N-type panels: five facts you need to know

Five fast facts to bring you across all things N-type.

FACT #1: N-type solar cells were developed before P-type

The first solar cell was developed in 1954 – and it was in fact an N-type cell. So why did P-types become so popular? 

When solar PV technology was starting out, most of it was being used by space agencies. In space, P-type cells proved to be more resistant to radiation damage than N-types. Hence, more focus and resources were put on P-type cell development, leading to their dominance in today’s market.

FACT #2: N-type cells are more efficient than P-type

One of the main differences in the engineering of N-type panels vs P-type panels is their ‘doping’. Doping refers to the addition of chemicals to the crystalline silicon (c-Si) to promote power production.

An N-type solar cell is doped with phosphorus, which has one more electron than silicon, making the cell negatively charged (hence the ‘N’ in N-type).

A P-type cell is doped with boron, which has one less electron than silicon, making the cell positively charged (the ‘P’ in P-type).

When boron is exposed to light and oxygen, it causes Light Induced Degradation (LID). This happens as soon as solar panels are installed and decreases anywhere between 1% and 3% depending on the brand of the panel.

N-type panels don’t use boron and therefore aren’t affected by LID. It means better efficiency and improves the useful life of the panel. 

FACT #3: N-type cells are more expensive than P-type – however this is expected to change

The downside to N-type panels in today’s market is cost. They are more expensive to make and therefore more expensive to buy. With more focus and resources on P-type development, they quickly became more cost effective to produce for manufacturers and cheaper to purchase for end users. Investment into N-types was left behind.

FACT #4: N-type are projected to take over P-type in market share by 2024/25

Industry estimates suggest that N-type panels will be the solar industry’s dominant technology by 2024/25 as engineering and manufacturing processes evolve and costs come down.

FACT #5: Risen Energy is leading the industry in N-type panels

Risen’s 210mm 700W heterojunction (HJT) Hyper-ion series of N-type solar panels have been tested and certified by TÜV SÜD, a global provider of testing, inspection and certification services. It makes Risen the first company globally to be granted TÜV SÜD certification for this type of product.

For a simple explanation of the manufacturing differences between the N-type and the P-type, check out our infographic:

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