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Pioneering the industrialization of PERC technology: A review of the development of mono- and bifacial PERC solar cells at SolarWorld

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By Phedon Palinginis; Christian Kusterer; Stefan Steckemetz; René Köhler; René Härtwig; Torsten Weber; Matthias Müller; Gerd Fischer; Holger Neuhaus

SolarWorld has played a pioneering role in triggering and implementing the shift from p-type multicrystalline aluminium backsurface field (Al-BSF) to p-type monocrystalline passivated emitter and rear cell (PERC) as the next mainstream solar cell technology, and recognized PERC to be the door opener to an extremely simple and cost-effective implementation of a bifacial solar cell. This paper reviews PERC technology development at SolarWorld, featuring an industrial baseline process for monocrystalline five-busbar (5BB) p-type PERC solar cells exceeding 22.0% median (22.5% maximum) cell efficiency by May 2018, before operations at SolarWorld came to a final halt.

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With a recent spate of new solar cell records announced for PERC-based architectures pushing conversion efficiencies past 24%, it is a good time to reflect on the pioneering work at SolarWorld – the first to commercialise and ramp PERC to volume production. A special in-depth paper from former members of SolarWorld’s R&D and manufacturing team should be a compelling read and a leading reference paper in the future. Adding to the PERC-based theme is the paper from ISC Konstanz, providing further real world insight into achieving manufacturability of nPERT cells with conversion efficiencies approaching 23%.

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