A key objective of this project was to bring down the costs for photovoltaics. This led to the requirement to find alternatives to the use of silver and expensive silicon wafers.
How to significantly reduce the costs associated with commercial PV devices
The costs for making most commercial solar cells are dominated by the costs of the wafers and silver metallisation. Key findings from the present project have been that silver can be replaced by new copper-based technology and expensive silicon wafers can be replaced by much lower cost, but lower quality wafers that can achieve the same efficiencies through the use of the new hydrogen passivation technology.
Implications for future projects
The new technology and tools developed facilitating the use of the new copper-based technology and the ability to transform low cost silicon wafers into an equivalent quality as ones traditionally costing one or two orders of magnitude higher prices should be made available and considered for use in future projects. This has the potential to lead to much lower cost technology without sacrificing performance.