Russia develops high-efficiency HJT modules

Russia received good news from its technology sector over the new year period with the country’s Efficient Energy Technologies’ Skolkovo fund, at the Ioffe Technologies Institute, announcing its scientific team produced industrial prototypes of heterojunction solar modules consisting of ultra-thin crystalline silicon layers.

The technology – widely known as HJT (heterojunction with intrinsic thin layer) – can enable energy conversion efficiency above 20% at the industrial production level.

The key feature of the technology stems from the metal contacts which, highly active in traditional, diffused-junction cells, are electronically separated from the absorber by the insertion of a wider bandgap layer.

This induces the high-efficiency open-circuit voltages, intrinsic to heterojunction devices, eliminating the need for expensive patterning techniques.

The advantage of crystals is their high efficiency and absence of light degradation and also relatively low costs and high performance at high temperatures.

The Russians obtained samples showed the conversion efficiency is over 20% and are exhibiting good reproducibility over the entire area of the installation.

"In recent years, there has been significant progress in increasing the efficiency of solar structures of this type, and now the laboratory samples have reached record-highs of conversion efficiency of 25.6%, to be exact, which exceeds the results for similar structures on crystalline silicon," the Ioffe Institute statement read.

HJT technology an advanced solar vector

"HJT technology is one of the most advanced development vectors in solar energy. The laboratory and research base we have here allows solving ambitious scientific and technical objectives, including the creation of heterostructure solar cells on silicon," emphasized Yuri Sibirskij, head of the institute’s Renewable and New Materials Cluster at the Skolkovo fund.

The Ioffe Institute is one of Russia’s largest institutions for research in physics and technology with a wide variety of operating projects.

The Skolkovo fund is run by Hevel, a joint venture of Rusnano and Renova, Russia’s two major energy holdings.

"The practical value of this work is that the scientists proved the real possibility of moving from the promising scientific data collection to the industrial level. The research results already can be used for upgrading the solar modules’ technological line at a Xevel‘s factory in Novocheboksarsk. It has high competence in producing ultra-thin crystalline silicon layers," said Sibirskij.

Meanwhile, the ministry of housing of the Russian Republic of Bashkortostan reported on the first village in the region with an autonomous power supply.

Company GIP-Elektro, the power grid operator serving Karaidelsky district, equipped the remote village with wind turbines and solar panels.

The old power lines were in decay and, according to the regional municipal office, would have required RUB10 million ($155,000) to replace.

The construction of sustainable energy generators instead cost the operator just RUB1 million ($15,500).

At the end of 2014, Solar Systems – owned by China’s Amur Sirius and created to penetrate the Russian solar market – signed a long-term deal which foresees assembling solar cells and PV modules in Russia for local and foreign markets.

Upon agreement, the three companies will pool capital to finance a 200MW annual capacity plant in the free Russian economic zone in Alabuga.

The first production lines of the facility, of a combined capacity of 100MW, are to be opened in the second quarter of 2016.

This article was amended on September 20, 2015, to reflect that heterojunction technology is being deployed rather than HIT technology – which is a registered trademark of Panasonic Corporation. pv magazine unreservedly apologizes for the error and for any confusion that may have resulted from the erroneous use of the term HIT.