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A Comprehensive Guide to the Different Types of Solar Cells. Shingle cell solar panel

A Comprehensive Guide to the Different Types of Solar Cells. Shingle cell solar panel

    A Comprehensive Guide to the Different Types of Solar Cells

    Are you interested in learning more about the different types of solar cells available? If so, then you’ve come to the right place! In this comprehensive guide, we’ll cover the various types of solar cells and discuss the pros and cons of each type. From monocrystalline to polycrystalline and everything in between, we’ll help you […]

    Are you interested in learning more about the different types of solar cells available? If so, then you’ve come to the right place! In this comprehensive guide, we’ll cover the various types of solar cells and discuss the pros and cons of each type. From monocrystalline to polycrystalline and everything in between, we’ll help you understand the differences between the various types of solar cells and help you decide which type is best for you.

    Monocrystalline silicon cells

    Producing Monocrystalline silicon cells is a process is similar to that used to manufacture transistors and integrated circuits, and it has been developed, optimized, and is clean. Single-crystalline cells look like deep blue glass because of the blue color of the silicon crystals. This technology goes through very slow degradation, typically 0.25%-0.5% a year.

    Polycrystalline silicon cells

    In this production process, pure molten silicon is cast into cylinders, then sliced into wafers off the large block of multicrystalline silicon. These cells are made up of multiple crystalline structures that form a pattern on the cell’s surface. Polycrystalline cells are slightly lower in conversion efficiency compared with single crystalline cells, but the manufacturing process is less exacting, so costs are a bit lower. Module efficiency averages about 15%–16%, sunlight to wire. Degradation is very slow and gradual, similar to that of single-crystal. Crystals measure approximately 1 centimeter (two-fifths of an inch) thick, and the multicrystal patterns can be clearly seen in the cell’s deep blue surface.

    Doping and module assembly are the same as for poly and mono-crystal modules.

    Hetrojunction Technology

    Heterojunction technology has seen a surge in popularity in recent years due to its higher efficiency and low cost. This technology combines crystalline and thin-film solar cell technologies to create cells with an amorphous silicon layer that is just a few nanometers thick. The ultra-thin amorphous silicon layer acts as an electrical insulator between the two cell materials, allowing for more efficient current flow than traditional monocrystalline cells. Hetrojunction solar cells can also use n-type semiconductors instead of the traditional p-type. N-type semiconductors are less prone to impurities, allowing for higher efficiency and more reliable operation. Despite their advantages, hetrojunction solar cells still have some drawbacks. The thin-film layer is not as durable as the thicker monocrystalline layer, so the cells need to be protected from damage. Additionally, hetrojunction cells require complex manufacturing processes that can be difficult to scale up. Overall, hetrojunction technology has many advantages over traditional monocrystalline cells, but it’s important to weigh the pros and cons before deciding which type of solar cell is best for your project.

    Bi-facial Cells

    The advantages of bi-facial cells include increased energy efficiency and reduced costs as they allow you to generate more energy from a smaller area than with traditional monocrystalline or polycrystalline cells. This can make them attractive to residential installers who have limited space. In terms of installation, bi-facial cells can be mounted either on top of each other, or they can be mounted on a separate system to be able to orient them towards the sun. The downside of bi-facial cells is that they are more expensive than traditional solar cells, but they may still be cost-effective in the long run.

    Overall, bi-facial cells can offer more efficient energy absorption than monocrystalline or polycrystalline cells, allowing for greater energy production in less space. They also come with an added bonus of being able to absorb reflected light, which can be useful in certain environments. However, they come with a higher price tag, so careful consideration should be made before investing in these types of cells.

    Half-cell or cut cells

    Half-cell solar cells are composed of a substrate such as mono- or polycrystalline silicon, and the electrical connections between them are made with metal ribbons. By cutting the cells in half, it allows manufacturers to reduce cell series resistance and the number of contact fingers needed for electrical connection, resulting in higher efficiency.

