Major renewable energy development company SunEdison has struck an IP licensing deal with PV technology firm, Solaria to enable the company to produce a low-cost, high-efficiency PV module with 400W output peak.
Solaria told PV Tech that a suite of technology, processes and customised commercial equipment from the semiconductor and electronics assembly sectors that were previously developed for its low-concentration CPV module systems had been re-worked for conventional wafer/cell multicrystalline and monocrystalline formats.
Several key technologies SunEdison has licensed include cell dicing into multiple strips and the re-bonding of the strip cells directly to each other, a similar technology route as half-cut cells introduced into volume production by REC Solar.
As with SunEdison’s current ‘fabless’ business model, the IP from Solaria is expected to be transferred to cell and module third-party partners under the agreement. SunEdison still produces polysilicon.
“SunEdison’s solar materials team has completed the development of the new 400Watt SunEdison ZERO WHITE SPACE solar module. This architecture squeezes more electricity out of the module by reducing the amount of unproductive white space surrounding each cell,” said Bang Nguyen, SunEdison’s vice president of solar materials operations. “By licensing Solaria’s state-of-the-art manufacturing technology, we’re able to get SunEdison ‘ZERO WHITE SPACE’ modules to market much quicker. These new modules are our most efficient yet, and are ideally suited for home and business applications where space is limited.”
According to Solaria, high-volume production of its strip cell technology is expected in the current fourth quarter of 2015 at SunEdison’s manufacturing partners.
SunEdison had highlighted back in 2013 that it was working on the introduction of a 400W monocrystalline-based module using PERC (72-cell) technology with around 20% cell conversion efficiencies, for introduction in 2016.
Solaria told PV Tech that its strip-cell configuration provided around a 15% conversion efficiency gain over conventional tabbing and stringing produced modules.
Suvi Sharma, CEO, Solaria Corporation said: “Combining Solaria’s high-density power generation solutions with SunEdison’s market leadership will continue to accelerate the availability of affordable and efficient solar.”
SunEdison looks to be stepping-up on its efforts to have a low-cost high-efficiency module that can compete across multiple markets and sectors, from residential through to utility-scale PV power plants.
Due to the variable and flexible layout options the Solaria technology provides, customised module form factors could also be offered, without a significant cost penalty.
Solaria said that it was in talks with other PV manufacturers in licensing its strip-cell technology.