Scientists at The Australian National University (ANU) have produced a more efficient type of solar cell using laser processing.
The research team claims to have set a new world record in the process by achieving a power output of approximately 29%, exceeding the performance of the best single-sided silicon solar cell, according to the ANU statement.
Principal Investigator Dr Kean Chern Fong said the so-called bifacial solar cells easily beat the performance of single-sided silicon solar cells, both the front and back of the cell generate power.
“We have developed what I would call a true bifacial solar cell, as it has nearly symmetrical power generation capacity on both surfaces of the device,” Dr Fong said.
“When deployed on a conventional solar farm, a bifacial cell absorbs direct incoming light, while also taking advantage of ground reflection, which can contribute up to an additional 30% power generation.
The team used specific laser doping technology to fabricate the cells. Chief Investigator Dr Marco Ernst explained that laser-doping uses “lasers to locally increase electrical conductivity” and is a low-cost way to boost solar cell efficiency.
This allowed the research team to achieve a front conversion efficiency of 24.3% and a rear conversion efficiency of 23.4%, representing a bifacial factor of 96.3%, exceeding the performance of the best single-sided silicon solar cell.
“This is a world record for selectively laser-doped solar cells and among the highest efficiency bifacial solar cells,” Dr Ernst said.