Ohio names recipients for $6M in pending Third Frontier PV Program awards

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Another $6 million in grants may soon be awarded to several solar manufacturers in Ohio, thanks to the state’s Third Frontier Photovoltaic Program. The recommendation announcement came last week; the awards are contingent on the approval of the state’s Controlling Board.

The program supports the R&D that addresses the technical and cost barriers to commercialization of PV components and systems in Ohio.  

Here is the list of FY2010 winners and their collaborators:

  • Xunlight, in collaboration with Concept Solutions and The Ohio State University, was awarded $999,271 for its “next-generation solar module manufacturing technology” project. It is expected that the new module technology will be highly automated and will enable cost-effective, local, Ohio-based processing of the cells.
  • Ferro, in collaboration with the Edison Welding Institute, StrateNexus Technologies, and The Ohio State University, was awarded $1 million for its “advanced durability sealing systems for solar cells” project. Ferro will engineer a vitreous frit system to reliably hermetically seal second- and third- generation thin-film cells for the desired service life of the module.
  • Glasstech, in collaboration with Pioneer Industrial Systems, was awarded $1 million for its “commercialization of a heat treating process to strengthen large, thinner glass substrates for PV panels” project. The company will develop an electrically based heat treating process for larger, thinner, and flatter glass substrates than the current industry standard.
  • SCI Engineered Materials, in collaboration with Robinson Fin Machines, was awarded $775,400 for its “commercialization of advanced attachment technology for rotatable ceramic sputtering targets used for thin film PV solar cell manufacturing” project. SCI will commercialize an attachment process for fabrication of rotatable ceramic sputtering targets for use in the manufacturing of TFPV cells.
  • Five Star Technologies, in collaboration with the Photovoltaic Innovation Center at the University of Toledo, was awarded $1 million for its “commercialization of specialty electronic inks for advances in photovoltaic technology” project. The company will commercialize revolutionary inks that have been successfully demonstrated at test labs and alpha customers, and can be incorporated immediately into existing cell fabrication lines.
  • Replex Plastics, in collaboration with Dovetail Solar & Wind and the Photovoltaic Innovation Center at the University of Toledo, was awarded $1.25 million for its “low-cost, low-concentration PV systems for mid-Northern latitudes” project, which is expected to create more than 200 jobs at the company. Replex will commercialize low-cost, low-concentration PV modules that use inexpensive acrylic mirrors to concentrate sunlight onto cells.

One of the award-winners, SCI, reacted to the announcement.

Scott Campbell, the company’s VP of technology, said that its high-power density ceramic sputtering target attachment technology for TFPV “will enable manufacturers to operate rotatable sputtering targets at higher power densities than current technology. Specific benefits include increased process throughput leading to lower photovoltaic solar cell modular costs in the future.”

Chairman/president/CEO Dan Rooney noted that “during the past three years we have substantially increased our penetration in the solar market through the development and introduction of new products, expanded international sales and marketing activities, and increased participation in government programs to develop greater manufacturing efficiencies for solar manufacturers.

“The OTFPVP award, the third one received from the state of Ohio, is another sign of the progress we are achieving in solar and also reflects the value they recognize in our innovative technologies. These initiatives help to accelerate our growth in this strategic market.”

“Earlier this month we received a follow-on order of approximately $1 million from a solar customer,” he added. “These products are expected to be manufactured and shipped during the first half of 2010.”

“The company previously reported its order backlog at September 30, 2009, was $3.7 million. The OTFPVP award plus the follow-on order significantly increase SCI’s backlog, which will benefit the company’s financial results during the first half of 2010,” Rooney concluded.

 

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