Surfect Technologies claims cell efficiency gains with copper plating

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Surfect Technologies has released preliminary results of development work carried out with its Directed Energy Plating (DEP) process technology using copper plating techniques to boost solar cell conversion efficiencies over conventional silver paste metallization. According to Surfect, customer demonstrations have shown improvements of 0.5-0.6% higher efficiency or 4-5% increased energy capture from solar cells. Surfect believes that by using copper stack plating, both the emitter contact conductivity and bulk conductivity are boosted.

However, Surfect claims that evaluations undertaken with copper metal deposition, directly on bare silicon using the DEP technology, would result in 1.2% to 2.0% higher efficiency or 5% to 10% increased energy capture versus silver paste. Importantly, this would be achieved at lower cost than competing metal plating systems, the company claimed. Denser metal patterns with finer lines are achieved with its direct plating process, which enhances the capture area on top of the cell, the company said.

“The first phase of our strategy is to provide current solar manufacturers with an immediate solution to improve energy capture from existing manufacturing processes that utilize silver paste to capture and transport photons from the solar cell,” commented Steve Anderson, Chief Executive Officer, Surfect Technologies. “We are encouraged by the successful deposition of copper on the current silver paste with good adhesion results and increased energy capture, demonstrating the effectiveness of our proprietary, computer-driven Direct Energy Plating technology.”

Anderson noted that the company was currently continuing to accumulate data on bare metal plating efficiency levels.

“For the final phase of our strategy, we look forward to introducing additional solar packaging solutions that will significantly enhance module integration and increase performance at the solar panel level,” Anderson said.

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