Modelling and Degradation Characteristics of Thin film CIGS Solar Cells-thesis

Thin-film solar cells based around the absorber material CuIn1-xGaxSe2 (CIGS) are studied with respect to their stability characteristics, and different ways of modelling device operation are investigated. Two ways of modelling spatial inhomogeneities are detailed, one fully numerical and one hybrid model. In the numerical model, thin-film solar cells with randomized parameter variations are simulated showing how the voltage decreases with increasing material inhomogeneities.

With the hybrid model, an analytical model for the p-n junction action is used as a boundary condition to a numerical model of the steady state electrical conduction in the front contact layers. This also allows for input of inhomogeneous material parameters, but on a macroscopic scale. The simpler approach, compared to the numerical model, enables simulations of complete cells. Effects of material inhomogeneities, shunt defects and grid geometry are simulated.

The stability of CIGS solar cells with varying absorber thickness, varying buffer layer material and CIGS from two different deposition systems are subjected to damp heat treatment. During this accelerated ageing test the cells are monitored using characterization methods including J-V, QE, C-V and J(V)T. The degradation studies show that the typical VOC decrease experienced by CIGS cells subjected to damp heat is most likely an effect in the bulk of the absorber material.

When cells encapsulated with EVA are subjected to the same damp heat treatment, the effect on the voltage is considerably reduced. In this situation the EVA is saturated with moisture, representing a worst case scenario for a module in operation. Consequently, real-life modules will not suffer extensively from the VOC degradation effect, common in unprotected CIGS devices.

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