Highest multicrystalline module efficiency reached by SCHOTT Solar PV

SCHOTT Solar has developed a new manufacturing technique to produce high-performance multicrystalline solar cells on a large-scale basis. This article includes process and development details as well as a video interview with Tom Hecht of Schott Solar on the technology, recorded at Solar Power International 2010.

(October 15, 2010) — SCHOTT Solar has developed a new manufacturing technique to produce high-performance multicrystalline solar cells on a large-scale basis. The company’s innovative approach increases performance during the manufacturing stage to deliver PV module efficiency of 17.6% for the new SCHOTT Solar Champion multicrystalline module. This article includes a video interview with Tom Hecht of Schott Solar on the technology, recorded at Solar Power International 2010.

SCHOTT Solar’s research and development team combined proven production technology with a novel approach to develop the high efficiency cell with 18.2% efficiency. “The photovoltaics industry is pursuing two approaches to reduce costs — improve the production process and increase cell efficiency,” said Gerry Fine, CEO of SCHOTT North America.

The new cell features a standard front side and passivated backside of different dielectric layers with local contacts, also known as a PERC structure. The team used conventional screen-printing technology to create contacts thereby combining new manufacturing steps with a mature and cost-efficient production process.

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Starting with record high efficiency multicrystalline cells, SCHOTT Solar then reduced both the optical and electrical losses that typically occur during assembly of solar cells into modules. Ultimately, by optimizing manufacturing processes both at the cell and the module level, SCHOTT successfully achieved the record multicrystalline module surface efficiency of 17.6 %.  The efficiency has been independently confirmed by European Solar Test Installation (ESTI).

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