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International Journal of Photoenergy
Volume 2012, Article ID 351381, 10 pages
Review Article

Recent Developments of Flexible CdTe Solar Cells on Metallic Substrates: Issues and Prospects

1Department of Electrical, Electronic and Systems Engineering, Faculty of Engineering and Built Environment, Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia (UKM), Selangor, 43600 Bangi, Malaysia
2Center of Excellence for Research in Engineering Materials (CEREM), College of Engineering, King Saud University, Riyadh 11421, Saudi Arabia
3Solar Energy Research Institute (SERI), Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia (UKM), Selangor, 43600 Bangi, Malaysia

Received 24 September 2011; Revised 11 November 2011; Accepted 14 November 2011

Academic Editor: Raghu N. Bhattacharya

Copyright © 2012 M. M. Aliyu et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


This study investigates the key issues in the fabrication of CdTe solar cells on metallic substrates, their trends, and characteristics as well as effects on solar cell performance. Previous research works are reviewed while the successes, potentials, and problems of such technology are highlighted. Flexible solar cells offer several advantages in terms of production, cost, and application over glass-based types. Of all the metals studied as substrates for CdTe solar cells, molybdenum appears the most favorable candidate, while close spaced sublimation (CSS), electrodeposition (ED), magnetic sputtering (MS), and high vacuum thermal evaporation (HVE) have been found to be most common deposition technologies used for CdTe on metal foils. The advantages of these techniques include large grain size (CSS), ease of constituent control (ED), high material incorporation (MS), and low temperature process (MS, HVE, ED). These invert-structured thin film CdTe solar cells, like their superstrate counterparts, suffer from problems of poor ohmic contact at the back electrode. Thus similar strategies are applied to minimize this problem. Despite the challenges faced by flexible structures, efficiencies of up to 13.8% and 7.8% have been achieved in superstrate and substrate cell, respectively. Based on these analyses, new strategies have been proposed for obtaining cheaper, more efficient, and viable flexible CdTe solar cells of the future.