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Development of cost-effective PERLtype Si solar cells with 19.5% average efficiency

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By Antonio Cacciato, Manager of the R&D Advanced Processes Group, Photovoltech N.V.; Filip Duerinckx, Photovoltech N.V.; Kasper Baert, R&D Engineer, Photovoltech N.V.; Matthieu Moors, R&D Engineer, Photovoltech N.V.; Guido Leys, R&D Department, Photovoltech N.V.; Milica Mrcarica, Photovoltech N.V.; Erwann Picard, Production Technologies Group Leader, Photovoltech N.V.; Jozef Szlufcik, R&D and Technology Manager, Photovoltech N.V.; Tom Caremans, Research Engineer, Photovoltech N.V.

The development of a cost-effective and industrially up-scalable process for p-type Cz monocrystalline silicon solar cells of the passivated emitter, rear locally diffused (PERL) type requires a careful trade-off between the potential benefits that novel process steps can deliver (in terms of improved efficiency and/or process control) and the additional costs involved. The approach chosen by Photovoltech is to limit as much as possible the number of PERL-specific process steps and to fine-tune the processes already in use for our standard full Al back-surface field (Al-BSF) technology in order to satisfy the more stringent requirements of PERL technology. Some of the results of this development are reported in this paper. In particular, the impact of different local BSF pastes on our proprietary extended laser ablation (ELA) rear-contacting technique is investigated, as well as the effect of the wafer resistivity and emitter diffusion/oxidation processes on cell performance. This paper also reports the results of large-batch experiments in which the capability of our optimized PERL process was tested against that of a standard full Al-BSF process. An average efficiency of 19.5% and a top efficiency of 19.7% were demonstrated.

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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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