SCHOTT Solar AG has managed to reach an important milestone by combining several of its most recent development achievements.
The company was able to use standard production processes to manufacture a high-efficiency solar cell that contains no silver, whose front side only requires electroplated copper contacts. The backside is passivated using PERC technology and aluminum screen printing. This new type of cell achieved an efficiency of almost 20 percent on industrial wafer size 156 mm x 156 mm. Fraunhofer ISE confirmed this value in a measurement commissioned by SCHOTT Solar on December 8, 2011.
The new cell combines several innovative technologies. Just recently, SCHOTT Solar was able to achieve efficiency of 18 percent in the research project Las VeGaS while using nickel-copper plating on the front side of a multicrystalline cell. At the same time, this new cell concept contains also PERC (Passivated Emitter and Rear Contact), the backside passivation technique used in the record monocrystalline cell as published recently. This SCHOTT technology is known for it’s high efficiency potential and low-cost production processes, especially in combination with copper plating. If long-term stability can be demonstrated successfully, it will no longer be necessary to use expensive silver in cell manufacturing.
“This new cell represents a real milestone on it’s way to achieving higher output at lower production costs,” explains Dr. Axel Metz, Director of Solar Cell Development at SCHOTT Solar. “We have been exploring every possible aspect of this technology over the last few years and have made important progress these last few months. Now, we were successful in combining these excellent results in a new cell. The next step will be to provide actual proof of its long-term stability,” he adds.