Solar cells’ silver lining

Published: November 1, 2008

By Carl Firman, Metals Analyst, VM Group

In the perpetual struggle to reduce the costs associated with PV energy generation, one aspect of the manufacturing process has potential to shine. To date, the PV sector is dominated by crystalline silicon wafers (90%), which largely use silver as the conducting medium for the front side grid, and to a lesser extent the backside contact. The conducting media are crucial to the overall efficiency of the cell by providing the means for current to flow when sunlight strikes the doped silicon wafer. This paper presents silver as a vital factor in the PV process, and discusses the future industry requirements as well as a projection for the overall silver market for the next eight years.

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