By reducing resistance from laser-formed contacts, Natcore Technology Inc. says it has achieved an efficiency of 19.4% in its latest all-back-contact demonstration solar cell.
According to the company, the laser-formed base contact is critical in the Natcore Foil Cell. Higher resistance at this contact, as well as damage from the laser process, has been limiting the performance of the company’s demonstration cells. As a result, improving this contact has been a main focus of its research program, and Natcore says its scientists have just discovered a new laser-based contacting technique that overcomes these issues.
Despite only a few runs with this new structure, the device efficiency has already increased by nearly two absolute percent since June, when the company announced an efficiency of 17.5%. Last year, early proof-of-concept cells were delivering 4% efficiencies. At 17.5%, Natcore’s cells were roughly equivalent to typical commercial cells being sold today, according to the company.
Additionally, cells from the new approach have an open-circuit voltage of nearly 0.7V, pointing to the potential of significantly higher efficiencies.
“Considering the rapid achievement of these good results, prior even to serious optimization of this new approach, we expect to announce devices soon with efficiencies considerably over 20 percent,” says Dr. David Levy, Natcore’s director of research and technology. The work was accomplished in Natcore’s R&D Center in Rochester, N.Y.