CaliSolar deal validates Timminco’s Solar Grade Silicon

Dr. Eicke Weber endorses upgraded metallurgical silicon (UMG-Si) from Bécancour Silicon Inc. (BSI).

With TIMMINCO AND CALISOLAR JOINTLY ANNOUNCE SOLAR GRADE SILICON SUPPLY AGREEMENT on June 16, 2008, Timminco Limited (TSE:TIM) subsidiary, Bécancour Silicon Inc. (BSI), will supply CaliSolar, Inc., with 1700 MT (metric tons) of solar grade silicon or UMG-Si beginning in the third quarter of 2008 through December 2012.

Dr. Eicke Weber, a CaliSolar founder and Director of the Fraunhofer Institute for Solar Energy Systems ISE in Freiburg, Germany, said:

CaliSolar, using BSI’s UMG Si, has made a major breakthrough in photovoltaic (PV) technology. The impact of UMG Si in this important, rapidly expanding market can hardly be overstated. By 2015, half of the world’s PV production could be based on the use of UMG Si.

Mr. René Boisvert, President and CEO of BSI said:

In their search for a solar grade silicon supplier, CaliSolar has done extensive tests with materials from many UMG Si producers and obtained cell efficiencies over 15% with our product.

The 15% UMG Si solar cell efficiency tracks comments made by CaliSolar CEO Roy Johnson in the series, Bringing Down The Cost of Photovoltaic Solar Cells – Part 1, Part 2, and Part 3, from November 2007.

Here are the WIPO and USPTO patent applications for what I believe is the exclusive license from THE REGENTS OF THE UNIVERSITY OF CALIFORNIA:

USPTO Patent Application Publication Number US

OMG, this patent, one of eight (8) patent applications by CaliSolar to date, showed up just as I was writing this post:

USPTO Patent Application Publication Number US 20080157241
Semiconductor wafer pre-process annealing & gettering method and system for solar cell formation

Please see the post, Cool Earth Solar also at BIG Solar, for information on how to view USPTO (United States Patent and Trademark Office) images.

This new patent application publication appears to include contributions from CaliSolar’s German research and development subsidiary, BerlinSolar GmbH, located in namesake Berlin, Germany.

CaliSolar matched $3.0 million in U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) funds with $8.3 million in company investment for CaliSolar: Manufacturing High Efficiency Cells Using Upgraded Metallurgical Grade Silicon (Overview of SAI PV Incubator Awards) as part of the Solar America Initiative.

In my Google video, Professor Dr. Eicke Weber, Director Fraunhofer Institute für Solar Energy Systems ISE, presents “Research applied to industry” at the 4th European PV Industry Forum in Milan, Italy, during the 22nd EU PVSEC. UMG-Si is discussed in the course of this presentation.

I noticed this Solar Summits Freiburg” conference series from October 22 – 24, 2008, regarding Silicon materials for photovoltaics in Freiburg, Germany, on the Fraunhofer ISE website.


  1. Anonymous says:

    There is an opposing view to the statements contained in this article at

  2. Anonymous says:

    Regarding the anonymous comment above, there is a very informative article in June’s Photon International about Asensio, entitled “Metallurgical silicon meets Demolition Man: Canadian UMG-Si maker badmouthed by profit-seeking short seller”.

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