This novel HVPE deposition method enables the production of III-V material solar cells at a significantly lower cost than those created with MOCVD, with a projected production cost of less than $10/Watt. The HVPE reactor itself consists of isolated chambers through which a device can be moved in order to create single or dual junction architectures. In addition, these chambers prevent the mixing of reactant gases during the deposition process, enabling the growth of sharp, crystallographic interfaces.
The resulting solar cells’ combination of low cost, high efficiency, and exceptionally high specific power (a measure of power generated per unit of mass), make them ideal for space and/or weight constrained applications such as commercial building rooftops. The HVPE deposition process could also lead to wider deployment of solar power for defense applications, especially in medium/large UAVs and mobile power generation. Finally, HVPE deposited solar cells could open entirely new markets that silicon panels and other thin-film technologies are not well suited to address, such as incorporation into electric vehicles and portable electronic devices.