Q-Cells SE Develops World Record-Setting Solar Cell With 19.5% Efficiency Rating

(Nanowerk News) Q-Cells SE, one of the world's leading photovoltaics companies, has marked a new world record in the field of major polycrystalline solar cells. The independent calibration laboratory of Fraunhofer ISE (Institute for Solar Energy Systems) in Freiburg (Germany) confirmed the record efficiency rating of 19.5% on an area of 243 cm². The high-performance solar cell is based on the new Q.ANTUM cell concept, developed by Q-Cells in recent years. On the occasion of the biggest industry fair in the world, Intersolar 2011 in Munich, Q-Cells has been nominated for the Intersolar Award 2011 for a first kind of these solar cells, achieving an efficiency rating of 18.45%.
"The new world record is proofing Q-Cells' leading position in the crystalline solar cells market. We have already managed to significantly improve the cell efficiency rating thanks to our new cell concept Q.ANTUM, and we will further optimise this technology to achieve efficiencies of more than 20%," said Peter Waver, Senior Vice President Technology with Q-Cells SE, explaining the importance of this development. "We are proud to have been nominated for the Intersolar Award 2011. This shows that our development will be a determining factor for the entire photovoltaics industry."
In Q-Cells' in-house research centre at the Thalheim site (Germany), a polycrystalline, 180-µm-thick silicon wafer was metallised and passivated with functional nanolayers on the back side. This new type of structure for the back side, consisting of dielectric layers combined with local contacts, improves the solar cell's optical and electrical characteristics and significantly boosts output as compared to the previous standard technology, which uses a completely aluminum-metallised rear.
At the beginning of the year, Q-Cells already broke a world record in the field of polycrystalline solar modules, drawing on this cell design and a cell efficiency rating of 18.45%. The European Solar Test Installation (ESTI) confirmed a total module output of 268 watts and the module efficiency rating of 17.84% on the aperture area.
Q-Cells consistently optimised the individual steps of cell production and managed to improve the top efficiency rating from 18.45% by more than 1% to 19.5%. The innovative cell structure is suitable for a range of silicon qualities and for very thin wafers. This opens up potential for further cost savings in the industrial production of solar cells. Since research, development and production are closely integrated at the German Thalheim site, Q-Cells will now use the research results for series production of the third generation of Q-Cells solar cells and modules.
The state of Sachsony-Anhalt and the German federal government, among others, provided funds for the development activities. Some activities were carried out in the framework of the top cluster Solarvalley Central Germany.
Source: Q-Cell (press release)
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