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Thursday, 13 October 2011

New Solar Company Silevo Launches with Industry’s Best Performance-to-Cost Ratio Modules

Oct 13, 2011

A solar cell innovator and photovoltaic solar module manufacturer, today emerged from stealth mode to announce the industry’s best performance-to-cost ratio for solar modules by evolving the use of silicon with new groundbreaking technology. Founded by leading executives and engineers from the semiconductor industry, the Silevo mission is to enable the rapid acceleration of solar energy reaching grid parity to transition today’s subsidized photovoltaic (PV) market into a self-sustaining market with widespread adoption.

The Silevo proprietary Triex™ technology evolves silicon-based PV as the first hybrid solar solution to combine high-performance crystalline silicon N-type substrates, thin-film passivation layers, and a unique tunneling oxide layer – all in a single solar module. Powered by breakthrough “tunneling junction” architecture, these three materials together enable the Triex module to deliver high efficiency, competitive module costs, and optimal energy harvest. Based on these criteria, Silevo offers the industry’s leading system cost value.

“Until now, the solar industry has not had a module that optimizes both performance and cost at a ratio that creates optimal levelized cost of electricity (LCOE). While thin-film modules offer good cost and energy harvest, their low efficiency leads to a high balance-of-system (BOS) cost,” said Dr. Zheng Xu, founder and CEO, Silevo. “Conversely, high-efficiency crystalline silicon can drive lower BOS costs; however, high manufacturing costs and poor energy harvest negate these efficiency advantages.

With Triex, Silevo offers the best of all three key parameters – high efficiency, low cost manufacturing, and low temperature coefficients for high energy harvest — creating the highest value and, we believe, a major industry milestone,” he said.

Triex’s “silver free” technology also eliminates the use of costly silver pastes that traditional c-Si device manufacturers rely on for electrodes – typically the second highest priced material in a module after silicon itself. By utilizing a low resistivity copper-based metallization scheme instead, Silevo is immune to silver’s increasing cost issue in the marketplace, while capturing the performance advantages of copper.

Triex Drives Leading System Cost Value

Silevo is currently producing modules in pilot production, manufacturing Triex cells that demonstrate between 20 – 21 percent conversion efficiency on full-size substrates with proven production materials.

“Since our collaboration started in 2009, Silevo has matured their cell technology from R&D cells of ~13 percent efficiency to pilot production cells of ~21 percent efficiency-an impressive 60 percent improvement. They have achieved these gains by rethinking conventional silicon cells and taking innovative approaches to optimize all aspects of device performance rather than focusing on incremental improvements to efficiency,” said Dr. Bruce King, PV Performance team lead, Sandia National Laboratories.

The Triex technology roadmap shows headroom for up to 24 percent conversion efficiency in commercial products. As well, Triex yields cell temperature coefficients of -0.22%/C, which will enable thin-film module like energy harvest in real world service environments.

“The technological achievements of Triex coupled with the Silevo team’s strong background in semiconductor production and solar manufacturing equipment provides us confidence that the company will smoothly transition into high volume manufacturing,” said Chris Beitel, vice president of business development and marketing, Silevo.

Silevo combines the skills of innovative solar and semiconductor talent in its Silicon Valley corporate headquarters and R&D center with an experienced manufacturing operations base in Asia to deliver the highest-performance and lowest-cost commercial product that drives solar towards grid parity. Silevo recently closed $33 million in financing with new lead investor New Margin, along with existing investors GSR & DT Capital. The round is being used to build the high-volume manufacturing facility in Hangzhou, China, and further drive advanced research for Triex in Silicon Valley to 24 percent conversion efficiency.


Customer qualification samples are shipping today from the pilot production facility in Fremont, CA, with high-volume commercial production to begin the first half of 2012.

Source:  Silevo


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