A U.S. solar energy company has received a prestigious award from the U.S. Department of Energy for its technology of solar photovoltaic cells.
TROY, Michigan – United Solar Systems Corp. says its UNI-SOLAR triple-junction amorphous silicon technology received the Bright Light Award. The award honors five of the most recent consumer-oriented innovations carried out under the sponsorship of DOE. President Subhendu Guha accepted the award at a ceremony at the White House on January 8. “The Bright Light Award honors the best scientific and technological accomplishments of DOE during the 20th century,” said T.J. Glauthier, Deputy Secretary of Energy. “These discoveries demonstrate our commitment to save consumers money and improve the quality of life.” The UNI-SOLAR roofing panel or shingle can be built right into a home without a support structure, and was cited for making PV technology far more attractive for consumers to install solar electric modules at home. In accepting the award, Guha complimented the scientists of United Solar and Energy Conversion Devices (ECD) who developed the technology. “We … are particularly proud of United Solar’s accomplishments and are honored to have worked with United Solar and ECD on contracts that have resulted in achievement of world record efficiencies in amorphous silicon alloy solar cells and modules and development of unique UNI-SOLAR products using proprietary roll-to-roll manufacturing processes,” added James Rannels, Director of DOE’s Office of Photovoltaics. Funding will provided under the Amorphous Silicon Research Team of the Thin Film Partnership program of DOE’s National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL). “We are pleased that our work over the years in triple-junction solar cells and building-integrated roofing products has been recognized,” responded CEO Stanford Ovshinsky. “This and our continuous web manufacturing technology are the basis for making solar energy cost competitive with fossil fuels.” United Solar is a joint venture between ECD and N.V. Bekaert S.A. to develop thin-film amorphous PV. The companies have pioneered the continuous roll-to-roll manufacturing of thin-film amorphous silicon alloy multijunction solar cells. Among its PV products, United Solar offers a line of solar electric roofing panels that are flexible, lightweight and architecturally attractive. Other products include solar battery chargers, framed power modules, and Uni-Kit Light Systems which offer significant advantages over conventional solar panels in providing more energy per rated watt under normal outdoor conditions.