In a bid to reduce the cost of manufacturing thin-film PV products, the US Department of Energy (DOE) has awarded Air Products with more than $1.5 million to develop more cost-effective materials.
The funding will be supplied as part of the DOE’s Solar Energy technology Program; one initiative of this is to develop materials for thin-film PV expansion in the domestic solar market.
This project is one of 24 new solar energy proposals supported by the DOE’s American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, receiving between them $22 million in funding.
Air Products’ main focus for this project will be on developing and validating an advanced radio frequency plasma chemical vapor deposition process.
“Once developed and commercialized, these materials could be used by thin-film PV manufacturers, whose production is expected to exceed 5GW in the coming years,” said Jeff Handelman, Air Products’ general manager, photovoltaics. “If 5GW worth of thin-film silicon manufacturing were to adopt these additives and save more than $0.10 per watt, it would save the PV industry about $600 million annually.”