2024 TOPCon will replace PERC, where is the next logical step to turn?

Sep 25, 2023
Starting from that year: n-PERT to PERC

In 2011, low-cost double-sided n-type technologies such as n-PERT became an alternative to the dominant Al-BSF technology at that time. However, bifacial PERC quickly outcompeted the competition and became a mainstream technology in 2018, with solar cell efficiencies well above 22%.

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In 2020, PERC became the "King of the Energy Market". As the silicon wafer size increased from M2 to M6 solar panels, and now to M10 solar panels, the levelized cost of electricity (LCOE) of the bifacial photovoltaic system dropped to 1USct/kWh.

In 2023, PERC cell efficiency will reach the limit of 23.5%, and module efficiency will be lower than 22%. This is the opportunity for n-type technologies such as TOPCon, HJT and IBC to become the next trend, which is exactly what is happening now.

From 2024 onwards, it is a general trend that TOPCon technology will become the mainstream of the photovoltaic industry. By the end of 2023, TOPCon's production capacity will increase to approximately 450GW, HJT's 50GW, and IBC/TBC's 40GW. The key difference between TOPCon and PERC is the passivated backside deposition technology, which is currently undergoing a race to be the most cost-competitive. In the field of polysilicon deposition, the transition from LPCVD to PECVD and PVD has also been very rapid.

All TOPCon cells have passivated contacts on the back and most have selective emitters on the front, increasing the voltage to over 720mV and making the cells more efficient than 24.5%. The next step in battery development is to achieve p+ polarity passivated contacts.

This is another reason why TOPCon will be unrivaled in the coming years and keep HJT (another "emerging" n-type technology) at lower capacity levels, HJT will now be compared to TOPCon instead of PERC. A logical step in the future is to "upgrade" TOPCon to TOPCon back contact (TBC), since to achieve a voltage of about 740mV a carrier-selective contact (passivated contact) on the p+ polarity is necessary.
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Generally speaking, front-side non-metallization is the best solution for maximum efficiency, while back-side metallization and interconnection are very simple. TBC has the potential for higher efficiency (open circuit voltage of 740mV) and can replace silver with low-cost materials such as copper or aluminum. With these two materials, the silver content in these new concept batteries can be reduced to 4mg/Wp. In the next few years, the country will promote the industrialization of copper and aluminum ZEBRA and polyZEBRA IBC. therefore,we expect TBC to dominate the market after 2028. Some powerful components are already on display at SNEC and Intersolar 2023.

It has been proven that TOPCon will replace PERC in 2024 and become another important product after PERC. The next logical step is to move to TBC.

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