PV cells processed with Innovalight silicon inks hit 19% efficiencies; 20% targeted by year’s end


Innovalight has set a new record of 19% conversion efficiency for solar cells processed with the company’s silicon ink. The Fraunhofer Institute for Solar Energy Systems measured the results on industry-standard size cells made by the materials and technology company at ISE’s independent testing center in Germany.
The company’s proprietary Cougar platform offers what it calls a readily transferable process to crystalline-silicon PV cell manufacturers that allows them to improve solar cell performance, reduce cost, and boost output capacity by adding a simple step to already installed manufacturing lines. 

“We continue to push toward our goal of delivering over 20% conversion efficiency to our customers,” said Homer Antoniadis, Innovalight’s CTO, who will be presenting the company’s latest results at the 2010 SNEC 4th International Photovoltaic Power Generation Conference in Shanghai next week. “Our patented solar cell process with silicon ink is simple and optimized for use with silicon wafers and widely adopted industry printing tools.”

Innovalight is working with JA Solar and several other cell-manufacturing companies and is ramping production of silicon ink in its Sunnyvale, CA, headquarters. The company, which was awarded a key cell manufacturing with silicon ink-related patent earlier this year, has filed for more than 60 patents in its specialized field.

President/CEO Conrad Burke told PV Tech during a facility visit last week that the company expects to hit the 20% cell efficiency mark by the end of 2010. He also said that announcements with more specific details about Innovalight’s partnership with other cell producers will be made in a few months.

Burke noted that Innovalight has developed and refined processes for screenprinting (the current market opportunity) and inkjet printing (a developing sector) in parallel, calling the matching of the ink with the printing system one of the keys to the Innovalight approach. The screenprint ink has a thicker, more viscous consistency, while the inkjet solution takes the liquid form associated with regular inks.

The Sunnyvale facility has a fully equipped ~10MW cell-manufacturing pilot line (standard equipment, both 125mm and 156mm) and analytical/metrology capabilities, where customers can come and learn about–and transfer–the processes, he explained.   

The chief executive added that the privately held firm plans to manufacture all the inks itself in a secretive production line capable of gigawatt-scale output at the Sunnyvale facility.   

“This is the operational execution year for the company,” Burke said, with revenues expected to push the company toward profitability.

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