According to Ter Soon Kim, senior vice president of operations and technology, REC. n-Type solar cells have a higher efficiency potential than traditional p-type solar cells. Moreover, they do not display the light-induced degradation that plague conventional p-type solar cells. However, n-type cells are more complex to manufacture and traditionally require expensive silver contacts on both sides of the cell.
To that end, the Fraunhofer Institute for Solar Energy Systems has now developed a high-efficiency cell structure that avoids the use of an expensive silver contact grid on the back of the cell. Instead, this cell structure makes use of a combination of dielectric layers and localized contacts. REC, which has a vast experience in the development and optimization state-of-the-art manufacturing processes, will work together with Fraunhofer ISE to translate this technology from lab scale to a full production-ready concept. The new production process is expected to yield high-efficiency cells at competitive costs on proven production equipment. The latter will make it possible to implement this technology quickly in production once it is fully developed.
“The PassDop layer delivers excellent results on the conductivity of n-type solar cells," said Dr. Stefan Glunz, division director, solar cells – development and characterization, at Fraunhofer ISE. "Through it, we can now achieve confirmed cell efficiency of 22.4 per cent."
The goal of combining REC's manufacturing capabilities with the new technology developed at Fraunhofer ISE, according to Ter Soon Kim, is to make solar energy more accessible and affordable to the masses.