Hanwha Q CELLS will partner with universities and small and medium-sized enterprises to develop tandem cells, a next-generation solar cell.
The company announced on Dec. 15 that a consortium it formed with universities and partner companies was selected for a government-funded research and development project on perovskite/crystalline silicon solar cells (tandem cells).
The selection was made by the Korea Energy Technology Evaluation and Planning. The consortium applied for government funding following the announcement in September of the “Solar Power R&D Innovation Strategy” by the Ministry of Trade, Industry and Energy. The ministry said it would focus the government’s R&D spending on development of next-generation cell technologies.
Participants in the consortium are Hanwha Q CELLS, Sungkyunkwan University, Korea University, Sookmyung Women’s University, Chungnam National University, NCD and YAS Co. NCD is a producer of solar energy production systems, while YAS Co. makes solar cells.
Hanwha Q CELLS already established a next-generation solar cell research center in Pangyo in 2019. The energy company will focus on development and commercialization of technologies regarding basic materials over the next three years. If its efforts succeed, it will contribute to the creation of an ecosystem for the Korean solar materials industry in the mid- to long-term. Furthermore, it will be able to widen its technology gap with Chinese solar energy companies and target the global high-value-added solar energy market.
Manufacturers produce tandem cells by piling up perovskite, a next-generation solar material, on the top of conventional silicon solar cells. Because it absorbs short wave light from the perovskite section at the top and additionally absorbs long wave light from silicon solar cells at the bottom, it can achieve higher efficiency compared to conventional silicon solar cells that mainly absorb long wave light.
Silicon solar cells currently account for 90 percent of the world’s market. While the theoretical efficiency limit of silicon solar cells is 29 percent, research institutes predict that tandem cells can reach up to 44 percent efficiency, so tandem cells are garnering much attention as next-generation solar cell technology.