cadmium telluride solar panels

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Early leaders in CdS/CdTe cell efficiencies were GE in the 1960s, and then Kodak, Monosolar, Matsushita, and AMETEK. The dominant PV technology has always been based on crystalline silicon wafers. [62][63], By themselves, cadmium and tellurium are toxic and carcinogenic, but CdTe forms a crystalline lattice that is highly stable, and is several orders of magnitude less toxic than cadmium. CdTe cells achieved above 15%[clarification needed] in 1992 by adding a buffer layer to the TCO/CdS/CdTe stack and then thinned the CdS to admit more light. [26] Golden Photon held the record for a short period for the best CdTe module measured at NREL at 7.7% using a spray deposition technique. Tellurium is a rare, mildly toxic metalloid that is primarily used as a machining additive to steel. Cadmium telluride (CdTe) is a II-VI metal chalcogenide with direct band gap of ~ 1.45 eV, very high optical absorption (10 5 cm − 1), and p-type conductivity, making it an ideal material for PV application. As of mid-2016, a few hundred MWs of cadmium telluride (CdTe) panels, all manufactured by the U.S. company First Solar, have been installed in North Carolina. [77], CdTe production facilities may cause environmental issues when there are accidents in high-efficiency production or from by-product exhaust in less efficient production methods. Cells of about 10% sunlight-to-electricity efficiency were produced by the early 1980s at Kodak, Matsushita, Monosolar and AMETEK.[26]. [69] So, the exact role of the grain boundaries in limitation of performance of CdTe-based solar cells remains unclear and the research is ongoing to address this question. The cell was completed by adding top and bottom contacts. Cadmium telluride (CdTe) is the most commercially successful thin-film photovoltaic technology. [71], Success of cadmium telluride PV has been due to the low cost achievable with the CdTe technology, made possible by combining adequate efficiency with lower module area costs. The LCA also showed that the main contributors to considered environmental impact categories are due to required chemicals and energy within the processing of CdTe modules. [70], Materials that can be recovered in the recycling process include metals, mounts, glass, and, in high value cases, the whole PV module. [31] Empa, the Swiss Federal Laboratories for Materials Testing and Research, focuses on the development of CdTe solar cells on flexible substrates and demonstrated cell efficiencies of 13.5% and 15.6% for flexible plastic foil and glass substrates, respectively. [71], Early CdTe modules failed elution tests, however more recent models can pass some elution tests. The benefits of CdTe thin-film solar cells include: 1. CdTe’s relatively low temperature coefficient protects performance at higher temperatures. Photovoltaic modules can last anywhere from 25 – 30 years. Only a small amount, estimated to be about 800 metric tons[53] per year, is available. [16], Research in CdTe dates back to the 1950s,[17][18][19][20][21][22] because its band gap (~1.5 eV) is almost a perfect match to the distribution of photons in the solar spectrum in terms of conversion to electricity. SENSE relies on mechanical, chemical and thermal treatments. Thin-film solar leader First Solar uses cadmium-telluride to make the semiconductors that are sandwiched between two sheets of glass to convert the sunlight into electricity. Commercial product became available in 2002. 2014 CdTe module costs were about $72 per 1 square metre (11 sq ft),[45] or about $90 per module. This includes the ability to deposit all the layers mentioned above as well as novel materials and device structures. The abundance of tellurium—of which telluride is the anionic form—is comparable to that of platinum in the earth's crust and contributes significantly to the module's cost.[12]. [36] The company manufactured in Perrysburg, Ohio and Germany. [14] The same source estimated that about 3 gigawatts were installed in 2007. The CdTe TF can be deposited using a number of processes and needs good stoichiometric at … [74][75] A life cycle assessment of CdTe module recycling by the University of Stuttgart showed a reduction in primary energy demand in End-Of-Life from 81 MJ/m2 to -12 MJ/m2, a reduction of around 93 MJ/m2, and in terms of global warming potential from 6 kg CO2-equiv./m2 to -2.5 CO2-equiv./m2, a reduction of around -8.5 CO2-equiv./m2. Overall CdTe solar cell performance was significantly improved after the discovery of a cadmium chloride (CdCl2) vapor treatment. CdTe solar cells are the second most common photovoltaic (PV) technology in the world marketplace after crystalline silicon, currently representing 5% of the world market. [46][47][48] CdTe PV modules experience half the reduction of crystalline silicon modules, resulting in an increased annual energy output of 5-9%.