Patents Assigned to United Solar Systems Corporation
  • Patent number: 6875914
    Abstract: A photovoltaic roofing system includes front surface electrical connections and can be installed utilizing conventional tools and techniques. The system includes particularly configured photovoltaic power generating roofing shingles which provide for linearly aligned electrical terminals when installed. The system may be used in conjunction with a protective cap which shields the connections.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: January 13, 2003
    Date of Patent: April 5, 2005
    Assignee: United Solar Systems Corporation
    Inventors: Subhendu Guha, Tim Ellison
  • Patent number: 6803513
    Abstract: A photovoltaic module includes at least a first and a second photovoltaic cell each having a substrate electrode, a top electrode and a photovoltaic semiconductor body disposed therebetween in electrical communication with the substrate electrode and the top electrode. Each cell includes a plurality of current collecting grid wires disposed atop the top electrode in electrical contact therewith. The grid wires of the first cell are in electrical communication with a current collecting bus bar and the grid wires of the second cell extend onto the first cell so as to establish an unbroken current path therebetween. The grid wires of the second cell may establish electrical communication with the substrate electrode of the first cell, in which case a series connection therebetween is established. Alternatively, the grid wires of the second cell may establish electrical communication with the top electrode of the first cell so as to create a parallel electrical connection therebetween.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: August 20, 2002
    Date of Patent: October 12, 2004
    Assignee: United Solar Systems Corporation
    Inventors: Kevin Beernink, Eric Akkashian
  • Patent number: 6767762
    Abstract: An ultra lightweight semiconductor device comprises a substrate electrode, a body of semiconductor material, and a top electrode, and is manufactured by a process wherein the thickness dimension of a portion of the substrate electrode is decreased so as to reduce the weight of the device. The portions of the device having a thick substrate serve to support and reinforce the device during processing and handling. These portions may subsequently be severed away to further reduce the weight of the device. Also disclosed are configurations of ultra lightweight semiconductor devices.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: July 23, 2002
    Date of Patent: July 27, 2004
    Assignee: United Solar Systems Corporation
    Inventor: Subhendu Guha
  • Patent number: 6730841
    Abstract: A web of photovoltaic roofing material exhibited by an elongated, substantially thin, and flexible web including a central photovoltaic area encapsulated within a polymeric material, the polymeric material including both side and end extending edges beyond the photovoltaic area. A pair of contact terminals extend from a selected end of the flexible web and establish electrical communication with the photovoltaic area. Overlapping edges of succeeding webs of roofing material are secured in place by elongated clamping strips and batten caps. An elongated flexible web, incorporating numerous detachable and individual sections, may be wound upon a spool and the spool may in turn be secured to a trolley, such as which may be traversable along an eave extending edge of the roof for applying the photovoltaic material.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: March 12, 2002
    Date of Patent: May 4, 2004
    Assignee: United Solar Systems Corporation
    Inventor: Steve Heckeroth
  • Patent number: 6729081
    Abstract: A photovoltaic building material comprises a substrate having one or more photovoltaic generating devices encapsulated thereupon. The substrate includes a body of contact adhesive material, preferably protected by a release layer. The material is readily installed onto a roof, wall or other portion of a building structure by use of the adhesive. The material can also be used for the custom fabrication of power generating modules, and such modules and methods for their manufacture are disclosed herein.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: June 7, 2001
    Date of Patent: May 4, 2004
    Assignee: United Solar Systems Corporation
    Inventors: Prem Nath, Avtar Singh, Kermit Jones, Steve Heckeroth
  • Patent number: 6553729
    Abstract: A photovoltaic building material comprises a substrate having one or more photovoltaic generating devices encapsulated thereupon. The substrate includes a body of contact adhesive material, preferably protected by a release layer. The material is readily installed onto a roof, wall or other portion of a building structure by use of the adhesive.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: April 26, 2001
    Date of Patent: April 29, 2003
    Assignee: United Solar Systems Corporation
    Inventors: Prem Nath, Avtar Singh, Kermit Jones
  • Patent number: 6468829
    Abstract: A P-I-N type photovoltaic device is manufactured by a process wherein the deposition rate of the intrinsic layer is controlled so that a portion of the intrinsic layer which is closest to the P-I interface, and which comprises at least 10% of the thickness of the intrinsic layer, is deposited at a rate which is less than the average rate at which the entire intrinsic layer is deposited.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: May 8, 2001
    Date of Patent: October 22, 2002
    Assignee: United Solar Systems Corporation
