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Energy Procedia 88 (2016) 429 – 435

CUE2015-Applied Energy Symposium and Summit 2015: Low carbon cities and urban
energy systems

Study on the Thermal Stress Distribution of Crystalline


Silicon Solar Cells In BIPV
He Wanga, Ao Wanga, Hong Yanga,* , Jingsheng Huangb
a
School of Science, Xi’an Jiaotong University, Xi’an 710049, People’s Republic of China
b
China electric power research institute, Nanjing, 210003, People’s Republic of China

Abstract

The working temperature of BIPV modules is high than ground-mounted PV. Based on the theory of material
mechanics and thermal stress analysis, the stress distribution of metallization interconnects system for crystalline
silicon solar module in BIPV was studied for the first time. The shear stress and normal stress distribution of soldered
structure for crystalline silicon solar cell under the thermal field were discussed. And the results show the stress
distribution is not simply linear relationship as some results found. But there is a stress concentration at the edge,
which was considered as the true reason that caused V-notch at the edge of soldered solar cell. The conclusions we
got in this paper provide a theoretical basis for reliability of c-Si BIPV modules.
© 2016 The Authors. Published by Elsevier Ltd. This is an open access article under the CC BY-NC-ND license
© 2015 The Authors. Published by Elsevier Ltd.
(http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/4.0/).
Selection and/or peer-review under responsibility of CUE
Peer-review under responsibility of the organizing committee of CUE 2015

Keywords: BIPV; analytic model; crystalline silicon solar cell; shear force; stress distribution

1. Introduction

Crystalline silicon solar module is the critical component of photovoltaic (PV) generation system.
Because of outdoor installation, the most defects and failures might occur on PV systems with respect to
environment stresses. In fact, these stresses cause to emerge various electrical and mechanical faults on
PV modules [1-2]. The effective control of power degradation is very important for the investment income
and reliability of PV power station. The manufacturers usually guarantee that the lifetime of solar cell
module is expected to be 25 years with 20% reduction in its power output over this period. Installed and
operated in hot and humid climate, the typical operating temperature of PV modules will change between
-30~+100ć. In the process of crystalline silicon solar module production, the crystalline silicon solar
cells are interconnected into complete string. The cells of PV modules are electrically connected in series

*
Correspondence author. Tel.: +86-29-82668004.
E-mail address: hongy126@126.com

1876-6102 © 2016 The Authors. Published by Elsevier Ltd. This is an open access article under the CC BY-NC-ND license
(http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/4.0/).
Peer-review under responsibility of the organizing committee of CUE 2015
doi:10.1016/j.egypro.2016.06.019
430 He Wang et al. / Energy Procedia 88 (2016) 429 – 435

by interlacing tin-coated copper ribbon between the front of one cell and the back of the adjacent cell. Due
to the large difference of coefficient of thermal expansion (CTE) between metal and silicon, thermal stress
will appear and accumulate in metallization interconnect system when PV module is suffering from a
temperature cycle. The cyclic thermal stress will cause micro-cracks and voids, which will increase the
contact resistance of electrode and reduce PV modules’ lifetime. Although many researches on module
reliability have been done [3-5], there was no quantitative research for the thermal stress distribution
inside the crystalline silicon solar module.
In this paper, a model of the thermal stress distribution of metallization interconnects system for
crystalline silicon solar module is established for the first time. The shear stress and normal stress
distribution of soldered structure for crystalline silicon solar cell under the thermal field were discussed.
And the results show the stress distribution is not simply linear relationship as some results found [6-9].
But there is a stress concentration at the edge, which was considered as the true reason that caused V-
notch at the edge of soldered solar cell.

2. Structure model of solar cells metallization interconnect system

2.1. Theoretical model

Considering the complicated structure, when the PV module is working outdoor and suffering from a
temperature cycle, different thermal stress will be caused in different material which with different
coefficient of thermal expansion(CTE). As the adhesion and restriction between each structure material, a
kind of stress cycle will appear in the interface and gradually lead to various reliability problems like
crack, low power or even failure [10].
The cells of PV modules are electrically connected in series by interlacing tin-coated copper ribbon.
As we know, glass layer is the main binder phase at Ag paste/Si contact interface, and the peeling off of
cell electrodes always occurred in Ag paste layer. The coefficients of thermal expansion of metal
materials are quite different from Si substrate, while the glass frit is between metal and Si. As shown in
Figure 1, a simplified structure model with only three-layer was established (Cu ribbon, Ag paste layer
and Si substrate). Assume each layer satisfies the homogeneous, isotropic and linear conditions.

