PERC: Gintech achieves 21.44% efficiency; demand to continue

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Beating its fellow countryman, Neo Solar Power (NSP), which announced a PERC p-type monocrystalline cell efficiency of 21.1% last October, Gintech has achieved an average cell efficiency of greater than 21.10%, with a maximal efficiency of 21.44% using its self-developed PERC technology. The results were confirmed by Taiwan’s Industrial Technology Research Institute (ITRI). Mass production and shipping are expected "shortly."

"We are not only launching the mass production of high efficiency solar cells with a maximal efficiency of 21.44%, but also introducing a differentiated solution to cope with Light Induced Degradation (LID) issues of P-type solar cells. We effectively manage the LID issues caused by the physical characteristics of P-type solar cell material," stated K.C. Lin, R&D director of Gintech Energy.

He added, "The in-house developed solution is more effective and more stable compared to other prevailing solutions in the industry, and improves the cost performance ratio of our high efficiency solar cells."

PERC in 2016

Speaking to pv magazine for the January print edition, EnergyTrends’ Corrine Lin said that as the mainstream high-efficiency technology, PERC cell production has witnessed a significant increase in capacity. "Manufacturers that have focused on raising their PERC capacity mostly belong to the first tier, such as JA Solar, Trina, LERRI Solar – which is a subsidiary of LONGi. However, several second and third-tier companies are also planning to expand PERC production to enhance the competitiveness of their products."

She added that although the mainstream PERC production equipment offered by Meyer Burger is in short supply, other equipment makers will meet demand. "Chinese cell manufacturers, for instance, are now evaluating local equipment providers as an option," she said.

Meanwhile, in an interview with pv magazine in October, Centrotherm senior vice president PV sales and technology Josef Haase discussed, among other PERC issues, how applications are set to evolve this year.

In addition to an increasing focus on cell architecture, he said that Chinese tier-1 manufacturers are expected to upgrade or add PERC solar cells to their product portfolio in the short term. "A boost in production of PERC cells will also come when low-cost solutions for the deposition of the dielectric stack systems are on the market, with €0.05 per wafer being somewhere around the upper limit," he continued.

PERC revolution

As seen by the announcements in 2015, PERC technology is playing an increasingly important role in the solar industry. In another interview with pv magazine, in April, University of New South Wales (UNSW) researcher, Martin Green said he believes PERC technology is leading the way in terms of wide scale adoption, and that conversion efficiencies of 25% can be expected with multicrystalline PERC cells.

Over the course of 2015, China’s Trina, which achieved the leading PERC efficiency for both mono- and multi- crystalline cells in 2014 – 21.4% and 20.76% respectively – announced in January that it had produced a 324.5Wp multi-crystalline PERC module. The Chinese producer reported that its 60-cell Honey Plus module was currently in pilot production and represented a world record for the technology.

In July, SolarWorld then trumped Trina’s 21.4% monocrystalline record, at 21.7% on a mass produced p-type PERC cell. The following month, the German and U.S. manufacturer announced it was aiming to achieve 22.5% by 2017.

Proving that PERC could also work using different deposition types, in October, U.S.-based 1366 saw customer trials yielding PERC PV cells with an average 19% efficiency on industrial lines. 1366 produces wafers directly from molten silicon, as opposed to the conventional method of sawing wafers from silicon ingots.

That same month, as aforementioned, Taiwan’s NSP recorded a monocrystalline PERC efficiency of 21.1%. This was trumped by Trina weeks later, which also overtook SolarWorld again, when it announced a world-record monocrystalline PERC efficiency of 22.13%.