|Pennsylvania Company Develops Lower-Cost Solar Cells|
|A nanotechnology company based in Lancaster, Pennsylvania has developed a solar-cell technology that could halve the per-watt cost of going solar.
The company, Illuminex, said Monday that its crystalline silicon nanowire solar equipment achieves conversion efficiency comparable to that of conventional silicon-based solar panels. Yet Illuminex’s solar modules use 99 percent less silicon than conventional panels, meaning that their manufacturing costs may be significantly lower.
“The technology,” Illuminex says, “holds strong potential to reduce the cost of solar electricity from the current value of 20 to 40 cents per kilowatt-hour to under 10 cents per kWh, making solar competitive with other forms of electrical energy generation.”
The company’s success comes as a result of statewide collaboration. Illuminex performed research in concert with Pennsylvania State University scientists, and it recently completed construction of a new lab that was funded in part by the state.
Illuminex’s solar modules are a ways from production, however. The company said it must scale up its technology gradually, and it may be some time before its solar modules can be made commercially viable. Still, the firm’s technology has promise – for both Pennsylvania’s solar industry and the broader solar-energy market.