For the fifth time in four months, Heraeus Photovoltaics, the worldwide leading supplier of metallization solutions to the PV industry, helped a customer achieve a validated world record in PERC (Passivated Emitter and Rear Contact) solar cell energy efficiency. The most recent customer achievement occurred in China, where a solar cell company reached 20.41% photovoltaic conversion efficiency, establishing a new monocrystalline PERC module conversion efficiency world record. In 2017, Heraeus pastes enabled two separate customers in four different instances to also achieve world records in PERC efficiency for their cells, as verified by accredited third-party testing organizations:
- In Oct 2017, Fraunhofer ISE CalLab of Germany certified a photovoltaic conversion efficiency of 22.71% on a monocrystalline PERC cell made using Heraeus front side metallization paste
- Also, in Oct 2017, Chinese Academy of Solar Sciences’ Photovoltaic and Wind Power System Quality Test Center certified 22.04% and 22.78% conversion efficiency record on P-type polycrystalline PERC and P-type monocrystalline PERC solar cells made using Heraeus metallization paste
- In Nov 2017, the Chinese Academy of Sciences' Photovoltaic and Wind Power System Quality Test Center verified a world record cell efficiency milestone of 23.45% in a monocrystalline PERC cell made with Heraeus front side metallization paste
For Heraeus, the results are connected to the company’s new innovation investment strategy, which began in late 2016. The two major pillars of this plan included:
- An aggressive talent acquisition campaign, which resulted in the hiring of over 120 scientists and solar energy technical experts in 2017. The additional workforce enabled Heraeus to establish R&D clusters close to customers located in China and other key markets in Asia. This enabled closer technical collaboration with customers, enabling them to accelerate their R&D and production speed-to-market.
- A new Cell Optimization Service enabling Heraeus to expand and enhance its industry-leading high performance screen printed front and rear silver pastes to give customers additional value beyond the printing and firing processes. This program, launched in April 2017, works with world-class research institutions to provide customers with a complete solar cell analysis, simulation and process optimization. Customers use these services to identify and implement that optimal processes for the customer’s specific production and machine conditions.
Dr. Weiming Zhang, Executive Vice President and Chief Technology Officer for Heraeus Photovoltaics, noted that these customer world records are examples of the company’s strategic philosophy that breakthrough innovation does not occur in isolation. While Heraeus has the capability to modify its paste formulations for special cell design characteristics, the close cooperation between the Heraeus and customer technical teams is a difference-maker. He said, “For our customers who want to be market leaders, we do not believe in an off-the-shelf approach. That’s why our investments in scientists, technical experts and services is paying dividends for them. The paste is just the first step.” Accelerating innovation and production for customers, Dr. Zhang noted, “We’re helping them identify and eliminate technical bottlenecks in their processes. Most importantly, we help them quickly transfer lab efficiency records in the lab to high-volume manufacturing environments.”