Advanced Technology Cuts Wafer Costs by More Than 50 Percent
JULY 1, 2013, San Jose, CA.-Scifiniti came out of stealth mode today, with the announcement of its first product, SmartWafer™. SmartWafer is an ultra-low cost, drop-in replacement photovoltaic (PV) silicon wafer that offers the same form factor and performance as traditional wafers, but costs less than half as much to produce.
“Over the last few years, a large ecosystem has been created around crystalline silicon, the dominant solar manufacturing technology,” said Sharone Zehavi, CEO of Scifiniti. “To enable the continued cost reduction and growth of solar-based energy, the largest opportunity in the value chain is to dramatically decrease the cost of the silicon wafer. Our scalable manufacturing technology reduces the wafer cost by more than 50 percent and enables our customers to dramatically improve their margins.”
SmartWafer has been engineered specifically for solar cell manufacturing, unlike traditional wafers that have been adapted from the semiconductor industry. It uses a thin, deposited, high-quality silicon layer on a conductive substrate, offering the same form-factor as a standard wafer enabling a “drop-in” replacement. Cell and module manufacturers will be able to use the SmartWafer without any changes to existing processes and without the need to purchase new capital equipment. SmartWafer reduces silicon use by more than 90 percent and helps to improve yields by reducing wafer breakage rate compared to conventional wafers which results in significant cost savings.
“We seek out innovative and high impact companies that deliver disruptive technologies for large markets,” said David Waserstein, partner at I2BF Global Ventures. “The wafer market represents a $6 billion opportunity that continues to grow. Scifiniti’s technology puts them in a leadership position to capture significant market share and build a highly profitable business in the solar market.”
During the creation of SmartWafer, Scifiniti developed a number of unique technologies, which include an in-line continuous deposition system, a crystallization system and advanced semi-grade ceramic processes. The company expects to utilize these capabilities in future products for multiple markets.
“I am very excited about SmartWafer for the solar market and the innovative nature of Scifiniti’s suite of technologies,” said Wilbert van den Hoek, Scifiniti board member and former CTO of Novellus, Inc. “Their exceptional capabilities are applicable to multiple industries beyond solar such as batteries and advanced ceramics.”
Scifiniti (www.scifiniti.com) is a materials company developing innovative solutions that enhance performance and significantly lower the cost of silicon-based products for energy and related markets. Headquartered in San Jose, Calif., Scifiniti is backed by Alloy Ventures, Firelake Capital Management, I2BF Global Ventures and Peninsula Ventures.