Qcells, a manufacturer of photovoltaic cells, is investing $100 million to accelerate the commercialization of perovskite-based tandem cells – a next-generation solar cell technology designed to boost solar panel efficiency.
Qcells’ parent company, Hanwha Solutions, says it will build a pilot tandem-cell production line at its Jincheon factory in South Korea. The facility is expected to be operational by late 2024 and aims to commercialize tandem cells by 2026.
To support this target, the pilot facility in Jincheon will work closely with Qcells’ headquarters for technology and innovation in Thalheim, Germany. Qcells is already operating an R&D pilot line for tandem cells at Thalheim and participating in a four-year research project called PEPPERONI to develop a pathway for commercializing tandem cell development in Europe.
“This investment in Jincheon will mark an important step in securing technological leadership,” says Justin Lee, Qcells CEO. “With a global R&D network spanning from Korea, Germany and the US, Qcells will ramp up its efforts to produce high-efficiency advanced tandem cells.”
The investment will pave the way for Qcells to mass-produce perovskite tandem cells, which have a much higher efficiency rate than silicon-based solar cells that utilize TOPCon (Tunnel Oxide Passivated Contact) or heterojunction technology.
Earlier this year, in collaboration with Helmholtz Zentrum Berlin, Qcells succeeded in developing a tandem cell with up to 29.3% efficiency rate. The result was verified by the National Renewable Energy Laboratory, a renewable energy research institute run by the U.S. Department of Energy.