Natcore has increased the efficiency of the Foil Cell by 3% in just over a year, having announced 17.5% efficiency for the cells in March 2016. The cell employs an all back-contact design, with no front surface metallization. The design also allows for silver to be replaced with much cheaper aluminum.
While other cells already on the market have achieved similar efficiencies, Natcore says that its process for all-back-contact cell production, whereby a layer of aluminum foil is attached, is simpler than others; allowing manufacturers to achieve high efficiencies at low cost.
“Traditional all-back-contact cells use interdigitated back contacts,” explains David Levy, Director of Research and Technology at Natcore. “While high efficiencies are proven with that approach, the processing is complex. The Natcore Foil approach, due to its simplicity and reliance on cheap aluminum, promises to change that.”
Natcore has made several steps towards commercializing the Foil Cell technology recently, last month it announced a partnership with Italian backsheet manufacturer Coveme to develop high throughput manufacturing methods for the cells. The company also states that it has a research plan in place aiming to push efficiencies above 24%.
“Our structure enables our Foil Cell to be integrated into full 60 cell panels, with significant reduction in cell to module losses,” says Natcore President and CEO Chuck Provini. “It will be sought after by cell manufacturers who want both high efficiency and low cost.”