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Sept. 27, 2012: Working Prototype of Three-Dimensional Solar Cell Is Unveiled

September 27, 2012
SANTA BARBARA, Calif. — Solar3D Inc., the developer of a new three-dimensional solar cell technology to maximize the conversion of sunlight into electricity, has announced the successful fabrication and operation of a working three-dimensional silicon solar cell that the company says produces at least 250 percent of the power of a basic silicon solar cell.

Dr. Changwan Son, Solar3D’s director of technology, said, “When measured relative to a conventional solar cell design, our working prototype produces electricity beyond our previous expectations. First, we fabricated our working prototype. Then we created a simple cell based on the conventional design, using the same fabrication environment, to serve as a control sample. By measuring the side-by-side power output of both cells, we were able to determine the relative performance under a number of conditions, ranging from bright sunlight to lower, diffuse light. In each test, our 3D Solar Cell consistently outperformed the control cell and produced at least 2½ times the amount of electricity under the same conditions.”

“This is a game-changing result,” said Jim Nelson, CEO of Solar3D. “Two powerful characteristics of our 3D Solar Cell make it superior to current technology. First, it is substantially more efficient in producing power. Second, is our wide-angle light collection feature, which allows our 3D Solar Cell to collect light at all times of the day, month, and year, an attribute unique in the solar world. Our computer simulation analysis indicated that the combination of these two features would produce double the power of a conventional solar cell. Based on the performance of our first working prototype, it appears that our 3D Solar Cell will exceed even that ambitious expectation. This device could be a giant leap forward, allowing solar power to achieve grid parity.”

Son continued, “Our mandate was to create a solar cell that would produce substantially more power than the current technology at a low enough cost of production to deliver a considerably lower cost per watt of solar electricity. We spent the first half of the year completing our fabrication process methodology. In July, we announced the fabrication and showed pictures of the first cell. Now, we have an actual working cell that produces substantially more power than the control samples, which fulfills part one of our two-part goal. Now, our near term objective is to continue to improve the fabrication process and the power output, as we optimize the cost of manufacturing. We believe that the result will be a 50 percent reduction in the cost of solar electricity. Perhaps the installed system cost savings will be even greater.”

Nelson concluded, “We are focused on bringing this breakthrough technology to market. Our next major step will be to produce a manufacturing prototype, which is required to undertake a pilot production run in early 2013. The pilot run will prove the 3D Cell’s performance characteristics in a production environment and lead us to a manufacturing partner and entry into the marketplace by the end of 2013.”

For more information, visit www.solar3d.com.

Publication date: 9/24/2012

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