    Inventors: Subhendu Guha, Chi C. Yang, Kenneth Lord
  • Patent number: 6423595
    Abstract: There is disclosed herein a method for scribing the top electrode of semiconductor devices. According to the method, a scribe region of the top electrode is defined by creating a high electrical resistance perimeter there around. A channel having relatively high electrical conductivity is formed between the scribe region of the top electrode and the bottom electrode of the device. The device is then subjected to an electroconversion process wherein a current flow via the conductive path, and through the scribe region of the electrode, causes the bath to render the top electrode material in the scribe area nonconductive.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: April 19, 2001
    Date of Patent: July 23, 2002
    Assignee: United Solar Systems Corporation
    Inventor: Kevin Beernink
  • Patent number: 6274461
    Abstract: Plasma deposition of substantially amorphous semiconductor materials is carried out under a set of deposition parameters which are selected so that the process operates near the amorphous/microcrystalline threshold. This threshold varies as a function of the thickness of the depositing semiconductor layer; and, deposition parameters, such as diluent gas concentrations, must be adjusted as a function of layer thickness. Also, this threshold varies as a function of the composition of the depositing layer, and in those instances where the layer composition is profiled throughout its thickness, deposition parameters must be adjusted accordingly so as to maintain the amorphous/microcrystalline threshold.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: August 19, 1999
    Date of Patent: August 14, 2001
    Assignee: United Solar Systems Corporation
    Inventors: Subhendu Guha, Chi C. Yang
  • Patent number: 6011215
    Abstract: A large area photovoltaic device includes a plurality of photovoltaic regions electrically interconnected in parallel. The regions are defined by a plurality of conductive channels which establish electrical contact between a top transparent electrode of the device and a monolithic, metal substrate electrode. A second terminal of the device is provided by a bottom, metallic electrode disposed beneath the semiconductor body, and upon an electrically insulating layer which is supported upon the metallic substrate.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: December 18, 1997
    Date of Patent: January 4, 2000
    Assignee: United Solar Systems Corporation
    Inventors: Troy Glatfelter, Eric Akkashian, Mark Lycette
  • Patent number: 5977476
    Abstract: An N-I-P type photovoltaic device includes a multi-layered body of N-doped semiconductor material which has an amorphous, N doped layer in contact with the amorphous body of intrinsic semiconductor material, and a microcrystalline, N doped layer overlying the amorphous, N doped material. A tandem device comprising stacked N-I-P cells may further include a second amorphous, N doped layer interposed between the microcrystalline, N doped layer and a microcrystalline P doped layer. Photovoltaic devices thus configured manifest improved performance, particularly when configured as tandem devices.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: October 16, 1996
    Date of Patent: November 2, 1999
    Assignee: United Solar Systems Corporation
    Inventors: Subhendu Guha, Chi C. Yang, Xi Xiang Xu
  • Patent number: 5968287
    Abstract: A photovoltaic building structure comprises a number of interlockable building panels having photovoltaic generator devices supported thereupon. The photovoltaic devices may be attached to the panels by a vacuum lamination process in which a flexible, air impermeable membrane covers a stack of layers being laminated to the panel. Evacuation of air from between the membrane and panel causes the lamination stack to be compressed against the panel, and a pressure and/or heat activatable adhesive is employed to adhere the various layers to the panel. Installation of the panels is in accord with standard building techniques, and the presence of the photovoltaic generators does not change the mechanical characteristics of the panels.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: May 16, 1997
    Date of Patent: October 19, 1999
    Assignee: United Solar Systems Corporation
    Inventor: Prem Nath
  • Patent number: 5719076
    Abstract: A semiconductor device which includes a layer of hydrogenated semiconductor alloy material has the hydrogen content of that semiconductor layer optimized by the inclusion of a hydrogen-rich body of reservoir material in the device. Migration of hydrogen from the reservoir to the semiconductor layer provides and maintains an optimum hydrogen content in the semiconductor layer.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: April 24, 1996
    Date of Patent: February 17, 1998
    Assignee: United Solar Systems Corporation
    Inventor: Subhendu Guha
  • Patent number: 5637537
    Abstract: A method of severing a thin film semiconductor device. The semiconductor device includes a substrate having a first electrode region formed thereon, a semiconductor body formed of layers of thin film semiconductor alloy material disposed upon the base electrode, a transparent, electrically conductive second electrode deposited atop the semiconductor body, and a containment layer of polymeric material associated with the first or second electrode in at least one region to permit subsequent severing of the device into a plurality of devices through said containment layer region.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: May 11, 1992
