SCHOTT Solar announced the world’s first monocrystalline screen-printed solar cell on Wednesday — with conversion efficiency of 20.2%. The Fraunhofer ISE in Freiburg, another research institute, confirmed the results of SCHOTT Solar’s tests with an independent measurement.
The previous record – 17.6% – was achieved through use of multicrystalline solar cells, one of several methods of making a solar cell go. SCHOTT Solar’s Dr. Axel Metz, head of solar cell research and development at SCHOTT Solar, acknowledges the multicrystalline concept as the greatest contributing factor to his team’s outstanding results. “We’ve been concentrating on the development of monocrystalline cells since the start of 2011,” he said. “We had three years of experience with the multicrystalline cells to carry over to the monocrystalline concept.”
The initial attempts produced cell efficiency of well above 19%, but that wasn’t quite good enough. Co-operating with the Schmid Group from Freudenstadt and further supported by federal grants, the SCHOTT Solar team focused on optimizing the front surface of the cell. In the end, it was a combination of Schmid’s production-established selective emitter technology with SCHOTT’s PERC (Passsivated Emitter and Rear Contacts) technology that pushed them over the 20% mark. The final result is an industry standard 156x156mm screen-printed solar cell.
SCHOTT Solar plans to release further information, including details as to how they plan to translate their solar cells to concrete products, at the 26th European Photovoltaic Solar Energy Conference and Exhibition (EU PVSEC), which will take place from September 5th to September 9th in Hamburg. Anyone attending can find SCHOTT Solar’s booth in hall B5, space A37.