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This paper presents a three-dimensional numerical analysis of homojunction/heterojunction hybrid silicon wafer solar cells, featuring front-side full-area diffused homojunction contacts and rear-side heterojunction point contacts. Their device performance is compared with conventional full-area heterojunction solar cells as well as conventional diffused solar cells featuring locally diffused rear point contacts, for both front-emitter and rear-emitter configurations. A consistent set of simulation input parameters is obtained by calibrating the simulation program with intensity dependent lifetime measurements of the passivated regions and the contact regions of the various types of solar cells. We show that the best efficiency is obtained when a-Si:H is used for rear-side heterojunction point-contact formation. An optimization of the rear contact area fraction is required to balance between the gains in current and voltage and the loss in fill factor with shrinking rear contact area fraction. However, the corresponding optimal range for the rear-contact area fraction is found to be quite large (e.g. 20-60 % for hybrid front-emitter cells). Hybrid rear-emitter cells show a faster drop in the fill factor with decreasing rear contact area fraction compared to front-emitter cells, stemming from a higher series resistance contribution of the rear-side a-Si:H(p+) emitter compared to the rear-side a-Si:H(n+) back surface field layer. Overall, we show that hybrid silicon solar cells in a front-emitter configuration can outperform conventional heterojunction silicon solar cells as well as diffused solar cells with rear-side locally diffused point contacts.


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