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Over the past few years, significant progress has been made in integrating cell structure improvements on the cell front side into mass production, such as, e.g., selective emitters. With these improvements, the large-area aluminum back-surface field clearly limits the efficiency of typical industrial cells. Dielectric passivation of the cell rear side provides a means for significant improvement. However, it needs to be adapted to different wafer materials and cell structures in order to obtain economic efficiency, allowing for its implementation in mass production. In this paper, we report on our cost-effective passivated emitter and rear cell (PERC) technology that easily adapts to various wafer materials, such as multicrystalline, quasi-monocrystalline, and Czochralski-grown monocrystalline material. It is suitable for wafer thicknesses down to 120 μm and all base resistivities in the range from 1 to 3.5 Ω·cm. Additionally, we investigate the compatibility with homogeneous and selective emitters on the cell front side. For commercially available Czochralski wafers, we present an efficiency gain of more than 1.0% absolute in cell efficiency with a peak cell efficiency of up to 20.2%. The usability of our PERC solar cells in modules is demonstrated with a 289-W module containing 60 PERC cells. To emphasize the efficacy of high-performance cells in modules, a simple cell-to-module factor calculation is presented.
Date of Publication: Jan. 2013