contact pads (10, 304') of the first and second electric contacts (9, 8), respectively, of each solar cell (C) are positioned so that a first electric contact pad (10) of said solar cell is placed close to a second electric contact pad (304') of an adjacent solar cell and/or a second electric contact pad (304') of said solar cell is placed close to a first electric contact pad (10) of said or another adjacent solar cell when said solar cells form a row of solar cells;

    - interconnectors (503; 504) are provided to connect each first electric contact pad (10) of said solar cell with the adjacent second electric contact pad (304') of said adjacent solar cell and/or to connect each second electric contact pad (304') of said solar cell with the adjacent first electric contact pad (10) of said or another adjacent solar cell;

    - the size of each interconnector (503; 504) is such that no element of the interconnector protrudes from the front surface (C') of the cover glass of the solar cells connected by said interconnector;

    characterized in that

    - each interconnector (503; 504) is provided with a cover member (600) covering the front surface of the interconnector (503; 504).


     
    2. A solar cell assembly of at least three interconnectable solar cells,

    • each solar cell (C; 804, 802, 808; 1010) having a semiconductor substrate (4) with a front surface (4') and a rear surface (4"),

    - wherein a first p-n-junction (3) is provided in the substrate (4) close to the front surface (4') thereof, said p-n-junction separating the substrate into a front portion (306) having a first doping and a rear portion (303) having a second doping;

    - wherein a front layer (1') comprising a further p-n-junction (1) is provided on the front surface (4') of the substrate (4), said p-n-junction separating the front layer (1') into a front portion having said first doping and a rear portion having said second doping and wherein said front layer front portion is averted from said substrate front portion (306);

    - wherein at least one first electric contact (9) is provided on the front side (C') of the solar cell and electrically connected to the front portion of said front layer (1');

    - wherein at least one second electric contact (8) which is provided on the rear side (C") of the solar cell (C) is electrically connected to a contact point (304) provided on the front side (C') of the solar cell (C);

    - wherein said at least one second electric contact point (304) is placed on the bottom surface of a groove (305) which opens to the front side (C') of the solar cell (C) and which extends to the rear portion (303) of the substrate (4) and

    - wherein said electrical connection between the second electric contact (8) and the contact point (304) is provided by the rear portion (303) of the substrate (4);

    - wherein a cover glass (403; 1008) is provided on the front surface of the front layer of each solar cell (804, 802, 808; 1010),

    - wherein said cover glass (403) is provided with cut-outs (404) at the positions of the second electric contact point (304), the cut-outs (404) having preferably the same size as a contact pad (304') of the electric contact (304);

    • wherein in the solar cell assembly

    - first and second electric contact pads (10, 304') of the first and second electric contacts (9, 8), respectively, of each solar cell (C) are positioned so that a first electric contact pad (10) of said solar cell is placed close to a second electric contact pad (304') of an adjacent solar cell and/or a second electric contact pad (304') of said solar cell is placed close to a first electric contact pad (10) of said or another adjacent solar cell when said solar cells form an array of solar cells;

    - interconnectors (503; 504) are provided to connect each first electric contact pad (10) of said first solar cell with the adjacent second electric contact pad (304') of said adjacent solar cell and/or to connect each second electric contact pad (304') of said solar cell with the adjacent first electric contact pad (10) of said or another adjacent solar cell;

    - the size of each interconnector (503; 504) is such that no element of the interconnector protrudes from the front surface (C') of the cover glass of the solar cells connected by said interconnector;

    characterized in that

    - each interconnector (503; 504) is provided with a cover member (600) covering the front surface of the interconnector (503; 504).


     
    3. A solar cell assembly according to claim 1 or 2,
    characterized in that

    - the cover member (600) is mounted to the interconnector (503; 504) in a flexible manner.


     
    4. A solar cell assembly according to one of the preceding claims,
    characterized in that

    - said cover member (600) is a cover glass piece.


     
    5. A solar cell assembly according to one of the preceding claims,
    characterized in that

    - at least one intermediate layer (2') comprising a p-n junction (2) is provided between said substrate (4) and said front layer (1'), said p-n junction (2) separating the at least one intermediate layer (2') into a front portion having said first doping and a rear portion having said second doping and wherein said intermediate layer front portion is averted from said substrate front portion (306).


     
    6. A solar cell assembly according to one of the preceding claims,
    characterized in that

    - said groove (305) is provided on a lateral side (7') of the solar cell (C) so that it also opens to the lateral side (7').


