Solar

GE Makes Thin-film Solar R&D Push

GE this week announced it is focusing its research and development efforts on thin-film solar photovoltaic (PV) technology in conjunction with PrimeStar Solar Inc., the startup 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,” said Danielle Merfeld, GE’s solar R&D leader. “Specifically, the CdTe technology from PrimeStar has great potential. Bringing together world-class materials expertise, unique materials and systems modeling and design capabilities and state-of-the-art indoor and outdoor solar testing facilities, GE researchers are innovating across our four global research centers—literally around the clock—to deliver a breakthrough product to market.”

The GE/PrimeStar product is being developed at PrimeStar’s headquarters in Arvada, Colorado. The research is being focused on device efficiency, reliability, production and installation costs and manufacturability.

A team in Munich, Germany is utilizing world-class indoor and outdoor solar system test facilities where they study finished module performance to identify and address degradation mechanisms and packaging issues, GE said

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. Improving material quality and developing advanced materials characterization techniques are key topics being addressed by the Shanghai team.

In India, GE is leveraging extensive modeling capabilities at its John F. Welch Technology Centre in Bangalore. The team in Bangalore is tasked with building comprehensive models to help guide advanced device design.

Finally, GE’s research team in Niskayuna, New York, is working on all facets of CdTe module development, including material growth, device development and robust process development. Their technical expertise cuts across diverse fields such as surface chemistry, laser processing and plasma physics.