This new technology ushers in a new era of lossless conductivity (i.e. zero cell to module loss) in high-power modules thanks to an efficient design that connects neighboring cells to transport more power from the module. Back-contact technology features all electrical contacts at the back of the solar cell, thus creating maximum space on the front of the module to capture and convert light into energy.
Although established for some time, back-contact solar modules made with a conductive backsheet have not yet achieved widespread adoption. This is largely because the conductive backsheet – an integral part of the module that carries the electrical current through a network or ‘pattern’ of metal foil attached to a regular backsheet – couldn’t be mass-produced in a viable way. But now DSM has solved this challenge by creating a unique patterning system that is 100 times faster than before.
Back-contact solar modules eliminate tabbing, which reduces shadowing losses and allows the cells to be placed closer together, enabling higher power output. Conductive backsheets integrate bussing into the foil design and provide various other processing, aesthetic, and design advantages.
With the new Conductive backsheets now ready for mass commercial production, the goal is simple: to enable high power back-contact cell technology to finally realize its true potential.
Pascal de Sain, Vice President DSM Advanced Solar says: “This new technology is another compelling example of how our innovative materials for solar are lowering the levelized cost of energy, reducing our dependence on fossil fuel and creating access to solar energy for all. Long-term, our Conductive backsheet has broad potential for all kinds of applications. Right now, we focus on commercial and residential rooftops, as well as building-integrated solutions, where maximum power output and aesthetics are essential.”
A solar module manufactured with the Conductive backsheet has been certified by TÜV-Nord, and the product is already being used in commercial modules produced by Exasun in the Netherlands. DSM expects to expand its customer base in Europe, Asia and North America later this year.