Solar-Tectic has received a Frost & Sullivan Technology Innovation Award for 2016. The Best Practices Award is specifically for PV materials in North America and was given in recognition of ‘Solar-Tectic’s technical excellence, strategic execution, and potential to revolutionise the solar cell manufacturing industry’.
“Solar-Tectic’s patented thin-film tandem solar cell technology employs proven materials that hold the potential to make the cost of PV on par with or cheaper than conventional fossil fuel technologies,” said Frost & Sullivan research manager Vishal Sapru.
“Solar-Tectic’s technology marks a major milestone on the path to the mass production of high-efficiency solar cells with low-cost processes.”
Solar-Tectic is a thin-film specialist with patented technology focused on developing semiconductor thin films on glass or other inexpensive substrates for tandem solar cells and for electronic devices such as LEDs and thin-film transistors (TFTs).
Stacking two solar cells— known as a tandem solar cell – enables more efficient energy harvesting by providing differing bandgaps to collect solar rays. While a premium single-layer polycrystalline solar cell may convert a maximum of 25 percent of solar energy to electricity, tandem solar cells could increase this figure to beyond 3 percent. For the lower layer of the tandem solar cell, researchers are exploring different materials to optimise light absorption, including CIGS cells and perovskite.
The company has a wide portfolio of technologies and IP using a range of materials (including copper zinc tin sulphide (CZTS) and perovskite) based primarily on inventions by the late Praveen Chaudhari, a materials physicist and recipient of a US National Medal of Technology and Innovation (1995).
The company holds a worldwide patent for a highly crystalline thin-film silicon (or germanium) bottom layer on a tandem structure-providing the market large cost savings through eliminating the need for silicon wafers.
In 2016, Solar-Tectic presented a paper at the Fifth International Symposium on Energy Challenges and Mechanics in Inverness, Scotland, making public its technique for growing perovskite layers on silicon for the first time. Unlike competing technologies that use lead in the perovskite layer, Solar-Tectic employs non-toxic tin, allowing for low-temperature crystalline thin-film silicon deposition and tin perovskite film formation simultaneously on soda-lime glass.