Research group TNO develops tandem solar PV modules for European markets

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TNO’s tandem solar module consists of monolithic perovskite/silicon solar cells on top of each other. Image: TNO.

A consortium of Dutch and German organisations led by the Netherlands Organisation for Applied Scientific Research (TNO) has developed a tandem solar PV module that is aimed to be introduced in European markets.

The tandem cell technology used in the project is based on commercial passivated emitter and rear cell (PERC) crystalline silicon (c-SI) cells with a planar front side, according to Gianluca Coletti, program manager of tandem technology and applications at TNO (Toegepast Natuurwetenschappelijk Onderzoek).

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Dubbed Fit4Market, the four-year research project granted by the Netherlands Enterprise Agency (RVO), aims to industrially manufacture currently used PERC bottom cells which will combine perovskite/silicon solar cells for the tandem solar PV modules.

The combination of the technologies will be able to achieve a PV module power conversion efficiency of over 300Wp/m2 versus current levels of 200Wp/m2 from conventional modules.

Coordinated by research organisation TNO, the project is comprised of a consortium of Dutch and German organisations including solar PV manufacturer Qcells which will provide the bottom cells, equipment producer SMIT Thermal Solutions, solar tech company Levitech, as well as Yparex and machine manufacturer Tempress.

“The purpose of the collaborative FIT4Market research project is to identify best-practice two-terminal cell development using perovskite and silicon cells in order to develop tandem modules with a competitive LCOE and industry-leading reliability and performance,” says Jorg Muller, Head of cell R&D at Qcells.

The project is co-funded by the Topsector Energy subsidy of the Ministry of Economic Affairs and Climate Policy, implemented by the RVO.

Tandem technology combines commercial silicon technology for the bottom device with perovskite technology as an additional layer which offers a higher conversion efficiency.

TNO has been developing its tandem technology since 2016 and last year collaborated with a group of researchers that achieved a 30.1% conversion efficiency for four-terminal perovskite-silicon PV tandem cells which combined a perovskite solar cell with conventional silicon solar cell technologies.

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