[49]. But relatively inexpensive single-axis tracking systems can add 25% output per installed watt. Matsushita started with screen printing but shifted in the 1990s to CSS. For example, one study (Nover et al., 2017) found that after 360 days, 1.4% of lead from c-Si and 62% of Cd from Cadmium Telluride (CdTe) PV panel pieces were released into … Cadmium telluride solar cells (CdTe) is a special and comparably very efficient type of thin film solar cells. Cadmium (Cd), a toxic heavy metal considered a hazardous substance, is a waste byproduct of mining, smelting and refining sulfidic ores of zinc during zinc refining, and therefore its production does not depend on PV market demand. The additional layer did not compromise the device's other properties. Company Name Region No. First Solar (Nasdaq:FSLR) is by far the leading producer of cadmium telluride (CdTe) solar panels (and the leading producer of thin-film solar panels, for that matter). This lack … First Solar, the world’s largest cadmium telluride (CdTe) solar panel manufacturer, has a new competitive neighbor in Northwest Ohio: Toledo Solar has set up in the former Willard & Kelsey Solar Group building in Perrysburg, Ohio, to manufacture CdTe panels for the residential and commercial solar … The only way for a completed module to release dust or vapor is by being lit aflame or ground into a fine dust. [51] This is climate-dependent. Improvements included broader substrates (since capital costs scale sublinearly and installation costs can be reduced), thinner layers (to save material, electricity, and processing time), and better material utilization (to save material and cleaning costs). For more information on cadmium telluride solar cells, visit the Energy Basics website. [26], In the early 1990s, other players experienced mixed results. On a lifecycle basis, CdTe PV has the smallest carbon footprint, lowest water use and shortest energy payback time of any current photo voltaic technology. It is usually sandwiched with cadmium sulfide to form a p–n junction solar PV cell. [13] A prominent manufacturer of CdTe thin film technology is the company First Solar, based in Tempe, Arizona. SCI shifted from an adaptation of the CSS method then shifted to vapor transport. Thin films are based on using thinner semiconductor layers to absorb and convert sunlight. Cadmium Telluride (CdTe) Thin Film Solar cells form one of the leading cheap and economically viable solar panels in the market. They are a type of crystalline defect. The vapor pressure of CdTe at ambient conditions is zero. Y. S. Tyan, 1978, Polycrystalline thin film CdS/CdTe photovoltaic cell, Kodak, B. Basol, E. Tseng, R.L. Despite the small amounts of Cd that may leach out, CdTe modules have low overall leachability as the hazardous materials within them are encased within two layers of glass. These reductions show a highly beneficial change in the overall environmental profile of CdTe photovoltaic module. Cadmium telluride (CT) is a highly toxic chemical that is part of solar panels. After trying amorphous silicon, he shifted to CdTe at the urging of Jim Nolan and founded Solar Cells Inc., which later became First Solar. [42][43], Since CdTe has the optimal band gap for single-junction devices, efficiencies close to 20% (such as already shown in CIS alloys) may be achievable in practical CdTe cells. First Solar Inc., based in Tempe, Ariz., announced last week that a test of its thin-film cadmium-telluride (CdTe) photovoltaic solar cell set a record efficiency of 17.3 percent, which is an overall measurement of several types of efficiencies Some of the efficiencies included in this measurement are the absorption of light, the conversion of photons into electrons and the ability of electrons to move through the solar … Most readers have likely seen exciting headlines claiming we could power the world's energy demands multiple times were we simply to cover the Sahara Desert with a solar farm the size of China. Thin-Film. Improper disposal of PV modules can release toxic materials into the environment. Workers in processing facilities may be exposed to, and inhale, fine particles or fumes of Cd. Solar Panels. It is often assumed that the open-circuit voltage gap seen in CdTe, in comparison to both single-crystal GaAs and the theoretical limit, may be in some way attributable to the grain boundaries within the material. [38] Today, First Solar manufactures over 3 gigawatts with an average module efficiency of 16.4% in 2016. Thick CdS, as it was used in prior devices, blocked about 5 mA/cm2 of light, or about 20% of the light usable by a CdTe device. This research may lead to cheaper and safer CdTe cells. [33] McMaster championed CdTe for its high-rate, high-throughput processing. BP used electrodeposition (inherited from Monosolar by a circuitous route when it purchased SOHIO, Monosolar's acquirer). Manufacturers are also investigating the possibility of materials reuse and recycling as a way to mitigate concerns on toxicity and materials scarcity. ^ "Publications, Presentations, and News Database: Cadmium Telluride". CdTe solar cells are completed by adding a high-quality transparent