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DoE: up to US$12m for early stage solar

The US Department of Energy (DoE) will, through its National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL), invest up to US$12 million in four companies to support the development of early stage solar energy technologies and help them advance to full commercial scale.

Companies awarded under DoE’s Photovoltaic Incubator Program will work with NREL to transition prototype and pre-commercial solar photovoltaic (PV) technologies into pilot and full-scale manufacturing.

The anticipated subcontracts, up to US$3m each, will be awarded as 18-month phased subcontracts with payment made upon completion of project milestones.

The early stage solar partnership projects include:
  • Alta Devices, Inc. (Santa Clara, CA) up to US$3m: Alta Devices will focus efforts on developing a high-efficiency (>20%), low-cost compound-semiconductor solar PV module, with market entry expected in 2011.
  • Solar Junction Corp. (San Jose, CA) up to US$3m: Solar Junction will develop a manufacturing process to produce a very high efficiency multi-junction solar PV cell. These high performing cells will be utilised by concentrating PV (CPV) manufacturers to produce lower cost CPV systems.
  • Tetra Sun (Saratoga, CA) up to US$3m: 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.
North Carolina:
  • Semprius, Inc. (Durham, NC) up to US$3m: Semprius will focus efforts towards a massively parallel, microcell-based solar CPV receiver. This approach combines the benefits of unique-to-solar manufacturing techniques with the performance and operational benefits of microcell concentrating solar PV.

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Photovoltaics (PV)  •  Policy, investment and markets  •  Solar electricity