Wakonda Technologies is developing proprietary solar electric technology that is more efficient than crystalline silicon and lower in cost than thin film alternatives.
Wakonda combines the world’s most efficient photovoltaic materials with a flexible substrate that enables high volume manufacturing using commercial processes. The result:
•Costs competitive with conventional electricity
•Elimination of rare and toxic raw materials
•Wide variety of product forms
Their technology will dramatically improve the availability of solar energy for both critical military and broad commercial applications, making it possible for everyone to harness The Power That Resides in Nature™.
Solar electricity can significantly reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Solar energy is most effective when electricity is needed most – during the heat of the day. Solar enabled peak load reduction will improve the reliability of the grid and reduce the need for additional centralized power generation. Solar power is generated at the point of use, eliminating transmission and distribution losses.
Wakonda Technologies is actively working to reduce the average cost of solar systems to make solar energy competitive with conventional electric power. Solar cells and modules account for 40-50% of the cost of today’s solar systems. Solar electricity averages 3-5 times the cost of centrally generated electricity, independent of the technology used in manufacturing of the cells.
Crystalline silicon, the same material used in the mass production of computer chips, accounts for over 90% of the commercial solar cell market. Silicon cells are typically 11-16% efficient. They are also rigid and relatively fragile.
Lower cost thin film solar cells based on amorphous silicon, copper-indium-gallium-diselenide, or cadmium-telluride make up the rest of today’s commercial market. These materials absorb light better than crystalline silicon, so they can be deposited in layers less than 1 micron thick on flexible substrates such as stainless steel foil. This flexibility allows high volume roll-to-roll production using processes similar to photographic film manufacturing. Despite laboratory efficiencies over 15% and over 20 years of development, commercial thin film cells are only 5-8% efficient and their performance degrades over time. In addition, indium and tellurium are rare and expensive raw materials.
The highest efficiency solar cells in production today are based on III-V semiconductor materials such as gallium-arsenide. These cells were developed for specialty applications such as satellites and are over 30% efficient. III-V cells trade efficiency for cost – the single crystal germanium substrates used in their production cost over $10,000 per square meter, well above costs acceptable for commercial applications.
Evolutionary developers are seeking ways to reduce the inherent high material cost of crystalline silicon or to increase the inherent low efficiency of existing thin film materials, Wakonda is developing a revolutionary method to significantly reduce raw materials cost – the primary cost driver in production of inherently high efficiency III-V cells.
Our virtual single crystal uses a proprietary surface treatment that allows a low cost, commercial metal foil to simulate an expensive single crystal wafer. The result is a new paradigm in solar cell manufacturing, combining:
- High efficiency III-V cell technology, and
- Proven, low cost manufacturing processes.