Monocrystalline solar cells utilizing a PERC (Passivated Emitter and Rear Cell) design could achieve conversion efficiencies as high as 24% via the use of technologies already on the market, according to the Institute for Solar Energy Research Hameln (ISFH).
The assertion was supported via a simulation that the ISFH presented at the recent EU PVSEC in Hamburg, Germany. The simulation showed that, via the use of a number of specific technologies (a wafer possessing a high charge carrier lifetime of 1000µs rather than 400µs, selective emitters, boron-doped aluminum paste for the local back surface field, 10 µm thin contact fingers rather than 60 µm, multi-wires rather than bus-bars), conversion efficiency could be boosted to 24% from the ~20.5% that it stands at today.
Commenting on the future of PERC solar cells, and thus the motives behind the simulation, ISFH presenter Byungsul Min commented: “The PERC (solar) cell will set a moving target and dominate the market for some time to come.”
As it stands, PERC solar cells are only just now beginning to make significant gains on more conventional designs. The current record for the technology (with regard to solar conversion efficiency) is held by SolarWorld — with a solar cell featuring a 21.7% efficiency. Following behind that record, Trina Solar has demonstrated a solar cell with a 21.4% conversion efficiency.
Multicrystalline PERC solar cells are currently in a similar place technologically to monocrystalline ones — with similar conversion efficiency records currently in place. Hard to say the exact future of these two approaches to solar cell technology, but both seem likely to take larger shares of the total market in the near future.