    The use of half-cells has allowed manufacturers to achieve a maximum efficiency rating up to 21.7%, which is higher than the traditional 17-18% efficiency rating of monocrystalline or polycrystalline cells. This improved efficiency comes at a cost though, as these solar cells tend to be more expensive than their traditional counterparts.

    Despite the extra cost, many homeowners and businesses are taking advantage of the increased efficiency by installing half-cell solar panels in order to maximize their energy production. Half-cell technology is also used in commercial solar farms in order to increase their energy output and make them more efficient.

    Shingle solar cells

    This type of configuration allows for the wiring of the cells to be done differently than with traditional solar panels. Whereas conventional solar panels have cells wired in a series of strings, shingled solar modules can be wired in parallel configuration, reducing the number of interconnects. Additionally, the increased efficiency of shingled cells reduces the amount of energy lost when transferring energy from the modules to the inverter. Due to their unique wiring configuration, shingled solar cells can also offer greater flexibility in system design, as they allow for larger and more complex solar systems to be built with fewer components. As such, shingled solar cells are increasingly becoming popular amongst installers looking to maximize their system’s output potential.

    Solar shingles: should you go with Tesla or an alternative?

    Solar shingles have been around for a number of years. However, in 2018 Elon Musk and the first installations of the Tesla solar shingles turned the way we think about solar shingles on their head.

    The sleek glass tiles generate electricity and replace your existing roof. They’ve drawn new attention to the previously-unloved segment of the solar industry known as building integrated photovoltaics (BIPV).

    However, Tesla’s solar shingles aren’t the only ones out there. In this article, we’ll go over what exactly solar shingles are, take a look at some of Tesla’s biggest competitors, and explore whether or not solar shingles are worth it.

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    What are solar roof shingles?

    Solar shingles are roofing shingles that contain solar cells. They are designed to look and offer the same protection as traditional asphalt shingles while generating solar electricity at the same time.

    Many homeowners are hesitant to install solar power systems on their roof, despite the positive economics, because they don’t like the look of traditional solar panels. Solar roof shingles are the answer to this dilemma. they allow homeowners to still get all of the benefits of solar without having to sacrifice the aesthetic of their home.

    What sets Tesla’s solar panel shingles apart from other solar shingles on the market?

    Tesla is one of the first solar shingle manufacturers to make a truly cohesive solar shingle product. When you install a Tesla solar roof, you get two kinds of shingles from Tesla: active shingles (that generate electricity) and inactive shingles (that don’t generate electricity).

    Because you get all of the roofing material from Tesla, it makes your roof look entirely uniform. you can’t really tell the difference between the solar portion and the non-solar portion. Most other solar shingle brands only sell the active shingle portion, so they aren’t designed to look identical to the remaining shingles on your roof.

    On the downside, this means that you do have to get an entire roof replacement when you install Tesla solar shingles, while other shingle brands only require you to replace a portion of your roof. The upside, however, is you wind up with a great looking roof that generates solar energy.

    How much do solar shingles cost to install?

    The cost to install solar shingles varies, depending on the brand you choose and how you choose to compare the costs.

    If you’re looking strictly at the cost of solar, Tesla is the cheapest at 1.80 per watt before incentives. Other solar shingle brands will cost between 3.80 to 7.00 per watt.

    However, it’s important to note that Tesla requires you to invest in a total roof replacement when you install their solar shingles. This means that the overall cost of a Tesla solar shingle installation could be much higher than that of other brands, like CertainTeed, that can be installed with your existing roof. especially because Tesla’s roofing materials can get expensive.

    Find out which solar incentives your home could qualify for

    Solar shingles cost compared to a conventional roof replacement cost

    The cost of a solar roof is going to seem a bit high compared to a traditional roof replacement or a conventional solar installation, but it’s important to keep in mind that a solar roof installation includes the value of both a roofing material and a solar panel system.

