German research institute ISC Konstanz and specialist PV equipment supplier Eurotron have launched a new 300W interdigitated back contact (IBC) module, the ‘ZEBRA’, which will be put into pilot production next year.
The module uses high efficiency IBC ZEBRA cells developed by ISC Konstanz to achieve what is claimed to be higher power but for a relatively low cost.
Speaking to PV Tech, Radovan Kopecek, head of advanced cell concepts at ISC Konstanz, said the module offered similar performance to IBC modules manufactured by US firm SunPower but at a lower cost because they can be produced using standard equipment.
“It's similar module to the SunPower because it's IBC, and you have a very nice, very unique homogeneous black surface,” Kopecek said. “And by comparison to the SunPower module, the costs of ownership are much, much lower, because ZEBRA modules [use] more or less standard production and you only have to put into the standard production two or three pieces of equipment.
“And SunPower is completely different from standard production. So that means in terms of cost of ownership ZEBRA is very similar to what is standard per watt peak, but of course it's higher than you would have for standard multicrystalline module.”
Kopecek said the relatively small size of the modules made them well suited to rooftop applications or to building facades.
The development of the ZEBRA module was funded under two collaborative, publicly funded research programmes, HERCULES, and the European-funded ModerNtype project.
The module incorporates 60 5W cells that operate at a 21.2% efficiency, with only a small – 1.8% – cell-to-module loss in power.
It is expected to go into pilot production early next year at the MegaCell facility in Carmignano di Brenta, Italy.