Next Generation Solar Cells?

ATS Automation Tooling Systems Inc. plans to begin commercial manufacture of next generation solar cells utilizing a proprietary photovoltaic technology – called Spheral Solar Technology (SST).

Cambridge, Ontario, Canada – July 18, 2002 [] These solar cells, comprised of thousands of tiny silicon beads bonded in an aluminum foil, are expected to dramatically reduce the cost of solar energy and open a broad range of new uses of solar power by industrial, commercial and residential users worldwide. ATS has been a long-time marketer of PV products through its Photowatt International subsidiary. ATS has started design of a new 120,000 square foot, highly-automated commercial SST production facility and intends to begin commercial production of these pliable, highly efficient solar cells by the fall of 2003. ATS is currently nearing completion of a pilot production line at its main Cambridge, Ontario facility and will begin producing small quantities of the SST product, for testing and product development purposes, this summer. “We fully expect Spheral Solar Technology to revolutionize the solar energy industry for two reasons,” said Klaus Woerner, ATS President and Chief Executive Officer. “First, the SST unique design only requires a fraction of the raw materials – particularly the silicon – used in traditional multicrystalline solar cells to produce the same amount of energy. Based on technical design enhancements made over the past year to SST, we have achieved a sunlight-to-energy conversion ratio that is competitive with conventional multicrystalline solar cells. Therefore, we expect to generate energy at far less cost per watt. In effect, we’re talking about a new era for solar energy, where our technology can stand on its own in the marketplace, as a viable energy alternative.” Woerner also said the new product is lightweight, pliable and break resistant allowing it to be formed into a variety of shapes and sizes to develop innovative new products that can be “seamlessly and attractively integrated into consumer products and even the most complex building designs.” “Spheral Solar(TM) Technology will allow ATS to lead the world to more quickly adopt a clean, renewable – and now economical – form of energy,” he said. The Government of Canada, through Technology Partnerships Canada, has entered into a CAN$29.5 million (US$19.4 million) Research and Development investment agreement with ATS. The investment will help ATS to undertake development of a full-scale pilot manufacturing system for Spheral Solar(TM) Technology. ATS has created a new Canadian subsidiary, Spheral Solar Power, Inc., to spearhead rapid commercialization of the technology.
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