DOE Invests $12M in Early Stage Solar

The US Department of Energy (DOE) announced that the Department’s National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) will invest up to $12 million in total funding in four companies to support the development of early stage solar energy technologies and help them advance to full commercial scale.

$10 million of the funding is from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act.

Companies awarded under DOE’s Photovoltaic Incubator Program will work
with NREL to transition prototype and pre-commercial PV technologies
into pilot and full-scale manufacturing. The anticipated subcontracts,
up to $3 million each, will be awarded as 18-month phased subcontracts
with payment made upon completion of project milestones.

“By partnering with NREL, these companies will be able to gain from their expertise, accelerate the pace of innovation and help get technologies to market faster," Energy Secretary Steven Chu said.

The partnership projects are located in California and North Carolina.

  • Alta Devices, Inc. (Santa Clara, CA) up to $3 million – Alta Devices will focus efforts on developing an innovative high-efficiency (>20%), low-cost compound-semiconductor photovoltaic module, with market entry expected in 2011.
  • Solar Junction Corp. (San Jose, CA) up to $3 million – Solar Junction will develop a manufacturing process to produce a very high efficiency multi-junction cell. These high performing cells will be utilized by concentrating PV (CPV) manufacturers to produce lower cost CPV systems.
  • Tetra Sun (Saratoga, CA) up to $3 million – Tetra Sun will focus efforts on a back surface passivation for high efficiency crystalline silicon solar cells. This effort will result in a high efficiency low-cost C-Si solar cell.
  • Semprius, Inc. (Durham, NC) up to $3 million – Semprius will focus efforts towards a massively parallel, microcell-based CPV receiver. This approach combines the benefits of unique-to-solar manufacturing techniques with the performance and operational benefits of microcell concentrating photovoltaics.
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