What is IBC solar cell technology?

Below you will find information on IBC solar cell technology. Check out our related articles if you would like to learn more about PERC solar cell technology.

There are many kinds of solar panel technologies for customers to choose from. “Interdigitated back contact" solar cells, known as IBC solar cells, offer more efficiency, energy yield and reliability than other solar panel technologies. The technology is more complicated than other solar cells, but the added value per cell makes it desirable. Instead of front contact energy conversion, IBC has back contact energy conversion. This allows for the entire front of the cell to absorb sunlight, without any shading from the metal ribbons, like those on PERC cells, converting more photons to energy.

SunPower® Maxeon® cells, our existing IBC platform, enables us to make the industry’s most efficient panels. With a thick layer of tin-plated copper on the back, holding the cell together, Maxeon cells are 20% more efficient that PERC panels.* The technology also eliminates the main reasons for cells losing power, failing or breaking.

With the highest-efficiency solar panels available today, there are lower installation costs while maximizing the energy produced with fewer panels needed. Long term, this allows a homeowner to add more if they need a larger kW system to support and electric vehicle or their energy consumption changes. There is also lower degradation with SunPower® Maxeon panels compared to conventional panels, two to three times lower*, meaning more power will be produced over the life of the system. And, with better performance at higher temperatures, and the use of more of the light spectrum, the system creates more energy – even in the early morning or late evening.

IBC technology does have a higher up-front cost, but over time customers see a higher return on investment based on production. SunPower® Maxon solar systems produce up to 55 percent more energy than conventional systems of the same size in the first 25 years,* providing greater savings over time.

  • *. SunPower 400 W, 22.6% efficient, compared to a Conventional Panel on same-sized arrays (310 W mono PERC, 19% efficient, approx. 1.64 m²)
  • *. Jordan, et al, “Robust PV Degradation Methodology Application” PVSC 2018 and “Compendium of Photovoltaic Degradation Rates” PiP 2016
  • *. SunPower 400 W, 22.6% efficient, compared to a Conventional Panel on same-sized arrays (280 W multi, 17% efficient, approx. 1.64 m²), 8% more energy per watt (based on PVSim runs for avg US climate), 0.5%/yr slower degradation rate (Jordan, et. al. Robust PV Degradation Methodology and Application. PVSC 2018)