This new Silver-on-Aluminum paste could boost PV cell efficiency

PLANT PV, a photovoltaic materials innovator, sent word about a breakthrough that enables solar cell manufacturers to capture greater solar cell power output and with no added investment cost for cell producers.

“For 20 years the industry has had to accept an efficiency loss from printing silver bus bars directly onto solar cells,” stated Craig Peters, CEO of PLANT PV. “Our Silver-on-Aluminum paste has been developed to directly address this problem and enable cell producers to eliminate these unnecessary efficiency losses in all conventional solar cells today.”

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As mentioned in that quote from Peters, this PLANT PV concept is a Silver-on-Aluminum paste that leads to a 1 percent increase in relative power output for c-Si solar cells.

Here’s PLANT PV’s math on the implications: Assuming full implementation on the 85-GW global production recently forecast for 2017 by GTM, of which at least 50 GW is back surface field (BSF), this technology would enable an estimated 500 MW more power to be developed by today’s PV module facilities, with no additional process steps or work process to be adopted.

RELATED: Why high-efficiency modules are the best value for installers, homeowners 

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Silver-on-Aluminum paste provides cell manufacturers with the ability to print the paste directly onto dried aluminum film, allowing them to cover the entire back of the wafer with aluminum paste and obtain the beneficial passivation of a continuous aluminum back-surface field.

PLANT PV recently demonstrated a 0.15 percent absolute efficiency gain over cells using conventional rear-tabbing pastes on multi-crystalline silicon solar cells at Fraunhofer ISE in Freiburg, Germany. The company, which was incubated out of the Molecular Foundry at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, will present its Ag-on-Al paste concept and test results at this week’s SNEC 11th International PV Power Generation Conference in Shanghai.

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