Twin Creeks, a solar power startup that emerged from hiding today, has developed a way of creating photovoltaic cells that are half the price of today’s cheapest cells, and thus within reach of challenging the fossil fuel hegemony. The best bit: Twin Creeks’ photovoltaic cells are created using a hydrogen ion particle accelerator.
3-millimeter-thick silicon wafers are placed around the outside edge of the big, spoked wheel. A particle accelerator bombards these wafers with hydrogen ions, and with exacting control of the voltage of the accelerator, the hydrogen ions accumulate precisely 20 micrometers from the surface of each wafer. A robotic arm then transports the wafers to a furnace where the ions expand into hydrogen gas, which cause the 20-micrometer-thick layer to shear off. A metal backing is applied to make it less fragile (and highly flexible, as you see on the right), and the remaining silicon wafer is taken back to the particle accelerator for another dose of ions. At a tenth of the thickness and with considerably less wastage, it’s easy to see how Twin Creeks can halve the cost of solar cells.
Twin Creeks Ion Technology
First Solar and Suntech led in PV module manufacturing in 2011, with both reaching approximately 2 GW of module production, according to Lux Research’s latest Solar Supply Tracker.
Crystalline silicon module prices continue to be at a record low, the report adds. Tier-one manufacturers are selling at around $0.90/W, while tier-two and tier-three manufacturers have sold product at even lower rates in order to burn through their inventories and survive the current market conditions.
The top 10 companies added up to 12.5 GW of module production – 44% of the 2011 total global module production.
The Energy Department will present a live webinar on Monday, March 19, that will provide detailed information on energy efficiency and renewable energy R&D topics for small businesses interested in an upcoming funding opportunity. The webinar will feature an introduction by Dr. Henry Kelly, DOE’s Acting Assistant Secretary for Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy. Entitled Topics for DOE’s FY 2012 SBIR/STTR Phase I (Release 3), this webinar will provide an overview of energy efficiency and renewable energy topics proposed to be included in the third release of fiscal year 2012 Phase I funding from the Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) and Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) programs. The webcast will take place on Monday, March 19, from 2-4 p.m. Eastern.
Renewvia Energy Corporation, a provider of solar power systems, announced today it closed an investment fund to finance the installation of a 200 Kilowatt (kW) solar power system in Georgia under the Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA) Green Power Switch Partners Program, a plan which promotes production of electricity from renewable sources.
Under a 10 year site lease, the solar power system will be hosted in Calhoun, Ga. on a multi-generational poultry farm. After 10 years, ownership will be conveyed to the poultry operation. The TVA, a federally owned corporation in the United States that provides electricity generation, among other things, in the Tennessee Valley, will guarantee the purchase of all solar power produced there for 10 years at $0.12 per kilowatt per hour at premium indexed to the local retail power rate.