(a) BIPV (b) Mechanic analysis

Fig. 1. Mechanic analysis of the metallization interconnect system in BIPV

The thickness, width and Young’s modulus of the layers are t m , bm and Em for ribbon, t s , bs and E s for
Si substrate layer, and t c , bc , Ec for thin glass layer respectively, L is the bond length. Considering the
He Wang et al. / Energy Procedia 88 (2016) 429 – 435 431

element shown in Fig.1, the equations of equilibrium for metal layer and Si substrate layer can be written
as:
dFm
W c 0 (1)
dx
dFs
W c 0 (2)
dx
In which Fm and Fs represent the forces caused by thermal stresses for metal layer and Si substrate
layer. W c is shear stress in middle layer.

2.2. Thermal stress model of crystalline silicon solar cells metallization interconnect system

As shown in Figure 2, this paper takes the expansive behavior of solar cell under a high temperature as
an example to analyze shear stress distribution. Fig. 3 shows the structure deformation of an element in
the location x. As the thickness of middle thin glass layer is too thin, the shear stress in glass layer can be
considered as the same value W c along thickness, and the shear stress in metal layer and Si substrate layer
change linearly along thickness.

(a) (b)
Fig. 2. Simplification of cell structure. (a) Coordinate system with the origin at the center of the metallization;(b) Thermal expansion
of the simplified structure

Fig. 3. The shear stress and strain analysis of simplified structure


432 He Wang et al. / Energy Procedia 88 (2016) 429 – 435

The shear stress in the middle layer, metal layer and Si substrate layer can be written respectively in
the following forms:
'x ucm ( x)  ucs ( x)
Wc J c ˜ Gc ˜ Gc ˜ Gc (3)
'y tc
W c  W m'
Wm Wc  ˜y (4)
tm
W cW s'
Ws Wc  ˜y (5)
ts
In which W c , W m and W s are the shear stresses in middle layer, metal layer and Si substrate layer
respectively. W m and W s are the shear stresses of upper surface and lower surface. ucm (x) and ucs (x) are
' '
' '
the coordinates of the two interfaces of the element in the location x. u m and u s are the coordinates of
upper surface and lower surface. G and J are the shear modulus and shear strain, respectively.
According to the stress-strain relationship, the coordinate functions in metal layer and Si substrate
layer can be expressed as:
y y W m ( y) Wc W c  W m'
U m ( x, y) ucm ( x)  ³ J m ( y)dy ucm ( x)  ³ dy ucm  y y 2  C1 (6)
0 0 Gm Gm 2tmGm
y y W s ( y) Wc W c  W s'
U s ( x, y) ucs ( x)  ³ J s ( y)dy ucs ( x)  ³ dy ucs  y y 2  C2 (7)
0 0 Gs Gs 2t s Gs
the displacement functions w( x, y ) can be expressed as follow:
w( x, y) U ( x, y)  x (8)
Substituting equations (4) and (5) into equation (6). The displacement functions in metal layer and Si
substrate layer can be expressing as differential equations:
dwm ducm y dW c y 2 dW c  dW m'
1   (9)
dx dx Gx dx 2tmGm dx
dws ducs y dW c y 2 dW c  dW s'
1   (10)
dx dx Gs dx 2t s Gs dx
The normal stresses of element dx for the metal layer and Si substrate layer under temperature field are
expressed as:
D m 'Tdx  dwm dwm
Vm Em Em (D m 'T  ) (11)
dx dx
D 'Tdx  dws dw
Vs Es s Es (D s 'T  s ) (12)
dx dx
in which α is the coefficient of thermal expansion (CTE).
Compared to the thickness of the metal layer and Si layer, middle layer is so thin that it can be
reasonable ignored. The forces in metal layer and Si layer can be expressed as:
tm ducm t 2 dW c t 2 dW m'
Fm ³0
V m dy EmD m 'T ˜ tm  Em (
dx
tm  tm  m  m
3Gm dx 6Gm dx
) (13)
He Wang et al. / Energy Procedia 88 (2016) 429 – 435 433

t s ducs t 2 dW c t 2 dW s'
Fs ³0
V s dy  EsD s 'T ˜ t s  Es (
dx
ts  ts  s  s
3Gs dx 6Gs dx
) (14)

