Towards grid parity
For electricity generated from photovoltaic technology to reach grid parity with electricity generated from carbon based conventional fuels, substantial reduction in the cost of Si modules is required. Starting Si wafers comprise over 40% of the market price of such modules. AstroWatt's technology can reduce the cost of production of Si based solar cells by 50% by using monocrystalline Si wafers that are only 25 microns thick, yet have efficiencies reaching 20%.
Semiconductor on Metal (SOM®) Technology
Conventional solar cells are fabricated on silicon wafers that are about 200 micron thick. AstroWatt has developed a technology that uses only 25 micron thick monocrystalline silicon backed by a metallic substrate that acts as a support substrate as well as a back-contact. This reduces the effective substrate cost to 1/4 of that of conventional cells while reduces the $/Wt production cost of such cells by nearly 50%.
The low cost manufacturing process makes use of existing eco-system of materials and equipment required for solar and semiconductor manufacturing, thereby enabling a process that can be retrofitted with existing cell manufacturing facilities.
AstroWatt is developing high efficiency cells with hetero-junction and back-contact cell architectures that have the potential of reaching efficiencies over 20%. These cells can either be mounted flat on rigid glass panels or can be mounted on flexible substrates.