Suniva Inc., a manufacturer of high value crystalline silicon solar cells, has announced that its R&D team has developed several silicon solar cells with over 20% conversion efficiencies using a patented combination of simple cell designs and screen printing technologies. The company claims this is an industry record for screen-printed cells.
Suniva said this demonstrates that the company's advanced technologies in diffusion, surface passivation and contacts can increase conversion efficiency while reducing processing time and maintaining low cell cost. The patented technology reportedly reduces the number of steps in the production process and incorporates advanced design features that boost the power output from the cell.
The conversion efficiency of a solar cell refers to the percentage of sunlight converted by the cell into electricity, which is a metric critical to bringing down the cost of solar generated power, Suniva said. The company's current ARTisun cell technology has produced a verified efficiency of 18.5% in the lab.
These high-efficiency milestones have been verified by the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL), the U.S. Department of Energy's laboratory for renewable energy and energy efficiency research and development.
The company plans to focus on moving this technology from lab-sized cells to the production line and to commercialize the cells as soon as it's "possible and practical".
The company also has three new patents pending, which relate to the structural design, process of fabrication, module integration and the efficient use of low-cost heterojunction solar cells. Suniva now owns or has exclusive license to 32 patents and patent applications worldwide.