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CX-004150: Categorical Exclusion Determination

High Capacity Manufacturing of Non-Contact, Printable Metallic Inks for Silicon Solar Cells
CX(s) Applied: B3.6, B5.1
Date: 09/14/2010
Location(s): Austin, Texas
Office(s): Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy

Electrical contacts are a critical part of photovoltaic technology and in particular represent a difficult and costly area for silicon solar cell production. In particular, it would be desirable to non-contact printing processes which would be much more cost effective, environmentally benign and materials efficient compared with existing manufacturing methods. Although such printing methods have proved successful for silver and for nickel/copper top contacts, silver is too expensive and the use of a nickel diffusion barrier for copper plating adds cost and complexity to the assembly process. The overall goal of this Phase III program is to design a pilot production plant capable of producing conductive inks that can be applied through non-contact print techniques. If successful, the technology developed through this Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) program and put into production during this requested Phase III program will provide an accurate, robust, reliable and cost-effective method for increasing electrical energy efficiency in silicon solar cell production and usage.

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