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Kaneka and Belgium's imec Develop Next-Generation Heterojunction Solar Cells
 

Tokyo, June 14, 2012 (JCN) - Kaneka and imec, a researcher in nanoelectronics, report a large area (6 inch semi-square) heterojunction silicon solar cell with a certified power conversion efficiency of 22.68% (certified by Fraunhofer ISE CalLab) with an electroplated copper contact grid.

This breakthrough was achieved at the Solar cell Lab, Kaneka Osaka, using heterojunction technology with Kaneka's copper electroplating technology, which is based on imec's state-of-the-art copper electroplating knowhow.

To realizethe top grid electrode in heterojunction silicon solar cells, silver screen printing is the preferred technology in the PV (photovoltaic) industry. However, a drawback of this technology is the difficulty to lower resistivity and to thin the metal line in silver screen printed contacts.

As a result, efficiencies remain below optimal and cost remains relatively high. Replacing the screen-printed silver with electroplated copper overcomes the disadvantages of silver screen printing, enabling higher efficiencies and reduced fabrication costs.

Kaneka's Photovoltaics European Laboratory is located at the imec campus in Leuven (Belgium), with access to imec's state-of-the-art PV infrastructure. The collaboration between Kaneka and imechas helped the improvement of Kaneka's thin-film solar cells and the development of nextgeneration heterojunction cells.

Kaneka Japan has been working intensively on this R&D towards mass production of next generation heterojunction solar cell. The development will be presented at Kaneka booth at Intersolar Europe 2012 Munich.

By Saroj Shrestha Staff Writer

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