Last December the two parties announced that they had reached an efficiency of over 21 percent on a similar cell, which replaced expensive silver materials with copper. At the time, Philip Pieters, business development director PV at imec told pv magazine that work on copper metallization for silicon solar cells has been one of the "key activities" of the companys silicon photovoltaic R&D program, established three years ago.
The main difference in the technology comes in the form of the electroplated copper contact grid, which is placed on top of the transparent conductive oxide layer, instead of the traditional screen-printed silver.
In a statement released today, the two parties said, "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."
They could not be immediately reached for further comment.