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Thread: New Process Creates 33% Solar Cell

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    New Process Creates 33% Solar Cell

    SolSuntech has created a solar cell by altering the manufacturing process that by the way the raw cells are processed reflects less of the light out of the cell, thus achieving 33% efficiency without exotic multijunction cell or technology. They are planning on going into production in December of this year. As with any technology, it this proves out, it will only get better and cheaper over time. With the best current, widely available panels being at 21% efficiency, this will be a dramatic game changer if they can keep their cost inline. Even if higher in costs, the savings in installation and space required will definitely help with the economics. This is part of the "Great Acceleration" and as we develop new semi/nanotech processing technologies and see them applied over a wider and wider range of areas, the progress we already see is starting to have the "Snow Ball" effect of compounding. Speed in all technologies is speeding up in both new technologies and breadth and depth of application and this might be but one very substantial world wide impact if it comes to fruition. Hopefully this will start a new race in solar technologies that combined with ongoing race in battery technologies will yield positive changes in costs, reliability and environmental impact. One of the real winners in this race might be vehicles with at least part of the charging being handled effectively by onboard solar. For low intermittent use this may free many things totally from the grid.

    It will be interesting to see the breadth and impact of new semi/nanotech technologies and manufacturing processes. For current semi equipment suppliers this presents an opportunity to increase their addressable market and further scale their existing expertise over a ever increasing range. We are still in the early stages of nanotechnology being applied and the firms that are able to develop a culture that moves out of traditional areas will prosper and be better investments for their employees, customers and investors.

    Two brand-new manufacturing names want a piece of the Made in USA solar panel market

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    I can't find anything on the technology. They have videos designed to attract money, but nothing that makes sense on how it is supposed to work. Sawing the wafer to create a corrugated surface? That makes no sense... Is it real?

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    It's like 20 cents a watt for a decent mono module for orders as small as a hundred panels from suppliers in China right now, even with the 30% solar tariff and freight cost delivered to the US, you're looking at 30 cents a watt. 380w 72 cell modules are going for few cents more, unless you're severely restricted on space and absolutely need the best efficiency, it'll be hard for these guys to be competitive. Warranties are all but meaningless except for the biggest of the companies, much less these newcomers, and frankly, it's hard to see severe degradation with most panels, I'd be more worried about breakage from bad weather or something, what will these panels being made in the US offer in regards to value proposition?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Tanj View Post
    I can't find anything on the technology. They have videos designed to attract money, but nothing that makes sense on how it is supposed to work. Sawing the wafer to create a corrugated surface? That makes no sense... Is it real?
    That's what their videos show, if you dig deep enough. Seems that they use a diamond-coated wire for ingot slicing, except instead of a straight cut they wiggle it up and down as it does the cut across the ingot, so you end up with something that looks like a crinkle-cut potato crisp (or chip, if you're in the US). Like a corner cube it means that incident light has to bounce off 2 surfaces instead of one before being reflected back, giving 2 chances for it to be absorbed and turned into electricity.

    There isn't much labour cost involved in producing solar cells, most of the cost is raw materials and machinery -- but also things like water and power, which are cheaper in China especially with government subsidies to high-tech industries. So in theory the US ought to be able to be cost-competitive if this was sorted out to level the playing field...

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    Surface textured solar cells for improved light absorption are not new, but the structure is usually achieved with an anisotropic etching or other methods.

    But this approach may be simpler, and cheaper.

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    Getting reflections is not obviously increasing efficiency. Angling to get the reflections reduces the light enterring te chip. Meanwhile, surfaces coated to reduce reflections near zero, ensuring all photons are processed, do not reach 33%. I remain very skeptical of the reality of this.

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