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Oct. 15, 2008: DOE to Invest $17.6 Million in Six Early-Stage Photovoltaic Projects

October 15, 2008
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WASHINGTON - The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) announced that it will invest $17.6 million, subject to annual appropriations, in six company-led, early-stage photovoltaic (PV) projects under the Solar America Initiative’s “PV Incubator” funding opportunity. The PV Incubator project is designed to fund prototype PV components and systems with the goal of moving them through the commercialization process by 2010. The 2008 award will be the second funding opportunity released under the PV Incubator project. With the cost share from industry, which will be at least 20 percent, up to $35.4 million will be invested in these projects. The projects will run for 18 months, and will be subcontracted through DOE’s National Renewable Energy Laboratory.

Most of the projects will receive up to $3 million in funding, with the exception of Solasta and Spire Semiconductor, which will receive up to $2.6 million and $2.97 million, respectively. Massachusetts-based 1366 Technologies will develop a new cell architecture for low-cost, multi-crystalline silicon cells, which is expected to enhance cell performance through improved light-trapping texturing and grooves for self-aligned metallization fingers. California’s Innovalight will use ink-jet printing to transfer “silicon ink” onto thin-crystalline silicon wafers to produce high-efficiency, low-cost solar cells and modules. Skyline Solar, also in California, will develop an integrated, lightweight, single-axis tracked system that reflects and concentrates sunlight over 10 times onto silicon cells. Solasta, in Massachusetts, is working on a novel cell design that increases currents and lowers the materials cost. Solexel, another California-based company, will commercialize a disruptive, 3D high-efficiency mono-crystalline silicon cell technology that significantly reduces manufacturing cost per watt. Finally, Spire Semiconductor in New Hampshire will develop three-junction tandem solar cells that better optimize the optical properties of their device layers; the company is targeting cell efficiencies over 42 percent using a low-cost manufacturing method.

The PV Incubator project is part of the Solar America Initiative, which aims to make solar energy cost-competitive with conventional forms of electricity by 2015.

Publication date: 10/13/2008

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