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Apr 2nd, 2012
IQE and Silex aim to develop HCPV cells on low-cost silicon substrate
IQE plc (AIM: IQE, “IQE” or the “Group”), the leading global supplier of advanced semiconductor wafer products and services to the semiconductor industry, has been selected as a key CPV wafer supplier by Australian CPV company Silex Systems as part of a $2m programme to develop high efficiency multi-junction solar cells on low-cost large-area silicon substrates.
Silex Systems (ASX: SLX) received the $2 million grant from the Australian Solar Institute to support the company’s development of solar cell technology which could reduce energy production costs by up to 20%.
The aim of the programme is to develop, fabricate, and test novel next-generation multiple-junction solar cells used in the evolving utility scale Concentrating Photovoltaic (CPV) solar power station industry.
The key differentiator is the development of a new virtual 'Germanium' substrate wafer-based substrate where a thin layer of Ge is deposited on a Silicon wafer. This will reduce the cost and potentially improve the efficiency of the multiple-junction cells in CPV applications. The new substrates and resulting CPV cell structures will be fully characterised and analysed in the lab and then tested in on-sun in field equipment.
The grant from the Australian Solar Institute (ASI) which was established by the Australian Government in 2009 is for the development of high efficiency multi-junction solar cells on low cost large area silicon substrates. The program, by Silex’s wholly owned subsidiary Solar Systems, has the potential to reduce the cost of energy production from Concentrating Photovoltaic technologies by up to 20%.
Solar Systems will supplement the $2 million grant by providing about $3 million in project funding, with $2 million of in-kind support and $1 million in cash contributions over the three year project duration.
Project partner and Silex subsidiary Translucent will provide large area silicon substrate technology for the project, allowing for commercialisation of the technology to be fast tracked.
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