Bosch achieves record PERC cell efficiency

Bosch Solar Energy AG has achieved a “world record” efficiency of 19.6 percent for its large-area PERC solar cells on p-type wafers. The company adds that it is building a research and development center in Germany.

Bosch’s passivated emitter and rear contact (PERC) monocrystalline solar cells, with screen-printed metallization in 156 x 156 mm format, have achieved an efficiency of 19.6 percent. This consequently means they can reach an output of 4.73 Watts peak.

The independent calibration laboratory at Fraunhofer Institute for Solar Energy Systems has verified the numbers.

The company explains that its new cell structure helped it to achieve the record efficiency. In a statement, it says: “The rear side of PERC solar cells is coated with a dielectric and a metal layer and equipped with point contacts. This new structure improves the solar cells’ optical and electrical properties.”

It continues: “The incident light is reflected on the cell’s reflective rear side, thus enabling the emitter to convert more light into electricity. The front side of the high-performance cell was also optimized.”

The new cell is also said to perform well under weak lighting conditions, due to its high open-circuit voltage.

“This is a great success for the engineering team,” states Volker Nadenau, chief technology officer at Bosch Solar Energy AG. “Especially since we’ve exclusively used industrial production steps to manufacture those record-breaking cells. Now we have to push hard in order to make our products based on this design as soon as possible ready for production.”

Bosch is currently building a new research and development center in Arnstadt, Germany. It is scheduled for completion this summer.