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CX-004020: Categorical Exclusion Determination

Resonance Ultrasonic Vibration (RUV) Technology as an Industrial Tool for Silicon Solar Manufacturing
CX(s) Applied: B3.6, B5.1
Date: 09/14/2010
Location(s): Tampa, Florida
Office(s): Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy

The principal objective of the entire Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) program is to deliver to the photovoltaic (PV) industry a new, highly demanded Resonance Ultrasonic Vibration (RUV) system, which will be used as a real-time, in-line quality control and process control tool for identification and removal from production mechanically unstable Si wafers and finished solar cells from the cell and module production lines. The primary goal of this SBIR/Department of Energy (DOE) Phase III project is to define a comprehensive plan that will allow quick deployment of an RUV in-line crack detection system for silicon wafers and solar cells into the commercial marketplace and customers hands. This SBIR/DOE Phase III proposal aims to finalize two previous consecutive steps, Phase I and Phase II, by entering into a commercialization program based on a new patented methodology for in-line crack detection in silicon-based solar cells used for PV modules. In Phase III, the Technology Readiness Level (TRL) of the RUV technology will move from the current TRL5 to TRL8. The specific objectives of the program include: (i) transition of in-line crack detection technology from the laboratory level to a prototype demonstration in a relevant and operational environment; (ii) completion of actual RUV system testing in the field; and (iii) definition and execution of a detailed plan for full product deployment with the goal of completing at least 3 commercial sales by the end of the program.