Sliver® cells address the major issue relating to the uptake of solar electric systems – the cost. Sliver® cells use up to 90% less silicon compared with mono crystalline cells of equivalent output resulting in lower module costs. They generate up to 140 watts per square meter
Sliver® solar cells are fabricated using 1 – 2 mm thick silicon wafers. The key step in Sliver® cell processing is to form deep narrow grooves all the way through the wafer. Several processes can be used including laser scribing, a dicing saw or an anisotropic etching process.
The result is a wafer cut into a series of slivers, with each sliver approximately 50-100mm long, 1-2mm wide and 40-60μm thick.
‘‘The average soldier in Afghanistan now is carrying probably 40kg to 50kg, some of them even 60kg,’’ he said.
‘‘The average soldier would probably carry half a kilogram of batteries.’’
The Australian system, known as Sliver cells and developed as part of a $2.3 million contract between the ANU and Defence, features externally mounted panels that can be worn on a soldier’s helmet, front or back body armour plate or deployed on weapons or tents.
British scientists are working on energy-harvesting technology woven into the fabric of the soldier’s uniform that is powered by sunlight during the day and warmth during the night.
That project, due to have a prototype completed by December, could make troops invisible to infrared imaging devices.