04 January 2011
Silicon Solar Solutions is awarded a National Science Foundation (NSF) Phase I Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) grant effective 1 January 2011. The focus of the SBIR is to develop Silicon Solar Solutions' technologies for thin-film solar cells.
The proprietary Top-down Aluminium-Induced Crystallization (TAIC) technology replaces the most costly and time-consuming steps in the creation of traditional polycrystalline thin-film solar cells. The TAIC process creates a thin film of large-grain polysilicon by crystallizing amorphous silicon. The size of the grains produced using this method (shown in the diagram above) are 90 times larger than those created by conventional methods and are wrought in a fraction of the time.
Douglas Hutchings, chief executive officer of Silicon Solar Solutions, said, "We are extremely excited to advance our technology into thin-film solar cells with the support of the National Science Foundation. The potential reward is a significant reduction in the cost of thin-film silicon solar cells and the opportunity to commence local manufacturing. We have received tremendous support from local and state agencies and we are overjoyed to add the NSF to our list of supporters." Silicon Solar Solutions has received support from the University of Arkansas, the Arkansas Economic Development Commission, the Arkansas Science and Technology Authority, Innovate Arkansas and Green Valley Development.
The NSF SBIR Phase I is a six-month program that supports high-risk, high-reward research in the areas of national importance. The award of $150,000 (USD) will be used to prove the concept of using the TAIC process for thin-film solar cells. If successful, the results of Phase I will be used to apply for the Phase II program with awards that range up to $500,000.