First Solar, a provider of solar solutions and leading manufacturer of photovoltaic (PV) solar panels, became famous because due to its amazing progress in the solar energy field.
They broke the $1.00 a Watt price barrier last year, being able to produce thin film at $0.76 cents a Watt. This way, the company has been rewarded with contracts from major utilities.
Now, Oerlikon Solar, a Swiss solar equipment manufacturing company, claims that their firm can enable solar producers to make their amorphous silicon thin film modules at a cost under €0.50 cents per watt ($0.70). Unlike other thin film solar cells (that contain rare earth minerals), silicon is much more sustainable and more widely available.
According to Oerlikon Solar, the new equipment will help in mass-producing low cost thin film silicon solar modules. This will be possible because of the thinner silicon layer requirements, reducing material costs.
The company officials also stated that thanks to their new technology, the efficiency will increase by 12% and the costs will drop dramatically by 25%. If all goes well, Oerlikon Solar’s technology could revolutionize the solar industry and will be implemented into photovoltaic panels starting 2012.