SILFAB SPA AND ISC KONSTANZ ANNOUNCE A NEW PV BREAKTHROUGH: A LOW‐COST/HIGH‐EFFICIENCY BACK‐CONTACT SOLAR CELL
As a result of the R&D partnership on Interdigitated Back‐Contact Cells (IBC) between Silfab SpA (Italy) and ISC Konstanz (Germany), a 19+% energy conversion efficiency has been obtained on monocrystalline silicon large area solar cells using a low cost industrial process, with a potential exceeding 22%.
Padua‐Italy/Konstanz‐Germany, June 7th 2011 ‐ It's named "ZEBRA". The new back‐contact solar cell with an actual 19+% energy conversion efficiency and a potential exceeding 22%, that uses a low‐cost industrial process. This new breakthrough was officially announced today by Silfab SpA (Italy), a leading international vertically‐integrated solar provider, and the International Solar Energy Research ‐ ISC Konstanz (Germany), as a result of their joint R&D activities.
The ZEBRA cell concept is based on large area (156 mm x 156 mm) n‐type monocrystalline (Cz) silicon wafers and is a back‐contact, back‐junction cell, without any metallization on the sunny side. This means that, while the efficiency of today's industrial mainstream monocrystalline cell technology will soon saturate at around 19‐20%, Silfab's innovative ZEBRA technology starts from 19% and will reach efficiencies of over 22% while significantly reducing the production costs per watt peak. ZEBRA solar cells performance starts out where traditional cells end up, opening a new frontier in the photovoltaic industry.
"The combination of high efficiency, large area n‐type wafers, as well as a low cost process" ‐ said Franco Traverso, Silfab SpA President and CEO ‐ "leads to a significant reduction of cell and module production costs, and represents a very important step towards Grid‐Parity. This is a technologic achievement that is made possible by the combination of the long‐term industrial experience of our technical team with the excellence of ISC Konstanz in R&D on photovoltaics, especially n‐type silicon solar cell. This is a very important and fruitful partnership, which is bound to last for very long time and give excellent results".
By the end of 2011, a cell manufacturing Pilot line will be implemented by Silfab SpA, which is also developing an advanced module assembly technology. In fact, the commercialization of new generation modules made by 60 ZEBRA cells and with peak power exceeding 290 W is planned for 2012 under Silfab's 40 years linear warranty terms.
The ZEBRA process sequence is a new and smarter combination of single process steps that are already implemented in mass production by the worldwide PV industry, thus avoiding the need of adopting specific equipments for producing interdigitated back‐contact cells (IBC). Today's industry standard cells manufacturing lines can therefore be utilized to produce super high efficiency cells at a significantly reduced cost per watt. As a consequence of this newly developed know‐how, Silfab will also play the role of technology provider to other cells and modules manufacturing companies willing to convert their traditional lines, thus strongly contributing to their competitiveness and profitability.
"It is extremely rewarding for us to be able to work on important research projects and be financially and technically supported by a company with the outstanding expertise of Silfab" ‐ said Dr. Radovan Kopecek, co‐founder and director of ISC Konstanz ‐ "We are proud to be able to anticipate and illustrate such results as ours on low‐cost IBC cells to the photovoltaic scientific and technical community like we recently did at the "nPV‐workshop", a two‐day workshop organized in Konstanz by ISC and other leading institutes in this field such as ECN, Fraunhofer ISE, ISFH".
Headquartered in Padova, Italy, Silfab S.p.A is a leading vertically integrated provider of PV products and services globally. With activities spanning manufacturing, consulting and energy generation, the company seeks to further the advancement of photovoltaic energy through employing cutting‐edge technologies. The company's founders have extensive experience in the PV industry and have partnered with industry‐leading engineering firms and equipment providers to establish a team with knowledge and demonstrated success across the entire photovoltaic value chain. Its founding partners include Franco Traverso, an Italian pioneer in the solar energy industry, Pan Asia Solar Ltd., whose principals co‐founded some of the most successful listed PV businesses, including the subsidiary solar cell manufacturer Sunrise Global Solar Energy, and Sino‐ American‐Silicon Products Inc., a stock‐market listed provider of premium silicon wafers to the photovoltaic and semiconductor industries.. Last year, Silfab launched three new series of high‐performing PV mono and multi‐crystalline modules with a power up to 300 Wp. Last summer, the company also founded the subsidiary Silfab Ontario Inc., a Canadian‐based modules manufacturing company with an annual production capability slated to reach 180 MW. In 2010 the company's revenues reached over 90 million Euros. Via Medoaco 4 ‐ 35135 Padova (Italy) ‐ Tel. +39 049 9431374 ‐ Fax +39 049 9439735 ‐ email@example.com ‐ www.silfab.eu
ISC Konstanz is a research institute that focuses on cell concepts, which have a strong potential for industrial use. It specializes in the research and development of crystalline silicon solar cells and modules and is ranked among the top research institutes in the world. Currently ISC Konstanz employs 45 scientists, who are dedicated to reducing costs and increasing efficiency of solar cells. Since the time of its foundation in 2005, ISC Konstanz experienced vivid growth. By end of 2011, it will employ around 50 scientists. In addition to research and development, ISC Konstanz recognizes the importance to promote the use of photovoltaic technology. Thus it provides advanced training for experts in photovoltaic, and it offers internships and study visits to laboratories for schools. It also gives talks and presentations on photovoltaics that are accessible and understandable for the general public and is involved in development collaboration programs in countries like Cameroon, India, Tanzania and Nepal electrifying villages, schools and hospitals using solar electricity.
Rudolf‐Diesel‐Str.15 ‐ 78467 Konstanz (Germany)
Tel +49‐7531‐36 18 3‐0 ‐ Fax +49‐7531‐36 18 3‐11 ‐ sekretariat@isc‐konstanz.de ‐ www.isc‐konstanz.de