     
    7. A solar cell assembly of according to one of the preceding claims,
    characterized in that

    - the front surface of the front layer (1') is at least partially provided with an antireflection coating (12)
    and/or

    - said bottom surface of the groove (305) is provided around a contact pad (304') of said electric contact point (304) at least partially with an antireflection coating (12').


     
    8. A solar cell assembly according to one of the preceding claims,
    characterized in that

    - said solar cell is a III-V triple junction cell wherein said substrate (4) is a Germanium wafer.


     
    9. A solar cell assembly according to one of the preceding claims,
    characterized in that

    - said interconnectors are formed in a U-shape (503) or a W-shape (504) configuration.


     
    10. A solar cell assembly according to one of the preceding claims,
    characterized in that

    - at least one free end of said interconnector (503; 504) is bent upwardly away from the associated electric contact pad (304') and distant from the sidewall of the groove (500').


     
    11. A solar cell assembly according to one of the preceding claims,
    characterized in that

    - each interconnector (702) comprises a plurality of grid fingers (705), each of which is contacted separately to the associated electric contact pad (304').


     
    12. A solar cell assembly according to one of the preceding claims,
    characterized in that

    - the front surface of said cover glass (403; 1008) is provided with a conductive coating (700) which is connected to a metalized portion (701) of a side wall of the cover glass (403; 1008) adjacent to the groove (500') accommodating one (304') of the second electric contact pads and

    - said metalized portion (701) is electrically connected to said first electric contact pad (304').


     
    13. A solar cell assembly according to claim 12,
    characterized in that

    - the free end of the interconnector (702) is bent towards the front side of the solar cell and

    - the bent portion (703) of the interconnector (702) electrically contacts said metalized portion (701) when the interconnector (702) is fixed to said electric contact pad (304') and

    - the bent portion (703) preferably forms grid fingers (708) at the free end thereof.


     
    14. A method of manufacturing a solar cell assembly as defined in one of the preceding claims, with the steps of

    a) providing a solar cell (1001);

    b) applying an adhesive, preferably a vulcanizing silicone adhesive, to the rear side of the solar cell (1001), at least at positions underneath all front side contact pad locations (1004);

    c) placing the solar cell (C) with the rear side thereof onto a support structure (1000);

    d) curing the adhesive by applying heat and or pressure onto the support structure (1000) with the solar cell (1001) placed thereon;

    e) repeating steps a) to d) with another solar cell which is placed in step c) so that associated contact pads which are to be interconnected are positioned close to one another;

    f) placing and welding the interconnectors (1006) in order to connect associated contact pads;

    g) repeating steps e) and f) until the desired number of solar cells (1001) is mounted to the support structure (1000) and electrically interconnected and

    h) placing and mounting a cover member (600) over each interconnector (503; 504) to cover the front surface of the interconnector (503; 504),

    wherein after step g) a cover glass (1008) is placed over the plurality of solar cells (1001) and is mounted to the support structure (1000) and/or to the solar cells (1001).
     
    15. A method of manufacturing a solar cell assembly according to claim 14,
    characterized in that
    step d) is carried out in two sub-steps of

    d1) first curing the adhesive at the positions underneath all front side contact pad locations (1004);

    d2) thereafter curing the adhesive at remaining adhesive positions (1003),

    - wherein an additional step of testing the mechanical and/or electrical integrity of the solar cell (1001) is carried out between step d1) and step d2).


     


    Ansprüche

    1. Solarzellenanordnung aus mindestens zwei miteinander verbindbaren Solarzellen,

    • wobei jede Solarzelle (C; 804, 802, 808; 1010) ein Halbleitersubstrat (4) mit einer Vorderfläche (4') und einer Rückfläche (4") aufweist,

    - wobei ein erster p-n-Übergang (3) in dem Substrat (4) nahe der Vorderfläche (4') desselben vorgesehen ist, wobei der p-n-Übergang das Substrat in einen vorderen Abschnitt (306) mit einer ersten Dotierung und einen hinteren Abschnitt (303) mit einer zweiten Dotierung unterteilt;

    - wobei eine vordere Schicht (1'), die einen weiteren p-n-Übergang (1) umfasst, auf der Vorderfläche (4') des Substrats (4) vorgesehen ist, wobei der p-n-Übergang die vordere Schicht (1') in einen vorderen Abschnitt mit der ersten Dotierung und einen hinteren Abschnitt mit der zweiten Dotierung unterteilt und wobei der vordere Abschnitt der vorderen Schicht von dem vorderen Abschnitt (306) des Substrats abgewandt ist;

    - wobei mindestens ein erster elektrischer Kontakt (9) auf der Vorderseite (C') der Solarzelle vorgesehen und elektrisch mit dem vorderen Abschnitt der vorderen Schicht (1') verbunden ist;

