40c/W silicon solar cells?

Mississippi-based Twin Creeks Technologies has launched its Hyperion 3 wafer production system, which it claims can reduce the cost of solar modules by reducing the amount of silicon and substrate material in solar cells by 90 percent. The company additionally claims the wafers are only ten percent as thick as conventional wafers.

The Hyperion is the first product from Twin Creeks Technologies, which was founded in 2008. The company said that it uses Proton Induced Exfoliation technology, which involves imbedding high-energy protons into a monocrystalline wafer – at a depth of 20 microns – and then heating the wafer. The new layer expands, "cleaving the top surface from the donor wafer to form an ultra-thin wafer that is otherwise identical to the original," explains the company in a statement.

"The thickness of wafers today is based on wafer slicing capabilities and the handling requirements for device processing. In reality, only the very top layer of a substrate plays an active role in generating energy or transmitting signals – the rest is wasted," said Siva Sivaram, CEO of Twin Creeks.

Venture capital firms and grants from the Mississippi Development Authority have funded Twin Creeks Technologies. It operates a demonstration plant in Senatobia, Mississippi which has a capacity of 25 megawatts (MW). The company says that it will expand this capacity to 100 MW. It has R&D facilities in San Jose and Boston, and also says that it plans to build facilities in Malaysia, through a joint venture.

Twin Creeks Technologies adds that the Hyperion technology produces flexible wafers, allowing for flexible encapsulates to be applied, therefore potentially serving a range of BIPV applications. The company has further developed intellectual property for the creation and handling of the ultra-thin wafers, which can be licensed.