Silicon solar cells are the workhorse of the photovoltaic industry, having a market share of about 85% of the world production of solar cells. Imec’s crystalline silicon solar research aims to increase the energy conversion efficiency and the total energy yield, while at the same time reducing the manufacturing cost.
Imec’s developments involve new process step development (e.g. new passivation, doped layers, patterning, metallization, epitaxial processes, thin wafer handling & processing, ...) and the implementation of these new processing steps in monofacial and bifacial n-type PERT solar cells.
Imec’s monofacial n-PERT cells have record efficiencies up to 22.5% and are using electro-plated NiCu front metallisation.
With high efficiency bifacial solar cells the energy yield of PV production plants in kWh/kWp can be increased. Our bifacial cells have close to 100% bifaciality and with a monofacial efficiency up to 22.6%. The metallization can be made with fine-line plated Ni contacts which are then further interconnected with a multi-wire technology, or they can be made with standard screen printed metallisation.
To further reduce the cost and improve the reliability of silicon solar cell modules, imec is developing an innovative and patented technology in which the wires connecting the different cells are woven into the encapsulant material. This enables an enormous module manufacturing simplification, while at the same time the reduced stress on the wafers increases the module life time.
Starting from the physical parameters of solar cells and modules, combined with accurate weather data, imec has developed a very accurate simulation model for the determination of the electricity generation from PV cell and modules in varying weather circumstances. This model can be used the optimize solar cells for different climatological regions, or to better forecast the real-time production of power plants.
Through participation in our silicon-PV affiliation program or via direct bilateral collaborations we can provide companies with innovative cutting edge solar cell and PV module technology solutions.