U.S. Department of Energy selects broad range of PV R&D projects to fund

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U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) will invest approximately $13.7 million
over three years in 11 university-led photovoltaic projects addressing
a wide range of technologies related to manufacturing processes and
products. The bold aim of the projects is to significantly reduce the
cost of electricity produced by PV from current levels of $0.18-$0.23
per kilowatt hour (kWh) to $0.05 – $0.10 per kWh by 2015, or basically
grid parity across many markets. Funding is subject to appropriations
from the U.S. Congress.

The 11 projects include the following:

Arizona State University (Tempe, AZ) with SolFocus and Soliant Energy: Reliability Evaluation of Concentrator Photovoltaics per IEC Qualification Specifications.  The recent boom in concentrating PVs has created a significant backlog of products waiting to undergo IEC product testing.  This project will focus on reducing bottlenecks of the qualification test such as environmental chamber testing while enhancing scheduling and coordination with industry to significantly increase testing throughput and efficiency.  DOE will provide up to $625,304 for this approximately $800,000 project.

California Institute of Technology (Pasadena, CA) with Spectrolab: 100 millimeter (mm) Engineered InP on Si Laminate Substrates for InP based Multijunction Solar Cells.  Indium Phosphide (InP) is a very desirable substrate upon which to form multijunction solar cells, but is cost prohibitive even for high performance cells.  This project aims to reduce InP layer thickness by a factor of ten by bonding a thin layer of InP to an inexpensive silicon laminate substrate enabling a cost-effective, scaleable InP-based multijunction cell process.  In turn, this will open a new design space for high efficiency multijunction solar cells.  DOE will provide up to $837,000 for this approximately $1 million project.

Georgia Institute of Technology (Atlanta, GA) with Sixtron: Rear Contact Technologies for Next- Generation High-Efficiency Commercial Silicon Solar Cells.  Performance-enhancing cell processing techniques are well established in the silicon industry but most are associated with higher processing costs, which may not be justified by the marginal increase in efficiency.  This project will develop enhanced, cost-effective back surface passivation, light trapping, and inkjet-printed back contacts, to yield a complete, low-cost, cell process which produces 17-20% efficient devices that are ready for direct commercialization.  DOE will provide up to $1.5 million for this approximately $1.9 million project.

Massachusetts Institute of Technology (Cambridge, MA) with CaliSolar, Inc. and BP Solar, Inc.: Defect Engineering, Cell Processing, and Modeling for High-Performance, Low-Cost Crystalline Silicon Photovoltaics.  This project will characterize defects and engineer their distribution within a solar cell to close the efficiency gap between industrial multicrystalline and high-efficiency monocrystalline silicon cells, while preserving the cost advantage of these low-cost, high–volume substrates. The project is targeting 18-22% efficient cells at manufacturing costs of less than $1 per peak watt.  DOE will provide up to $1.5 million for this approximately $1.9 million project.

North Carolina State University (Raleigh, NC) with Spectrolab: Tunable Narrow Bandgap Absorbers for Ultra High Efficiency Multijunction Solar Cells.  Conversion efficiency of multijunction cells can be increased by balancing each layer’s responsiveness to the sun’s broad spectrum and by matching the current produced by each layer.  This project will pursue both of these improvements by developing and optimizing a 1-1.5 electron volt, graded strain subcell layer and then integrating this layer into Spectrolab’s triple junction stack to produce a four-junction solar cell.  This project is targeting a world record efficiency of 45%.  DOE will provide up to $1,147,468 for this approximately $1.4 million project.

Pennsylvania State University (University Park, PA) with Honeywell: Organic Semiconductor Heterojunction Solar Cells for Efficient, Low-Cost, Large Area Scalable Solar Energy Conversion.  Organic solar cells hold promise to drastically lower costs but currently have low conversion efficiencies due to drawbacks in the structure of the junction interface.  This project will focus on using highly ordered, high-surface area titanium dioxide nanotube arrays in combination with organic semiconductors to fabricate low-cost solar cells with efficiencies of greater than 7%.  DOE will provide up to $1,231,843 for this approximately $1.5 million project.

University of Delaware Institute of Energy Conversion (Newark, DE) with Dow Corning: Development of a Low-Cost Insulated Foil Substrate for CIGS Photovoltaics.  Currently, direct formation of flexible Copper Indium Gallium Selenium (CIGS) modules is limited by the lack of an inexpensive substrate capable of withstanding the high processing temperatures required to produce quality films.  This project will address this limitation by targeting development of a low-cost stainless steel flexible substrate coated with silicone-based resin dielectric and module processes applicable across a variety of roll-to-roll CIGS manufacturing techniques.  The project will target devices based on this substrate with efficiencies greater than 12%.  DOE will provide up to $1,478,331 for this approximately $1.85 million project.

University of Delaware (Newark, DE) with SunPower: High Efficiency Back Contact Silicon Heterojunction Solar Cells.  This project will deposit amorphous silicon (a-Si) films on crystalline cells to enhance the electrical properties and enable low-temperature processing.  Metal contacts will be moved to the back of the cell to increase the amount of light entering the cell and increase conversion efficiencies beyond 26%.  DOE will provide up to $1,494,736 for this approximately $1.9 million project.

