The photovoltaic industry is dominated by crystalline silicon solar cells. Although interdigitated back-contact cells have yielded the highest efficiency, both-sides-contacted cells are the preferred choice in industrial production due to their lower complexity. Here we show that omitting the layers at the front side that provide lateral charge carrier transport is the key to excellent optoelectrical properties for both-sides-contacted cells. This results in a conversion efficiency of 26.0%. In contrast to standard industrial cells with a front side p–n junction, this cell exhibits the p–n junction at the back surface in the form of a full-area polycrystalline silicon-based passivating contact. A detailed power-loss analysis reveals that this cell balances electron and hole transport losses as well as transport and recombination losses in general. A systematic simulation study led to some fundamental design rules for future >26% efficiency silicon solar cells and demonstrates the potential and the superiority of these back-junction solar cells.
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We thank S. Seitz, A. Leimenstoll, F. Schätzle, N. Brändlin, A. Seiler, D. Leclerc and H. Steidl for their contributions during the solar cell processing and E. Schäffer and F. Martin for performing measurements. This work was partially supported by the German Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy under contract no. 03EE1031A (PaSoDoble).
The authors declare no competing interests.
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Richter, A., Müller, R., Benick, J. et al. Design rules for high-efficiency both-sides-contacted silicon solar cells with balanced charge carrier transport and recombination losses. Nat Energy 6, 429–438 (2021). https://doi.org/10.1038/s41560-021-00805-w
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