    When you install a Tesla solar roof, you install both active and inactive shingles. The active shingles convert sunlight into energy for your home, while the inactive shingles just act as regular shingles.

    Based on Tesla’s estimates, the solar shingles come to 1.80 per watt. This is lower than the average cost of traditional solar panels, which is around 3.00 per watt.

    The cost of the inactive shingles depends on the complexity of your roof, so it will cost between 20 per square foot of total roof space. This is higher than the average for traditional asphalt shingles, which is somewhere between 3.50 to 5.50.

    Based on these quotes, a traditional roof replacement would cost around 9,350 for a 1,700 square foot roof and a conventional 10 kW solar system would be 30,000, before incentives. That brings you a grand total of 39,350. The entire Tesla solar roof for the same home, assuming it has a simple roof complexity, would come out to around 52,000 not including roof tear off costs.

    That’s not too much higher than a conventional roof replacement and solar panel system, but that’s assuming the lowest price Tesla will give you for roofing materials.

    Tesla solar roof tiles vs. competitors

    While it does seem like Tesla is the only solar shingle manufacturing company out there, they actually aren’t. Believe it or not, there are quite a few other companies that manufacture solar shingles, including Luma Solar, CertainTeed, and Suntegra.

    GAF Energy

    GAF Energy’s Timberline Solar Energy Shingles created quite a buzz when they were released, due to their rumored low and easy installation. Image source: GAF Energy

    One of the newest solar shingle products available is GAF’s Timberline Solar Energy Shingles. If GAF sounds familiar to you, it’s probably because they’re one of the most well-known names in roofing. In fact, there’s a good chance GAF is already on your roof.

    GAF Energy’s solar shingles are designed with roofers in mind. the top portion of shingles are made of asphalt, so they can be nailed into the roof just like regular shingles.

    There are no official specifications posted on GAF’s website, but some product data sheets online state that each shingle has a power rating of 45 watts. There is also no indication on the official pricing of GAF’s shingles, aside from some installation totals quoted by their president that suggests a total roof replacement and the solar shingles would cost about 30,000, including incentives.

    Luma Solar

    Luma Solar is one of the original solar shingle innovators. Image source: Luma Solar

    Luma Solar developed the first fully-integrated solar roof system in the U.S., referring to their solar shingles as a ‘luxury product’ that can be upgraded in the future in order to meet future needs.

    Luma Solar is probably the closest you can get to Tesla’s solar roof in terms of aesthetics, because they too have inactive shingles that help the solar panels blend in.

    Luma’s shingles have a power rating of 80 watts each, and come with a 25-year production warranty and a 5-year limited product warranty. Their shingles are also rated to withstand 200 mile per hour winds, and have received the Category 5 Miami-Dade Hurricane Rating Classification, so you can trust they’ll stay on even in the windiest conditions.

    There is no official pricing listed on Luma’s website, but pricing started at 4.50 per watt for an older iteration of their shingles that had a slightly lower power rating than the current version. So, it’s likely the current shingles could cost a little bit more. The price can also vary based on roof complexity and the system design.

    CertainTeed Apollo II

    CertainTeed’s Apollo II solar shingles don’t require you to replace your whole roof, but they are a little more noticeable on your roof than some other solar shingles on the market. Image source: CertainTeed

    CertainTeed, a leading brand of traditional roofing shingles, began offering solar products in the late 2000s. Currently, they have two solar shingle products to choose from: the Apollo II shingles and the Apollo II tiles.

    Both are 70 watts with monocrystalline solar cells. The Apollo tiles have a slightly higher efficiency, a lower profile, and we can assume are slightly more expensive than the Apollo shingles, but CertainTeed does not list pricing on their website.

    CertainTeed solar shingles don’t require you to replace your entire roof, and they can even be installed on top of existing asphalt shingles. This likely makes a CertainTeed solar shingle installation cheaper overall than other types of solar shingle installations, because you don’t have to pay for a total roof replacement.

