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IBIS study favors replacing multi-crystalline silicon in solar cells

Posted: 09 Aug 2010 ?? ?Print Version ?Bookmark and Share

Keywords:CIGS? thin-film? photovoltaic? solar cell?

XsunX Inc., a developer of advanced, thin-film photovoltaic (PV) solar cell technologies and manufacturing processes, reports that a study forecasts over $646 million in savings over five years can be achieved by replacing only 500MW of multi-crystalline silicon (mc-Si) cells with the company's CIGS based solar cells.

The study was done by IBIS Associates Inc., a technology strategy and business development consulting company specializing in advanced materials and manufacturing technologies. It used the XsunX's joint venture licensing model under which it plans to deploy manufacturing capacity for its hybrid solar technology, dubbed CIGSolar. IBIS used the U.S. National Renewable Energy Laboratories' Solar Advisor Model to forecast the savings from the projected efficiency gains of CIGSolar technology as a replacement for the use of mc-Si cells.

The company's development objectives for CIGSolar, which was launched last year, include leveraging and adapting expertise and cross-cutting technologies from the hard disk media and high-speed flex circuit printing industries with thin-film CIGS techniques in the mass production of individual CIGS solar cells. This idea to reach outside of the solar industry to adapt useful technologies from other industries has begun to take a broader hold as evidenced by a recent U.S. Department of Energy research grant that tasked the renewable energy industry "to identify and accelerate the development of cross-cutting and unique products or processes that are expected to have a disruptive impact on the PV industry."

Of all the PV materials, CIGS exhibits the largest performance gap between CIGS laboratory efficiencies and average commercial module efficienciesa gap of approximately 50 percent below laboratory efficiency. Many experts believe the reason for the difference between laboratory and commercial efficiencies is normal compositional variation associated with scaling from laboratory processes that focus on smaller areas to large area commercial production. XsunX's new approach aims to eliminate the variations while maintaining commercial production volumes.

IBIS also reported that "XsunX's PV Cell technology in many ways can be thought of as a "drop-in" replacement for the current mc-Si cell value stream, with the notable exception that it is much more capital efficient and cost effective. Moreover, XsunX's CIGS PV cells have the potential to eventually "outstrip" the baseline mc-Si cell in terms of conversion efficiency."

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