BELINUS presents : Interdigitated Back Contact
History of the Technology
IBC, or Interdigitated Back Contact technology, is a type of solar cell technology that offers numerous advantages over traditional solar cell designs. In an IBC solar cell, the front and back contacts are placed on opposite sides of the cell, which allows for more efficient energy conversion and higher power output.
Interdigitated Back Contact (IBC) technology is a type of solar cell technology that has been in development since the 1970s. The technology was initially proposed as a way to increase the efficiency of solar cells by reducing the number of obstructions in the cell’s active area. One of the earliest examples of IBC technology can be traced back to the work of Dr Richard Swanson at Stanford University. In the 1970s, Swanson began working on a new solar cell design that would feature front and back contacts on opposite sides of the cell. Over the years, the design of IBC solar cells has evolved to become more efficient and cost-effective. In the 1990s, researchers began experimenting with IBC technology that included a thin layer of amorphous silicon between the front and back contacts. This heterojunction design allowed for even greater efficiency by reducing the amount of energy lost to recombination.
Today, IBC technology is used in a variety of applications, from large-scale solar farms to building-integrated photovoltaics (BIPV).
IBC solar cell structure with the rear contact that is in the interdigitated pattern by IMEC
Source: Mat Desa, M.K. et al. (2016) “Silicon back contact solar cell configuration: A pathway towards higher efficiency,”
Advantages of IBC Technology
One of the main advantages of IBC technology is its efficiency. Because the contacts are located on opposite sides of the cell, there are fewer obstructions in the cell’s active area, which allows for more photons to be absorbed and converted into electricity. This increased efficiency means that IBC solar cells can produce more power with the same amount of sunlight as traditional solar cell designs.
Another advantage of IBC technology is its ability to operate at high temperatures. Traditional solar cells can lose efficiency as temperatures rise, but IBC solar cells are less affected by temperature changes. This makes IBC technology a good choice for use in hot climates where traditional solar cell designs may not perform as well. IBC technology also offers greater flexibility in terms of cell size and shape. Because the front and back contacts can be placed on opposite sides of the cell, IBC solar cells can be made in a wider range of shapes and sizes than traditional solar cells. This makes them ideal for use in a variety of applications, including building-integrated photovoltaics (BIPV), where solar cells are integrated into building materials like windows or roofing. The biggest advantage would be that IBC solar cells have no shading loss and excellent interface performance, which improves photoelectric conversion efficiency.
In addition to these advantages, IBC technology also offers several benefits for manufacturers. Because IBC solar cells have a simple design with fewer layers, they can be easier and less expensive to produce than traditional solar cells. This can help reduce the cost of solar panels and make solar energy more affordable for consumers. IBC technology can be combined with other solar cell technologies to create even more efficient solar panels. For example, IBC technology can be combined with PERC (passivated emitter and rear cell) technology to create a “PERC+IBC” solar cell. This design allows for even greater energy conversion efficiency and can help solar panel manufacturers create high-performance panels at a lower cost.
Overall, IBC technology offers numerous advantages over traditional solar cell designs. With their higher efficiency, ability to operate at high temperatures, and greater flexibility in terms of cell size and shape, IBC solar cells are a promising option for a wide range of applications. And as solar energy continues to become more affordable and accessible, IBC technology is likely to play an increasingly important role in the transition to a more sustainable energy future.