conductive oxide (TCO)—usually fluorine-doped tin oxide (SnO2:F)—and a back electrical contact—typically a metal or carbon paste with copper (Cu). Almost all thin film photovoltaic module systems to-date have been non-solar tracking, because module output was too low to offset tracker capital and operating costs. First Solar,... Copper indium gallium selenide (CIGS). [23] Monosolar[24] and AMETEK[25] used electrodeposition, a popular early method. A single gigawatt-hour of electricity produced from PV would decrease the emissions of SO2 by 10 tons, NOx by 4 tons and CO2 by 1000 tons when compared to coal. National Renewable Energy Laboratory. It’s all about First Solar when it comes to cadmium telluride solar panels. Low-cost manufacturing: Cadmium telluride solar cells use low-cost manufacturing technology to produce low-cost cells. [50] In addition, depending on the Tracker Energy Gain, the overall eco-efficiency of the PV system can be enhanced by lowering both system costs and environmental impacts. In 2014, the record module efficiency was also raised by First Solar from 16.1% up to 17.0%. He is on Ametek patents, SCI CSS patent: Foote et al. First Solar established the first global and comprehensive recycling program in the PV industry in 2005. Process for making photovoltaic devices and resultant product, United States Patent 5248349; and their vapor transport patent, featuring the movement of vaporized cadmium and, This number is calculated by multiplying efficiency (12.6%) by 1000 to get output watts per square meter (126 W/m, Publications of the Sichuan Xinju Mineral Resource Development Co., China, Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum Solar Park, "Publications, Presentations, and News Database: Cadmium Telluride", Solar Power Lightens Up with Thin-Film Technology, "Life-cycle uses of water in U.S. electricity generation", "Life cycle impact analysis of cadmium in CdTe PV production", "Toxic Substances In Photovoltaic Modules", "Water Solubility of Cadmium Telluride in a Glass-to-Glass Sealed PV Module", "The Lowdown on the Safety of First Solar's CdTe Thin Film", "NREL: Manufacturing Analysis - Supply Constraints Analysis", Various estimates of world module production in 2007, "NREL: News - Record Makes Thin-Film Solar Cell Competitive with Silicon Efficiency", "First Solar Acquires GE's PrimeStar Solar IP, Misses Q2 Revenue and Lowers Guidance", "While First Solar keeps on trucking, others in CdTe thin-film PV pack keep on muddling", After long wait, McMaster to join hall of fame, "First Solar annual manufacturing levels", First Solar Gives GE 1.8% Stake in Thin-Film Partnership, "First Solar Builds the Highest Efficiency Thin Film PV Cell on Record", "First Solar Sets Thin-Film Module Efficiency World Record of 17.0 Percent", "First Solar Hits Record 22.1% Conversion Efficiency for CdTe Solar Cell", "Performance characterization and superior energy yield of First Solar PV power plants in high temperature conditions", "Parabolic Trough Technology Models and Software Tools", "Assessment of critical thin film resources", "First Solar CdTe Photovoltaic Technology: Environmental, Health and Safety Assessment", "Future recycling flows of tellurium from cadmium telluride photovoltaic waste", "Bean Curd Component Could Slash Solar Panel Costs", "CdTe Photovoltaics: Life Cycle Environmental Profile and Comparisons", "Technology Support of High-Throughput Processing of Thin Film CdTe Panels", "Grain boundaries in CdTe thin-film solar cells: A review", "Selective separation and recovery of rare metals by vulcanization-vacuum distillation of cadmium telluride waste", "Evolution of First Solar's Module Recycling Program",, 10.1002/(sici)1099-159x(200001/02)8:1<27::aid-pip296>;2-8, "First Solar Reports Largest Quarterly Decline In CdTe Module Cost Per-Watt Since 2007", Pacific Crest Presentation, August 3–5, 2008, "First Solar announces two solar projects with Southern California Edison", "California Utility to Install 250MW of Roof-Top Solar", "CdTe photovoltaics: Life cycle environmental profile and comparisons", "Progress in Photovoltaic Energy Conversion", Copper indium gallium selenide solar cells, Photovoltaic thermal hybrid solar collector, Solar-Powered Aircraft Developments Solar One, List of countries by photovoltaics production,, Articles with dead external links from July 2017, Articles with permanently dead external links, Articles with dead external links from November 2018, Articles with dead external links from July 2020, Articles with dead external links from November 2017, Articles lacking reliable references from June 2016, Articles with unsourced statements from August 2014, Wikipedia articles needing clarification from July 2017, Articles with unsourced statements from August 2015, All articles with vague or ambiguous time, Vague or ambiguous time from December 2013, Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License. A research team from Washington State University claims to have developed a new manufacturing process to produce