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2013.01.21
Dow Corning and Crystal Solar announce intention to collaborate for use of silicon-based materials in solar applications


Midland, Michigan and Santa Clara, California – Dow Corning, a global leader in silicones, silicon-based technology and innovation, and Crystal Solar, a solar energy venture company focusing on Direct Gas to Wafer™ technology, today announced their intention to develop a business relationship for the successful supply of high-performance, silicon-based materials for photovoltaic (PV) cells and modules. The two companies also intend to assess options for developing high performance building integrated photovoltaic (BIPV) solutions for building and construction, focusing on both commercial and residential applications.

Dow Corning can provide access to high-quality trichlorosilane, specialized silicon-based materials, and supply chain consultancy to support a breakthrough manufacturing approach developed by Crystal Solar to produce monocrystalline ultra-thin silicon epi-wafers. Crystal Solar’s innovative Epitaxial technology allows for high efficiency solar panels at lower costs with advanced functionality to competing approaches.

“We are looking forward to collaborating with Crystal Solar on this new opportunity,” said Dan Futter, Vice President of Solar Solutions at Dow Corning. “Beyond expanding its key supplier position for feedstock and silicon-based materials for Solar PV, Dow Corning partners with leaders in the solar and renewable energy industries, such as Crystal Solar. At Dow Corning we believe that innovative materials are key to addressing the industry’s challenge to drive down costs, enhance system performance, and help make solar more competitive with traditional energy sources,” Futter added. “The excellent quality and reputation of our high performance building business is a natural fit to enable leading-edge innovation with reduced risk in the BIPV space.”

“We are very pleased to be working with Dow Corning on a broad-based framework to make high-efficiency solar panels at costs below $0.50/W in production,” said T.S. Ravi, Crystal Solar’s CEO.  “Dow Corning’s reputation for quality and their ability to scale globally will help Crystal Solar expand their manufacturing footprint significantly.”

Dow Corning develops and manufactures materials and applications for solar PV from feedstock to module assembly and installation. By leveraging the power of silicon, and more than 70 years of experience, Dow Corning is committed to helping bring more powerful and reliable PV systems that can quickly achieve a lower levelized cost of electricity.

About Crystal Solar
Crystal Solar (www.xtalsolar.com) is a venture-funded, emerging company based in Santa Clara, CA, and has developed an integrated“direct gas to module” process using an epitaxial chemical vapor deposition (CVD) approach. This breakthrough technology, called Epi Thin-SiliconTM technology uses 40 microns of silicon versus 180 micron wafers used by conventional approaches, leading to an 85% reduction in silicon used. This approach results in operational and capital costs to be reduced by up to 50% percent from today’s levels; thereby paving the way for cost-effective solar power on a global scale.
The company has world-class, global investors and strategic partners focused on ramping to volume manufacturing. In 2011, it was selected for a $4M incubator contract from the Department of Energy focused on commercializing this technology for ultra-thin (~40 micron) silicon wafers, cells and modules.  The company is currently building a pilot line to demonstrate real-world manufacturability and yield, with a view to high-volume production in 2014.

About Dow Corning
Dow Corning (dowcorning.com) provides performance-enhancing solutions to serve the diverse needs of more than 25,000 customers worldwide. A global leader in silicones, silicon-based technology and innovation, Dow Corning offers more than 7,000 products and services via the company’s Dow Corning® and XIAMETER ® brands. Dow Corning is equally owned by The Dow Chemical Company and Corning, Incorporated. More than half of Dow Corning’s annual sales are outside the United States. Dow Corning’s global operations adhere to the American Chemistry Council’s Responsible Care® initiative, a stringent set of standards designed to advance the safe and secure management of chemical products and processes.

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