Supported by the Federal Office of Energy, industrial partners and the Canton of Neuchâtel for a total cost amounts to about 10 million Swiss Francs over 3 years, the Swiss-Inno HJT project aims to set up a pilot production system for high-efficiency cells, hoping to produce photovoltaic energy at the lowest cost using heterojunction technology as a demonstrator.
Heterojunction silicon technology (HJT) consists of ultra-thin (several thousandths of a micrometer) layers of amorphous silicon in the nanometer range that have been deposited on both sides of mono crystalline silicon wafers. The level of efficiency is higher than in standard cells with the production process actually requiring fewer steps.
Additional advantages of the HJT technology is it remarkable temperature characteristics and it bi-faciality which can lead to increased energy efficiency (kWh/Wp). This is the basis of decreased energy costs (CHF/KwH).
Development of the technology started in 2008 in a partnership between Roth and Rau, the competence centre for coating technologies within the Meyer Burger Group, and the Photovoltaics Laboratory of the IMT at EPFL.
After the project is completed, the pilot lines will be key research and development platforms to bring further innovations in PV technology to maturity close to industrial production conditions in order to maintain a competitive edge.
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