New Technologies Promise More Solar Cell Efficiency

By Apasolini on September 15, 2009

A silicon photovoltaic company unveiled yesterday two technologies for multi-crystalline silicon solar cells aimed at manufacturers striving to reach 18 percent efficiency. 1366 Technologies’ Self-Aligned Cell (SAC) architecture promises to “break the historic efficiency and cost tradeoff of photovoltaics (PV) by providing mono-crystalline equivalent cell efficiencies at multi-crystalline cell costs.”

One of the technologies address cell texture by creating a distinctive honeycomb structure that introduces cross-textured surfaces to the cell that trap more light and enable up to 1 percent higher absolute efficiency overall than previous cell designs. The second one focuses on the front-side cell metallization, wherein the company has developed metallization lines of just 30 microns (compared to the prevailing 120 microns) and a Grooved Ribbon busbar (licensed by Ulbrich and Schlenk). Industry standard thick fingers and flat busbars typically shade 9 percent of the surface of a cell. Comparatively, 1366’s front-side metallization approach only shades 2 percent of the cell delivering 75 percent of the efficiency gains of back-contact cell designs without the high costs and process complexity.

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