New Method Makes Solar-Cell Production Cheaper, Easier
From Technology Review
The Korean company Hanwha SolarOne has shown the first commercial-sized solar panel to use a novel technology for producing silicon wafers, which are the most expensive part of a solar cell. Developed by the Santa Clara, California-based startup Crystal Solar, the technology makes wafers that are less than a third the thickness of conventional wafers. It wastes less silicon during processing than conventional approaches and greatly reduces the amount of equipment needed to make the wafers, potentially cutting wafer costs in half. Wafers account for a third to a half of the cost of making a solar panel. Hanwha has taken a $15 million stake in Crystal and is helping to bring the technology to market.