“We are heading towards wholesale grid parity several years earlier than expected.”
A new Silicon Valley developer of thin film solar PV modules, backed by an Australian venture capitalist, has claimed an engineering breakthrough that could cut the manufacturing costs of PV modules by one third.
RSI has broken cover after five years of development to announce it has created a 1.5 square metre cadmium telluride PV (CdTe) module, twice the size of conventional modules.
It says this will enable solar PV modules to be manufactured at a cost of less than 40c/Watt, around one third cheaper than current mass-produced thin film and silicon based modules – and hastening the charge towards grid parity for solar PV.
First Solar, currently the world’s largest thin film solar PV module manufacturer, had predicted reaching 40c/W by 2017 through increases in efficiency. RSI says it can deliver that cost in 2014 by doubling the size of the module through a process known as Rapid Efficient Electroplating on Large- areas (REEL).
The company is backed by a group of venture capital firms, including the CalCEF Clean Energy Angel Fund co-managed by Australian Paul Fox, as well as Silicon Valley powerhouse Mayfield Fund, greentech VC specialist Nth Power, and Vancouver-based Pangaea.
Fox told RenewEconomy that the technology breakthrough would hasten the march towards grid parity for solar PV.
“The significance is that we can now deliver 40c/W, and will do so in 2014. People didn’t expect that to happen until 2017. This is a real acceleration. It is a step change in cost structure of PV. We are heading towards wholesale grid parity several years earlier than expected.”
via Clean Technica
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