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21.2% Record Efficiency for Industrial PERC Silicon Solar Cell

11.04.2014 - (idw) Institut für Solarenergieforschung GmbH

The Institute for Solar Energy Research Hamelin (ISFH) being an associated institute of the Leibniz University of Hanover increases the conversion efficiency of industrial silicon solar cells with screen-printed metal contacts from todays typical 17.5% to 19.5% to a record value of 21.2%, as confirmed by an independent measurement of the Fraunhofer ISE CalLab. 21.2% is the highest efficiency reported so far worldwide for industry typical silicon solar cells with screen-printed metal contacts. Two technological improvements enable the record conversion efficiency. First, the cell front side is metallized using an advanced five busbar design and a dual print process, which reduces the contact finger width to 46 µm and hence significantly reduces the shadowing loss. This advanced printing process was optimized at ISFH in collaboration with DEK Solar, using their Eclipse screen printing platform and precision screens and stencils. Leading-edge silver pastes supplied by Heraeus were used for printing the front-side grid. Second, the local rear metal contacts were screen-printed with an improved aluminum paste provided by DuPont Microcircuit Materials using an optimized contact geometry with narrower contact lines. Beyond these innovations, the silicon solar cell applies an AlOx/SiNy- passivated rear side (PERC) and typical industrial processes, in particular a homogeneously phosphorus diffused emitter and a 156 x 156 mm2 large boron-doped Czochralski (Cz) silicon wafer.

The 21.2% world record efficiency was achieved within the research project HighScreen funded by the German Federal Ministry of the Environment in collaboration with our project partners SolarWorld AG, Heraeus Precious Metals GmbH & Co. KG, RENA GmbH, and SINGULUS TECHNOLOGIES AG, Dr. Thorsten Dullweber, head of the ISFH research group Solar Cell Production Processes, and Prof. Rolf Brendel, Director of ISFH explain. DEK Solar are delighted to be an integral part of this exciting collaboration and are committed to the development of leading-edge metallization processes with key industry partners. Our close cooperation with ISFH continues to deliver outstanding results, states Tom Falcon, Principle Engineer with DEK Solar.

A 21.2% conversion efficiency for a PERC cell in industry scale is a true breakthrough. With the excellent processing knowledge and the expertise for solar cells of the ISFH, the front-side silver-pastes of Heraeus could unfold their peak performance, states Carsten Mohr, Vice President Global Sales of the Heraeus Photovoltaics Business Unit. DuPont is pleased to collaborate with ISFH in achieving this record efficiency, using our high efficiency Solamet® Al metallization paste, said Peter Brenner, photovoltaics global marketing manager, DuPont Microcircuit Materials. Research to help optimize the aluminum paste chemistry has enabled a significant improvement, as we continue to advance the science behind solar.

About 80% of todays industrially manufactured solar cells apply p-type crystalline silicon wafers in combination with screen-printed metal contacts. Hence, efficiency improvements for this type of solar cell are highly relevant for the photovoltaic industry and represent an intensive field of research worldwide. PERC (Passivated Emitter and Rear Cell) solar cells are a very promising candidates for the next generation of industrial-type silicon solar cells.
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