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Title: Techno-Economic Analysis of Three Different Substrate Removal and Reuse Strategies for III-V Solar Cells

The high cost of wafers suitable for epitaxial deposition of III-V solar cells has been a primary barrier to widespread use of these cells in low-concentration and one-sun terrestrial solar applications. A possible solution is to reuse the substrate many times, thus spreading its cost across many cells. We performed a bottom-up techno-economic analysis of three different strategies for substrate reuse in high-volume manufacturing: epitaxial lift-off, spalling, and the use of a porous germanium release layer. The analysis shows that the potential cost reduction resulting from substrate reuse is limited in all three strategies--not by the number of reuse cycles achievable, but by the costs that are incurred in each cycle to prepare the substrate for another epitaxial deposition. The dominant substrate-preparation cost component is different for each of the three strategies, and the cost-ranking of these strategies is subject to change if future developments substantially reduce the cost of epitaxial deposition.
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Publication Date:
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Resource Type:
Journal Article
Resource Relation:
Journal Name: Progress in Photovoltaics: Research and Applications; Journal Volume: 24; Journal Issue: 9
Research Org:
NREL (National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL), Golden, CO (United States))
Sponsoring Org:
USDOE Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EERE), Solar Energy Technologies Office (EE-4S)
Country of Publication:
United States
14 SOLAR ENERGY; 36 MATERIALS SCIENCE III-V; GaAs; Ge; substrates; solar cells; epitaxy