P-type Solar Cells or N-type Solar Cells: What Technology to Choose?

· PV Technology News,PV Industry News,About Solar Panels


1.Fundamental Differences between N-Type and P-Type Solar Cells

2.Advantages and disadvantages of N-type and P-type solar cells

3.N-type Solar Cells VS. P-type Solar Cells

4.Applications of N-type Solar Cells and P-type Solar Cells

5.N-Type or P-Type Solar Panel, Which One Should We Choose?

Fundamental Differences between N-Type and P-Type Solar Cells

Differences between N-type and P-type solar cells on a fundamental level

The silicon wafer used in a typical crystalline silicon (c-Si) solar cell has been chemically doped to increase power output. The quantity of electrons is the primary distinction between P-type and N-type solar cells. The silicon wafer of a P-type cell is frequently doped with boron, which has one less electron than silicon and makes the cell positively charged. Phosphorus is used to dope N-type cells, which have one more electron than silicon and are therefore negatively charged.

What are N-type and P-type Solar Panels?

N-type Solar Cells

N-type solar cells are produced using a variety of methods, such as TOPCon (Tunnel Oxide Passivated Contact), HJT (Heterojunction with Intrinsic Thin layer), PERT/PERL (Passivated Emitter Rear Totally Diffused/Passivated Emitter Rear Locally Diffused), IBC (Interdigitated Back Contact), and others, using N-type silicon wafers as their raw material. Phosphorus doping of the wafer results in a negatively charged bulk c-si area in an N-type solar panel. Due to boron doping, the top emitter layer of the device is negatively charged.

P-type Solar Cells

P-type solar cells are typically produced utilizing the classic Al-BSF (Aluminum Back Surface Field) and PERC (Passivated Emitter Rear Contact) technologies from P-type silicon wafers as their raw material. Due to boron doping, the bulk c-si region of p-type solar panels has a noticeable negative charge. Due to phosphorus doping, the top emitter layer of the device is positively charged. Marketers more frequently employ PERC.

solar panels

N-type solar cells: pros and drawbacks

Overall, N-type cells have the following advantages and disadvantages, which are described in more detail below.


1.Not subject to light-Induced degradation

2.Long life expectancy

3.Greater conversion efficiency than P-type cells


1.More costly

2.Small market share

Advantages and disadvantages of P-type solar cells

In summary, P-type cells have the following benefits and drawbacks, which are further discussed below.


1.Lower costs

2.Widely available

3.High immunity to radiation


1.Suffer from light-induced degradation (LID) defect

2.Not as durable as N-type solar cells

solar panels

Comparison between N-type and P-type solar cells

(1) N-type solar cells have a greater bifacial rate than P-type solar cells in terms of bifacial rate. The bifacial rates of the TOPCon (N-Type), HJT (N-Type), and PERC (P-Type) cells are 75%, 85%, and around 95%, respectively. The power generation gain on the back of the module increases with bifacial rate, especially in PV power plants with high surface reflectivity.

(2) PERC cells have one of the lowest temperature coefficients—-0.37%/°C—among all cell types, TOPCon cells have one of the highest—-0.29%/°C—and HJT cells have one of the lowest—-0.24%/°C. N-type cells generate more power and are more suitable for locations with better irradiation conditions since they have a lower temperature coefficient than P-type cells and are therefore less affected by high temperatures.

(3) Since N-type silicon wafers have very little boron and are phosphorus-doped, the light deterioration (LID) caused by boron and oxygen couples is essentially nonexistent. The first year of the PERC module shows 2%–2.5% attenuation and the subsequent years show 0.45%–0.55% attenuation, the TOPCon module shows 1% attenuation and the subsequent years show 0.40% attenuation, and the HJT module shows 1% attenuation and the subsequent years show 0.24% attenuation. The total life cycle power generation of an N-type module is greater than that of a PERC module for the same total output power, and the premium space is larger.

(4) N-type cells have a longer oligomer life than P-type cells in terms of power generation efficiency, which can greatly increase the battery's open-circuit voltage and result in higher battery conversion efficiency. P-type cells employ boron, which functions okay but has a lot of downsides. One explanation is that it results in Light Induced Degradation (LID), which reduces solar panels' efficiency after just a few days in the sun by about 1.5%. This LID effect is real; it's not a con. It affects how many watts the panels produce. It lowers efficiency, though, and is one of the factors that contribute to customers typically being excessively optimistic about how much electricity their new solar systems would produce. In contrast to P-type solar panels, which have an efficiency of 23.6%, N-type solar panels have a maximum efficiency of 25.7%. High conversion efficiency reduces manufacturing costs while increasing power generation per unit area for PV power generating.

