U.S. DOE Announces Funding For New SunShot Solar Research Projects

As part of the SunShot Initiative, U.S. Department of Energy Secretary (DOE) Steven Chu has announced the selection of up to $112.5 million over five years for funding to support the development of advanced solar photovoltaic-related manufacturing processes throughout the U.S.

The DOE SunShot Advanced Manufacturing Partnerships are designed to help the solar power industry overcome technical barriers and reduce costs for PV installations, help the U.S. regain the lead in the global market for solar technologies and provide support for clean energy jobs. The investments are part of the DOE's SunShot Initiative, which aims to reduce the total costs of photovoltaic solar energy systems by about 75% so that they are cost-competitive at large scale with other forms of energy without subsidies by the end of the decade.

Bay Area PV Consortium in Stanford, Calif., will receive $25 million for industry-relevant research and development (R&D) to impact high-volume PV manufacturing using a competitive selection process open to all universities. This project, managed by Stanford University and the University of California, Berkeley, will develop and test the new materials, device structures and fabrication processes necessary to achieve cost-effective PV modules in high-volume production.

SVTC Technologies in San Jose, Calif., will receive $25 million to create a fee-for-service PV manufacturing development facility (MDF) that will enable start-ups, materials suppliers and other PV innovators to eliminate a major portion of their up-front capital and operating costs during product development and pilot production. This will potentially accelerate development and time to market by 12 to 15 months, according to the DOE. The MDF will focus on the commercialization of silicon PV manufacturing processes and technologies.

The U.S. Photovoltaic Manufacturing Consortium (PVMC), with branches in Albany, N.Y., and Palm Bay, Fla., will receive $62.5 million to coordinate an industry-driven research and development initiative to accelerate the development, manufacturing and commercialization of copper indium gallium selenide (CIGS) thin-film PV manufacturing technologies, driving down the cost and risk of bringing them to the marketplace.

With its major partner, the College of Nanoscale Science and Engineering at the State University of New York at Albany, PVMC will establish manufacturing development facilities that PV companies and researchers can use for product prototyping, demonstration and pilot-scale manufacturing to evaluate and validate CIGS thin-film and PV manufacturing technologies. PVMC will also work with the University of Central Florida to develop cost-effective in-line measurement and inspection tools to enable increased PV manufacturing yield.

SOURCE: U.S. Department of Energy

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