GE says it is focusing its research and development (R&D) efforts on thin-film photovoltaic technology in conjunction with PrimeStar Solar Inc., a start-up firm in which GE is a majority investor.
‘After having completed an exhaustive survey of the PV landscape, we determined that thin films were the optimum path for GE,’ states Danielle Merfeld, GE's solar R&D leader. ‘Specifically, the [cadmium telluride (CdTe)] technology from PrimeStar has great potential.’
The GE/PrimeStar product is being developed at PrimeStar's headquarters in Arvada, Colo. PrimeStar technologists are working closely with GE researchers, who are focused on device efficiency, reliability, production and installation costs, and manufacturability, GE says.
The team in Munich, Germany, is utilizing indoor and outdoor solar system test facilities to study finished module performance in order to identify and address degradation mechanisms and packaging issues. In China, where most of the world's CdTe raw materials are found, researchers at GE's China Technology Center in Shanghai are focused on CdTe materials and the impact they have on device performance.
In Bangalore, India, the GE team is tasked with building comprehensive models to help guide advanced device design. Finally, GE's research team in Niskayuna, N.Y., is working on all facets of CdTe module development, including material growth, device development and robust process development.