I’m really excited about a new option for those of us who are prototyping solar assemblies or evaluating new tabbing ribbon materials. I’ve been waiting for something like this – everything you need to solder solar cells together in one package. The turn around time is key too – you may recall an older post where I learned how quickly these materials shipped.
On the website where these kits are offered, the description reads:
“Tabbing ribbon kits come with everything you need to evaluate how Indium Corporation materials will work with your solar cells and assembly process. The kits can be used to:
- Evaluate which tabbing ribbon size is best for your design
- Determine which flux is best for your operation
- Experiment with new solder coating alloys
- Assemble a few solar panels”
The tabbing ribbon kits come in 3 flavors:
I have a feeling the Low Temp Pb-Free kits are really going to be the most popular of the 3 that are offered though. Application temperature ranges will determine which kit to use, but all three versions of the kits are said to offer similar base copper sizes and tolerances:
“The ribbon itself is industry standard CDA 110 (99.9% Cu) core flat wire, coated with a precisely controlled layer of solder. Each ribbon is manufactured using our proprietary softening process so you can increase the yield of your stringing process.” Basically, this means that the softer tabbing ribbon will help eliminate the breakage of thinned cells during the heating/cooling cycle.
It also includes some matching bus ribbon to complete your panel build. If you’re trying to find the right flux, this kit serves dually as a flux evaluation kit as well. The kit is loaded with VOC-Free flux, rosin-based flux, and resin-based tabbing fluxes. I prefer GS-5454 as a flux for most tabbing operations, but you can see how the others stack up as well.
Let me know how you like the kit after you try it out!