Imec, Meco present high efficiency and cost-effective copper technology for i-PERC-type Silicon Solar Cells

Sep 30, 2013
New large area cells (156x156mm2) achieve 20.5% average efficiency using Nickel/Copper plating on p-type Czochralski Silicon (Cz-Si) material.

At this week's European Photovoltaic Solar Energy Conference and Exhibition (EUPVSEC in Paris), imec, a nanoelectronics research center based in Belgium, and Meco, a supplier of plating equipment for semiconductor and solar industry, present large area (156x156 mm2) i-PERC-type silicon solar cells with industry-applicable Nickel/Copper (Ni/Cu) plating for the front contacts. Together, the companies achieved an excellent average efficiency of 20.5% on more than 100 cells, and a maximum efficiency of 20.7% (confirmed by ISE callab).

"Not only do these results show a considerable performance improvement compared to state-of-the-art screen-printed PERC cells, but our Cost-of-Ownership analysis also indicates a clear advantage on the financial level," stated Jozef Szlufcik, Department director silicon photovoltaics at imec. "Our results show that Ni/Cu plating is one of the few new technologies that can simultaneously improve the of PERC , while reducing processing cost."

The cells were processed on imec's solar cell pilot line using Meco's inline plating tool to deposit the Ni/Cu front contacts. The metallization process of the Ni/Cu stack included Ultraviolet (UV) laser ablation, sequential in-line plating of the metal layers and contact annealing. The resulting i-PERC solar cell achieved an average efficiency of 20.5% on more than 100 with a very low standard deviation of only 0.1percent and an average fill factor of 80 percent, validating the high quality of the front contacts.

We now have the advantage of using Meco's industrial plating techniques and tools that were not available to earlier Ni/Cu adopters," stated Richard Russell, Metallization module leader at imec. "This gives us the opportunity to develop a more robust and cheaper process than was previously possible."

"We are elated to have achieved these excellent results in the framework of imec's industrial affiliation program on advanced silicon photovoltaics aiming at a reduction of the cost/Watt-peak (Wp)", stated Martijn Zwegers, Product manager solar at Meco. "Collaborating within imec's industrial ecosystem enables us to accommodate our advanced plating tools to industrial processing."

Explore further: Shedding light on solar power

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Recommended for you

A green data center with an autonomous power supply

1 hour ago

A new data center in the United States is generating electricity for its servers entirely from renewable sources, converting biogas from a sewage treatment plant into electricity and water. Siemens implemented ...

Can we create an energy efficient Internet?

2 hours ago

With the number of Internet connected devices rapidly increasing, researchers from Melbourne are starting a new research program to reduce energy consumption of such devices.

Shedding light on solar power

23 hours ago

Everyone wants to save energy, but not everyone knows where to start. Grid Resources, a startup based out of the Centre for Urban Energy's iCUE incubator, is developing a new website that seeks to help homeowners ...

Energy transition project moves into its second phase

Nov 27, 2014

Siemens is studying new concepts for optimizing the cost-effectiveness and technical performance of energy systems with distributed and fluctuating electricity production. The associated IRENE research project ...

User comments : 0

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.