PF Blog

New Coating Could Mean Cheaper Solar Cells

By: Tim Pennington
13. January 2012


An MIT website says a novel way to make thin, uniform coatings developed at Rice University could reduce the cost of making conventional silicon solar cells, and could open the way for new kinds of solar cells that are far more efficient or cheaper than conventional ones.
"Technology Reviw," published by MIT, says the technology deposits coatings in a low-temperature, liquid-based process rather than the high-temperature gas-based process used now. It is being commercialized by Natcore Technology in Red Bank, New Jersey. MIT says the company plans to use the technology to replace a standard step in conventional solar cell manufacturing: adding an antireflective coating to silicon wafers to help them to absorb more light. It will also offer a more advanced antireflection technology, called black silicon.
As a replacement for high-temperature processes on a conventional manufacturing line, the liquid-based process can lower manufacturing costs. Natcore's CEO, Charles Provini, estimates that replacing a conventional coating machine with one of his company's could save a solar manufacturer about $1 million in electricity costs per year.


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