High Efficiency Cells Power Solar Car
Kagan Pittman posted on June 02, 2015 |
Interdigitated Back Contact silicon solar cells claim 24.4 percent energy efficiency.

Interdigitated Back Contact (IBC) silicon solar cells have demonstrated 24.4 percent solar to electric[IM1]  energy efficiency in laboratory tests and 23.1 percent efficiency in pilot industrial production. Now, a team of engineers has built a solar car that sports 565 IBUS. 

The OSU-Model-S, from Osaka Sangyo University (OSU), claims to be the most energy efficient solar car in the world. 

For OSU, these promising numbers are leaving them feeling confident in their chances for the upcoming 2015 IFA Suzuka Solar Car Race.

“We believe Trina Solar's (TS) IBC cells, a similar technology of which that has already been successfully applied to Solar Impulse-2, a solar-powered aircraft flying around the world recently, will put us ahead of the competition in a race designed to favor the most energy efficient race cars,” says professor Hisakazu Fujita of OSU.

The OSU-Model-S Solar Powered Car, fueled 565 Interdigitated Back Contact silicon solar cells.

The OSU-Model-S Solar Powered Car, fueled 565 Interdigitated Back Contact silicon solar cells.

The OSU-Model-S finished its first test run in Shirahama Old Airport, Wakayama Prefecture, Japan.

The Solar Cells behind the OSU-Model-S

The IBC cells were developed by the Australian National University Centre for Sustainable Energy Systems (ANU) under a research and development contract with TS.

"The ANU has been working to develop highly efficient back contact silicon solar cells, which have both positive and negative metallic contacts on the rear surface,” said professor Andrew Blakers, director of the Centre for Sustainable Energy Systems at the ANU Research School of Engineering. "“That allows the surface facing the sun to be uniformly black, without the metal electrodes present on most solar cells. The back contact cell structure enables the end user to gain more electricity per unit area and a more favorable appearance."

TS is already developing a commercial version of the IBC solar cell as well as an IBC PV module.

The commercial cell has already reached an efficiency greater than 22 percent for a 125 mm by 125 mm IBC solar cell. A 238W IBC PV module (based on 72 cells) was independently tested by the National Center of Supervision and Inspection on Solar Photovoltaic Products Quality of China.

The IBC solar cells will perform on the race track July 31 to Aug. 1, 2015 for the FIA Alternative Energies Cup in the Suzuka Solar Car Race taking place in Japan.

Visit FIA.com for more information as updates are released.

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