    Date of Patent: June 10, 1997
    Assignee: United Solar Systems Corporation
    Inventors: Prem Nath, Craig N. Vogeli
  • Patent number: 5575861
    Abstract: A photovoltaic roofing shingle includes a strip of roofing material having an overlap portion, and a plurality of tab portions depending therefrom and separated by embossed inactive regions. Each of the tab portions includes a photovoltaic generating device affixed thereto. An encapsulating layer covers the top surface of each strip and wraps around the exposed and side edges. The photovoltaic devices are electrically interconnected, and each photovoltaic shingle member includes a hair of electrical terminals for delivering power from said photovoltaic devices. In use, the shingle members are affixed to a roof so that the tab portions of one row of shingles cover the overlap portion of an adjoining row. Electrical interconnection may be made through the roof to the inside of the building, or to a point atop the roof.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: June 7, 1995
    Date of Patent: November 19, 1996
    Assignee: United Solar Systems Corporation
    Inventors: Kais Younan, Troy Glatfelter
  • Patent number: 5569332
    Abstract: An optically enhanced back reflector for a photovoltaic device includes a back reflector layer of aluminum having a multi-layered, reflectivity enhancement member deposed thereon. The multi-layer enhancement member includes at least one pair of first and second layers, the first layer having a low index of refraction and the second layer having a high index of refraction. A layer of transmissive conductive oxide is disposed between the optically enhanced back reflector and the photovoltaic device.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: August 7, 1995
    Date of Patent: October 29, 1996
    Assignee: United Solar Systems Corporation
    Inventors: Troy Glatfelter, Kevin Hoffman, Chi C. Yang, Subhendu Guha
  • Patent number: 5554229
    Abstract: A light directing element for a photovoltaic device and method of manufacture. The light directing element is in the form of an encapsulating cover which fits onto the top of the underlying photovoltaic cell. A bottom surface of the encapsulating cover is provided with V-shaped grooves which are in registry with the underlying grid lines of the photovoltaic cell. Preferably, the side walls of the grooves are coated with a reflective coating. Incident light, falling on the reflective side walls will be reflected onto adjacent portions of the photovoltaic cell, thereby minimizing shading effects caused by the grid lines. In a particularly preferred embodiment, each groove in the cover is filled with a conductive carbon paste, and conductive wires are embedded therein. This conductive wires serve as the current collecting network of the solar cell and are in electrical communication with the top electrode thereof by means of the conductive carbon paste.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: February 21, 1995
    Date of Patent: September 10, 1996
    Assignee: United Solar Systems Corporation
    Inventor: Craig N. Vogeli
  • Patent number: 5514223
    Abstract: A dual discharge photovoltaic module responsive to high and low loads. The module includes a first plurality of series connected, high short circuit current cells, and a second plurality of series connected, low short circuit current cells connected in series with the first plurality. A diode is connected in parallel with the second plurality of cells such that current flow through the module when the module is under low load reverse biases the diode so that the module discharges at a low current. When the module is under high load, current flow through the module forward biases the diode and bypasses the second plurality of cells so that the module discharges at a high rate. The module is particularly useful for starting and running an electric motor.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: February 17, 1995
    Date of Patent: May 7, 1996
    Assignee: United Solar Systems Corporation
    Inventor: Craig N. Vogeli
  • Patent number: 5476798
    Abstract: In a glow discharge deposition process for the preparation of hydrogenated, Group IV semiconductor alloys, the substrate is maintained at a temperature which is positively correlated with the deposition rate and which is high enough to impart sufficient kinetic energy to the layer to activate the removal of undesirable morphologies, but low enough to prevent degradation of the layer caused by the excessive loss of hydrogen.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: November 26, 1993
    Date of Patent: December 19, 1995
    Assignee: United Solar Systems Corporation
    Inventor: Subhendu Guha
  • Patent number: 5474620
    Abstract: A composite laminate specifically adapted to protect the light incident surface of a photovoltaic module from cuts which could create a short circuit includes a plurality of stacked layer pairs. The first layer of each pair is a glass fiber material and the second layer is a thermoplastic. The layers are disposed in a mutually interpenetrating relationship and topped with a thin transparent protective layer, such as a layer of a fluoropolymer. this combination of layer pairs has been demonstrated to provide sufficient protection to meet Underwriters Laboratories specifications (UL 1703 Section 23. Cut Test) for flat plate photovoltaic modules and panels.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: May 16, 1994
    Date of Patent: December 12, 1995
    Assignee: United Solar Systems Corporation
    Inventors: Prem Nath, Craig N. Vogeli