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21% cell efficiency on 156x156 mm2 Cz-Si wafers | Europe

21% cell efficiency on 156x156 mm2 Cz-Si wafers

As a result of the R&D partnership on Interdigitated Back-Contact Cells (IBC) between Silfab SpA (Italy) and ISC Konstanz (Germany), a 21% energy conversion efficiency has been achieved on monocrystalline silicon large area solar cells using a low cost industrial process, with a potential to exceed 24%.

?ZEBRA?, the new back-contact solar cell announced in the summer of 2011, has now reached the 21% energy conversion efficiency with the potential exceed to 24%. This result is particularly important because it has been obtained with a standard industrial low cost process. This technology breakthrough was officially announced today by Silfab SpA (Italy), a leading solar provider based in Italy and Canada, and the International Solar Energy Research - ISC Konstanz (Germany), as a result of their joint R&D activities.

The ?ZEBRA? cell concept is based on large area (156 x 156 mm2) n-type monocrystalline (Cz) silicon wafers and is a back-contact / back-junction cell, without any metallization on the sunny side. This means that, while the efficiency of today?s industrial mainstream monocrystalline cell technology will soon saturate at around 19-20%, Silfab?s innovative ?ZEBRA? technology starts from 21% and will potentially reach efficiencies of over 24% while significantly reducing the production costs per watt peak. ?ZEBRA? solar cell performance starts out where traditional cells end up, opening a new chapter in the photovoltaic industry.

?The combination of high cell efficiency, large area and usage of conventional n-type wafers, as well as a low cost process? - said Franco Traverso, Silfab SpA President and CEO - ?leads to a significant reduction of cell and module production costs, and represents a very important step towards grid-parity. This is a technological achievement that is made possible by the long-term industrial experience of our technical team in combination with the excellence of ISC Konstanz in R&D in photovoltaics, especially in the field of n-type IBC solar cell technology. This advanced technology is now ready for industrialization, and Silfab is now moving towards a partnership aimed at the pilot stage and subsequently industrial implementation.

As result of the partnership, the cell and module manufacturing Pilot line will be implemented in the next few months; the proven energy conversion rate of the ?ZEBRA? cells will enable the production of 60 cells modules with a nominal output power of 300 Wp at a competitive cost per watt peak and no LID effect.

The ?ZEBRA? process sequence is a new and smart combination of single process steps that are already implemented in mass production by the worldwide PV industry, thus avoiding the need of adopting specific equipment for producing interdigitated back-contact cells (IBC). Today?s industry standard cell manufacturing lines can therefore be utilized to produce super high efficiency cells at a significantly reduced cost per watt. Silfab will play the role of technology provider to cells and modules manufacturing companies willing to upgrade their traditional lines, thus strongly contributing to their competitiveness and profitability.

?It is extremely rewarding for us to be able to work on important research projects and be financially and technically supported by a company with the outstanding expertise of Silfab. We are amazed how fast we have reached our set goals and in some points are even ahead of schedule. This gives us now the opportunity to focus on industrialization of our first product? - said Dr. Radovan Kopecek, co-founder and director of ISC Konstanz - ?We are proud to be able to anticipate and illustrate such results as ours on low-cost IBC cells to the photovoltaic scientific and technical community which will be presented on the Photon Terawatt-hours Conference in Berlin this Wednesday and, in more detail, on the nPV workshop in Amsterdam 13th-14th May this year.?
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Posted by Gloria Llopis | 2012-03-27