    Unfortunately, this does make CertainTeed solar shingles stand out a little more from the rest of the shingles on your roof.


    Suntegra’s solar roof tiles can be installed with concrete roofing tiles and are more discreet than conventional solar panels. Image source: Suntegra

    Suntegra is another popular brand manufacturing solar shingles. Like Certainteed, Suntegra offers a solar shingle and solar roof tile so you can choose which integrates better with your roofing material. The solar tiles are designed to integrate with concrete roofing materials.

    The low-profile monocrystalline solar shingles are attached directly to the roofing to blend in with traditional asphalt shingles. Suntegra shingles come in three different wattages: 105 watts, 110 watts, and 114 watts. The cost varies from 3.80 to 4.25 per watt, depending on which wattage shingle you choose.

    Suntegra’s solar tiles have slightly lower power ratings, ranging from 64 to 70 watts, and a higher price. Suntegra’s solar tiles will cost between 6.16 per watt and 6.57 per watt.

    How much will it cost to install solar panels on your specific roof?

    How do solar shingles compare to conventional solar panels?

    The appeal of solar shingles is simply that they look better than conventional solar panels. Some are installed as their own roofing material, while others can be installed on top of your existing shingles, but have an extremely low profile which allows them to blend in more with your existing roof.

    Most solar shingles have a higher cost per watt than the average cost of solar, so if you have a tight budget, solar shingles might not be right for you.

    In terms of performance, the solar shingles on the market today tend to have pretty decent specifications. Their power output seems low when compared to traditional solar panels side by side, but that’s because they are substantially smaller than solar panels.

    Pros and cons of solar shingles

    Solar shingles pros and cons

    Reduce carbon footprint High cost
    Electric bill savings Limited styles
    Tax credits and rebates Dependent on roof orientation
    Aesthetically pleasing Requires entire roof replacement

    What are the advantages of solar roof shingles?

    Solar roof tiles are great for the environment, your home, and your utility bills:

    • Reduce carbon footprint: Leverage a clean and natural source of energy that reduces your family’s carbon footprint and runs your home on renewable energy
    • Save on energy bills: Solar shingles reduce annual energy costs, often by 40% to 60%
    • Tax credits and rebates: Eligible homeowners who install solar shingles will qualify for the 30% federal solar tax credit until the end of 2032, and you also may be eligible for other incentives
    • Aesthetics: Solar shingles are less noticeable than traditional solar panels because they are integrated into your roof

    What are the disadvantages of solar roof shingles?

    Solar shingles do have a few drawbacks:

    • Solar shingle roof cost: The total costs of installing solar roof tiles are about three times the cost of conventional roofing materials and most brands of solar shingles cost more than the average cost of solar panels in the U.S.
    • Limited styles available: Solar shingles aren’t offered in as many styles as conventional roofing, so if you really love the look of your Spanish-style roof, you’re going to be disappointed by your limited solar shingle choices
    • Orientation: Solar shingle production is subject to roof orientation; rack-mounted rooftop solar panels can be installed at angles to capture maximum sunlight, but solar shingles are limited to the natural direction of your roof, so they tend to produce less energy
    • Could require entire roof replacement: You can’t just replace half your roof with Tesla solar shingles, you have to replace all of your roof material; other solar shingles might not require this, but then you’ll have an aesthetic problem similar to the one that exists with regular solar panels

    Who can install Tesla solar shingles?

    Solar shingles are usually installed by certified solar companies that partner with the solar shingle manufacturers.

    So, if you get a Tesla solar roof, Tesla won’t be the one installing them. One of their solar roof installer partners, either a solar installer or roofing company, will be the ones putting the solar roof on your home.

    What does SolarReviews recommend when it comes to solar roof shingles vs. conventional solar panels?

