Millions Awarded for Thin-film PV Research

The U.S. Department of Energy has selected 19 universities and 14 companies to receive a total of $40 million in funding for research and development into thin-film photovoltaic cells.

GOLDEN, Colorado, US, 2001-09-06 [] The U.S. Department of Energy has selected 19 universities and 14 companies to receive a total of $40 million in funding for research and development into thin-film photovoltaic cells. “Each of these awards makes possible a research and development direction that could significantly cut the cost of solar electricity,” says Energy secretary Spencer Abraham. “With lowered costs, solar energy’s potential can be fully realized, increasing its contribution to our national energy security and helping our environment.” “Developing cutting edge solar cell technologies also helps the U. S. photovoltaics industry maintain its position against tough foreign competition in this increasingly lucrative world market,” he adds. Thin-film solar cells use tiny amounts of semiconductor material compared with conventional crystalline silicon cells, which reduces production costs. National research teams formed as a result of these awards will perform collaborative research on key research problems. The teams consist of university, industry and researchers from DOE’s National Renewable Energy Laboratory. The actual number of awards and their dollar value will depend on the final budget available in DOE’s fiscal 2002 budget. Many of the awards are cost-shared, with recipients contributing a total of $13 million toward the effort. DOE is making the awards in three categories: – Technology Partners awards are cost-shared, where industry and government contribute to projects. These awards go to U.S. companies to improve efficiency, reduce unit cost and enhance product reliability of thin-film solar cells. – R&D Partners awards go to universities and businesses to increase understanding and knowledge of the science behind the expanding solar electricity industry, currently growing at more than 30 percent a year. – The University Center of Excellence is designated by DOE to perform advanced research on solar-electric materials and devices. It also works in partnership with industry groups. Industry and university groups to receive awards under the three categories include: – Technology Partners are BP Solar in Toano, Virginia; Energy Photovoltaics in Lawrenceville, New Jersey; First Solar in Perrysburg, Ohio; Global Solar Energy in Tucson, Arizona; Iowa Thin Films in Boone; Siemens Solar Industries in Camarillo, California; and United Solar Systems in Troy, Michigan. – R & D Partners are AstroPower in Newark, Delaware; BP Solar in Fairfield, California; California Institute of Technology in Pasadena; Case Western University in Cleveland, Ohio; Colorado School of Mines in Golden; Colorado State University in Fort Collins; Energy Conversion Devices in Troy, Michigan; Energy Photovoltaics in Lawrenceville, New Jersey; Florida Solar Energy Center in Cocoa; Green Development in Golden, Colorado; International Solar Electric Technology in Inglewood, California; Iowa State University in Ames; ITN Energy Systems in Littleton, Colorado; MV Systems in Golden, Colorado; NuSolar in Santa Monica, California; Pennsylvania State University in University Park; Syracuse University in Syracuse, New York; Unisun in Newbury Park, California; University of Florida in Gainesville; University of Illinois in Champaign; University of Nebraska in Lincoln; University of North Carolina in Chapel Hill; University of Oregon in Eugene; University of South Florida in Tampa; University of Toledo in Ohio; University of Utah in Salt Lake City; and Washington State University in Richland. The award for university of excellence goes to the Institute of Energy Conversion at the University of Delaware in Newark. The funds will be awarded under DOE’s National Center for Photovoltaics Thin Film PV Partnership Program that was formed in 1993 and is responsible for significant technical progress in solar electricity. Initiatives under the program have received four R&D 100 Awards from R&D Magazine and numerous patents.