Prominent solar panel company Yingli is moving into the IBC cells market. The company has partnered with equipment manufacturer Tempress and Dutch researcher ECN for a pilot in which it has developed interdigitated back contact (IBC) n-type solar cells.
The IBC cells contain 6-inch wafers and use Yingli’s PANDA process for low-cost production of conventional n-type solar cells (n-PERT). The process was adapted for IBC-type cells using the screen printing for patterning and metallisation. The pilot line proves that the commercial production of the cells is feasible for short term. The three companies aim to produce cells having 22% efficiency by the end of this year. Commercial production is expected to begin next year.
Albert Hasper, GM, Dutch Solar Equipment company Tempress, said “For Tempress this is an important opportunity to adapt and develop equipment and process that can be used in the production process of these next generation cells. A partner like Yingli combined with ECN, puts us in a position where developments can go really fast, which I think is best demonstrated by achievements like this.”
According to ECN researcher Dr. Ilkay Cesar “The pilot line now provides IBC cells in sufficient quantities to enable efficient back-contact module development which will boost the Dutch and EU PV tool and material supplier industry. The ECN Industry Research Program (IRP) aims to bring our simplified IBC technology to 23% within 3 years. IRP partners can start pilot production in less than 3 months as already demonstrated by Yingli.”
Dr Dengyuan Song, Chief Technology Officer, Yingli, said “It is our honour to cooperate with ECN and Tempress in producing IBC cells and we appreciate their highly industrial focus, which will enhance the chances to bring this product to the market in the short term. This cooperation and the pilot production of IBC cells are consistent with our long-term commitments to making solar electricity affordable and accessible for all through continued technology innovation.”