SunPower Patent Grants

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…

Clamps for solar systems

Granted: December 27, 2016
Patent Number: 9531319
A solar power system can include a rail and a solar module disposed on the rail. A clamp assembly can couple the solar module to the rail. The clamp assembly can have a clamped configuration in which the solar module is secured to the rail and an unclamped configuration. The clamp assembly can comprise an upper clamp member, a lower clamp member coupled to the rail, and a stabilization member mechanically engaging the upper clamp member and the lower clamp member. The stabilization…

Photovoltaic sundial assembly

Granted: December 20, 2016
Patent Number: D774450

Solar cell contact structures formed from metal paste

Granted: December 20, 2016
Patent Number: 9525082
Solar cell contact structures formed from metal paste and methods of forming solar cell contact structures from metal paste are described. In a first example, a solar cell includes a substrate. A semiconductor region is disposed in or above the substrate. A contact structure is disposed on the semiconductor region and includes a conductive layer in contact with the semiconductor region. The conductive layer includes a matrix binder having aluminum/silicon (Al/Si) particles and an inert…

Solar cell emitter region fabrication with differentiated P-type and N-type architectures and incorporating a multi-purpose passivation and contact layer

Granted: December 20, 2016
Patent Number: 9525083
Methods of fabricating solar cell emitter regions with differentiated P-type and N-type architectures and incorporating a multi-purpose passivation and contact layer, and resulting solar cells, are described. In an example, a solar cell includes a substrate having a light-receiving surface and a back surface. A P-type emitter region is disposed on the back surface of the substrate. An N-type emitter region is disposed in a trench formed in the back surface of the substrate. An N-type…

Solar cells with improved lifetime, passivation and/or efficiency

Granted: December 13, 2016
Patent Number: 9520507
A method of fabricating a solar cell can include forming a dielectric region on a silicon substrate. The method can also include forming an emitter region over the dielectric region and forming a dopant region on a surface of the silicon substrate. In an embodiment, the method can include heating the silicon substrate at a temperature above 900 degrees Celsius to getter impurities to the emitter region and drive dopants from the dopant region to a portion of the silicon substrate.

Power inverter docking system for photovoltaic modules

Granted: December 13, 2016
Patent Number: 9520508
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…

Active fire-blocking wind deflector

Granted: December 6, 2016
Patent Number: 9512620
A rooftop photovoltaic solar system is disclosed. The solar system comprises a plurality of photovoltaic modules forming a rooftop array, the rooftop array having at least one edge and a wind deflector positioned along the edge of the rooftop array, the wind deflector constrained in a first configuration by a fuse. In the first configuration the wind deflector comprises a deflecting portion adapted to deflect wind blowing on the rooftop above the rooftop array and a ventilation portion…

Communication within a power inverter using transformer voltage frequency

Granted: November 29, 2016
Patent Number: 9509232
Communicating by a power inverter is provided. Processes can include outputting a first voltage at a frequency as determined by primary side control, applying the first voltage to a primary winding, generating a second voltage at a second frequency across a secondary winding, and determining the second frequency using a secondary side control, where the second frequency can provide information about an operating condition within the power inverter.

Anchor for solar module

Granted: November 22, 2016
Patent Number: 9498854
An anchor for mounting one or more solar modules to a roof is disclosed. The anchor can comprise a clamp body comprising a central surface and a first arm extending from the central surface. The first arm can have a first clamping face. The clamp body can be sized and shaped to receive one or more webs extending from one or more solar modules, each web having a hem at a distal end. The first arm can comprise a first recess sized and shaped to receive a first hem of a first web of the one…

Patterned thin foil

Granted: November 22, 2016
Patent Number: 9502596
An adhesive may be applied to a surface of a reusable carrier. Metal foil may be attached to the adhesive to couple the metal foil to the surface of the reusable carrier. The metal foil may be patterned without damaging the reusable carrier. A semiconductor structure (e.g., a solar cell) may be attached to the patterned metal foil. The reusable carrier may then be removed. In some embodiments, the semiconductor structure may be encapsulated using an encapsulant, with the adhesive being…

Metallization of solar cells with differentiated P-type and N-type region architectures

Granted: November 22, 2016
Patent Number: 9502601
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 can include 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…