(5)In terms of the low-light effect, N-type batteries outperform P-type batteries in low-irradiation intensity time periods like the morning and evening, cloudy and rainy days, and can produce electricity with greater efficiency during these times. They also have a longer effective working time.

(6) Solar cells are now less expensive, with P-type cells costing about 0.081 euros per watt and N-type cells costing about 0.088 euros per watt. Compared to N-type solar cells, P-type solar cells are more affordable. This is because P-type solar panels have been around for a lot longer and can be produced more cheaply than N-type solar panels because to advancements in manufacturing technology.

(7) Because of how they are built, n-type solar panels actually have a longer lifespan overall than p-type solar panels. Due to the extremely low boron concentration in N-type Si (silicon) solar cell materials, the effects of boron-oxygen couples on light-induced deterioration can be completely ignored. Therefore, compared to P-type Si solar cells, N-type Si solar cells have a longer minority carrier lifetime. Due to these benefits, N-type Si solar cells are more efficient and have a longer lifespan.

(8)Although Bell Labs developed the first N-type solar cell in 1954, the demand for solar technology in space led to the P-type structure being more prevalent. P-type cells were shown to be more durable and resistant to space radiation.

Creation of a solar module from raw material to finished product.

Creation of a solar module from raw material to finished product.

Image courtesy of PVInsights.com

Applications of N-type Solar Cells and P-type Solar Cells

Prior to 2016, the first generation of PV cell technology, aluminum back-site field (BSF) cells, held a market share of more than 90%. Beginning in 2016, PERC cells started to gain traction. By the year 2019, they had surpassed BSF technology to become the second generation of widely used PV cell technology, accounting for up to 65% of the market.

With the use of passivation film, PERC cells increase the internal back reflection of light in the silicon base, lower the backside compound rate, and boost cell efficiency. PERC cells are an emitter and backside passivation cell technology. The efficiency of mass production has reached 23.2%, slowly approaching the theoretical limit efficiency of 24.5% or so, the efficiency of the narrow space for upward mobility, and P-type batteries due to boron oxygen-rich light attenuation phenomenon cannot be completely resolved, the manufacturer will be faced with the investment of the marginal benefit rate of the diminishing rate of the effect. At this time, PERC battery technology is more developed and cost-effective.

The next generation of battery technology, N-type high-efficiency batteries, was developed as a result of increasing market demand for batteries with better conversion efficiencies. N-type batteries are a good example of high-efficiency conversion, anti-degradation, low temperature coefficient, and double-sided rate of high advantages. These features are helpful for increasing photovoltaic power generation gain and lowering the cost of electricity. Due to high investment prices, it is still in the early phases of industrialization despite being favorable to boosting PV power generation gain and reducing power generation costs.

The China Photovoltaic Industry Association claims that PERC cell manufacturing lines continued to dominate the new production lines in 2022. However, a portion of the N-type cell manufacturing capacity was released in the second half of the year, which caused the market share of P-type cells to decline to 87.5% while progressively rising to 9.1% for N-type cells. N-type cells grew in popularity and were employed by more people as their benefits were more widely understood. As a result, it was anticipated that N-type cells would soon outpace P-type cells in terms of application.

P-type mono-c-Si will hold around 30% of the market until 2028, according to the International Technology Roadmap for Photovoltaics (ITRPV), while N-type mono-c-Si will increase to about 28% from just 5% in 2017. Due to the need for more high-efficiency modules in the industry, solar buyers can anticipate seeing more N-type designs on the market.

The market share of p-type and n-type solar cell designs

The market share of p-type and n-type solar cell designs. Credit: ITRPV

Which Solar Panel Type Should We Choose: N-Type or P-Type?

You must decide whether N-type or P-type solar panels are best for you before choosing the components for your new solar energy system. In picking between P-type and N-type solar panels, take into account your installation area, energy needs, and budget.

N-type solar panels will be more expensive than P-type solar panels simply in terms of installation costs. Due to their higher level of efficiency, N-type solar panels will be able to generate more energy than P-type ones in terms of energy requirements.

The type you choose will be greatly influenced by how much space is available for putting the panels. The N-type solar panel, which operates at a higher efficiency level, is the best option if you don't have much space but have a lot of energy needs.

P-type solar panels are slightly less efficient but more affordable for the typical homeowner if you have more installation space available and are more concerned with costs.

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