U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) Secretary Steven Chu saysthe DOE’s National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) will invest up to$12 million in total funding – $10 million from the American Recoveryand Reinvestment Act – in four companies to support the development ofearly-stage solar energy technologies and help them advance to fullcommercial-scale.
Companies awarded funding under DOE’sPhotovoltaic Incubator Program will work with NREL to transitionprototype and pre-commercial PV technologies into pilot and full-scalemanufacturing. The anticipated subcontracts, worth up to $3 millioneach, will be awarded as 18-month phased subcontracts with payment madeupon completion of project milestones.
Alta Devices Inc., basedin Santa Clara, Calif., will focus efforts on developing an innovative,high-efficiency (>20%), low-cost compound-semiconductor photovoltaicmodule, with market entry expected in 2011.
Solar JunctionCorp., based in San Jose, Calif., will develop a manufacturing processto produce a very-high-efficiency multi-junction cell. These cells willbe utilized by concentrating PV (CPV) manufacturers to producelower-cost CPV systems.
Tetra Sun, based in Saratoga, Calif.,will focus its efforts on a back-surface passivation forhigh-efficiency crystalline silicon (c-si) solar cells. This effortwill result in a high-efficiency, low-cost c-Si solar cell.
SempriusInc., based in Durham, N.C., will focus its efforts on developing amassively parallel, microcell-based CPV receiver. This approachcombines the benefits of unique-to-solar manufacturing techniques withthe performance and operational benefits of microcell concentratingphotovoltaics.