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Understanding p-type and n-type solar cells

Adrienne SorensenAugust 2, 2018610

Understanding p-type and n-type solar cells

p-type and n-type introduction 
 
The p-type solar cell is the solar cell structure that’s common knowledge in the solar 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.


p-type and n-type differences 
 
The distinction between p-type and n-type still take different routes along the value chain to compete on efficiency, cost and differentiating value propositions. While p-type mono and multi PERC are being developed, n-type wafers capacity is also rising.
 
Efficiency. 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.
 
The differences between p-type and n-type aren’t fundamental in behavior for module buyers. First, because solar technology, follows an evolution in S-curve. The rationale of the solar industry is to continuously improve its technology. The PERC technology adoption is a good example. Second, module buyers will choose between product features they value (ie; efficiency, costs, yields, quality, LID resistance, brand). 
 
If you want to move into the future and join the solar revolution, or if you want to find out what solar panels are right for you, go to HahaSmart.com and try our price checker tool. You can see how much a system will cost, and how much you can save over the next 20 years. For more information relating to going solar, don't forget to visit our solar blog section for more handy guides and articles.
 

 

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