University of Florida (Gainesville FL) with Global Solar Energy Inc., International Solar Electric Technology Inc., Nanosolar Inc., and Solyndra Inc: Routes for Rapid Synthesis of CIGS Absorbers.  This project will develop predictive models that quantitatively describe the formation of CIGS films under different processing conditions.  These models can be used to develop optimal processing recipes which will reduce processing time and identify scaling issues for commercial manufacturing.  The project is targeting a CIGS synthesis time of less than two minutes.  DOE will provide up to $599,556 for this approximately $800,000 project.

University of Toledo (Toledo, OH) with Calyxo USA, Inc.: Improved Atmospheric Vapor Pressure Deposition to Produce Thin CdTe Absorber Layers.  Record cadmium telluride (CdTe) thin film devices utilize an 8-micrometer (µm) thick CdTe layer but duplication of this structure in commercial manufacturing increases material costs and deposition time.  This project will reduce the CdTe layer thickness to approximately 1-µm while targeting a 10% module efficiency.  Improvements to contacts, uniformity, and monolithic integration will also be achieved.  DOE will provide up to $1,164,174 for this approximately $1.7 million project.

University of Toledo (Toledo, OH) with Xunlight: High-Rate Fabrication of a-Si-Based Thin-Film Solar Cells Using Large-area VHF PECVD.  Reducing processing costs of amorphous silicon modules has proven difficult because increasing process throughput of conventional deposition processes results in lower device efficiency.  This project aims to retain high efficiencies while fabricating high efficiency amorphous silicon and nanocrystalline silicon solar cells at high rates.  The project will target 10% conversion efficiency for amorphous silicon/nano crystalline silicon (a-Si/nc-Si) solar cells.  DOE will provide up to $1,442,266 for this approximately $1.9 million project.

25 May 2022
Transforming the Canadian energy market. Solar & Storage Canada will focus on fostering and expanding the solar and energy storage market in Canada. Co-located with f-cell Canada.
9 June 2022
The proliferation of solar PV and other renewables is a cornerstone of the emerging new power system and, as a result, the solar industry has entered its fastest-growth period. This has become typified by surging demand for high-power PV modules that both produce more power and are more efficient than their predecessors. Providing a significant boost to power outputs, large-format modules have become a popular choice for customers the world over. Outdoor testing of modules is now providing empirical evidence of the benefits large-format modules produce, providing a crucial benchmark and invaluable data for customers to evaluate their module selection and procurement processes. In this PV Tech webinar, experts from TÜV Rheinland, CPVT and Trina Solar will discuss how to ensure science based and precision testing under field conditions, how empirical data is collected and analysed during TÜV Rheinland and CPVT’s outdoor testing, the empirical data behind a 670W module’s ultra-high power, and more.
14 June 2022
Join us in Napa to unlock the key to reliable PV module supply to the U.S. market in 2022 & 2023. We'll also be gathering the main players in the US solar market for some wine tasting!
15 June 2022
Consumers are turning to residential renewables in significant numbers, driven by a desire to be environmentally conscious and a wave of high power prices. But turning green requires easy-to-use and, above all, safe technologies that meet expectations. Huawei is committed to building efficient, safe, reliable and grid-supporting smart PV plants that also provide smart services to consumers, and its Residential Solution has been tailored to meet consumer demand. This webinar will demonstrate the full suite of technologies offered within the Huawei Residential Solution, including a smart energy controller, smart AC charger, and AI-powered energy storage solution, and detail how it can place power back in the consumer’s hands.
19 July 2022
As New South Wales is gearing up to become a renewable energy superpower, an exciting clean energy event is coming to Sydney. Energy Next is a free-to-attend industry event focusing on the latest renewable energy and energy management technologies, which will be held from 19-20 July 2022 at the ICC Sydney in Darling Harbour. Organised by the same people behind the country’s largest clean energy event, All-Energy Australia, Energy Next will bring a quality exhibition and technical session series to NSW. Energy Next will also host the Clean Energy Council’s Solar Masterclass with a program developed for solar designers and installers. Across two days, Energy Next will provide an extensive exhibition, workshops and networking opportunities for those working in the renewable energy industry to meet with leading suppliers, discover the latest technologies and gain an understanding of how to successfully launch new clean energy projects.
23 August 2022
Intersolar South America, South America’s largest exhibition and conference for the solar industry, takes place at the Expo Center Norte in São Paulo, Brazil, on August 23–25, 2022, and has a focus on the areas of photovoltaics, PV production and solar thermal technologies. At the accompanying Intersolar South America Conference, renowned experts shed light on hot topics in the solar industry. In 2021 – despite the Covid-19 pandemic – Intersolar South America welcomed more than 28,000 visitors and over 1,000 conference attendees over 3 days. 200+ providers showcased their products. Combining local and international expertise, Intersolar South America brings together the PV and solar thermal sector to discuss the current status and strategic trends for Latin American PV markets, as well as technology innovations and new business opportunities. Overall, distributed generation is still driving momentum in the Brazilian market.

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