From Lab to Fab: World Record Solar Cell Goes from Lab to Industry

In the HySPRINT lab at HZB, the team of Steve Albrecht developed a perovskite technology which can now be combined with mass produced silicon solar cells by QCELLS to make highly efficient tandem cells.

In the HySPRINT lab at HZB, the team of Steve Albrecht developed a perovskite technology which can now be combined with mass produced silicon solar cells by QCELLS to make highly efficient tandem cells. © Amran Al-Ashouri/HZB

Q CELLS and Helmholtz-Zentrum Berlin achieve a new world record efficiency for a 2-terminal tandem solar cell combining a mass-production ready silicon bottom cell based on Q.ANTUM technology and a top-cell based on perovskite technology. The efficiency is 28.7%.

Q CELLS, a renowned total energy solutions provider in solar, energy storage, downstream project business and energy retail, has set a new world-record tandem cell efficiency of 28.7% in collaboration with researchers at Helmholtz-Zentrum Berlin using a Q.ANTUM-based silicon bottom cell in combination with a perovskite-based top cell.

Q CELLS’ R&D team in Thalheim, Germany, has worked jointly with Helmholtz-Zentrum Berlin over the past three years to create a tandem solar cell comprising a silicon-based Q.ANTUMbottom cell and a perovskite-based top cell. This latest record efficiency result of 28.7% is an improvement of almost one percent point compared with the 2020 record value of 27.8 % (which was independently verified by the Fraunhofer ISE Callab). This boost in tandem efficiency has been enabled by improvement of both the perovskite and the silicon sub cells.  The research and development was partly funded by the German Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Climate Action (BMWK) and the state of Saxony-Anhalt.

While the solar research community has witnessed even higher perovskite-tandem cell efficiencies, these records have been achieved using lab technology that is not directly transferrable into mass production. The achievement of Q CELLS and Helmholtz-Zentrum Berlin is noteworthy principally because the 28.7% efficiency was reached using an industry feasible and cost-efficient bottom cell structure based on the Q.ANTUM technology.

In the past year, Q CELLS announced that it is to boost its R&D investment in Germany to €125 million over the next three years. A sizeable portion of that figure is earmarked for the continuous support of Q CELLS’ R&D department on the commercialization of perovskite-silicon tandem technology.

“Our experts have achieved several world records for tandem cells combining perovskite top cells with other bottom cells on a laboratory scale. We promote knowledge and technology transfer and welcome the fruitful collaboration with Q CELLS. It is remarkable how close the jointly achieved efficiency with a mass production ready bottom cell already comes to what we can reach at a lab scale”, Prof. Dr. Bernd Rech, scientific director of HZB said.

Prof. Dr. Steve Albrecht, group leader at HZB and Juniorprofessor at Technische Universität Berlin added: “It is highly exciting that we enable this high tandem efficiency utilizing industry relevant bottom cells with a high market share, so there might be fast impact of the tandem technology to revolutionize the PV market.”

Dr. Daniel Jeong, CTO of Q CELLS, said: “Q CELLS is excited to announce this joint new world-record in tandem cell efficiency together with Helmholtz-Zentrum Berlin. Both teams of researchers have collaborated closely to develop a tandem cell technology, which would be able to accelerate the commercialization process and, ultimately, deliver to the industry a genuine leap forward in photovoltaic performance. Q CELLS is confident that it can once again shape the next-generation of solar cells, and will continue to invest heavily in supporting research and development in this field.”



Q CELLS is one of the world’s largest and most recognized photovoltaic manufacturers for its high-performance, high-quality solar cells and modules. It is headquartered in Seoul, South Korea (Global Executive HQ) and Thalheim, Germany (Technology & Innovation HQ) with its diverse international manufacturing facilities in the U.S., Malaysia, China, and South Korea. Q CELLS offers the full spectrum of photovoltaic products, applications and solutions, from cells and modules to kits to systems to large-scale solar power plants. Through its growing global business network spanning Europe, North America, Asia, South America, Africa and the Middle East, Q CELLS provides excellent services and long-term partnerships to its customers in the utility, commercial, governmental and residential markets. For more information, visit:


You might also be interested in

  • Nanodiamonds can be activated as photocatalysts with sunlight
    Science Highlight
    Nanodiamonds can be activated as photocatalysts with sunlight
    Nanodiamond materials have potential as low-cost photocatalysts. But until now, such carbon nanoparticles required high-energy UV light to become active. The DIACAT consortium has therefore produced and analysed variations of nanodiamond materials. The work shows: If the surface of the nanoparticles is occupied by sufficient hydrogen atoms, even the weaker energy of blue sunlight is sufficient for excitation. Future photocatalysts based on nanodiamonds might be able to convert CO2 or N2 into hydrocarbons or ammonia with sunlight.
  • New monochromator optics for tender X-rays
    Science Highlight
    New monochromator optics for tender X-rays
    Until now, it has been extremely tedious to perform measurements with high sensitivity and high spatial resolution using X-ray light in the tender energy range of 1.5 - 5.0 keV. Yet this X-ray light is ideal for investigating energy materials such as batteries or catalysts, but also biological systems. A team from HZB has now solved this problem: The newly developed monochromator optics increase the photon flux in the tender energy range by a factor of 100 and thus enable highly precise measurements of nanostructured systems. The method was successfully tested for the first time on catalytically active nanoparticles and microchips.
  • Tomography shows high potential of copper sulphide solid-state batteries
    Science Highlight
    Tomography shows high potential of copper sulphide solid-state batteries
    Solid-state batteries enable even higher energy densities than lithium-ion batteries with high safety. A team led by Prof. Philipp Adelhelm and Dr. Ingo Manke succeeded in observing a solid-state battery during charging and discharging and creating high-resolution 3D images. This showed that cracking can be effectively reduced through higher pressure.