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Manufacturing Thin Crystalline Silicon Materials For Solar Cells At A Quicker and Cheaper Rate

Posted on the 17 June 2013 by Derick Ajumni

Manufacturing Thin Crystalline Silicon Materials For Solar cells At A Quicker and Cheaper Rate
The race to increase the efficiency of solar cells is an important piece of the puzzle to make solar energy more affordable and reliable for consumers
and installers in general. Current research aims at finding ways to produce thin crystalline silicon wafers at costs that will cut the price of solar cell production by half.
A wafer -- also called a slice or substrate -- is a silicon crystal material that is used in the manufacturing process of circuits in microdevices (ref). Thin-films have the potential to revolutionize the present cost structure of photovoltaics by eliminating the use of the expensive silicon wafers that alone account for above 50% of total module manufacturing cost (ref).
An article published in the online version of the landmark journal Applied Physics Letters discusses that researchers at the Nanoengineering Research Centre (CRNE) and the Department of Electronic Engineering at the Universitat Politècnica de Catalunya BarcelonaTech are finding new ways to produce crystalline silicon materials faster and more affordable. The technology allows for the production of a thickness controlled quantity of crystalline layers from a single crystalline silicon wafer in one step. The result called "millefeuille" was noted to be produced more efficiently, quickly, and cheaper than current methods.
This is why this research is important -- if the price for manufacturing the solar cells happened to be successfully lowered, at the same efficiency rate -- consumers could afford to install more of these cells hence producing more power at a low price.
Image source: gizmag
Original article: source

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