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Increase efficiency of industrially manufactured cells and increase competitiveness

At the core of every photovoltaic system are the solar cells. Converted in modules, they produce electricity from the incident light. The more inexpensive the cells can be produced and the higher the efficiency, the more favorable solar power can finally be produced. In this respect, the industry-led research project HELENE pursues the overall goal of making solar power independent of subsidies and of making a sustainable contribution to securing the international competitiveness of the German PV industry.

The consortium consists of three companies, three research institutes, and a university. Its mission: creating the necessary production technologies, materials, processes, process sequences, and characterization methods to produce highly efficient crystalline silicon (c-Si) solar cells in an industrial scale. The process technologies shall increase the efficiency of mono- (multi-) crystalline solar cells from 19.5% (17.3%) to 22.5% (19.5%).

The basic approach to achieving the efficiency targets in the collaborative project HELENE consists in the development and industrial implementation of solar cells on the basis of the so-called PERC technology (Passivated Emitter and Rear Cell), which is the previously established Al-BSF technology (aluminum back surface field).

In view of the continuing competitive pressure in the PV industry, the development activities are of considerable strategic and entrepreneurial importance for the project partners. With the exploitation of the project results, the possibility of technological differentiation is to be opened up for the joint partners in order to continue to exist in a highly competitive market.