Q-Cells sets efficiency record for polycrystalline modules11. July 2011 | Markets & Trends, Global PV markets, Applications & Installations | By: Jonathan Gifford
German photovoltaic manufacturer Q-Cells has set an efficiency world record for its polycrystalline solar modules, having achieved a module efficiency of over 18 percent for the first time.
In achieving its efficiency of 18.1 percent, in relation to the aperture area, Q-Cells has broken its own previous record by 0.3 percent. It also adds to its success in the multicrystalline solar cells field, where the company recorded efficiency of more than 19.5 percent only weeks ago. The Fraunhofer Institute for Solar Energy (ISE) verified all of these efficiency results.
Q-Cell had received an Intersolar Award nomination for its multicrystalline solar cell, with an efficiency of 18.45 percent achieved earlier this year, however it did not take out the award. The German manufacturer has enjoyed success in thin film manufacture also, setting a 14.7 percent efficiency record in March 2011.
The back of all of the company’s world record-breaking cells has a unique design feature. The back side of the solar cell consists of dielectric layers in combination with local contacts, which boosts output. Q-Cell also claims it improves the cell’s aesthetics. Previously, standard technology used a completely aluminum metalized back side.
The world record setting polycrystalline solar module is comprised of 60 cells, 156 x 156 mm² in size. Each cells is made from 180 µm-thick polycrystalline silicon wafers. The company claims that the innovative rear side allows for very thin wafers and therefore reduced costs. The company has called the cell concept Q.ANTUM.
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