Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Conductive Ink Technology Revolutionizing the Photovoltaic Industry

Our Sicrys™ conductive inks were designed to accelerate the adoption of solar photovolatics by achieving significant cost reductions in the production of silicon solar cells through inkjet printing.

Cumulative operating PV capacity in the U.S. is now over 15 GW and solar PV accounted for more than half of new electric generating capacity added in the first half of 2014 (SEIA). Still, solar comprises only a tiny fraction of electricity generation in the U.S. Although the cost has declined dramatically, it will have to come down more if solar is ever to make up a significant share of the U.S. energy supply. In addition to the high cost of printing materials, the majority of solar PV panels use crystalline silicon; therefore, improvements in crystalline silicon cell production technologies can speed adoption by further driving down costs (silicon accounts for 75 percent of the total cost of solar cell production).

Sicrys™ single-crystal nanometric silver conductive ink promises to revolutionize the solar cell production process by enabling potential cost reductions of up to 10 to 20 percent $/W wise. Specifically, our silver conductive ink enables non-contact digital inkjet printing rather than traditional screen (or stencil) printing, which cuts down on breakage and will allow for thinner solar cells to be made, thus reducing manufacturing costs even further. Sicrys™ inks also enable narrower conductive patterns, increasing efficiency by increasing the cell’s active area and decreasing shading.

We have also developed the world’s first copper nanometric conductive ink, which delivers the outstanding properties of our Sicrys™ silver ink with even greater cost efficiency (based on significantly cheaper metal: $510/kg for silver versus $8/kg for copper). Though copper is far more cost efficient, ink manufacturers have struggled with oxidation. We have overcome that hurdle in the development of our copper inks which are very stable to oxidation. Copper inkjet printing replaces the expensive multi step processes used for masking and plating.

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