Energy and Natural Resources

Silver-on-Aluminum Paste Can Boost Solar PV Output

19 April 2017

PLANT PV, a photovoltaic materials firm, says that its silver-on-aluminum paste can lead to a 1% increase in relative power output for c-Si solar photovoltaic cells.

"For 20 years the industry has had to accept an efficiency loss from printing silver bus bars directly onto solar cells," says Dr. Craig Peters, CEO, in a statement. "Our Silver-on-Aluminum paste has been developed to directly address this problem and enable cell producers to eliminate these unnecessary efficiency losses in all conventional solar cells today."

Assuming full implementation on 50 gigawatts of back surface field modules, the company says its technology could enable an estimated 500 megawatts more power with no additional process steps.

(Read "How Does Solar Energy Work? PV Basics.")

The company's paste enables cell manufacturers to print the paste directly onto dried aluminum film, allowing them to cover the entire back of the wafer with aluminum paste and obtain beneficial passivation of a continuous aluminum back-surface field.

PLANT PV says it recently demonstrated a 0.15% absolute efficiency gain over cells using conventional rear-tabbing pastes on multi-crystalline silicon solar cells at Fraunhofer ISE in Germany. The company, which came out of the Molecular Foundry at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, presented its Ag-on-Al paste concept and test results at the SNEC 11th International PV Power Generation Conference.

The company is financed by Prelude Ventures, a number of U.S. and Norwegian seed investors and the National Science Foundation.

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