Solar PV at 40c/W? SunEdison claims world’s cheapest solar

Print Friendly

US solar company SunEdison claims to have come up with a way to produce polysilicon – a key ingredient for efficient solar panels – using a method that is far cheaper and more energy efficient than the current industry standard.

The company has predicted that the high pressure fluidized bed reactor (HP-FBR) solar technology, in action as of this week at its new joint venture facility in Korea, will provide source polysilicon to enable 400 watt peak PV panel performance at a cost of $US0.40 per watt peak by 2016.

As PV Magazine explains, FBR is a relatively new process through which polysilicon is deposited when monosilane gas mixes with silicon seed particles in a reactor, in a continuous process. It offers an alternative to the electricity-intensive Siemens method, which has dominated the industry for decades. It also requires less land and less capital per kilogram of product.

The HP-FBR technology developed by SunEdison claims to produce high purity polysilicon 10 times more efficiently than standard Siemens processes, while requiring 90 per cent less energy consumption.

SunEdison predicts that, from these cost savings, it can bring the cost of polysilicon down to US$0.05 per watt by 2016 using its FBR technology, which translates to under $10 per kilogram.

“Solar energy is at a transformational moment in time and innovative technology is what will power that transformation,” said Ahmad Chatila, CEO of SunEdison.

SunEdison CEO Ahmad Chatila

SunEdison CEO Ahmad Chatila

“Our latest advance is a leap forward in solar technology and will enable solar power to become the lowest cost energy solution – not just an alternative to other renewables, but the cost-winner over fossil fuels as well.”

The company also noted that with the ramp up of the new polysilicon plant in Ulsan, Korea with partner Samsung Fine Chemicals and operated with SunEdison Semiconductor the facility had been expanded to produce 13,500MT per annum, compared to the initial designed capacity of 10,000MT.

Full capacity of the plant – a joint venture with SunEdison Semiconductor and Samsung Fine Chemicals – is expected to be reached in the first quarter of 2015, at which point the companies expect  it to produce up to 13,500 metric tonnes annually.

The plant will supply Huntai Group with polysilicon for PV modules and projects, under a partnership announced in June.  

RenewEconomy Free Daily Newsletter

Share this:

  • juxx0r

    Fluidised bed reactor technology is over 70 years old, the distinction is the high pressure and using it for silicon.

    • Matthias B. Krause

      REC has been using FBR reactors for its silicon production for a while. So what’s the news here, where is the difference?

  • Rob G

    Solar seems almost endless in its ability to become more and more effective, while continuing to drop in price. The nightmare continues for the fossil fuelers, as they ask when the heck is solar going to level out? The numbers in this article are very impressive, must be close 1/3 or more better than anything we currently have.

  • john

    80c against 40c says it all really.
    What else can I add?

  • disqus_OavX3schPc

    does anyone know how polysilicon is produced and what direct and indirect effects it has on the environment?

  • DoRightThing

    Fantastic news.