The Unheralded History of Q.ANTUM DUO Technology
Today, Q CELLS’ Q.ANTUM DUO Technology empowers the production of world-famous, industry-leading solar panels, but few in the industry are aware that the technology’s journey began 34 years ago at an Australian University.
Where did Q.ANTUM come from?
In 2018, Q CELLS launched its market-leading Q.PEAK DUO-G5 panels, which feature the latest Q.ANTUM DUO Technology based on Passivated Emitter and Rear Cell (PERC) technology.
The concept of PERC technology was first invented at the end of the 1980s by Scientia Professor Martin Green, Researcher at University of New South Wales (UNSW) Sydney. Dr. Green recognised that for the solar industry to take off, cost and efficiency improvements were required.
Indeed, it is PERC technology that saw Dr. Green beat Tesla’s Elon Musk to the annual Global Energy Prize in 2018 – the first Australian to win the honour. But why is this esteemed solar scientist only now receiving such plaudits for technology he developed more than 30 years ago?
Quite simply, the solar industry has only embraced PERC technology in any meaningful volume relatively recently. The first solar company to build upon Dr. Green’s pioneering work was Q CELLS, which has been a supporter of, and catalyst for, PERC’s growth for many years, and was the first solar company to commercialise the technology. Q CELLS has consistently flagged and investigated PERC’s implications and initial issues, while working with Dr. Green on the technology. The company also actively works to refine and perfect the process at their dedicated laboratories at the global Headquarters in Germany .
In a recent interview with Q CELLS, Dr. Green explained: “Q CELLS was one of the first companies to embrace PERC technology and introduce it into mass production. Now the whole industry is converting to PERC as quickly as it can.
What is PERC technology?
PERC technology allows for increased electrical energy generation compared to standard solar cells by installing a nano-coated back layer on the rear surface of the solar cell. This process enables light that would otherwise pass through the active area of the cell without generating energy to instead reflect back into the cell, giving it a second chance to generate electricity.
“It also has a thermal effect,” Dr. Green said. “At the back, it reflects the red light that the cell cannot use. Rather than being absorbed and heating up the cell, it is being reflected into space, so it can operate at a lower temperature.” He further explained that this technology allows cells to achieve a 25 percent efficiency rating in laboratory testing, up from the previous ceiling of 20 percent.
PERC has become so popular for its supercharged generation that in 2017 the technology comprised 24 percent of all solar cells sold.
How did Q.ANTUM develop from PERC?
It is commonly understood within the solar industry that Light Induced Degradation (LiD) was an issue for PERC technology. But while such degradation concerns became apparent relatively quickly, developing ways to tackle the effect of LiD was not so clearly understood.
Initially Q CELLS was one of the major champions of PERC to encourage an industry-wide investigation into the issues preventing PERC from moving from the lab into the field. This, combined with continued research, both in collaboration with Dr Green’s department at UNSW, and in their own dedicated Technology and Innovation department with over 200 PV researchers and engineers, contributed to the ultimate development of the Yield Security Program.
The Yield Security Program added resistance to not only the commonly understood LiD, but additionally to Light and elevated Temperature Induced Degradation (LeTID), Potential Induced Degradation (PID). The Yield Security Program is augmented by Q CELLS’ protection against Hot Spots (HSP).
With that, the Q CELLS Q.ANTUM technology was born, which meant that, PERC technology could finally be rolled out into mainstream use across fields and rooftops globally.
Where is Q.ANTUM at today? Enter Q.ANTUM DUO
As if Q.ANTUM-powered panels weren’t enough, Q CELLS’ dedicated R&D team has continued to create world-leading technology with the development of the Q.ANTUM DUO module series, which combines all the durability of Q.ANTUM with state-of-the-art circuitry, half cells and a six-busbar design. All of which enables the latest panels, such as the Q.PEAK DUO-G5, to achieve incredible performance in real-world conditions – from low-intensity solar radiation like that you’d expect to see on a cloudy day, to hot, clear summer days.
That means customers can achieve greater energy outputs from limited roof space and shaded areas.
Read about these features and more, like their high-tech aluminium alloy frame, which is certified to handle incredible wind loads (over 4000Pa) and high snow tolerance (up to 5400Pa) on the Q.PEAK DUO-G5 product page.
What does the future of Q.PEAK DUO look like?
There is no question the Q CELLS products lead all rivals in the solar industry, as demonstrated with the numerous recent accolades such as the EuPD’s Top Brand PV in Australia 2016, 2017 and 2018 as well as the 2018 Intersolar Award, but it doesn’t stop there.
Dr Green is confident that with the ongoing laboratory research both here and in Q CELLS dedicated Technology and Innovation laboratories at the German Headquarters, Q CELLS products should be able to reach up to 25 percent efficiency within five years.
To that end, 2019 will see the release of the next generation of the Q.PEAK DUO panel featuring a 12 wire busbar design. This move from its current 6 busbar ribbon is expected to make that efficiency improvement goal a reality.
Our local support team have unparalleled knowledge and access to our technological developments, products, and even engineers, so if you want to know more contact us today.