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Dullweber T.,Institute for Solar Energy Research Hamelin | Kranz C.,Institute for Solar Energy Research Hamelin | Peibst R.,Institute for Solar Energy Research Hamelin | Baumann U.,Institute for Solar Energy Research Hamelin | And 9 more authors.
Progress in Photovoltaics: Research and Applications | Year: 2015

Passivated emitter and rear cell (PERC) solar cells are currently being introduced into mass production. In this paper, we report a novel PERC solar cell design that applies a screen-printed rear Al finger grid instead of the conventional full-area aluminum (Al) rear layer while using the same PERC manufacturing sequence. We name this novel cell concept PERC+ because it offers several advantages. In particular, the Al paste consumption of the PERC+ cells is drastically reduced to 0.15g instead of 1.6g for the conventional PERC cells. The Al fingers create 2-μm-deeper aluminum back surface fields, which increases the open-circuit voltage by 4mV. The five-busbar Al finger grid enables bifacial applications of the PERC+ cells with front-side efficiencies up to 20.8% and rear-side efficiencies up to 16.5% measured with a black chuck. The corresponding bifaciality is 79%. When applied in monofacial modules where the white back sheet acts as external rear reflector, the efficiency of the PERC+ cells is estimated to 20.9%, which is comparable with conventional PERC cells. Whereas Institute for Solar Energy Research Hamelin developed the aforementioned PERC+ results, SolarWorld independently pioneered a very similar bifacial PERC+ cell process starting in 2014. Transfer into mass production has been successfully accomplished, and novel glass-glass bifacial PERC+ modules have been launched at the Intersolar 2015 based on a most simple, lean, and cost-effective bifacial cell process. These new bifacial PERC+ modules show an increase in annual energy yield between 5% and 25% in simulations, which is confirmed by first outdoor measurements. © 2015 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.

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