cadmium telluride (CdTe) PV … Made more conductive for PV, tin oxide became and remains the norm in CdTe PV modules. The … NREL has a world-class assembly of CdTe photovoltaic research tools and expertise. [52], Tellurium (Te) production and reserves estimates are subject to uncertainty and vary considerably. BP Solar dropped CdTe in November 2002. Mechanical methods of recycling are more environmentally friendly as they do not rely on the use of chemicals. With a share of 5.1% of worldwide PV production, CdTe technology accounted for more than half of the thin film market in 2013. using thin film cadmium telluride (CdTe) photovoltaic (PV) technology in ... As solar power plants do not require mining for fuel during their lifespan, the land occupation impact of solar power plants decreases as the power plant lifespan increases. Current projects seek higher cell efficiencies by increasing crystal quality, improving doping control, and increasing the minority carrier lifetime. [citation needed], By 1981, Kodak used close-space sublimation (CSS) and made the first 10%[clarification needed] cells and first multi-cell devices (12 cells, 8% efficiency, 30 cm2). This structure is similar to the heterojunction in CIGS cells. Rod, 1981, Thin film heterojunction photovoltaic cells and methods of making the same, Monosolar, Peter Meyers, originally of Ametek, provides a thread stretching from Ametek through Solar Cells Inc. to First Solar. PV systems have the potential to be constructed, operated and decommissioned in ways A simple heterojunction design evolved in which p-type CdTe was matched with n-type cadmium sulfide (CdS). [77], During a module’s lifespan, it will not release any particles or vapors if used as intended. It is mainly used as the semiconducting material in cadmium telluride photovoltaics and an infrared optical window. ], new supplies have been located, e.g., in Xinju, China[57] as well as in Mexico and Sweden. In 2014 research discovered that abundant and harmless magnesium chloride (MgCl2) performs as well as cadmium chloride. According to USGS, global production in 2007 was 135 metric tons. In the journal, “Progress in Photovoltaics," it reported that male and female rats that received CT through ingestion did not gain weight as they normally should have. Cadmium telluride (CdTe): This type of substrate is the most used with manufacturing thin-film solar panels and holds 50 percent of market share. High absorption: Cadmium telluride is a direct-bandgap material with bandgap energy of about 1.45 defined (eV), which is well matched to the solar spectrum and nearly optimal for converting sunlight into electricity using a single junction. [77], CdTe cells are considered to be both toxic and carcinogenic when inhaled or ingested as Cd is a toxic compound by the US Occupational Safety and Health Administration. • CdTe is a very stable compound that is non-volatile and non-soluble in water. Our work also includes advanced characterization, device modeling, and collaboration with university and industry partners. Forrestal Building1000 Independence Avenue, SWWashington, DC 20585, About the Solar Energy Technologies Office. These products required higher currents than small cells and it was found that an additional layer, called a transparent conducting oxide (TCO), could facilitate the movement of current across the top of the cell (instead of a metal grid). [80] Recent installations of large First Solar CdTe PV systems were claimed to be competitive with other forms of solar energy: Further mention of cost competitiveness: ". [39], In August 2014 First Solar announced a device with 21.1% conversion efficiency. NREL analyzes manufacturing costs associated with photovoltaic (PV) technologies, including crystalline silicon, cadmium telluride, copper indium gallium diselenide, perovskite, and III-V solar cells. [4][5][6] CdTe's energy payback time of less than a year allows for faster carbon reductions without short-term energy deficits. One such TCO, tin oxide, was available for other uses (thermally reflective windows). There have however been a number of studies which have suggested not only that GBs are not deleterious to performance but may in fact be beneficial as sources of enhanced carrier collection. Low-cost manufacturing: Cadmium telluride solar cells use low-cost manufacturing technology to produce low-cost cells. [60][61], The manufacture of a CdTe cell includes a thin coating with cadmium chloride (CdCl2) to increase the cell's overall efficiency. [65][66] All other uses and exposures related to cadmium are minor and similar in kind and magnitude to exposures from other materials in the broader PV value chain, e.g., to toxic gases, lead solder, or solvents (most of which are not used in CdTe manufacturing).[67][68]. 