The Future of Design
High Efficiency Design to Produce 200% of the Power Output of Conventional Solar Cells
Our revolutionary 3-dimensional silicon solar cell is designed to maximize the conversion of sunlight into electricity. We have developed two breakthrough features in our single wafer silicon solar cell that we believe will deliver benefits that have eluded the solar industry to date.
We estimate that our patent-pending, 3-dimensional cell, can produce 200 percent of the power output of conventional solar cells. This will reduce the investment payback period of solar panel systems by more than 40 percent. The graph on the right compares our projected efficiency with a conventional solar cell across a range of incident sun angles.
Conventional solar cells become dramatically less efficient if the sun is not shining within a narrow range of incident angles. Sunlight that hits the cell outside of this range will be reflected off, and the reduced light energy causes the cell’s internal efficiency to drop. Because of a unique wide angle design, our solar cell can maintain its high efficiency over a wider range of incident angles. It can capture more light in the morning and evening hours, as well as in the winter months when the sun is not directly overhead.
The key to this breakthrough is a special design on the cell surface that collects sunlight over a wide range of angles. The collected light is then forced into 3-dimensional photovoltaic micro-structures beneath the cell surface that trap the light and convert it into electricity. As the sun moves across the sky, throughout the day or year, the Solar3D cell will be able to maintain its high conversion efficiency, as if the sun was directly above it.
Solar cell efficiency is the measure of how much incident sunlight is converted into electricity. Most solar cells today are made from silicon, an inexpensive and abundant raw material. Due to the physics of silicon, the theoretical maximum efficiency of high-grade crystalline silicon solar cells is approximately 29 percent. In commercial practice, the efficiency ranges from 15 percent to 19 percent.(1) Our 3D solar cell is calculated to have an internal efficiency of 25.47 percent, more than any existing silicon solar cell, and is designed to take advantage of low-cost manufacturing processes.
Conventional solar cells are 2-dimensional, utilizing a single pass sunlight conversion mechanism. There are two primary ways that these devices lose light and electrons, or electron-hole pairs, which result in a conversion efficiency much less than the theoretical maximum
Sunworks’ Solar3D Cell’s 3–dimensional solar cell is designed from the ground up to optimally reduce all primary losses to achieve the highest conversion efficiency. By leveraging the high volume scalability of conventional solar and semiconductor processes, we believe our 3D solar cell can deliver an unprecedented low total cost of ownership for any given solar installation. Unlike conventional solar cells where sunlight passes through one time, our 3D solar cell design traps sunlight inside photovoltaic structures where photons bounce around until they are all converted into electricity. The key features and benefits of our 3D solar cell design are:
Solar panels using Sunworks’ Solar3D cells can be installed on smaller surface areas, due to our 3D cell’s high efficiency and high power output features. Solar panels using the Solar3D cells will not need tracking systems that follow the sun to maintain high efficiency because of its wide-angle light collection feature. Solar panels using the Solar3D cells can be installed flat on surfaces that do not face the sun directly, eliminating the need for unsightly mounting structures.
From solar farms to rooftops, to mobile devices, to military applications, to consumer products, we believe our Solar3D Cell will be the obvious choice for next generation solar panels. We believe we can dramatically lower the Total Cost of Ownership of solar panel systems. Our low-cost, high efficiency solar cell also eliminates the need for supporting components such as tracking systems and mounting structures. Our innovative solar technology will make solar cells substantially more useful in substantially more applications.
Our initial commercialization objective is to create a low-cost, highly efficient silicon solar cell based on our 3D technology. By keeping our focus on silicon, we can leverage the tremendous silicon infrastructure and manufacturing processes of the growing solar industry, as well as the mature and highly optimized semiconductor industry. However, since our focus is on re-engineering the solar cell, our 3D technology is materials agnostic and can be used with other materials for use in concentrated solar and high-performance applications.