N-type technology can provide significant boosts in power and longevity to solar modules, especially with the bi-facial modules that are increasingly popular in some market segments.
Trina Solar is a market leader in the technology, having recently achieved a new world record of 24.58% efficiency using an n-type monocrystalline i-TOPCon solar cell.
This technology is found in the company’s latest 425W n-type bifacial module, the TSM-NEG15MC.20(II). The new module brings together the best of Trina Solar’s technology to provide strong and reliable returns on investment for utility-scale users, especially those with greater space constraints. It also comes with a 30-year power warranty.
(Photo: Trina Solar's new high-performance TSM-NEG15MC.20(II) module incorporates i-TOPCon cell technology)
The Benefits of N-Type Technology
N-type solar cells are less prone to metallic impurities and other defects, such as boron-oxygen defects. The cells are more immune to light induced degradation (LID) and have superior performance at higher temperatures. N-type also promises greater and more reliable efficiency in the long run, as well as longer power warranties.
N-type technology is at a point where manufacturing is ramping up to achieve economies of scale and lower prices. But it has already won over customers with requirements for a high energy footprint.
Trina Solar decided to develop n-type technology, because it could see there was a real need in the market. Demand for n-type is coming from solar farm developers who use the n-type bi-facial modules in conjunction with solar tracker mounting. These users are targeting maximum efficiency and benefit from n-type bifacial cell technology, as the technology improves efficiency on both the front and back sides of the panels.
Demand is also coming from residential customers that may have limited roof space for solar modules. These users need to maximise the power footprint of their installation and stand to gain from the higher efficiencies offered by n-type.
N-Type and Bi-facial Solar Modules
N-type allows for better ‘bi-faciality’. With Trina Solar’s recent world record, the cell used achieved more than 80% ‘bi-faciality’, meaning that the back side of the cell could add additional generation of over 80% of what was on the front side of the cell. This is much higher than with more traditional p-type technology.
The record-breaking cell was fabricated on a large-sized 244.62 cm2 wafer with a low-cost industrial process of advanced Industrial Tunnel Oxide Passivated Contact (i-TOPCon). This is significant because many cell records are achieved on small-sized cells, meaning the performance is not commercially viable for mass production.
Trina Solar is constantly innovating with our customers on bi-facial solar applications. For instance, households can use bi-facial solar as building integrated photovoltaic materials (BIPV) to replace conventional building materials. Skylights, roofs and even parts of a house’s facade can be made of solar modules. This increases power generation on smaller sites, making clean, reliable solar even more cost-effective for our customers.