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Published on September 23rd, 2008 | by Ariel Schwartz


Suniva Develops Low-Cost, High Efficiency Solar Cells

September 23rd, 2008 by  


Suniva, an Atlanta-based startup, has recently developed solar cells that can achieve 20 percent efficiency. Unlike other high-efficiency cells, Suniva is using low-cost processes that will make their solar cells cost-competitive with conventional sources of electricity.

Suniva uses a combination of superior cell design and screen-printing technology to achieve its solar cell efficiency.

According to Ajeet Rohatgi, Suniva’s CTO, the company’s techniques can produce solar energy for 8 to 10 cents per KWh— a comparable price to conventional energy sources in the United States.

Despite its achievement, Suniva still has a long way to go before the cheap solar cells are on the market. During testing, the company used 200-micrometer thick and 100-micrometer thick silicon wafers. But Suniva faces a challenge in acquiring the large amount of silicon necessary to produce its product en masse since such thin wafers aren’t currently on the market.

The world record for solar cell efficiency is currently held by SunPower, which produced a solar cell earlier this year with 23.4 percent efficiency.

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About the Author

was formerly the editor of CleanTechnica and is a senior editor at Co.Exist. She has contributed to SF Weekly, Popular Science, Inhabitat, Greenbiz, NBC Bay Area, GOOD Magazine, and more. A graduate of Vassar College, she has previously worked in publishing, organic farming, documentary film, and newspaper journalism. Her interests include permaculture, hiking, skiing, music, relocalization, and cob (the building material). She currently resides in San Francisco, CA.

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