    - wobei mindestens ein zweiter elektrischer Kontakt (8), der auf der Rückseite (C") der Solarzelle (C) vorgesehen ist, mit einem auf der Vorderseite (C') der Solarzelle (C) vorgesehenen Kontaktpunkt (304) elektrisch verbunden ist;

    - wobei der mindestens eine zweite elektrische Kontaktpunkt (304) auf der Bodenfläche einer Nut (305) angeordnet ist, die sich zur Vorderseite (C') der Solarzelle (C) öffnet und die sich zu dem hinteren Abschnitt (303) des Substrats (4) erstreckt, und

    - wobei die elektrische Verbindung zwischen dem zweiten elektrischen Kontakt (8) und dem Kontaktpunkt (304) durch den hinteren Abschnitt (303) des Substrats (4) bereitgestellt ist;

    - wobei ein Deckglas (403; 1008) auf der Vorderfläche der vorderen Schicht einer jeden Solarzelle (804, 802, 808; 1010) vorgesehen ist,

    - wobei das Deckglas (403) an den Positionen des zweiten elektrischen Kontaktpunktes (304) mit Ausschnitten (404) versehen ist, wobei die Ausschnitte (404) vorzugsweise die gleiche Größe wie ein Kontaktpad (304') des elektrischen Kontaktes (304) haben;

    • wobei in der Solarzellenanordnung

    - erste und zweite elektrische Kontaktpads (10, 304') des ersten bzw. des zweiten elektrischen Kontakts (9, 8) einer jeden Solarzelle (C) so angeordnet sind, dass ein erstes elektrisches Kontaktpad (10) der Solarzelle nahe eines zweiten elektrischen Kontaktpads (304') einer benachbarten Solarzelle angeordnet ist und/oder ein zweites elektrisches Kontaktpad (304') der Solarzelle nahe eines ersten elektrischen Kontaktpads (10) der oder einer anderen benachbarten Solarzelle angeordnet ist, wenn die Solarzellen eine Reihe von Solarzellen bilden;

    - Verbinder (503; 504) vorgesehen sind, um jedes erste elektrische Kontaktpad (10) der Solarzelle mit dem benachbarten zweiten elektrischen Kontaktpad (304') der benachbarten Solarzelle zu verbinden und/oder um jedes zweite elektrische Kontaktpad (304') der Solarzelle mit dem benachbarten ersten elektrischen Kontaktpad (10) der oder einer anderen benachbarten Solarzelle zu verbinden;

    - die Größe eines jeden Verbinders (503; 504) so ist, dass kein Element des Verbinders aus der Stirnfläche (C') des Decklglases der durch den Verbinder verbundenen Solarzellen herausragt;

    dadurch gekennzeichnet, dass

    - jeder Verbinder (503; 504) mit einem Abdeckelement (600) versehen ist, das die Vorderfläche des Verbinders (503; 504) bedeckt.


     
    2. Solarzellenanordnung aus mindestens drei miteinander verbindbaren Solarzellen,

    • wobei jede Solarzelle (C; 804, 802, 808; 1010) ein Halbleitersubstrat (4) mit einer Vorderfläche (4') und einer Rückfläche (4") aufweist,

    - wobei ein erster p-n-Übergang (3) in dem Substrat (4) nahe der Vorderfläche (4') desselben vorgesehen ist, wobei der p-n-Übergang das Substrat in einen vorderen Abschnitt (306) mit einer ersten Dotierung und einen hinteren Abschnitt (303) mit einer zweiten Dotierung unterteilt;

    - wobei eine vordere Schicht (1'), die einen weiteren p-n-Übergang (1) umfasst, auf der Vorderfläche (4') des Substrats (4) vorgesehen ist, wobei der p-n-Übergang die vordere Schicht (1') in einen vorderen Abschnitt mit der ersten Dotierung und einen hinteren Abschnitt mit der zweiten Dotierung unterteilt und wobei der vordere Abschnitt der vorderen Schicht von dem vorderen Abschnitt (306) des Substrats abgewandt ist;

    - wobei ein erster p-n-Übergang (3) in dem Substrat (4) nahe der vorderen Oberfläche (4') desselben vorgesehen ist, wobei der p-n-Übergang das Substrat in einen vorderen Abschnitt (306) mit einer ersten Dotierung und einen hinteren Abschnitt (303) mit einer zweiten Dotierung unterteilt;

    - wobei mindestens ein erster elektrischer Kontakt (9) auf der Vorderseite (C') der Solarzelle vorgesehen und elektrisch mit dem vorderen Abschnitt der vorderen Schicht (1') verbunden ist;

