First Solar to manufacture copper-based crystalline silicon solar cells
Leading thin-film and PV project developer First Solar has rocked the solar industry with the acquisition of US-based monocrystalline start-up TetraSun.
Having exited R&D into competitive CIGS thin-film technology and rejuvenated its commitment to CdTe technology, First Solar plans to start “tentative” production of TetraSun’s copper-based monocrystalline cells in the second half of 2014.First Solar did not say what the capital investment would be, or where the solar cells would be produced and what the initial nameplate production capacity would be.
“This breakthrough technology will unlock the half of the PV market which favors high-efficiency solutions, which has been unserved by First Solar to date,”said CEO of first solar.This new capability to meet the needs of customers with distributed generation applications, coupled with leading CadTel ,which remains the benchmark for utility-scale systems, gives a unique end-to-end suite of solutions to serve the full spectrum of commercial applications.
TetraSun’s cell concept is based on what the company has termed “a novel surface passivation technology”. It enables the use of 40um wide copper electrodes instead of screen-printed silver metallization. Without demanding special equipment for the manufacturing process, cell Voc values in excess of 700mV have been achieved on the monocrystalline CCz- grown silicon.