Solar3D, Inc. the developer of a breakthrough 3-dimensional solar cell technology to maximize the conversion of sunlight into electricity, recently announced that it has completed an important milestone required to make its solar cell. The company has created a process methodology to fabricate the 3-D photovoltaic microstructures, the most complex and critical component of its high efficiency silicon solar cell.
“This is a very important milestone for us”.“This is a very important milestone for us,” said Jim Nelson, CEO of Solar3D. “The process of finding the right balance between computer design and practical fabrication was complex and time consuming. But now, we know how to do it. The conclusion of this process is the most important part of the development of our initial prototype.”
Inspired by light management techniques used in fiber optic devices, the company’s innovative solar cell technology utilizes a 3-dimensional design to trap sunlight inside micro-photovoltaic structures where photons bounce around until they are converted into electrons. Solar3D’s management believes that this breakthrough solar cell design can produce 200% the power output of current silicon solar cells.
Nelson added, “We anticipate the completion of the proof of concept prototype by mid- to late-July, at which time we will begin the development of a manufacturing prototype. That prototype will lead to a pilot run of the new cell to prove that prototype performance will hold up in a manufacturing environment. By then, we will be well underway in the selection of a manufacturing partner that will help us go to market.”
The company’s analysis indicates that a typical 17% efficient solar cell performs more like a 5% efficient cell when light is shining 20 degrees from the side, such as during the morning or evening hours. Due to an innovative wide-angle light collection feature, the company estimates that its Solar3D cell can maintain a high 25% efficiency for a longer period of time, over the course of a day and year. This translates into 200% more power than conventional solar cells and a system payback period that is approximately half the time of the current solar technologies.