    - wobei mindestens ein zweiter elektrischer Kontakt (8), der auf der Rückseite (C") der Solarzelle (C) vorgesehen ist, mit einem auf der Vorderseite (C') der Solarzelle (C) vorgesehenen Kontaktpunkt (304) elektrisch verbunden ist;

    - wobei der mindestens eine zweite elektrische Kontaktpunkt (304) auf der Bodenfläche einer Nut (305) angeordnet ist, die sich zur Vorderseite (C') der Solarzelle (C) öffnet und die sich zu dem hinteren Abschnitt (303) des Substrats (4) erstreckt, und

    - wobei die elektrische Verbindung zwischen dem zweiten elektrischen Kontakt (8) und dem Kontaktpunkt (304) durch den hinteren Abschnitt (303) des Substrats (4) bereitgestellt ist;

    - wobei ein Deckglas (403; 1008) auf der Vorderfläche der vorderen Schicht einer jeden Solarzelle (804, 802, 808; 1010) vorgesehen ist,

    - wobei das Deckglas (403) an den Positionen des zweiten elektrischen Kontaktpunktes (304) mit Ausschnitten (404) versehen ist, wobei die Ausschnitte (404) vorzugsweise die gleiche Größe wie ein Kontaktpad (304') des elektrischen Kontaktes (304) haben;

    • wobei in der Solarzellenanordnung

    - erste und zweite elektrische Kontaktpads (10, 304') des ersten bzw. des zweiten elektrischen Kontakts (9, 8) einer jeden Solarzelle (C) so angeordnet sind, dass ein erstes elektrisches Kontaktpad (10) der Solarzelle nahe eines zweiten elektrischen Kontaktpads (304') einer benachbarten Solarzelle angeordnet ist und/oder ein zweites elektrisches Kontaktpad (304') der Solarzelle nahe eines ersten elektrischen Kontaktpads (10) der oder einer anderen benachbarten Solarzelle angeordnet ist, wenn die Solarzellen eine Anordnung von Solarzellen bilden;

    - Verbinder (503; 504) vorgesehen sind, um jedes erste elektrische Kontaktpad (10) der ersten Solarzelle mit dem benachbarten zweiten elektrischen Kontaktpad (304') der benachbarten Solarzelle zu verbinden und/oder um jedes zweite elektrische Kontaktpad (304') der Solarzelle mit dem benachbarten ersten elektrischen Kontaktpad (10) der oder einer anderen benachbarten Solarzelle zu verbinden;

    - die Größe eines jeden Verbinders (503; 504) so ist, dass kein Element des Verbinders aus der Stirnfläche (C') des Decklglases der durch den Verbinder verbundenen Solarzellen herausragt;

    dadurch gekennzeichnet, dass

    - jeder Verbinder (503; 504) mit einem Abdeckelement (600) versehen ist, das die Vorderfläche des Verbinders (503; 504) bedeckt.


     
    3. Solarzellenanordnung nach Anspruch 1 oder 2,
    dadurch gekennzeichnet, dass

    - das Abdeckelement (600) flexibel an dem Verbinder (503; 504) befestigt ist.


     
    4. Solarzellenanordnung nach einem der vorstehenden Ansprüche,
    dadurch gekennzeichnet, dass

    - das Abdeckelement (600) ein Deckglasstück ist.


     
    5. Solarzellenanordnung nach einem der vorstehenden Ansprüche,
    dadurch gekennzeichnet, dass

    - mindestens eine Zwischenschicht (2'), die einen p-n-Übergang (2) umfasst, zwischen dem Substrat (4) und der vorderen Schicht (1') vorgesehen ist, wobei der p-n-Übergang (2) die mindestens eine Zwischenschicht (2') in einen vorderen Abschnitt mit der ersten Dotierung und einen hinteren Abschnitt mit der zweiten Dotierung unterteilt und wobei der vordere Abschnitt der Zwischenschicht von dem vorderen Abschnitt (306) des Substrats abgewandt ist.


     
    6. Solarzellenanordnung nach einem der vorstehenden Ansprüche,
    dadurch gekennzeichnet, dass

    - die Nut (305) an einer lateralen Seite (7') der Solarzelle (C) vorgesehen ist, so dass sie sich auch zur lateralen Seite (7') hin öffnet.


     
    7. Solarzellenanordnung nach einem der vorstehenden Ansprüche,
    dadurch gekennzeichnet, dass

    - die Vorderfläche der vorderen Schicht (1') zumindest teilweise mit einer Antireflexionsbeschichtung (12) versehen ist und/oder

    - die Bodenfläche der Nut (305) um ein Kontaktpad (304') des elektrischen Kontaktpunktes (304) herum zumindest teilweise mit einer Antireflexionsbeschichtung (12') versehen ist.


