Delivering a game-changing innovation for solar panel manufacturers

Our Mission

At Leading Edge, we’re driving down the cost and carbon footprint of the solar industry with our breakthrough single-crystal silicon wafer process.

Our mission is to make our technology the new industry standard and empower manufacturers with a low cost, high performance alternative to the current standard.

 

About Us

Leading Edge is opening the door for manufacturers to drive down costs, adopt next-generation high efficiency solar panel technologies, and reduce manufacturing emissions. Customers purchasing our equipment will leverage one of the biggest breakthroughs in crystal growth technology in over 70 years, and drive a manufacturing revolution.

Low-cost solar energy is critical for a sustainable and globally accessible energy mix. In the last decade, over $50 billion of subsidies has explosively scaled commodity solar panel manufacturing – making solar energy competitive today with fossil energy generation.  However, the cost reductions from this scaling are winding down and the capital that fueled this original expansion has been exhausted. Large solar manufacturers now compete on market share and marginal improvements on mature technologies. The industry’s momentum and high capital intensity deters new entrants from challenging the status quo and driving costs lower. Until now.

At Leading Edge Equipment Technologies, we have built a drop-in technology – compatible with existing manufacturing lines – that reduces the most cost–, capital–, and carbon-intensive step of solar panel manufacturing by 50 percent: the production of a silicon wafer. Today, the solar industry uses a seven-step process to make wafers, wire-sawing and chemically polishing large silicon bricks grown from large, energy-intensive furnaces. This process wastes over half of the silicon ingot, consumes diamond-coated wire, and constitutes over 80 percent of the panel’s final carbon footprint. Leading Edge has developed a one-step process that directly makes single-crystal silicon wafers without the excessive waste, the need for polishing, and using only one-third of the energy. Even more critically, Leading Edge wafers have the superior quality to enable a “drop-in” seven percent power increase with commodity solar panel technology. By enabling low cost and higher efficiency, Leading Edge’s breakthrough Floating Silicon Method™ technology gives manufacturers a true double-win.

Leading Edge employee on computer.
single-crystal silicon wafer ribbon

Empowering Solar Panel Manufacturers

Leading Edge serves wafer manufacturers who want technology that provides a critical advantage over the status quo and competition. We work with challenger organizations who are ready to lead solar panel manufacturing into a new age. We operate in markets across the globe. If you’re an established manufacturer looking to partner with us to deploy next generation technology at your company, please reach out.

 

Our Partners & Investors

Annual solar panel demand has reached $30 billon per year and is projected to grow ten percent year-over-year through 2030. Over 95 percent of solar panels use silicon wafers made from traditional seven-step commodity manufacturing technologies, driving GHG emissions from solar wafer manufacturing that are projected exceed 1 gigaton/year by 2030. Supported by the world’s leading investors and partners for solar energy technologies, Leading Edge is uniquely positioned to cut the cost and carbon emissions of the solar wafer industry by 50 percent.

Leading Edge was spun out of Applied Materials to leverage decades of crystal growth research and development. Combining the discipline of a tier one equipment manufacturer with the speed and innovation of a new venture, Leading Edge is proud to work with the manufacturing ecosystem to realize unprecedented change in this space.

Investors

DSM Logo
Clean Energy Ventures
Prime Impact Fund
Applied Materials
Clean Energy Venture Group

Supporting Agencies

MassCEC Logo
SBIR Grant Logo
Department of Energy - Energy Efficiency & Renewable Energy
National Science Foundation
Sunshot Initiative Logo