Crystal Solar has been awarded a $3 million grant from the U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) SunShot Initiative to develop high-efficiency epitaxial solar cells and demonstrate commercial-level yield at the company’s pilot production facility in Santa Clara, Calif.
Crystal Solar says its manufacturing technology, called Direct Gas to Wafer, enables direct conversion of trichlorosilane gas to monocrystalline silicon wafers by high-throughput epitaxial growth.
By skipping the polysilicon, ingoting and the wire-sawing steps altogether, the company says, 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, the process enables the growth of high-quality p-n junctions in-situ – which reduces cell-making steps and increases efficiency, according to Crystal Solar.
“Crystal Solar’s epitaxial process has already demonstrated world-record efficiencies for monocrystalline passivated emitter and rear contact cells – representing for the first time a kerfless wafer technology exceeding the performance of the incumbent,” said T.S. Ravi, CEO 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.”