SunPower Patent Grants

Firing metal with support

Granted: February 14, 2017
Patent Number: 9570206
A solar cell can include a substrate and a semiconductor region disposed in or above the substrate. The solar cell can also include a conductive contact disposed on the semiconductor region with the conductive contact including a paste, a first metal, and a first conductive portion that includes a conductive alloy formed from the first metal at an interface of the substrate and the semiconductor region.

Method of manufacturing a hybrid emitter all back contact solar cell

Granted: February 7, 2017
Patent Number: 9564551
A method of manufacturing an all back contact solar cell which has a hybrid emitter design. The solar cell has a thin dielectric layer formed on a backside surface of a single crystalline silicon substrate. One emitter of the solar cell is made of doped polycrystalline silicon that is formed on the thin dielectric layer. A second emitter of the solar cell is formed in the single crystalline silicon substrate and is made of doped single crystalline silicon. The method further includes…

Inverter communications using output signal

Granted: February 7, 2017
Patent Number: 9564835
Technologies for communicating information from an inverter configured for the conversion of direct current (DC) power generated from an alternative source to alternating current (AC) power are disclosed. The technologies include determining information to be transmitted from the inverter over a power line cable connected to the inverter and controlling the operation of an output converter of the inverter as a function of the information to be transmitted to cause the output converter to…

Photonic degradation monitoring for semiconductor devices

Granted: February 7, 2017
Patent Number: 9564854
Methods of testing a semiconductor, and semiconductor testing apparatus, are described. In an example, a method for testing a semiconductor can include applying light on the semiconductor to induce photonic degradation. The method can also include receiving a photoluminescence measurement induced from the applied light from the semiconductor and monitoring the photonic degradation of the semiconductor from the photoluminescence measurement.

Deposition system with electrically isolated pallet and anode assemblies

Granted: January 31, 2017
Patent Number: 9556512
A system for substrate deposition is disclosed. The system includes a wafer pallet and an anode. The wafer pallet has a bottom and a top. The top of the wafer pallet is configured to hold a substrate wafer. The anode has a substantially fixed position relative to the wafer pallet and is configured to move with the wafer pallet through the deposition chamber. The anode is electrically isolated from the substrate wafer.

Solar cell with doped groove regions separated by ridges

Granted: January 31, 2017
Patent Number: 9559228
Solar cells with doped groove regions separated by ridges and methods of fabricating solar cells are described. In an example, a solar cell includes a substrate having a surface with a plurality of grooves and ridges. A first doped region of a first conductivity type is disposed in a first of the grooves. A second doped region of a second conductivity type, opposite the first conductivity type, is disposed in a second of the grooves. The first and second grooves are separated by one of…

Solar cell interconnection

Granted: January 31, 2017
Patent Number: 9559233
A solar cell can include a conductive foil having a first portion with a first yield strength coupled to a semiconductor region of the solar cell. The solar cell can be interconnected with another solar cell via an interconnect structure that includes a second portion of the conductive foil, with the interconnect structure having a second yield strength greater than the first yield strength.

Solar cell fabricated by simplified deposition process

Granted: January 31, 2017
Patent Number: 9559236
Methods of fabricating solar cells using simplified deposition processes, and the resulting solar cells, are described. In an example, a method of fabricating a solar cell involves loading a template substrate into a deposition chamber and, without removing the template substrate from the deposition chamber, performing a deposition method. The deposition method involves forming a first silicon layer on the template substrate, the first silicon layer of a first conductivity type. The…

Blister-free polycrystalline silicon for solar cells

Granted: January 31, 2017
Patent Number: 9559245
Described herein are methods of fabricating solar cells. In an example, a method of fabricating a solar cell includes forming an amorphous dielectric layer on the back surface of a substrate opposite a light-receiving surface of the substrate. The method also includes forming a microcrystalline silicon layer on the amorphous dielectric layer by plasma enhanced chemical vapor deposition (PECVD). The method also includes forming an amorphous silicon layer on the microcrystalline silicon…

Solar cell emitter region fabrication using silicon nano-particles

Granted: January 31, 2017
Patent Number: 9559246
Methods of fabricating solar cell emitter regions using silicon nano-particles and the resulting solar cells are described. In an example, a method of fabricating an emitter region of a solar cell includes forming a region of doped silicon nano-particles above a dielectric layer disposed above a surface of a substrate of the solar cell. A layer of silicon is formed on the region of doped silicon nano-particles. At least a portion of the layer of silicon is mixed with at least a portion…

