37th EU PVSEC, 07 - 11 September 2020

19 June 2018

Upcoming EU PVSEC in Brussels will Discuss Latest World Class Solar R&D Research – Crystalline Silicon Remains Key

Who would have thought a decade ago that crystalline silicon would be such a dominating force in today’s solar world. Not only is an end of this high flight very hard to imagine, crystalline silicon solar stakeholders in R&D and manufacturing continue to surprise even longtime experts. At the 35th EU PVSEC from 24 to 28 September 2018 in Brussels, the world leading researchers in the crystalline silicon field will provide their latest updates. Check out our EU PVSEC Programme, which we’ve just published here.

First comes PERC
There are many silicon solar cell technologies. The new standard, however, is PERC cell technology. According to a new PERC report from TaiyangNews, the technology will reach manufacturing capacities of 65.7 GW in 2018, compared to 28.9 GW in 2017. Nearly half of the total production output in 2018 is supposed to come from PERC.

PERC is not only making clear roadways into commercial production, it has been a major subject for record efficiencies. The highest conversion efficiency of 23.95% for a PERC-based cell was reached by Jinko Solar in May. PERC is mainly driven by monocrystalline silicon cell technology in today’s market environment, also when it comes to record efficiencies. And the pace towards new efficiency records is high. Since last year’s EU PVSEC, the PERC record efficiency has been broken 6 times (see graph).


And beyond PERC?
In addition to improving PERC technology by making it bifacial, adding selective emitters or applying advanced texturing solutions to multicrystalline PERC, the PV industry is also looking at other advanced crystalline cell technologies. N-PERT is one interesting candidate. This cell architecture was first commercialized by China’s Yingli Solar as part of the ‘n-Pascha alliance’ with Dutch company Tempress providing the equipment and Dutch research institute ECN developing the process. Research center ISC from Konstanz has also developed an interesting n-type process with simplified manufacturing steps. Indian cell manufacturer Adani, which has implemented ISC’s process, has attained 21.5% efficiency in mass production.

Besides PERT, equipment supplier Schmid is working on creating a next investment wave after PERC with its n-PERL technology. The German company is offering all production tools and the process required for upgrading a PERC line to PERL. Schmid, which also supplies a turnkey line, is aiming to attain 22.5% to 23% with its PERL technology.

Passivated contacts is yet another technology that is considered a next big thing after PERC. Renowned research centre Fraunhofer ISE from Germany was the first to introduce the technology and designed in 2017 a world record cell with an efficiency of 25.7% for this category of crystalline silicon cells, known as TOPCON, which stands for ‘Tunnel Oxide Passivated Contact.’ Following this lead, another German solar research institute, ISFH, has this year even attained an efficiency of 26.1% by optimizing its POLO structure. European PV equipment suppliers, including Meyer Burger, Centrotherm or Von Ardenne, are developing production tools for processing passivated contact cells.

However, the highest efficiency so far for a crystalline silicon is a 26.63% record by Japanese company Kaneka for its back junction heterojunction solar cell design. Meyer Burger from Switzerland has been on the forefront in commercializing equipment for heterojunction cells. It attained a certified efficiency of 24.02% for a commercial size cell and achieved 23.7% in a pilot production line.

With the crystalline segment being so successful these days, EU PVSEC is in particular glad to have this year with Dr. Pierre Verlinden a chairman who has been helping to advance the technology a lot during his over 40-year long career – both as a researcher at universities and at major solar companies, among others as Chief Scientist at Trina Solar.

Join the community of researchers in crystalline silicon and other fields of solar at EU PVSEC – as a presenter at our conference (we still accept late abstracts), as an attendee or as an exhibitor, presenting your latest products.