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Thin-film silicon solar cell technology based on hydrogenated amorphous silicon has matured over the last two decades and is capable of delivering commercial modules with almost 10% stabilized efficiency. The status of thin-film silicon cell technology is reviewed by comparing it to other major solar cell technologies. The basic operation principles and the shortcomings of a-Si:H solar cells are outlined. The multi-junction and multi-band gap approach for obtaining highly efficient a-Si:H based solar cells is introduced. Application of novel materials, such as hydrogenated microcrystalline silicon and protocrystalline silicon, and efficient light trapping techniques in the multi-junction solar structures is highlighted. A novel temporary superstrate concept for a low-cost roll-to-roll production of thin-film silicon solar cells that has been developed in the Netherlands is presented.
Date of Conference: 14-16 Oct. 2002