Crystal Solar, a pioneer in the direct growth of mono-crystalline Silicon epitaxial wafers for solar today announced that it has been awarded a $3 million cooperative agreement by the U.S. Department of Energy SunShot Initiative to develop high efficiency epitaxial solar cells and demonstrate commercial level yield at its pilot production facility in Santa Clara, California.
Crystal Solar's breakthrough manufacturing technology called Direct Gas to Wafer enables direct conversion of Trichlorosilane (TCS) gas to mono crystalline silicon wafers by high throughput epitaxial growth. By skipping the polysilicon, ingoting and the wire-sawing steps altogether, this approach not only results in lowest cost/watt for the wafers but also significantly reduces the capital required to set up a manufacturing plant. Furthermore, this process enables the growth of high quality p-n junctions in-situ which reduces cell making steps while increasing the efficiency.
"Crystal Solar's epitaxial process has already demonstrated world record efficiencies for mono crystalline passivated emitter and rear contact cells (PERC), representing for the first time a kerfless wafer technology exceeding the performance of the incumbent," said T.S. Ravi, chief executive officer of Crystal Solar. "We appreciate this recognition and grant from the Energy Department and we expect that this will greatly help accelerate the transition to market for such wafers."