High-performance solar ingots are being developed by researchers from SSN College of Engineering in Chennai. This technology will be the first of its kind in the country, for making India a next-gen solar panel manufacturing hub these technological advancements are being promoted.

The research team has successfully developed directional solidification furnaces for growing multi-crystalline (mc-Si) silicon ingots. “Multi-crystalline silicon is an important material with advantages of low production cost and high conversion efficiency of solar cells. Market share of mono- and multi-crystalline silicon (mc-Si) is more than 90% at present and will remain so in the foreseeable future,” said professor P Ramasamy, dean (research), SSN Institutions.

An ingot is a key component for solar cells, technological advancement will help India for domestic manufacturing. Currently, Indian solar cell industries import silicon cells and convert them into solar modules. As of now, 98% of the silicon cells imported into the country are multi-crystalline silicon cells. Very few efforts have gone into developing mc-Si crystal in Indian labs. The lack of manufacturing capabilities has rendered India dependent upon imports and in 2018-19 alone, India imported US$2.2 billion worth of solar photovoltaic (PV) cells, panels, and modules.

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“There has been a lack of technical know-how and capability when it comes to manufacturing solar wafers and ingots. A handful of countries such as Japan, Germany, Taiwan, South Korea, Finland, and China dominate the market,” Ramasamy added.

During the testing, the efficiency of the indigenously developed solar cells was found to be higher than commercially available cells. The department of science and technology has granted Rs 12 crore for the team to apply their methods and design and develop 800kg multi-crystalline silicon directional solidification furnace and slicing machines for industrial-scale applications.

Source:- Times of India