     
    8. Solarzellenanordnung nach einem der vorstehenden Ansprüche,
    dadurch gekennzeichnet, dass

    - die Solarzelle eine III-V-Dreifachübergangszelle ist, wobei das Substrat (4) ein Germanium-Wafer ist.


     
    9. Solarzellenanordnung nach einem der vorstehenden Ansprüche,
    dadurch gekennzeichnet, dass

    - die Verbinder in U-Form (503) oder einer W-Form (504) ausgebildet sind.


     
    10. Solarzellenanordnung nach einem der vorstehenden Ansprüche,
    dadurch gekennzeichnet, dass

    - mindestens ein freies Ende des Verbinders (503; 504) nach oben von dem zugehörigen elektrischen Kontaktpad (304') weg gebogen und von der Seitenwand der Nut (500') beabstandet ist.


     
    11. Solarzellenanordnung nach einem der vorstehenden Ansprüche,
    dadurch gekennzeichnet, dass

    - jeder Verbinder (702) eine Mehrzahl von Gitterfingern (705) umfasst, von denen jeder separat mit dem zugehörigen elektrischen Kontaktpad (304') kontaktiert ist.


     
    12. Solarzellenanordnung nach einem der vorstehenden Ansprüche,
    dadurch gekennzeichnet, dass

    - die Vorderfläche des Deckglases (403; 1008) mit einer leitfähigen Beschichtung (700) versehen ist, die mit einem metallisierten Abschnitt (701) einer Seitenwand des Deckglases (403; 1008) benachbart zu der Nut (500') verbunden, die eines (304') der zweiten elektrischen Kontaktpads aufnimmt, und

    - der metallisierte Abschnitt (701) elektrisch mit dem ersten elektrischen Kontaktpad (304') verbunden ist.


     
    13. Solarzellenanordnung nach Anspruch 12,
    dadurch gekennzeichnet, dass

    - das freie Ende des Verbinders (702) in Richtung der Vorderseite der Solarzelle gebogen ist und

    - der gebogene Abschnitt (703) des Verbinders (702) den metallisierten Abschnitt (701) elektrisch kontaktiert, wenn der Verbinder (702) an dem elektrischen Kontaktpad (304') befestigt ist, und

    - der gebogene Abschnitt (703) an seinem freien Ende vorzugsweise Gitterfinger (708)bildet.


     
    14. Verfahren zur Herstellung einer Solarzellenanordnung, wie in einem der vorstehenden Ansprüche definiert, mit den folgenden Schritten

    a) Bereitstellen einer Solarzelle (1001);

    b) Aufbringen eines Klebstoffs, vorzugsweise eines vulkanisierenden Silikonklebstoffs, auf die Rückseite der Solarzelle (1001), zumindest an Positionen unterhalb aller Kontaktpadpositionen der Vorderseite (1004);

    c) Platzieren der Solarzelle (C) mit ihrer Rückseite auf einer Trägerstruktur (1000);

    d) Aushärten des Klebstoffs durch Anwendung von Wärme und/oder Druck auf die Trägerstruktur (1000) mit der darauf platzierten Solarzelle (1001);

    e) Wiederholen der Schritte a) bis d) mit einer weiteren Solarzelle, die in Schritt c) platziert wird, so dass die zugehörigen Kontaktpads, die miteinander verbunden werden sollen, nahe beieinander positioniert werden;

    f) Platzieren und Verschweißen der Verbinder (1006), um die zugehörigen Kontaktpads zu verbinden;

    g) Wiederholen der Schritte e) und f), bis die gewünschte Anzahl von Solarzellen (1001) auf der Trägerstruktur (1000) montiert und elektrisch miteinander verbunden ist und

    h) Platzieren und Montieren eines Abdeckelements (600) über jedem Verbinder (503; 504), um die Vorderfläche des Verbinders (503; 504) abzudecken,

    wobei nach Schritt g) ein Deckglas (1008) über die Mehrzahl von Solarzellen (1001) platziert und an der Trägerstruktur (1000) und/oder an den Solarzellen (1001) befestigt wird.
     
