PV Connector Ribbon Standards Published

PV Connector Ribbon Standards Published

By Kevin Nguyen, SEMI Standards

The SEMI PV Ribbon Task Force, has completed work on its first two Standards:

These new Standards establish common characteristics, parameters and test methods for the tabbing ribbon used to interconnect solar cells into strings, the bus ribbon used to interconnect the strings in a crystalline module and their internal connection to the junction box, and the bus ribbon used to collect power from thin film modules and internal connection to the junction box.

There are many different sources for connector ribbon available in the PV industry, and each ribbon supplier has historically used its own test method to verify ribbon characteristics and ribbon quality. Even if customers provide the same ribbon specifications to different ribbon manufacturers, the actual ribbon quality would often differ. SEMI PV19 describes the test methods to define ribbon characteristics, and accordingly verify the actual ribbon quality. Using this standard, ribbon suppliers and PV module manufacturers can verify the ribbon characteristics and quality, ensuring that ribbons manufactured to the same specification will have comparable properties.

SEMI PV18 defines the ribbon characteristics necessary to create a ribbon specification.

Task Force leader Christian Prischmann from Ulbrich explains, “Module manufacturers do not always provide adequate PV ribbon specifications, and often do not provide any specification at all. Ribbon samples are often used to determine the exact requirements of the module manufacturer. These samples create costs for the ribbon supplier as well as the module manufacturer, as the ribbon supplier has to produce samples and the module manufacturer must test these samples. These expensive and time-consuming PV connector ribbon sample lots can be avoided by use of SEMI PV18 and SEMI PV19, reducing costs for both supplier and customer.”

He added, “Module manufacturers will now be able to compare PV connector ribbon quality from different ribbon suppliers, and expect to receive ribbon with identical characteristics from different sources. In addition, these new Standards could assist in avoiding or reducing module recertification costs and delays if a ribbon source is changed.”

The PV Ribbon Task Force was formed in 2010 and developed these standards over the course of several meetings, gathering input from major ribbon suppliers, cell manufacturers, module manufacturers, and research institutes. The Task Force is now investigating new opportunities; if you have a standardization topic, please contact your local SEMI Standards staff.