Guest Column | July 23, 2009

NIR Trends: Maximizing Solar Cell Yield And Efficiency With Machine Vision

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Article: NIR Trends: Maximizing Solar Cell Yield And Efficiency With Machine Vision

By Doug Malchow, Manager, Business Development, Sensors Unlimited, Inc., part of Goodrich ISR Systems

As the first decade of the 21st century draws to a close, the easy oil has been harvested and each new barrel will be more expensive to pull from the ground. With world demand for energy still expanding, and the impact of burning carbon based fuels burdening the atmosphere, the development and installation of efficient renewable energy sources has become crucial. Paramount to the widespread adoption of renewables is the need to lower their associated installation and production costs.

Solar energy has the best potential to help as it is by far the biggest source of renewable energy ; the amount of energy landing on the Earth's land mass is >2700 times the world's consumption of energy (est. 2004). However, photovoltaic solar cell production has been too expensive and cell conversion efficiencies too low. Thus, the cost of solar cell electrical output has been and remains too high to compete with mature fossil-fuel-based energy sources. While researchers are experimenting to boost conversion efficiencies of several competing PV cell types, manufacturers are working hard to reduce the production costs of the cell types that can more readily ramp up into volume production. Machine vision is one of the key tools that manufacturers are using to improve the cell uniformity and efficiency, thereby improving yield and driving down the cost of each cell.

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Article: NIR Trends: Maximizing Solar Cell Yield And Efficiency With Machine Vision

Sensors Unlimited - UTC Aerospace Systems