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Project overview
  • Lead Organisation

    Australian National University


    Canberra, Australian Capital Territory

    ARENA Program

    Addressing Solar PV End-of-Life Issues and Lowering Solar PV Cost

  • Start date

    18 September 2020

    End date

    13 January 2023

  • Project Partners
    Swiss Center for Electronics and Microtechnology (CSEM)
    This solar pv project was completed on 13 January 2023.


This project commercialises an ANU-patented technology enabling simpler, safer and cheaper fabrication of next-generation silicon solar cells.

Key results

This Project aimed to increase the efficiency and decrease the cost of production of silicon solar cells. The Project built on patented technology, developed by the Australian National University, which enables the fabrication of polySi passivating contacts using a simpler, safer and cheaper method – physical vapour deposition (PVD). The Project has taken small area lab-scale tests into industrial-scale certified 22.8% efficient large area solar cell based on PVD polySi technology. Outcomes from this Project are valuable for the commercialisation of solar research and development activities, and the cost reduction of silicon solar cells.


The introduction of polysilicon passivating contacts is the most significant next upgrade in the mass production of silicon solar cells, pushing the efficiency to new heights.

Leading manufacturers are already adopting these polysilicon contacts for high-end, niche products, although they are not yet cost-competitive with current mainstream cell technologies.

These high costs for the fabrication of polysilicon contacts originate mainly from the usage of hazardous gases in combination with high temperatures, which both require elaborate safety measures.


In this project, the polysilicon contacts are fabricated using physical vapour deposition (PVD), which uses no toxic gases and can be performed at room temperature.

Using this approach, ANU has already achieved high efficiency solar cells on small area devices. In the next step, industrial prototypes will be fabricated proving the feasibility in large scale solar cell manufacturing.

For this purpose, ANU is collaborating with the Swiss Center for Electronics and Microtechnology (CSEM), a world-leading research centre specialising in transferring new technology to industry.


This Australian technology has the potential to become one of the major fabrication methods in the huge global market of silicon solar cell manufacturing. It enables the fabrication of polysilicon passivating contacts using a simpler, safer and cheaper method: physical vapour deposition (PVD).

We aim for high-performance solar cells with a cost-competitive lean fabrication process, which can be easily implemented in current solar cell production lines, facilitating the acceptance of this technology by the industry.

Additional impact

The project brings together an Australian organisation (ANU) and one of the most prestigious international research institutes (CSEM-EPFL). This collaboration will strengthen and enhance Australia’s world-class research position bringing innovative solutions to what currently is the hottest topic in silicon PV.

Last updated 09 March 2023


Solar research funding awarded to 16 new projects

New funding will help solar researchers to develop panels that are more cost-effective and efficient.

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