Q-Cells touts record 17.84% poly-crystalline module - Photovoltaics World
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Q-Cells touts record 17.84% poly-crystalline module

March 2, 2011 - Q-Cells says its new cell technology has pushed polycrystalline solar modules to a record 17.84% efficiency rating (aperture area), with 268W of output.

The module contains 60 of Q-Cells high-efficiency 156×156mm2 cells in "a conventional layout," with aperture area of 1.492m2. The results were confirmed by the European Solar Test Installation (ESTI).

The new mark owes to the cells' fabrication: 180μm-thick wafers with backside metallization and passivation "with functional nanolayers." The new backside structure consists of dielectric layers and local contacts to improve aesthetic and electrical characteristics, and "significantly boosts its output" vs. back surface field technology, the company says.

Schematic cross-section of the solar cell design with

passivated front and rear site (not to scale). (Source: Q-Cells)

"On the basis of this technological platform, we will in future be able to achieve efficiency ratings of 20% cost-efficiently," said Peter Wawer, SVP of technology at Q-Cells SE, in a statement.

Tests from the Fraunhofer Institute for Solar Energy Systems are said to confirm peak efficiency rating of 18.45%. The cell technology was produced in house at Q-Cells' Thalheim site, with implementation followed by transfer to its production facility in Malaysia.

Quick summary of stats on the new poly c-Si cells:

  • Cell efficiency rating: 18.45%
  • Open circuit voltage: 647mV
  • Short-circuit current density: 36.8mA/cm2

...and for the subsequent poly c-Si module:

  • Module efficiency rating: 17.84% (in relation to aperture area)
  • Area: 1.492m2 (aperture area)
  • Open circuit voltage: 38.86v
  • Short circuit current: 9.04A
  • Output: 268W
Performance curve of Q-Cells world-record polycrystalline solar module, tested by the independent photovoltaic calibration laboratory of the ESTI. (Source: Q-Cells)