In this article, we will discuss the types of modern solar panels and the latest photovoltaic cell technologies offered by leading manufacturers. We will also list some of the newest popular solar panels using these innovations that are already available for sale.
Solar panels using the latest innovations
Most panel manufacturers offer a range of models, these can be monocrystalline and polycrystalline product variants with varying power ratings. Over the past few years, the efficiency of the panels has increased significantly due to many advances in technology and materials used to make solar panels.
Currently there are 8 main technologies for producing high efficiency solar panels:
- PERC (Passivated Emitter Rear Cell) – A dielectric layer on the back of the cell;
- Multi Busbar – Multilinear;
- Split panels;
- Dual Glass – Frameless, with double glass;
- Shingled Cells;
- IBC (Interdigitated Back Contact cells) – Interwoven back contact cells;
- HJT (Heterojunction cells) – heterostructured cells.
- Five main types of solar panels using the latest solar cell technology in 2020:
Using innovative solutions, solar module manufacturing is constantly undergoing various improvements in efficiency, reducing the effects of shading and improving reliability, with several manufacturers now giving a performance guarantee of up to 30 years. With all the new choices available for today’s solar panels, it’s worth doing some research before investing in a solar installation. In our complete solar panel review article, we’ll tell you how to choose a reliable solar panel and what to look out for.
PERC technology, what’s so special?
Professor Martin Green, director of the UNSW Australian Photovoltaic Centre of Excellence, invented the PERC concept, which is now widely used by many leading solar panel manufacturers around the world.
Over the past two years, PERC has become the technology of choice for many manufacturers of both mono- and polycrystalline cells. PERC literally stands for “Passivated Emitter Behind Cell”. It represents a more advanced cell architecture using additional layers on the back of the cell to absorb more light photons and increase “quantum efficiency”. A special feature of PERC technology is the Al-BSF – Local Aluminum Back Surface Field (see Diagram below). Several other variants such as PERT (Passivated Emitter Rear Totally Diffused) and PERL (Passivated Emitter and Rear Locally-diffused) have been developed but not yet widely used.
LeTID is a potential PERC problem
Normal PERC P-type cells can suffer from so-called LeTID or degradation caused by light and elevated temperature. The LeTID phenomenon is similar to the well-known degradation caused by LID or light, where a panel can lose 2-3% of its nominal capacity in the first year of UV exposure and 0.5% to 0.8% in the year after. Unfortunately, losses due to LeTID can be higher, up to 6% in the first 2 years. If this loss is not fully accounted for by the manufacturer, it can lead to poor performance and potential warranty claims.
Fortunately, N-type silicon cells are not affected by LeTID. In addition, some P-type poly and mono PERC cell manufacturers have developed processes to reduce or eliminate LeTID. Some manufacturers have claimed to use anti-LeTID technology on their products and claim to have reduced or eliminated LeTID effects.
Multi Busbar – Multilinear Solar Cells
Busbars or busbars are thin wires or ribbons that run through each cell and carry electrons (current) from the solar cells. As photovoltaic cells become more efficient, they in turn generate more current, and in recent years most manufacturers have moved from 3 busbars to 5 or 6 busbars. Some manufacturers, have gone one step further and developed multi-wire systems using up to 12 very thin round wires rather than flat busbars. The benefit is that the busbars actually shade part of the cell and can therefore reduce performance a bit, so they must be carefully designed. A few thin rails provide lower resistance and a shorter electron travel path, resulting in higher performance.