photovoltaic, solar cell, multicrystalline silicon, silicon wafers
The global solar photovoltaic (PV) market is predicted to increase by double digits between 40-45 GW in 2014, according to a forecast from IHS Inc. And by 2015, new installations could reach as high as 62 GW, according to NPD Solarbuzz (Figure 1). Even as demand increases and the industry seeks ways to ramp up production, wafer, cell and module suppliers will struggle with improving margins. There are significant opportunities to improve the supply chain, which will have a major impact on the economics of solar cell and module production today and moving into the future. For the last 60 years, silicon wafers have been manufactured in a similar manner – growing large ingots of crystalline silicon and using a sawing technique to produce ~180 micron thick wafers. But, while this approach has been effective for the semiconductor industry, it has limited the ability for energy markets to successfully sustain profitability in producing c-SI wafers. During this presentation, the author will present a dramatically different approach to producing these wafers to deliver significantly greater ROI. This approach leverages innovative technologies to deposit and crystalize a layer of silicon on a low-cost, proprietary conductive substrate.