Generating Power: The Solar Cells

Electrical System, Featured / Wednesday, December 5th, 2018

We have been assembling photovoltaic cells into arrays and laminating them with a variety of techniques in order to understand the impact on cell efficiency. We are experimenting with 156 mm x 156 mm Sunpower cells and are covering them with heat activated lamination plastic. Recently, we found that the best way to ensure good lamination is to use a vacuum pump to remove the air from between the two sheets of plastic. We then used a heat gun to activate the adhesive on the plastic while the sheets are being vacuumed to the surface of the cells.

Soldering of solar cells using a template to ensure even spacing.
Front side of three cells before lamination and testing
Vacuum lamination of the cells using a heat gun

After laminating the cells with a variety of techniques we compared the resulting power output of the various methods to one another, as well as to that of un-laminated cells. We noted a significant loss of power in the laminated cells as compared to the unlaminated ones, and we are now investigating the possibility of using a non-reflective coating to mitigate this issue.

Solar cells after soldering and vacuum lamination

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