Etching of solar cell materials

Granted: January 24, 2017
Patent Number: 9553229
A solar cell is fabricated by etching one or more of its layers without substantially etching another layer of the solar cell. In one embodiment, a copper layer in the solar cell is etched without substantially etching a topmost metallic layer comprising tin. For example, an etchant comprising sulfuric acid and hydrogen peroxide may be employed to etch the copper layer selective to the tin layer. A particular example of the aforementioned etchant is a Co-Bra Etch® etchant modified to…

Hierarchical fault prediction, detection and localization in PV systems with distributed electronics

Granted: January 17, 2017
Patent Number: 9547033
A method of detecting faults in a solar power system includes monitoring at least one operating parameter including outputs from a solar module, inputs and outputs to a microinverter, and inputs and outputs of a power optimizer, comparing the operating parameter to at least one of an expected value or another operating parameter, using results of the comparing to determine if there is a fault event, analyzing a location of an entity in the system that generated the operating parameter to…

Solar cell having doped semiconductor heterojunction contacts

Granted: January 17, 2017
Patent Number: 9548409
A silicon solar cell has doped amorphous silicon contacts formed on a tunnel silicon oxide layer on a surface of a silicon substrate. High temperature processing is unnecessary in fabricating the solar cell.

Solar power generation assembly and method for providing same

Granted: January 17, 2017
Patent Number: 9548695
The present invention relates to a solar power generation assembly and method for providing same involving an array of solar generating modules on a dual-incline structure, which can achieve high energy yields over a wide range of azimuths/orientations. The assembly consists of canopy wings providing for the dual-incline structure, where, depending on specifications, the canopy wings can differ in length, width, angle of inclination, structural material and solar module or other material…

Mechanically deformed metal particles

Granted: January 3, 2017
Patent Number: 9536632
A solar cell can include a substrate and a semiconductor region disposed in or above the substrate. The solar cell can also include a conductive contact disposed on the semiconductor region with the conductive contact including deformed conductive particles.

Method of fabricating a solar cell with a tunnel dielectric layer

Granted: January 3, 2017
Patent Number: 9537030
Methods of fabricating solar cells with tunnel dielectric layers are described. Solar cells with tunnel dielectric layers are also described.

Interconnect for an optoelectronic device

Granted: January 3, 2017
Patent Number: 9537036
Interconnects for optoelectronic devices are described. For example, an interconnect for an optoelectronic device includes an interconnect body having an inner surface, an outer surface, a first end, and a second end. A plurality of bond pads is coupled to the inner surface of the interconnect body, between the first and second ends. A stress relief feature is disposed in the interconnect body. The stress relief feature includes a slot disposed entirely within the interconnect body…

Emitters of a backside contact solar cell

Granted: January 3, 2017
Patent Number: 9537041
A system and method of patterning dopants of opposite polarity to form a solar cell is described. Two dopant films are deposited on a substrate. A laser is used to pattern the N-type dopant, by mixing the two dopant films into a single film with an exposure to the laser and/or drive the N-type dopant into the substrate to form an N-type emitter. A thermal process drives the P-type dopant from the P-type dopant film to form P-type emitters and further drives the N-type dopant from the…

High throughput laser processing

Granted: December 27, 2016
Patent Number: 9527164
A solar cell is formed using a solar cell ablation system. The ablation system includes a single laser source and several laser scanners. The laser scanners include a master laser scanner, with the rest of the laser scanners being slaved to the master laser scanner. A laser beam from the laser source is split into several laser beams, with the laser beams being scanned onto corresponding wafers using the laser scanners in accordance with one or more patterns. The laser beams may be…

Ion implantation of dopants for forming spatially located diffusion regions of solar cells

Granted: December 27, 2016
Patent Number: 9530923
Diffusion regions of a solar cell are formed using a blanket layer of film that is doped with dopants of a first conductivity type. Dopants of a second conductivity type are implanted in select regions of the blanket layer of film to form dopant source regions of the second conductivity type. Diffusion regions of the solar cell are formed by diffusing dopants of the first conductivity type and dopants of the second conductivity type from the blanket layer of film into an underlying…