PARIS – Research consortium Imec (Leuven, Belgium) and Kaneka (Osaka, Japan) claimed they have demonstrated a 6-inch semi-square heterojunction silicon solar cell with a certified power conversion efficiency of 22.68 percent with an electroplated copper contact grid on top of the transparent conductive oxide layer.
Imec and Kaneka said their results outline the capabilities of copper metallization for next-generation solar cells. In the future, they anticipate that copper will play an important role in high efficiency and sustainable solar cell technology. In November 2011
, Imec and Kaneka sealed a collaboration agreement to come up with silver-free heterojunction silicon solar cells.
The silver-free heterojunction silicon solar cells resulted from applying copper electroplating technology, which was developed by Kaneka based on Imec’s existing copper electroplating technology. While silver screen printing is used today for the top grid electrode in heterojunction silicon solar cells the technique is not efficient and the costs are high.
Kaneka’s Photovoltaics European Laboratory is located at the Imec campus in Leuven, with access to imec’s PV infrastructure. Kaneka and Imec said their collaboration has enabled the improvement of Kaneka’s thin-film solar cells and the development of next-generation heterojunction cells. This development of large area Cu-plated heterojunction silicon solar cells is an important step towards a fab-compatible process on large area module integrated solar cells.
Imec has a staff of about 1,900 people including more than 500 industrial residents and guest researchers. Kaneka Corp. employs about 7,300 people worldwide.------------------------
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