U.S. Department of Energy - Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy
DOE to Invest $17.6 Million in Six Early-Stage Photovoltaic Projects
September 29, 2008
DOE announced on September 29 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%, 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 will
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 their "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
dramatically 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%
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. See the DOE press release, the Solar
America Initiative Web site, and the Solar America Initiative's page
on the PV Incubator funding opportunity.