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Posted by Bubba bin Bubba on January 29, 2004, 3:20 am
Because I've heard it all before, again and again and again.    It's always
some new discovery, and production is just around the corner.



comparison, a


Posted by Bughunter on January 29, 2004, 3:35 am
I'm with you Scott.

I read their PDF, and I thought that it had some interestng incremental
innovations. Unlike some other proposed innovations I have read about, with
very exotic and unproven technologies and chemistries, my impresssion was
that this one has some potential to incrementally reduce costs of a well
proven technlogy.

I did not see anything in their documentation as a solicitation for funding
or investment.

The Aussie method of simply making very thin strips of silicon seems to be
rather simple and elegant way to reduce material costs of the part of a
panel that represents at least 50% of the cost. Maybe it will take some
multi-million dollar piece of capitol equimnent to perform the assembly, but
that expenditure can be amortized over many panels and not a fixed cost of
to each panel as silicon material is.

I do not fully understand the micromachining technology, but it did not seem
too far fetched to me.

I also thought the reflective benefit of directing some of the light to the
back of the cell was also quite creative.

It all seemed quite plausable to me, but I did think that they might have
some difficulty placing the cells without breaking them. Pick and place
machines have come a long way in the last few years.

I did find their mention of transformers to be confusing and lacking detail.

I'm not investing, nor will I be holding my breath for prices to drop
because of this, but on the face of it it didn't seem like a scam to me.

Hope springs eternal, and is often the fuel of innovation. I'm hoping that
they succeed in meeting their goals.

Posted by William P.N. Smith on January 29, 2004, 1:13 pm
Well, it's elegant, but it's neither simple nor less expensive (per
wafer) than existing technologies.  It is, in fact, far more complex
and expensive (per wafer)...

What if the assembly process added two dollars per watt to the cost of
the panels?  The production and assembly costs have the potential
(IMNSHO) to swamp any cost savings in raw silicon, leaving us with
panels at about the same cost as existing panels but with a lower
reliability due to all the interconnects.

I'd love to see them (or anyone, we get a couple of "Breakthrough!"
posting a week on this NG) make cheap, reliable panels, but I'm not
holding my breath.

William Smith
ComputerSmiths Consulting, Inc.    www.compusmiths.com

Posted by R. H. Allen on January 29, 2004, 6:31 pm
 On Thu, 29 Jan 2004 08:13:34 -0500, William P.N. Smith <> wrote:

I've neither done nor seen a detailed cost analysis for the processing
of sliver cells, but considering how much less silicon it uses the
additional processing would have to be very, very expensive to reach
breakeven vs. conventional silicon solar cells. Something on the order
of 2-3 times the processing cost for conventional silicon cells, or
40-50% of the cost of the module.

As I recall from a conversation last summer with one of the people
working on the sliver cell, they claim not to be inventing anything or
doing anything exotic to handle or process these devices. Like most
startups, though, they are fairly secretive about exactly what they
*are* doing.

Posted by William P.N. Smith on January 29, 2004, 7:23 pm
Because they are still trying to prove that the technology works, and
that panels can be made from these cells.  The fact that there will be
_thousands_ of interconnects in a panel, that no sliver can be
upside-down, and that assembling it will be a real feat of automation
is dismissed with some handwaving about "pick and place".  They don't
_know_ how they are going to be able to mass-produce these panels (and
won't know until they build the mass-production lines, debug them, and
get them working smoothly), so of course they get to claim it'll be
low-cost.  I can see Dilbert's pointy-haired boss saying "well, if
costs are unknown, set them to zero in your spreadsheet...".

Note, I'm not saying it can't be done, I'm saying I'm sceptical that
it can be done economically, without the extra processing and assembly
costs eating up all the cost savings of the lower silicon use.

When they've got the production line up and running and producing
panels for a buck a watt, _THEN_ we'll talk about reliability, and how
much it's lowered by all those interconnects.  8*)

William Smith
ComputerSmiths Consulting, Inc.    www.compusmiths.com

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