Bitterfeld-Wolfen, Germany, 2 March 2011 – Q-Cells SE, one of the world’s leading photovoltaic companies, has used new cell technology to break the world record in the field of polycrystalline solar modules. The ESTI (European Solar Test Installation) confirmed independently that the module has a record efficiency rating of 17.84 per cent in relation to the aperture area. The module’s output of 268 watts underlines Q-Cells’ technological leadership in the sector as well as its leadership in quality innovations in Germany.
This top-class module from Q-Cells contains 60 high-efficiency polycrystalline cells with dimensions of 156 x 156 mm², produced in-house and arranged in a conventional layout. Due to up-to-the-minute technological processes, the module tested achieved a first in terms of efficiency rating – 17.84 per cent on an area of 1.492 square metres (aperture area). The independent photovoltaic calibration laboratory run by the ESTI (European Solar Test Installation) confirmed the record-breaking efficiency rating to the solar company Q-Cells.
The base material for the high-efficiency solar cells used in the module is conventional, 180-µm-thick polycrystalline silicon wafers, which were metallised on the back side and passivated in Q-Cells' in-house research centre with functional nanolayers. This new type of structure for the back side, consisting of dielectric layers combined with local contacts, improves the solar cell’s aesthetic and electrical characteristics and significantly boosts its output as compared to the BSF (back surface field) technology used up until now. The independent calibration laboratory run by the Fraunhofer Institute for Solar Energy Systems confirmed that these high-efficiency cells have a peak efficiency rating of 18.45 per cent. This innovative structure of the rear side is suitable for a range of silicon qualities and for very thin wafers. This creates potential for further cost savings in industrial production.
The development of the technology was supported with funds from, among others, the federal state of Saxony-Anhalt and the Federal Ministry for the Environment (BMU).
“With the launch of the pilot production, Q-Cells gives an impressive demonstration of its leading position in the field of crystalline solar cells. On the basis of this technological platform, we will in future be able to achieve efficiency ratings of 20 per cent cost-efficiently”, says Peter Wawer, Senior Vice President Technology at Q-Cells SE, emphasising the significance of this development. “Thanks to our close intertwinement of research, development and production at the Thalheim site we will convert the researchresults into series production of a future generation of Q-Cells solar cells and solar modules.”
The implementation of this technological improvement at the German site will be followed by the transfer of the technology to the production facility in Malaysia.
More than 200 scientists and engineers work in Q-Cells’ in-house research centre, the Rainer Lemoine research centre, on quickly and sustainably reducing the costs involved in photovoltaics by implementing new technologies. The close connection between research, development and production at Q-Cells makes it possible for the company to transfer innovations into mass-production in as short a space of time as possible and thus maintain its technological leadership in the photovoltaic sector.
Technical data for record-breaking module made of polycrystalline silicon solar cells:
Efficiency rating: 17.84 per cent (in relation to aperture area)
Module area: 1.492 m² (aperture area)
Open circuit voltage: 38.86 v
Short circuit current: 9.04 A
Module output: 268 W
Technical data of high-efficiency cell made of polycrystalline silicon:
Efficiency rating: 18.45 per cent
Open circuit voltage: 647 mV
Short-circuit current density: 36.8 mA/cm²
Pictures of Q-Cells: http://www.q-cells.com/en/company/press/media_and_download/index.html