Using standard production processes but with inclusion of copper electroplating, replacing silver-screen printing techniques, Schott Solar has achieved an efficiency of almost 20%. Using PERC (Passivated Emitter and Rear Contact) techniques combined with previous developments using nickel-copper plating on the front side of a multicrystalline cell, 19.7% efficiencies were achieved and verified by Fraunhofer ISE last week.
“This new cell represents a real milestone on it’s way to achieving higher output at lower production costs,” noted Dr. Axel Metz, director of solar cell development at SCHOTT Solar. “We have been exploring every possible aspect of this technology over the last few years and have made important progress these last few months. Now, we were successful in combining these excellent results in a new cell. The next step will be to provide actual proof of its long-term stability.”
Replacing silver with copper contacts is expected to result in lower manufacturing costs due to the high cost of silver and silver pastes, despite the need to change processes and equipment and introduce control systems for copper deployment in new facilities.