Solar-Tectic Awarded US Patent for III-V Tandem Solar Cell on Thin-Film Silicon

Solar-Tectic LLC a solar firm based in Briarcliff Manor, New York USA, reports that the company has received a patent for III-V thin-film tandem high-performance solar cell and LED technology. The patent, US 15/205,316 describes high-efficiency and cost-effective solar cells made on glass or flexible plastic substrates for various industrial applications, such as rooftop installations to aid in charging battery-powered electric automobiles (EVs).

Solar-Tectic Claims Technology Could Improve LED Fabrication

The company claims that the technology can also lead to a breakthrough in LED fabrication, because it can use another III-V material, Gallium Nitride (GaN), which is commonly employed in LEDs. Solar-Tectic also claims that the patent is the first ever for a thin III-V layer on crystalline silicon thin-film.

The patent covers group III-V elements including Indium Gallium Phosphide (InGaP) and Gallium Arsenide (GaAs) acting as the top layer. It also covers all inorganic materials such as silicon, germanium, etc., for the bottom layer.

The Solar-Tectic LLC patented technology reportedly employs common industrial fabrication methods at low temperature. The process does not use a wafer which saves material and energy. Instead, the company’s method uses a thin-film to precisely control of growth parameters. A glass substrate instead of wafer also permits a bifacial cell design for enhanced efficiency.

Importantly, Solar-Tectic points out that the whole patented process for its III-V tandem cell can be environmentally friendly because non-toxic metals can be employed to deposit the crystalline thin-film materials for both the bottom layer and top, III-V layer in the tandem configuration.

Tariffs Will Not Apply to Thin-Film Solar-Tectic Technology

While the ITC ruling on September 22 probably means that tariffs will be imposed on crystalline silicon wafers sold in the US, these tariffs will not apply to Solar-Tectic’s thin-film solar cell technology.