Solar Junction commercialise A-SLAM with first CPV wafers from IQE


Solar Junction commercialises A-SLAM with first CPV wafers from IQE

Solar Junction is commercializing its Adjustable Spectrum Lattice Matched (A-SLAM) multi-junction solar cell architecture. Having signed an exclusive wafer supply contract with specialist wafer producer IQE in February, 2012, the CPV cell developer and manufacturer, Solar Junction has now placed its first major order for wafers worth $1.95M. The order is in relation to Solar Junction's first 5 MW order from SolFocus, which is planning the construction of a 450 MW CPV project in Baja, Mexico. The largest CPV project announced to date, the project is funded by Grupo Musa and Synergy Technologies LLC. The CPV project announcements during 2012 are exceeding industry projections, with more than 650MW project announcements to date. The orders are worth a total of $1.95m, being $1m for first production wafers and $950K for development wafers to further improve the efficiency of Solar Junction's CPV products. IQE signed a seven-year exclusive wafer supply agreement with Solar Junction in February 2012. Solar Junction claimed the world record for solar cell efficiency of 43.5% in April 2010 with the SJ3 Cell, verified by the impeccable National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) and the Fraunhofer Institute. The company is currently on a path to deliver a median cell efficiency of 42% on 150mm substrates. Its goal is to deliver the most efficient cell into the market to help drive down the cost and increasing the CPV module power output. Recently IQE has enhanced its wafer inspection capabilities at its Cardiff facility with the acquisition of a new automated wafer inspection tool supplied by Ohio based Nanotronics Imaging. The nSPEC tool enhances existing manual microscopy inspection allowing automated loading and scanning of III-V semiconductor wafer products including GaN, GaAs and InP based materials. The tool has built in intelligence to enable repeatable and quantifiable object recognition to identify, categorize and record wafer features in real-time. The acquisition of the tool by IQE for use in its cleanroom facilities in Cardiff, UK, follows an extensive six month evaluation where the reliability and repeatability was compared with existing inspection techniques. This is the second nSPEC tool to be installed at IQE, the first unit having been commissioned and in use at the Group's manufacturing facility in Somerset, New Jersey. Eliot Parkinson, GM of IQE's III-V manufacturing facility in Cardiff commented: "The new automated inspection system offers a compelling alternative to manual microscope inspection, with greater repeatability and significantly reduced chance of human error." "Our long term, exclusive wafer supply agreement with the world record holders in cell efficiency, coupled with the large scale manufacturing capacity now in place following our deal to acquire RFMD's in-house MBE production capacity, position IQE to be a major wafer supplier to the rapidly emerging CPV industry, by far the most efficient of any solar technology," commented Dr Drew Nelson, IQE President and CEO.