    15. Verfahren zur Herstellung einer Solarzellenanordnung nach Anspruch 14, dadurch gekennzeichnet, dass
    Schritt d) in zwei Teilschritten durchgeführt wird, wobei

    d1) zuerst der Klebstoff an den Positionen unterhalb aller Kontaktpadpositionen der Vorderseite ausgehärtet wird;

    d2) danach der Klebstoff an den verbleibenden Klebstoffpositionen (1003) ausgehärtet wird,

    - wobei ein zusätzlicher Schritt der Prüfung der mechanischen und/oder elektrischen Integrität der Solarzelle (1001) zwischen Schritt d1) und Schritt d2) durchgeführt wird.


     


    Revendications

    1. Ensemble de cellules solaires d'au moins deux cellules solaires interconnectables,

    • chaque cellule solaire (C ; 804, 802, 808 ; 1010) comportant un substrat semi-conducteur (4) avec une surface avant (4') et une surface arrière (4"),

    - dans lequel une première jonction p-n (3) est prévue dans le substrat (4) à proximité de sa surface avant (4'), ladite jonction p-n séparant le substrat en une partie avant (306) ayant un premier dopage et une partie arrière (303) ayant un second dopage ;

    - dans lequel une couche avant (1') comprenant une jonction p-n (1) supplémentaire est prévue sur la surface avant (4') du substrat (4), ladite jonction p-n séparant la couche avant (1') en une partie avant ayant ledit premier dopage et une partie arrière ayant ledit second dopage et dans lequel ladite partie avant de couche avant est écartée de ladite partie avant de substrat (306) ;

    - dans lequel au moins un premier contact électrique (9) est prévu sur le côté avant (C') de la cellule solaire et connecté électriquement à la partie avant de ladite couche avant (1') ;

    - dans lequel au moins un deuxième contact électrique (8) qui est prévu sur le côté arrière (C") de la cellule solaire (C) est connecté électriquement à un point de contact (304) prévu sur le côté avant (C') de la cellule solaire (C) ;

    - dans lequel ledit au moins un deuxième point de contact électrique (304) est placé sur la surface inférieure d'une rainure (305) qui s'ouvre sur le côté avant (C') de la cellule solaire (C) et qui s'étend jusqu'à la partie arrière (303) du substrat (4) et

    - dans lequel ladite connexion électrique entre le deuxième contact électrique (8) et le point de contact (304) est assurée par la partie arrière (303) du substrat (4) ;

    - dans lequel un verre de couverture (403 ; 1008) est prévu sur la surface avant de la couche avant de chaque cellule solaire (804, 802, 808 ; 1010),

    - dans lequel ledit verre de couverture (403) est pourvu de découpes (404) aux positions du deuxième point de contact électrique (304), les découpes (404) ayant de préférence la même taille qu'un plot de contact (304') du contact électrique (304) ;

    • dans lequel dans l'ensemble de cellules solaires

    - des premier et second plots de contact électriques (10, 304') des premier et deuxième contacts électriques (9, 8), respectivement, de chaque cellule solaire (C) sont positionnés de sorte qu'un premier plot de contact électrique (10) de ladite cellule solaire est placé à proximité d'un second plot de contact électrique (304') d'une cellule solaire adjacente et/ou un second plot de contact électrique (304') de ladite cellule solaire est placé à proximité d'un premier plot de contact électrique (10) de ladite cellule solaire ou d'une autre cellule solaire adjacente lorsque lesdites cellules solaires forment une rangée de cellules solaires ;

    - des interconnecteurs (503 ; 504) sont prévus pour connecter chaque premier plot de contact électrique (10) de ladite cellule solaire avec le second plot de contact électrique adjacent (304') de ladite cellule solaire adjacente et/ou pour connecter chaque second plot de contact électrique (304') de ladite cellule solaire avec le premier plot de contact électrique adjacent (10) de ladite cellule solaire ou d'une autre cellule solaire adjacente ;

    - la taille de chaque interconnecteur (503 ; 504) est telle qu'aucun élément de l'interconnecteur ne dépasse de la surface avant (C') du verre de couverture des cellules solaires connectées par ledit interconnecteur ;

    caractérisé en ce que

    - chaque interconnecteur (503 ; 504) est pourvu d'un élément de couverture (600) couvrant la surface avant de l'interconnecteur (503 ; 504).


