Great news for photovoltaic enthusiasts… An Massachusetts Institute of Technology spin off called 1366 Technologies has developed a new way to use silicon cells for solar power applications.
Martin LaMonica of CNET’s GreenTech has more:
The technologies that 1366 has developed are significant because they can be added onto to existing processes and are complementary with each other, say company executives. Some are related to trapping more light on the solar cell while another uses a different method for wiring cells together.
One technique is to create a three-dimensional pattern, or topography, on the surface on the cells that keeps light on the cell long enough so that more can be absorbed, Sachs explained.
The other process, called surface metallization, shrinks the size of the wires, or “fingers,” on the front of cells. Instead of using the typical screen printing method, 1366 Technologies engineers have built a machine that’s able to make the silver wires using electroplating and to place them on the cell. Shrinking the fingers from the typical 120 microns to 30 microns reduces shading on the cell and allows manufacturers to put more fingers on a cell to improve performance, Sachs said. The company also expects to be able to replace silver with copper to reduce cost, he added.
“These are three manufacturing technologies and they play together so you can use them all and get the cumulative benefits but you can use just one,” he said.
For more information on the developments, please also see the press release on Reuters.