A new research program to bring Black Silicon antireflective layer process and materials to commercialization has been signed between Natcore Technology and material inventor, the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL), with funding of US$150,000.
The Cooperative Research & Development Agreement with NREL is intended to achieve solar cell processing costs for adding the black silicon layer by as much as 3%, while improving overall module energy output from 3% to 10%, unaided by tracker technology. The CRADA is funded for a year, though could be extended.
“Our technology will create a new American industry,” says Natcore president and CEO Chuck Provini. “We've been trying for two years to get financial support from the Department of Energy. This is a meaningful first step.”
Natcore is replacing NREL’s use of thermal oxidation as the passivation technology with its liquid phase deposition (LPD) process, which is claimed to provide both performance and cost advantages.
Previous collaborations have produced a cell with 16.5% efficiency.