From pv magazine USA
US-based Solar Inventions has revealed that it has secured patents in the United States, China and Israel for its novel architecture for PV cells and modules.
Ben Damiani, chief technology officer of Atlanta-based Solar Inventions, said that a manufacturer could create multiple “lanes” or subcells on a single wafer by electrically dividing each cell during the metalization process. The Configurable Current Cells (C3) process does not require any capital expenditure or process changes for solar cell manufacturers to implement. For cell manufacturers, C3 only requires small changes in metalization print patterns and selective doping.
The process creates a new architecture that makes improvements on cell, module, and system performance while saving up to 18% of the silver required. This equates to $2 million to $5 million in savings per gigawatt under current silver prices, as silver typically represents about 10% of a solar module's cost structure. Select pilot tests and modeling have also shown up to 3 W per panel in additional power.
The US authorities recently issued a continuation patent that broadens claims from Solar Inventions’ first patent and includes configurations for most modern cell structures.
“As the solar industry shifts to new cell structures such as Topcon and HJT and production continues to accelerate around the globe, the economic benefits of our Configurable Current Cell (C3) technology gain importance,” said Damiani. “C3 dramatically increases silver cost savings for solar cell manufacturers, while adding power and resiliency.”
In September 2019, the technology won first place in the US Department of Energy’s American-Made Solar Prize contest for innovative technologies.
C3 cells are based on Damiani’s Resistively Bound Subcells (RBS). C3 creates isolated changes in cell resistance through a combination of metalization laydown changes. The patent identified specific metalization patterns, both on the top and bottom of cells, that together create precise areas of higher cell resistance. These are used as electrical boundaries around the hybrid subcells. These subcells exhibit characteristics that have previously only been possible with exotic wafer processing techniques or physical cleaving such as half-cells, said Solar Inventions.
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