SunPower Patent Grants

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.

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.