SunPower Patent Grants

Solar cell emitter region fabrication with differentiated P-type and N-type region architectures

Granted: April 25, 2017
Patent Number: 9634177
Methods of fabricating solar cell emitter regions with differentiated P-type and N-type regions architectures, and resulting solar cells, are described. In an example, a back contact solar cell includes a substrate having a light-receiving surface and a back surface. A first polycrystalline silicon emitter region of a first conductivity type is disposed on a first thin dielectric layer disposed on the back surface of the substrate. A second polycrystalline silicon emitter region of a…

Method of using laser welding to ohmic contact of metallic thermal and diffusion barrier layer for foil-based metallization of solar cells

Granted: April 25, 2017
Patent Number: 9634178
Methods of fabricating solar cells using a metal-containing thermal and diffusion barrier layer in foil-based metallization approaches, and the resulting solar cells, are described. For example, a method of fabricating a solar cell includes forming a plurality of semiconductor regions in or above a substrate. The method also includes forming a metal-containing thermal and diffusion barrier layer above the plurality of semiconductor regions. The method also includes forming a metal seed…

Communication between photovoltaic devices on a shared power line

Granted: April 25, 2017
Patent Number: 9634723
An electric system, method, and computer-readable medium facilitate shared access to a shared power line for communication using a PLC protocol. The electric system, method, and computer-readable medium may determine when the shared power line is available for a transmission, allocate unicast transmission time slots to each of a plurality of inverters, transmit a multicast message requesting that each of the plurality of inverters communicate information during its allocates transmission…

Electronic component housing with heat sink

Granted: April 25, 2017
Patent Number: 9635783
A photovoltaic assembly for converting solar radiation to electrical energy is described. The photovoltaic assembly includes a photovoltaic module and an electronic component housing. The photovoltaic module has a frame, a laminate, a plurality of solar cells and a backsheet. The electronic component housing has an upper section to couple to the backsheet, a middle section and a lower section for enclosing electronic components. The electronic components can include a microinverter or…

Power inverter docking system for photovoltaic modules

Granted: April 18, 2017
Patent Number: 9627555
An electronics module docking system includes docking member removably coupled to a photovoltaic module. The docking system includes a first connector port electrically coupled to one or more photovoltaic cells of the photovoltaic module. The photovoltaic module is selectively coupleable to the docking member. The docking system includes a housing to enclose an electronics module. The housing may include second connector port that is selectively engageable to the power electronics…

Foil-based metallization of solar cells

Granted: April 18, 2017
Patent Number: 9627566
Approaches for the foil-based metallization of solar cells and the resulting solar cells are described. In an example, a solar cell includes a substrate. A plurality of alternating N-type and P-type semiconductor regions is disposed in or above the substrate. A conductive contact structure is disposed above the plurality of alternating N-type and P-type semiconductor regions. The conductive contact structure includes a plurality of metal seed material regions providing a metal seed…

Laser foil trim approaches for foil-based metallization for solar cells

Granted: April 11, 2017
Patent Number: 9620655
Laser foil trim approaches for foil-based metallization of solar cells, and the resulting solar cells, are described. For example, a method of fabricating a solar cell includes attaching a metal foil sheet to a surface of a wafer to provide a unified pairing of the metal foil sheet and the wafer, wherein the wafer has a perimeter and the metal foil sheet has a portion overhanging the perimeter. The method also includes laser scribing the metal foil sheet along the perimeter of the wafer…

Laser beam shaping for foil-based metallization of solar cells

Granted: April 11, 2017
Patent Number: 9620661
Approaches for foil-based metallization of solar cells and the resulting solar cells are described. For example, a method of fabricating a solar cell involves locating a metal foil above a plurality of alternating N-type and P-type semiconductor regions disposed in or above a substrate. The method also involves laser welding the metal foil to the alternating N-type and P-type semiconductor regions. The method also involves patterning the metal foil by laser ablating through at least a…

Solar cell having doped semiconductor heterojunction contacts

Granted: March 28, 2017
Patent Number: 9608131
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.

Distributed energy conversion systems

Granted: March 28, 2017
Patent Number: 9608448
A distributed energy conversion system may include one or more DC power sources and two or more inverters to convert DC power from the power sources to AC power. The AC power from the two or more inverters may be combined to provide a single AC output. A module may include one or more photovoltaic cells and two or more inverters. An integrated circuit may include power electronics to convert DC input power to AC output power and processing circuitry to control the power electronics. The…

Technologies for converter topologies

Granted: February 28, 2017
Patent Number: 9584044
In some embodiments of the disclosed inverter topologies, an inverter may include a full bridge LLC resonant converter, a first boost converter, and a second boost converter. In such embodiments, the first and second boost converters operate in an interleaved manner. In other disclosed embodiments, the inverter may include a half-bridge inverter circuit, a resonant circuit, a capacitor divider circuit, and a transformer.

Solar cell emitter region fabrication using self-aligned implant and cap

Granted: February 21, 2017
Patent Number: 9577134
Methods of fabricating solar cell emitter regions using self-aligned implant and cap, and the resulting solar cells, are described. In an example, a method of fabricating an emitter region of a solar cell involves forming a silicon layer above a substrate. The method also involves implanting, through a stencil mask, dopant impurity atoms in the silicon layer to form implanted regions of the silicon layer with adjacent non-implanted regions. The method also involves forming, through the…

Single-step metal bond and contact formation for solar cells

Granted: February 21, 2017
Patent Number: 9577139
A method for fabricating a solar cell is disclosed. The method can include forming a dielectric region on a surface of a solar cell structure and forming a first metal layer on the dielectric region. The method can also include forming a second metal layer on the first metal layer and locally heating a particular region of the second metal layer, where heating includes forming a metal bond between the first and second metal layer and forming a contact between the first metal layer and…

Anti-reflective coating with high optical absorption layer for backside contact solar cells

Granted: February 21, 2017
Patent Number: 9577120
A multilayer anti-reflection structure for a backside contact solar cell. The anti-reflection structure may be formed on a front side of the backside contact solar cell. The anti-reflection structure may include a passivation level, a high optical absorption layer over the passivation level, and a low optical absorption layer over the high optical absorption layer. The passivation level may include silicon dioxide thermally grown on a textured surface of the solar cell substrate, which…

Solar cell emitter region fabrication using ion implantation

Granted: February 21, 2017
Patent Number: 9577126
Methods of fabricating solar cell emitter regions using ion implantation, and resulting solar cells, are described. In an example, a back contact solar cell includes a crystalline silicon substrate having a light-receiving surface and a back surface. A first polycrystalline silicon emitter region is disposed above the crystalline silicon substrate. The first polycrystalline silicon emitter region is doped with dopant impurity species of a first conductivity type and further includes…

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.