Team develops 300mm wafers for solar cell use

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A group of industrial partners have said that they have developed a
pulling process resulting in silicon crystals with a diameter of 300mm.
The process, specifically for applications within the solar cell and
module market, can reduce energy consumption in the pulling process
compared to smaller sizes and allow the energy recoup time per W (peak)
to be faster. 

The R&D team included members from key production supply chain
companies that included ersol Group, Day4 Energy, Crystal Growing
Systems GmbH, SolarZentrum Erfurt and Roth & Rau AG.

Importantly,
the larger wafer size adopted by leading-edge semiconductor
manufacturers retains the same conversion efficiency of the standard
156mm x 156mm wafer but the new 210mm x 210mm thin silicon (220µm)
wafers are claimed to offer 80 percent more power.

“We believe
our project will provide a new impulse for the further development of
cell standards within the photovoltaic industry,” said Dr. Claus
Beneking, CEO of ersol Solar Energy AG and board member responsible for
technology.

“This project is a demonstration of a strong
potential for cost reduction that can be realized through a combination
of leading edge technologies at the silicon ingot, wafer, solar cell
and PV module levels. These new high power PV cells from ersol clearly
show their advantage when combined with Day4’s next generation module
technology capable of collecting the enormous amount of power these
cells generate,” adds George L. Rubin, President and Chief Operating
Officer of Day4Energy.

A key advantage of using the 300mm
ingot pulling process is the greater yield of wafer surface at a
comparable pulling rate that maximizes capacity utilization per pulling
plant.

However, in terms of factory productivity, 80 percent
greater output using comparable production equipment is possible.
Processing of the SuperSize solar cells was further enhanced, with
ersol able to use one less production step and economize as much as 40
percent of Ag printing pastes while increasing average solar cell
efficiency at the same time, the companies claimed.

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