New Technology Panasonic's record-breaking HIT solar cell.

Published on February 23rd, 2013 | by Zachary Shahan

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Panasonic Claims Solar Cell Efficiency Record Of 24.7%

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February 23rd, 2013 by Zachary Shahan
 

Records are meant to be broken — at least, that’s what many people say. It’s certainly the case in the fast-developing solar energy industry. Tons of research teams around the world are working on improving solar technology — within universities, governmental research institutes, and companies. It seems there’s a new solar efficiency record of one type or another being set every month.

Here’s a graph of solar efficiency records as set over time that has been put together by the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL):

solar cell efficiency records

You might notice in that graph that Panasonic has a few records in recent years (check out the blue line for crystalline silicon solar cells). Most recently, Panasonic has claimed a 24.7% world efficiency record for such solar technology. It was reportedly verified by Japan’s Institute of Advanced Industrial Science and Technology.

Panasonic's record-breaking HIT solar cell.

Structure of Panasonic’s record-breaking HIT solar cell.

“The cell utilizes Panasonic’s HIT technology and is 98 μm thick,” PV Magazine writes. “Panasonic reports that such a thickness also has ‘significant implications’ in terms of cost reduction.”

Here’s more from PV Magazine regarding the technology and record:

The Panasonic HIT solar cell has a surface area of 101.8cm².

Panasonic applies a stack cell approach, where an amorphous silicon (a-Si) layer is in place on top of a monocrystalline silicon (c-Si) substrate. Key to Panasonic’s technology, the company claims, is that it’s a-Si application is done so without damaging the c-Si substrate. The result is an open voltage improvement from 0.748 V to 0.750 V, according to the company statement.

A reduction in light loss has also been claimed as delivering the high efficiency cell, reports Panasonic, through developments with the conductive coating technology and the transparent a-Si layer. Shading is additionally minimized by reduction of the grid electrode surface area.

Resistive loss has further been reduced in the Panasonic cell, with a higher aspect ratio being achieved, increasing the fill factor from 0.822 to 0.832. The aspect ratio refers to the grid electrodes’, or bus bars’, height to line width ratio.

Panasonic says it will focus on applying this laboratory technology in mass production. The Wall Street Journal’s Market Watch reports Panasonic’s mass-market cells can reach efficiencies of up to 21.6%. It continues that Panasonic has commenced photovoltaic cell production in Malaysia, where it hopes to reduce costs by 20%.

The previous record for an applicable c-Si cell was 24.2% achieved by SunPower, as reported by SolarPlaza.

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About the Author

is the director of CleanTechnica, the most popular cleantech-focused website in the world, and Planetsave, a world-leading green and science news site. He has been covering green news of various sorts since 2008, and he has been especially focused on solar energy, electric vehicles, and wind energy since 2009. Aside from his work on CleanTechnica and Planetsave, he's the founder and director of Solar Love, EV Obsession, and Bikocity. To connect with Zach on some of your favorite social networks, go to ZacharyShahan.com and click on the relevant buttons.



  • tibi stibi

    although records are broken every year when you buy new panels it will have an efficiency of many years ago.

    current single crystal cells in the shop have an efficiency around 18% which is a record from before 1990!! around 25 years ago!!!!

    i wonder why it takes soooooo lang??

    • http://zacharyshahan.com/ Zachary Shahan

      i think it’s basically just that the things that improve efficiency are often costly, so it makes more sense to buy a much cheaper, lower efficiency solar panel (and, thus, that’s what’s sold).

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