Solar Inventions recently announced a new type of solar photovoltaic (PV) cell which is closer to widespread commercialization. U.S. Patent and Trademark Office has been awarded to Solar Inventions for its Configurable Current Cells, or C3, technology.
Solar Inventions on Nov. 17 announced that with the U.S. recognition in place, it will be moving toward finalizing pending patents for the technology in several other countries, including China, India, and across Europe, encompassing about 90% of the global market for solar power equipment.
The Atlanta, Georgia-based company in a news release Wednesday said the C3 product “improves cell, module, and system performance,” and also “creates silver savings of up to 12%, over U.S. $1 million in savings per gigawatt at current silver prices.” The group said its cells and panels “can be made on existing PV factory lines, without any new equipment or materials.”
Dr. Ben Damiani, the company’s chief technical officer, recently made presentations about the technology at two international conferences: the IEEE PVSC event in the U.S., and EUPVSEC in Portugal. Damiani outlined how the C3 technology increases the cell-to-module ratio, effectively boosting a solar module’s performance.
“The efficiency gain depends on the size,” Damiani told POWER. “Initially we’re seeing a 0.1 to 0.2% increase in performance, so a panel that was 23.1% goes to 23.2% efficiency because of the higher voltage and additional current—depending on the amount of light that comes in, and what your light spectrum is. Future evolutions will continue to raise that and continue to reduce the amount of silver needed.”
Damiani also explained the science behind the savings from the cost of silver used in the manufacturing process. “For example, a 9 busbar PERC [passivated emitter and rear contact] solar cell would save approximately $1 million in silver per gigawatt of production, while improving performance by 2-3 watts per panel for an additional $1-2 million worth of power gains,” Damiani said. “With the industry shipping almost 200 GW of solar cells per year, C3 has the potential for $400 million to $600 million in annual industry-wide impact.”