     
    2. Ensemble de cellules solaires d'au moins trois cellules solaires interconnectables,

    • chaque cellule solaire (C ; 804, 802, 808 ; 1010) comportant un substrat semi-conducteur (4) avec une surface avant (4') et une surface arrière (4"),

    - dans lequel une première jonction p-n (3) est prévue dans le substrat (4) à proximité de sa surface avant (4'), ladite jonction p-n séparant le substrat en une partie avant (306) ayant un premier dopage et une partie arrière (303) ayant un second dopage ;

    - dans lequel une couche avant (1') comprenant une jonction p-n (1) supplémentaire est prévue sur la surface avant (4') du substrat (4), ladite jonction p-n séparant la couche avant (1') en une partie avant ayant ledit premier dopage et une partie arrière ayant ledit second dopage et dans lequel ladite partie avant de couche avant est écartée de ladite partie avant de substrat (306) ;

    - dans lequel au moins un premier contact électrique (9) est prévu sur le côté avant (C') de la cellule solaire et connecté électriquement à la partie avant de ladite couche avant (1') ;

    - dans lequel au moins un deuxième contact électrique (8) qui est prévu sur le côté arrière (C") de la cellule solaire (C) est connecté électriquement à un point de contact (304) prévu sur le côté avant (C') de la cellule solaire (C) ;

    - dans lequel ledit au moins un deuxième point de contact électrique (304) est placé sur la surface inférieure d'une rainure (305) qui s'ouvre sur le côté avant (C') de la cellule solaire (C) et qui s'étend jusqu'à la partie arrière (303) du substrat (4) et

    - dans lequel ladite connexion électrique entre le deuxième contact électrique (8) et le point de contact (304) est assurée par la partie arrière (303) du substrat (4) ;

    - dans lequel un verre de couverture (403 ; 1008) est prévu sur la surface avant de la couche avant de chaque cellule solaire (804, 802, 808 ; 1010),

    - dans lequel ledit verre de couverture (403) est pourvu de découpes (404) aux positions du deuxième point de contact électrique (304), les découpes (404) ayant de préférence la même taille qu'un plot de contact (304') du contact électrique (304) ;

    • dans lequel, dans l'ensemble de cellules solaires

    - les premier et second plots de contact électrique (10, 304') des premier et deuxième contacts électriques (9, 8), respectivement, de chaque cellule solaire (C) sont positionnés de telle sorte qu'un premier plot de contact électrique (10) de ladite cellule solaire est placé à proximité d'un second plot de contact électrique (304') d'une cellule solaire adjacente et/ou un second plot de contact électrique (304') de ladite cellule solaire est placé à proximité d'un premier plot de contact électrique (10) de ladite cellule solaire ou d'une autre cellule solaire adjacente lorsque lesdites cellules solaires forment un réseau de cellules solaires ;

    - des interconnecteurs (503 ; 504) sont prévus pour connecter chaque premier plot de contact électrique (10) de ladite première cellule solaire avec le second plot de contact électrique adjacent (304') de ladite cellule solaire adjacente et/ou pour connecter chaque second plot de contact électrique (304') de ladite cellule solaire avec le premier plot de contact électrique adjacent (10) de ladite cellule solaire ou d'une autre cellule solaire adjacente ;

    - la taille de chaque interconnecteur (503 ; 504) est telle qu'aucun élément de l'interconnecteur ne dépasse de la surface avant (C') du verre de couverture des cellules solaires connectées par ledit interconnecteur ;

    caractérisé en ce que

    - chaque interconnecteur (503 ; 504) est pourvu d'un élément de couverture (600) couvrant la surface avant de l'interconnecteur (503 ; 504).


     
    3. Ensemble de cellules solaires selon la revendication 1 ou 2,
    caractérisé en ce que

    - l'élément de couverture (600) est monté sur l'interconnecteur (503 ; 504) d'une manière flexible.


     
    4. Ensemble de cellules solaires selon l'une des revendications précédentes,
    caractérisé en ce que

    - ledit élément de couverture (600) est une pièce de verre de couverture.


     
    5. Ensemble de cellules solaires selon l'une des revendications précédentes,
    caractérisé en ce que

    - au moins une couche intermédiaire (2') comprenant une jonction p-n (2) est prévue entre ledit substrat (4) et ladite couche avant (1'), ladite jonction p-n (2) séparant l'au moins une couche intermédiaire (2') en une partie avant ayant ledit premier dopage et une partie arrière ayant ledit second dopage et dans laquelle ladite partie avant de couche intermédiaire est écartée de ladite partie avant de substrat (306).


     
    6. Ensemble de cellules solaires selon l'une des revendications précédentes,
    caractérisé en ce que

    - ladite rainure (305) est prévue sur un côté latéral (7') de la cellule solaire (C) de sorte qu'elle débouche également sur le côté latéral (7').


     
    7. Ensemble de cellules solaires selon l'une des revendications précédentes,
    caractérisé en ce que

    - la surface avant de la couche avant (1') est au moins partiellement pourvue d'un revêtement antireflet (12)
    et/ou

    - ladite surface inférieure de la rainure (305) est disposée autour d'un plot de contact (304') dudit point de contact électrique (304) au moins partiellement avec un revêtement antireflet (12').


