With a projected potential low cost-of-ownership at module level (< 0.30 $/Wp), the newly developed bifacial cell technology allows a further reduction of the levelized cost of electricity (LCOE) of large photovoltaic (PV) installations.
Featuring a transparent backside and comparable front- and back contact schemes, bifacial solar cells capture light on both sides of the cell. As a result, they also profit from indirect light, light reflected by the ground and buildings, diffuse light on overcast days, and even direct light at sunrise or sunset, incident on their rear surface.
Tests indicate that, over the course of their lifetime, such cells may generate 10%-40% more electricity than traditional monofacial cells, depending on their bifaciality, the PV installation properties and the reflection or albedo of the location. This may result in an estimated LCOE reduction for PV installations of 10% up to 30%.
Imec’s bifacial n-type PERT cells (Bi-PERT) have thin and narrow (< 20 µm) nickel-silver (Ni/Ag) plated fingers on both the n+ and p+ side of the cell. The cells’ contacts were fabricated in a patented process of simultaneous plating both cell sides. This cell plating is performed on cassette level (simultaneous plating on a full cassette of wafers in a chemical bath) without the need for an electrical contact to be made to the substrates. This resulted in a solar cell batch with an average conversion efficiency of 22.4%, with the best cell topping 22.8%, which is a record for this type of cell.