Innovalight

Company Background

Innovalight Inc., a Sunnyvale business whose patented silicon ink makes solar cells more efficient  was founded in 2002. The company originally planned to manufacture its own solar cells, but in 2008, Innovalight chose to concentrate instead on selling its ink and licensing its technology to solar cell manufacturers. In 2011, Innovalight was bought by DuPont, America's third-largest chemical company, to deepen its presence in the solar industry. DuPont already makes a range of solar products, such as films that protect cells from the elements. In 2010, the company's solar offerings brought in more than $1 billion in revenue (3).

DuPont Innovalight provides innovative silicon inks and licenses proprietary high-efficiency solar cell process technology to solar cell manufacturers which enables an immediate increase in solar cell conversion efficiency for customers.  DuPont Innovalight’s selective emitter platform is the latest low cost cell design enabled by DuPont Innovalight silicon ink that allows cell manufacturers to quickly break through the efficiency ceiling.  The proprietary material is comprised of silicon nano-particles formulated into a screen printable ink. The result of over 100 engineering-years of ink development, DuPont Innovalight has optimized silicon ink powder and formulation properties to maximize the conversion efficiency of the DuPont Innovalight selective emitter platform. Additionally, the material was formulated to be compatible with low-cost industry standard screen printers – the same tool cell manufacturers use for printing metal contacts (1).  DuPont Innovalight makes ink that contains silicon nanoparticles suspended in a chemical mix. When applied to silicon solar cells during the manufacturing process, the ink boosts the cells' absorption of sunlight at lower wavelengths, generating more electricity (3).

Suppliers and Buyers

JinkoSolar Holding Co., Ltd., a fast-growing vertically integrated solar product manufacturer with low-cost operations based in China, entered into a commercial agreement with Innovalight, Inc. in 2010. Under the terms of the agreement, JinkoSolar will purchase silicon ink from Innovalight and license Innovalight's processing technology to produce solar cells with higher conversion efficiencies.  With Innovalight technology, JinkoSolar expects to produce monocrystalline solar cells with conversion efficiencies greater than 18.6% in the first half of 2011 (5).

In May 2012, Hyundai Heavy Industries (HHI) began mass production of solar cells using silicon ink technology from DuPont Innovalight.  HHI has achieved over 19.5 percent median conversion efficiency with screen printed selective emitter solar cells made with DuPont™ Innovalight™ silicon ink on the HHI mass production line (7).

Strategic Partnerships

Innovalight has an agreement with Motech Industries, Inc. beginning in 2011 to develop high performance solar cells using silicon ink manufactured by Innovalight.  Motech is a pioneer in the manufacturing and marketing of high-quality single and multicrystalline silicon solar cells in Taiwan. Motech, which reached a gigawatt in production capacity in the third quarter of 2010, is the largest solar cell manufacturer in Taiwan and one of the top ten manufacturers worldwide in terms of production capacity and output (4).

Innovation and Technology

Innovalight, Inc., achieved a new record of 19 percent conversion efficiency with silicon ink processed solar cells in 2010. The conversion efficiency of a solar cell is the proportion of sunlight energy that a cell converts to electrical energy.  Innovalight has filed for over 60 patents for silicon ink and high efficiency solar cells using silicon ink processes and is pushing for 20 percent conversion efficiency in the near future (6).

DuPont Microcircuit Materials (MCM) has introduced its next-generation front side metallization pastes for crystalline silicon solar cells. DuPont™ Solamet® PV18x series photovoltaic metallization pastes offer photovoltaic manufacturers improved productivity beyond that provided by Solamet® PV17x series, the current industry benchmark.  Solamet® PV18A, the first product in the series, is tailored for optimal performance on mono-crystalline wafers with enhanced Lightly Doped Emitters (LDEs). PV18A is demonstrating efficiency gains despite significantly less material consumption when compared to Solamet® PV17F, further widening the gap in performance with other competitive products in the market.  MCM is concurrently developing diffusion recipes in-house aimed at boosting solar cell efficiencies beyond the 19.3% level already demonstrated with Solamet® PV18A (2).

For more information, see the Innovalight location page.

Sources

  1. DuPont (2012). “Silicon Inks - DuPont™ Innovalight™ Silicon Inks for Selective Emitter Solar Cells.” Retrieved on October 27, 2012 from www2.dupont.com/Photovoltaics/en_US/products_services/silicon_inks/silicon_inks.html
  2. DuPont (2012). “DuPont Microcircuit Materials Introduces Highest Efficiency Solamet® Photovoltaic Metallization Pastes to Date.” Retrieved on October 27, 2012 from www2.dupont.com/Photovoltaics/en_US/news_events/article20120920.html
  3. SF Gate (2011, July 25). “Innovalight bought by DuPont.” Retrieved on October 29, 2012 from www.sfgate.com/business/article/Innovalight-bought-by-DuPont-2353263.php
  4. AZoNano (2011, January 10). “Motech Industries Signs Agreement with Nanotechnology-Based Silicon Ink Manufacturer.” Retrieved on October 29, 2012 from www.azonano.com/news.aspx?newsID=21143
  5. Nanowerk (2010, December 16). “JinkoSolar Partners with Innovalight to Increase Solar Cell Efficiency with Silicon Ink.” Retrieved on October 29, 2012 from www.nanowerk.com/news/newsid=19453.php
  6. AZoNano (2010, April 27). “Innovalight’s Silicon Ink Solar Cell Sets Conversion Efficiency Record at 19%.” Retrieved on October 29, 2012 from www.azonano.com/news.aspx?newsID=17228
  7. DuPont (2012, May 16). "DuPont Innovalight Announces Highest Efficiency Solar Modules Using Silicon Ink Technology." Retrieved on April 17, 2013 from www2.dupont.com/Photovoltaics/en_US/news_events/article20120516.html