Most of the companies currently working on CdTe-based solar cells and modules use an evaporation method. Although this approach has been studied for over 20 years, thus far there has been only limited success in reducing processing and equipment costs and increasing device efficiency. EncoreSolar was founded to pursue a new technique to manufacture low-cost, high-efficiency CdTe solar cells—a technique based on electroplating. This proven technology has been used by the electronics and semiconductor industries for more than 30 years.
Electroplating involves placing the substrate in a water-based liquid containing the materials to be deposited. When an electrical potential is applied between a conducting area on the substrate and a counter electrode in the liquid, a chemical redox process takes place, resulting in the formation of a layer of material on the substrate. In this way, nearly 100% of the materials in the bath are used without any waste.