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NREL certification boost for TetraSun's passivation solar PV cell technology

TetraSun has announced the successful completion of its SunShot Initiative PV Incubator grant from the US Department of Energy (DOE).

All deliverables under the contract, which included a full area cell efficiency of a minimum of 20% and reliability tests according to IEC 61215, were submitted ahead of schedule and certified by the DOE’s National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL).

TetraSun’s new cell concept is based on a novel surface passivation technology that enables the use of 40 um wide copper electrodes instead of screen-printed silver metallization. Without demanding special equipment for the manufacturing process, cell Voc values in excess of 700mV are achieved on monocrystalline Czochralski grown silicon, the company says.

“Exceeding the performance of traditional heterojunction technology on 156mm cells – without the need for a transparent conductive oxide or special module assembly – is a significant advantage when it comes to high volume manufacturing of the TetraCell”, says Dr. Oliver Schultz-Wittmann, VP of Device Engineering at TetraSun.

Since its founding in 2009, TetraSun has raised $12 million from equity and strategic customer investors, which has helped the company bring its passivation and patterning technologies to “production ready” status, as evidenced by ongoing small scale production and deployments in the U.S. and Japan. In 2010, the company received a $2.3 million grant from the DOE to support the development of back-surface passivation research and development.

“This has always been about creating a transformational technology,” continued Schultz-Wittmann. “Technology that will allow for the highest efficiency at the lowest cost, enabling solar to become a real part of our energy supply. With the support of our investors and the DOE we’re now in small scale production and ready to realise the full promise of our technology.” 

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Photovoltaics (PV)  •  Solar electricity