Panasonic looks to Swiss Smartwire tech for solar panels

Business news |
By Nick Flaherty

The SmartWire Connection Technology (SWCT) is being evaluated for the manufacture of Panasonic’s heterojunction HIT cells. Panasonic expects to further increase the strength of its high efficiency PV modules using the technology.

This uses a foil-wire electrode with up to 24 aligned wires to connect solar cells. This reduces silver consumption per heterojunction solar module by over 50% which in turn reduces production costs for solar module manufacturers. The resulting dense wire contact matrix enables SWCT modules to easily cope with the increased power extraction necessary for today’s high efficiency heterojunction solar cells thereby delivering an increased performance yield. The resulting structure significantly strengthens the stability and lifetime of the module. 

Panasonic’s HIT modules have a unique silicon heterojunction structure composed of crystalline silicon substrate and amorphous silicon layers. This forms the junction formation needed for solar cells by surrounding the crystalline silicon wafer with an amorphous silicon layer. The high passivation capability compensates for multiple defects that occur around the surface of the silicon wafer.

Panasonic has started to supply HIT cells with partners in addition to PV modules, and the company plans to expand this business with partners globally.

The delivery and installation of the equipment at Panasonic’s R&D facility in Osaka, Japan is planned in the second quarter of 2018 and is an initial step towards extending the adoption of SmartWire Connection Technology to other manufacturing locations.

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