Schott Solar announced, along with its partners, that after six months it had reached an 18% efficiency measurement for its metallized copper solar cell. Featuring a multicrystalline wafer base with a screen-printed standard backside, the research project, taking place in Las Vegas, aims to have the standard silver contact replaced on the front side of solar cells by a cheaper nickel-copper-plating. Schott noted that this allows for the production costs for the front-side of the cell to be cut by more than half.
The company advised that the biggest challenge lies in the metallization with nickel-copper plating since the researchers must prevent the diffusion of copper into the silicon solar cell since, if it enters the silicon solar cell it would reduce the electrons lifetime and the overall efficiency of the cell. Schott stated that in order to prevent this from happening, its project team developed a galvanic nickel layer as a diffusion barrier and appropriate production techniques to produce the technology and the copper contacts on the cell.
The company will be producing prototypes with its new solar cells so that they can be installed in a test module that will study the long-term stability of the technology. Furthermore, Schott is looking to transfer the developmental success to its monocrystalline cells with efficiencies expected to reach over 19%.