PV has an increasingly important role to play but needs to drive down the Levelised Cost of Electricity (LCOE) further towards the level of 1 €ct/kWh. The LCOE of PV systems is becoming increasingly more dependent on cell efficiency. Recent advances in p-PERC have driven cell efficiencies towards 22%. This will continue to 23% by 2020. However, the path beyond 23% is not very clear using p-type wafers, and many expect that n-PERT is the only viable candidate. This project aims to show the viability of n-PERT at 24% applying 2-side passivating contacts with 2-side plated nickel/silver metallization.
Since the Achilles heel of PERC technology is contact recombination, a passivating contact technology can give the next boost in efficiency. The tunnel oxide/poly-Si contact is the most advanced and mature passivating contact technology but is still limited when combined with traditional screen-printing metallization. Therefore, this project aims at combining poly-Si passivating contacts with next-generation plating technology. Furthermore, the switch to n-type bifacial technology brings several advantages (stable efficiency, bifacial gain, improved reliability with glass/glass module) that can positively impact the LCOE.
The final goal of this project is the development of 23-24% plated bifacial n-type cells with poly-Si passivating contacts on both sides. Through the additional power contribution from the rear of the device (bifacial gain), effective efficiencies will be 15-20% (rel.) higher depending on the bi-faciality and the installation conditions. Furthermore, this project will define a clear business case to establish a large-scale n-PERT manufacturing cell and module facility, where cost and environmental concerns are addressed.