    Our advice depends on your circumstances:

    If you’re building a new house, solar photovoltaic shingles are worth considering. They are a functional roof, a way to reduce electric bills, and can be a beautifully sleek architectural feature. They can also be a good investment if you’re in need of a roof replacement.

    In terms of which brand to choose, it depends on what you’re looking for. When it comes to aesthetics, Tesla and Luma are clear winners with their sleek designs. If you’re more concerned about the price, then Tesla and GAF Energy might be the way to go. Keep in mind, it’s best to get quotes from a few different companies and see what kind of services they offer before you make your final decision.

    Aside from new construction and being in need of a full roof replacement, solar shingles probably don’t make that much sense. Conventional solar panels will be substantially cheaper than most of the BIPV options. Not to mention, solar panels can produce more electricity than shingles, so you stand to have better savings.

    Whether you choose to install solar shingles or get solar panels, the sooner you go solar, the better. It’s always best to make a financial investment as early as you can.

    Plus, net metering, the law that allows you to export excess solar energy back to the grid, is at risk in many states where it’s currently offered. further indicating that securing your solar panel system now is more important than ever.

    Find out how much you can save annually by switching to solar

    Key takeaways

    • Solar shingles are a roofing material containing solar cells that generate solar electricity.
    • Tesla solar shingles are the cheapest solar shingle option, coming in at 1.80 per watt, but they charge quite a bit for the remaining roof replacement.
    • While a solar shingle installation will cost more than a traditional solar panel system and roof replacement, actual costs will vary based on your specific home and energy needs.
    • Some of Tesla’s top solar shingle competitors are GAF Energy, Luma Solar, Suntegra, and CertainTeed.
    • Solar shingles allow you to enjoy all of the benefits of solar without sacrificing your home’s aesthetic, but will come at a higher cost and won’t produce as much electricity as traditional solar panels.

    Catherine Lane

    Written Content Manager

    Catherine is the Written Content Manager at SolarReviews. She has been researching and writing about the residential solar industry for four years. Her work has appeared in Solar Today Magazine and Solar Builder Magazine, and has been cited by publications like Forbes and Bloomberg.

    Shingle all the way

    While shingled cells have been around for a while, Tongwei’s adoption of the technology is notable as it is a manufacturer with considerable scale. If shingling can overcome some hurdles, it could prove a welcome solution as unshaded sites for PV become elusive in mature solar markets.

    An installation featuring Tongwei’s shingled modules.


    New 400 W-plus shingled solar modules are on the market, serving demand for high-powered, more durable, sleek all-black products. Chinese cell giant Tongwei is responsible for the new modules – its Terra series released in 2022. The Terra series comes in power classes of 400 W to 430 W, with efficiencies ranging from 20.1% to 21.7%.

    Tongwei is notable as a major Chinese supplier embracing shingling, which involves cutting solar cells into strips which are then interconnected through electrically conductive adhesive (ECA), slightly overlapping along the long cell edge.

    The head of Tongwei’s shingled module department, Yan Li, says shingled products offer “advantages in power, efficiency, and reliability” and technical advantages because of “high-density packaging and flexible interconnection.”

    “However, we believe that the differentiated Terra high-efficiency shingled modules with aesthetic appearance will target some markets, and increase our share and brand influence in the residential segment,” says Li. Alongside sleek aesthetics and power, shingling also delivers durability, Li claims, due to its “low hot-spot risk, resistance to micro-cracks and exceptional mechanical load performance.”

    comprehensive, guide, different, types, solar

    Tongwei, which has 70 GW of annual cell capacity – and plans to hit 130 GW to 150 GW by 2026 – reports having 6 GW of Terra lines, while module capacity has reached 14 GW, including half-cut series’.

    IP claims

    While Tongwei’s adoption of shingling represents a major development of the technology at scale, the commercialization of shingling has been years in the making. Silicon Valley-based Solaria Corporation, founded in 2000, began selling shingled PowerXT modules in 2016. Solaria claims to hold “over 250 issued and pending patents in the field,” many of which, presumably, relate to shingling.

