Researchers from the ANU Centre for Sustainable Energy Systems and Trina Solar, have developed a new high-efficiency solar cell.
The laboratory scale Interdigitated Back Contact (IBC) cell was designed at ANU and after two years of research, was independently tested in Germany were it was found to deliver an efficiency of 24.4%.
“This is the highest efficiency independently confirmed for a conventional IBC solar cell to date,” said Professor Andrew Blakers, Director of the Centre for Sustainable Energy Systems at the ANU Research School of Electrical, Energy and Materials Engineering.
"The results mean the laboratory cell technology can now be further developed for commercial solar cells.”
These back contact silicon solar cells feature a uniformly black surface that faces the sun, without the metal electrodes present on most cells. Professor Blakers added “the back contact cell structure enables the end user to gain more electricity per unit and a more favourable appearance.”
The IBC cell was funded under a research and development contract with Trina Solar, through a collaboration contract with the Solar Energy Research Institute of Singapore (SERIS). Contribution was also made by Australian consulting firm PV Lighthouse.
Trina Solar is now developing a commercial version of the IBC solar cell as well as an IBC PV module. The commercial cell has already reached an efficiency greater that 22%, which was independently tested in China. Though it is currently in laboratory scale, the new solar cell will soon be ready for industrialised mass production.
“We are delighted to collaborate with leading scientists at ANU on this exciting new development in our cell technologies," said Dr Pierre Verlinden, Vice-President and Chief Scientist of Trina Solar.
"This world-class efficiency demonstrates our commitment to leading innovation in PV technology. We remain committed to engaging in effective partnerships with the best PV research centres, which are fundamental to delivering R&D breakthroughs.”