Silicon photovoltaics developer 1366 Technologies has come out with a pair of cell texturing and metallization technologies as part of its self-aligned cell architecture that the company believes will help deliver simpler, more commercially viable solutions for multicrystalline-silicon solar cell manufacturers looking to reach conversion efficiencies of 18%. The two innovations can be easily integrated into existing manufacturing lines, according to the Massachusetts-based company.
The first technology deals with cell texture, creating a distinctive honeycomb structure that introduces cross-textured surfaces to the cell that trap more light and enable up to 1% higher absolute efficiency overall than previous cell designs.
The second focuses on the front-side cell metallization, where the company has developed the world’s finest metallization lines–just 30μm compared to the prevailing 120μm–and an innovative grooved ribbon busbar (pictured at left), which is licensed by Ulbrich and Schlenk.
Industry-standard thick fingers and flat busbars typically shade 9% of the surface of a cell. 1366 says that its front-side metallization approach only shades 2% of the cell, delivering 75% of the efficiency gains of back-contact cell designs without the high costs and process complexity.
“At 1366 we’ve pioneered a cell architecture and manufacturing process that’s going to change the way we think about energy,” said Frank van Mierlo, company cofounder/president. “Our innovations have the potential to save manufacturers $50 billion over the next five years and help the industry deliver solar at the cost of coal.”
“The way we see it, the right technology and materials are available now to help PV reach grid parity, but the challenge for our industry is to simultaneously deliver high efficiencies and low costs,” adds Emanuel Sachs, cofounder/CTO. “Our self-aligned cell architecture addresses this challenge head-on. We believe our technologies, combined with further advancements in manufacturing, will help solar power satisfy 7% of global electricity demand over the next decade and inspire one of the largest manufacturing revolutions in history.”
Earlier this year, 1366 won a cost-shared subcontract worth up to $3 million for the development of its self-aligned cell approach, as part of the U.S. Department of Energy’s Solar America Initiative.