1. The grain boundary is the interface between two grains of a crystalline material and occur when two grains meet. Cadmium Telluride Panel Integrity and Safety Executive Summary • It is important to distinguish that Cadmium Telluride (CdTe) is not the same as free Cadmium. [55] Through improved material efficiency and increased PV recycling, the CdTe PV industry has the potential to fully rely on tellurium from recycled end-of-life modules by 2038. [34] In February 1999, McMaster sold the company to True North Partners, who named it First Solar. Typical CdTe thin-film deposition techniques include: close-spaced sublimation, vapor-transport deposition, physical-vapor deposition, sputter deposition, electrodeposition, metal-organic chemical-vapor deposition, spray deposition, and screen-print deposition. CIGS is another mainstream thin-film technology. Utility-scale CdTe PV solutions were claimed to be able to compete with peaking fossil fuel generation sources depending on irradiance levels, interest rates and other factors such as development costs. Cadmium telluride (CdTe) is rapidly gaining acceptance and now represents one of the most widely used solar cell materials around the world. These panels consist of several thin layers: a principal energy-generating layer built out of cadmium telluride compounds, and surrounding layers for the conduction and collection of electricity. [35], In its early years First Solar suffered setbacks, and initial module efficiencies were modest, about 7%. Staff No. [71], As of 2013 the recycling costs for CdTe modules are higher than the re-sale of recycled materials. Therefore, it is impossible for any vapors The toxicity of cadmium is an environmental concern mitigated by the recycling of CdTe modules at the end of their life time,[7] though there are still uncertainties regarding the recycling of CdTe modules[8][9] and the public opinion is skeptical towards this technology. [54] One gigawatt (GW) of CdTe PV modules would require about 93 metric tons (at current efficiencies and thicknesses). These Solar panels have been heralded as the alternative to fossil fuels for decades. [56] In the last decade[when? The benefits of CdTe thin-film solar cells include: The most common CdTe solar cells consist of a simple p-n heterojunction structure containing a p-doped CdTe layer matched with an n-doped cadmium sulfide (CdS) layer, which acts as a window layer. [28], CdTe start-ups include Calyxo[29] (formerly owned by Q-Cells), PrimeStar Solar, in Arvada, Colorado (acquired by First Solar from GE),[30] Arendi (Italy). CdTe photovoltaics are used in some of the world's largest photovoltaic power stations, such as the Topaz Solar Farm. Typically, CdTe PV cells use a n-i-p structure. However, as of 2014 Antec still made CdTe PV modules. High absorption: Cadmium telluride is a direct-bandgap material with bandgap energy of about 1.45 defined (eV), which is well matched to the solar spectrum and nearly optimal for converting sunlight into electricity using a single junction. [76], Photovoltaics can assist in reducing toxic emissions and pollution caused by fossil fuels. A contract for two megawatts of rooftop installations with, This page was last edited on 15 January 2021, at 00:25. Cadmium is a major ingredient in one particular type of solar panel called cadmium telluride. Weatherization and Intergovernmental Programs Office, Arizona State University (Photovoltaic Research and Development), Washington State University (Photovoltaic Research and Development), Texas State University (Photovoltaic Research and Development), Colorado State University (Photovoltaic Research and Development), University of Illinois at Chicago (Photovoltaic Research and Development), Colorado State University (Photovoltaic Research and Development: Small Innovative Projects in Solar), Colorado State University (Foundational Program to Advance Cell Efficiency), National Renewable Energy Laboratory (Foundational Program to Advance Cell Efficiency), Oak Ridge National Laboratory (Foundational Program to Advance Cell Efficiency), University of Chicago (Next Generation Photovoltaics II Projects), University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (Foundational Program to Advance Cell Efficiency), University of Illinois (Bridging Research Interactions through collaborative Development Grants in Energy), University of South Florida (Foundational Program to Advance Cell Efficiency). During this period cadmium telluride and copper indium diselenide or CIS-alloys remained under development. 23 CdTe panel manufacturers are listed below. Abound Solar has declared bankruptcy and General Electric`s PrimeStar is failing. Te is almost exclusively obtained as a by-product of copper refining, with smaller amounts from lead and gold production. [10][11] The usage of rare materials may also become a limiting factor to the industrial scalability of CdTe technology in the mid-term future. Solar panels made with cadmium telluride could be significantly more efficient than conventional silicon-based panels. SENSE (Sustainability EvaluatioN of Solar Energy systems) and RESOLVED (REcovery of SOLar Valuable materials, Enrichment, and Decontamination) are European funded procedures.

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