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21 April 2016

Sol Voltaics achieves alignment and orientation of GaAs nanowires in thin film

Sol Voltaics AB of Lund, Sweden, which provides nanomaterial technology for enhancing solar panels and other products, has confirmed the successful alignment and orientation of nanowires in a thin film. The firm reckons that the achievement represents the most significant technology milestone in solar nanowire manufacturing to date, paving the way for photovoltaic (PV) module efficiencies of 27% or more — a 50% boost in energy conversion efficiencies for existing solar modules.

While showing highly promising characteristics in solar energy generation, nanowires are notoriously difficult to align due to their high aspect ratios and material characteristics. By controlling nanowire orientation and alignment at the centimeter scale on standard-sized wafers, Sol Voltaics reckons that it has taken a major step toward the commercial production of solar films for tandem solar PV modules.

"Gallium arsenide (GaAs) nanowires have recently come to the forefront as holding great promise for boosting solar module efficiencies well beyond current levels," says CEO Erik Smith. "By aligning nanowires within a membrane, we've taken our greatest stride yet toward manufacturing solar nanowire films at the commercial scale. This will enable solar panel manufacturers to greatly enhance the energy-generating capability of their products," he adds. 

This follows Sol Voltaics' announcement in March 2015 that Germany's Fraunhofer ISE (Institute for Solar Energy Systems) had confirmed a record 1-sun PV conversion efficiency of 15.3% for the firm's epitaxially grown GaAs nanowire solar cells. The cells were recently re-tested by Fraunhofer and showed little or no degradation nearly 18 months after the initial tests, affirming the technology's performance reliability.

In addition, Sol Voltaics has progressed through several generations of development of its Aerotaxy production technology. The patented process allows cost-effective III-V nanowire solar cell production via a continuous gas-phase process.

"We have a few remaining hurdles to get over in order to get into commercialization but we're very confident we can deliver a truly transformative energy solution, the kind of solution called for by the Breakthrough Energy Coalition, COP 21 summit, and other global efforts to combat climate change and create a clean energy economy," says Smith. 

See related items:

Sol Voltaics doubles GaAs nanowire array solar efficiency record to 15.3%

Sol Voltaics unveils SolInk nanomaterial to boost PV module performance by 25%

Tags: Nanowire GaAs PV

Visit: www.breakthroughenergycoalition.com

Visit: www.solvoltaics.com

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