Solar Inventions receives patent for solar cell production process that can conserve millions in silver costs

Nov 18, 2021 04:25 PM ET
  • The U.S. Patent and also Trademark Office has granted Solar Inventions a patent on its better architecture for solar photovoltaic cells, the company revealed today, opening the door to industrial approval and also licensing by leading suppliers.
Solar Inventions receives patent for solar cell production process that can conserve millions in silver costs

The development, called Configurable Current Cells, or C3, creates silver savings of approximately 12%-- equal to over $1 million in financial savings per gigawatt at current silver prices. C3 additionally improves cell, module and system performance. The enhanced cells and also panels can be made on existing PV manufacturing facility lines, without any brand-new equipment or materials.

With U.S. Patent No. 11,145,774 in place, Solar Inventions will certainly be settling pending C3 patents in China, Europe, and also many more areas, which together would certainly account for 90% of the globally solar market.

" Our international IP portfolio is integrating," claimed Bill Nussey, CEO of Solar Inventions. "This patent opens the door for us to move on joint ventures with crucial companions in areas with large-scale cell as well as module makers, such as India, China, Southeast Asia, the EU, and the U.S. We have actually started discussions with prospective companions in all of these regions."

Solar Inventions CTO Dr. Ben Damiani just recently presented two major documents on the technology to two international conferences (IEEE PVSC in the USA as well as EUPVSEC in Portugal). The very first takes a look at enhancing a solar module's performance by using the C3 innovation to raise the cell-to-module ratio. The other discusses the scientific research behind the silver cost savings.

" As an example, a nine-busbar PERC solar cell would certainly conserve about $1 million in silver per gigawatt of manufacturing, while enhancing performance by 2 to 3 watts per panel for an added $1 to 2 million well worth of power gains," Damiani claimed. "With the sector shipping nearly 200 GW of solar cells per year, C3 has the possibility for $400 million to $600 million in yearly industry-wide impact."

The Solar Inventions patent comes from the work of Damiani, an expert developer in the solar and also semiconductor markets that previously operated at Suniva as well as Intel, and also is currently the firm's principal technical policeman. Damiani discovered he can develop several "lanes" or subcells on a single wafer by electrically splitting each cell throughout the metallization process. This strategy properly creates a new cell architecture, unlocking for multiple innovations beyond C3.

To commercialize his discovery, Damiani co-founded Solar Inventions with Nussey and also Gregg Freishtat in January 2018. By very early 2019 the brand-new cell design was advancing in the united state Division of Energy's first American-Made Solar Prize competition for ingenious innovations. In September 2019, Solar Inventions won starting point, pressing its overall prizes to $800,000.

The business made use of the cash prize to make a number of models of pilot cells and modules, and also get independent third-party verification testing from CFV, NREL, and also Sandia National Research Laboratory. The C3 modern technology was checked as well as silver cost savings confirmed on monocrystalline PERC, HJT, n-type, half-cells, and bifacial cells.

Southeast united state solar installer Cherry Street Energy positioned the first order for C3 cells for a setup on the roof of Creature Comforts Brewery in Athens, Georgia. On the other hand, during the very early months of the pandemic, silver spiked over $24 an ounce for the first time since 2013 and also has remained to trade in that variety, making the C3 technology even more appealing.

" The benefits are similar to half-cells, likewise a major solar market pattern, yet without calling for cells to be physically broken and re-wired," stated Damiani. "As the sector continues to fad towards huge wafer sizes, our C3 technology actually has an also larger effect. The included flexibility of the subcell design permits new ways to restrict the negative impact of power loss as a result of greater electrical current, which is directly related to the dimension of the wafer inside a solar module."