Only a few years ago, an exclusive circle of solar cell scientists knew about PERC technology, today every installer understands the concept of PERC, which stands for Passivated Emitter and Rear Cell. In a nutshell, it is a cell concept that increases efficiencies up to 1 percentage point by adding only 2 different equipment parts and can be produced at competitive cost compared to standard cells. That’s something you simply want to have. Indeed, most solar cells manufacturers do have PERC cells in their portfolio in the meantime – at least for parts of their capacity. And it’s quickly expanding.
The new TaiyangNews Solar Cell Technology Report 2017 provides an update on research in PERC technology, the latest developments in PERC processing equipment and the key materials needed to manufacture PERC cells. The report also provides information about the companies active in the field of PERC technology.
When reading about new cell efficiency records for commercial solar cells these days, it is very likely that the technology used to break the record is PERC. At the publication date of this study (April 16, 2017), the PERC cell efficiency record stood at 22.61% – and was being held by Trina Solar, which reached that level in Dec. 2016. We have summarized the recent PERC cell efficiency records from companies for both mono- and multicrystalline PERC cells.
According to our research, end of 2016, PERC had an installed capacity of about 12 GW. However, many factories have been in the ramp up stage, so we estimate that about 7.9 GW was actually produced in 2016. PERC installations are still continuing, so do orders. Although there is some equipment production bottlenecks, we estimate that installed capacity would reach 20 GW by end of 2017, which would be used to produce around 14 GW of PERC cells.
While in 2015 and 2016 a decent share of PERC cells was still made on multi wafers – as the early companies in that field had opted for this technology -, the trend clearly shows toward mono. Although a few more companies also bet on multi PERC, most of the new production orders will be used for the mono variant. Indeed, there are still several challenges for multi but there are new solutions as well. That’s why it is probably way too early to say that the story of PERC multi is over before it had fully unfolded – especially, because there is interesting developments from wet-etching equipment producers.
But what comes next for PERC? The report outlines the strategies researchers and companies are working on to bring PERC to the next level, including bifacial technology, selective emitters.
The TaiyangNews PERC Report 2017 – The Latest on PERC – Solar’s Hottest Cell Technology can be downloaded free of charge here.
The Chinese version of TaiyangNews PERC Report 2017 can be downloaded free of charge here.