Content - Swiss technology for Japanese solar modules

  • June 01, 2018

Swiss technology for Japanese solar modules

Tokyo (SCCIJ) – Panasonic, producer of one of the most efficient commercial solar cells on the global market, will integrate the “smartwire” connection technology of Meyer Burger in the manufacture of its solar modules. According to the leading photovoltaics manufacturing equipment supplier from Gwatt, Switzerland, this integration is supposed to boost the performance of the Panasonic cells and modules. The unique technology of Meyer Burger can also help to reduce the production cost of Panasonic’s solar modules which is very efficient, but also relatively expensive.

Swiss photovoltaic technology

Unique heterojunction structure

Panasonic produced solar modules with the brand name “HIT” that have a unique silicon heterojunction structure composed of crystalline silicon substrate and amorphous silicon layers. This technology performs the junction formation needed for solar cells by surrounding the crystalline silicon wafer with an amorphous silicon layer.  

Its high passivation capability compensates for multiple defects that occur around the surface of the silicon wafer. With industry leading conversion efficiency and excellent temperature coefficient characteristics, Panasonic achieves high power generation even in a limited space.  

Meyer Burger offered technology

This heterojunction design is not new. Sanyo (now Panasonic) first pushed this technology into mass production achieving around 20 percent cell efficiency. Recently, Panasonic demonstrated efficiencies of 24.7 percent on laboratory scale cells. With the discontinuation of the basic technology patent, heterojunction technology was opened to the public in 2010. The Swiss photovoltaic equipment supplier has been offering this appealing technology as a high performance key technology in the photovoltaic value chain. 

Meyer Burger’s ground-breaking SmartWire Connection Technology employs an innovative foil-wire electrode with up to 24 perfectly aligned wires to connect solar cells. The resulting dense wire contact matrix enables such modules to easily cope with the increased power extraction necessary for today’s high efficiency heterojunction solar cells thereby delivering an increased performance yield in such solar modules.  

More strength, less cost

The resulting structure of these modules significantly strengthens their stability and enhances their lifetime. This powerful combination of higher energy yield, longer module lifetime and lower manufacturing costs makes the Swiss solution the most cost effective method of connecting solar cells on the market today.  

Thus, by implementing Meyer Burger’s SmartWire Connection technology to connect its HIT cells, Panasonic expects to further increase the strength of its high efficiency solar modules. Also, the technology is said to reduce silver consumption per heterojunction solar module by over 50 percent, which in turn reduces production costs for the relatively expensive heterojunction modules.  

Production integration to start soon

Panasonic has started to supply HIT cells with partners in addition to solar modules. The delivery and installation of Meyer Burger’s SmartWire connection equipment at Panasonic’s R&D facility located in Osaka, Japan are planned in the second quarter of 2018 and are an initial step towards extending the adoption of SmartWire Connection Technology to other manufacturing locations. 

Also, Meyer Burger’s so-called ‘SmartWire’ technology has already been adopted by new entrants, transitioning from amorphous silicon thin-film module production to heterojunction, as the technology is a low-temperature solution, required for heterojunction cells using amorphous silicon layers on the front and backside of the cell.  


Text: SCCIJ with material of Meyer Burger; Photo: Meyer Burger

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