As well as supplying high-performance, silicon-based materials for photovoltaic (PV) cells and modules, the two companies say they could also develop high performance building integrated photovoltaic (BIPV) solutions for building and construction, focusing on both commercial and residential applications.
Crystal Solar is a venture-funded, emerging company based in Santa Clara, CA, which has developed an integrated “direct gas to module” process using an epitaxial chemical vapour deposition (CVD) approach. The company claims that it could be a "breakthrough" technology for the solar PV sector.
Called Epi Thin-Silicon technology, it uses 40 microns of silicon versus 180 micron wafers used by conventional approaches, leading to an 85% reduction in silicon used: "This approach results in operational and capital costs to be reduced by up to 50% percent from today’s levels; thereby paving the way for cost-effective solar power on a global scale", a company statement read.
Dow Corning will provide access to high-quality trichlorosilane, specialised silicon-based materials, and supply chain consultancy to support Crystal's manufacturing approach.
“We are very pleased to be working with Dow Corning on a broad-based framework to make high-efficiency solar panels at costs below US$0.50/W in production,” said T.S. Ravi, Crystal Solar’s CEO. “Dow Corning’s reputation for quality and their ability to scale globally will help Crystal Solar expand their manufacturing footprint significantly.”
More about Dow Corning
Based at Dow Corning's European headquarters in Seneffe, Belgium, vice president Eric Peeters is on a mission to drive down the cost of solar power.