If we are looking in Europe for a place of excellence for solar research, the Fraunhofer ISE Institute would be one of them. This is where many of the new solar (and other) records are set, and it is also where the performance of the latest generation panels is measured, in terms of performance.
The latest achievement was in the field of polycrystalline photovoltaic silicon. ISE researchers were able to push it beyond its technological limits, achieving a conversion efficiency of 22.3%. A unique value in the world in this technology.
Polycrystalline silicon, the workhorse of the solar industry, dominates solar module production worldwide, with a market share of 57%. In recent years, especially under pressure from China, more expensive monocrystalline silicon solar cells have dramatically increased their efficiency, increasing the gap between poly and mono and promising a change in the global market. In the rooms of the German Institute, scientists are committed to reducing this gap and ensuring that Europe is at the forefront of this technology.
The new cells – 22.3% efficiency – are possible thanks to the use of high purity silicon – from Wacker, project partners – and the use of some innovative technologies developed by Fraunhofer ISE itself.
“The key to our success is the approach, which has enabled us to optimize every step, from crystallization to the manufacturing processes of individual solar cells,” says scientist Martin Hermle.
The project was funded by the German Ministry of Economy and Energy and ended last March.
The new polycrystalline photovoltaic silicon was presented at the European Photovoltaic Conference (EUPVSEC), which took place in Amsterdam on September 28, 2017.
Difference between monocrystalline and polycrystalline solar panels.
At least 9 out of 10 photovoltaic panels on the market are made with silicon cells. In this field, there are two fundamental types whose differences are sometimes not completely clear: panels with monocrystalline or polycrystalline cells. Although both start from the same chemical element, the results of choosing one model or another are not the same. If you want to know the main differences between polycrystalline and monocrystalline panels, in order to find out which one best suits your needs, you can read this article.