Office PERCs

New research about improving efficiency of solar cells with rear surface passivation

We don’t have ping pong tables, game rooms or exotic company retreats at Beneq so we might not be able to compete with all the hottest start-ups when it comes to benefits. But we do get to participate in extremely interesting customer projects and work with the coolest of new high technology. Our daily work involves flexible electronics, jewelry, advanced engines, night-vision equipment, aerospace parts, supercapacitors and other high technology that only a few people ever see. We also get to work a lot with advanced solar cells. Now we can again share exciting research results about them.

ALD is ideal for photovoltaics

Beneq equipment has been used in the creation of record-breaking black silicon solar cells, and we have over the years been involved in many projects developing high power solar cells. Lately, we have been working mostly with rear surface passivation of solar cells.

PERC solar cells are a type of high efficiency solar cells where the electron gain of the cell is improved with a passivating film on the rear side of the cell structure. The complete term is Passivated Emitter Rear Cell. The PERC manufacturing technology has become more mature and cost effective, and PERC cells are now causing a buzz in the industry.

Towards industrial PERC production

ALD-based rear surface passivation has been known to produce superior passivation layers for solar cells, but the major news is that we are now moving beyond research to economically viable industrial production.

In a recent article, 20.8% industrial PERC solar cell: ALD Al2O3 rear surface passivation, efficiency loss mechanisms analysis and roadmap to 24%, which was published in Solar Energy Materials and Solar Cells, the authors present a cost-efficient PERC roadmap at industrial level. In the paper, key processes of ozone based ALD Al2O3 rear surface passivation are presented, resulting in 20.8% PERC cells made with an industrial process. The equipment used in the study was Beneq’s P800 industrial ALD reactor.

Future growth for ALD in solar cell production

Both the production volume and the share of PERC cells of the total solar cell market are expected to increase significantly during the next few years. With the fast new ALD processes and the latest thin film equipment that brings the production cost down, this is promising to become one of the fastest growing ALD application areas. We can’t wait.

P.S. We do have joined breakfast meetings, in-house Pilates training, free coffee, culture vouchers, premium healthcare and long holidays, so the more traditional office perks at the Home of ALD are actually not that bad either.

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