Solar technology manufacturer SunEdison has announced that its advanced polysilicon technology is now in production and on target to produce solar material at low cost.
The company claims this development is a step-change in technology and will it enable it to deliver a 400 watt peak solar panel at a cost of $0.40 (£0.25) per watt peak by 2016. The “high-pressure fluidized bed reactor” (HP-FBR) has been designed to produce high purity polysilicon ten times more efficiently than non FBR technologies and using less energy. The company claims this will mean less land is required, less capital and fewer natural resources, thereby delivering a more economical and sustainable method to produce polysilicon at the lowest overall cost. This in turn will reduce the cost of the raw material needed to manufacture solar panels to less than $0.05 (£0.03) per watt peak by 2016.
“Solar energy is at a transformational moment in time and innovative technology is what will power that transformation” said Ahmad Chatila, Chief Executive Officer of SunEdison. “Our latest advance is a leap forward in solar technology and will enable solar power to become the lowest cost energy solution – not just an alternative to other renewables, but the cost-winner over fossil fuels as well.”
The technology is now in production at joint venture facility operated by SunEdison, SunEdison Semiconductor and Samsung Fine Chemicals, Ulsan in Korea. Originally, the plant was designed to produce a capacity of 10,000 metric tons (MT) per year but this has now been enhanced to 13,500 MT. The plant will be operating at full capacity in the first quarter of 2015.