Chinese solar module manufacturer JA Solar today said it has reached agreement with Shin-Etsu Chemical over patents held by the latter pertaining to gallium doping in crystalline silicon cell applications. According to JA Solar, the agreement was finalized at a signing ceremony in Tokyo.
Details of the specific technologies covered in the agreement were not provided.
Gallium doping is known as an effective method for preventing light induced degradation (LID), particularly in PERC cells, and the technology has previously been of interest to cell and module manufacturers, though the high cost of gallium compared to more commonly used boron has limited its uptake. Most manufacturers have instead implemented a high temperature ‘regeneration’ process to mitigate LID, though it seems that cannot solve the problem entirely.
JA Solar, however, appears convinced gallium doping can be an effective LID solution in p-type module production.
“Using Ga-doped silicon wafers for solar cell application definitely results in better performance of solar cells and PV modules, as well as the improvement of their long-term reliability,” said JA Solar chairman Jin Baofang. “We deeply appreciate Shin-Etsu Chemical granting JA Solar their IP [intellectual property] rights of Ga-doped crystalline silicon technology, which is an important step for JA Solar in introducing advanced technology and supporting the industry’s intellectual property protection.”