They can also be written in the form of differential equation. Substituting equation (1) and (2) gives:
d ucm2
Wc tm d 2W c tm d 2W m'
  (15)
dx 2 Emtm 3Gm dx 2 6Gm dx 2
d 2ucs Wc t s d 2W c t s d 2W s'
  (16)
dx 2 Es t s 3Gs dx 2 6Gs dx 2
Equation (3) can be written in the form of the following differential equation:
d Wc 2
Gc d 2ucm d 2ucs
(  ) (17)
dx 2 tc dx 2 dx 2
Substituting equations (15) and (16) into equation (17) gives:
dW c2
 E 2W c  C 0 (18)
dx 2
where
1
ª 1 1 º2
« E t Et » t s dW s' t dW m'
E « m m s s
» ,C  m
« s  m  tc
t t » 6Gs dx 6Gm dx
«¬ 3Gs 3Gm Gc »¼
As shown in Fig.3, the shear stresses of upper surface and lower surface were very small and as well
assumed to be 0. That is to say, coefficient C is 0.
dW c2
 E 2W c 0 (19)
dx 2
After a series of calculation and substitution, we finally get an expression of W c . The unknown
coefficient can be obtained by the boundary condition. So curves of W was obtained by software
MATLAB-R2013a and a self-programming program.

2.3. Solution and analysis

The following results can be obtained


sinh( Ex) D m 'TL(1  k1 )  D c 'TL(1  k2 )
Wc ˜ ˜ Gc (20)
sinh( EL) tc
Table 1. Structural parameters of different material layers

Parameters E/Pa G/Pa α/ć t/m L0/m


Cu ribbon layer 110e9 30e9 16.9e-6 210e-6 78e-3
Middle layer 55e9 1.96e9 3.3e-6 3e-6 78e-3
Si substrate layer 130e9 58e9 2.6e-6 180e-6 78e-3
434 He Wang et al. / Energy Procedia 88 (2016) 429 – 435

Substituting the material parameters (shown in Table 1) into equation (20), curves of the shear stress in
middle layer were obtained by sofeware Matlab. Figure 4 shows the shear stress in middle layer under
different temperature fields (-35ć, -20ć, -5ć, 10ć, 25ć, 40ć, 55ć, 70ć, 85ć, 100ć).
10
x 10
5

7
x 10 T1=-35
4 3 T2=-20
T3=-5
3 2 T4=10
T5=25
1 T6=40
2 T7=55
T8=70
0
T9=85
1
T10=100
-1
0.053 0.0535 0.054 0.0545 0.055
0

-1

-2
0 0.01 0.02 0.03 0.04 0.05 0.06 0.07 0.08

Fig. 4. The shear stress distribution of the middle layer under temperature field from -35ć to 100ć

3. Conclusions

The working temperature of BIPV modules is higher than ground-mounted PV. Because of the
existence of temperature difference and elastic modulus, Poisson ratio, thermal expansion coefficient of
welding material and silicon is different, it would accumulate thermal stress and strain in the process of
multiple thermal cyclic. Then it result in interlayer striped. Eventually, it would lead to the destruction of
ribbon and seriously affect the service life of solar module. So the study of thermal stress distribution
under the temperature field has very important practical significance. In this article, the stress distribution
of metallization interconnects system for crystalline silicon solar module was studied for the first time.
The shear stress and normal stress distribution of soldered structure for crystalline silicon solar cell under
the thermal field were discussed. Studies have shown that the value of shear stress at the midpoint is the
smallest and shear stress along the direction of welding strip increase by function of cosh. The
concentrated stress of edges leads to V-notch appearing on the welding edges. The study results has Laid
a theoretical basis for the reliability of BIPV modules.

Acknowledgements

The authors would like to thank the National Science and Technology Research and Development
Program of the Ministry of Science and Technology of China (Grant No. 2015BAA09B01).

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Biography
Hong Yang was born in China on August 1968. He received his BS degree in Microelectronics
Engineering from Xi’an Jiaotong University in 1991 and MS degree in Microelectronics Engineering
from Xi’an Jiaotong University in 1994. He received his PhD degree in 2002 from Xi’an Jiaotong
University. He is working in the Institute of Solar Energy of Xi’an Jiaotong University. His research
interests lie in photovoltaics.