New cell efficiency records for Trina and Canadian Solar

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Trina Solar today announced it has achieved a world record efficiency of 24.58% for its n-type monocrystalline tunnel oxide passivated contact (TOPCon) cell technology. The record was achieved at Trina’s State Key Laboratory for PV Science and Technology in China and has been independently confirmed by the Institute for Solar Energy Research in Hamelin (ISFH), Germany.

According to Trina, the record was achieved on a wafer measuring 244.62 cm² using a low cost industrial process with a boron emitter and full area rear passivating contact. The cell is bifacial, though the efficiency record here only takes into account the full area front side efficiency.

The new record supplants JinkoSolar’s achievement of 24.2% for an n-type TOPCon cell, set in January. TOPCon technology has generated much interest among manufacturers thanks to its potential to achieve higher efficiencies using similar processes and equipment to PERC [passivated emitter rear contact] production, enabling manufacturers to compete on efficiency with newer technologies such as IBC or heterojunction cells whilst avoiding the need to invest in entirely new production lines.

New record for cast mono

Canadian Solar also announced a new efficiency record today, for its P5 cast mono technology. The company reached 22.28% efficiency using a P5 wafer with other technologies including selective emitter, silicon oxide passivation, multi-layer anti reflection coating, aluminum oxide back side passivation and advanced metallization, as well as a metal catalyzed chemical etching – or ‘black silicon’ process. Canadian Solar’s efficiency record has been confirmed by Fraunhofer ISE.

With multicrystalline products rapidly losing share to higher efficiency monocrystalline rivals in recent years, manufacturers with large multi capacities are working to perfect the cast mono process, which allows them to produce ‘mono like’ wafer material using a modified multicrystalline furnace, avoiding costly investment in ingot pulling machinery.

GCL Systems Integration has already introduced modules based on the technology to market and exhibited a cast mono module with 18.9% efficiency at the recent Intersolar Europe show in Munich. As more manufacturers improve on the process and bring products to market, the technology could represent a significant shift in the years ahead.

“We are pleased to see Canadian Solar P5 technology set a new world record,” said company CEO Shawn Qu. “This shows that our multicrystalline technology can achieve higher efficiencies while still [enjoying a] cost advantage.”

pv magazine will take a closer look at cast mono technology in the July edition of the print title.