    The Californian company has robustly defended what it considers its intellectual property (IP). In June 2022, it settled a patent infringement lawsuit filed in 2020 against Sino-Canadian manufacturer Canadian Solar for allegedly infringing its shingling technology.

    Solaria wants to merge with installer Complete Solar and float the resulting Complete Solaria business as a vertically-integrated company similar to SunPower. Complete Solaria would make shingled PowerXT modules with an output of around 400 W under a “low capex [capital expenditure] model,” with production “by manufacturers in Thailand, Cambodia, Vietnam, and India.”

    Robust IP

    Tongwei says it began module RD in 2016 and attached importance to the establishment of an intellectual property system. “From the beginning of the shingled product project, Tongwei has already started the layout in the patent end,” says Li. “After seven years, Tongwei has formed an independent shingled technology roadmap.”

    George Touloupas, senior director of technology and quality at quality assurance provider Clean Energy Associates (CEA), points to Tongwei’s statements the company has its “own way of interconnecting,” free of IP concerns. Touloupas adds, “The shingled module chief technology officer is formerly from SunEdison and he is bringing his shingling experience from that company to Tongwei.”

    Peering under the hood, Touloupas observes that the interconnection approach used by Tongwei appears to have additional benefits. “Tongwei is also exploring a different interconnection technology where shingled cells follow a jagged pattern, which is even more resilient to hot-spots and has lower loss due to shading.”

    Matrix layout

    Researchers at Germany’s Fraunhofer ISE published test results from such a shingled-module cell layout in the journal Progress in Photovoltaics in 2021. In the paper, the researchers term the technique a “matrix layout” whereby the cut cell pieces are placed in an offset pattern, “by half a cell length” – with half-cut shingle cells placed at the edges to result in a standard rectangular module format.

    “By shifting the solar cells from row to row by half a cell length, an additional parallel interconnection of all solar cells within each row is achieved,” the researchers wrote.

    The Fraunhofer ISE team tested matrix shingled modules in various shading scenarios, including with shading diagonally across the module, and found that the matrix design resulted in significantly increased energy yield. Electric current could bypass shaded areas more effectively due to the offset cell layout. The layout also reduced the risk that mechanisms causing hotspots – a result of partial shading – would occur.

    As ideal, unshaded locations for solar become increasingly scarce, the Fraunhofer researchers concluded that the matrix layout would become increasingly valuable. “Huge potential for solar power generation meets a huge variety of irregular shading conditions, making shading tolerance a very important aspect,” wrote the academics.

    Challenges remain

    Advances in shingling technology, and its adoption in manufacturing at a larger scale, point to the technology potentially moving into a new era of development. Competition from other technologies will remain fierce, however.

    “Four or five years ago, shingled modules had about [a] 10% efficiency advantage compared to ordinary – at the time – full-cell, four-busbar modules; that’s not the case any more,” says CEA’s Touloupas. “With the introduction of half-cut cells, multi-busbar, paving, or tiling; this 10% module area efficiency advantage has evaporated.”

    As Tongwei and other shingling proponents argue, there are a host of advantages beyond efficiency. The use of ECA rather than busbars, which contain lead, is one such advantage – adding environmental credentials to the shingled approach, alongside durability, shading tolerance, and aesthetics. As with some other high efficiency technologies, the silver content in ECA will have to continue to come down for its use to be sustainable in larger volumes (see box).

