Monday, February 7, 2011

No. 238: Technology for low production cost of silicon solar cells (February 8, 2011)

A technology for low production cost of silicon solar cells has been developed by Japan Advanced Institute of Science and Technology in Ishikawa Prefecture of the Hokuriku district in alliance with Toshiba and JSR. The new technology makes it possible to produce a silicon solar cell only by applying the product, which is created by dissolving silicon compound with the help of organic solvents, on the surface of the material as if applying ink on it. It reportedly can reduce the production cost of a silicon solar cell to about one third. The research team plans to put the newly-developed technology into practical use for housing and vehicles. The team produced three kinds of inks by dissolving polymeric silicon hydrogen compound. A solar cell can be produced by applying the three kinds of inks on a glass substrate and subsequently heating the resulting product to 400 degrees in centigrade. At the present stage, however, the newly-developed technology needs improvement because the efficiency to convert solar light to electricity is low. The existing technology to produce solar cells has a problem with high production cost. Production of solar cells currently needs large-scale vacuum equipment.

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