You’re going to be hearing a lot about tandem solar cells going forward. Q CELLS is the latest PV innovator to announce a new world-record tandem cell efficiency of 28.7% in collaboration with researchers at Helmholtz-Zentrum Berlin using its Q.ANTUM-based silicon bottom cell in combination with a perovskite-based top cell — which is a significant development.
The solar research community is boasting higher and higher perovskite-tandem cell efficiencies these days, but much of this progress involves lab technology that is still not directly transferrable into mass production. The 28.7% efficiency achievement of Q CELLS and Helmholtz-Zentrum Berlin is noteworthy because it involves Q.ANTUM technology, which is an industry-feasible bottom cell structure.
“Our experts have achieved several world records for tandem cells combining perovskite top cells with other bottom cells on a laboratory scale. We promote knowledge and technology transfer and welcome the fruitful collaboration with Q CELLS. It is remarkable how close the jointly achieved efficiency with a mass production ready bottom cell already comes to what we can reach at a lab scale”, Prof. Bernd Rech, scientific director of HZB said.
Q CELLS’ R&D team in Thalheim, Germany, has worked jointly with Helmholtz-Zentrum Berlin over the past three years to create a tandem solar cell comprising a silicon-based Q.ANTUM bottom cell and a perovskite-based top cell. This latest record efficiency result of 28.7% is an improvement of almost one percentage point compared with the 2020 record value of 27.8% (which was independently verified by the Fraunhofer ISE Callab).
This boost in tandem efficiency has been enabled by improvement of both the perovskite and the silicon sub cells. The research and development was partly funded by the German Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Climate Action (BMWK) and the state of Saxony-Anhalt.
“Both teams of researchers have collaborated closely to develop a tandem cell technology, which would be able to accelerate the commercialization process and, ultimately, deliver to the industry a genuine leap forward in photovoltaic performance,” says Dr. Daniel Jeong, CTO of Q CELLS. “Q CELLS is confident that it can once again shape the next-generation of solar cells, and will continue to invest heavily in supporting research and development in this field.”
In the past year, Q CELLS announced that it is to boost its R&D investment in Germany to €125 million over the next three years. A sizeable portion of that figure is earmarked for the continuous support of Q CELLS’ R&D department on the commercialization of perovskite-silicon tandem technology.
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