    Low-silver ECA

    ECA has relatively high silver content – as much as 70% to 80% has been noted by academics in commercial products as recently as 2019. That could change, however, thanks to silver-coated conductive particles and optimized particle shapes. “We probably started with reducing the silver consumption of our adhesives, maybe 10 years ago,” says Rich Wells, chief technology officer of Ohio-based, Japanese-owned Nagase Chemtex America, a manufacturer with more than 15 years’ experience supplying solar companies. “Recently, I would say in the last five years, there have been some very nice breakthroughs.” Wells says progress in reducing the silver content of ECA destined for solar has come via two key developments. The first is the replacement of pure silver particles with silver-coated alternatives. Copper at the core of the particles, says Wells, “is one of the many options out there.” Nagase Chemtex worked with researchers from the Energy Research Centre of the Netherlands to develop silver coated particles for ECA. The Ohio business’ scientists are also trying to optimize particle shapes. Longer, flatter particles deliver equivalent conductivity from a smaller volume of conductive metal. “The models for percolation, to build a conductive network through the system, indicate that you can create that network of conductivity at a lower [metal] loading if you have a higher aspect ratio,” says Wells. Mark Francis, Nagase Chemtex’s sales and marketing manager, has a long history in the semiconductor industry. He says, upon joining the company primarily to develop its solar business, he was surprised to learn PV manufacturers were using lead solder for cell interconnection. “We are seeing the push for silver reduction of both the cell grid and the interconnection,” says Francis. “What I’m wondering is, when will they turn around and say we don’t want to do cell interconnection with lead any more?”

    comprehensive, guide, different, types, solar

    Tongwei reports that it is working to optimize both the bonding strength of the ECA and its conductivity – which it terms the non-silver and silver system, respectively. “We are committed to bringing our efficient and eco-friendly Tongwei Terra series to more households,” the company states.

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    Jonathan Gifford

    Jonathan is the Founding Editor of pv magazine Australia. Jonathan joined pv magazine in 2011 and became the Editor in Chief in 2014.

    Shingle cell solar panel


    Conventional solar modules are made up of a number of solar cells electrically connected using metallic busbars. The solar cells on conventional solar modules have gaps around them and busbars typically cross over the cells to link them together. Shingled solar modules have layers of solar cells which touch each other and electrically connected using an electrically conductive adhesive (ECA). This eliminates the need for metallic busbars. This method means there are no gaps between the solar cells increasing the surface area of the silicon cells in the solar module. Plus there are no busbars covering the cells which reduce the light on the solar cells. This improves the electrical and mechanical performance and the aesthetics of the solar module.

    Panel size MM 1730108035MM Panel weight Kg 20.55 Solar cell Mono cell 210210 Cell arrangement 21030;836 arrangement Packaging 32PCS/pallet; Packing size(LWH):175011001220MM

    Panel size MM 2148118835MM Panel weight Kg 28.07 Solar cell Mono cell 210210 Cell arrangement 21030;1040 arrangement Packaging 32PCS/pallet;Packing size: 120011402280MM

    Panel size MM 2148108035MM Panel weight Kg 25.52 Solar cell Mono cell 210210 Cell arrangement 21030;1036 arrangement Packaging 32PCS/pallet;Packing size(LWH): 217011001220MM

    Panel size MM 2148102035MM Panel weight Kg 24.10 Solar cell Mono cell 210210 Cell arrangement 21030; 1034 arrangement Packaging 32PCS/pallet;Packing size: 217011401160MM

    Panel size MM 214896035MM Panel weight Kg 22.68 Solar cell Mono cell 210210 Cell arrangement 21030;1032 arrangement Packaging 32PCS/pallet;Packing size(LWH): 217011401100MM

    Panel size MM 173096035MM Panel weight Kg 18.27 Solar cell Mono cell 210210 Cell arrangement 21030;832 arrangement Packaging 32PCS/Pallet;Packing size(LWH): 175011401100MM

    Panel size MM 1730101835MM Panel weight Kg 17.13 Solar cell Mono cell 210210 Cell arrangement 21030;834 arrangement Packaging 32PCS/pallet;Packing size(LWH): 175011001160MM

    Panel size MM 173090035MM Panel weight Kg 17.13 Solar cell Mono Cell210210 Cell arrangement 21030;830 arrangement Packaging 32PCS/Pallet;Packing size(LWH): 175011401040MM

