Efficient PV, Low Cost
2013 R&D 100 Winner
The photovoltaic industry is particularly sensitive to cost, and while pushing the envelope on conversion efficiency is a priority, efforts to reduce manufacturing costs is also a priority. Toward this end, TetraSun Inc. and the National Renewable Energy Laboratory have developed TetraCell solar cells, which offer a bifacial, high-efficiency ($3.09 per Watt-peak) solution for photovoltaic applications. TetraSun’s metallization technology replaces silver screen-printing by copper (Cu) electroplating, cutting the raw metal cost by a factor of 120 times. Further, since plated Cu is about twice as conductive as printed silver, the metal line widths can be reduced by a factor of two, resulting in a net reduction of shading while maintaining low resistive losses. Additionally, the solar cells include a novel surface passivation that reduces electrical carrier recombination on the surfaces by a factor of 10. This improvement raises output voltages up to 700 mV/cell and reduces the temperature coefficient to –0.3%/K, compared to –0.45%/K for competing products.
|TetraSun Inc.'s TetraCell Solar Cells development team.|
The TetraCell solar cells Development Team
Oliver Schultz-Wittmann, Principal Developer, TetraSun Inc.
Mowafak Al-Jassim, National Renewable Energy Laboratory
Denis De Ceuster, TetraSun Inc.
Peter Hacke, National Renewable Energy Laboratory
Chunsheng Jiang, National Renewable Energy Laboratory
Richard Mitchell, National Renewable Energy Laboratory
Marth Symko-Davies, National Renewable Energy Laboratory
Adrian Turner, TetraSun Inc.
Harin Ullal, National Renewable Energy Laboratory