Effimax Solar

University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, 2011 - $18,500

One of the greatest challenges facing the solar industry is the high cost per kilowatt hour for solar power. Even with government subsidies and incentives, the price of solar power is still much more expensive than traditional energy sources. For it to become widely adopted, cost reductions need to be accomplished that increase the energy output of solar cells and reduce manufacturing costs.

Effimax Solar is developing technology that addresses both of these challenges. Currently, crystalline silicon (c-Si) solar cells comprise over 85% of the solar cell market share. Among all of the c-Si solar cell manufacturing processes, texturing is one of the most significant in determining cell efficiency. Conventional texturing processes have several drawbacks, but Effimax Solar’s new process, called Omni Black, ameliorates the disadvantages, enhances efficiency, and lowers the cost of c-Si cells. Omni Black is a nanotexturing process that creates high density and high aspect ratio nanostructures on silicon solar cell surface to lower the surface reflectance and improve the light trapping. This results in more light being collected and converted into electric power. Further cost savings are realized by reducing the silicon loss in the texturing process and migrating to thinner wafers with almost no loss in efficiency.