    Panel size MM 1310102035MM Panel weight Kg 14.70 Solar cell Mono Cell210210 Cell arrangement 21030;634 arrangement Packaging 32PCS/Pallet;Packing size(LWH):133011401160MM

    Panel size MM 132099235MM Panel weight Kg 14.40 Solar cell Mono Cell210210 Cell arrangement 21030;633 arrangement Packaging 32PCS/Pallet; Packing size(LWH):134011401130MM

    Panel size MM 173096035MM Panel weight Kg 18.27 Solar cell Mono cell 210210 Cell arrangement 21030;832 arrangement Packaging 32PCS/Pallet; Packing size(LWH):175011401100MM

    a total of 1 pages

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    TOPCon shingle solar cell achieves 22.0% efficiency via thermal laser separation

    Scientists from Germany’s Fraunhofer ISE and US panel maker Solaria have applied thermal laser separation and post-metallization passivated edge technology to tunnel oxide passivated contact (TOPCon) cell production. They have developed shingle PV devices that are more efficient than cells built with conventional laser scribing and mechanical cleaving methods.

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    TOPCon host cell taken from the front side (left) and the rear side

    Image: Fraunhofer Institute for Solar Energy Systems ISE, Progess in Photovoltaics, Creative Commons License CC BY 4.0


    Scientists from Germany’s Fraunhofer Institute for Solar Energy Systems ISE and U.S.-based solar panel maker Solaria have developed a solar cell based on TOPCon technology and shingle design.

    “To our best knowledge, this is the first publication dealing with TOPCon shingle solar cells separated by thermal laser separation (TLS) and edge-passivated by the passivated edge technology (PET),” researcher Elmar Lohmüller told pv magazine. “The PET is a proprietary development of Fraunhofer ISE, to address the cutting losses in today‘s half-cut, third-cut, or shingle solar cells, by simple, high-throughput post-processing of singulated cells.”

    Fraunhofer ISE filed a patent application back in 2018 and is offering a sampling of the technology for interested partners. Solaria is one of the first industry partners testing post-metallization PET on TOPCon shingle solar cells.

    “The PET approach could address a key need of the industry – to mitigate efficiency losses incurred by cell cutting and do so in a cost-effective way,” Ricky Dunbar, a Solaria spokesperson, told pv magazine. “Our cooperation with Fraunhofer ISE has shown that PET can effectively reduce these losses for TOPCon shingle cells at a promising throughput.”

    The proposed manufacturing process uses thermal laser separation (TLS) instead of conventional laser scribing and mechanical cleaving (LSMC) for cell singulation. TLS only requires a short initial laser scribe with a cleave laser and water-air aerosol jet to create a starting crack that can then propagate through the wafer in any direction.

    “This results in cuts with very smooth edge surfaces,” the scientists explained, noting that TLS was performed via the microDICE laser system developed by Germany’s 3D-Micromac.

    “The TLS process optimized in this work yields up to 0.2% more efficient shingle cells directly after separation in comparison with shingle cells that have been singulated by LSMC,” the academics said, noting that the cell based on TLS achieved a power conversion efficiency of 22.0% “It is shown that TLS can be performed such that no degradation of the surface passivation quality occurs in the vicinity to the dividing line.”

    The research team introduced its findings in “TOPCon shingle solar cells: Thermal laser separation and passivated edge technology,” which was recently published in Progress in Photovoltaics.

    “As we are still in the development phase of an industrial PET tool, valid data for yield ratios of the two approaches for a reliable cost calculation is not sufficiently available, yet,” Lohmüller said. “Nevertheless, PET will add a process step, which to our current knowledge is easily scalable to current throughput demands, thus the demonstrated gain in efficiency has substantial potential to overcompensate the additional cost.”

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    Emiliano Bellini

    Emiliano joined pv magazine in March 2017. He has been reporting on solar and renewable energy since 2009.

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