Yingli Green Energy announced that it has produced the first interdigitated back contact (IBC) n-type solar cells based on 6-inch wafers at an industrial pilot line within just three months.
For this, the company adopted the new production process co-developed by Dutch research centre ECN and equipment manufacturer Tempress.
The production process is based on Yingli’s commercialised PANDA process for the low-cost production of conventional n-type solar cells (n-PERT). The process was adapted for IBC-type cells using the screen printing technology for patterning and metallisation.
The production of IBC cells in Yingli’s industrial pilot line proves that the commercial production of efficient IBC cells is feasible on short term, the company said.
By producing the cells at Yingli, the consortium has now tackled the complexity of producing such cells. They aim to produce cells that have an efficiency of 22% by the end of 2017.
The development and production of commercial modules is expected for 2018. Moreover, the inherent bifacial character of the IBC cells will also allow pursuing the route of truly bifacial module technology.
“This result shows once again the synergy of our long lasting and fruitful cooperation with Yingli and ECN, who did the majority of work to achieve this. 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,” said Albert Hasper, general manager of Dutch Solar Equipment company Tempress.
“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. We are very thankful to have such valuable partners,” Hasper added.
“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,” said Dr. Dengyuan Song, chief technology officer of Yingli.