Natcore Technology Develops Solar Cell That Eliminates the Use of Silver

- August 25th, 2015

Natcore Technology (TSXV:NXT) announced last week that it had achieved a breakthrough in solar cell technology, creating a solar panel in which silver has been replaced by aluminum. The substitution has not resulted in any loss of performance.

Natcore Technology (TSXV:NXT) announced last week that it had achieved a breakthrough in solar cell technology, creating a solar panel in which silver has been replaced by aluminum. The substitution has not resulted in any loss of performance.
As quoted in the press release:

When sunlight hits a silicon cell, it generates electrons. Ever since practical solar cells have been made – about 60 years ago – silver has been used as a conductor to collect these electrons in order to form a useful electric current. Silver was originally chosen for this role because it is a high-conductivity metal. The average solar panel uses about one-half of an ounce of silver.
Silver represents >48% of the metallization cost of a solar cell, or about 11% of the total raw material cost of a solar module.
The cost saving realized by switching from silver to aluminum are important. That’s because silver, while highly conductive, is also high-cost. At today’s prices, silver costs about $15.28 per troy ounce. The same quantity of aluminum costs $0.05, about 0.3% of the cost of silver.
Even considering that it would be necessary to use twice as much aluminum as silver in order to have an equal amount of conductivity from cell to cell, the raw material cost of aluminum would still be just 0.6% of the direct material cost of using silver in the cell.

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Natcore president and CEO, Chuck Provini, said:

Within the past month, our scientists have wrought historic changes in the architecture and the economics of the solar cell. Solar cell manufacturers will no longer be subject to the vagaries of the silver market. We are now able to produce solar cells at a substantial cost savings thanks to improvements achievable by our proprietary laser technology. We expect to file a provisional patent application within the next two weeks.

Click here for the full press release.

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