The German research project “HELENE” — a project put together for the purpose of increasing the competitiveness of the country’s solar energy technology sector is aiming to achieve industrial production of monocrystalline p-Type PERC (Passivated Emitter and Rear Cell) solar cells with an efficiency of 22.5% by the end of the year 2017, according to recent reports.
The HELENE project — which is propelled forward by the efforts of SolarWorld, the University of Konstanz, the Institute for Solar Energy Research (ISFH), the Fraunhofer Institute ISE + CSP, and others — recently set a new world conversion efficiency record for PERC cells, with an efficiency of 21.7% achieved. These monocrystalline p-Type PERC solar cells were produced at a pilot facility created by SolarWorld Innovations.
While the achievement of the new conversion efficiency record (and the push for the targeted 22.5% record) is notable on its own, the real takeaway is what happens regarding commercialization — in other words, applying the new insights to the (perhaps struggling) German solar energy industry.
On that note, SolarWorld recently announced that it would be seeking to expand its high-efficiency solar cell manufacturing capacity. Reportedly, the company is aiming to begin offering a 300-watt-plus solar module sometime in the next few months.
If the HELENE research project does indeed manage to achieve the new 22.5% solar conversion efficiency world record for PERC cells by the end of 2017, it’ll be somewhat interesting to see how fast the new solar cell can make it to industrial production.
Image Credit: SolarWorld
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