     
    8. Ensemble de cellules solaires selon l'une des revendications précédentes,
    caractérisé en ce que

    - ladite cellule solaire est une cellule à triple jonction III-V dans laquelle ledit substrat (4) est une tranche de germanium.


     
    9. Ensemble de cellules solaires selon l'une des revendications précédentes,
    caractérisé en ce que

    - lesdits interconnecteurs sont formés selon une configuration en forme de U (503) ou en forme de W (504).


     
    10. Ensemble de cellules solaires selon l'une des revendications précédentes,
    caractérisé en ce que

    - au moins une extrémité libre dudit interconnecteur (503 ; 504) est courbée vers le haut en s'éloignant du plot de contact électrique associé (304') et éloignée de la paroi latérale de la rainure (500').


     
    11. Ensemble de cellules solaires selon l'une des revendications précédentes,
    caractérisé en ce que

    - chaque interconnecteur (702) comprend une pluralité de doigts de grille (705), chacun étant mis en contact séparément avec le plot de contact électrique (304') associé.


     
    12. Ensemble de cellules solaires selon l'une des revendications précédentes,
    caractérisé en ce que

    - la surface avant dudit verre de couverture (403 ; 1008) est pourvue d'un revêtement conducteur (700) qui est connecté à une partie métallisée (701) d'une paroi latérale du verre de couverture (403 ; 1008) adjacente à la rainure (500') recevant l'un (304') des seconds plots de contact électrique et

    - ladite partie métallisée (701) est connectée électriquement audit premier plot de contact électrique (304').


     
    13. Ensemble de cellules solaires selon la revendication 12,
    caractérisé en ce que

    - l'extrémité libre de l'interconnecteur (702) est courbée vers le côté avant de la cellule solaire et

    - la partie courbée (703) de l'interconnecteur (702) est en contact électrique avec ladite partie métallisée (701) lorsque l'interconnecteur (702) est fixé audit plot de contact électrique (304') et

    - la partie courbée (703) forme de préférence des doigts de grille (708) à son extrémité libre.


     
    14. Procédé de fabrication d'un ensemble de cellules solaires tel que défini dans l'une des revendications précédentes, avec les étapes de

    a) fourniture d'une cellule solaire (1001) ;

    b) application d'un adhésif, de préférence un adhésif de silicone de vulcanisation, sur le côté arrière de la cellule solaire (1001), au moins à des positions sous tous les emplacements des plots de contact latéraux avant (1004) ;

    c) disposition de la cellule solaire (C) avec son côté arrière sur une structure de support (1000) ;

    d) durcissement de l'adhésif par application de chaleur et/ou d'une pression sur la structure de support (1000) avec la cellule solaire (1001) placée sur cette dernière ;

    e) répétition des étapes a) à d) avec une autre cellule solaire qui est placée à l'étape c) de sorte que les plots de contact associés qui doivent être interconnectés soient positionnés à proximité les uns des autres ;

    f) disposition et soudage des interconnecteurs (1006) afin de connecter les plots de contact associés ;

    g) répétition des étapes e) et f) jusqu'à ce que le nombre souhaité de cellules solaires (1001) soit monté sur la structure de support (1000) et interconnecté électriquement et

    h) disposition et montage d'un élément de couverture (600) sur chaque interconnecteur (503 ; 504) pour couvrir la surface avant de l'interconnecteur (503 ; 504),

    dans lequel après l'étape g), un verre de couverture (1008) est placé sur la pluralité de cellules solaires (1001) et est monté sur la structure de support (1000) et/ou sur les cellules solaires (1001).
     
    15. Procédé de fabrication d'un ensemble de cellules solaires selon la revendication 14,
    caractérisé en ce que
    l'étape d) est réalisée en deux sous-étapes de

    d1) durcissement d'abord de l'adhésif aux positions situées sous tous les emplacements des plots de contact latéraux avant (1004) ;

    d2) durcissement ensuite de l'adhésif aux positions d'adhésif (1003) restantes,

    - dans lequel une étape supplémentaire de test de l'intégrité mécanique et/ou électrique de la cellule solaire (1001) est effectuée entre l'étape d1) et l'étape d2).


     




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    Cited references

    REFERENCES CITED IN THE DESCRIPTION



    This list of references cited by the applicant is for the reader's convenience only. It does not form part of the European patent document. Even though great care has been taken in compiling the references, errors or omissions cannot be excluded and the EPO disclaims all liability in this regard.

    Patent documents cited in the description




    Non-patent literature cited in the description