PORTLAND, Ore. Solar cell ingot manufacturer Solaicx has developed its own manufacturing process for wafers used in solar panels. The result, it claims, is much higher solar conversion efficiencies.
Solaicx's efforts to differentiate itself from traditional manufacturers of silicon ingots for solar applications has resulted in its receiving the Progressive Manufacturing 100 award for its proprietary manufacturing process. The process for crystalline silicon photovoltaics was cited for consistently high efficiency.
The company's Progressive Manufacturing Award was in the "Innovation Mastery" category.
"Everybody else grows silicon ingots for the solar industry using production equipment that was designed for the semiconductor industry," said Solaicx co-founder John Sedgwick. "What we did was design unique, proprietary equipment that solves the wants and needs of solar industry."
Solaicx claims it is often approached about licensing its ingot-growing process but has so far declined, sticking with its business model as the exclusive manufacture of its ingots. The ingots are cut into wafers for solar cells.
Solaicx has an facility in Santa Clara, Calif., but does all its manufacturing at its facility here, where 12 growers now produce 60 megawatts of solar cell material annually. The company has additional space available to expand to 48 more growers, bringing maximum capacity to 300 megawatts annually by 2010.