By Kari Williamson
The silver-free method uses copper electroplating in place of silver screen printing to reduce resistance, enable electrode narrowing and achieve a substantial improvement in production costs for silicon solar cells.
Kaneka says this represents “the first ever use of copper electroplating to create collector electrodes on heterojunction silicon solar cells.”
The method involves the application of copper electroplating technology to Kaneka’s existing heterojunction solar cell production processes. Tests conducted in imec’s facilities demonstrated that 6 inch2 solar cells with copper electroplated collector electrodes on the transparent conductive oxide can boost conversion efficiency to 21% or more.
The method was developed by research teams at Kaneka and Kaneka Belgium (Photovoltaics European Laboratory located in the facilities of imec in Leuven) having the cooperation of imec researchers.