Solar cells change from using silver to using aluminum for significant cost savings
At the Rochester R&D Center, Natcore scientists have built a full-back contact silicon heterojunction cell structure that completely eliminates the use of silver and replaces it with aluminum, and Natcore emphasizes that the use of aluminum does not cause performance loss.
A solar photovoltaic panel uses an average of about 1/2 ounce of silver, which is 11% of the total raw material cost of a solar PV module. The use of silver exceeds the metal cost of solar cells by 48%.
It is important to realize cost savings from switching from silver to aluminum. Because silver has strong electrical conductivity, it is costly. Today, the price of silver is about $15.28 per troy ounce, and the same amount of aluminum is only $0.05, about 0.3% of the cost of silver.
Even considering that aluminum, which is twice the amount of silver, can be used to achieve the same amount of electricity between the battery and the battery, the raw material cost of aluminum is still only 0.6% of the direct material cost of using silver.
Natcore expects to file a provisional patent application in the next two weeks
“In the past month, our scientists have brought about historic changes in the structure and cost-effectiveness of solar cells,” said Naccore’s President and CEO Chuck Pwen. “Solar cell manufacturers will no longer Affected by fluctuations in the silver market. Due to technological advances in our proprietary laser technology, we are saving a lot of money for the production of solar cells. We look forward to submitting a provisional patent application within the next two weeks."
The current production of 1 GW of solar power requires 1.5 million ounces of silver. In 2014, it required 60 million ounces of silver, accounting for about 6% of total metal demand. Before Natcore's research results have yet to emerge, silver usage is expected to increase to 15% of the entire market.