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Wafer tech cuts costs in PV manufacturing

Posted: 15 Jul 2008 ?? ?Print Version ?Bookmark and Share

Keywords:photovoltaic? solar market? PV manufacturing? wafer technology?

Silicon Genesis claims it has produced solar substrates for the PV industry using a "kerf-free" wafering process technology called PolyMax. The technology also represents a significant move for the company into the solar PV wafer production environment, capitalizing on in-house technology and expertise.

By eliminating sawing losses, the PolyMax equipment set can substantially reduce the amount of polysilicon used within the ingot-to-wafer manufacturing steps and eliminate some of the costly consumables in today's wafer manufacturing. First targeted to process monocrystalline silicon to produce high-efficiency silicon solar cells, the equipment is expected to help the PV industry reach grid parity while simultaneously relaxing the shortage of polysilicon feedstock.

The company has produced 50? thick, full-size 125mm wafer samples utilizing engineering equipment with mechanical and electrical characteristics. SiGen plans to start pilot line operations by Q2 09 that demonstrate kerf-free processing of silicon ingots into wafers ranging from 150?m to 50?m in thickness.

"Our full-sized PV samples have enhanced silicon attributes which dramatically improve wafer and cell processing capabilities," said Francois Henley, president and CEO of Silicon Genesis. "In addition to saving poly, we found the wafers to be significantly more resistant to breakage, thereby enabling higher cell yields and lowering expensive downstream failures seen by module manufacturers and installers."

SiGen will present details of the PolyMax wafering process and equipment at the upcoming 23rd European Photovoltaic Conference on Sept. 1-5 at Valencia, Spain.

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