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Fraunhofer ISE: Topcon solar cell in the M10 format with 24 per cent efficiency

The square wafer format with an edge length of 182 millimeters promises higher efficiency. In the first attempt, the Freiburg researchers succeeded in creating a Topcon solar cell with an efficiency of 24 percent.

Topcon solar modules are increasingly replacing Perc technology. The Fraunhofer Institute for Solar Energy Systems ISE announced that it was the first European research institute to switch to large-area M10 silicon wafers. This square wafer format with edge lengths of 182 millimeters enables higher cell efficiency. The Fraunhofer ISE achieved an efficiency of 24 percent for its Topcon solar cells. It presented this result on Wednesday at the 20th Photovoltaic Technology Advisory Board meeting.

The switch to Tunnel Oxide Passivated Contact (Topcon) solar cells was successful in the company's own technology evaluation center PV-TEC. "We are very pleased that we can now support our industrial partners in optimizing their technology development with this large-scale format or in starting to produce such solar cells from scratch," said Sabrina Lohmüller, deputy head of the Silicon and Perovskite-Silicon Tandem Solar Cells department and also responsible for quality management at PV-TEC.

According to its own information, Fraunhofer ISE developed the Topcon cell architecture and was able to present a record efficiency for it for the first time in 2013. The technology achieved a market share of almost 50 percent of the ITRPV roadmap last year. The solar cells, which are around 120 micrometers thick, are metallized with screen-printed contact fingers and calibrated in CalTeC at the Institute for Solar Energy Research in Hameln, it said. In addition, the M10 solar cells were also metallized with galvanically deposited copper by researchers at Fraunhofer ISE.

"Achieving an efficiency of 24.0 percent with the first batch suggests that we will exceed 25 percent with the next optimization steps," said Ralf Preu, Head of Photovoltaics at Fraunhofer ISE, optimistically. "In addition, we are laying the foundation for our medium-term goal of large-area silicon-based tandem solar cells, with an efficiency potential of well over 30 percent."


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