According to reports, the Department of Science and Technology has sanctioned a grant of Rs 6.5 crore to Bangalore-based HHV Solar, the company that makes solar PV modules, for a research project of the company meant to reduce costs and raise efficiency.
HHV is developing a new process for preparing the substrate glass – called TCO glass (for Transparent Coating Oxide) – on which the photovoltaic material (amorphous silicon in the case of HHV) will be coated. By replacing factory-made, tin-oxide coated TCO glass with home-made, zinc oxide coated TCO – and using a different process (magnetron sputtering), HHV expects to save 20 per cent in material costs.
The DST grant is for both developing the process and the prototype machinery for the process. “The same research, if done in the West, would cost $6 million instead of Rs 6 crore,” says Mr Prasanth Sakhamuri, Chairman, HHV Solar.
HHV is also researching into another process – double layering of the thin film. While this ‘double junction’ is not new in the industry, HHV wants to use a different material to save costs.
Mr Sakhamuri says that with these two technologies under its belt, HHV Solar would be able to sell a thin film module at 50 cents a watt in three years. Today, the company has a capacity of 10 MW (“more for technology demonstration”) apart from a 30 MW crystalline silicon line. The company intends to scale up its thin film capacity to 100 MW and is looking for partners.