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ISSN : 1225-0562(Print)
ISSN : 2287-7258(Online)
Korean Journal of Materials Research Vol.28 No.1 pp.38-42

Simulation Study of Front-Lit Versus Back-Lit Si Solar Cells

Kwang Su Choe†


Continuous efforts are being made to improve the efficiency of Si solar cells, which is the prevailing technology at this time. As opposed to the standard front-lit solar cell design, the back-lit design suffers no shading loss because all the metal electrodes are placed on one side close to the pn junction, which is referred to as the front side, and the incoming light enters the denuded back side. In this study, a systematic comparison between the two designs was conducted by means of computer simulation. Medici, a two-dimensional semiconductor device simulation tool, was utilized for this purpose. The 0.6 μm wavelength, the peak value for the AM-1.5 illumination, was chosen for the incident photons, and the minority-carrier recombination lifetime (τ), a key indicator of the Si substrate quality, was the main variable in the simulation on a p-type 150 μm thick Si substrate. Qualitatively, minority-carrier recombination affected the short circuit current (Isc) but not the opencircuit voltage (Voc). The latter was most affected by series resistance associated with the electrode locations. Quantitatively, when τ ≥ 500 μs, the simulation yielded the solar cell power outputs of 20.7 mW·cm−2 and 18.6 mW·cm−2, respectively, for the front-lit and back-lit cells, a reasonable 10 % difference. However, when τ < 500 μs, the difference was 20 % or more, making the back-lit design less than competitive. We concluded that the back-lit design, despite its inherent benefits, is not suitable for a broad range of Si solar cells but may only be applicable in the high-end cells where float-zone (FZ) or magnetic Czochralski (MCZ) Si crystals of the highest quality are used as the substrate.