Just weeks after Natcore Technology announced that it had leased space at Kodak Research Laboratories in Rochester, New York, the company announced that it has entered into a joint development agreement with Eastman Kodak. The collaboration will combine Natcore’s materials and material processing with Kodak’s coating, formulation, drying and conveyance technologies for Natcore’s thin-film PV products and antireflection coating technology.
The companies did not state the financial details for the agreement, nor the duration of their partnership, but advised that the first goal will be to get nanostructured thin-film solar cell technology into commercial production. They plan to develop the roll-to roll processing needed to produce the flexible thin-film cell, verify it in Kodak’s pilot line, design and build the commercial-scale deposition equipment to put into one of Kodak’s film lines and then commence with commercial production.
Natcore stated that their thin-film cells would directly affect the cost of producing solar panels by bringing the price down to less than US$0.50 per watt while also cutting solar array installation costs by 60%. The project managers for the agreement include Dr. Dennis Flood of Natcore and Dr. Charles Christ from Eastman Kodak.
Natcore also advised that it still is looking for a manufacturing partner to produce the thin-film solar cells that will be developed under the joint development agreement. In the past, the company has stated its preference to keep the manufacturing process in the US and admits that Eastman Kodak is being strongly considered, however, manufacturing partners in Asia are also under review.
“We profoundly hope that we'll be able to manufacture at Eastman Business Park in Rochester,” said Natcore President and CEO Chuck Provini. “As a public company, Natcore must make the best decision for its shareholders, and manufacturing in Rochester offers certain advantages to leverage existing infrastructure and expertise right here in the US. Nevertheless, we have to be realistic. We have to go where the funding takes us.”