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22 November 2013

Solexant rebrands as Siva Power, refocusing on Gigawatt-scale CIGS PV production

Solexant Corp of San Jose, CA, USA has announced a new corporate identity as Siva Power, the culmination of a two-year transition to a platform that aims to create a profitable path to sub-$0.40 per watt solar power, along with what it claims is unprecedented production scale. The firm has also announced a Technical Advisory Board.

“Unlike silicon photovoltaics (PV), our new approach provides a pathway to building the solar industry’s ‘factory of the future’ with gigawatt production capacity, and the world's lowest cost in solar,” says CEO Brad Mattson. “Two years of data-driven research and analysis has led us to pursue a co-evaporated CIGS [copper indium gallium selenide] via monolithic integration on glass technology.”

Drawing upon Mattson’s past success in scaling new semiconductor technologies through process, equipment and materials innovation, the firm cancelled its expansion plan to build a 100MW CdTe production line in Oregon, and instead tripled its R&D budget with a goal of investigating new technologies that offered much lower-cost production. After investigating several promising solar technologies including gallium arsenide (GaAs), indium phosphide (InP), copper zinc tin sulfide (CZTS), cadmium telluride (CdTe) and CIGS, Siva determined that CIGS was the only viable path to less than $0.40/watt.

Siva Power has completed its R&D phase and is raising money to build its first production line. At 300MW, the facility is threefold larger than any other full production line and tenfold larger than typical silicon lines, it is reckoned.

In the USA, in 2011 the Department of Energy created the PV Manufacturing Consortium (PVMC) dedicated to accelerating CIGS transition from R&D to manufacturing. Meanwhile, solar manufacturers in China have shown increased confidence in the technology, recently acquiring three CIGS firms. Solar Frontier in Japan has also become the world leader in CIGS and second only to CdTe PV module maker First Solar in thin-film production.

To capitalize on the growing consolidation around CIGS, earlier this year Siva Power hired CIGS technologist Dr. Markus E. Beck as chief technology officer. Building on that foundation, Siva Power has formed a Technical Advisory Board and added two new advisory board members:

  • Dr Rommel Noufi is a pioneer in thin-film solar cells (particularly CIGS), spending over 33 years at the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) dedicated to the advancement of PV and CIGS technology. His work in co-evaporation techniques led to a deep understanding of the basic technology and several world-record CIGS devices.
  • Dr John Benner, a 33-year veteran of NREL (focused on PV technology), is now executive director of the Bay Area Photovoltaic Consortium (BAPVC), the west coast counterpart to PVMC. Working out of Stanford University and University of California, Berkeley, the BAPVC is investigating advanced techniques in CIGS along with other PV technologies.

“It has been frustrating to see CIGS technology breaking efficiency records for many years, but not see that technical success translate into success in the commercial arena,” comments Noufi. “In Siva Power I see the technology, the team, and the technical and business leadership to bring CIGS to the scale it deserves.”

See related items:

US Photovoltaic Manufacturing Consortium and NREL team up to develop thin-film PV cells and modules

PVMC releases first US roadmap for CIGS


Visit: www.sivapower.com

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