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Challenges for the interconnection of crystalline silicon heterojunction solar cells

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By Angela De Rose; Torsten Geipel; Denis Erath; Achim Kraft; Ulrich Eitner, Fraunhofer Institute for Solar Energy Systems ISE, Freiburg, Germany

Crystalline silicon heterojunction (HJT) solar cells and modules based on amorphous silicon on monocrystalline wafers offer advantages over established wafer-based technologies in terms of efficiency potential, complexity of the manufacturing process, and energy yield of the modules. The temperature sensitivity of these solar cells, however, poses considerable challenges for their integration in modules. Currently, there exist three approaches for the interconnection of HJT solar cells, each with its own strengths and weaknesses: 1) ribbon soldering with low-meltingpoint alloys; 2) gluing of ribbons by using electrically conductive adhesives (ECAs); 3) SmartWire Connection Technology (SWCT).

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Welcome to the tenth anniversary edition of Photovoltaics International. Over the past decade this journal has documented the latest developments in the fast-changing of world PV technology, bringing you exclusive insights from researchers working at the industry’s cutting edge. Over that time the pace of change has been astonishing, so much so that it scarcely seems as though one new technology is accepted before the next arrives on the scene. So seems to be the case with the passivated emitter and rear cell (PERC), which having become the technology upgrade of choice across the industry now appears to have a successor in waiting. In this edition researchers at Fraunhofer ISE look at so-called tunnel oxide passivated contact (TOPCon) technology as a follow-up to PERC. Meanwhile, a team from TÜV Rheinland takes a deep dive into the vexed question of how the industry can most usefully define the benefits of bifacial technology. At the other end of the value chain, US-based 1366 Technologies gives an account of its contribution to reducing costs in wafer manufacturing, a significant ongoing expense in industrial PV cell production and thus a key focus for efforts to drive down the levelized cost of solar-generated electricity. Elsewhere in this edition, Canadian Solar outlines some of the solutions it has developed for tackling light-induced degradation in multi-PERC cells and modules, a persistent challenge with PERC technology. In this edition our deputy editor Tom Kenning reports from the recent PV CellTech event in Malaysia, where the ‘Who’s Who’ of the PV manufacturing world gathered to debate the current state of play in solar technology.

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