, April 7, 2011 (ENS) - As part of the SunShot Initiative, U.S. Department of Energy Secretary Steven Chu today announced the selection of three organizations that will receive up to $112.5 million over five years to support the development of advanced solar photovoltaic manufacturing processes.
The Energy Department's SunShot Advanced Manufacturing Partnerships is aimed at helping the solar power industry overcome technical barriers and reduce costs for PV installations.
A lab at the College of Nanoscale Science and Engineering at the State University of New York at Albany, a SunShot grant recipient. (Photo courtesy CNSE)
The program aims to drive innovations in the ways that solar systems are conceived, designed, manufactured and installed.
"Expanding the U.S. solar energy industry is an important part of the administration's goals to diversify our electricity supply and rebuild America's manufacturing base to create jobs now and in the future," said Secretary Chu.
"The SunShot Initiative will not only keep the United States at the forefront in solar energy research and development, but will help us win the worldwide race to build a solar manufacturing industry that produces solar systems that are cost competitive with fossil fuels," said Chu.
The SunShot Initiative aims to reduce the total costs of photovoltaic solar energy systems by about 75 percent so that they are cost competitive at large scale with other forms of energy without subsidies by the end of the decade.
Achieving this goal - equivalent to approximately $1 a watt or roughly six cents per kilowatt-hour for utility systems - would allow solar energy systems to be broadly deployed across the country, said Chu.
The selected projects are:
Bay Area PV Consortium will fund industry-relevant research and development to impact high volume PV manufacturing using a competitive selection process open to all universities.
This project, managed by Stanford University and the University of California, Berkeley, will develop and test the innovative new materials, device structures, and fabrication processes necessary to achieve cost effective PV modules in high volume production. The research will advance technologies that bring down manufacturing costs and improve device performance characteristics to help achieve SunShot's price targets.
An industry board composed of representatives from PV companies will determine the specific topics for research and development to assure close alignment with industry and manufacturing needs.
SVTC will create a fee-for-service PV Manufacturing Development Facility that will enable start-ups, materials suppliers, and other PV innovators to eliminate a major portion of their up-front capital and operating costs during product development and pilot production. This will potentially accelerate development and time to market by 12 to 15 months.
The Manufacturing Development Facility will focus on the commercialization of silicon PV manufacturing processes and technologies, and aim to reduce the costs and development time for participating PV industry leaders to deliver innovative, emerging technologies from the laboratory to commercial manufacturing lines.
The facility will support SunShot targets by strengthening and accelerating growth along the PV manufacturing industry's entire supply chain by reducing the cost, time, and risk associated with commercialization.
Managed by SEMATECH, the U.S. Photovoltaic Manufacturing Consortium will coordinate an industry-driven research and development initiative to accelerate the development, manufacturing, and commercialization of next-generation copper indium gallium selenide (CIGS) thin film PV manufacturing technologies, driving down the cost and risk of bringing them to the marketplace.
PVMC with its major partner, The College of Nanoscale Science and Engineering at the State University of New York at Albany, will establish manufacturing development facilities that PV companies and researchers can use for product prototyping, demonstration, and pilot-scale manufacturing to evaluate and validate CIGS thin film and PV manufacturing technologies.
PVMC will also work with The University of Central Florida to develop cost-effective in-line measurement and inspection tools to enable increased PV manufacturing yield.
In addition, PVMC will operate complementary programs to foster new PV technologies and firms, and to develop the U.S. PV workforce. The proposed project will use heavy industry leveraging funds for every $1 of DOE funding.
Chu explains that the SunShot program builds on the legacy of President Kennedy's 1960s "moon shot" goal, which laid out a plan to regain the country's lead in the space race and land a man on the moon.
Copyright Environment News Service (ENS) 2011. All rights reserved.
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