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Panasonic's HIT solar cell hits record 25.6 percent conversion efficiency


April 9, 2014

Panasonic is claiming a world-record conversion efficiency of 25.6 percent for its HIT solar cell

Panasonic is claiming a world-record conversion efficiency of 25.6 percent for its HIT solar cell

Panasonic is reporting a 25.6 percent conversion efficiency for its HIT (Heterojunction with Intrinsic Thin layer) solar cells. This is an improvement of 0.9 percentage points over the 24.7 percent conversion efficiency Panasonic achieved in February 2013, with the company claiming it as a world record for crystalline silicon-based solar cells of a "practical size."

Panasonic classifies a "practical size" as cells with an area of over 100 cm2 (15.5 in2). The February 2013 record was achieved on a solar cell with an area of 101.8 cm2 (15.7 in2), while this new 25.6 percent efficiency was achieved on a solar cell measuring 143 cm2 (22.1 in2).

However, Panasonic says the latest achievement is also an improvement over the previous record of 25 percent for small area crystalline silicon-based solar cells accomplished on solar cells measuring 4 cm2 (0.6 in2). This is still short of the efficiencies seen in multi-junction solar cells and concentrator triple-junction compound solar cells that have reached conversion efficiencies of 38.8 percent and 44.4 percent, respectively.

The company says the new record was made possible through further development of its proprietary heterojunction technology, which involves laminating layers of high-quality amorphous silicon onto a monocrystalline silicon substrate. This results in a solar cell that Panasonic claims can maintain efficiency at higher temperatures.

Additionally, unlike the 24.7 percent efficiency solar cells, the new record holders have the electrodes placed on the reverse of the panel as back contacts, allowing the light hitting the cell's surface to be more efficiently directed to the monocrystalline silicon substrate where power is generated. Placing the electrodes on the reverse side has also allowed the resistive loss when the current is fed to the grid electrodes to be reduced.

Panasonic says it will work towards mass production of its high efficiency HIT solar cells, as it continues to aim for higher efficiency, lower costs and more efficient use of resources.

Source: Panasonic

About the Author
Darren Quick Darren's love of technology started in primary school with a Nintendo Game & Watch Donkey Kong (still functioning) and a Commodore VIC 20 computer (not still functioning). In high school he upgraded to a 286 PC, and he's been following Moore's law ever since. This love of technology continued through a number of university courses and crappy jobs until 2008, when his interests found a home at Gizmag. All articles by Darren Quick

Wow, just think...

A few more years and they will hit Bill Allison's 59% efficiency with his 10 bladed fans.

The world amazes...

Island Architect

Monocrystalline and polycrystalline solar cells are limited around 34% max efficiency. You can only go higher if you opt for more novel, but more expensive technology like multi-junction solar cells, which is basically a stack of different active material that absorb light of different parts of the solar spectrum.

It's really cool how Panasonic is pushing the envelope for commercial cells however.

Still, production costs need to go further down. That's where nano-technology and thin film cells come in. We have some promising newcomers, like perovskite solar cells.

Fretting Freddy the Ferret pressing the Fret
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