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An overview of module fabrication technologies for back-contact solar cells

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By Jef Poortmans, Director of the Solar and Organic Technologies Department, IMEC; Jonathan Govaerts, Solar Cell Technology Group, IMEC; Kris Baert, Programme Manager of Solar Cells, SOLO Department, IMEC; Tom Borgers, Photovoltech; Wouter Ruythooren, Back-Contact Technology Group Leader, Photovoltech

Apart from aesthetics, the gain in electrical performance of back-contact solar cells and modules is particularly attractive compared to conventional PV modules. This major benefit results from getting rid of (the majority of ) the metallization at the front, and providing all the cell contacts at the back. An overview is presented here of the different concepts put forward by different institutes and companies around the world for such back-contact modules. The different types of state-of-the-art back-contact cell are first introduced, together with their corresponding contacting and interconnection schemes. Keeping in mind the reference module technology for two-side-contacted cells as a starting point, each module concept is then briefly discussed in terms of technology and level of maturity. Finally, the main technological differences are summarized.

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The seventeenth edition of Photovoltaics International applauds new markets emerging to plug the deployment gaps left by countries such as Spain, the Czech Republic and Italy. Profitless prosperity is the way Mark Osborne, Senior News Editor at PV-Tech.org characterises the PV manufacturing supply chain at the moment. In this issue the Fraunhofer ISE presents an overview of MWT technologies and calls on manufacturers to “quickly bring these techniques to industrialisation”. Additionally back contact cells and modules are featured extensively with valuable contributions from IMEC/ECN and the ISFH.

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