Photovoltaic cells convert solar energy directly into electricity. The best crystalline silicon (c-Si) cells, which are the most common type of mass produced cell, can convert around 25% of the solar energy they receive in lab conditions, whereas the modules (arrays of cells) available off the shelf in the market have about 16-20% efficiency.
The NextBase project will develop innovative high-performance c-Si solar cells and modules based on a novel solar cell concept, the interdigitated back-contacted silicon heterojunction cell (IBC-SHJ). Cells will be produced which will reach efficiencies above 26%, a record for silicon cells without concentration.
Using these cells, corresponding solar modules will achieve efficiencies above 22%. These efficiency values will be achieved by introducing a number of new design and process innovations throughout the wafer, cell and module fabrication that go beyond the state-of-the-art.
At the same time, the NextBase project will develop a new industrial manufacturing tool and low-cost processes for the IBC-SHJ solar cells. Through these innovations a competitive IBC-SHJ solar module cost below 0.35 �/Wp will be demonstrated, which is around 45% cheaper than the average cost of high performance PV modules currently available in the market.