Bengaluru-based Hind High Vacuum (HHV) has introduced a directional solidification (DSS) furnace for silicon growth in the solar PV industry. It designed and built the furnace to international standards based on its expertise in industrial furnace manufacturing and long experience in manufacturing and supplying vacuum furnaces.
“The furnace is meant for the production as well as R&D on polycrystalline silicon ingots. This product is suitable for all the poly-C-Si solar cell manufacturers that want a backward integration in their PV production value chain and want to begin their own ingot/wafer production facility. Simultaneously, the existing ingot makers can make use of this latest equipment for improving the growth process and quality of ingots. The poly c-Si cell manufacturing industry and academia having R&D setup on improving production technology, not only from India but other parts of the globe also who want to stay away from Chinese products, will be able to get the benefits of having this system available from India,” Nagarjun Sakhamuri, managing director of HHV, told pv magazine.
The company said the furnace can produce high-quality ingots suitable for processing high-efficiency polycrystalline solar cells.
“The unique production mechanism can enhance the properties of the standard and mono-like/quasi-mono cells produced out of the wafers wire-sawed from these ingots to increase the performance of the solar cells further,” stated HHV.
The furnace produces polycrystalline silicon ingots, which undergo minimum loss while producing wafers. This higher yield also contributes to lowering the cost of solar wafers and cells.
HHV’s DSS furnace also considers the possibility of any accidental breakage of the silica crucible, a critical component of the furnace. Breakage of this part can lead to lengthy downtimes and costs to repair. Several safety functions are incorporated to protect the furnace against overpressure and malfunctioning.
Academia and research institutions can pursue research activities on mc-Si/ mono-like Si with furnaces and technology like this.
Prof. P. Ramasamy, Dean (Research), SSN College of Engineering, Chennai, said, “The furnace will contribute to studies in improving the quality of silicon grown and the efficiency of the equipment. This will help us make these material processes more competitive and attractive to renewable energy power producers.”
Sakhamuri added, “As India is rapidly increasing its footprint into PV installations, these furnaces will help India become self-reliant in making its own wafers and satisfy the ‘Make in India’ and ‘Atmanirbhar Bharat’ [self-reliant India] initiative of the Govt. of India. This also helps produce solar cells at a lower cost, and solar modules made out of these will become more economical than the prevailing mono-C-Si modules. The DSS furnace is built to international standards with state-of-the-art PLCs, automatic controls and processing, and mandatory safety features and interlocks.”
HHV is a thin-film and vacuum technology company with over 55 years of expertise in designing and manufacturing high-vacuum equipment for research and industrial applications. HHV’s products are integral to multiple sectors, including aerospace, automotive, and defense.
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