Natcore hits 17.5 percent all-back contact cell efficiency

Silicon heterojunction PV technology has long been an efficiency leader, with Natcore today announcing a 17.5% cell efficiency using its all-back-contact technology. Natcore reports that it has produced cells at its Rochester, New York, laboratories with short-circuit currents above 40 mA/cm2 and open-circuit voltages above 0.65V.

Natcore employs laser processing to realize its all-back contacting cell design, resulting in a cell in which there is no front surface metallization. It also allows for aluminum to be used rather than silver. The company says that it envisages hitting efficiencies “well above 20%” through improvements in both current, voltage and fill factor in the future.

“Many companies are producing cells with efficiencies at the levels we’ve so far achieved,” said David Levy, Natcore’s Director of Research and Technology, in a statement. “But cells made using our technology will ultimately be much more efficient and far less expensive to produce, which will equate to very significant cost/watt improvements.”

Natcore says that additional efficiency gains can be delivered by its technology through reduced cell-to-module losses.

“We have reached performance goals that make us ready to present our case to large manufacturers whose scale and resources can help us reach the ultimate, ultra-high-efficiency potential that our cells are capable of,” added Chuck Provini, Natcore’s president and CEO.

Natcore’s business model is based on supplying its technology, under licensing or royalty agreements, through equipment or chemical sales. In August 2015, Natcore reported that four manufacturers had expressed interest in its technology. Natcore has previously collaborated with Dutch metal-wrap-through developer Eurotron.

Earlier this month Natcore announced that it was overseeing the construction of a 10 MW PV power plant project in Belize. It will presumably be used to demonstrate the durability and performance of its technology in real world conditions and at scale.

The April edition of pv magazine includes a feature article exploring heterojunction technology deployment.