The U.S. manufacturer explains it achieved this high efficiency using a uniform single-sided emitter, in addition to "other proprietary innovations" on the front side of its solar cell. It goes on to say it is the first company to successfully leverage ion implantation as an enabling technology in the mass production of solar cells. It worked in collaboration with Varian Semiconductor Equipment Associates, to introduce the ion implantation.
The company says it is now integrating its 19 percent efficient cells across its module line. Consequently, its module level efficiencies are reportedly reaching upwards of 16 percent.
"Combined with Sunivas innovative R&D and proprietary processes, ion implantation provides us with a very cost-effective way to manufacture solar cells of 19 percent efficiency, without adding complex processes for a selective emitter. We do have the capability to use a selective emitter, but we have not yet chosen to do so," said Ajeet Rohatgi, Suniva founder and CTO.
Bruce McPherson, vice president of research and development added: "Leveraging ion implantation in solar cell processing has traditionally proven too costly and slow. Combined with Sunivas deep research and our own proprietary design, recipes and processes, we have unlocked the value of the ion implanter as an enabling technology for solar cell processing. The result is an immediate, one percent efficiency gain in ARTisun Select, and an ongoing reduction in our cell conversion costs."
The company says it has previously achieved certified efficiencies of more than 20 percent on its screen-printed cells in the lab.
McPherson continues: "We are quite confident that this is just the first step in a multi-step process, which will take Suniva well into the 20 percent category of efficiencies, while still maintaining low cost screen printed manufacturing processes. Through continued innovation, optimization and modification of cell design and manufacturing processes, and by leveraging both our unique R&D relationship with the University Center of Excellence in Photovoltaics (UCEP) and strategic 3rd party technology collaborations, such as Varian, Suniva will continue to lead the market in efficiencies so far unattained in low-cost solar cell manufacturing."