Adrienne SorensenAugust 10, 20182000
The p-type solar cell is the solar cell structure that’s common knowledge in the clean energy industry. It’s the largest size in the market. The term p-type refers the cell built on a positively charged (hence p-type) silicon base. The wafer contains boron with one electron less than silicium. The top of the wafer is negatively doped (n-type) with phosphorous. It has one electron more than silicium. It forms the p-n junction allows the flow of electricity in the cell. n-type solar cells are created with the reverse process of p-type with n-type doped side serving as the foundation of a solar cell. Progressively, the p-type took the lead since historically solar technology was normally used for space applications. From there, the industry created and structured its perks of economies of scale. The contrast between p-type and n-type as manufacturers take different routes on the value chain to compete on efficiency, price and value propositions. While p-type mono and multi PERC are being created, n-type wafers capacity is increasing, and ITRPV forecasting a market share gain.
The contrasts between p-type and n-type don't imply changes in for module buyers. Like in other industries, tends to follow an evolution in S-curve. Which means that at some point, newer technologies will replace older technologies. This is to improve its technology and adopt the PERC technology as an example. Lastly, buyers will have to choose between product features they value (efficiency, yields, quality, brand) and cost.
About p-type and n-type
The contrast between p-type and n-type take different methods along the value chain to compete on efficiency, cost and differentiating value propositions. While p-type mono and multi PERC are being created, n-type wafers capacity is also rising.
Productivity. The most powerful solar cells are n-type solar cells because their superior efficiency is the higher carrier lifetime. The cells aren’t susceptible to the boron-oxygen defect. When ingots are grown, they have high concentration of dissolved oxygen coming from the quartz of the crucible where silicon was melted. For boron doped silicon, oxygen forms a recombination area, known as boron-oxygen defect that damages efficiency. When using n-type solar cells, doped with phosphorous, this effect disappears. Lastly, n-type solar cells are less prone to metallic impurities of the silicon. n-type solar cells are immune to LID, because of the absence of the boron-oxygen defect.
Price. The process to manufacture ingots doesn’t contrast between p-type and n-type solar cells. The scale effect is in favor of p-type solar cells. The process of fabrication adds more steps making it more expensive to build with n-type solar cells.
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