Crystal Solar Develops Production Process for Thin Epitaxial Silicon Solar Cells and Modules

June 27, 2013 by Jeff Shepard

Crystal Solar, Inc. successfully completed a U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) funded incubator project managed by the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL), focused on technology development and manufacturing cost-effectiveness of Epitaxial solar cells and modules. Crystal Solar's Epi Thin-Silicon technology has the capability to revolutionize the way silicon is made for the next generation of solar cells by eliminating many steps in the current process flow, while retaining the high efficiency of mono-crystalline silicon.

This results in reduction of module costs by approximately 50% from today's levels to ~$0.40/W-enabling the cost of solar power to become comparable to existing energy costs in most parts of the world. Crystal Solar is currently commercializing Epi Thin-Silicon technology and plans to complete pilot production in 2013, followed by high-volume manufacturing in 2014.

During the eighteen month period of this project, Crystal Solar demonstrated multiple cell architectures which allow high-efficiency solar panels, developed and productized industrial grade production tools for the manufacture of cost-effective Epi Thin Silicon technology, and completed detailed blue prints for a 100 MW factory. Scientists from NREL worked closely with Crystal Solar in providing overall guidance, assisting with advanced processing and metrology, and verifying the efficiency and reliability of the prototype solar panels. Crystal Solar also collaborated with Georgia Institute of Technology in the silicon solar cell processing during this project.